Today was a day where the sounds of the day of diagnosis rang loudly in my ears and i remembered back to the day it all began. I remember sitting in that dark room across from the clinician in Ann Arbor. Six months pregnant hearing the word “severe”. I remember leaning in as my mom sat back in fear and asking “So where do we go from here?” My mom sat silenced but me… I knew that the only person in this world that knew what to do was sitting right in front of me and I had to capture this moment. The ride home was silent as he sat in the back seat quiet like he always was starting at the window. I remember thinking “well, this is a journey, an adventure I had no idea what was ahead.
Fast forward to today. Eleven years post diagnosis. He’s 12 now. hardly the toddler that sat in the back seat of that red taurus. I’m older now. Not married now. I’m lonely now. I’m tired now. I’m lost now. Today, I was driving down the road to get his sister and he began to kick me from the back seat while screaming completely unprovoked. My 10 year old hit the hazard lights as I battled him until i could find a safe place to pull over. Before I could stop He leaned forward and bit me in the shoulder before continuing to kick me in the back of the head. I pulled into my ex husbands driveway and tried to hide the emotion and the entire situation but I just looked at him and the tears happened. I lost it. Right there in the driveway as I anxiously waited for my daughter to get into the car. “WE GATTA GO SABRINA BEFORE HE FLIPS OUT AGAIN GET IN THE CAR!! IF YOU FORGOT ANYTHING I WILL BRING YOU BACK TOMORROW, JUST GET IN!!!”
Today I needed groceries. An easy task right? Think again.. I cant take him to a store. He melts down everytime. My only way to get groceries in the house is to order them online and pick them up. I ordered what should have been 3 dinners but when I arrived to pick up the groceries three ingreediants for various meals were missing so i had to improvise. Its not like I could just run into the store to replace said ingredients I had to make do with what I had. As I upacked the groceries i noted that the cats’ bowls were rather low and I would have to repeat this process tomorrow with the pet shop. I knew would be ordering food and litter online and pulling up for them to place it in my trunk denying myself once again my need for normal interaction.
I often feel like I am in a prison. Like his autism has a hold on me more than it does on him. He doesnt mind being home alone its how he thrives but me… I feel stuck here. The moment I am autism free i leave, even it its to go for a ride or to go get something from the store even if i dont need it just to see people.
I work on a psychiatric unit on the afternoon shift. I would be lying if I said I didnt get jealous as I watch my coworkers punch out knowing they are going home to a quiet home and rest. I leave a job where i battle mental illness and go home to battle my own sons mental illness. Its rare that I walk in the door at 12:15 am to find him asleep. More often than not when i walk in the door I find him running into the living room flapping his hands and repeating the same phrases he was repeating before I Left for work.
I’m at this point in my life where I am trying to find ways to do things for myself. I have begun dating the most wonderful man but today after the car incident i stood there washing dishes looking at the beautiful flowers he brought me from his garden and couldnt help but think “what am I doing even considering bringing him into this?’ I suppose i know one day he will run but I would again be lying if I said i didnt love him. Its only when he is around that i feel like a normal person. a valued person. something more than just ‘autism mom'”. I keep reminding myself to just enjoy today and let tomorrow worry about itself.
I visited my friend katie today and we were discussing me going back to college to obtain my second bachelors degree this time in nursing. I jokingly said, “yeah, I’m an alpha female” and giggled as i looked down. She, in her own way said, “bitch you are an alpha, why dont you see that?” I quickly noted the purple hair and nose piercing she adorned and thought to myself “yeah right. im no alpha. I just do this shit because I have to”.
today was one of those days that breaks you. Last sunday my friend visited me before returning back to boston and I got talking to her niece about the military as she prepares to head to basic training for the US Navy. at one point I caught myself saying, “the biggest part of basic will be the mind play. you will have to fight your mind everyday” mind you I have never been in the military so how the hell would I know? right? but the more i thought about it after the more I realized i had a great idea of the mind games she would have to play with her self to make it through. the difference here is that she knows this is only for the duration of her training mine could quite possibly be for the remainder of my life.
I looked in the mirror today and noted my red eyes behind my glasses because i couldnt wear my contacts both from exhaustion and crying. i noted my heavy stature 20lbs heavier than last year because I cant get to the gym or get on the ice to exercise because I cant put my 12 year old autistic son in the daycare with the toddlers at the gym. I just stood there staring wondering when I would be able to get back to the me that I know. The slender 109lb athlete that I have always been. my body hardly feels familiar anymore. Sleep is seemingly harder and harder to come by as I lay there with one eye open wondering when the next shoe will drop.
But there is a light in my life. A glimmer of hope. and thats him. He has become the smile on my face when the world feels impossible. he has become the man that I have begun comparing everyone to. Hes touched the parts of me that no one ever has. I know one day he could possibly run and say “this is all a bit much for me” and Im at peace with it because, at least for now, he is here showing me that all the world isnt lost. He reminds me that I am more than my battles. I am still in there somewhere and somehow he always manages to find me and know just what to say.
I guess in closing, todays lesson for today is even though the day may break you and your mind is full and racing, there are always stars and the darker the night the brighter those stars become so keep looking for the stars even when it all seems so impossible. One small positive moment can replace twenty hard ones so hold on to the good moments God gives you because they are a gift.