Anxiety about the Unkown

When I was about 10, my parents and I watched “Iceman,” a movie about a neanderthal man found in ice and resuscitated. The question I had for my mom at the end was if it was ever possible for us to return to that state of being – unfamiliar with the technology of the day, and possessing only the most meager of skills. She answered that it was possible in the event of a nuclear war (this was in the mid-80s). Unbeknownst to her, I began to panic about the possibility of nuclear war, and the media coverage of the cold war only fed my frenzy to the point that I was afraid when I heard planes flying overhead, thinking it was the Russians about to drop the bomb.

My dad finally talked me off that ledge (he really would have been a fantastic teacher or counselor) one night, explaining to me that my fears were not founded in logic, and that I was safe.

I went about my life, and I was fine.

But every once in awhile, I get gripped by a current worry, and it turns into an irrational fixation. The internet is a wonderful tool and the most fantastic invention of our time, but during these moments, it is my worst enemy. Rather than trusting my own intuition, experience, and intelligence, I go searching for an answer from strangers who don’t know me or my situation. The answer must be out there, I tell myself.

how I worryAnd so, with my child’s future seemingly in the balance, and a boy who looked at me with panic in his eyes last night, asking “Do I have to quit band?” this is where I am today. In front of the computer, searching for answers, for someone to tell me the right thing to do. Do I choose one of the pre-existing paths for The Boy to follow through high school, possibly denying him access to college or, on the other hand, subjecting him to years of struggle and stress in general ed classes with little support? Do I try to blaze a new trail and fight for a hybrid that is legally his right (with little hope of succeeding)? Do I fight for  him to be in marching band when I’m not sure whether his love for it is more obsession or genuine interest? Do I just pull him out and homeschool (somehow)?

For my sake, I’m putting it out of my mind for a bit, waiting to hear when the meeting with the director of special ed will occur, and asking for the IEP to be postponed at least a week. Coping through distraction and delay. :/



Hot Dogs & The Future

Sometimes people will ask about The Boy’s future.  Will he go to college?  Will he live on his own?  What will he do when he’s an adult?

The crazy thing about autism, is that it is unpredictable.  I have no clue what the future will look like.  Most parents of NT kids can reasonably assume that their child will go to college or trade school, or get work experience once out of high school, and will be able to make a living and live on their own, find a life partner, and maybe give them grandchildren.  We special needs parents either don’t know if any of that will happen, or we know for certain that it won’t.

As The Boy gets older, I get a better idea, but I can’t say for certain, and I definitely don’t want to judge his capability too early, thereby predetermining the outcome – does that make sense?  I want to be as open as I can to all possibilities so that none seems out of reach for The Boy.

One of the ideas that has been percolating ever since we made this major life decision to move to be closer to The Man and my parents has been to start up our own business or nonprofit, which could be a built-in job for The Boy in the future.  We have lots of ideas, but one that started as a joke, and is still a joke (mostly, maybe, hmmm…) has been that The Man and The Boy will operate a hot dog stand at the beach during the summer.  The Man actually has a friend who did it for awhile and made money doing it, too!

So this is The Boy’s Christmas gift to The Man this year:

Hot Dog Stand Ornament

Pretty fitting, don’t you think?