My 10 year old son has Asperger’s. If you’re not familiar with what that is, take a look here.
Some days, I don’t see it. Sometimes his teachers wonder why he has an IEP. Most days, he looks and acts just like any other 4th grade kid.
And then, when I forget about it and nearly convince myself that maybe he’s “over it”, a tsumani comes crashing to the shore and I didn’t even get a warning siren.
If you want to know what having a child with Asperger’s is like, imagine walking through this meadow.
Can’t you just hear the birds singing and feel the warmth of that beautiful sun?
And then, out of nowhere:
The situation blows up.
Take last night as an example:
We went from school/work to the store, to baseball practice, an then to dinner out for my birthday. It was busy. It was late. Already past the kid’s bedtime. But, we threw caution to the wind so we could do all the things we needed to do that day AND celebrate my birthday at a nice restaurant. As dinner wrapped up…..
Daddy: “The kids sheets are in the washer and so, when we get home, they aren’t going to have anything to sleep on.”
Mommy: “Right, ok. Well, we’ll just have to use the sleeping bags for tonight.”
Son: “No way. Nooooo way. I am not using a sleeping bag. I hate them. You know that.”
Mommy: “I know, buddy, but, I’ll open it up and you can just sleep on the soft part and use another blanket to cover up.”
Son: “No! Then I won’t sleep. I’ll just lay there and no be able to sleep. I don’t want to do that. No.”
Tears filled my son’s eyes. His anxiety about not sleeping has been really high lately. In fact, his spectrum-y behavior lately has been more consistent. It’s not a surprise. End of the school year craziness tends to mean more of that. I know that.
Mommy: “Ok, bud. I understand what you’re saying. Why don’t you walk outside for a little bit to calm down.”
He walked away with slumped shoulders still trying to keep those tears at bay.
A 9:30pm Target run solved all problems. Truth is, he has needed new bedding for a while but, I kept putting it off because I knew that this change would be tough. I found the bedding that was most like the stuff he already had and loved and when I came in with it, he gave me a big hug.
Not just his normal lean into my body with his arms folded against his chest “hug”. A full on arms around my waist hug.
Then, it was my turn to fight back the tears.
“I love you, buddy.”