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Friday, October 3, 2014

A Little Light

Here in my reality, I am not always able to find the bright side of the story.  Lately, there hasn't been much light to be found in the shadows and darkness.  Yesterday, was different.  The sun was shining and I definitely saw a bit of light.

I had a rational conversation with Red, in which he finally took some responsibility for his recent behaviors.

"I just can't do it.  I don't know what it is ...but I can't get along with this family."
"Do you think there is anything that can change that?"
"No. Honestly, I don't."

Wow! I wish I had recorded it. He seemed to be reaching a point of acceptance that he is going to have to move out. He still thinks he's not ready and that he can't afford it.  He doesn't think he can handle everything on his own and neither do I.  I assured him that I would make sure that he has the support that he needs.  We talked about a post-production film program in California for young adults on the spectrum.  We talked about supported living environments both here and in California.

I illustrated how well he is doing in all environments except for home.  He saw the picture. I told him that I think he will grow into the young man that he needs to be if he gets away from me.  He's a mama's boy and he knows it.

I have been his anchor, his voice and his advocate for so long.  Maybe I have over-mothered in attempts to protect him from himself and from the horror that was middle and high school. He was so sad, depressed and felt so isolated.  I knew that he was in deep pain in those situations and I tried to compensate for that however I could.  I fought for the best possible scenario available in a sea of  bad options for a kid like him.

However, I feel like at this point, I'm stunting his growth. I can't be his lifeline anymore. I just can't do it. The more I give, the more he takes, leaving nothing left over for me. He needs to stand on his own.  He will continue to need support, but he will get it from other adults who have high expectations of him and he will rise to the occasion, just as we've already seen since he left high school.  Being away from me will force him to grow up.  I think he'll be happier.  I told him that during our rational conversation. It may not be all roses. There will be some thorns.  There will be some setbacks but ultimately, he will thrive.

It's not like he's someone with absolutely no drive and no initiative.  He was that way in high school. But since then, he is on point with his job.  He hasn't missed a single day and hasn't had one, single issue there.  He has the drive and initiative to work on his own business, even though he still has a lot to learn.  He is motivated to make money! I think that getting some distance from me will be the spark that puts him into overdrive.

I was feeling discouraged and messaged my good friend Paul yesterday.  I met Paul through this blog and my Confessions Facebook community  (See...Social media is good for something!)

Paul wrote a little about his Aspergers story on my blog last year. (It's a really great piece of writing.  You really should check it out.) Paul had had a difficult childhood not knowing that he had Aspergers.  He is now a successful business owner, excellent father and a husband.  He has friended Red on FB and always has encouraging things to say to him.

I love him for who he is as a man and the way he treats my son with such dignity.

Paul wrote the following...

"I have this gut feeling that I've never been able to shake...but I have always thought there was something very special about your boys. I mean that with all my heart, and I've probably even told you that before, but I absolutely cannot shake the feeling that, despite the frustrations and challenges, God is cooking up something extraordinary in Red's life. I swear to you, it's just feel it as real as the air I breathe. 

You've always inspired me so much just in the way you live your life and carry yourself through these struggles. It doesn't seem like much of a consolation, but it takes an extraordinary person to raise kids like that, and it's pretty clear why God picked you. Gee...thanks, God! Right? 

Maybe I just relate to him because I was like that too, and I was blessed enough to have a dad with the same heart you have ...and he never gave up. It wasn't like he said "I'm done with you" but instead he was saying "I love you too much to let you keep living like this". And because he was a parent with the same heart as you, he saved my life over and over and we have a great relationship now. He's my hero and always has been. I would bet my life Red sees that in you too when he looks back 5 or 10 years from now. 

You are all amazing people and I count myself blessed to call you friend. Please hang in there...you are doing an amazing job!!"

This brought a tear to my eyes and joy to my heart. Everything he said made absolute sense. It's almost like Red is pushing me to push him out and that may be a God thing too.

Again, thank you Paul for being there for him and for me. I appreciate your support more than you'll ever know.

It is a daunting to think of my child moving away from me, out there into the big, bad  ugly world. I know it's scary for him.  It's scary for me. Ultimately, it will be for the best for both of us.