There are many different dimensions of living in the world of autism. One of them is observing how my beautiful boy of 12 1/2 is entering the world of adolescence. I know it's not a smooth transition for any of these boys, but throw autism into the mix and it's a whole different story. Imagine the confusion of growing up - now multiply it by 100 - and bingo, you've got adolescence, autism style!
One of TJ's weaknesses is a grasp of social appropriateness, or a lack thereof. In a way it's kind of nice that he is oblivious and not stressed about looking cool all the time. In another way, it's not kind of nice that he's the nose picker and crotch scratcher and pants hiker upper who acts like no one is watching. We're working on this, every day. It's hard for him to remember that there are certain things you don't do in public. Maybe we'll get there, maybe we won't...who knows. All I can do is keep reminding him, and hope that his peers don't hold these behaviors against him.
Another of his weaknesses is his language. He is fully verbal, but he is a quirky talker. I love it. Really. It's one of his gifts to the world, the wonderful things that come out of that kid's mouth.
This morning, however, I didn't love it so much.
TJ has been fighting a cold. Coughing during the day. He was home a couple days last week and is well enough now to go to school. He is, however, very bummed that he's well enough to go to school.
OK I have to interrupt my writing this cute, funny story.....TJ just called from school, from I don't know where. He said to me "I quit, and I'm leaving." Then he hung up. I immediately called the school back and told the secretary about his call - she's alerting who needs to be alerted and I'm now sitting by the phone, waiting for an update.
Why am I writing about this? Because this is how my life goes. From smiling about a cute story that made me laugh, to panic stricken by the phone, waiting to hear that my precious child hasn't left school grounds and gotten lost somewhere in Essex. I know he will be fine, as the school is wonderful, and TJ called from some populated area as I heard kids in the background. I'm thinking positively that there is no way he could just walk out unobserved. But this is what happens to me - this is about as true of a snapshot of my life as you can get. Laughing to panic. Happy to worried. Knowing the phone will ring soon with positive news.
Ring, dammit, ring now.
Not waiting for the ring, calling the school back myself.
Now, thankfully, knowing he has not left the school. Dissolving into tears. Waiting now for a call from the special educator for an update on how TJ is doing. Thanking god or whoever that he is not wandering angrily around town. My baby is safe.
Now, having just gotten off the phone with the AMAZING special educator who is currently processing with TJ, knowing he is in good hands, I cry. I cry for the panic that froze me solid. The fear that this could happen again. The feeling that sets in when a crisis is over and it's now OK to cry. The worry for my boy and what he is going through to cause such a crazy morning. That he still struggles with being mad....he can't just be mad, it takes over his entire being.
I am OK that he is mad at me, and OK that he is dealing with it however he needs to deal with it.
I am OK. So is he.
Wow - what a turnaround in one post! Welcome to my life.