This weekend we all went to Maria’s school for an Easter activity day that was organized and we brought P along for a short while. There was food art, treasure hunt and just lots and lots of games!! Maria is super popular and is friends with all her classmates. As soon as she arrives just about anywhere all the little girls crowd around her and giggles and happy shrieks and jumps for joy commence! She has always been like this. So not the shy, quiet type.
Her brother, on the other hand, is friend – less. I’ve always wondered what it would be like if he were a NT kid, how many friends he’d have, what type of friends he’d have. Whenever I’m in a setting where there are other 8-9 year old boys I very discreetly try to observe their mannerisms: the way they talk to each other, what they say, how they say it . . . and I imagine my son in their shoes: kicking a ball around, screaming “goal” and just enjoying life to the fullest. I’m sure other moms of ASD kids do this too, I know they must.
But what was really interesting about P’s very short visit at Maria’s school is how happy he was. There’s no denying it! He knew he was in a typical setting and there were no grunty noises, no hands over his ears, no ‘weirdness’. He was happy and smiling and just wanted to ‘blend’ in with everyone else. Sometimes I wonder if that’s all he really wants in the end. To be just like everyone else . . .
Sometimes all I want for him, is a friend.
A few years ago, when I ran my first 5k at the Athens Classic Marathon, I wrote that I ran for my son. Today I ran the Half Marathon, 21k and once again suppported the Greek Society for the Protection of Autistic People, for my son . . .
But the thing is, yesterday I was a horrible mother . . . to my autistic son. He woke up, literally the moment he opened his eyes, and was a screaming, flailing, hitting, running MESS and I didn’t take it so well. I yelled back! A lot! When he would yell, I would yell back even louder for him to stop. At some point, I had a coughing fit from all the yelling, my throat felt like it would shut down. And my mind as well. I had enough! Yesterday, for me, is definitely going on the worst of our Autism Days list.
And then today, I woke up and got ready to go to the Marathon and I kept thinking if I was really going to go through with it. I didn’t feel ready to run 21k physically and mentally I felt drained. I felt guilt. I had treated my son like shit, I showed no tolerance, no patience. What kind of mom am I that goes and runs marathons in support of Autism organizations if I can’t have patience toward my own autistic son? And then there I was, and the shot was rung for us to begin and I had tears welling up in my eyes. For a good hour I ran with a trembling lip (trembling because I fought to hold back the tears) and the saddest eyes because I kept thinking of the way I treated him, of how I looked at him at some point. When I’m gone, I thought, will the person in charge of taking care of him, treat him the same way?
You can’t always say to yourself, OK it was a bad day – for all of us. P has his days and I have my days. But NO, parents of autistic kiddos are not afforded this luxury. Ever. Because the damage is irreparable . . . and I know he’s forgiven me but I will never forgive myself.
Oh my, how long has it been? Way too long! And it’s not like I haven’t had tons and tons of stuff to write about, especially about P. Well, most importantly about P. ‘Cause I can rant on just about any other platform about work and whatnot, but this here’s the place where I can really ‘talk’ to you about my beautiful boy.
So, we’re on meds. A cocktail of meds actually. Have I seen a difference, an improvement? Uhmm, not really and that’s what’s so heartbreaking!! I give him all this crap which is supposed to help and when it doesn’t I can’t stop giving it to him cause the doctors are like “it’ll screw him up even more” and I’m left feeling “WTF?” So, we’re still adjusting . . . so and so of this, and 5ml of this and the list goes on and on. He’s not as bipolar but he still has crying fits in between hysterical laughter. And he still bites and hits his hands. Not to mention that he’s begun running and falling on his knees. AND my kryptonite, swallowing air . . . which leads to gas and, as of late, burping. Actually, belching. As if he’s chugged I don’t know, 10 beers. That air’s gotta go somewhere right?And he’ll fart and burp and whatever else he’s gotta do wherever he is. My boy ain’t shy, you know. And he grunts, a lot. Like really, as if a bear is coming to attack you. So yeah, meds . . . what a life saver – not!
Today, we went for a ‘volta’, a little stroll cause it’s so sunny and beautiful out, just him and I. We stopped at a cafe and I got him a banoffee and he had a fit until it was served. The waitstaff were awesome though. We all laughed it off ’cause he’s so damn cute. Then, we went to the swings where he absolutely INSISTS on being swung on the baby swings. Fellow mommies were looking at me, and him . . . but he’s so damn cute! And after two hours of being out and about it was time to head home and on the way home I kept thinking of all the ASD kids I’ve met on this journey. Some were really quiet, timid, shy and aloof. Some are now in typical schools, and without an aide, from what I hear. The majority of them speak (!) My little man, my beautiful boy – this face which is impeccable and perfect in every way, and the biggest heart, this little guy has got it rough.
But he’s so damn cute!