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Friday, July 10, 2015

Life In Living Color

Recently, I had to make some tough decisions about Red. It was really hard for me as any decision is these days. My capacity for decision making has been severely handicapped in recent months, maybe even years.  Being in a constant state of panic can do that to a girl.  My anxiety has been through the roof!  I can think  something to death and back to life again, and still can’t decide whether or not to move forward. What if this happens? What if that goes wrong? What if I ruin the rest of his life? 

So Red is out of the house, temporarily in a therapeutic environment getting some much needed help. I can not and will not get into details of where he is in order to honor his privacy. I will say this, for the first time in a very long time. I know what it's  like to think for more than just a few minutes, in my own home without being interrupted. This is a peace that I forgot existed.  

There hasn’t been one raised voice. There has been no screaming …no ranting, no physical fighting. I slept the other night for the first time in weeks without having dreams of fighting someone. In my dreams, I’ve been fighting with everyone for weeks now. I could sleep 8 hours and wake up tired like someone had just kicked my ass. The first night he was out of the house, I woke myself up laughing out loud from a silly dream. No irony there! 

My emotions are mixed.  I am ambivalent, sad, scared, happy, relieved. My problems are not solved.  We are just taking a first step in the right direction. More decisions await me which I am not looking forward to dealing with but for now, I can only take one day at at time.
Red -Age 3 Hallween
I have moments when I wonder, did I to it all wrong when it came to raising Red? Did I come to the rescue too many times?  I know for sure that I spoiled him.  But the truth is, I didn’t raise him any differently than I did my other 2 sons.  Blue is very independent despite my indulgence.  My eldest stepson, who I raised from the time he was 5 years old is independent as well.  They all have their issues, but Red is just different. He has been from the day he was born. 

The truth of who Red is as a young adult is being shown to me more and more each day. My eyes are open and I am seeing things that I have never seen,  as I pull back on what I’m willing to do for him.  He fights back with all of his strength.  As it all plays out, a light shines on the truth of what needs to be done to cut this cord of co-dependence.   

There is guilt.  There is sadness, but at some point, you have to let go of situations that you cannot control. It's not easy when it comes to your child, even when your child is a young adult. My love for him cannot be described, maybe not even understood. He is a part of me. I feel his pain and anguish.  But I know that I have to let my bird fly.  I may have to push him out of the nest even though he thinks that he can’t. I know better. Not only that, but I have another bird here that deserves a mother who is present and always at the end of her rope. He deserves more than being mothered on auto-pilot because my light is being stamped out. 

I woke up the day after Red left, not knowing exactly what to feel.  The first thing that morning, I read these words written by a dear friend of mine and fellow Aspergers Mama, Johanna on her Facebook group, "Faith, Love and Inspirations"...

“We are called to be who we are and who we are becoming, but we are not called to be everything to everybody.
We are not even supposed to be the magic band aid that fixes everything for any other somebody.
We are supposed to be the one's who keep our own lives in order and in balance so no one else needs to come in and be our shining knight on the white stallion. 
Even Mother Theresa did not aspire to help everyone. From what I have read, she simplified her own life down to a few essentials and THEN devoted herself to helping the one in front of her. 
If we have a high needs dependent child, that would be our assignment, but only after taking care of ourselves. 
Mother Theresa did not live such a long life by denying her own physical, spiritual, emotional or medical needs. She simplified her wants to meeting her own needs so she could serve. 
As wives and mothers, we are NOT supposed to try to *keep everybody happy*. What a waste of a human life- trying to keep someone else from melting down-- NOT my assignment. 
I did, as my mother did before me, try for decades to keep my people happy, until I realized that all my accommodating others was erasing me. 
I decided I wanted to be me right out loud in living color again. I wanted to meet my own needs, exercise my right to be, to be heard, to have a say, to take care of me and nurture me-- because it wasn't anyone else's job to do that for me and-- having no infants or toddlers left among my children-- It was no longer my job to do that for anyone else. 
That is how I would describe learning to have Boundaries. The funny thing is, if I had NOT begun to exercise healthy Boundaries, I would never have stopped trying to keep everyone else happy-- and I would never have begun to recognize how dysfunctional all my people were always on the verge of a meltdown or withdrawing from basic life responsibilities and expectations. 
I would have NEVER seen that there was a pattern to all the craziness that had the diagnostic label of Asperger's Syndrome.
Boundaries in dealing with my family saved my life, but I still have to choose daily how to set my boundaries with other needy people. 
I have stopped helping everyone. It was never my assignment. I am my first assignment. 
When my basic needs are met, I am in a much better place to be of help to someone else IF they are my assignment.”

Johanna was speaking directly to me when she wrote these words and they touched my heart and made me think about the situation that I am facing. I have to take care of myself. As mother's we all need to be reminded of that. So, I thought it was important to share her words with you. 

When we have babies, we don't think about how hard the transition to adulthood will be.  Of course, we never imagine  having a child with special needs and all that that entails. Some things just can not be imagined.

Johanna also occasionally writes on her blog, "Faith, Love & Inspirations." Please check her out and consider joining her public Facebook group.