So it’s Thursday June 9th and I’m on a next-day deadline to submit my monthly column in the Capital District Parent Pages (though I’ve had a whole month to write it).
I’m sitting there thinking how strange it is that I write a column about a boy with autism who has become so violent we are planning to take him to live in a residential facility, and how the column is smack dab in the middle of a magazine featuring witty anecdotal tales of family life, articles about events, pages filled with fun places to take the kids, seasonal recipes, ideas for birthdays, and other parenting goings-on. Sometimes I wonder why they even let me write the column. I’m the bummer of the issue. Hands-down.
And I’m thinking I don’t want to be the bummer of the issue this time (for the July issue). So I sit there, and I sit there, but I don’t know what to write.
I haven’t even written here for a week. How many times, after all, can you say the same thing with only the slightest of variations before you start to sound like a broken record?
It hits me that I could look backward, and so I write about times when he was a baby.
The words come quickly – it doesn’t take me long to finish. They’re easier words because they are about the short span of time in which I had the same parenting experience everyone else had, more or less.
It’s not that Jonah has autism. It would be fine, really, if only he didn’t get so enraged so quickly – become so unimaginably angry, so inexplicably aggressive. Sometimes I feel as if I have done nothing for 41 years except bring a child into the world who is hell-bent on hurting others. I almost can’t stand it. I don’t want to stand it. I want to stamp my feet like a small child and scream.
When I lean in to kiss him, more often then not I get scratched or grabbed by his whole hand on my face.
Einstein supposedly said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Some think he himself had some form of autism, but whatever the case, I still will lean in for the kiss. It’s not that I’m expecting a different result. It’s that I need a different result – and if I can get his sweet little kiss one time out of five, it is worth the other times. I just want to be his mommy.
I don’t know my son anymore at all. I don’t know why he hurts me (or Andy, or his teachers, or anyone). I don’t know how Andy is staying afloat. I don’t know how one or both of us is not back in Four Winds. I’m no good at this. I’m weak, depressed, and always, always afraid. And there we go, folks, the record’s skipping – - you’ve heard it all – heard it all – heard it all before.
And so you see there is very little I can say these days. I apologize if you have tried to reach me and I don’t write/call back, or you invite me somewhere and I say I can’t go. It’s not like I have a great excuse except I just don’t want to talk about anything to anyone right now. And I’m sorry for it.
I am not strong enough to leave it all behind me whenever life calls for socially acceptable behavior. I know so many strong, determined, one-day-at-a-time parents in worse situations who operate on such a higher wavelength than me – who don’t bitch, or complain, or let on to anyone that there is anything amiss at all.
That’s not me. I never was the sturdy one. I’m the cry-baby. I’m the one who crumbles.
And thus concludes today’s whimpering.
“Dorothy moves to click her ruby shoes
Right in tune with the dark side of the moon.
Someone, someone could tell me where I belong;
Be calm, be brave, it’ll be okay…”
~Guster, Come Downstairs & Say Hello