Sunday, September 12, 2010
Some days seem to take way too long. It's not even 3PM and I'm ready for this day to be OVER. With an over-stressed husband, a super-whiny daughter, and a son having a serious behavioral meltdown, I think I need more than Calgon to take me away. (Dark chocolate, a back massage, and good wine might help. . . .)
The meltdown from our son is not unexpected. We've way exceeded his tolerance for doing new things over the past week since school started. It was just a matter of time before he had "the last straw" and acted out over it. Today was the day all the chickens came home to roost - too many changes to his routine, too many new people, too many new situations, it was just too much too fast for him to handle, and there wasn't any way we could do anything else to make it easier.
Autism is so frustrating, both for him and for us. Life lessons that we all have to learn often take much longer for kids with Asperger's. Things neurotypical people (i.e. people without autism) take for granted just don't come easily to people with AS or autism. They don't react the same, they don't think the same, they often don't understand what they did (or didn't) do to set off a chain of events that leads them to temporarily lose their self-control and lash out verbally or even physically. Often people around them don't know what they did (or didn't) do to instigate or escalate a situation. It's very stressful for everyone involved, and I desperately wish I could spare our son the pain of learning so many things the hard way. Days like this make me anxious about our son's future - how he'll handle high school and higher education, how he'll get and hold a job, how he'll form and maintain relationships. I have to keep laying our son down at the Lord's feet, because I can't control his life or predict his future - I can just be responsible to do my best today, one day at a time, over and over, relying on the Lord for strength and wisdom. And boy, do I need both, more than I ever thought I would as a parent when he was a newborn and we did not know anything about his autism.
I've heard that statistic that parents of children with disabilities are more likely to divorce than parents of children without disabilities. The stats seem to be the worst for parents of autistic kids, which is frightening. Parenting a child with AS has been difficult, and hard on our marriage. So far we've beaten the odds, but the price has been high.
This is certainly not to say that we don't love our son, or each other. We've been given a gift in both of our children. They are wonderful people, talented, interesting, sweet, funny, smart and silly. Parenting is hard, even under the best circumstances. I hope and pray for perseverance and wisdom, peace and joy for all parents reading this post - there is always hope, and every parent and child is precious in the Lord's eyes.