Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks and Giving....

I have so many things to be thankful for. I cannot tell you how many times my eyes have filled with tears today. Happy and sad. Travis got called to work tonight, so we all stood in the window and watched him go, and I vowed to make Thanksgiving dinner better than our plan B (which is turkey roll, stovetop, and a feeble attempt at a pie). Working for the railroad is a thankless job sometimes. You miss many holidays, weekends, birthdays, and ordinary moments other take for granted. So, I put on my game face and braved the snow packed roads to drive to Target to buy new Christmas lights for the tree. Luke and I separated the branches and we got as far as untangling and stringing the new multi-colored strands that are now wound around the tree, and we placed the metal snowman-star on the top. Ornaments can wait.
Chandler is spending tonight at his dads house. I am always intrigued by his reaction to the tree, I wonder if in a years time it will be different. Excited this time? Indifferent? My babies ran around it yelling "It's beautiful! A big tree, a big one!" My mind forever wanders to the year Channy was four and he kept taking all the red bulb ornaments off my parent's tree. They were not pleased, and I followed him around for hours, replacing bulb after bulb. He likes circles and balls. And they were a brilliant shiny, red. I don't blame him.
Holidays are stressful for us, but we have come so far. He is comfortable enough to go along to any of his relative's homes for holidays. We may have to adjust the meal, he may not sit with the family long enough to eat his odd holiday dinner of peanut butter sandwiches and a sausage breakfast pocket (he hates turkey, mashed potatoes, pie, or anything usual to turkey day), and we might only stay for a little while. But we are together. My sons are healthy, and happy, and I wish nothing more than for them to feel a little holiday magic, with the love and togetherness, and importantly a mom who is caring, and upbeat, and makes the most of any available day that we can just enjoy being a family.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Missing Mom

So, I feel very out of touch with myself this week. Some things in my life are coming full circle, others are breaking down, and some are just...there. I was getting my backpack ready last night to leave for Pracs. For those of you who don't know, its a medical study where they pay you to draw your blood. I do these from time to time to pay for things Chandler needs, or we need as a family. I watched him playing with his blue lizard, and he wasn't looking at me, but I said "Channy, mom is going to leave for two days and Grandma will be here and Luke, and I will be home Thursday." He looked up briefly and then ignored me to attend to his lizard. I just sighed and kept packing. I always wonder if he knows I'm gone, or wonders where I am.
Today, I got alted out of the study (they have several alternate people), and left an hour or two after checking in. I opened the front door and hear my toddlers yelling "Mommy! Mommy's here!" And we talked and I make a burrito and a coffee. I go downstairs to sit on the couch for a minute and talk to Grandma who is folding laundry. Chandler comes down the hall and sees me and giggles and climbs onto my lap. He said over and over "Mamamamama....and wrapped his arm around my neck in the one armed hug that is his trademark embrace. He kissed my face and could not stop giggling. I held him and held him, and he looked at Grandma and said "Buh bye". He really does miss me when I'm gone, and that both scares and delights me at the same time. But mostly it makes me cry and laugh and hug him tighter, and we sat for a long time without saying anything, but it was pure love and joy. Nothing else.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The tornado and the cookies...

I love fall, and I love this time of year. Halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas. Scarves, and shopping, and cider, and snowflakes. I am a Holiday nerd. I wear Merry Christmas pants on November 1st. I breathe in and sigh at coffee shops when I smell peppermint, and I cry when I hear carols. But the scariest, most heart stopping thing to me is that Chandler's birthday in January. Another year has come and gone, and my baby still doesn't talk. He will be eight years old. Don't get me wrong. I am fiercely proud of him. This year he stopped wearing pull ups. This year he started requesting more things. But as my friend's ASD children move forward, I watch them moving faster than Chandler. I know, I know, its not a race. Not a competition. Then why do I feel like I am standing in the eye of the storm? It's silent in here. I can see out, through the debris and the 90 mile an hour winds. I don't want to leave this spot. I know that we all have so many common threads, but sometimes I am so jealous I secretly am angry at them. I love their children and I am proud of them for each and every milestone.....but do I beg God to let me hear him say a sentence. Every year. I put that on my list. And it never comes. Tears spill down my face every year when he half opens his gifts and throws them aside.
I thought of that the other day, while I was making the boy's lists for Grandpa. I was wondering what to put on his list....and Chandler kept bringing me a bag of cookie mix. I was shaking my head, signing, and saying "No, baby, they aren't in the bag. You have to...."....maybe he already knows that.... Why am I assuming he doesn't know that this is a mix? Maybe speaking is not the most important gift to ask for. I put down the catalog, and in my messy kitchen, with my pajamas on, in the morning, we made Chocolate chip cookies. He poured in the butter, he made a horrible face at the egg, and I had to ask him to come back and stir three times. But we did it, it was a very short lived experience, but one of the funnest. We each had three and a huge glass of milk. Christmas cookies, here we come.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Bad breakfast....

Daylight savings time. You ruiner of daylight, and other things. Most people circle this day on their calendar with a big red circle or heart in anticipation of one extra hour of sleep. My red circle is a glaring warning of dread. Because Chandler is on a body clock, like his own little autism circadian rhythm, I HATE daylight savings time. The corps have done studies saying that it saves .5% in energy. (big freakin deal), and it increases revenue for companies. Ah, there it is. All about the benjamins. Fine. I guess if it makes Walmart a few more bucks its okay to f#$% with my life. So, now that my rant is over, let me tell you about the beginning of the next two weeks. Last night Chandler was running up and down the stairs, climbing on the wall ledge in the basement, and lifting up the filter door on the fish aquarium to watch the wheel spin. He was still coming to "visit" me at 11p.m.  Normally, he is in bed at nine. I tried a snack, a story, a movie, retucking him in. Well, it didn't work and he was up at 7 (so 6 really), and he wanted breakfast. His normal two poptarts and glass of milk was presented and refused with a fire engine scream. As was a bowl of graham squares, a bowl of trix, and a final bowl of Capt. Crunch. In the midst of repeated screaming, and trying to get breakfast for my now awake two toddlers, my emotions started the familiar out of control spin. I was trying to stay positive but having episodic tears and threatening time outs to all three of them. I took a deep breath and a bowl of cinnabon cereal and went to my room. I cried by myself for like the two millionth time, and he came in running and screaming and threw himself on my bed.  He wouldn't come near me or give me a hug because I had gotten angry with him. It took five minutes for me to convince him to let me hold him for a half a second.  After watching his brothers fight for a few minutes, it was forgotten, and he giggled, and began to "stim" and rock back and forth so much, he was moving my bed. Please stop. I just stared at him. I hate autism today more than I hate Daylight ST, I hate it more than I hate shoveling the snow in 40 degree weather, but I love my son. I lose my patience again with the bed rocking, and say STOP it please. (Even though I know he can't), and he stares me down. Eye contact but not in a way that I would like. If he could speak, he might be telling me to muster all the strength I can because its gonna be a long two weeks-the amount of time it takes to reregulate. My annoyance becomes sadness and guilt. I'm sorry again my baby. I'm sorry I can't understand, I'm sorry I forget.