Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stand guard

X-31, F-15 ACTIVE, SR-71, F-106, F-16XL, X-38,...Image via Wikipedia

There are days when I feel absolutely unable to be an auti-mom.
Take today. Please.
Already mucking about in the unstructured waters of spring break, I had to break to Diver news that would disappoint him. His special volunteer-gig at the Air Guard Museum was being curtailed. Not eliminated, but curtailed. Last year, we convinced the Director to waive the volunteer's minimum age requirement, and Diver spent whole days with the guys at the Museum. This year, they requested that he work a set two-hour shift at a particular aircraft.

Still a special privilege for any 12-year-old, let alone one with autism. But for Diver, whose heart and AS mind were set on a full day every Saturday, it was crushing. He wept, he wailed, he railed. He broke legos, and yelled at me for not trying harder to change the rules.

Poor, poor self-pitying me broke into tears at his misery and rage, my lousy single-mom birthday, and my inability to be strong and imperturbable. Meanwhile, Diver was searching for loopholes: "Let's say we forgot what time to come. Let's get there when the museum opens and they can't turn us away."

Make a list of my shortcomings and his and I'll be we'll have a complete set.

But I am who I'm stuck with. I gritted my teeth and said, "Diver, I get sad when you're sad. But disappointment is part of life. We have to deal with it. Show them how competent you are and maybe they'll extend your hours. We are not going early. We are abiding by the rules. We'll leave at 11:15"

"Now! 11:00! 11:10! 11:14!"

I am not discussing it.

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  1. Post-script: Great day at the museum. Diver handled himself beautifully. It was a pleasure to watch him as he helped kids in and out of planes, pointed out different features on the cargo plane, and acted like an all-round mensch. He came home tired and happy, saying, "I love you, Mom."

  2. Oh, I'm so glad for your post-script. I could feel the pain in your words. It is so hard, and we hurt when they hurt... but I love what you said to him. I have not known you long, but clearly you are such a strong and brave mother. Diver handled himself beautifully, and part of that is because you handled it so well.

  3. Jeneil, thank you for your kind words.

  4. Hold firm on this. You are doing a good job. Let them have him in short quality visits, and he may very well impress them enough for them to ease into a longer schedule.

  5. Just came here via your post in the NYT about the jealous mom, to which I also felt the need to post. She needs help.

    My daughter has several brain anomalies, which sometimes cause autistic-like behaviors. Quite a few of them also carry an autism diagnosis, which their parents find a godsend, as schools and other people have heard of that.

    Liked your story of the volunteer gig. Especially the post-script. You stuck to your guns, and he knew it was the right thing for you to do. Being a parent is a hard thing.

    Susan in WA

  6. Was that you sneaking in that it was your birthday, too? If so, best wishes on the day, even though it was hard. Poor you for having to deliver bad news, poor him for having to get bad news, and thanks to the universe that things went well, which might bode well for next time, right?