“Mom! Abby is on the roof!” my daughter yelled from her room as I groggily ran to her room I moved the screen from my daughers second story window and leaned out over the porch roof only to see my precious cat scurrying to the other end of the house. “Go get the cat treats baby we will lure here to the window”. I stood at the window feeling the slight cool breeze of the night and closed my eyes finding the calm as I listened to her claws grasping the shingles as she ran with out a care.
Sabrina arrived anxiously handing me the cat treats fearful of what might happen to our precious kitty but me, This was nothing compared to the time last year when I found Aiden (my son with autism) sitting on the same porch awning… This was just a cat… I was more than prepared to let her stay a night out there if need be. Cats always find a way to survive. I held out a treat and Abby came running and as she sniffed the treat ready to eat and run I grabbed her by the nape of her neck and brought her in the window saving the day for my 6 year daughter. I set this precious ball of fur down and handed her three treats out of compassion for taking her from her expected treat on the roof, closed the window and couldnt help but think “hmm, mom is right, Aiden is just like a cat”. I walked back to my room still battling a headache, layed down and that was the end of me.
Its been a crazy few weeks. Things i prefer not to mention but lets just say Its been an emotional one. Its been a test of character, resiliance and emotional regulation. Today after work as i stood in my kitchen folding the last of the piles of laundry amazing grace came on the radio and a sense of comfort washed over me and i immediately stopped what i was doing climbed up on the counter and softly sang to it, shocked that i still remembered every word despite the fact i had not sang it in so long. I decided to sit back and just reflect.
I realized that I hadn’t felt a sense of peace in so long but in that moment I looked around remembering my Manifesto i had written back in December and realized that I had attained more than half of what I had set out to do. Aiden is back to being fully potty trained, my job is up and running and i have, for the most part, made peace with leaving the psych unit. My book is just about written and, if I’m honest, the only thing keeping me from publishing at this point is fear and start up costs… but mostly fear. I don’t want to screw it up because I want it so badly.
Yesterday, my husband walked in from work to find me sitting in the living room crying. “oh no whats wrong” he said almost exasperated. “Nothing” I said. “no come on tell me its something, what now?” and it all came spilling out.
“A new tech started today, a man, and within the first few moments of his being here he saw the messy rooms and the iPad was dead, I had to explain our sons strange obsession with Charmin brand toilet paper and why there are three packs of unopened toilet paper in therapy. I just want normal sometimes. I just want to be normal. It’s embarasing to talk about toilet paper with a stranger. You just don’t know. I try to be funny, I smile and I laughed with him and the other tech but its all just too much when things get quiet.”
“oh is that all? Work was rough the contractor was giving me a hard time…” he replied as he continued on talking about things at work. He has no clue. How cold he. He isnt there for the therapies. Thats on me. I cant fault him. I pulled myself together and let him vent as I pushed it all down once again. I can’t get angry, hes built differently than me…
Internally, I keep telling myself to think positive. I keep reminding myself to hold every thought captive. When I think about autism being hard I counter that with “but he is back to potty trained, you aren’t cleaning up poop and pee like last summer as you refused to put a diaper on him. That battle is won. He hasn’t run away yet. He is laughing more this summer. He is doing so much better… you are already two weeks down. You are doing it momma”.
I am trying to win this new bout with depression. It happens every summer. About two weeks before school gets out I strike out each day counting down to “elopement season”. I count down the days that hold within them even just a few hours of “kid free me time” as the sleepless nights increase. Even now, its eleven thirty and I’m sitting here with my laptop and bluetooth headphones hearing him snore beside me as I drink a coca cola hoping my adrenaline will come down soon. With severe autism always at my forefront even at work my nights have been ending later and later as i wait for the “come down” from all the anxiety and worry.
I have been trying to find even the smallest things to divert my attention from the quiet and lack of real interaction. I have set up a fishtank, made a concerted effort to paper journal just a bit more often and just today I began to feel that push to read a good book to take me away from the world for a little while. I let someone hug me this week (anyone who knows me knows I am not a fan of that) and couldn’t help but feel like a big weight was lifted, I really should do that more often. I hate hugs because I’m always on the verge of an emotional breakdown and there;s nothing more apt to open the floodgates than a good hug so most of the time I just avoid them. I hate crying in front of people. Hockey players don’t cry ;).
I got off work today and slipped over to my favorite coffee shop where I was so happy to see my friend, the owner, whom i had not seen since the start of summer and was able to stop and talk for just a few moments while I waited for the familiar barista who is home from college for the summer make my mocha caramel as we caught up and he told me the good news that he was offered a job already as a high school math teacher. I Looked at my friend, the owner, who always has a way of calming me with the sincerity of her conversation and for those few moments we connected and she asked how the summer was going so far and it felt so great to say, “I miss you a lot but Aiden is actually doing great so far”. It felt so good to have someone that genuinely cares. who knows my struggles. Someone who has opened her business and allowed us to contrive situations to teach him to order his donut holes, cup of whipped cream and ice water. She even is patient to let him pay. I miss writing there. Come on September.
Long story short, I got the Cat off the roof, My kid is potty trained, I got a hug, I got a coffee, aiden has not thrown anything out of our second story bed room window (he has a preoccupation with watching things fall) and I am two weeks into summer vacation without a kid getting stitches or running away so things are really looking up!