Even though Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day has been a thing for a long time, I’ve never been able to participate, what with my not having an out-of-the-house job for most of my kids’ lives.
Finally, though, I have the perfect job to take my kids to. All three of them were interested in having me take them to my job at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network for the day, but I knew that it was Jack whom I wanted to take first.
Jack owns being autistic like no one else and I wanted him to be able to see an office full of autistic people working for autistic people. I made sure it was okay with the folks I work with and then I asked Jack if he wanted to go.
He was all in.
So last Thursday we sent Sam and Quinn off to school and Jack and I headed off to work. And I gotta say, commuting is waaaaay more fun when Jack is with me.
The first thing I do when I arrive in DC is pick up ASAN’s mail. I figured that taking your kid to work day pretty much meant that I could make Jack do all my work for me.
I thought it might be fun for Jack to see Alex in his office, so even though the traffic lights didn’t send us that way, we headed past his building. Jack was delighted.
Eventually we made our way to my office where Jack discovered that an office full of autistic people is home to a large number of stim toys. Jack had found his happy place.
As my coworkers came in, I introduced them to Jack. One of the first things he said to one of them was, “Every day is an autistic day for me.”
“For me too,” they responded.
Yeah. I brought him to the right place. I sure do love both my job and my kid.
The day Jack was in the office was the day a bunch of us were doing #AcceptanceIs and #ILikeBeingAutisticBecause photos for social media. I told Jack that he could do it if he wanted to. He did.
Eventually, however, we ran out of things to do that were interesting to an 11-year-old.
After work, we walked back via a different route, which opened up a whole new set of things to experience.
Our journey to and from work took longer than it normally does because of said water features as well as jumping on every manhole cover we saw and checking out all the sidewalk grates.
It also took a little extra time because we passed a Dunkin’ Donuts and I couldn’t say no to his excitement over a doughnut shop in a different location than our normal doughnut shop!
He chose a double chocolate doughnut. He even shared a little piece with me.
As we were going down the escalator to the Metro, I stopped and looked at Jack. “I feel like this was a really fun, special day with you,” I said.
“Yeah,” he responded. “I feel like it too.”
I swear I could almost see his brain processing the day. I think it’s going to stick with him for a long time. It was a meaningful day for both of us.
Later on the train, we were talking a little about autism and he said a variation of something I tell my kids all the time: “Mom, I think you’re perfect just the way you are.”
That kid. I feel so lucky to be able to expose him to such positive influences. I feel so lucky to be able to teach him. What’s more, I feel so lucky to be able to learn from him.
I don’t know what he’s going to do with his life, but I know it will be full of pride in himself. And that is enough.