“Don’t they know we see it, too?” This was the question I asked you sitting at lunch in the place I have dubbed as CK’s Place. We were discussing my 17 year-old, and a few of the things he has been through recently, and the choices he has made. They were not the most upstanding of his choices, and well, this has been, unfortunately (or fortunately) my world for 17 years.
We have endured school meeting after school meeting, and IEP after IEP, all with this child, who was making choices that were socially inappropriate. It was not until 6th grade that we received the diagnosis. We knew something was not right, and this poor child has not ever had a steady life, so who knew what was actually going on? I know I didn’t.
The clinic we had been going to had been seeing him for three years, and did not give him the diagnosis we later received. I am not sure if I will ever get over that. They obviously placed our lives in the care of someone who also had no clue. It took three years of the progress we needed to make out of our hands, and placed it in the hands of someone we trusted who was supposed to know more than we did. “He has Asperger’s, Ms. Parker,” I heard the second clinic say to me. “Asperger’s is part of the Autism Spectrum, and he will need therapy to help him.” I had no idea what this was, or how it effected the mind. I am still not sure I fully understand it these days, to be honest.
I sat there in an IEP Meeting after learning the diagnosis form the clinic. My son had been paddled. I was in tears, and I was asking them, the professionals, what to do. I trusted them.
He had been scolded and disciplined for something that he could not control. He had no clue how to control it, so it was something I was beyond furious about. To protect his privacy I will not mention the situation, but the powers that be in the school systems DID NOT handle things correctly, and they have not done so with my son–hardly ever.
Josiah–he is a 6’4″ tall 17 year-old, who looks like he could knock someone out just from his mere size. He has always been a big kid. He was 8 lbs. 8. 0z. when he was born, and hasn’t missed a meal, to say the least. No less, he has trouble with social situations, and making proper choices outside of impulse controls. This kid needs love. I love him dearly. I have longed for a man who would eventually step up to the plate, look through these external things, and love him because he saw the need inside for such. If only…this would make THE DIFFERENCE in his life. This is a challenge though, because Josiah is not an easy person to do this with. Catch 22, anyone?
My life has not ever been easy:
It looks good on paper, and I have busted my rump for a stellar resume, but my life is filled with constant shifts and changes. These things mentioned are only portions of the reasons why you see the strong woman you see before you today. No less, I am clear on the understanding of my life and the twists that have come with it. It has been a lot for people to handle, and not all can do it. I live with the constant knowledge of the fact that you love me endlessly, but that my life can afford some of the irregularities that would scare even the strongest into the shadows. I have lived with the stares in my community. I have lived with the whispers in family and friends, and people I know and love. I have lived with “hopefully, things will get better and you can attend the next function.” I have stayed home time-after-time for situations because my kid did not “fit in” at church, or in social events, or because he said something that was “too harsh’ or “too rude.” I have lost job opportunities, and relationships. I have stood in welfare lines, and have been part of the “stigma” that surrounds a parent with a child who suffers mental health issues. “He doesn’t look Autistic. He can speak and he has no trouble with mobility. He is just being an ass.” Yes, this has been the status quo. “Okay, you don’t look stupid either, but you just opened your mouth and removed all doubt,” I have thought so many times with so many educated professionals.
I understand it is because they do not understand this child’s mind, and that they think I am giving him a pass on the choices he makes. I can see their points. At times, I actually agree. No less, he and my daughter both struggle with things, and this is just part of my life. It is what I have always known. He is my son, and I almost lost my life getting him here. Research is a beautiful thing, and if people would just take the time to research Asperger’s they would have, at least, a slight idea of how things really are instead of how they appear to be.
Things are much better, and I am ever so thankful for that, and with the proper encouragement and positive affirmations he will go onto be the person he longs to be. He is so intelligent, but he still struggles with wanting to be normal. He hates being Autistic. He actually asked me to have a doctor to see if they could do surgery on his brain so he could be normal.
So far, you have hung on, my love. You have hung with me, and things get kinda’ crazy for me, and you are still here. Maybe you do not realize why I thank you so much, or how deeply I thank God for you every single morning you say, “Hello, my love, or Good morning, beautiful!” It is because you have hung on, when not even their own father could stay. You did not birth them, and you did not raise them. Not having a father and being raised only by their mother has not been the most advantageous thing for them.
If you ever decide it is too much, just come to me and let me know. I will understand. I will cry, and I will hold onto the fact that I had real love for a brief moment in my life, and it felt so good to be loved in spite of all that I endure, but I will let go if you ever want me to do so.
If I hold some things from you (and admittingly, I do) it is not because I want to keep you out, but because I do not want you to run away, haha! In a sense it is to protect the person you are from added stress. Adversely, if you decide to hold on through this crazy life with me I will love you forever and not ever let go. Why? Because I truly know what it is like to do this alone.
Together in life and love,