Smiles Again

For the past three months, I’ve been under more strain than I’ve been in . . . years, or ever maybe. It involves finances and protecting my children. So I’ve been stressed and more “mentally absent” than usual.

Yesterday my neighbor gave me some of her old art and craft supplies. In that was a bag of colored needlework floss, the kind I used to make friendship bracelets with. This morning I showed my oldest son, the one diagnosed with Asperger’s, how to make bracelets. My plan was to show him and then get my computer/finance work done.

Turns out it was difficult for him to do it on his own. He could do it, but two sets of hands were much more effective than one set of hands. I’m soooo proud to announce that I made the difficult decision to sit with my son. It was more difficult than one might imagine to sit and spend time with my child, with all the “stuff” to do . . . ya know. I went and got my coffee and sat with him and held each string as he knotted it around the next twice. I sat while he got fidgety and said, “I won’t let myself talk to my conscience because if I do, then I’ll be able to take a break, and I don’t want to take a break.” I sat with my son and took the most important thirty minutes of my day to be present with him. My other son is an incredible pianist, so while Michael and I were weaving the bracelet, Mason was creating a piano piece depicting a three-series Pokemon battle. His music soothes my soul for sure.

I’m smiling right now feeling great about my decision. I’m smiling right now thinking about how even after three months of worry, thirty minutes can shift my state of being. I’m smiling right now because my son has moved on to another type of weaving and is almost done with his next project. I’m smiling right now and it feels like it’s been way too long since I’ve smiled like this.

Yeah.

 

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Tangled Again

He’s tangled again. Tangled is when his OCD is off the charts and moving a shirt twelve inches can cause a thirty-minute screamfest. I’ve talked to him this morning about the ways he hurt other people yesterday.

“Do you understand that your words hurt them?” I ask.

Tears. “But I need—”

“I will listen to what you need later. That’s not the question I’m asking you. Do you understand that they were hurt by what you said?”

“I need—”

“I know you are hurting as well. That’s so clear, sweetie. What I need you to know is that the words you used when you had your breakdown yesterday caused hurt feelings. I believe you can learn to use kind words, even when you’re hurting. What do you think?”

“I think I’m going to remove my existence from other people so that my OCD can be happy. I don’t think I’ll be happy, but my OCD will be able to control what I need to be controlled.”

And that’s a snapshot of what it looks like with my son’s self-awareness and my continued need to provide safety for everyone in my life. This journey with these different brains is baffling, difficult, ongoing and . . .

Love to all of us, including the different brainers, on this path.

Hang It Anywhere

Part I: Excerpt from my life this previous Sunday I was SOOO mad this morning at a certain individual, who I may have had two children with, that as I drove away from the gas station ( a horn was honking furiously), I MAY have heard some thunks and klonks and then maybe I noticed the pump hose still attached to my van and not at all attached to the station. Uhhh.

I already had tears in my eyes as I walked into the gas station. I told the guy, “I’ve completely wrecked your gas station.”

Blank stare.

“I drove off with the pump, sir. What do we do now?”

Blank stare, no words, furrowed brow. In my complete and utter madness, I clearly had lost all ability to communicate with the natives. My primate self decided to get more specific.

I pointed outside. “Pump #2, you’ll notice there is no hose connected anymore.”

He looked outside. He looked back at me. He sighed. Got paper and pencil and handed it to me.

“Just leave your name and number; sometimes they charge to reconnect.”

“What do I do with the hose?”

“Hang it anywhere.”

 

Part II: Wednesday

My son was with me when this all went down Sunday. Have I indicated that he is emotionally connected to me? I don’t think I’ve covered that as of yet. Well, when I’m in a bad mood and don’t realize it, I often find that Michael is in a twist (emotional upheaval). When I do happen to notice that Michael is in a bad mood and struggling, more times than not I will realize my own bad mood. At that point, I can either name it or shift it and he immediately calms down.

So how did my madness affect Michael? He was a freaking mess the entire day! He just witnessed his mother doing something that very clearly he knew was not normal because she was mad at his father. So on top of me being maniacal and raging (which is not very maniacal and raging compared to most people), we had to be in this crazy space together all day long.

My boyfriend and his little girl were scheduled to come over and this could change everything. My thought, if I had a rational one, was that maybe I could talk to my boyfriend about this. I know even as I type this that that was a crock of bull. I was so far into the emotions of my former spouse’s stuff, it would have been pretty near impossible to reach me. I divorced that guy for a reason; this being one of them! I even pulled a hose out of a gas station and STILL I was feeling crazy and completely disconnected from my body.

Well, my boyfriend and his little girl came over for the visit, and I warned that guy, after he got here, about what I thought he was walking into. My boyfriend and his little girl left earlier than normal after I asked them to, as kindly as you can ask someone to please leave before I say more hurtful things. It was too much and I was finding it hard to be kind and hospitable. That poor guy got a big apology from me the next day and still will receive more. I was not able to work it out and talk it through. Nope. Not that day.

That night, though, a major shift occurred. I built a roaring fire before dinner, because truly there is nothing like a roaring fire built by an angry woman. Michael, Mason, and I sat down with the talking stick. We have a talking stick in our house where the person holding the stick is the only one allowed to speak. It’s a GREAT tool for those of you who struggle with “devoted communicators.” We don’t use it often, so it is still highly effective.

