Sucker Punch

Written on Wednesday night when I came home from a evening out in the neighborhood.

I was feeling the happiness only a few margarita’s can provide, buzzy, light, and slightly numb.  I needed it, the evening had completely fallen apart around dinner time.  A meltdown.  Lots of screaming — you can’t have a meltdown in this house without the eardrum shattering vocals.  I wanted to get out, but I also didn’t want to go.  Because sometimes it feels like an act, like I am a big fake, because it feels like I have nothing in common with these other moms.  My desire to escape won over the part of me that wanted to hide alone in a bathtub full of bubbles.  I caught my sister as she and her next door neighbor were leaving, they drove up the hill to pick me up.

But in the end the margaritas were not enough.  Because I cannot escape this reality, our reality, his reality.  It so often rocks me to my core.  And so even though I should be sleeping off my margarita(s), I am awake at my computer, clumsily typing out my thoughts, reliving the simplest of conversations.

I had told a cute little story about my 1st grade nephew calling me his “friend’ and then his “mom’s friend” when a classmate asked him who I was at school a couple weeks ago.  I mentioned that I also saw my 4th grade niece in the hallway and said hi.  I worried that I may have been too enthusiastic the last time I saw her, I wondered if I embarrassed her.   My sister reveals that her daughter tells her when she sees me at school…and that one day a classmate had asked her how she knew the Roc’s mom.  This girl’s little sister (a first grader in the Roc’s class) doesn’t like the Roc… those words came in like a punch I didn’t see coming.  I couldn’t help it, I deflated.  I tried to ask what was said, knowing that I wouldn’t know what actually was said, I asked who the girl was, who the sister might be, the faces of the Roc’s classmates flashing through my mind.  A name was dropped with a question, and I saw this girl in my mind and felt an internal crushing.

A little girl in the Roc’s class talked about how she didn’t like him at home or on the bus, it doesn’t matter where really, somewhere and enough times that her 4th grade sister knew who I was.  Knew who the Roc was.  Spewed that her little sister didn’t like my kid.  How many times has this happened?

Someone next to me piped up that her son didn’t seem to care about friendship and the ladies started sharing little bits about their own boys and friends, shaking their heads.  They went around the table, “it’s BOYS!” they agreed.  “They just don’t care or communicate like girls do!” they said with smiles.  “Boys just don’t do friendships like girls!” they took heart in their agreement.  “Boys!” they sighed.   It’s just because they are boys.  What can you do? seemed to be the consensus.  Not for me, I felt no peace from these sentiments.

I looked down at the table, my eyes memorizing the color and pattern of the wood, swiping over the chairs, comparing them to the chairs at my parents house.  How alike, my mind registered as I detached myself from the conversation.   Because it’s so much more than the Roc just being a BOY.  So much more.  A gulf separates me from those who can shake their heads and mutter Boys! with a charming smile.  The mountain I climb stretches out before me, the peak hidden in the clouds.

A mountain I often feel that I do not have the tools to climb.  Wasn’t I supposed to take classes on this?  Where’s the instructor?  I forgot my book!  Do we have a quiz?  Aren’t we going to do a test run?  I don’t think I’m physically able!  Where are the clamps?  The rope?  Huh?  I have to climb now?  No safety net?  No fall back?  It’s just me?  What?  Are you kidding me?!  What if I fall?  Shit!  I don’t think I can do this!

I thought about my boy, my Roc, how hard he works to be in this world that doesn’t always make sense to him.  I thought about this little girl and wondered what her parents say about differences, wondered if she ignores the Roc, or if she watches him, giggling at him with other children.

My boy who is over run with anxiety all.the.time.  Who is mainstreamed, and as far as I’ve been told, is holding it together…but…who still cannot hold an unprompted conversation with a peer.  Who cannot read facial expressions.  My kid who struggles with change, who struggles with certain academics, who struggles to interact and fit in.  My boy who likes to be around kids.  Who cannot figure out why he doesn’t have friends…who recently cried when he told me for the very first time that he didn’t have a friend.and.it.broke.my.heart.  The air in the room was gone as his voice cracked and I held his gaze.  My boy.  He works so hard every day and 99.9% of people do not realize this about him.

