I want to talk about disappearing.
Yes, there is the obvious disappearance of posts from my blog — but I’m talking about the slow fade of my joie de vivre. Over the last two years, since the boys were diagnosed, I’ve been beating a slow retreat from me: from who I used to be, or thought I was, and from the things that made me happy: reading a book, having lunch with a friend. Writing. I’ve put myself at the bottom of my list. Internet, I’ve let myself go. Yes, I’ve put on the obvious physical weight that no longer comes off as easily as it once did, but I’m also carrying around the weight of you, Autism. It is convenient, I know, to pin this crappy feeling on our daily struggles with you, and perhaps it is a little unfair. But Autism? You’ve been kicking my butt lately and I feel like kicking you back.
If I were not trying desperately to figure out why John is yelling “Ready, Set, Run?!” over and over as I also try to clean the poo-strewn walls with Clorox wipes…again…I would really sit down for a moment and try to recapture a time when I felt hopeful. And happy. I know all of this may sound maudlin and a little over-the-top. I mean, there are numerous happy moments too. Really, there are. It’s just that where I’m sitting right now is shrouded in fog so that it’s hard to make them out.
The sleepless nights continue. Winter break was too long, too unstructured. John must must must be potty-trained soon. This is a stage I am quickly tiring of and it scares me. What if he is never potty trained, god help us. Could we still be changing diapers when he’s five?
Even as I sit here, all pissed at you and rightly so!, I feel guilty. Guilty! How can I blame my unhappiness all on you, Autism? I guess I should take some responsibility for letting you take center stage. I’ve done that I suppose. You did not make me eat that bowl of ice cream tonight. You did not cancel my lunch today.
A couple of things have happened recently: first, I found Facebook, or Facebook found me. I don’t know, but the assault of people I have not seen or heard from for 25+ years is really making me feel old and a little dizzy. Second, while out shopping with my younger sister a saleswoman asked if I was The Mother. Can you imagine? Well, the fact is that I am 18 years older, and I am a mother — not hers — but still.
So I feel like picking a fight with you, Autism. I know you are not really my nemesis, but you’re not my friend either. And you’ve done plenty lately to make me a bit irate. I promise, though, to start ignoring you when you jump on the furniture and draw poopy pictures on the walls. I vow to make you do the slow fade. Instead I will draw John near and wait breathlessly until he says his new favorite word: Hug.
And I will move myself up a little higher on my list. A new year, an old resolution.