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Monday, April 30, 2012

#AutismPosivityDay -Flash Blog



Dear #IWishIDidn'tHaveAspergers,

We are flashing blogging you today to let you know that first of all you are not alone.  There is an awesome community of people out here in internet-land who would love to connect with you to share love and support with you.
Some of those people have Aspergers or are somewhere along the vast Autism Spectrum.
Some of those people are parents or relatives of children with autism.
Some of them are just the plain old gracious people in the world who love you for exactly who you are now and for who you will become in the future.
I am one of those people.

I have 2 sons on the spectrum.  They both have Aspergers and they are both totally different from one another.  They may even be different than you, but in some ways we are all alike.
We are share humanity.
We are all imperfect.
We all have our special gifts.
We all have obstacles to overcome.
We all have days that absolutely suck...where we all feel like the entire world is against us and that we can't do anything right.

But here's the good news....
Every single day doesn't suck.
On the days that don't...we have to take notice.
We may even have to write down the things that are good in that day.
Even the smallest things like...
The sun is shining.
I have the most comfortable bed on earth.
I had a good meal today.  There are plenty of people in the world who don't.
Some one smiled at me and said hello.
I may not be the most popular person, but I have 1 REAL friend.
Although my parent's bug the shit out of me...at least they love me.
I don't have every thing I want but most of my needs are met.
I am better off today than I was a year ago.
And I promise you ...it will continue to get better...especially after high-school!
Don't let the kids there suck the life out of you before you really have your chance to shine!

The really great thing about you...is that you do have a Special Gift.
You have an interest that you know more about than probably any of your peers.
You see things that they don't have the benefit of seeing.
Hey and guess what...if some of those peers are not nice to you...or don't get you...
Sucks for them!
Because you are freakin' awesome at whatever you truly WANT to be awesome at!

Look at your Aspergers not as a disability but as a superior ABILITY.
Aspergers is the ability to focus on what you truly LoVE!
Aspergers is the ability to think outside of the box.
Aspergers is the ability to solve a problem differently and maybe better than anyone else can.
Aspergers is the possibility to change the world.
I have every confidence that if you truly want to...You CAN DO That!

So have your pity party for a day...like I did yesterday.  (I am human right?)
But don't let those bad days take over your life.
Get out there and do something to help someone else.
Guess what?
Someone out there is having an even harder time than you are!
That's the absolute best way to make yourself feel better.
Help someone...maybe even help those not so nice kids at school
...by letting them know that you see their pain.  They have to be in pain to be treating others so badly.
Go watch something that you think is hilarious and laugh to change your mood.
("I LOVE LUCY" or any thing Chris Rock works for me.)
Get up and get moving!
Dance!
Listen to music.
Did you know you can not be sad and listen to good...upbeat music at the same time.?
Make your list of things that you are going to do to make your life better.
Think about the things you CAN control...because there are so many that we can not.
I promise you ...if you make a list of the positives in your life...they will outweigh the negative.

But even on those suckiest of sucky days...please know that you are not alone.
There is someone in the world who loves you.
I am one of those people.

Join me in my Aspergers Community on facebook 
All of the members today are listing the great things about the Aspie in their lives.  
I'm sure you will see yourself on that list. 


Also if you would like to read more POSITIVE POSTS Click here:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dear Diary


Warning: This Post is in exercise in self-pity.

I've been a really strange mood lately.  I want to be alone.  I don't want anyone talking to me because I'm afraid I may bite their head off.  I don't want anyone asking me any questions about what I'm doing...what I've been doing...what I'm supposed to be doing.
Yet, when I am alone I'm still not particularly happy.
I am full of thoughts of self-doubt --constantly questioning my parenting decisions.
I am feeling bad about what my kids are facing.
Feeling guilty that the latest medicines that we are trying with Blue -are not working the way that I hoped they would.

I am so happy with my blog and my facebook community.  I love the work that I am doing in helping others feel less alone.  But then I start looking at our financial situation and all of the things we can't do because I don't bring in an income, then I start with the guilt.  We are stuck in the small breaking-down, falling apart house, because we don't have a second income.  I am driving the 10 year-old car with all of the funny noises, because I haven't done anything to change that.  I am writing and doing what I love, but I can't brush away the thoughts of feelings of, you need to get something published.
You need to be making an income.
What the hell happened to you?
You used to be so independent! 

