The Other Part of Our Story, Part II

He moved into the basement.  He finally consented to the counseling I had been asking for since The Boy was a baby, six years previous (he had always insisted, “We can solve our own problems”), although he considered it an ultimatum from me, which it was.  We attended three sessions together where he did most of the talking.  After the third session, we had an assignment to list  all of the things that we thought the other person misunderstood about us, and then we were to share our lists with each other.

I read my carefully crafted list of maybe six items.  He then read his three page diatribe about everything that was wrong with me, how his family and friends really felt about me, and about how I was such a bitch.  Then he accused me of throwing something at his head in an argument we had had when The Boy was a baby.

(The real story was, he had thrown something at me, while I was holding The Boy, at maybe three months old.  And I had almost left that day.  I did bundle The Boy up and went for a long walk in the cold and snow.  I finally decided against it because babies have so much stuff and it would be very difficult to move everything.)

After he had lied about that argument, and completely twisted the assignment, showing he had no faith in the counseling, I knew it was time to stop fighting, and time to let go.

From our vacation that June...

From our vacation that June…

The Boy and I left town after school was out, on our annual week-long vacation to my parents’ house.  The ex rarely came, and definitely did not come this time.  I took my ring off for the trip, and never did put it back on.  I decided while there that I would file for divorce when I returned, and I did.

Final installment soon…

Making the Best of it

I’ve mentioned before how my patience is wearing thin, and contrary to expectations it is actually getting harder rather than easier as we approach the end of the school year (and the move, and all of the requisite life changes).  I feel a bit like a lame duck must feel.  Restless, bored, ineffectual, and impatient.  It’s a pretty unsettling feeling.  I have been so content and happy these past three years, that this daily unrest (albeit mental) is getting old, real fast.

I am also not one to sit and complain and do nothing, so…

English: This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NY...

Tom’s Restaurant, NYC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I plan to make a list of some of the things I enjoy about this place where I live, and this situation in which I live, and attempt to make the best of the rest of our time here.  For instance, I love a good restaurant, and living in this big metropolis, we have plenty to choose from, which will not really be the case after we move south.  We generally eat out once a week or so, and if you do the math, that leaves 13 restaurants to visit one last time (give or take a few).  Whoa.  Mind boggling!  Which ones will make the cut?  And what will I order?

This is a much more fun way to look at these remaining few months before we can start the rest of our lives, don’t you think?

The St. Patrick’s Day “hat”…

My son remembers just about everything.

St. Pat's Day "Hat"A couple of years ago, he made Fabulous Babysitter buy him a St. Pat’s-themed head band with orange pigtails that got some pretty strange looks when he wore it.  He was oblivious, of course, but the rest of us weren’t.  This is one of the tough parts of being an autism parent (or caregiver, or teacher).  We don’t want to deny them anything that makes them happy (at least nothing as benign as this), but we also don’t want them to be targets for the less compassionate public at large.

A few years ago, it was a beanie (complete with propeller!) that The Boy had found around Halloween at a costume store.  Harmless, right?  Until I got the note home from his teacher that he was being teased, and could we please keep it at home…

And part of me screamed, “No!  Let’s concentrate on the teasers and not the one being teased!” while the other part said, “Oh, for sure.  I so get it.”

Fabulous Babysitter took The Boy out on Fun Friday, and he wanted to get some St. Patrick’s day “stuff”, and he dragged her from place to place (although she would never call it that), until he remembered the exact store they had purchased the pigtail-headband the last time.  And they purchased it again.  And again, we ask ourselves –  is it better to let him be himself, or help him to assimilate?

The Other Part of Our Story

We hadn’t been happy together since The Boy was born.  For whatever reason, the ex never bonded with him, and had a hard time accepting that my attention was now divided.  He also had a very hard time with the diagnosis, never really understanding autism, and even after hearing a psychologist tell us that it was definitely autism, he still believed The Boy just needed some discipline, and that I was coddling him.  Hence the yelling and spanking.

My friends tell me stories of the years after The Boy was born that I do not remember.  They tell me that one night I had to call a friend to take me to the emergency room because I was exhausted and dehydrated, and that she came to pick me up, and the ex was sitting right there ignoring us, putting his basketball shoes on, and then stepped over me on the floor as he left.

"garage" by nightthree via flickr

“garage” by nightthree via flickr

The winter before the end of our marriage, the ex was laid off, as he usually was in the winter.  He had a bachelor’s degree but refused to use it, and so did menial, seasonal labor (still does).  He stayed home all day, playing video games and watching TV, mostly Bill Maher.  I would come home from work, and most sentences would begin, “Bill Maher says…” as if he didn’t have his own brain.  He was paranoid (thanks to the pot smoking, I think), and insisted that his life was the way it was because the man was out to get him.  I mostly ignored him, which was easy, because he spent most of his time in the garage smoking pot when I was home.

