Our son is thirteen now. I wonder if you are shocked by how much he has grown every time you see him. The last time it had been over a year. This time, eight months. I know he’s grown because I have to buy him new pants for every band concert. The size 18’s from last spring were way too short last week so we bought some 29/30’s. I wonder if headlines with autism catch your eye, or if you’ve ever read anything about it. I wonder if you remember anything from the year and a half between the diagnosis and when you left. I wonder how you spend time with him when he’s with you – do you try to connect or do you just coexist? Feeling a little schadenfreude as I hope you experience some of the pubescent rage we have witnessed this fall. But not too much because I wonder if you could handle it, and know I’d rather not find out. In a few years we will have been divorced longer than we were married and the boy will have lived longer without you than with you. That should scare the bejesus out of you, but it doesn’t seem to even register on your radar. Shocking to realize his speech teacher at his school last year who saw him once a week spent more time with him than you have in the last year, and knows him infinitely more than you do.
I wonder a lot, but it isn’t my place to know. That’s between you and him. The question I will never get an answer to is how. How do you live without him?
So I shake my head, sigh, give him to you for Christmas and cross my fingers. This never gets easier.
Oh I know this feeling so so well.
Particularly the feeling of sort of wanting them to find it tough, because it is sometimes, but also not wanting your child to be less taken care of than they deserve because the other parent can’t handle it.
Oh God…the haunting echos of “how do you live without him?” keeps me awake at night…even still. It never goes away. Every milestone, and then every moment of every day. That choice, above and beyond every single other choice, that choice is one I will never be able to reconcile.