I start thinking about my friendships.  I am blessed to have a lifetime of friends all across the miles, from West Virginia, to California.  My best friend lives a few hours away in Houston.  I love her.  She is my sanctuary. Literally, she provides respite for me every couple of months.  She is the one person that can say anything to, without fear of judgement and she can do the same.  We can talk and text message every day with our most hideous, most ridiculous thoughts and feelings and then laugh and make jokes about them. Then days can go by with no contact, but I never doubt our friendship.

I have extremely close friends in California where I grew up.  I have friends that I have known since I was in middle school, high school friends, friends from my early 20's and so on.  I am proud of these friendships...how no matter how much time goes by without contact, when we do talk or see each other, it's as if we just got together yesterday.  There is no animosity about the different directions our lives have taken and how little time we have to get together or call each other.  I love, value and treasure these friendships.

Most of my girlfriends from L.A. have at some point taken time out of their lives to come here and we have great visits together.  Or when I go there, we must see each other and our time together is just...like home, warm and familiar.

Then I have my virtual friends.  I have developed some great friendships through blogging and facebook.  People who think about me...send me special notes of love and support.  People who make me smile on an almost daily basis.  Women who get EXACTLY where I'm coming from because they too are parents of kids with special needs.  I can make quick contact with them when it is convenient for me from my laptop or phone.  In fact, this ability has made it so convenient that I seldom actually have conversations on the phone.  When I do talk on the phone, I am almost always interrupted by one of my kids, my mother, my husband or even by another phone call...like from the school.

I have somehow let my friendships with local friends dwindle down to next to nothing,  which I feel really guilty about.  I wonder if I've lost these friendships.  Living in Texas has been the only time in my life, where I have actually lost friendships and been disappointed by people who I believed were friends. Sometimes I wonder if it is connected to being a special needs parent.  Some people don't get-it...don't want to get it...get sick and tired of hearing about it.

I have a group of friends I used to entertain all the time here at the house.  We would eat, drink, laugh and talk into all hours of the night.  At some point Blue would become extremely stressed out and ask me,
"When are they leaving?  It's time for everyone to go home so I can go to bed!"
At which point, I would say, "They aren't in your bedroom.  Your bedroom is upstairs.  Just go to bed."
"I can't!"

So slowly the parties have slowed down.  The invitations have slowed down.  Lives have taken different directions.  Friends have had babies, which certainly changes the dynamic and trajectory of your life.  Others have been promoted on their jobs, family dynamics have changed where both spouses are now working outside the home, which means that time for friends and entertainment has changed.

But when I'm alone and in deep thought...I question myself.
Did I do something or say something? 
What happened to our friendship?
Why am I so paranoid?
I'm a good friend...when I have time to be one.

I am now taking care of my mother who is living with me.  Though she is only 72, and has relatively good health,  she still depends on me to help her take care of all personal business, take her to all of her appointments, both medical and otherwise, take her shopping and entertain her at least once a week.  Otherwise, she would never get out of the house.  This takes away from my time to get together with girlfriends.

I am no longer going to workout on a regular basis, which means I don't see my Y -workout girlfriends as often.  We do get together every couple of months for lunch or coffee and catching up.  I joined another local recreation center, which is closer to home.  Yet, I can't seem to make it over there with any sense of regularity.

The last time I had lunch with my workout girls, they asked me to come back to the Y to our Yoga and Zumba classes.  I really want to, but as summer approaches, I doubt seriously if I will have time to work out regularly.

So basically,  my life is totally out of balance and I have to figure out a way to somehow close some of these gaps and get my sh*t together.  All of this while the summer is approaching and I have to figure out ways to keep the boys busy and away from each other as much as possible.  I'm looking at camps,  therapists, social groups and vacations.
Oh yeah...and then there is the house and all of the many little projects that need to be done around here.
It all seems so impossible.
I guess I just have to make a list and try to do one-thing-at a time...
one-day at a time.
I wonder how many days I have left where I can say that?
Life is short and yet it seems to be going by so fast!
If only I wasn't such a scatter-brained, unorganized, discombobulated mess.

Any advice?  I'm always dishing it out yet, I'm feeling like my own life is a mess. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

No Good Deed...


I try to do a good thing by bringing them hamburgers from one of their favorite places, but you know what they say about "No good deed."
When Red finishes his meal, he begins eying Blue's...more specifically --his french fries, as he is still eating them.
"Can I have those fries?"
"No...I'm eating them."
"YOU'RE SELFISH!" he yells.
"You're greedy!" he continues yelling.
Really???
Who is being selfish and greedy here?

