Wednesday, January 4, 2012

GBE2 Challenge: Work

"What sort of work do you want to do when you grow up?" I just asked our younger son, who is home sick from school today. I knew what he was going to say.

"A storm chaser," he replied matter-of-factly.

"Oh yeah? Where do you plan to chase storms?" I asked, encouraging the conversation.

"Anywhere there's a storm," he said in his "Duh!" voice.

" you have to go to college to chase storms?" I pressed.

"Well, dad says I can start next year when I'm nine."

This was news to me, by the way.

"Dad says that we can start by chasing one or two storms in the summertime." His eyes just sparkled as he said these words.

"You mean your dad is going with you?" I asked. What, do these two have some plan or something?

"Yeah. You know. We're going to just find them and go into buildings with our cameras and footage them and things like that," he answered. My little storm chaser. This kid's got it all figured out.

And, apparantly it's starting this summer. I guess he and his dad have summer plans.

I wonder if his dad knows about them?

"Dad snores, by the way," I warned him. "Bring some ear plugs."

We were both curled on the couch in our warm family room. It's the second day of a cold snap in New York State. After an unusually warm holiday season, we're due for the cold weather, but I don't like it.

Our storm chaser is sick, and I've pulled out the cool air mister, warm blankets and all I could think of to make him warm, cozy and comfortable on this cold, winter sick day. It's the first day he's missed of school for sickness. Ever.

It's my job to make him feel better.

Those clean beds upstairs? All me.

The bathrooms that, TRUST ME, are splattered with all kinds of yuck from these cave boys of mine throughout the day? Nobody else cleans them.

"Where's my employment contract?" I asked my husband one day. I was serious, and I wanted to prove a point. At one point in time, I had brain power, you know. How had my life been reduced to this?

He just laughed it off. Only, truly, I wasn't joking. I had PLANS for my life, after all. Yes, those plans did include children, but did they include special children? Advocacy? Scullery Maid? Special Diets Cook? Laundress? Caretaker of all things furry, slimy or swimming? Homeschooler when needed?

Did I imagine knowing, really, so very much about BMs and the digestive system? Really?

I sat next to my storm chaser this morning as he told me of his summer plans, knowing full well that he expected me to be where I always am--where I have always been during his lifetime: at home, keeping those home fires burning. In his mind, while he and his dad are out chasing the great F5 tornado, I was to be here, where I always am, taking care of our older son, the house, the pets and all that comes along with family living.

That's what I do.

I wonder, why didn't he ask me to chase storms with him this summer? I could, you know....if I wanted to...

But, the truth is, I wouldn't want to. First of all, I think you'd have to be a nut to chase storms. Our son is that kind of a nut. He loves storms. It is his passion.

My children are my passion.

It happened without my realizing, perhaps during one of the sleepless nights as I sat in my familiar spot at the top of the stairs in the hall, forcing our older son to stay in his room during the wee hours. Or, was it while cleaning the tenth, fiftieth or one-hundreth toileting accident, knowing that it was a sign of a child just not able to control his body?

Was it the first time our tantruming child hit me, and I realized it was a cry for help and not an act of anger?

I'm hopeless. Somewhere along the very path that will surely drive me to insanity, I have found my life's work and my purpose.

Leaning over my sick child's head, I gave him a kiss. He just taught me a lesson and didn't know it.

"Yuck, mama," he said while wiping away any possible remnants of my affection.

Wow. A mom kisses a child inside their home, nobody is there to see it, and it can STILL be uncool.

I'm sorry, may I re-write this entry?


  1. Nope, you may not re-write this one. Being a mom is all those things, isn't it? I mean one minute you are the reason the world stays on it's axis and the next you are just so unnecessary. The bottom line, the most important thing, being a mom is what we do full time for the rest of our lives once we actually birth those little bundles. Personally, I can't imagine it any other way. ♥

  2. Amy,
    keep purging... your honesty is great, and will help you to maintain some kind of balance in your life...
    thinking of you,

  3. Don't re-write! It is so powerful, I am silent and send you a respectful bow!

  4. Your work falls into the category of most rewarding and most worthy. You are great at it. Don't rewrite and please don't change a thing.

  5. Don't do-over needed. You still have brain power, by the way. Fabulous, problem-solving, instinct-trusting, confusing-system-maneuvering, services-arranging, kid-empowering, husband-supporting, damn-these-shoes-are hot, brain power. Good stuff.

  6. DO NOT, re-write this. Besides I'm going to tweet it, then there will be a broken link and all kinds of trouble. So there.

    Life is never what we expect it to be, especially when it turns out better than we expect it to be, special needs and all. Autism is a 'you know what', but it makes us cherish those days when you just look at your kid and marvel. We are the lucky ones.

    I could do with a maid though...

  7. PS: You NEED to be on Twitter, just sayin', amazing community of parents of kiddos with Autism and special needs...and they are some of the funniest people I know.

  8. You have what is likely the hardest and most important job in the world, Being a Mom.

  9. Love this post. It's perfect.

  10. You may not rewrite this entry. It was pure, honest and beautiful. You are a mom to be admired. I understand your passion for your children. It's just that...passion. It's an indestructible love that is hard to explain.

    Carry on Cave Mom! I'm one of your biggest fans!

  11. I really loved this post...It is perfect as it is ~ raw honesty...I admire that :o) Being a Mum is so rewarding, and amazing but also very taxing and challenging ~ I'm sure this is twice as hard with a special needs child...I take my hat off to you! I have four kids, and love them to bits but they drive me crazy some days too ;o)

  12. Great post, and it looks like the consensus is NO on the rewriting ;-)

    With the risk of repeating your other responders, it is honest, raw... beautiful, and was well worth the time it took to read it!

  13. As ever, Amy, beautifully, perfectly written, and never needed any rewrite. I am so glad you have found your work, that your work involves so much love, so much unexpected joy in unexpected moments and that you can face each day with a smile (and a wet rag... just in case!) Hugs and love to you and all your boys, big and small xx

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