Flashback to Solace in A Balcony Garden and Peace in the Pieces of Me, Update
If you are here from Blog Gems, this was supposed to link to a happy one to make you smile. Whoops. Here you go.
Solace in a Balcony Garden: Looking Back to 1994
So, today on Mother’s Day, he started with the chef thing and kissing girls, how that came in I don’t know, and I bit. And I got nowhere at all, except that this time it ended with him uttering that being a chef would be nice but it wasn’t worth a GED to do it and this life now was easier. I don’t know why I do this to myself, as one of our “conversations” can immediately trigger a migraine that leaves me in the bathroom bent over the commode, wondering why I never learn. If you leave the boy alone, let him drone on about Yu–gi-Oh, Soul Calibur, his other video games, Gangland, and UFO sightings, as well as his career goals, offer your occasional grunts of acknowledgment, he’s happy and all’s well with the world. Try to point out anything at all counter to what he’s said and you hit a brick wall that will knock you over and depress the hell out of you. The boy’s fine, at least, at the end of the “conversation” so there’s that positive. He remains untethered in time, unaware of the riptide he’s made in your day.
Migraine meds swallowed, I’m left to find peace in the pieces of me that these conversations inevitably shatter. Most times, I wade along, untethered in time with the boy, at least with regards to him, my constant, seemingly unchanging child. There, where time does not ripple forward but pools stagnant, algae green unmoving, we can be happy, insulated from the outer world, and he is free to be just the boy, compared to himself only. When those waters ripple, when they become rapids, the pieces of me shatter, and I am no longer untethered. I learned long ago to find the peace in the pieces of me in my gardens. The older the boy and I get, the longer our journey together, the more the garden means to me. So, today, on Mother’s day, after the inevitably pointless shattering conversation, I retreated to my garden, on this misty day. West Texas gardening is a challenge, especially when what you’re trying for is a lush, English cottage garden. It’s a lot like raising an autistic child or two or three. It takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and it can be heartbreakingly frustrating. But when it works, when the years of work build and the effort finally shows through, the payoff is big and the pieces of me are no longer shattered and I have that moment of bliss; I have peace in the pieces of me.
Flash forward to 2010
Bobby and I, we’re in this for the long haul; he’s my son and I expect that barring some tremendous miracle, he’ll be with his dad and me until we can no longer physically care for him. We do not consider this a burden. He’s my son and I love him. He’s sweet, he’s happy, and he’s made, with a lot of help from a lot of people, a life that is a good one for him. He gets to take care of cats once a week; he helps with lunch at the center, he helps at home. He’s of service and feels good about the things he can do to help.
He’s also stubborn, resistant, and at times frustrating. Ummm, like his mom and dad are. Academics, because of his ID, are difficult and frustrating for him, and much of that remains beyond his grasp. Teaching him how to handle his limitations with grace, well, that’s the trick. Teaching him to push past and work hard for what he wants is also just as hard because so much is hard for him and because he has no clock telling him time is passing.
There aren’t easy answers. There’s no certainty. Everything we do is about balancing the competing needs of the family and individual members so that everyone’s autonomy is respected, and everyone’s varying abilities are recognized and accommodated. Sometimes we do it well, and sometimes we don’t. Learning to step back and reevaluate is critical.