You’ve felt like this day would never arrive, but it’s here. You’re ten now – the big double digit birthday all your friends have been excitedly chattering about for too long. Unlike other birthdays, where you’ve simply been excited, ten has brought with it a mixed bag of emotions. Like you’re desperate to grow up, but don’t want to, all at once. You’re not quite sure what’s lurking around the corner, and as someone who likes to know what’s going on in advance, this is causing your mind to go into overdrive.
I’m writing you this letter because I know you don’t quite understand some of the things I’m about to say. One day you will, but I’m concerned these words of mine might be lost by then. So here goes.
You hate the idea of being different. Trouble is my darling girl, you are different, and it really is as simple as that. I promise you, my dear Polly, you’ll come to see that being different is not such a bad thing. Right now, this means standing out from your friends, when all you want to do is fit in with them. Your autistic mind is constantly over thinking, and mostly not getting the answers and closure it desperately seeks.
When your friends act in ways that are deemed “perfectly normal” it baffles you. Truth be told, it baffles me too. I’m thirty years older and still have no idea what goes on inside most people’s heads. Some are going through a tough time, and others are simply selfish, I’m afraid, my love. Too engrossed in their own dramas to give much thought about how their behaviour trickles down. I know it hurts, especially when people you thought were friends disappear.
You care so deeply about the people you call friends, and it kills me that this isn’t always reciprocated. I’d love to be able to tell you otherwise, but the sad fact is, you have a lifetime of this ahead of you. I don’t want to teach you to “care less” because I don’t think that’s the way any of us should be operating. You shouldn’t have to build walls to guard yourself from heartache.
But I know this, for sure: there is nothing more beautiful than a genuine, kind heart, which you have in abundance.
Different really isn’t such a bad thing, dear Polly
When you were struggling at school, we weighed up our options. Advice came through loud and clear from those who had proper experience in what we were about to do.
“Take her out of school, and watch her thrive.”
I will never forget these words, which came from a friend of a friend. A lady whose own autistic daughter had had a terrible time, and started flourishing once she was home educated. Through love, support and learning that it’s okay to move in the opposite direction to almost everyone else you know. Home Ed isn’t always easy, but it means we get through our tough bits together, as a family. No matter how hard our days sometimes are, they are nothing in comparison to the anguish you felt being sent to school.
Being at home means you’re able to do the things you adore on a daily basis. Cooking whole meals from scratch, honing your baking skills and becoming an awesome gymnast, to name but a few. Smartick lessons keep your puzzler puzzling, and you’re so close to finishing all your Year Five workbooks. Almost time for a couple of months off, to recharge our batteries and enjoy the summer.
I’m so proud of you, dear Polly, and the person you’re becoming. Watching your progress brings joy to mine and daddy’s hearts. Don’t ever stop being you.
Lots of love,