I love fiction because you can write things the way you wish they were. You can create as much support as you wish were available for families struggling to understand a child’s differences. Fiction also allows the child with autism spectrum to be presented in a positive light. Too many times real life does not do this. People judge harshly when they do not understand, and somethings cannot be taken back. They can hopefully be forgiven, but forgiveness sometimes takes time.
Most people have trouble forgiving people who deeply wound them, but add the dimension of Asperger’s and multiply the time and effort it takes to forgive by ??? I really do not have an exact number, as like neurotypicals, every individual on the spectrum is unique. The wounds are certainly deeper, but then I think bullying deeply wounds any child. Yet, in my book, Delightfully Different, Mia forgives after a couple of years. I want to be clear; I love fiction!!!
I put most of the responsibility for forgiveness on Mia in the book. In reality, I know the child with Asperger’s has to see the parent forgive first. This is not easy for the parent either. When someone wounds your child how do you forgive? It certainly is difficult! That is why I really am grateful to Immaculee Ilibagiza for her example.
Time and infinite support help us to learn how to forgive. It is not something that comes quickly. It involves baby steps, three forward, five back, then three-step forward again for what seems like an impossible amount of time, if it happens at all. It also involves love and patience and acceptance of why the process is so difficult. Ideally, it involves the other person meeting them at least half way, if not three-quarters of the way repeatedly. When this does not happen the process can take longer. There is still hope, but it does take time.
A friend once told me that it is too bad that we cannot have a do over with our first child, the way we can with a piece of pottery when it crashes. I really do not want a do over, but I do wish I had done so many things differently. I love my children the way they are, so I would not do either of them over even if I could, but I would do it differently with the knowledge I have now.
Delightfully Different is a work of fiction, so Mia’s mother did things differently than I did. She also has two wonderful sisters, while I have none. The point I am making is do not assume the book is about my family, it really is not. There are similarities because I am the writer and we write what we know, but I can assure you none of the characters in my story exist in real life.
Therefore, this story is not like Look Me in the Eye or Running with Scissors. It isn’t like The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night either. Remember all three of these were about boys or men, not girls. The only meanness is from the mean girls. The only sadness is from “normal” life events and the frustration caused by misunderstandings.
The subtle traits Mia’s family and doctors miss are real traits of Asperger’s that are frequently missed especially in girls, the bullying Mia experiences really happens every day in our schools. The rest is just a story that I totally enjoyed writing, and I hope you will enjoy reading.
I welcome your comments and after you have read the story, I welcome your reviews on the bookstore sites, as well as here.