“Winds of Change”
I decided to fall off the blog radar for a while because we’ve been dealing with so many things at once. How do you pick one thing and write about it when the autism life is so multifaceted and demands that all your faculties are trained on so many areas, with almost no chance to relax your vigilance?
Home life has become a huge series of challenges. We had to hire a handyman to put keyed locks on a great many doors so that A does not destroy household appliances, shred important documents with his teeth, empty out detergents so he can watch the suds, hurt himself, or escape the house. He is simply impossible to contain.
What do you get when you combine the manual dexterity acquired from years of occupational therapy, the growing physical power and speed of an emerging man, and the impulsivity more common in a much younger child? You get an autistic teenager. Teen lad autism spirit is an unstoppable force, and nothing prepared us for how drastically life would be forever altered.
We are grateful for the help of home and school therapists, A’s neurologist, and the people who sometimes step in to babysit so we can get to things like back to school night, or generally attend to other areas of life. And let me say it here: the three of us—my husband, R, and I—rely greatly on one another. We have to.
Every so often, someone says to me, “I don’t know how you do it.” Well, I am not a hero. I struggle to get A to follow directions when he decides to lie down in the street and I am panicking internally about traffic and angry strangers. I feel daunted when there are more conundrums than there will ever be solutions. I lose myself in difficult works of fiction because my brain needs the release. And I do endless battle with my own mind to stay grounded, and to process the shame of my many failures.
These earth mother myths may apply to other autism moms, but I am not worthy of such titles, and I accept this truth with a willing heart because I think our whole family deserves better than the trap of sentiment which does not allow us to express our needs in a way that might effect some meaningful change in the communities around us, and help us not to get lost in our struggles.
There are so many ways to fail in our own eyes as autism parents. We do not even need to subject ourselves to the scrutiny of others; we are our own harshest critics. But every day I make sure to take a good long look at the insistent life force A has become. He is a powerhouse of self expression, and if we manage to save him from his own wild impulses, he will impact his world with his restless, typhoon spirit—a veritable maelstrom of instinct, and unquenchable curiosity.