That is what I thought about as they smiled and grumbled about the nature of boys.

Because it’s so much bigger than that for me, for him.  So much so that I do not have adequate words to describe what it is like to see your child struggle, to try to teach your child to read people, to say hello, to not scream when things do not go the way they want, and on and on.  Everything must be taught.  From the simplest steps to the biggest.  Everything.  It’s so much to carry, so heavy I feel crushed by it’s weight, by my fears of the future.

It is so much more than him being a BOY.  So much more.

As the buzz wears off, here I sit in front of a blinking cursor, not looking up, slightly grateful that the mountain peak is hidden in the clouds.  I’m scared to see how far we have to go.  I remind myself again that we’ve come so far, and we are still moving up.  One foot in front of the other.  I’ll carry my heart and my son with me.

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34 thoughts on “Sucker Punch

  1. It’s always going to matter more to us, and in a different way, about our kids. That’s so true. And so often when I feel the most disconnected from other moms, I am at my lowest low. Sending you hugs, and plenty of “been there” vibes. It will get better. Everything changes. That’s the only thing I know for sure, these days. Bad stuff, good stuff, it’s always shifting… you just have to hang on and wait.

  2. I’m sorry for the pain you are feeling. Just remember this: the mountain may seem never-ending from where you are now. But you are so very, very far up from the bottom where you started And you are not ever climbing alone, my friend. xo

  3. I love you.
    I’m sorry you are in such pain.
    I get this. You are not alone.
    We will help each other up the mountain.
    Just keep looking at your feet.
    XO

  4. It’s a very strange (ok, maybe “maddening” is a better word) experience to be in a group of smiling, nodding, “just boys” kind of moms and to realize that even if they are trying to be supportive they just don’t get it, really can’t get it. Feels so isolating, and there’s no way to really persuade anyone that it’s not a “just boys” kind of thing. So hard.

    I like how Kristen puts it: “Bad stuff, good stuff, it’s always shifting… you just have to hang on and wait.”

  5. Some days just suck. Meltdowns suck. And it hurts like hell when someone does not like your child (who is working so very hard, facing obstacles invisible to most everyone else). We have been there. Maybe some education is in order for the class.

    You are a good mom. You are doing everything right. You HAVE come so far. You love your boy. You are enough. I have no doubt the Roc will be okay. NO DOUBT because of YOU and your efforts and your love.

    (And sister? Don’t ever stop writing. You are seriously gifted).

  6. Boy scouts. It helped my eldest immensely when he was that age. They have to be nice, they cannot discriminate and teamwork is always involved. *hugs* but I really know what you are talking about here. I have 2 boys on the specrum. *hugs* … dont forget your oxygen mask…

  7. You know I get this. Hits me to my core. I’m proud of you for sharing this. You know, I have a feeling that the Roc and my guy? Immediate fast friends. And that’s the stuff I hold on to as I slip.

  8. I have a child who has autisum and I also have many friends that have children that have autisum and children that have anixiety and mood disorders and people dont realize these children just want to be normal.

  9. I know we don’t know Eachother but I truly understand. I feel like I could have written this. Thanks for sharing….stay strong and remember all the moms you have standing shoulder to shoulder next to you facing the same mountain. Always remember you are never alone…and when you do feel alone…we are only a blog away!!!

  10. Diary of a Mom sent me here today. I feel your raw emotions so well and have been there. My son was mainstream for elementary and then in middle school moved to a small separate program. While in elementary school and he was “inclusive” (I use that term loosely) I wonder so deeply how he felt – was it anything like I felt when talking with “typical” Moms at PTO who had the nicest intentions with their words but just had no real way to understand how it was for my boy….. it is so hard. You are not alone – I wish there was a constant skype stream where we could check-in with each other live as needed throughout our days…and nights. It would feel less lonely than typing out these comments to each other – although these are my strongest lifeline. I’m sending you my strongest uplifting thoughts and prayers.

  11. With you…we all are with you!!! This one hits so deep, but it also reminds us we are not alone, and our babies are not alone, and that despite all that is wrong and unfair in the world – our babies are loved by so many people in this little community we create. Love from our family to yours.

