You are doing okay, momma.
There are days I really desperately need to hear this. There are days that E is screaming and losing control and I question if I am the mother he needs. If I am enough. Those days, I need someone to give me a hug (and if we are being honest – a big cup of coffee) and let me know that I am doing okay. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always provide that type of immediate affirmation when one needs it.
So, what do we do when we don’t have that person and that coffee? Living with Autism is stressful. Living with a child who is so easily triggered is exhausting. Surviving, for me, requires Faith and focusing on what happens past the melt down.
Today was a really tough day. If I’m being honest, September has been a miserable month. E is working so hard at holding it together at school and when he comes home we give him a chance to decompress. Some days, like yesterday, he takes his break and then starts school work without a fight. Then there are days like today. Complete compliance, followed by the instruction to get his schoolwork out and a meltdown.
Have you ever seen an E meltdown? They aren’t pretty. Often, he tries to throw his weight and this look comes across his eyes that feels like hate and he is just a different person. My little boy who hugs and cuddles me, my snuggle bug, is completely gone when E has a meltdown. I don’t like the person who takes his place. It scares me at times because right now, I can handle him, but a day might come when I’m not strong enough. I don’t like to think about that day, it is an unknown that scares me.
Anyways, E was having a meltdown so I left him with the ABA and took C and we headed to Costco. She promptly fell asleep, which she had not been able to do at home with all the fuss. So, I decided as I cried and drove to stop at Starbucks and get myself a Chai Tea Lightly Sweet. Then, I sat in that parking lot… I texted my tribe and tried to calm down while C slept. Over and over again, I thought, “Jesus, this has to be laid at the cross. I am not strong enough to win this battle on my own.”
I prayed for comfort and for clarity. I prayed that E might be doing well with his ABA and calming down. I asked God to remove this burden from my shoulders, if it was His will… (He didn’t, E still had Autism when I got home.) Then, I prayed that when I got home I could be a better mom. I prayed that I might figure out how to reach him, get past his pain and his hate and reach my Snuggle Bug.
When I got home, I chose to focus on the present. If I spend time bringing up the past with E, I’m just going to recreate it. not my first rodeo. I had called him when I was around the corner from the house and told him that I would need his help unloading. So, out he came and help he did. I asked the ABA how long his meltdown lasted (an hour after I left). I then took C and headed into her nursery to nurse her.
E got his chores done, played and then followed us in and played with C. Watching him with her, I know he doesn’t act maliciously. The problem is that thoughtless action is just as dangerous. He laid there, playing with her until it was time to get A. I sat there and watched him, loving his happy little antics and her giggles. When it was finally time to get A, he hopped into the car and went without issue.
He wanted me to play with him when I got home. I agreed but insisted that he treat me with respect. I kept focusing on the things he wanted and on the behavior I needed from him. It worked and we had fun.
But now, I’m exhausted. I’m tired and at the end of my day. I’m not hearing that I’m doing okay. I’m still doubting my abilities with my boy. I can’t fix that.
- For the mom’s who have had to physically hold their child to keep them safe – you are doing okay.
- For the mom’s who forced their son to take his meds that would help him calm down – you are doing okay.
- For the dad who’s son tells him that he doesn’t care repeatedly – you are doing okay.
- For the parent still waiting for their child to speak far past when first words were expected – you are doing okay.
- Today might not be your day, but there are more days ahead. One of them is bound to be yours.