I have been sharing personal essays on my journey with autism with my children, on mom life, grief and mental health. Most essays are from life in 2017 and 2018. WARNING: my essays contain cursing. Click on the Essays category to read previous ones. Some names have been changed for privacy.
I can’t breathe. I’m trying to catch air, just concentrate on breathing, in the nose, out the mouth, smell the flowers, blow out the candles, visualize it Janice. I am sitting in the parking lot of our elementary school, can’t drive. Marathon suicide is at a 5K. It’s OK, it’ll all be OK, breathe. My face is a waterfall of tears, my chest is pounding up and down. Why don’t we have any tissues in the car? I picked up Laurel’s evaluations from the school psychologist just now and I should have waited until I got home before opening the envelope. Another new chapter in my life has begun. The last nine months have had too many new chapters, I’m ready to slam the book down. What the fuck? I’m going from anxiety attack to depression to anger, in about five seconds.
My Laurel, my quiet ten-year-old Laurel, tested well onto the autism spectrum, social communication disorder and maybe some other things but I can’t quite make out all of this shit. The evaluations aren’t exactly user friendly. The team will hopefully be able to explain it all at the meeting we have in a couple of days. And how come when Olive’s test came back they brought Michael and I in with the psychologist before the PPT, looking for the first time at the evaluation together, but with Laurel they just handed me an envelope and sent me on my merry little fucking way, making me think it wasn’t anything I needed to worry about. The middle school team has a bit more heart than the elementary school team.
How did I not see this coming? Am I dumb? I must be really dumb and selfish. This feels like adversity causing thunderous storms overhead. I was hoping the results would just say she was a shy and sensitive kid. Done. She’s very different from Olive, who’s autism I see clearly yet they didn’t put her on the autism spectrum. Everything I know I don’t know. I called Michael as soon as I got in the car but he said he’s running behind on his patient schedule and we’ll talk later. I get it but I need someone to talk to RIGHT NOW. I’m never first and it sucks.
My babies. My special babies. I’m listening God, what are you telling me? I’m was running along in my life and you’ve given me too many walls I’ve collided with. I couldn’t find my footing before today, now this is making me stumble and fall and plant my face in the dirt. Do you mean to strip us down, down to our innocent pure souls and be rid of everything else? Take away everything that I thought I needed and remind me of what’s really important? Maybe that’s what I need to do, get rid of all the fluff in life and get back down to the very nature of our beings. Simplify for my kids. Stop running. Did I need to be running in the first place? Searching for that commercial of happiness everywhere instead of where I needed to be? I’m working it out in my head, here in the car in the parking lot of our school.
But why do I feel like I need to be working it out in my head? I don’t need to make sense of it and overthink it. Not everything in life has to be reasoned and rationalized to the death, shit happens. We deal with it, learn to change and grow and that’s that. Why do I feel like I need answers all the time? God doesn’t owe me any explanations. That reality doesn’t make me not question and wonder why and need justification for how my life is going. Two special needs kids that didn’t show themselves until puberty, that’s heavy to deal with here.
I always revert to being grateful and I’m blessed to have healthy children. They are healthy and even though divergent neurotypically, living, breathing, smart children. They’ll be OK.
Well the post-wedding high I was sailing on came down rather quickly. My sister-in-law is now married and it was absolutely a beautiful wedding. I thought the 1920’s wedding theme was glamorous. I mean, how often do we get to go all out in a majestic way; if not for a wedding of someone you love then when? Maybe it was God’s plan for me to find out about Laurel’s autism immediately after an outpouring of love and family. The highs lift up the lows, just as Gram told me last fall. If not for that I might just drive off a cliff right now as I think how a better mom would have seen the special needs of her children, would be more suited to these kids and do better by them. And be Betty Crocker. Fucking Betty.