My aunt, who was married to my father’s brother, divorced her husband when i was 7-8 (I don’t remember exactly). All I knew I did not see my aunt, uncle or cousins anymore. I had no idea why.
One day my grandfather had passed away from mesotheoma. He used to work on the submarines with the US Navy during WWII. This was a knows effect from the asbestos. This was when I was 14-16 (it was after. my Bat Mitzvah. Thats all i remember on timeline). I waited until my father was locked in his office and my mother was in the bathroom to call my aunt. This was at a time where phone numbers and addresses were kept in address books, not on computers or cell phones. Cell phones were brand new technology. This is what got the family back together.
First Holiday Together
That holiday season, we flew down to Florida from Long Island. My aunt put together a Chrismukka (Chanukah and Christmas) since she comes from a Catholic background. It was nice to see these people again. It was great until she was having us open gifts. The first thing was adorable. It was an Israel bear in a dress. She knew I was involved with Temple Youth Group. Then the second thing made me seriously uncomfortable. Keep in mind that I was 14-16 years old. It was a Chip N Dale calendar. It was not the cartoon. Look it up if you don’t know what it is.
After flying back, my mother and my aunt picked up where they left off. They loved to talk badly about me constantly. I was used to it because my parents did that a lot. My aunt really did not affect me until adulthood.
Start of Toxic Abelism
When I was pregnant with Bug, I went tho a perinatologist, a doctor to monitor high risk pregnancies. I have PCOS and had three failed pregnancies. This was my OB/GYN being extra careful. I really appreciated this. There was a Downs Syndrome screening. I only did it so I could be prepared. No thought ever came across about aborting him EVER. The doctor told me there was a soft marker. This was due to his neck being a little thick. So after this, I did a ton of research of what he might need. This turned into “You want him to have a disability. Why do you want something to be wrong with him?” This came from both my mother and my aunt. At the time I was working at support staff at ARC here in Florida in a home with six adults with Downs Syndrome and Alzheimers (dual diagnosis). I did not see anything wrong with them. This left a sour taste in my mouth. He was born without Downs Syndrome but it would not have mattered.
Bug was diagnosed as autistic when he was three. It was a long process. He was the first one we put through the process so he was our guinea pig so to speak. I am not sure how else to describe it. So naturally, I thought nothing was wrong with Bug. This diagnosis just put a name to how he lives and experiences the world. I was teaching him to be proud of who he is. To me, it was no different than being a proud Jew or any other marginalized group.
Pride does Not Equal Munchausen by Proxy
When I was posted different autism memes showing how great he is, my aunt accused me of having muchausen’s by proxy. She apparently came to that conclusion with the help of my toxic mother. They both claimed “You want him to have autism.” Why would I want him to be any other way but himself? It did not make much sense to me. To this day I cannot forgive this. I still talked to her on occasion.
Children Deserve Autonomy
Shortly after this, I graduated from college with my Associates of Science in Veterinary Technology. Bug, Roo and my niece I had custody of at the time were there. We made a 4 hour drive. My aunt, her husband, my cousins, my parents, my husband and children were there. The ceremony was great. No one made a scene. My children picked out a teddy bear for me with my college’s logo. It was great. We then went to a restaurant. It was a big deal graduating because I was told all my life I would not graduate from high school or amount to anything. It was a few days before my father’s birthday. They made it about his birthday and not my accomplishments. My aunt accused me of being selfish for being upset about it. Then my father would not stop touching Bug and yelled at him for having a meltdown He was 2! We knew he was autistic but no diagnosis yet. My aunt and cousin scolded me for telling him what he did wrong.
About 4 years ago, my parents came over for the holidays, on Christmas day. My brother came from London. Just hearing my parents voice gave me severe anxiety. I was heavily medicated when they came. My father decided to tickle Bug. Bug does not like to be touched. I teach my kids autonomy and consent. At this point he was able to formulate words when in distress. He was able to tell my father “I don’t like that and I don’t like you.” My parents went crying to my aunt and told me I was wrong for telling Bug that he did well for advocating for himself. I cut my parents off at this point. I was still talking to my aunt but not giving her much to go on.
Support My Activism or Not?
When I started my media appearances, she had told my parents about them. I had no idea at the time. She was very supportive of my MMS work. I was guarded but I told her about some things.
Just yesterday, I was browsing facebook and I saw a video she uploaded to facebook. I could not believe what I saw. It was pseudoscience propaganda. She has shard some anti vax before but this one was bad. It was a lot of misinformation about COVID19, MMS , 5G and Italy all rolled into one. This is what did it.
Here make the judgement for yourself: