You programme your child to make him as resilient as possible.

You then watch that resilience become a teflon coating to keep even YOU out.

Ironically F was my “turtle”. The analogy was how I explained to him to protect himself from people who were poking and hurting him as a child. I repeatedly just reminded him to be a turtle…. as in pull your limbs and head back into the shell so NOBODY could hurt him.

I never knew he would at his best use that to throw back “ I’m FINE mum” comments.

But today we drop him to college. Half a country away. Thankfully he has openly be swamped by emails and involving us for weeks.

Perhaps COVID-19 will make that virtual new reality more accessible than a complete move of LIFE would be.

So many “ what ifs” as we used to refer to unknown situations as we prepared together for them.

There is NO more or less with autism. There is a lack of pre-programming that makes every single new situation a learning curve. And the challenges of new boundaries to obey so incredibly real. not more. Not less.

Autism isn’t like that.

But we took a picture today as we sat with his younger yet older brother watching him walking away with his head down. He cut a solitary, bleak figure hurrying away from the tears he knew i would be swamped in.

And i KNOW that mouth was still twisted….

He will always have us here.

Today I felt his autistic and my proud.

Autistic and Proud always F…. “Be YOURSELF son. No more. No less wonderful and unique”.

Irish mothers.

Who would have children?

Head up son.

HOME is minutes away.

Autistic and proud.