Sunday, April 7, 2013

Autism...You don't get to choose your own ending...

Some days life just runs its course. You don't get to choose the ending. On particularly bad days, you can just log onto facebook for an infinite amount of inspirational sayings, and hopeful quips for people having those fantastically, awesome, sunshine filled f@#%ing days! I, on the other hand, enjoy the quote that says "Your inspirational posts have inspired me to unfriend you!" As an autism mom, it also doesn't help me to hear, "Well, MY child did...", or "If you think THAT's bad.."...I don't want advice, and I certainly don't want you to "one up" me. My crisis is just that...MY crisis.
Yesterday started early with a trip out of town for a work board meeting, and two cups of coffee in, I had begun to switch gears, think about organizing my files, ideas for fundraising, advocating, and my humanistic, idealogical gears were just spinning. Motivated and excited on the drive home, I let my mind wander to leaving work at the door. I couldn't wait to relax. A night off! You don't get to choose how this ends. Upon arriving home, I could see my children were still alive, cookie crumbs littered the kitchen table, my teenager and a friend staring blankly at the television,  toys scattered here and there, the garbage overflowing with Dr. Pepper bottles, macaroni and cheese boxes, and something red from leftover lunch spilling down the side. Teenagers suck at multitasking. Rolling my eyes, I went to survey the damage upstairs where the boy's bedrooms and bathroom are. It took me three seconds. Three seconds...To go from annoyed to a sickening, overwhelmingly painful sob. Chandler had indeed been busy. His mattress was waterlogged, a green bucket lying sideways on the floor. My hand touched the mattress, the bedding, the piles of formerly clean laundry, the carpet.....I sank to my knees and bawled. I had returned the carpet cleaner just a few days ago after the last water episode. Autism children are attracted to water. They love it, how it feels, how it sounds, how it looks. Swimming, bathtubs, rain, puddles, all of it. It can be a great sensory experience, and my worst nightmare. I stood up and turned to see him in the doorway as I was ripping the sheets off the bed, I screamed at him. Screamed. "Chandler, WHY?! STOP THIS! DAMNIT WHY?! NO WATER, NO! NO WATER!!" His expressioned darkened, brow furrowed, "NO!" he yelled back, running from the room. I  I blew up at my teenager for not watching him more closely. I paced, as tears streamed down my face, and I called Chandler's dad and screamed at him, going up at the down the stairs with no particular direction. When my body finally started to slow down, I walked back upstairs and opened the door to the other bedroom. God no. My foot stepped down into and icy, soaking carpet. I pulled a pile of wet comforters and clothing from the floor, dripping wet and let it sink. My mouth opening to say something, and a little sob escaping, picking up a wet pillow, then letting it hit the floor with a sickening thud. I couldn't breathe. This is the part where I felt like losing it. I shut the door.
I can't tell you when in this time the boys all seemed to disappear to other rooms. Maybe it was the impending doom they felt from my freak out..but I was in a fog when I came downstairs and didn't see them. My journey back to sanity was eased by the fact that this amazing person had showed up to make sure I was dealing with this meltdown. (Mine, not Chandler's). Now, there is something to be said about the way autism parents understand each other, but unless you are one, you simply cannot grasp the connection of not having to talk. Not having to explain with words. Expressions are enough, being held is enough. Being picked up off the floor, literally or metaphorically. Words of support that follow hitting home so hard you can't speak. Not being embarrassed that your life is splintered at that moment, that you can't talk because you are choking on sobs. But that other person's presence is so comforting that you feel your very soul is safe in their care. That all your raw, and real pain can come out and you don't mind being that vulnerable. They remind you that you are not a failure, that you are stronger than you know, and that again you will get through, pick up, and move on. This isn't the ending, its a new chance at another beginning.

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