We had a conversation using the talking stick about how Michael is unkind to Mason and what are some ways we can stop that. I was raging alone; Michael was raging on Mason. It was not OK. The conversation was a really beautiful time together and we really did relax into that moment and become more present. And the truth and honesty was stupendous. At one point, Michael says, “Well, I could just say nice things.” This was in response to the question: “What are some ways to be kind to Mason rather than to say hurtful things?” So Mason grabs the stick and says, “Why don’t you just do that then?”

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? “Why don’t you just do that then?”

The gas pump attendant hasn’t called me. I kinda wish he would in an odd sort of way, maybe to validate that I really did pull a pump hose out of a gas station. Although, I know I did without a shadow of a doubt. Michael is all too eager to share our story with others as it does have a nice dramatic feel that invokes reactions of shock.

The three of us are in a better space today. Wednesday. I woke up happy this morning and know that I have moved through my anger and can live another day without the dark cloud over me. I don’t know what I’ll do about the incident that started all of this. That is not for today though. Today is to relish my happiness and to welcome it back. Today is to look my kids in the eyes and say, “I’m sorry I left you for a few days. I’m back.” Today is the day to write this piece so that I don’t forget this part of my story. And today is the day to thank you, dear reader, for reading and being part of my story. Thank you.

And please thank your local gas station attendants for what they do. You never know, the woman before you could have wrecked their entire gas station.

“Heaven’s Very Special Child”—A Poem

Someone dear to me gave me this poem. I had tears in my eyes before I got to the end. I wanted to share. I offer this with full respect to all belief systems.

Heaven’s Very Special Child

A meeting was held quite far from earth,

“It’s time again for another birth.”

Said the angels to the Lord above,

“This special child will need much love.”

 

“Their progress may be very slow,

Accomplishments they may not show.

And they’ll require extra care

From the folks they meet down there.”

 

“They may not run or laugh or play,

Their thoughts may seem quite far away.

In many ways they won’t adapt,

And they’ll be known as ‘Handicapped’.”

 

“So let’s be careful where they’re sent.

We want their lives to be content.

Please, Lord, find the parents who

Will do a special job for you.”

 

“They will not realize right away

The leading role they are asked to play.

But with this child sent from above

Comes stronger faith and richer love.”

 

“And soon they’ll know the privilege given

In caring for their special gift from Heaven.

Their precious charge, so meek and mild,

Is heaven’s very special child.”

 

Author Unknown

 

To all of you who are given a child who moves differently from you and others, thank you if you work hard to accept and love and create a healthy space for them and you. If you do not create a safe and healthy space for them and you, please reach out to others and get help.

Opening My Eyes Now

Well, I have to find a school for Michael so he can attend sixth grade next year. Homeschooling is out of the question. We’ve tried it. It didn’t work. I don’t want to do it anyway. I thoroughly enjoy my work and having coffee with friends. 🙂

I found out last week that I’d have to find a school for him. We didn’t know whether his current school would choose to have a 6th grade or not . . . until now. They have made a decision with many sound reasons and I fully agree with the choice for his school to not offer a sixth grade class.

That leaves me in a bit of a pickle though. This past weekend I refused to think about it. When I did think about it, my eyes got all misty and sting-y, so I’d stop thinking about it. Today is Tuesday, and I am starting to think about the possibilities and my eyes aren’t even sting-y. 🙂 Progress. Forward progress and that is a great thing. Next Monday, I will start making phone calls and I will schedule open house visits. For now though, I have eyes at half-mast. I will wait for myself to continue to adjust to the newest task at hand. A task I have done, what feels like, way too many times for a beautiful ten-year-old boy.

School number seven, wherefore art thou?

Suffering

I suffer while it feels like I watch my child suffer on a daily basis. Life is so much for him and his beautiful different brain. Going to the office supply store today turned into a major incident because of some finger page turner thingy-bobs. I wish the finger page turner thingy-bobs didn’t have so much impact on my son, and in effect, on me. But alas, the finger page turner thingy-bobs do in fact impact my son, and therefore they impact me. And it feels like suffering. And it is simply how we move through life and that is the way it is.

The Seventh Place

This journey with different brainers really is a fascinating odyssey. One part of the journey is all about where we belong. Or not.

Here’s Michael’s school journey thus far:

  1. Charter school for the highly gifted. Got kicked out due to residency issues. Not fined or anything, but asked to leave. WOW.
  2. Public school #1 – We went to curriculum night and the end of school “targets” were what he covered the first day of his kindergarten year. We didn’t stay there.
  3. Home school. I was going through a divorce and moving and had a different-brained/high-need kid and a two year old. Duh.
  4. Public school #2 – One of the best teachers EVER! She was kind and intuitive and it was one of the best years ever.
  5. Public school #2, next teacher – Michael screamed and cried every day after school. We got our diagnosis this year. I kept him out of school as much as possible, at least once every eight to ten days. Worst year of all.
  6. Brand new school for high-functioning autistic kids or kids on the spectrum who didn’t make it in public schools. Fail. At least for us.
  7. Quaker school with two of the most fabulous teachers EVER! I give credit where credit is due, and these teachers were like gifts from humanity to my family. Score.

I just found out this morning that our school will not be able to accommodate sixth grade.