Whenever I was sick as a child, my mom would say, “I hate it when you’re sick,” and I never truly understood the depth of that until I had my own child. Today, I looked at The Boy and said, “I hate it when you’re upset,” and burst into tears. “Why are you crying, Mom?” he asked.
I cry because I’m helpless and I know nothing. I had to come and pick you up at school today because you wouldn’t go to class, and then tried to escape school. I don’t know why. No one does, and when we ask you, you start talking about your bus driver from last year, and how he must have retired because he doesn’t come to pick you up anymore. You talk about not going back to school until next week, or returning to that other middle school you went to for a quarter last year until I screamed enough to get you into a better one, the one you go to now.
I cry because I don’t understand your motivations, and I just want to make it better and easier for you. Can we clarify the bus rules for you? Let’s make a checklist so you don’t forget your band binder again. How can I make it better? And I get no answer.
I cry because you are my only son, and I can’t see past this very day for you. I hope I can get you on the bus tomorrow, but I don’t know if you will go. I don’t know what will happen then. I don’t even know if I will be able to return to work later today, if you will be able to calm down, if we will be able to come up with a reasonable plan to get you back to school and going to class.
I cry because there are no answers. All of us autism parents just throw stuff onto the wall to see if it sticks every damn day. Some of it sticks, and a whole hell of a lot of it doesn’t and you go back to the drawing board. If I had a dollar for every time I said or thought “I don’t know what to do…”
All I can do is rely on experience, try, try, try, and hope, hope, hope. But in the meantime, I hate it when he’s upset. :(