But this one was one of the toughest days of my life as a Mom…
I messed up. I know that PanKwake needs long transitions and routines especially when she is saying good-bye. Usually her carers and I plan this and give her plenty of warning. She cannot tell time exactly, but relates to it in terms of her favorite television shows. So fifteen minutes becomes a Phineas and Ferb. We give her at least one of those and usually a second warning at eight to ten minutes…or a Minnie Bowtique. But this time, I was running late getting back, because I had needed to re-make her milkshake three times before I could my errands. And our brilliant carer absolutely had to leave on time as her parents were calling her from Germany. We were stuck…and I knew it was coming.
But that never makes it any easier. Of course, as I said the other day, lately she has taken to doing runners. ‘Eloping’ is the offensive and cutesy word that some idiot coined for it. I hate that word…it minimizes one of the scariest parts of raising an autistic child. The fear that they will hurt themselves or be hurt by someone else is paralyzing. You feel like the worst parent in the world…and that is how people look at you too. It is not cute…it is not funny. It is terrifying.
In desperation, I did something that some people may condemn me for…but I don’t care. Because they have not faced what I do. They do not know that fear. And unlike many others who do know what this feels like, I will no longer be held captive to what others think. I have decided to come clean…to open a dialogue, to air my dirty laundry. This is what I did…
I helped her pack a bag with Billy (her special doll), some sensory toys and I made her a sign that read…’9 year old autistic girl seeks new family.’ Condemn me all you want, but by giving her a sense of control I enabled her to calm herself.
I messed up again though when I asked her dad, whom I had called to help, to take her out in the buggy. He cannot read her as well so he did not how to help her lower her excitement as effectively. But honestly, I needed to just stay home and cry. Because as logically and dispassionately as I make all of this sound, the truth is that it broke my heart. I have given up everything for this child. A marriage. A home. A job. To some degree my other children.
Then to hear that child tell you that ‘you are not my Mom anymore, I want a new family’ pardon my French but it rips your heart out your… But it is not just the bad days, even on the good ones because of the autism, she is unable to show me affection such as hugs, kisses or even the words ‘I love you, Mommy.’
Still I have sworn that if it kills me (and some days I think the stress of it every well may), I will gladly lay down my own life to give her the best chance at hers. That is just being a parent…let alone the parent of a special little girl.
But that does not make days like this any easier, nothing does. But tomorrow is another one…be it good or bad…it is another challenge to be overcome in dealing with this thing we understand so very little about…called autism.