In Act 2 of a This American Life podcast titled Unconditional Love parents Dave and Karen Royko talk about life with their son Ben who has autism. Listening to their story, it is obvious that they love Ben very much. It is also obvious that love is hard. The opening dialog between Dave and Karen:
People say all kinds of things to me and my wife as parents of an autistic son, and they mean well.
People would sometimes say to me, in public, or in therapy waiting rooms where there’s a lot of interaction with parents and they would say, you’re a saint. And I would just think, well, Jesus Christ. What am I supposed to do, beat the [BLEEP] out of him? What else would you do? Well, we have to take a lot of antidepressants. That helps.
God bless medication. People would often say, I couldn’t do what you’re doing. I know when people would say that, I mean, it’s really a compliment. But it would sometimes though, feel like, yes, you would. Unless you’re really a [BLEEP] person and not cut out to be a parent, you would be doing the same thing. The only difference is, we have to do it. It always felt like a little whiff of this crap, like God never gives you more than you can handle.
You just want to kick those people in the teeth don’t you?
If that sounds harsh, here’s what it’s like for us….