Monday, August 29, 2016
The one where Momma breaks down...
Last night, I had a "Why, autism? Why us? Why me?" sort of night.
My son was hurting, and he couldn't tell me how or where. He cried and cried and screamed and I did what I could to help but really, I felt helpless. Autism has become this welcome specter in our home, where it's not even really thought of but constantly considered and accommodated at once. Times like this remind me that we're not like every family, and my baby isn't like all the others.
Once the storm calmed (entirely on its own...despite my best efforts, it was none of my doing), I craved a hug that would last just the right amount of time for me to cry and cry and let it all out. Instead, I lay in the dark with my son laying on my chest and sobbed as quietly as I could, so as to not wake him and start the cycle over.
I felt my heart actually break for my son, and it still hurts this morning. Why must life be so hard for him? I've always valued words and communication and expression so much, and he's locked in his head, unable to access these things. I feel like I was given this precious, perfect lump of life and I somehow, through action or inaction, genetics or karma, ruined it. My son is amazing and incredible and I tend to forget all about his diagnosis because he's just a tremendous ball of beautiful energy, but times like this, I am humbled by his struggle and all I can do is collapse under the weight of the guilt that I somehow did this to him. I think that in our case specifically, autism seems like a battle because we REMEMBER life before, when there was not just the promise of a social little chatterbox of a child. He was RIGHT THERE, mimicking speech and seeking us out, and then in a flash, we lost him. How does that even happen? What did we do to our boy?
Just hours prior to this storm, I was counting my blessings and thinking how lucky I am that we've adjusted so well to autism. As I said, most of the time, I don't even see it. It doesn't occur to me that my son isn't like every other kiddo his age and that he couldn't do any and everything he could dream of. I constantly read about families suffering and struggling and I just think "thank the universe that we pretty much hardly feel this way". I'm too close to the situation to really NOTICE just how different our lives are to those around us, so it's easy to convince myself we're like everyone else.
Why am I sharing this? Because I think I sometimes appear to have it all together, even (and especially) to myself. I want to live authentically and transparently, and part of that is acknowledging when I feel low. I also want to let any other autism parent out there know that it's ok to feel low. Hell, last night I felt full-on defeated. The important thing is not living in that moment. As soon as you're able, dust yourself off and keep on going. Your kiddo depends on you.