  12. I get so much comfort in hearing that others have the exact same experiences, feeling and visceral reactions that I do , that I am not alone. I happened to come across this a just the time I needed it. thank you for sharing.

  13. Oh, I get it. My child with autism is a girl, but I still get it.

    My girl with autism is in the inclusion class, and just the other day, I got a call about how she had made a bit of a mess in her pants, and — since she had to go back to the classroom to get her backpack with clean clothes (because all 3rd grade moms pack extra clothes in case of accidents, right?), she started stripping in front of her classmates.

    It gets better. My girl — like other little girls with autism — is developing faster than her peers. And we held her back one year. So, there’s hair and breasts where other kids don’t have hair and breasts, and all kinds of embarrassing things for all the other kids to see…

    So, the teacher VERY quickly got her out of the room, and today sent home a social story for her about using the bathroom in school. The most important part: “I only take my pants down AFTER I’ve closed the door to the bathroom stall.”

    NO other mom with a child in 3rd grade would get a call like that. I seriously doubt that without that call, they could understand my anxiety, my cold panic, and my utter sadness over this how to help my child deal with this world.

    Keep climbing, Roc’s Mom. We’re right there with you.

  14. I totally get this and want to hug you. I’ve realized lately that I can hardly stand to be social with mom friends who don’t have kids with Autism. They will *never* get it and I’m too tired to keep trying to explain it. Honestly, most days, I am just struggling to hold on and need my online community or I couldn’t do this, I swear! Thanks for sharing. BTW, I found you through Diary of a Mom.

  15. I feel like I was there with you. So many times I’ve heard the same words. “It’s just boys” I want to scream at my well-meaning friends that my boy is not like yours. My boy had to learn how to speak and is still learning. My boy jumps from things and doesn’t know he should put his hands out to protect himself. My boy is still in pull ups because he can’t communicate the need to go to the bathroom. My boy wakes up screaming and can’t tell me what’s wrong. It is often a hard pill to swallow. I, like you, try to live one moment at a time. We’ve come so far but I don’t think I want to know how long this journey is going to take. Love propels me forward. You are not alone and your post helped to remind me that I’m not alone. Hang in there.

  16. I respectfully ask to print this blog to give to my son’s TEAM. You put into words that which I cannot vocalize….I thank you for being our voice. How do I ask the bloggers permission?

  17. I want you to know that there are moms out there who do explain the differences. I am one of those moms and my son accepts every single child he encounters, no matter what. I support you, your son, and all the other families out there for whom this is an everyday experience. Hats of to you!

  18. I also ended up here from Diary of a Mom and I am thankful I did so. You are not alone – there are so many of us struggling with the same thoughts, the same feelings, the same inability to genuinely participate in the generic conversations of parenthood, the same FEAR of how of our children’s differences will impact their lives.

    You could be describing my son, mainstreamed, socially awkward, struggles to read people, struggles with certain academic subjects, struggles with appropriate volume and tone, struggles to keep it together when things don’t go exactly the way he wants, struggles to connect with kids his own age.

    But I have also seen the kindness… the kindness of a “typical” peer who genuinely likes to be with my kid because of a shared interest. Who seems aware of his difference but who doesn’t seem to care. The kindness of sports teammates who welcome my son with open arms even though he’s awkward and not very good at the sport they play.

    I’m sure there are kids in his class, his school, his circle who do not like them. I can only imagine who devastating it would be to have that expressed to me, even by an innocent child. Part of me avoids those type of interactions with other kids and other parents because I fear hearing something similar.

    Just wanted to leave a note of support saying that I too, get it.

  19. RP from Queens
    I don’t even know you or what to type, but as a parent I just wanted to say that you’re an awesome person and an even better mom. The Roc sounds like a great kid and so does his mom.

  20. Couldn’t help but think of this post/conversation and the whole mountain climbing metaphor we’ve all been using when I read Glennon Melton’s “Don’t Carpe Diem” piece on Huffington Post. My husband says he’s seen it go around for a few times, but I’d never seen it. Worth the quick search and time to read if you haven’t seen it 🙂

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