the club


I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member

~ Groucho Marx

Driving back from the Cape on Saturday afternoon, Luau pointed out an Autism Awareness magnet on the back of a car up ahead. As we passed by, I gave the driver a probably overly enthusiastic smile. He likely wondered why I was either flirting with him or simply giving him the crazy lady grin, but it quickly became obvious. As we passed, he saw the matching magnet on the back of our car. He gave a quick honk of acknowledgment and I reached out the window with a wave.

Luau said, “Well, that was nice,” and glanced over at me with a smile.

I tried to return the smile, but hot tears had already begun to stream down my face. While his glass was obviously half full, mine had just spilled and broken. It was just one of those moments.

“C’mon, hon,” he said eagerly, “that was good. Awareness, acknowledgment, support. All good.”

And all I could think was, Oh yeah, all good. Welcome to the club you’d never want to be a member of. Freakin great.

My mind was racing.ย There are a lot of clubs I would have like to have belonged to throughout my life. A country club – now that would be nice. A tennis club maybe, or a field club. Hell, I don’t have a boat, but if I did, a yacht club sure would be swell.

But a club whose members are connected by their children’s challenges? By their pain? By knowing that their kids have a trying road ahead? Not so much.

Luau looked at me, somewhat deflated; accepting the inevitable. “I’m guessing you can write a post about this somehow.”

Oh, honey, I thought, sometimes they just write themselves.

20 thoughts on “the club

  1. six years ago i HAD to be an obvious member of the club. The diagnosis had a unique impact, as i had previously worked several years at a group home serving autistic children before marriage and children. i HAD to have the magnet, the hat, the keychain, the mug…you get the point. totally new feelings…scary new perspective – a new improved and “exclusive” club. not staff/job…now mom/life. today, the magnets are still there. some have been moved around, chewed, ripped, gifts, lost in car washes, stolen, replaced…but i don’t often look at the back of my car. i DO look at the back of everyone else’s though…i try not to. but, it’s true. there are definately more autism awareness magnets on the road. i allow a brief feeling of – well you know that feeling of belonging to “the club”, the exclusive bond- BUT only for a short time.because then, the sadness comes. Yup. i am aware. i’m good. and well, life with Timmy? it’s obvious enough.

  2. I was out for coffee already this morning. There were 6 in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot. Mine made 7. The only reason I can even tolerate the club is because of you and all our other mama bloggers who make it a bit easier to laugh, to cry, to carry on and to fight. Who show us that the road, though winding long and uphill always will get us someplace good for our kids.

    Don’t ever stop, Jess!


  3. I’m always struck by how some days I feel so strong and ready to take on the world; blazing the path for Justin and others like him. Then there’s days when even the smallest reminder can make me crumble. Yesterday, I watched the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus which is a movie about a music teacher who has to face the heartbreak of having a son that is deaf. In one scene in the movie, the child is trying to communicate something that he wants to his mother who just isn’t able to understand. He starts crying in frustration, then she starts crying. She starts to lose it about how she doesn’t know what he wants, doesn’t know what he thinks, doesn’t know how he feels, then ultimately just screams through her tears, “I want to talk to my son!” I’m actually tearing up just writing about the scene so you can imagine what is was like watching it.

    I just think that when we go through our day to day lives, we’re able to squash a lot of the emotion that goes along with being a member of this crappy club. We have to. Life goes on whether we like it or not and we have to find ways to function. Sometimes we get so good at it, that we forget that those very raw emotions are still right there waiting beneath the surface needing only a scratch to start bleeding. As time goes by, we will grow tougher skin. But for now, we will continue to have good days and bad days. Reading your blog makes those bad days just a little easier because at least we know that someone so eloquent is a member.

  4. I get so excited every time I see one of those magnet things, but that feels weird. Like, “Goody, someone else has a kid on the spectrum! Yay!”

    Now my bumper just has a peace sign and a sticker that warns “Don’t make me release the flying monkeys”. Am assuming everyone knows that, by “flying monkeys”, I mean my two kids with autism.

  5. I agree with Carrie, it is a mixed blessing. As horrible as it may sound, I wouldnt change a thing about what we are going through. It has made me a better parent, a better woman, a stronger person. It may have closed some windows, but with it, has opened some much larger doors.

    Would I take away the pain I know he goes through sometimes?

    Of course.

    Would I like to take away the challenges that frighten him?

    Of course.

    Would I make him different in any way?

    Not on your life! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Whatever. If it weren’t for the club, I wouldn’t have the most fabulous and empathetic friends ever.


    in a strange way, the most fabulous and empathetic KID ever.

    But I get the tears. Totally.

  7. I agree… not the place I WANT to be. Other clubs maybe much more fun and exciting, but from the perspective of one of the newest members this is one of the most INCLUSIVE and SUPPORTIVE clubs I have been a member. It feels like I have back up for those times I am going to hit the floor.

  8. A woman came up to me the other day in the store parking lot and said I like your magnet. “Oh! Thank you!” I said.
    Then she says, kind of sad, “It looks like I’m going to have to get one…” “Oh. Sorry,” I said as she walked away.

    But if she had let me I would have told her, ‘You will be o.k… welcome to the club..

  9. I absolutely get this. Every single angle, every single side. I get it. 100%. Hang in there. And don’t forget: we’ve got you covered, too, my friend.

  10. This post made me think of Welcome to Holland

    “…But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. ”

    I love the Club! All Hail the Club!

  11. You see my sweet little girl, you give voice to all of us and it helps to know that others live there with us. You are such a blessing for all of them and for me.

  12. corn dog girl (LOVE the handle)

    we have not opted to go the biomed route for brooke. i guess my ‘belief’ on it is that it is a completely personal decision that can only be made based upon each child’s individual circumstance.

  13. I agree. Wish I wasn’t a member of this club. Are you a biomed mom? I haven’t come upon your treatment beliefs yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

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