Today I wore a new dress. I fixed my hair and my makeup and prepared to watch my son’s last baseball game of the season.
In my mind I’d already pre-written my blog for tonight. I was going to call it “A league of their own” and talk about the amazing Challenger baseball league in Durham for special needs kids. I still plan to do that, but it’ll have to wait.
Six years ago today I took vows. I vowed to honor my marriage for better or for worse. In a beautiful garden, on an incredibly hot June day, in St. Augustine our family watched our intimate ceremony – and possibly envisioned our future.
Somehow I don’t think today was what they envisioned.
I don’t like to talk about this. I am not capable of speaking ill against my child. That’s why I must say that this is not about my son, this is about Autism, the festering disease that permeates our entire lives…and it’s the “for worse” part.
I didn’t vow anything to Autism. So I feel comfortable saying that I want a divorce. I want to excise Autism out of our lives. I want it to release my precious child – right now – and give him the life he deserves.
I don’t want to fear for my child. I don’t want to watch my son physically assault the people who love him the most and dedicate their lives to helping him. I don’t want him to scream and throw things when something is different from what he had envisioned in his mind. I never want him to get frustrated and destroy another toy or game that he loves. I never want him to cry so hard that he chokes. I never want him to put himself in harm’s way by making impulsive decisions (like running away, or jumping into a lake fully clothed).
I don’t want to fear taking my child in public because when/if he loses it I know that I am not physically capable of keeping him safe. I don’t want to even dream about what this will feel like when he is 9, 13, 25.
This past week, since school has been out, has been like living in a war zone. Something is at war with my child and I feel helpless.
Our best efforts, on the advice of experts, and all the patience and love in the world hasn’t helped.
I cannot envision what it must feel like being trapped inside of a body in revolt.
I can’t make it better. I can’t help him win back control over the Autism. Not yet anyway, but I’ll never stop trying. I’ll never stop fighting for Everybody’s Boy.
Today has been nothing like I envisioned. I feel completely knocked of my axis.
It turns out that they have extended the baseball program for another week, an announcement made when he arrived, which in retrospect was likely what knocked him off his axis.
Five minutes into the game we left. He was screaming nonsensical things at his teammates and totally uncooperative. I gave the keys to my car to Gus (I’d driven separately since I was working this morning) and drove Peter home. I thought it a small anniversary gift were I to mitigate the tantrum for a while. As I pulled out of the field, things flew at me from the back of the car. ”I hate you” the Autism screamed and I felt the crack of a metal flashlight hit the side of my head.
I drove in silence except for my tears and the hum of “Car Talk” during the 20 miles home. Mascara smeared down my face, little black drops on my white cardigan.
When we got home my little boy looked at me and said, “Am I calm, Mommy? Is my face red?”
And I was reminded that he’s just as much (if not more) of a victim of the Autism than I am.
I squeezed him tight and told him how proud I was of him for working so hard to calm down.
I never wanted to let go.
Because the vows I hold for my son are sacred; in sickness and in health; for better or for worse; til death do us part.