I have to admit that I'm going through something over here. It's another wave of grief, of acceptance, of letting go. And it's hard. It's hard to straddle this place of adoring my son and feeling incredibly annoyed by him. Irritated. Impatient. Exasperated.
It feels bad. Like it's a dirty secret. I love him all the time. But lots of the time lately, I don't like him. I know he can't help it. I know he is doing the best he can.
That makes two of us.
I know my feelings are rooted in worry. In fear. What if he never figures it out? What if he never makes a real friend? What if he spends his life alone?
People offer things to be helpful. They say, Hey! Look at Temple Grandin!
That doesn't help me. Now, I love Temple Grandin. She's amazing. Brilliant. She's helped an enormous number of people. And livestock--if only in their final hours of life. She loves animals, cows in particular. Man, she loves those cows and I love that. I couldn't be more impressed with her. In a million ways. Truly. But she says herself that she has the nervous system of a prey animal, that her two main emotions are curiosity and fear.
I want more for my son. I want him to have friends, a family, human connections.
People say, Hey! I don't blame your son for not wanting to be with other kids! Kids are tough. He's probably just picky! Kids get in your face. They're loud. They're bossy. They're aggressive. They say mean things. They overreact.
That doesn't help me. Kids out there aren't doing those things. My son is doing those things. He's the kid grown-ups complain about.
I've been staring at Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking website, adding books and videos to my cart, racking up another big fat bill, more curriculum, more strategies, more approaches to help teach my son how to strengthen areas of his brain, grow connectors to isolated pools of knowledge, desire, skill.
Maybe these will work. I'm a long way from giving up. But at this point in the road, I am walking more slowly, stopping to squint up ahead where the road turns and I can't see what happens next.
I haven't been blogging. I'm not sure what I can say these days. Not sure what I can offer. I don't want to write the awful details. I don't want to paint that picture. It's not accurate since there are so many sweet details.
If I tell you that he hurled his metal water bottle at me, narrowly missing my head and the window pane, does that tell you anything about him? Or shall I only say he thinks we are connected by an invisible spirit bridge that reaches from his heart to mine? Shall I tell you the number of times he's bitten my arm? Or shall I only tell you that at nighttime, he sighs and hugs me, says his fears fade away the instant I'm near, though he knows he will only be truly free when he conquers his fears on his own.
Or shall I just say that my heart feels unwieldy, large and sloppy; unmoored; that it slips down my sleeve when I bend over; slips into my socks when I run; that when I stretch, its chords stretch, almost splitting in two.