Wednesday, September 14, 2011

GBE2 Challenge: One Year Ago

I'm trying. I'm really trying.

My blogging group has challenged me to write on the topic, "One Year Ago", and, I've gotta be honest: that's a real struggle! I've closed my eyes to block out distractions. I'm focused as best I can, thinking back to the start of school this time last year, and...

Nope. Can't do it.

The truth is, if you were to ask me what I did at a particular point this morning, there would definitely be at least a five-second delay before I could come up with the answer. Ask me about last week, and my eyes wander up to the sky as I ponder the calendar of the recent past.

Seriously, I DO KNOW when my kids were born. But, when asked at the doctor's office, I can't readily retrieve them. My husband is doomed. He isn't even on my radar screen any more. Neither is my dog.

I think it is some form of brain rot, a result of a decade of sleeplessness and operating at warp speed like a mad woman with her pants on fire. I've been in full-on reaction mode for so long--does my brain remember how to function? Lately, it seems as though its first response to any question is..ummmmm....welll......nothing.

I'm sorry, am I staring off into space instead of responding to your question? It isn't you, really. It's me. I'm contemplating that vapid space between my ears--you know, the part from which the witty responses and intelligent conversations generate? I think I'm hearing crickets there now. It's very distracting.

So, in order to shake awake my memory, I'll do what any memory-challenged person would do--make use of a crutch. I'm sure I kept last year's calendar. It's not like I've cleaned...

Ah, yes, now I remember One Year Ago.

I see that our older son was in another rough patch. He wasn't sleeping for five hour stretches in the middle of the night, and we not only were doubting ourselves, but we were doubting him. There are times along this path, times of uncertainty, when I'll admit to falling prey to some harsh judgments of him made by various people/doctors/"experts" at the time. He screamed and cried. We'd punish him by sending him to his room and making him stay there.

He'd rebel by stripping naked and urinating on his toys.

I remember thinking that he was an animal.

Yes, I said it. I remember thinking that my very own child was akin to an animal. I didn't understand him. There was a disconnect that I couldn't explain, and I was at a crossroads: was the mental limitation his or mine?

Before his autism or any of his other developmental diagnoses, our older son struggles with multiple gastric conditions that affect his daily life. When analyzing a situation, we must always first consider the medical factors before the developmental factors. Therefore, I called his gastroenterologist in Boston, and we agreed to schedule him for several scopes as soon as possible.

It turned out that as soon as possible was two days before Thanksgiving. Just a week and a half after our son had the flu. Four days after I had the flu and one day after my husband had the flu. We were on our last leg. I almost took the two boys there alone to have this done.

We were desperate. I had to get him help. I had to find answers. I owed it to him to do everything humanly possible to help him.

Getting through that trip and those scopes just about did me in, but from the effort we got answers. His behavior had gotten so out of control because his gastric conditions had changed. He was in pain that we didn't even know, and he had no other way of telling us.

I felt so ashamed. I felt as though I had let him down. If he can't count on his parents, who does he have in life?

One Year Ago, my faith was re-affirmed in my son, and I vowed to be a better mom. I vowed to not only listen to the few words he had as directives for my parenting, but to listen to his actions. Behavior is communication. One Year Ago, I was embarking on learning this valuable lesson.

When I look at our son today, this very day, after a particularly rough summer, I see a boy with clear eyes. I see a person.

I don't see a diagnosis.

I don't see a compilation of behaviors.

I don't see a collection of symptoms.

I see a boy--a growing boy. I see a boy with feelings which might be difficult to discern from one cycle to the next, but the difference in approach, from One Year Ago to today, is profound.

Had I not made that mental transition, what would his future have been?

One would think, as profound a change as this event was in my life, I would have readily remembered that it had happened One Year Ago without consulting my calendar. One would think. My brain needs some serious working out.

Somebody remind me to work on that.


  1. What an inspirational post this one is. A short year ago you were lost and wandering. Now you are found and wandering! LOL Seriously, you have learned and developed so much raising these boys and I see nothing but bigger and better tomorrows for all of you. You will never give up and they will always need you to do just that!
    <3 you and respect you so much!

  2. Bravo! I am looking forward to hangin' out with da boys....they sound like a couple of champs! :)

  3. Ha! Yeah, they're champs alright! They are victorious over me quite often! LOL!!

    Both of you come--but wear your running shoes!

  4. Wow! That's a tough one!! Not sure if I could handle it as well as you, although my son was a definite challenge. He suffered with ADHD and oppositional personality disorder, got in trouble regularly and, thus, I can absolutely relate to the thinking "he's an animal". He would urinate on the bathroom walls while standing at the toilet or on the counter watching himself in the mirror. *sigh* I'm glad he's 30 with kids of his own now. I love him dearly!

  5. You are a woman I'd be proud to know.
    Forget dates, and guilt, and what happened last year. Live in the moment, do your best, cling to joy.
    Yeah you!

  6. With some of the posts I've read here, it's amazing you still have a brain. You're one strong lady!


  7. I hit a dead end trying to remember what happened last year. It was a nightmare for me actually. I had to cheat and archive through past blogs to see where I was at last year. I'm glad I'm in a better place now.

  8. Ah, heck. Who says we have to remember anyway? I'm deciding to rebel. My kids are fed and dressed. I remembered to feed the dog, the frogs and the fish. My teeth are brushed. My clothes aren't inside out.

    I'd say it's a good day.

  9. I have a feeling Amy, that one year ago from any randomly chosen day or week or month, you will find some record of a difficult or very difficult situation that you faced head on and then overcame with wisdom and fortitude. Actually, isn't your superlative attitude, ever loving kindness, mature devotion and amazing strength getting kind of boring? NOT! Only kidding!!! Keep up the good work!

  10. Oh, Mike, perfection is never boring. LOLOLOL!!!!!! Ahhhh, joking lightens the day. Thanks for that!

    I think it is your good attitude more than mine that always sees my good side, but I'll take it! It isn't easy to admit to thinking that your child is nothing more but an animal, but I wanted to say it for the other parents who might be feeling it or who have felt it and think that they are alone. Such a taboo thaought...

  11. Seems to me that we sinful people are of a sort far 'worse' than any animal. They live simply by instinct, while we live either in rebellion to our creator (the default setting), or in compliance (after the hard choice of repentance). As you pointed out "He'd rebel by stripping naked and urinating on his toys." Such an act is worse than 'animal'; it is very much human!
    Ooops. There I go getting heavy. Sorry about that chief!

  12. Not at all! I like your perspective. It makes me think...

  13. One nice thing about looking back is that we see progress--solid, quantitative progress. And that vision makes us feel less like we're lost and more like what is real: we're a little wiser than we were a year ago. And that's enough.

    You know how much I admire you. Always.

  14. You and your son are strong people. I hope this year goes much better.
    A Pirate Looks Past Sixty