This is not all that surprising.  We were out a few weeks ago with one of Blue's Apie friends who did the same thing.  He finished his milkshake then asked Blue and I if we planned on finishing ours.  He kept asking until we both gave him some.  Of course, now we're talking about Blue's brother.  Sharing? Not going to happen.

It all goes down hill from there.  What was a great day at school, where he calls me sounding all happy that he did well on his test, then calls me while I am out to ask me to bring burgers, turns into yelling at the top of his voice because his brother won't give up his meal.  And it gets uglier and uglier until he's absorbed all of the oxygen in the house.
Guess what will happen the next time he calls me for burgers?

When that finally calms down, Blue wants to go to the Grand Opening of the new Microsoft Store.  It's a week night.  I've been running all day.  Dad just returned from a driving business trip.  He needs a nap.  I ask Blue to take a shower while dad is resting for 30 minutes.  He hasn't had one in a few days.  He's had one excuse after another. Today the jig is up.

Blue fully expected the evening to go as HE had planned.  The words...no or later  --are simply not among his favorites.  Instead of taking a quick shower and then going on with the evening as he planned -he breaks into, "Why are you doing this Mom?  Why are you being so mean!? I don't have time to take a shower!" and on and on and on.  He is wastes so much time with the meltdown antics that there is no time available for what he wanted to do.

He lays on the couch refusing to move.
I suggest that maybe he do a little yoga and deep breathing.
I go in my room and close my door.  I'm hoping that he will calm down and get himself together.

A few moments later, he comes into my room and says, "Good night."
I respond, "That's fine if you want to go to bed now.  But you will take a shower before you go to school in the morning...even if that means being late."
He HATES to be late.
He gives in...and finally takes the freakin' shower.

Later ...before he goes to bed, he apologizes for being stubborn.
I graciously accept his apology.  I am hugging him while thinking...
I love you...but I am so tired of this sh*t!


Smiling on the outside...exhausted on the inside.
These are my confessions. 


Your lovely comments are always welcome... 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Know for Sure

WARNING this post contains Mature Content...or Immature Content...depends on how you look at it:

I know for sure that I live in the craziest house in Texas....or at least in my neighborhood.  There can not be another house where you have a 16-year-old son that comes in the house from school without even saying hello and asks, "Will you and dad let me have sex as long as it's protected --in my room?" Followed up by an intense fight with his younger brother...and then off to church with some new friends from school where he has the "best time ever"?!  Yep-this is a f-ing crazy house!

I don't know.  This whole ...having no filter thing can be a little much for me sometimes.  I'm just not ready, nor do I think I will ever be ready, for the whole sex conversation with this boy.  I feel like it's inappropriate for me as his mother to get into this detailed conversation with him.
"Talk to your father, your older brother, your uncles, your pastor --anyone but me!" I tell him.

Apparently -there was some conversation going on about the subject at school with a bunch of other clueless teenage boys.  And of course, my boy believes everything they say as gospel!  Of course, the boys he's talking to have never had sex themselves  --yet they all know so much! Oy Vey!

He is relentless about talking to ME about it.  When I finally say, "You are not ready for the kind of relationship that comes along with sex.  There is too much emotion involved and you have trouble regulating emotions as it is."
His response?
"I'm not talking about a relationship...I'm just talking about sex...you know with one of those girls who just goes after anybody."
"And you think this is going to happen in MY house?"

OH MY GOD! This boy is so clueless! That was the end of the conversation right there. I was beyond done.  Yes --he needs to talk to his father, his brother and his uncles.  He also needs a book and a class specifically for teenage boys with Aspergers.  God help him! You can bet I'll be signing him up for one this summer!

Thankfully, he started arguing with his brother a few minutes later  --at least that changed the subject.  After  yelling and a coming to blows, a few minutes later -they have a meeting of the minds where they are trying to understand each other's Aspergers quirks.  Unbelievable!

A few minutes later -Red comes bounding down the stairs to tell me his friend from school is on his way to pick him up to go to Youth Night at his church.  Whew! Thank you Jesus a night of peace for me!

He comes home hours later, with a huge smile on his face.  "OMG mom! I had so much fun.  The music was great! It wasn't too loud.  The youth pastor was cool!  There were all kinds of kids there from other schools.  There were girls! And this guy at church gave me this book."

"The BOOK of Answers."

