It’s 2AM and I am writing instead of sleeping. No surprise there - the swirl in my head never ceases and sleep is a luxury I seldom attain these days. So I sit in the kitchen putting some of that swirl on paper as I look out at the pristine snow in the backyard.
Tonight sleep eludes me because I received an e-mail home from Will’s teacher. She wrote that he had a tough day today, that he had trouble focusing and that she needed to prompt him several times about his behavior. Granted, it’s Friday and there was snow falling and he is a 5-year-old boy. However, it is difficult for me not to go into panic mode. ”Not again” I thought. ”Please, not again.”
It became an afternoon of worry. An afternoon where I beat myself up again for not doing enough, not spending enough time, for not doing whatever else it is I should be doing. The fact of the matter is that his care and all the things that go with this damn ‘spectrum’ could become my full time job. That leaves little time for anything else.
He started physical therapy right after the New Year. It seems to be going really well and he loves the one-on-one time with the physical therapist. She is really in tune with him, too, which is often so hard to find in these therapists. Each time he is done a session he asks when he can go back again. That’s a good sign.
The day of his first session, after meeting her and running him back and forth to the session and then to school, I came home and sat in my kitchen and cried. Even though she was great and the session went really well, I sat on the floor and cried. I e-mailed my close friend Tracy, whose son is the same age as Will and also on the spectrum, and told her what happened. Her e-mail back simply stated “I understand.”
In the aftermath of the Connecticut shootings, I (like so many other mothers, I’m sure) contemplated motherhood and my parenting skills. I know all of my autism mom friends did the same thing. Am I doing enough? What if I’m not? How do I keep him safe? How do I keep that from happening? What if he, one day, hits a point where I can’t help him? Where do I go from there?
There is no break from this - ever! When you let go, even for a second, thinking it might be ok and trying to catch your breath or even remember the person you were before autism became your way of life, well - it’s not ok and then shit starts to happen again. And I just don’t want that shit to ever be stuff that I can’t explain or fix or that puts us on television.
And so…when I get up in the morning (later I mean), I will regroup and re-focus. I will spend the time and work on walking up and down the steps appropriately a few more times each day. I’ll do more research and find better shoes and talk with him about behaviors that are ok.
And then maybe I’ll sleep…ha ha! Highly unlikely!