Saturday, April 25, 2009

Do you hear me sighing?

*sigh* What was I thinking? This always seems to happen, just when I let myself get too comfortable......

When I was taking AP English class in high school, our teacher told us something that I have always remembered, and it comes to mind tonight: She was about the same age as our mothers were at that time, and used to talk to us, advise us, etc like a mother would, in some ways. Most of us were new drivers, and she gave us advice about driving.....saying that when you start getting too confident, too comfortable at your driving, that's when you need to watch out because you'll end up in an accident. Always have to keep your guard up, don't get complacent, or face the consequences, basically.

I guess I didn't learn the lesson from Mrs. Fowler, or at least not when it comes to being an autism-spectrum parent. Instead, I keep making the same stupid mistake over and over and over again. :( People that know me or have read this blog for a while should roll their eyes at this, because it's the same old crap you've heard before. You'd think I'd learn.

So, every time Mr. L gets in a new situation, I set myself up for disappointment. Because he's doing so well, I stupidly think he can "pass" for being a typical kid..........pass as "non autistic" and that we can get by without telling people like Sunday school teachers, sports coaches, etc. I just want to blend in, is that so crazy? Just to be the regular old parent with good, rock-solid regular kids, not the one who's hanging on by a thread the way I am and whose next meltdown could be as near as the next pitch of a baseball.

Saturday was as prime an example of my idiocy as you could hope for. Living in a crazy-house dream world, I somehow thought that because last week's baseball game went so well, we could have hope for a mostly autism-free season this year, unlike the last two years. Yeah, right. Who am I kidding? Obviously, only myself, and today proves it. We played the toughest team in the league, knew we'd lose, but didn't know how Mr. L would completely meltdown when he got thrown out at first base and ended up 0 for 2 on the day.

Not sure if I can remember the last time he melted down this severely. It was horrid, he was not just crying, not just sobbing, but loudly moaning in a repetitive rhythm like "AAAH, AAAH, AAAH, AAAH, AAAH, AAAH........" and I'd say that went on for maybe 15 minutes. He was balling up his fists and hitting anything in sight, including his dad and the car doors, inside and out. Refused to go back out into the field with his team to finish the game, refused to go out for the post-game high fives with the other team. And the more anyone tried to help him, the worse it got.

One of the worst parts for me, though, is the sympathy and pity of others. And how do I explain why he's doing this? Another mom from the team latched on to me and tried valiantly to help.....gathering up my stuff so we could leave, trying to talk to him and help convince him how well he'd done, gave me a hug, even told me "God gave him to you for a reason". But as soon as she started asking to help and doing things for me, the water works opened and I started crying myself.

Now, looking back, I'm a mixture of sad and angry. Not angry at him, but at myself for the stupidity of it all. Was it stupid to even try to do coach pitch baseball? He's never dealt with "outs" before, never had winners and losers, etc. Last week was nice, when they won, but we know there will also be some losses and if they are anything like today, I know I just cannot take it emotionally. And angry about the pathetic part of me that just wants to blend in with the other parents, maybe make some new friends who don't (yet) see the big multi-colored puzzle-piece-shaped A on my chest. But again, who am I kidding? Most kids go through upsetting situations, like losing a game, etc, and they might be upset, but they learn from that. They grow over time, they mature, they learn how to cope with it and it's not so tough after a while. ASD kids.....I'm not so sure. He lives so "in the moment" much of the time, and even as good as he's gotten at talking the talk of "it's ok if we lose", when it happens, you see the result and it is most definitely NOT ok.

The sighs are still echoing over the Atlantic, even now, and this happened 48 hours ago. Sighs tinged with tears, and with frustration, and loss, and embarrassment too, as much as it pains me to say that. When a parent asked me "is there anything I can do?" while Mr. L screamed and sobbed in my arms, I just shook my head no and cried right along with him. Just closed my eyes and tried to shut out the world, to not notice the people looking at us (or trying hard NOT to look) and the way in which the team and parents quickly dispersed and got out of hanging around after the game, no chatting, etc.

I guess there's not much else to say. We're gonna plod right on with the baseball season, hoping with every cell in my body that he gets on base next Saturday so that we can avoid a repeat of the meltdown that came last time. And knowing that no one out there on that field understands, no one realizes what we go through and what it takes for Mr. L and our whole family to get out there every time.....working harder than anyone else just to keep up, just to look "normal" and even to come close to a typical baseball experience. And feeling like a faker the whole time too.


Lyndsey said...

(((((Jen))))) I know. I hate it, too. There really is nothing anyone else can do, even when it's nice of them to ask. This just is what it is, and sometimes I still have to remind myself that it isn't a phase, they will not outgrow it. I'm sorry.:(

The Queen said...

Many (((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))) Jen!

Last Friday I went to a teachers training conference, out of 3 of the sessions I went to 2 involved Autism. One was strictly on PDD, the other was on postive behavior supports and the presenter has 2 children with Autism. I thought of you Mr. L the entire time. I couldn't help but think how nearly everything I have heard you talk about L he always seems so typical. I just kept thinking how extremely far he must have come and what a great mother you are to have helped him and encouraged him along. And also how strong you are.

I also thougth of you, Jen, when they presented an award. It went to a woman who is, I believe, a therapist (not sure what kind) who works with children and they were saying how she uses music as part of her therapy, immediatly I thought of you and how you could be accepting awards soon for making such an impact on children with your music therapy.

I know what he and you went through the day you are describing must have been really hard, ((((HUGS))) but you still should be proud (and I am sure you are) of him and of yourself.

I don't feel like I have said what I was wanting to say, I just can't get it to come out right but I hope you get the gist.