I wonder if there's a chapter in the book on having sex in your parents house with whores?

Tickle my ears with your comments...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lie -Around Life

Everything starts out normally on this ordinary Monday morning.
I'm too tired to get up when the alarm rings at 6:50 a.m..
I hit snooze and I'm up by 7.
I try to get Red up.
It takes him a few minutes to get going.
I put new clothes on his bed last night.
Within a few minutes he's sitting up pulling the tags off and getting dressed.
He goes down for breakfast.
I hear silence --I know that he has finished eating and he's sitting there biting his nails.
I awaken Blue -the independent one.
I can leave him and know that he will follow through.
I  head down stairs to put a fire underneath Red.
I give him his meds and send him upstairs, so that Blue can come down.
We have to keep them on opposite floors in the morning.
Unfortunately, upstairs they meet.
A few punches and dirty remarks later...
I march up the stairs to break up the non-sense.
Blue comes down to eat.
I follow him down to put Red's lunch together and make coffee.
The bus arrives.
I call for Red.
No answer.
I march back up the stairs.
There he is laying back down underneath the freaking covers!
I can physically feel my blood pressure going up --my heart pounding.  I am pissed!
"What are you doing!?
The bus is here!
GET UP NOW!"
"I'm too tired," he says flatly.
He has not brushed his teeth, washed his face, put on socks or shoes.
I stomp back down the stairs and wave the bus on.
It's not fair to make EVERYBODY late just because my child is being lazy.
After they leave -I head back up to his room.
"Would you like to loose your computer or get ready for school?"
"I'm too tired."
The computer is removed.
He doesn't put up a fight.
He doesn't move.
I make a series of phone calls to the school -trying to find someone to talk to him.
No luck -no one is answering.
I am on carpool duty for Blue and his middle-school friends.  I have to leave.
Dad makes an attempt to get him up.  Still -no movement.  Dad has to leave for an appointment.
When I get in the car, suddenly, I realize that I have a meeting at the middle-school this morning.
I have to discuss a game-plan to get Blue through the next 5 weeks of school without feeling so totally overwhelmed that we end up back in the Psychiatrists office.
I run back into the house and yell back up the stairs to Red,
"I have a meeting this morning. You better be ready by the time I get back!"
When I pull back up to the house, he comes out immediately.
"Why don't you understand mom?  I am just tired this morning."
"You say you want a job.  Yet, you have worked-based learning this morning where they are teaching you work skills and evaluating your job readiness and you decide not to show up this morning.
You are showing us, that you are not ready for employment.
People who hold good jobs, push through being tired.
They show up for work...on time!"
"Well...employers are unfair! Why can't they understand that someone is just tired."
"If you're running a store ...you open the doors and customers come in, but you don't have any employees there to help the customers...YOU LOOSE MONEY.
The employer has to make money to stay in business and to pay their employees!
You say you want to work on movies.  A movie has a budget.
They need everyone on the set, or involved with the movie to show up and do their job on time or they run out of money and they can't finish the movie.
They need people who are dependable!"
"Well...people just need to understand that I'm tired."
"Guess what dude, I'm tired.  I didn't feel like getting up this morning either.  But I push through it.
I didn't feel like picking your friends up yesterday and spending 3 hours at the pool
--but I pushed through it.
This week...I'm going to show you what it's like for me to be too tired to do my job of taking care of you.
'Mom can you make me something to eat?'
'No -I'm too tired?'
'Mom can I have a friend over?'
'No...I'm too tired.'
I'm going to be too tired to do my job and lets see how that works out."
"NOOOO!"
"You know what ...it's your life and if that's the way you choose to live it...that's fine.
There are lots of people who are just too tired to go to work on time everyday.
But if you want a good life, you push through being tired to go get your education so that you can get a good job.
If you want to lie around because you're tired --you will have a Lie-Around Life.
You won't have your own apartment, with all the nice things that you like.
You can live with the Lie-Around people in a group home, because I will not support laziness."
"I don't want to be poor and not be able to eat whatever I want."
"Well that's what people who are too tired to go to work and school have to deal with."
"Well...why do I have to go to school all-day?  There are people who have half-days."
"Those are the Lie-Around people...unless they have jobs the other half of the day."
As we arrive at school and he finally gets out of the car he asks,
"When can I have my computer back?"
"I don't know...Lie-around people don't have their own computers in their rooms."
"But what am I supposed to do?
I'm going to be bored!"
"Well...you're so tired --you can get some rest."

