I often think that I am going to blog about something that happened in a given day. Many days are the same. Many days I wake up in anticipation of a day I know that I will not have. Like you, many days things happen. But unlike you (most likely and if it is true for you, fist bump of solidarity coming your way), every day there are meltdowns in my home. Every day. So each time something happens and we work through it, or we don’t, or we kind of sort of do. Many days I think I may blog about it to give a tiny glimpse into my normal. My every day. Where my energy goes.
Today started with my son waking me up at 6:09 AM. “Come on mom, I need to finish my homework.” He is 11, very smart, and could do it by himself. What he needs me for is to keep his high-functioning autistic, oppositional defiant, ADHD mind focused on what he needs to do. I do not whine. I get up, walk myself downstairs and sit next to him, re-directing him every minute or so and he gets the 6 math problems done. During this time, he yells impulsively about 9 times, blurting something out that I calmly redirect. I sleepily find my nice voice and we make it through. Then he disappears to play on his computer until it’s time to get ready for school. He followed the rules. He did not turn on any screen until the homework that could not get finished the night before was done. That was the rule. So I woke up and it was done.
I will skip the daily struggle of getting him to eat, take his medications, turn off his computer. The part about where I have to go up and lay clothes out because…well, just because, really.
Every morning I have a very well thought out life lesson conversation in my mind. It’s inspirational. It has all of the important parts – a funny quip, role playing, questions that make one ponder, and I wrap it up nicely to send my son on his way with a good attitude going into school. Today that conversation was about his increasing defiance of teachers and school staff and the way he has been treating his friends. I did a fabulous job and dropped him off with a hug and a smile.
Later in the day, I emailed with my son’s therapist who he will see tonight. Last week my son arrived there after a very large meltdown where I had to physically pry him out of the school building and the therapist saw the remnants of that in the evening. My correspondence with the therapist in preparation for our visit this evening addressed the meltdowns, and the continued plans to work on self-awareness and add in self-soothing. I told the therapist of my fabulous speech (what my son calls it…lovingly, I am sure), the hopes I had for the day, and the struggles with defiance, name-calling, and such.
At the end of the school day, I picked my children up and, like usual, my son monopolized all conversation, not letting his much younger sister say anything really. My son was agitated. He said he had a, “really hard time,” today and would not give me much more than that. We drove home. I asked questions and received very small answers. I waited for the teacher’s report for the day.
When it came, the report reflected that my speech bombed. There was, again, no life lesson learned. There was blurting out and humming during instruction. There were pencils and erasers thrown. There was name calling. There was refusal to do school work and responsibilities. There was a need to have another conversation.
This one had no funny quip. No role-playing. The questions demanded answers, not pondering. Instead of inspiration, I fill this conversation with affirmation. I tell my son who he is. He is not a child who throws things and calls names. He is a child with a good heart and soul. I tell him that the child I am reading a report about is not the child I am raising because our family knows better and does better. We talk about the name calling. He is very truthful; a side effect of his Aspergers that I appreciate. We talk about Jesus. I tell him how Jesus calls him to be kind to everyone, especially those that are outside the popularity circle. I crack a bit, but I don’t break. I’ve been here before. I’ve been here this week. I will be here again soon. I know that. But to my little boy, I tell him he is good, with a good heart and his parents love him and Jesus loves him. I tell him that because he is a good kid with a good heart, parents who love him and a Savior who loves him, he is expected to behave in a certain way and we will keep working on it. We finish our conversation nicely, with a hug and go in. It’s a nice moment. But I am shaken. Fragile. Because I have been here before. That morning, in fact.
We go into another room and I see the time and he needs to get ready for karate class and therapy. I am blamed for wasting all of his time with my, “speech.”
There are other parts of my typical day that involve others. I do other things, but not much that requires a great deal of thought or energy. My energy is focused on the one who needs so much of it. I no longer organize like I used to. I eat less healthy. My house is messier and I am heavier than I was last year. I am more raw in friendships, which is not part of who I have been in previous decades. It has re-defined pieces of who I am so many of my relationships have changed…not including the ones who simply don’t want to be around me because of my child. Raw and a bit cracked.
My son was upset with me and upset that I was a little upset…I was calm, but not happy. He whined, wasted time, yelled that I shouldn’t take him and his dad took him to karate and will take him to therapy. That’s my normal. It’s just a typical day.