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Friday, August 31, 2012

#GBE2: Peace

I can hear the echo of his steps as he slaps his shoes against the hard tile floor.

Slap.
Slap.
Slap.
Slap.

His pace is quick. He stares intently at the ground.

Slap.
Slap.
Slap.
Slap.

He walks along the perimeter of the common areas where the white tiles change to color, a path that has been set in entirety even before it starts.

Slap.
Slap.
Slap.
Slap.

If people are in that path, if they do not keep up with his pace, he simply pushes through them. Fingers in his ears, humming nothing specific and tuning out the world, today, this is how our older son is finding peace.


Here, at the mall.

In these final days of August, when our special kids are on break from their summer services and awaiting the start of the new school year, just coping with the day can be a struggle for us all.

This break, our son recovered from a seizure.
While he had a colitis flare.
Which was addressed by a new medication.
To which he is apparently allergic.
He developed a swollen, itchy rash.
Right when the air conditioner broke in the house.

Suddenly he found loud, buzzing fans everywhere, fans which other people kept turning on every time he tried to turn them off.

It made people angry when he turned off the fans.

But, they hurt his ears. They hurt his head. They disturbed his sleep. Yes, life for our son during this break from services has been pretty darned uncomfortable.

So, by day, he searches for peace in the mall, even before the shops are open. He walks. He retreats within himself, fingers in his ears. The lines of communication shut down.

He escapes inside his body that itches and twitches, jerks and stomps its hurried way up and down each and every corridor. He becomes lost inside his own mind, that place of peace inside him that has helped him cope with the outside world.

Our world.

Day after day, I dutifully follow behind him. I keep him from harm's way, from injuring people he doesn't care to see in his path. Admittedly, I sometimes find it hard to scrape together the patience to work with an unresponsive shell of a child when I, too, am feeling stretched.

Often defeated, I let my mind wander. I think of other things. Or, I think of nothing at all. When we stop for a rare break along our path, I'll pull out my phone to make contact with people who don't live this life and talk about anything other than autism.

Or, maybe I do talk about autism. Maybe I curse it, depending upon the day.

Either way, disconnected and with a blank stare, my nose often pointed down toward my phone, I realize that my place and posture of peace during this break are not all that different from our son's.

I know that I could socialize with him or with anyone else around us for that matter. But. I. Just. Don't. Want. To.

No. I don't want to do it.

I'm tired. I haven't slept well. I'm prickly and sensitive. I'd rather shove my nose in my phone or zone out and plow through the day.

Life is just more peaceful that way.

I love our son. I don't want him to be a shell of a child. Yet, it is along our path today that I have become more protective of his right to sink inside of himself and to shut out the world--at least temporarily--in order to establish his peace.

We all do it.

Maybe we don't pace the floors of the mall. Maybe we don't shove our fingers in our ears and hum some strange sound. Maybe we don't twitch loose our muscles.

For what it is worth, our older son doesn't happen to use a phone.

To each his own.

**********************
This entry was written in response to a word prompt issued by the Group Blogging Experience 2 (GBE2).


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18 comments:

  1. You know .. it hit me... as i am reading this chapter..i know who you remind me of; ANNE SULLIVAN!!

    GRACE!!!!!! pure GRACE...encapsulated. I was reading another authors writing this week...about the fan...going around and round. How it spoke to her..

    I plugged my ears just now..i feel safe in his world too ((hugs))

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    1. I don't know enough to be Anne Sullivan---unless it is the Anne Sullivan for my kids. And, really, aren't most mother's the Anne Sullivans for their kids?

      It's a flattering notion if I don't let myself pick it apart. LOL!!

      I think our son likes fans only if he can control them. If he can't, their sounds hurt and offend him to a horrible degree.

      Thanks for reading.

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  2. Reading this and really thinking about the activity in his head, it makes perfect sense to plug his ears, head down and walk briskly. It is something we all do and he has much more reason than most of us. You using your phone and hiding, as it were, from the world. Me sitting in my office or on the deck away from everyone and everything...enjoying the quiet, the solitude and the peace. We all have our thing and I am glad he found his. ♥

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    1. Absolutely my point. We all have our way. As a society, however, we just aren't to the point of seeing that there is no right or wrong. I hope one day.

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  3. {{{ Hugs}}} We travel your path as you show us the way.

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    1. Thank you for your willingness to read about our life. One family. Many struggles. But the struggles aren't unique to us. Perhaps something people see here can be applied elsewhere. Who knows.

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  4. Loved reading your post. Touched a chord somewhere. We all learn from each others struggles, learn to cope up to survive, to find a way to move on.

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    1. Thank you for reading.

      It's true. I've learned so much from what my kids face.

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  5. Most of us hide behind the screens of our lap tops ... our coping mechanism

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  6. I think we all learn, over time, to navigate the world on our own terms. I always think of my dad–a brilliant man whose has never wanted to get up early in the morning to go to work or work regular hours. This used to cause no end of strife. For years now, he has had a job where they are delighted to have him. He shows up at noon and works some days at home. He's happy as a clam. If he'd simply learned to get up early like he was supposed to, he wouldn't be as happy. I guess my point is, autistic or not, we are all of us, always in negotiation with the world to see how we can get along with it. You showed that so beautifully. Beautiful post.

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  7. to each his own is so true, amy..... i think you need to find something, anything to help find some kind of solace, to help maintain your ability to stand tall...

    i'm available to talk, anytime, anywhere...

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    1. I'm not immune to the looks my kids get.

      Usually, I understand that we stick out and hope the exposure broadens someone's perspective. ugh, it's these darned breaks! Breaks are so hard! My family is in survival mode. I absolutely understood why our son took to coping the way that he did, and, heck, I was no different. We are all no different.

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    2. And thank you for the offer! Breaks are the worst. I'm so glad to emerge from one actually having an offer for me to stick around rather than to take a jump into a lake. I absolutely know that I'm not at my best during these times.

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  8. I can so understand him doing that too, there are times I've been tempted to make it all go away! Amy, your ability to process all this with so much of love and empathy always inspires me!

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    1. I have my moments of wanting it to all go away as well--particularly during these breaks. Imagine living every day that way...every day being the extreme.

      As tough as it cam be to parent special needs, I think it is so much harder to live it.

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  9. School breaks are hard, and really, it does amaze me how well the kids cope. My son found a new way to cope by wrapping himself up like a mummy with a sheet and lying in bed. Don't worry I check his breathing every now and then. I used to stress myself out about stims and the emptiness, I thought I always had to be working towards getting him to normal. Yes, I came to terms with that. But also, and I can thank Twitter for this (see it is useful). A young man with Asperger's tweeted, "parents, let your children stim, I did it because it stopped my head from hurting so bad". We all just want our children not to hurt, I won't take that away.

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  10. You said it perfectly at the end, to each his own. You son is who is is, and you are who you are, each finding peace in this world individually - as we all do.

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