And this is my life all before 10 a.m. on a Monday.    

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Up in da Club

Friday is supposed to be my off day because I'm on heavy Mommy duty on Saturday and Sunday. However, my off day was cancelled due to an emergency call from the school.  

"Mrs. Weaver -Blue is telling us that he feels like he has no choice but to end his life.  He does not have a specific plan,  but we've been talking to him for the past 30 minutes and he's not backing down." 

There is more to this conversation of course.  I speak to Blue and try to get him to see things clearly.  I don't change his mind.  He just wants the pain of middle school to be over with and he doesn't see any other way to make everything stop.  All the kids hate him, they are mean, they are teasing, taunting, being silly, not following directions, getting the whole class in trouble.  Then there is life at home.  He can not get along with his family.  He is always stressing me (mom) out. The list goes on. 

We end up in the Psychiatrist office.  She has a great therapy session with him.  Of course she wants to add another medication to balance him out.  We debate this.  I'm still not happy with the decision, but I really feel like my back is against the wall.  I have to get him to happy, so that he isn't feeling so overwhelmed by life that he sees no other choice but to end it. 

When we leave her office...his mood is much better.  Of course, we are far away from his sources of stress.  We spend a leisurely day, having lunch, shopping and visiting his favorite place on earth...the Apple store.  His mood is actually better than I've seen it in weeks.  It's really strange how he went from 100 back to zero in such a short time span.  

We were invited to go out that night to listen to Motown-like band with some friends that we made through our local Aspergers Meetup group.  Of course, when I got the phone call that morning...I'm thinking, there's no way we're going out tonight to listen to music.  I'm going to be on suicide watch.  But as I always say, "Life is like a box of chocolates" when it comes to raising these Aspergers teens.  You never know what you're going to get. 

We made it out that night to the Oasis.   Blue never says no to the word "GO."  The Oasis is a very popular Austin spot that sits above Lake Travis.  It's a family oriented atmosphere. There are silver-haired seniors all the way down to toddlers on the dance floor getting their groove on.  Somewhere in-between was my crazy family and our friends. 


Red NEVER...I repeat NEVER dances! He was an anxious mess before we walked through the doors...afraid of how loud the music may be, or if he would like it because it's not Alternative Rock music.  The fact that his friend was there, was the only thing that enticed him to go in the first place.  He had a blast!  

Unfortunately, I didn't capture a picture of Blue busting his Michael Jackson moves. But he had a really good time too.  He ended the night by saying, "Now that was fun! This is the kind of fun I've been wanting for our family." 

From the Psychiatrist office to 'Up in da Club' dancing with the whole family.  This is my life....and these are my confessions... 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sad & Blue

A "Confessions" Facebook Post last week:
     ~~Never do something for your Aspergers child with an expectation that it will change his mood, make him smile or be gracious.  Only do it out of the kindness of your heart...or if it's in your job description as parent.  Otherwise, you will often find yourself disappointed.

When I came home from California, Blue was not at the airport to greet me.  He had social plans with his friends from school and he was unapologetic about it.  That's typical teenage stuff right?  I was disappointed not to see him, but happy that he made plans to get together with his peers.  When he finally comes home later that night, he greets me with a big hug and tells me he missed me.  There is no smile, no change in affect.  I don't care.  I am grateful for the hug.

It doesn't take long before he's angry with me.  Like try...the very next morning,  when he wakes us up to ask if we can go out for breakfast.  This is the first time I slept in my bed for a week.  But who's thinking about that?   The answer was of course, "Not today."  By the way, it's raining outside and my pillows are feeling especially soft and my down comforter is cradling my body like a long, lost lover.  I was in the sweetest dreamland before...scratch the record!  WAKE UP I'M HUNGRY AND I WANT TO GO OUT!

He goes downstairs to discover that there is not enough milk for the oversized bowl of cereal he poured.  This is end of life as we know it.  It's like a national disaster.  To top it off, then he discovers that we ate out after the airport...without him.  How dare we do something fun, while he's out doing something fun...with someone else!?  

Later that day, I take him out with me to grab a bite of lunch and run some errands.  He becomes angry because we're not going to Mc Donalds.  I have come to loathe Mc Donald's because of how processed and unhealthy the food is.  I can think of lots of better ways to get high calorie intake like...Red Velvet cupcakes and wine, for instance.

