Tuesday, March 30, 2010


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, HeyI 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.



  1. Oh, honey, this just makes me weep and ache along with you. I sort of know those feelings as I've gotten glimpses of them with my own sweet boy. So painful.
    Tthere are so many of us walking this road together; you don't have to hide anything nor do you have to tell us anything. Just know we are beside you, behind you...we're here for you when you need us.

  2. It's okay. I think every (EVERY) parent goes through these ebbs and flows and they are so much tougher when your child has extra issues. It's okay. Your love is there and that is important. His love is there too.

  3. Sending lots of hugs. For both of you.

  4. Oh God, I know how you are feeling. Every excruciating bit of it....I send you my love and a big hug. We are here and you are not alone

  5. I hear and feel your actual heart in this beautiful post. Sometimes one must comfort oneself by acknowledgement. I hope you are comforted a bit. And I hope that knowing of so many people who feel those feelings that you have so beautifully articulated helps.
    Love and peace to you as you slog through, slide through, fly through.

  6. We just returned from a family outing to the library for bedtime stories in pajamas. It is usually one of my favorite things to do, but tonight was different. I came home frustrated with all four other members of my family - including my fellow grown-up and my two typical kids. It seemed like none of them were listening to me and I couldn't keep them all in my nicely ordered plan. Honestly I spend more of my time frustrated with my typicals than with my special needs kid these days. The only thing that makes it different (and bearable) is that I know the stage they're in is "normal" and temporary. I think that's what makes the worry you're dealing with different and harder, but as others have said you are not alone. We've all been there, and you've expressed it for us in a beautiful voice.

  7. All I can think of to say are things that you already know and all that I know how to do. All parents love their kids yet find that they drive them crazy, that they're irritating, that they're a pain, even that sometimes, they don't like them. It's a painful dichotomy, but there it is. Can you feel guilty about something many of us feel? Probably. But try to remember that many of us feel it, too. It's a big boat.
    I try not to look down roads and around corners. Sufficient to the day is the evil (and the good, and the sweetness, and the badness) thereof. We're having enormous struggles right now with one of our sons, and it's hard to see a way out or where it will go. So, I don't look. I just look at what's in front of me and deal with it as it comes. For now. And when there is a good moment, I tell myself, "This is a good moment. I will feel this moment as long as I can." Sometimes, it's not very long. But it was there.
    About Temple Grandin: Do you think she's happy? Does it matter if her connections aren't what people expect, or is the important thing that she's made the connections she has, that she seems happy with it? I wonder, when thinking about what I might want for my kids, if it's something *they* would want, something that would make them happy, or that I just think would make them happy. I sometimes am not sure if I'm grafting onto them or really working on something that I, as a parent, should be working on for my children.
    Bottom line? This parenting shit is confusing and painful. With some good stuff mixed in. I'm sorry that right now, the confusing and painful parts are overwhelming you. I hope these comments and your blogorama support group give you some emotional respite.

  8. Our hearts certainly take a beating through all of this. Thinking of you, hoping things even out soon. xoxo

  9. All I can tell you is that it will improve. But I firmly believe as a parent we have to decided when we're going to parent and deal with it. Hitting, biting, tossing things is NOT ok... not ever. It took me a couple of years to deal with it and the headbanging but those things are gone. Now... the mouth... I'm having a lot of trouble with the 10yr old mouthies but I'm not caving in. He's not the be all and end all.... He's not impressed and the Child Psych said that attitude will never change... but it doesn't mean I have to give in.

  10. aw. thanks all. i mean it.
    it's true that all parents feel these things. and the hard thing about the spectrum, at least for me, is that it's not certain things will pass. i can have my belief, my vision, my goals, etc., and i can move forward with confidence and hope but i'm not in charge and so the letting go, the feeling my own feelings, that's a big part of it.
    and yes, farmwifetwo, hitting, throwing things, biting--those are all not okay. there are rules in this house and they hold strong. but the simple truth about human beings is, we can do, say, wish, want, pray, love, teach and guide but that won't always make our kids be, think, say, feel , want or do what we want them to, what we want for them.
    emily--i don't know if temple grandin is happy. she may be. i think her life works for her in many ways. she says her life is all about keeping upset and disruptions at bay. and i guess she's good at that. it's not my place to judge her or her life. as i said, i admire and respect her. but she's not interested in people. and i see that my son is. he just doesn't know how to do it, how to connect, how to feel safe around them. and i'd like to help him find a way to feel and be successful in that realm, the realm of people.

  11. Kyra--I get that. TH is similar. He's very social (unless he's been overwhelmed and needs a break), but he's just got no idea how to do it, and that, of course, leads to unhappiness when he becomes aware of that. Let's just say, I feel that pain right along with you, and I'm sorry for both of us. Must. Keep. Trying.

  12. I don't have any answers but I believe you are an amazing mom and a beautiful person. I believe Fluffy is going to be okay, because of you. Holding you and your boy in all your glorious perfection. Trusting in the strength of that invisible spirit bridge.

  13. You are an inspiration. What courage and what strength you show. I love the way you write and poured your heart out. Thank you for sharing this. I immediately went to find you on Facebook wanting to send you an email. You are truly blessed!