(cross-posted from ilovemyaspie.blogspot.com)
I just figured out why I still have not watched the NBC show
"Parenthood," despite being implored to watch it by countless friends
and family members. Apparently, one of the characters on the show so
greatly resembles my son that everyone feels that I really need to watch
it. Though I never have.
It's not because I don't like getting into a TV series. It's not because
I don't have a TV (I don't, but that doesn't stop me from watching
shows in this modern era of the Internet).
But I think it is because I am already living this life with a
challenging, bright, frustrating, awesome, difficult, and totally
lovable Aspie boy in the flesh and I don't feel that I need to spend
hours each week watching a fictional show of a family going through the
Some would say that that is exactly why I should watch it--because the
family on the show supposedly knows how we feel--and I can feel that
we're not alone while watching it. My response to that is that we
already feel that we're not alone because of the support system we have
in place made up of real people with Aspie kids in our area and real
professionals here who help us daily. And on the days when I do feel
alone, I can promise you that watching a piece of fiction wouldn't
change that. Those are the days when I need to have coffee with a
friend--parent of an Aspie or not--to ground myself again.
But what I do think is cool about the "Parenthood" show, and what I am
grateful for that is a result of all of these incredibly well-meaning
suggestions that I watch it, is that it has helped EVERYONE ELSE
understand what we're going through a little bit more, without us having
to school everyone personally. Each person who makes the connection
that the little boy on the show is a lot like Jackson, and then watches a
difficult situation on the screen or sees the family's joy in his
intense abilities in another area, also makes the connection that our
days in this family, in this house, with this child, are a lot like that
show. (For better or for worse, since I've never seen it.) They might
be realizing why play dates are not always graceful for us, why we hover
and give a lot more input than normal when Jackson's having a
conversation with someone, and why we are so intensely proud of our son
for his intelligence. It normalizes Asperger's for everyone else.
Given that the main reason I don't watch "Parenthood" is because I am
already living that life and don't need to see it on the screen again,
the secondary reason is that I'd rather watch a completely different
"life" on the screen when I do find some time on the couch to watch TV.
"Downton Abbey," (the new) "Sherlock Holmes," and "Battlestar
Galactica," to name a few. Take me away to a completely different world
(perhaps without Asperger's?) and I'm a happy clam. TV time is off-duty
time when the kids are in bed, after all. Let me forget and relax a
little bit while you watch and learn about us. Then let's meet for
coffee to connect and keep it real!