We need to have a talk



So apparently I was on TV again over the last few days. I didn’t know anything about it. My brother messaged me last night to say that he was going through the guide on his TV and he heard my voice in the background. He clicked over and BAM there I was. I guess is was a supercut from several of the interviews I’d given ABC News in 2020. I don’t know because I haven’t seen it.

I had been hearing from people over the last few days that they’d seen me on TV as well. These are people I’ve never met before and they felt compelled to reach out after hearing me speak.

Everyone was very nice and I love hearing from my readers/followers/listeners. What was a bit worrisome to me was that everyone I talked to mentioned the same thing. They all said that I make being a single Dad to 3 autistic kids look easy. That was followed by them sharing a bit about their lives, which I consider an honor to hear about.

Everyone’s story was different but had the same basic premise. Everyone seemed to play down their own experiences because they assumed that my life was so much harder.

What concerns me about that is I feel like a fucking hot mess on a good day. Hearing people tell me about their lives and then make a statement to the effect of but it’s nothing compared to what you go through is upsetting to me for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I have never intended to send the message that managing my life is a cake walk. I don’t ever think I make this look easy and frankly, I feel like a terrible example most of the time. Secondly, when they make a comment that it’s nothing compared to what I go through I really feel like they aren’t giving themselves enough credit.

If you’ve ever reached out to me and said something along those lines, I probably gently played if off and said something to affect of everything is relative.

By that I mean, as much as you think my life is harder than yours, I might not be able to walk around the block in your shoes. My goal has never been to make anyone feel inadequate or like they weren’t doing enough in their own lives. It saddens me think anyone might feel like that.

Here’s the thing. Yes, my life is challenging. No, I don’t think just anyone could do this. That being said, this is all I know. I’ve adapted to this life and I’ve learned to navigate it over time. The days and nights cycle but the challenge is roughly the same every day. Most of the time, I’m fighting the same or similar battles and so I have had a lot of practice.

This is sort of like watching someone solve a puzzle in no time flat. They make it look so easy and it can be frustrating because we struggle with that same type of puzzle. We might feel like that other person is smarter than us or better at solving puzzles in general. That can lead to us feeling bad or inadequate.

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Curtis G.

By the way, I also saw Rob’s segment on ABC last week. You’re an excellent speaker for Autism Rob. You do do a great deal to help parents and caretakers out there who may be new parents who have recently found out their child is autistic and are in that confusing beginning state that we all went through. Thank you for your contribution to educating more people about what it is to be a parent of autistic children and adults.

Curtis G.

It doesn’t matter if you have one child with autism or six. We are all traveling on the same pathway. If we were all to sit down and compare our lives, experience and daily situations, it would all be connected to this one thing called autism. What’s important is not whether some parents believe one parent has it all together, much more than they do. What’s important is that autism makes us all one large family because we do understand what it is to stand by our children, no matter what and continue to be their advocate, their protector and the ones that love and understand them no matter what. I’m 70 and my wife is 66 and we have been walking this path for 36 years with our oldest son who is autistic and will travel that road with him for whatever time we have on this earth. We as parents, who stay for the duration out of our love for them, all experience the same emotions, no matter who we are, whether we have one or more than one child with autism. Like Rob said, in our lives, we’ve done this dance for 36 years and there have been so many times when we’ve missed steps and then there are the times when we’ve done the all the right moves to benefit our son. You do the best you can and then you do as much as you can.

Jennifer Myers

Rob, your attitude is so kind. I think the most important thing to remember is no one knows what it’s like to walk in anyone else’s shoes. More time supporting, less time judging, we all need more compassion. Thank you for your honesty and positivity.

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