As an autism parent I often talk about how it’s difficult for my child.
I talk about different situations we come across and the stress on Liam. I talk about how I try to handle each problem we face head on and share what I have learned.
I try to educate for those that come after us. The more we share the more autism is understood.
What I don’t often talk about is how it makes me feel. I can talk about the joy he brings me everyday. That is easy. What is hard is not being able to help my son and the toll that takes on me as a mother in the not so joyful moments.
All kids have their moments of misbehaving and being upset. That is something all parents handle on a daily basis.
But when those moments multiply, when they come back to back, when they come without notice, when they come without a solid reason that you can plainly see and that reason is never given to you, that is when it hurts most.
I try to stay as strong as possible. I switch my emotions like I flick a light switch.
Over and over I go from laughing with my son to trying to calm him in the matter of seconds.
I never know when something is going to set him off. I am constantly on edge. I enjoy so many amazing moments but within these moments I have to keep my hand on the switch. I have to be ready to turn off an emotion and be ready to catch that meltdown before it happens.
I was coloring with Liam tonight and I let my hand off the switch. I let myself be vulnerable in the moment. For a few beautiful moments it was just us. There was nothing but smiles and communication.
We were coloring on the same paper together. We were picking what we wanted to draw together.
Normally I am not able to do this because Liam has a very specific way he wants things done within his space.
I don’t know exactly what happened or where I missed his unspoken words but he started to get frustrated and ripped some pages of paper out of the book. This was the moment I realized my hand was off the switch. I don’t know at what point I lost him.
He just went into a total meltdown. I put the markers away as he screamed and cried.
He ran around the house crying calling my name. He asked to go upstairs but he just stood there and cried. I carried him upstairs and he wouldn’t go in his bed or mine. He just sobbed and said “No, please”
He sat on the floor crying and I scooped him up in my lap.
He curled up and continued to sob.
After we sat there for 10 minutes the sobs stopped and I could see his eyes getting heavy.
We sat in silence on the floor next to the bed for 10 more minutes.
All I could think is, why?
What happened? He can’t tell me why. I thought is he sick? Does his tummy hurt? Does he have an ear infection? Is he in pain. Was it something I did? Did I miss his unspoken words? What does he want to tell me right now that he can not?
Together with all of the unknowns and the emotional rollercoasters it takes it’s toll on my mind and my heart.
I know I am strong. I have come too far and learned too much to think otherwise.
These vulnerable moments in silence on the floor are the moments it hurts the most.
The moments I am powerless and I just have to endure them.
These are not moments handed out to every mother and father daily.
I wanted to talk about this moment to share that you are not alone. Most of all to share that you are not alone in the pain that comes with them.
It hurts to not know why.
At least if I knew why I could decide if he was just misbehaving.
At least if I knew why I could decide he was just upset.
These small unknown whys when multiplied can cause so much pain as a parent. We can not just assign a reason and correct the problem or let it go.
These moments on the floor are filled with no questions and no answers. They just are.
Knowing that I am not alone is what gets me through.
If you ever find yourself on the floor in the unknown, know that I am with you, I understand and you are not alone.