In May, right after Mothers’ Day, I got a call during the day.  I was at a conference two hours from home, and I had to go outside to take it.  He had decided I was a bitch, I never listened to him, and he was leaving.  He was going to stay at his mother’s out of state.  Of course it wasn’t all that matter of fact.  There was much more swearing, yelling, and name calling, but I was panicked and in tears when the phone call was over.  I left immediately, and raced home, calling friends alternately on the ride home.  My first stop was the bank, where I did what I could to secure our money from leaving with him.  And then I headed home, to find him sitting there, saying he didn’t have enough money to get “home”.

~ to be continued… ~

Sometimes Still My Little Boy

There are still cuddly days, thank goodness. Today was one. He seemed excited to see me at pick up, and almost shared something that sounded like a good thing. I couldn’t quite get it out of him. I read (in his communication log) he had had an excellent day, and he seemed excited about dissecting owl pellets in class, and even made a connection to the book they are reading that has an owl as a main character. I had recently seen an owl webcam online, and showed it to him when we got home. He snuggled in next to me on the chair, and we watched for quite awhile.  When I closed the browser window, he noticed that I had been previewing a cartoon DVD for school, full of old-school cartoons. He asked to watch it, and we spent the next hour nestled together in a blankie, watching Tom & Jerry, and Sylvester & Tweety. It was a fantastic afternoon!

I know these times will come fewer and farther between, so I am so happy when something like this happens out of the blue.  My little boy is growing up!

Visitation Means He’s Supposed to Visit You…

On the Road AgainI just spoke with the ex about spring break plans.  He is supposed to have The Boy for the week, and I just never know what’s up, it seems, until the last minute.  I texted him the other night, asking him if he was planning on having The Boy for the week, and he said he was.  We spoke this evening, and I’ve noticed that recently, he has been trying to do some Jedi mind-meld deal like tonight when he said, “So we’re going to do Saturday to Saturday again?”

We have never, ever done Saturday to Saturday, but I think he thinks that if he says it that way, I will go, “Yeah!  That sounds good!”

Does he not remember that we were married for ten years, and never once was I ditzy enough to fall for that kind of crap, and in the almost five years since the divorce, never once have I been inclined to do anything but tell him how it’s going to be?  Because realistically, and according to our court documents, his visitation starts the evening of the last day of school for The Boy (Thursday) and runs through the day before we return (Sunday).  And I am not inclined to give him an inch, especially when he has the track record he does.

I explained my plans, and since he knows that I am still doing him a huge favor by meeting him (or his parents, whoever comes to pick up The Boy) about three hours from home (saving him 6 hours in one trip), he agreed.  At least for now.  He could always call the night before and cancel the whole thing.  If that happens, no worries.  The Boy and I are used to it by now.

Sleep

alarm clock by brucebeh

alarm clock by brucebeh

I love sleeping.  I really love sleeping.  Always have.  I’ve had friendships broken up because the other person did not understand about me and sleep.

(I was in sleep-away grad school, and needed to use someone’s computer for an assignment that was due.  All of the computers in the lab were taken.  He said he had to finish something, and I could use it after.  A few hours later, I got tired of waiting, literally [mind you, I was 6 months preggo] and went to bed.  He knocked on my door at 2 am and woke me up.  We were no longer friends after that…)

I must, must, must get enough sleep, or you can count on my not being someone you want to be around the next day.  And if I go through a couple of nights not getting adequate sleep, I can count on becoming ill very quickly.

So you know what’s coming, right?  Yep.  My big plan about going to bed earlier is the culprit, I think, but I have been having such a hard time falling asleep for the past week.  Some could be due to stress, but something wonky is going on.  And I don’t like it.  Not one bit.

I’ll give it another week or so before I get really panicked (and cranky and agitated), but this is not me, this is not right, and I don’t know how to get it back to the lovely usual.

Liebster Award – Thank You!

Thank you SO much to learningneverstops over at Understanding and Embracing Diversity for the Liebster Award Nomination!  I am new to his blog, but it has lots of good stuff, so please go check out his site!

liebster-award

By now, you probably know that awards come with rules, so that we can spread the love.  Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

1.Thank the Liebster-winning Blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.  Thanks again! (see above)

2. Post 11 facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions you were asked, and create 11 questions for your nominees. (see below)

3.  Nominate 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (see further below)

4.  Display the Liebster Award logo. (see above – isn’t it cute?)

11 Facts about myself (tired of hearing about me, yet?)

1.  I am a Libra, and I really don’t think that means anything, but I do seem to have an overdeveloped sense of justice…

2.  I loved being an only child, and I love having an only child.

3.  I love Swamp People.  I have a wee crush on Troy. ❤

4.  I believe that peanut butter, linens and towels are three things on which you should never skimp.

5.  My favorite type of wine is a nice German Reisling.

6.  If I had it to do over again, I would have played French Horn instead of the flute.

7.  I loathe peep-toe shoes.  I mean, they look nice on other people, but not on me, so they need to go away now.

8.  I have lived in the same state for 33 years.

9.  I have never broken a bone (great, now I just jinxed myself).

10.  One of my favorite authors is Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

11.  One of my favorite all-time movies is Amelie.

Questions from learningneverstops:

1.  How would you define yourself?  That’s a toughie.  I play many roles, but hopefully I am defined by my actions, which are usually kind, fair, efficient, motivated, loving, capable, determined, clever, and somewhat humorous.