"How about you be grateful that you're not eating at home?" I ask giving him something to think about.  His mood improves only slightly after he eats.  I was kind of hoping that we were going to have some happy re-bonding time together.  Thus the lesson for the day...don't go having some expectation of a certain emotion.  He is far short of happy.  There are no smiles on his gorgeous face the entire day.  In fact, after we finish our errands and return home, it doesn't take long for the anger to come out to play with me again.

He is really not happy that I was away...that his routine was broken...that he had to do things Dad's way for a week.  "Do you know how hard it was for me to be without you last week!" he grumbles!
"I'm sorry it was difficult for you.  But I wasn't exactly on a pleasure trip.  I was caring for my father who was laying in a hospital bed.  It wasn't fun for me either."
This gives him a little perspective.  He straightens up...a bit.

I get it.  He doesn't like change.  And let's face it, Dad doesn't spoil him the way that I do.  I guess I've created my own little monsters, by busting my a** trying to make them happy all of these years.  Even though he did not appreciate most of the ways Dad does things,  before he goes to bed, he makes a point of telling me that Dad got him to school earlier than I do.  Dad's morning routine works better than mine.

Wow!  Yes...we are now following Dad's routine.  Well...except for the 1 morning this week that I didn't hear my alarm go off and I was late getting everyone up.  All hell broke loose! He hates to be late.  He hates to be rushed.  He loathes the unexpected...period.  Seeing as I am not the most organized person in the world,  sometimes...Sh*t happens, much to his dismay.

I have to say...thus far, I am disappointed with the new medication prescribed by the Neurologist.  He is far short of a happy camper.  He walks around here grunting, huffing and puffing, blowing up just about daily.  You can reign in the meltdowns a little easier, but generally speaking if things don't go exactly the way he wants them to go...he's pissed!  I don't really want to make major changes to meds with this being the last 6 weeks of school, but damn! Something's gotta give.  I want my sweet child back! I hope he's still in there somewhere.


Blue made this drawing for his Social Studies teacher  who taught him about Native Americans.  He had it matted and framed to give it to him for his birthday.  Then, he asks me for the 20 bucks to pay for it!  The kid really does have a good heart and if I must say so myself...he is helluva talented!

What did I get for my birthday you ask? A card...bought at the drugstore...by his father...that he graciously signed. I should be grateful right? Right...

Friday, April 13, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

As you may know I am in California right now, dealing with the drama of my father being in the hospital.  He was discharged 2 days ago.  He was also simultaneously discharged from his girlfriend's apartment where he has resided for the past several years.  She just couldn't take it anymore.  My dad is a real handful with the, endless conversation, offensive language and yes...I hate to admit, not a great deal of respect for women.  The result is that he is now residing (at least temporarily) with my brother, and will go to my sister soon.

Every day since I got here, I have spent time at his bedside listening to his dialogue about how the world owes him everything and who he is going to take to court next.  It's a bit like listening to Red talk.  I have laughed with him and his sick sense of humor.  I have watched him gain his strength and fight his way back to health.  He's not there completely.  In fact, he may never be again.  But so far, he's not ready to give up.

So we face the huge challenge of figuring out his care.  In the meantime, everyone is a little stressed.  One of my brothers is trying to use me up before I leave.  A couple of statements have been made about "you don't have to work" so you can do this our that.  Or, "You're living the life because you don't have to work." Excuse me!  I guess you don't realize how much work my life really is.  

I have two boys with autism.  Their needs are extremely challenging.  I have my mother with me who also needs care.  I am her administrative and medical assistant.  I am her driver, to all medical and other appointments.  I am the listening ear that she has to talk to on a daily basis, because she has decided not to have a social life at all anymore.  Having my mother living with me makes my life even more challenging because she doesn't always "get" the boys, so I have to constantly referee between them. 

My husband works non-stop and travels, which leaves me there to deal with all of the boys issues from doctors, therapists, medicine, school, social interactions and extra-curricular activities.  I have no extended family in Texas to support me. 

By the way, both boys have been on relatively good behavior while I've been gone.  However, my mother tells me this morning that Red is amping up a little more every day.  He's ranting about how unfair the government is for making school hours so long.  Then he gets into jails...and how they don't help anything.  So I'm sure by the time I get home he will be ready to explode.  

I am reminded that my family who lives several states away, does not live my life.  Not everyone reads this blog to understand what I go through from day to day.  They have no idea how drained I am from constantly living on the edge of meltdowns, fights, and drama.  They just want to suck me dry before I leave here because they are left dealing with the mess of my father. 

