My Aspie Boy Hits High School ~ Be Still my Beating Heart

Dear Mom –

So – today is challenging. It’s 10:20 at night, and I just got B down for bed. Thank goodness elementary doesn’t start until 9:05. We squeezed the last little bit of daylight out of back-to-school-eve. Yep. Oh. It’s fine. It is what it is. Tomorrow is the first day of school. I’m sure this letter won’t be long. My brain is a jumble. Feeling tired and emotional. My baby is going into 1st grade. My oldest hits high school.

What?!?! I know! E is starting high school. When did that happen? I swear he was just snuggling me in bed yesterday – 2 ½ years old – talking about the school bus stop (his phrase for school bus) and minding his manners (channeling you), curling up in a mesh laundry bag on the kitchen floor while I was making dinner – and pressing his face up against that bag ‘til that face was good and flat – then calmly explaining to me (through the bag and pressed lips) that “this is what it was like in your belly – it felt just like this.” Yeah. Freaked me out, he did. Wasn’t the first time or the last. There is something about that one.

On another subject, E informed me today that he has not spoken to nor texted with his Dad in months. E was initiating for a while. He stopped. I think he is giving up. It breaks my heart to watch him do this. I know that pain all too well. You know – I pushed their relationship for years. E was in therapy once a week for 2 ½ years – for transition issues related to his anxiety and sleep issues. He’s an aspie and the transitions were just stacking up for him. He was overwhelmed with change – J & my marriage, a move, new school and baby. He was happy but not. We did parent sessions once a month with his therapist. His Dad showed up on the front end, but pretty soon it was just me and J showing up. His therapist helped us understand that there may come a time where we might just have to help E grieve the loss rather than try to hold the relationship together for them. That was hard on me. I had a hard time letting go. They had done so many years of every other weekend and longer visits in the winter and summer. I was determined that their relationship would not go down the tubes. I brought my own past into it. It wasn’t mine to carry, though. I had to learn to separate them out. All these years, I have never uttered one mean word to E about his Dad. These days, though, the conversation is opening up. My piece is reassuring E that what is going on with his Dad has NOTHING to do with him – not his issues – not anything he did wrong. He was so quick to turn it on himself on the front end – as kids do. I will continue to support him in knowing that parents are supposed to act like parents. Kids shouldn’t have to remind their parents to parent. Nope.

So, yeah. Aspergers, dyslexia and severe dysgraphia are already on E’s plate. Add in a dose of absent blood father… Ugh. E is amazing – a trooper. He has his moments – but damn, don’t we all? And who wouldn’t? We just keep on keepin’ on.

I wish you and Grandma had known about Aspergers and dyslexia with your boys. It’s in the genes, Mom. I know you both knew something was going on with your boys but couldn’t figure it out. Well, I have. There is a lot more information out there these days. The internet and books are a wealth of information. Being an advocate for E takes up a good chunk of my life. It’s exhausting at times, but I am so glad I know. Getting that diagnosis when he was 6 was HUGE, because for a good year and a half (I had been a single Mom for 5 years at that point) before that – things were getting crazy, and I had NO idea what I was dealing with – only that it was getting worse all the time. The behaviors were over-the-top. I was getting pushed into furniture – things were being thrown at my face (like hot wheels). Time outs and taking his trains (currency) didn’t work for shit. I tried spanking once and knew it wasn’t right at all for our situation. Anytime we tried to leave the park it was a HUGE scene that left everyone staring – and me mortified. I was working hard days as a nurse, rushing home to get E from the bus and spending my evening dealing with behavior that was beyond me. I didn’t know where to turn. I was depressed beyond belief. I don’t remember feeling that my recovery was threatened, but I do remember wanting so badly to make the anxiety stop. What was going on with me at that point is a whole other story. One important fact is huge, though. I was lifted from the nursing job from hell – LIFTED – and had more time time at home so was able to pay more attention. Once I was rested I could tell something bigger was going on. Late summer was when the fecal smearing started. That’s when I knew I was in WAY over my head. I had just gotten a laptop – and started googling what I was seeing. Two things came up at that point – sexual abuse and autism. Well – I was in therapy and spoke to my therapist about this. He suggested I get Eli to a therapist – which I did. The rest is history. History that I will go more into detail about sometime in the near future – maybe even tomorrow. Didn’t I say this was going to be a short post. Ha!

Helping my Aspie boy is one of my passions. Being his Mom is one of my superpowers. Minecraft is one of E’s passions. Being an amazing human is one of his superpowers.

We have had some amazing synchronicities occur through the years that have helped us move Eli forward in life in a positive way. Synchronicities that I know do not occur for every family in this situation. Different ones show up each year – but they KEEP showing up year after year. I have come to believe I am a gatherer of information and a messenger – that I can serve the greater good through our experience. I have to maintain a balance (to the best of my ability) between fierce Mama Bear advocacy and letting go. That’s not easy. It’s so hard when you see the potential and are afraid others aren’t looking for the good. It’s painful when you feel others are dismissing your child’s gifts and therefor shutting down possibilities for his future. It’s hard (infuriating at times) when you can see the barriers to education as clear as day – and nobody else can see them – and if they do they are telling you the barriers don’t exist. Yeah. That’s the real challenge – getting others to see that on the flipside of these kids’ “disabilities” lies a gift – or many – that can propel them in life if recognized and honed.

Well – more on this later. I could go on forever. You know I could. But no – I’ve got to post this before midnight to make it 3 letters in 3 days. I’ve got an early morning ahead.

I do love you.

Getting all of this out feels good.

Haven’t seen you for a while. My dreams not good enough for you?

Are you dancing with Thomas Jefferson on the face of the moon? In a good scrabble match with John or Doug? Having a Jack and Coke with Grandma? Walking hand in hand with Grandpa?

God – I miss you all.

Goodnight.

Love you much.

xo

Suz

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