2.  Who is the most important person in your life?  Not a toughie.  My son.  The Man is a very, very close second, though.

3.  What made you happy today?  Watching my son as he was able to give up some of his toys.

4.  What goes through your head when you wake up in the morning?  My list of things to do for the day.

5.  Are we lucky to be living in this time?  How so?  I think so.  It is so easy to be educated, and so easy to spread awareness.  The means are there, we just have to be able to inspire the motivation to do something about it.

6.  If asked to give three wishes (one for yourself; one for your family; one for the world), what would yours be?  Wish for myself: to find meaningful work when this career is at its end. Wish for my family: to adjust to change as easily as possible. Wish for the world: for the people of this world to realize their potential for good and act upon it.

7.  Why do you blog?  I blog because I have stories to share, and I know that other people’s stories have helped me in rough times.

8.  Is 2013 shaping up to be what you’ve expected?  Yes, I think so.  At least so far!  Still anticipating so much!

9.  What would you like to know about Autism?  How to make more connections for understanding between NTs (like me), and auties (like my son).

10.  How can people’s awareness of Autism be increased?  One person at a time, building relationships with those in the autism community.

11.  What is the best article you have read on my blog? I like your pieces on Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory because it is one of The Man’s favorite shows, and as he has grown to know and understand The Boy, even he has pointed these out to me.  It is a great platform for building understanding with the NT world!

My 11 Questions for you:

1.  If you could go back in time to witness an event, what would it be?

2.  What is one thing you have always wanted to learn (or learn how to do)?

3.  If you visit any place in the world for the day, where would you go?

4.  Guilty pleasure food?

5.  Favorite season and why?

6.  Cherished accomplishment from childhood?

7.  Favorite type of reading material?

8.  Have you ever done something anonymously?  What was it, and why?

9.  What was a favorite vacation you have taken?

10.  Name a word you hate the sound of.

11.  Do you collect anything?

My 11 Nominees are:

1.  Postcards from the edge of the Spectrum

2.  Little Bird’s Dad

3.  A Quiet Week in the House

4.  Tickled Red

5.  Autismum

6.  Gingerheaddad

7.  Loving Martians

8.  Coffee With A Side Of Autism

9.  Huggable Baker

10.  one in four thousand

11.  Cracks in the Armour

Being Auntie

Fabulous PITA is one of my best friends on the planet, and I get to work with her everyday.  Needless to say she is pissed I am moving.  Really pissed.  She and I are as close to sisters as we will ever get – we are both only children, and even though she is married, she plays a single mom most days because her hubby is a chef and works nights and weekends.  Her two little ones, Princess, age 6, and Sunshine, age 3 (almost 4), call me “Auntie”, and I love it.

Every kid needs a dollhouseToday, The Boy and I are headed to IKEA with Fabulous PITA, Princess, and Sunshine, but I have something else planned, too.  I have yet to give the little ones their Christmas presents, and I missed Princess’s birthday in January, too (I know, March is almost over, but Fabulous PITA and I are busy people!), so today I will come bearing gifts.

They both get a Calico Critters Townhouse that I bought for The Boy ages ago, because he wanted it, and I didn’t care that it was intended for girls.  He played with it for awhile, but never hard enough to damage it, and it has been in storage, waiting for the girls to be old enough.  I bought Princess a family of squirrels to go with the house for her birthday gift .  I also have a couple of other things to give them…

Baby AnnaPrincess is getting my porcelain tea set that I played with when I was her age (one of them – I collected them!).  And Sunshine will be getting my baby Anna that I adored when I was her age.  See, I still have this stuff, these cherished and beloved treasures from my childhood, and it’s time to let them go, I guess.  Amazingly enough, the ex didn’t throw them out (like he did a $600 money order, my entire work wardrobe, and my button collection from elementary school [including my Michael Jackson button!]), so I think they were meant to find a new loving home.

The Boy also gave up some of his stuffed animals to the cause, which went surprisingly well.

The little ones don’t know yet that we’re moving, and I’m hoping that these little tokens will remind them of us when we’re 900 miles away.  Even though I was an aunt for awhile, there will be nothing that replaces being “Auntie” to these two cuties.  I know I’ll miss all three of them a immensely.

Getting Tougher Every Day

alarm clock, bought from IKEA

One would think it would get easier, knowing we are so close to being done with the school year, and so close to being together with The Man for keeps.  One would think that, wouldn’t one?  But it doesn’t.  At least not for me.  It’s getting tougher.  My patience is thinner for the same old, same old.  I get lonely quicker and easier.  It’s getting tougher to parent solo.

I suppose that means I really am ready for a change (or two, or sixteen).  And I suppose that means I’m going to have to work harder this spring to maintain my patience, keep busy, and to be a tough mother.  Along with working harder, I’ll have to make sure to get some breaks in there, too (pencil myself in, if necessary!).  A massage here, an evening with friends there.  And fun stuff with The Boy.  Definitely that.  A last hurrah of sorts for all of our favorite hangouts up here (our closest Target will be 45 minutes away, and the closest IKEA will be 6 hours away [sob!]).

14 weeks…