Well guess what?  We all have our challenges in life.  When my mother came to Texas two years ago, it wasn't to live with me permanently, but that's what it has turned into.  When I had two children, the thought of autism had never crossed my mind, but it's here, and I am dealing with it.  It's not all warm and fuzzy.  My boys are now these huge, hormonal teenagers, with learning challenges,  depression, anxiety and at times, explosive meltdowns.  I still have the holes in my walls to prove it.  

"I hate myself! I hate my life! I just want to die," are words none of my siblings have had to hear come out of the mouths of their children.  

So I won't take it personally when it is insinuated that, "I don't work."  But on this last day in California, I will not be used up.  I will do my laundry and rest before I go back home to WORK...to  deal with my own drama and sleep with my own down pillows!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Un-Happy Birthday

I spent most of my birthday this year getting ready for an emergency trip to see my 82 year-old father in California, in the hospital.  My siblings call the night before, after spending the entire night in the emergency room with him, with high blood pressure, high-fever and disorientation.  He's on oxygen, his fever is showing no signs of breaking, the blood pressure is through the roof.  Naturally, they are concerned that at his age, and being a diabetic, that anything could happen, a stroke, heart-attack, or even the inevitable.

Not such a happy birthday, which is kind of par for the course the last few years.  There is usually something about my birthday that makes Red act out.  This year Blue is full of anxiety, and for some reason tells me, "You know...it's not all about you today.  You're not the only person on earth with a birthday on April 6th."  Yeah...really nice.

Instead of disappearing for the day, which I desperately want to do, I spend the day with Red, while dad spends the day with Blue.  We do errands, and a little shopping.  He just can't seem to help himself from getting into the looping conversations about all the things we should be doing for him...which ends up making me sorry I chose to take him with me, instead of leaving him at home.

Hubby and I are able to sneak away to have cocktails and appetizers that night.  A couple of martinis, appetizers and creme brulee helps ease my pain.

I make it in to Los Angeles the following day.  My dad is sitting up in the bed by now.  The fever is broken, the blood pressure is down.  He is refusing to lay down, giving the nurses a hard time and talking non-stop.  He is in his glory I think, being surrounded by most of his children.  There are 5 of us in total.  He makes me laugh with his warped sense of humor.  Yep...that's where I get it from.

But as I listen to him talk, I realize that he has this sense of entitlement.  He thinks that the world owes him something.  He has little to no respect for women and his favorite way of communication is using foul, offensive language.  I'm used to it.  Sometimes, I check him on it.  Sometimes, I laugh at it.  I cringe at the least possibility that I will be like him when I get older.  I don't think I will go all the way there.

My dad has no religious upbringing.  He has told my children, there is no God, which really confused them.  Thanks to my mom, I was raised in Christianity. I try to follow the example of Christ.  I do treat people with respect.  I feel so awful for the nurses and staff who are trying their best to take care of him.  Talking to him about being nice and respectful is futile at this point.  His will be 83 years-old soon.  He's not about to change, for the better.

The funny thing is, when he gets to talking in circles, not connecting thoughts, and having this odd-outlook on the world... I don't loose it, like my sister does.  She gets so frustrated with him.  I'm pretty used to crazy talk.  I live with it everyday.  I gently let him know how I feel and what I think is inappropriate and what I do not appreciate.

The better my dad gets each day...the filthier the mouth.  I fear for the day when he needs others...strangers, nurses, health-workers to take care of him.  When we can not be there to ensure his daily care and he feels that he can say anything and still be served well.

Life is one endless stream of taking care of loved ones.  Children, Mothers, Fathers, Husbands.  Good thing I have my happy pills and the occasional glass of wine.  And by occasional I mean --nightly!  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

World Autism Awareness

World Autism Awareness day was April 2nd this year.  I wanted to do some warm and fuzzy kind of tribute to the day, on the day, here on my blog.  Instead, I was busy living through the autism in our family.  Sunday, the day I would have started to put such a post together, was spent dealing with Red who was very disappointed that his plans fell through with his friend from school.

I'm always trying to fix things and make them a little better, a little easier for the boys.  So when Asperger's Dad announces that he is going out to get some ice-cream...I suggest that he take Red with him, to help get his mind off of his plans.  Red is starting to perseverate about things not working out.  He's getting louder and louder, with each repetitive statement.  My husband is looking at me like I have 3 heads.  You're kidding me right? Why do you want me to take him again?  Oh I don't know maybe a little father and son time. They go...Red continues his rant.  Dad even calls in the troops...big brother Slim Shady, to come hang with them for a bit.  It's not enough for Red to enjoy the time with his dad and his brother. Instead, he spends most of the the time stuck in perseveration land. 

