"And I will play games on the phone." Of course.
She went on to talk to me about how we can't make them want to play with other kids, and that what they can do is work on the social rules, on what's socially acceptable, and I knew what she was saying, and I knew in many ways she was right.
But it didn't stop me from crying behind my sunglasses, in the car driving away.
In that moment, I wasn't thinking about Ethan reading or being far ahead in math, of his skills building marble creations or natural talent in music and on monkey bars. I wasn't even thinking of his hugs and smiles or the fact that he does play with those who are familiar to him, on his own terms.
I just kept seeing recess on the playground in my head, and hordes of yelling, chattering, laughing, chasing kids. And my son on the other side. All alone.
I wondered what that meant, not just for right now, but for his future.
I didn't know which ripped at my heart more: that he was alone, or that he was happy to be alone, that realization that he truly is wired differently, that helpless feeling that I shouldn't want to change him and can't change him.
I knew I couldn't sit there and cry and cry, and the cerebral part of me knew there were so many other things about Ethan I could focus on rather than carrying an imagined playground image in my head.
A verse kept running through my head, that'd I'd been reading: "Praise be to the Lord, to God our savior, who daily bears our burdens" (Psalm 68:19). I knew I couldn't carry this sack over my shoulder on my own. This isn't something that magically disappears. I have to constantly turn it over, again and again and again and again.
My son right now blends in fairly well. He can talk to me. He's mainstreamed; he's learning. But he's still on the spectrum. He's still different.
I have to remember this. I have to remember there are others out there I have judged, with their kids or families with seemingly insignificant issues. Everyone, as the famous quote says, is fighting some kind of battle. Everyone is hurting sometimes.