Questions

Lots of questions today.  As usual, in the car.

The Boy:”Why is it just you and me?”

Me: “What do you mean?  Are you asking why your dad and I got divorced?”

B: “Yeah.”

M: “Your dad and I just didn’t get along anymore.  That happens sometimes.”

B: “Are you going to change your last name?”

M: “If The Man and I get married, that will probably happen.”

B: “Will my name change too?”

M: “That’s up to you.  Do you want it to change?”

(no answer)

B: “Are you and The Man going to have any more kids?  Will I get a brother?”

M: “Nope.”

B: “Why not?”

M: “The Man and I are too old to have any more kids.  So it’ll be just you.”

B: “I’m going to have a bunch of kids.  A whole pile.”

M: “Don’t you think you better check with your wife first?”

B: “I’m going to have a lot of kids.”

This entire conversation took place in the space of about one minute.  Such heady stuff for a 10 year old.  I sometimes find it difficult not to let my surprise (that he’s asking about these things) show.  These are, of course, things that we have talked about before (OK, maybe not the “pile” of kids thing, but the other stuff).  I think he finds comfort in the consistency of my answers.  That’s my theory anyway.  I hope he does.

A Poet in My Own Mind: “Autism”

I enjoy writing.  Always have.  I took a creative writing course in college and had a great deal of fun, especially with poetry.  Fun does not necessarily translate into good, so I apologize in advance.  I’m not the type to subject my poetry on others, but when I ran across this poem that I must have written in a desperate moment, I’m guessing about three years ago (based on the Wubbzy reference), I thought it might resonate with others going through similar desperate moments.

Autism

Short

definition:

A neurological disorder…

Long

definition:

Something not quite

right.  Speech delay

Speech therapy, Occupational

therapy (hypersensitive, hyposensitive,

Gross motor – Gross like large not like

yucky, fine motor) From flashcards

to reading two years ahead

Obsess, obsess, Obsession

for months (Pizza rolls every single

night for dinner) (Wubbzy AGAIN?)

laughing, joking, never gets

old.  Still no empathy.

Logical, linear, Spock-like, must

follow the rules, follow the law, follow the

schedule.  No deviation, no changes, no

surprises, no fire drills or we derail.

anticipate, anticipate, anticipate

lay the clothes out, take the meds, follow the

schedule.  Nothing dirty, no holes, no stains,

hide the clothes when they get too small.  Still

might come back to bite you,

kick you, pull your hair, scream, cry, lie

down in the middle of the aisle

suffer the stares, the whispers, the grandma shaking her head, “Mm, mm, mm.”

(must learn that Vulcan death grip – what happens

when he gets bigger?)

What happens next? One day

One day at a time, one day

one day

Breathe, exhale and relax.

Dating and the Single Mom

The second guy I dated post-divorce looked great on paper.  He was an engineer, about my age.  He had a daughter, so he knew what single parenting was like.  He not only listened to NPR, he liked the same programs I did.  And he read books.  We seemed to hit it off in our emails, and agreed to go out on a date after I returned from Spring Break (this was back in 2009).  We met for coffee and walked around town a bit.  It was OK, but I wasn’t sure about seeing him again. We get along well, and there were times when we were talking when I forgot I was on a first date with the guy. I had a good time. He was a bit geeky, but so am I. I just got the feeling that he said things because he thought he was supposed to say them, and I didn’t like that. I just wasn’t sure.

John Denver's Greatest Hits

John Denver’s Greatest Hits (Photo credit: thejcgerm)

The next week, I had tickets to see David Sedaris and no one to go with, so I figured I’d give the guy another chance because first dates can be nerve-wracking.  Afterwards, I tried to pinpoint the moment in the evening when I decided it was a no-go… Maybe it was the suggestion to go canoeing that weekend (I had already explained my aversion to camping-type activities)? Or was it the “Who is your favorite musician?” question (Really? Do people still ask things like that? And hello, I teach music!), or the revelation shortly thereafter that his favorite was John Denver?… Yes, we seemed to get along well, but he wasn’t all that interesting or funny, and he stared at me A LOT. Maybe it was the mention of going to some weekend-long bike race the following month… Or the thousand times he asked me something I’d already told him…

In any case, David Sedaris was hilarious, and it was well worth it all. I would follow that man on his book tour like a groupie if I didn’t have a day job.

And I learned a bit more about what I wanted and and more precisely, didn’t want in a partner.  Always a good thing to figure out when you are a dating single mom.

PS I’m not a John Denver hater.  His Christmas album with the Muppets gets played every year in my house.  But favorite musician of all time??…

Forgiveness

I'm okay, you're... well, maybe not

I’m okay, you’re… well, maybe not (Photo credit: pdxjmorris)

Therapists are big on forgiveness, aren’t they?  The books I read post-divorce include forgiveness as a necessary step to healing.  In my own case, it’s been hard.

I had so much anger before, during, and after the divorce.  I placed all of the blame on the ex’s shoulders.  I had so many stories to tell, and people listening would shake their heads, amazed that I had put up with it for so long.  The day after my divorce was final, I remember sharing the news at work, and having others look at me funny because I wasn’t supposed to be so happy.

I reveled in my singlemomdom.  There was so much freedom.  Take a weekend trip with The Boy?  Why, I could, couldn’t I?  Buy a duvet cover with flowers on it?  Yes, please.  Fall asleep in a quiet house?  Heaven.  I also reveled in my anger and my indignation.  The ex was clearly the spawn of Satan, and I had been a saint to last as long as I had.

As time passed, and upon more reflection, I began to realize my part in the downfall of our marriage.  I realized that I had stopped communicating, that I had belittled him, that I had not been strong enough to fight him more on the big issues.  And that maybe he wasn’t the spawn of Satan.  Maybe.

Four years later, I am to the lovely point at which I am mostly indifferent.  The thought of this person that I was married to for ten years rarely even crosses my mind, if at all.  If it does, the thought is apathetic, with no real malice or anger.  He can live his life as he pleases, and it has nothing to do with me.

Except when it does.  When our little link is affected.  When his actions hurt our little boy, I get angry, I blame, I shake with emotion.  And this is why I am not, and don’t think I will ever be to the point of forgiveness.  Lots of moms have this fierce emotion, this snarling-mama-bear-oh-no-you-di’nt reaction, that I think is even ferocious in those of us with kids with special needs.  Because in many cases, our kids can’t express or process their emotions as well as the rest of us.  Because our kids already go through enough. Because we go through enough.  ENOUGH.

I can forgive strangers, because you can dismiss strangers as not knowing any better, being ignorant, or hateful, or stupid. But the ex is not a stranger, and he cannot be written off as ignorant.

It’s really hard to forgive someone who should be protecting his son as fiercely as I am.

And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do it.

And I’m OK with that.

Back to School Night

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Fun Friday

The Boy and I have created a tradition called Fun Friday.  It was born out of some evening scheduling problems we had which basically boiled down to The Boy thinking I could drive him all over God’s Green Earth to … Continue reading