Meanwhile, back here at the Ranch (and by ranch I mean my house which seems to be getting smaller and falling part more everyday) ...Blue is getting frustrated with his Science Project.
"It's too hard!  It's just too much information to sort through on the internet.  I don't understand anything! Can you just have me excused from it?"
NOT! This apparently is a major grade.  We can break it down in to steps and get you some assistance, but not just blow it off.  He begins the shut down process and stays mostly funky about it for the rest of the night.  He snaps at me.  He rolls his eyes at Nana.  Nana snaps at him.  Oh it's just a barrel of fun!  

He goes to school the following day and continues the funkiness with his Special Education teacher who is trying to help him.  It turns out that he is really much further along than he believes he is.  However, he is trying to make it more complicated than it has to be.  In his eyes, what he has done isn't good enough and isn't detailed enough.  Apparently, his science teacher, you know the person who is grading the assignment...thinks that if he turned it in as is, he would have a 90.  But that's not good enough for our mad scientist.  

When his special education tracking teacher tries to hold him accountable and work with him to complete the assignment, he refuses to listen to her.  He is argumentative and combative...basically,  refusing to work and telling her that she is mean and not encouraging at all! When she asks him what she can do better he says, "You can leave!" Really nice! 

So I spend World Autism Awareness Day in the Psychiatrists office, trying to process Blue's depression, anger and anxiety.  Trying to determine if adjustments are needed in medication or if he is indeed in danger of self-harm, because he has been making statements such as, "Everything is just too hard.  That's why I just want to end my life.  I can't take it anymore."

It is determined that he is expressing extreme frustration and depression.  The Psychiatrist is is less than thrilled that the Neurologist has changed the anti-depressant, anti-anxiety med that she had originally prescribed (which was NOT working and hadn't been for almost a year) but since I was starting to see some glimmers of hope,  she decides to increase the number of milligrams he is taking, which is more in line with his weight.  This, I hesitantly agree to do.  As usual, she also wants to ad an additional medication to the mix (Vyanse to help with focus and his thought process).   I take the prescription with the thought that I will go home, research it and decide weather or not to fill it.  He's already on 2 that I don't feel all that great about.  Have I told you how much I absolutely loathe the medication guinea pig, trial and error process?

I know there is much controversy about giving children psychiatric medication and I do have some ambivalence about it.  To say that I have mixed emotions about it, would be an understatement.  However, when your child is so anxious that he's exploding daily, or hiding in the bathroom all day because of fear of thunderstorms, when the sun is shining.  When his life is seriously impaired by his depression and anxiety, and he can not work to his maximum potential at school, you do what you have to do to help him!  I don't give a shit what people think! 

He seems to be feeling better as we leave her office.  He is definitely in a better mood than he was at school that morning when he was being really ugly to his teacher.  This is what I mean by a glimmer of hope that this med is beginning to work.  It is a beautiful spring day at about 80 degrees.  There is a gentle-breeze in the air. We go have a late lunch, do a little shopping and go to his favorite place on earth...the Apple Store.  We have the absolute best afternoon together.  He is laughing and even joking around a bit.  Something he seldom does with me these days. 

We decide to take a leisurely stroll through the outdoor shopping mall.  As we are walking,  Red calls to remind me that he has a PCP (Person Centered Planning) meeting that starts in an hour.  The PCP is basically a personal goal setting meeting to help Red work on his life dreams.  I had no idea that he had confirmed the plans for the meeting with our facilitator.  I have to rush home to host this meeting.  I will have to write details of this meeting in another post. 

The bottom line is that I spent World Autism Day, fully engrossed and Aware that Autism is a big part of our family life.  It's here to stay.  I take care of it.  I try not to allow it to dominate our lives.  I try to keep it tame, playing in the background, not allowing it to completely take control.  

On World Autism Awareness day, there was no time for me to become involved in the debate that's going on in the autism community about how we feel about autism, do we hate it, love it, accept it.
I didn't have time to chime in about what Autism Speaks does or does not do for our kids.  I was busy taking care of my family, trying to wrangle the autism in to submission...trying to find treasured moments, putting out fires, or at least keep them to a low smolder.