Life has been rough lately. The longer I go without blogging, the harder it is to get back here. It’s not the boys — they are actually doing great — firing on all cylinders. It’s me. I’m struggling. They are six now, which means that I’ve had my nose to the ground taking care of all the details for 4+ years. During that time I’ve juggled many things, including work, while sticking to an insane schedule of therapy and school and doctor’s visits.
I am not complaining, even if it sounds like I am. This is what we do, right? Have a baby (or two), grow ’em those early days and months when you’re still oblivious to what’s coming down the pike, get an autism diagnosis, watch your world do a 180, learn new special-needs language, morph into a hysterical mama bear and take care of the details. Right? Right? This is what a mother does even if there’s no autism to muddy it all up.
John is thriving at school — the irony isn’t lost on me. I can hardly believe I disliked his new teacher at the beginning of the school year. I hope she would forgive me for being so overprotective, for the conclusions I jumped to before giving her a chance. I observed him in class one day and my jaw dropped when I saw him write his name on his own and read a handful of sight words and call out numbers “41! 36! 52!”. How often I underestimate him. He’s a smart, smart boy and he has a teacher with the perfect touch — gentle and kind yet persistent and motivating.
Despite my concerns for Sam’s social life, he is doing just great, thank you. If you ask him, he’ll tell you all about his friends. His teachers report that everyone likes him, tell me my concerns seem out of left field, unexpected. Academically he’s above grade level and was one of only six other kids in the entire first grade to get a 100% on his math assessments. So what if he struggles sometimes in his approach, he’s figuring it out and getting there.
So what does this all mean? Could it be that I’ve lost myself in the pursuit of their well-being and happiness? Am I really that cliche? Am I looking for problems where none exist? It feels like I’ve been doing battle for so long (early intervention, speech therapy, OT, social skills, play dates, IEPs and parent-teacher conferences) that who I was before I became Autism Twins Mommy has phhhtt! …vanished. It’s like this dream I have sometimes — I am standing on a crowded street and the press of people rushing past makes me feel both rooted to the spot and frantic to join them all at the same time. Alas, my legs won’t move and I forgot where I was going.
As a freelancer, I’ve watched the economy shrink my work by two thirds. By the time I raised my head to deal with it and contemplate returning to the work force, I discover that I am overqualified for most jobs and lack certain skill sets that new grads already bring to the table. I’m that cliche too! When did it all happen? And if I’m not a graphic designer anymore, who am I? Other than having the privilege of being Sam and John’s mom, what else fills me up? What else will pay the bills? What fills you up?
So blog friends, this is why I’ve been away. Feeling blue, contemplating moves. Writing about it — saying it aloud if you will, feels like a seismic shift in the ole attitude.