I love you, I need you.

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(me + my mom in 1987)

Tonight, I called my mom.  I told her that I needed her.  I do need her.  I’m 31 years old and I need my mother so much it hurts.  I call her and tell her that my son needs to see her… that he misses her.  I try to get her to come up here and help me with the kids.  Really,  I just need her to hold me.

I grew up in a house that wasn’t very affectionate.  We didn’t hug very much.  We said I love you but it was a quick “okay, love you, talk to you later.”  My mom kind of has a thing about physical affection.  I don’t know that she grew up in a very affectionate household.  We’re kind of weird about feelings at home.  We don’t really express ourselves well unless we’re angry.  Healthy right?  For me to tell my mother the words tonight… “I need you…I need you… I NEED YOU…” is huge.  I am 31 and I need my mother because I am hurting.

My son was recently given an individual education plan (IEP) because he has “developmental delays.”  We’re fairly certain it is autism but for whatever reason I couldn’t hear those words right now.  It is HARD for me to KNOW that my son has something that they don’t know much about.  They don’t know what causes it.  They don’t know exactly what to do about it… I mean, sure, there are ideas– but the spectrum is so large.  There are so many unknowns.  I am not good at unknowns.  If they can’t find a reason for it– the reason is me.  That is what I tell myself from sun up to sun down.  I should have breastfed longer, I shouldn’t have eaten processed food, I shouldn’t have been so stressed, I shouldn’t have gotten the epidural, I should have staggered vaccinations, etc.   Sometimes I tell myself the worst one of all.  I shouldn’t have been selfish. 

After my husband and I got married I took red lipstick and wrote my bathroom mirror, “Don’t have children.  Don’t be selfish.  They will grow up like you.  You can’t do that to someone else.”  I looked at this every morning and I sobbed.  I wanted children so badly but I couldn’t live with them having the brain that I have.  Within a few months of writing this message, I was pregnant.  It was unplanned and unexpected.

Holding that 8 lb 6 oz baby boy was indescribable.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been more happy in my entire life.  He was beautiful.  He IS beautiful.  He had perfect eyes, so alert.  He nursed perfectly… his toes were big and beautiful.  Perfection.  He was my whole world.  He is my world.

The past year has been hard.  He’s been through so many adjustments.  We have a another little one and he has had to share his attention.  He had to deal with a truly awful preschool that punished him for his anxiety and insecurities.  He stims a lot.  He repeats questions.  He anxiously talks about irrelevant things.  He can’t talk to kids.  Sometimes toilets and vacuums scare him.  There are a lot of things that are hard for him.  BUT… he talks to me.  He loves me.  He kisses me.  He hugs me.  He laughs.  He makes jokes.  He hugs his sister and loves his sister.  He lights up when he sees her.  My children embrace each other the minute one realizes the other is awake.   They squeal with excitement.  How blessed am I to have two LOVING children?

The idea of autism is overwhelming.  I am overwhelmed.  I have obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, generalized anxiety and depression.  I have sensory issues and quirks.  I am TRYING to be an example for my fearful son but I am struggling.  Struggling to me… is failing.  I need my mom.  I need my mom to hold me and tell me that I’m doing an okay job.  I need her to hold my baby and comfort him in a way that only she can.  She may not have always been the greatest at it with me but she has ALWAYS been wonderful with my son.  He trusts her and he loves her.  They have a special bond.  A bond I am grateful for… especially when I feel inadequate.

I don’t know what I’m saying in this blog except for that I am feeling lost at the moment.  I am feeling stressed, scared, overwhelmed and sorry for myself a little bit.  I hope I can find the strength and energy to really help myself so I can continue to help my son.  Sometimes the fight seems to large and I feel too small.  I pray for strength.

A poem about Grace Elaine

Tonight I’ve been talking with my good friend Heather.  I am so stressed out and it is so good to get things off my chest.  Heather is great because you can talk about something silly like the hatchimal craze…. or something serious like our children’s health issues. Tonight, we talked about how much we would love to talk to our grandmothers just one more time.  There is something so wonderful about grandparents.  They have lived full lives and have this wisdom that is so far beyond our own understanding.  I often look to my only living grandfather for advice and wisdom.  When talking with Heather tonight I remembered that in college I wrote several poems about my grandmother.  She was such a strong, beautiful woman.  I am so thankful that I had 13 years to know her and love her.  I would like to share one of the poems here because I feel that it captures who she was accurately.  As I am going through so much as a mother now… I would love to just be able to talk about everything with her.  After she passed in 1998 she visited me in my dreams.  She sat on the edge of my bed and she told me that she was okay.  I found such peace in this– and am thankful that she loved me so much.  I named my daughter after her and know that Claire has inherited some of her salty attitude. ( I say this lovingly, as her salty attitude was my favorite thing about her).  Anyway, here is the poem I wrote for her nearly 10 years ago.

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War Veteran’s Wife

She spent most days behind that old apron
making our meals and providing for us.
Her weathered fingers wrinkled like raisins,
gripping the spoon and praying for solace.
Day after day in a house of discord,
protecting us from our drunken father
with her bones as shields but never a sword.
Her tired body we would never bother.
She grew old inside of that same old house.
Rocking back and forth in her chair thinking
about her life as a war veteran’s spouse,
who wasn’t enough to stop his drinking
before he died inside his “Sunday best.”
Leaving behind for her a day of rest.