Today I am in a retrospective mood. Highschoolboy turns 16. I look at him and think of the past years and how he has grown into the proto-man he will become. I sit and think how those years have flown by and about the years to come. Quite frankly, I just got really tired.
OK are we not supposed to discuss just how tired we are as parents of autistic children? I don’t know about you but sometimes it is all I can to keep my head above water and continue to swim. Never mind treading water that is simply impossible. It is in fact the times that I think I can simply tread water that that is when the proverbial “shit hits the fan.” So in my “chicken little” mindset I always think of how things can get messed up, figure out how to handle it and then wait to see what happens. More times than not I have over worried and things go pretty much to plan. But at other times, well I am very glad I have this “glass half empty” preparedness.
There have been plenty of mommy-tiger moments over the years. I have chronicled many in my past posts. But I would have to say when I look back they are relatively few and far apart. However, when you have fought those battles they do leave a scar. They make you never want to be caught unawares again, because your child just can’t afford for you to be blindsided. I think that is the stress associated with being “on” all the time. If you are unprepared for the problematic moment it is your child that suffers and may have a setback. I know that there are many things that I need to deal with but adding to my child’s stress is not something I want to let happen.
I do have to be fair however. The overwhelming majority of people who have worked with HSB since he was a very little boy have been wonderful. They have held him to a standard and expected great things from him. They expected him to work hard like any other child and do his best. They have supported him and taught him so that he may become anything in life that he wants to be. They have invested in him their love and care for him and are proud of his success. They worry when things he cares about do not happen and rejoice at his good fortune. You cannot want better than that for your child.
But the worry gets me sometimes. The stress gets me a lot. I know I wrote about how to help yourself in a past blog (see under YOU), but that doesn’t mean you are perfect all the time. Or that you are not sad at times. Or you are not angry at times. Or you are not overwhelmed at times. It still happens plenty. I think it will always happen at times. I think when you are faced with new adventures or new issues at every turn you can be surprised by some of them. You can, no matter the preparation be unprepared for some of them. You can no matter the strength you have in your soul lose faith a little when things hit you really hard. You can always fight the good fight but it does not mean it doesn’t wear you down at times. And you know what, it is ok to acknowledge that fact, that while we are parents of autistic children we are first and foremost human.
So I look back at HSB and I see where he has come from. It’s an amazing place. He has grown from this sweet cherubic little boy into a real full blown teenager, which in and of itself is an interesting miracle to behold for an average child. Add the autism issues to the mix and you get an entire new set of parental wrinkles. But it is good and quite frankly, good for him. Yes there will be issues to come. Heck he’s going to be taking the college boards next spring and applying to schools next year. Yes, I went through this with collegeman already but each child adds their own dimension and own personality to the mix. Then there is the transitions to come and organizing for those. Of course since I had been there already I can prepare better than I did for collegeman, but I think thinking about these things is what is making me tired.
You know what. I have just decided, I think too much. Today is HSB’s birthday. 16 years ago today I held in my arms a beautiful baby boy that only smiled when he heard his big brother’s voice. Of course, today they beat on each other just like brothers should. However, I think for the moment I am going to enjoy today. I think I am going to give myself a present in honor of HSB’s birthday. I am not going to worry. I am not going to get stressed over things to come. I am not going to let the stress and worry get me down. I am going to revel in the fact that HSB even though he is 16 does not want to learn to drive…yet!
Until next time,
PS. HSB wanted version 2 of the atomic-zombie-mutant killer game for his birthday. Just thought you would all like to know that we are all still safe and protected in the universe. Happy Birthday my youngest love.