Monday, January 30, 2012

My Daughter Has Asperger's, And I Feel Like A Fraud

I've wanted to sit down and write this post for days, but the words just weren't coming.

On January 24, my daughter was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.  I was completely unsurprised.  I've known it in my heart for some time.

Anna has always been different, since she was a baby.  She didn't really start talking until she was about 3.5... she had a handful of words, but didn't speak much.  She was easily agitated, and slept very little.  (She was 2.5 before she slept through the night for the first time.)  Since she was a toddler, she has loved bugs... this love for bugs has only grown throughout the years, and is now almost an obsession.  Anna has always been incredibly smart, and she loves to talk (lecture) to others about her interests (usually Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, or rocks).  She is constantly moving and wiggling (she is also diagnosed with mixed-type ADHD), and her handwriting is atrocious.  She argues a LOT, and has explosive fits of 'temper'.  This is just the Cliff's Notes version of my baby, however.  She is so much more than all of this, and I could talk all day about her.

There are a lot of days when I feel that I can't take one. more. minute.  I don't understand her, and she doesn't understand me.  Dealing with meltdown after meltdown wears me out physically and emotionally.  But there are good days... and it's on these good days that I feel like such a fraud.

When your child is 'bad', having a meltdown, or generally being uncooperative people think "What is WRONG with that kid?  Do something.  Put your foot down... figure out what's going on and fix it!"  People even say it sometimes.  They don't know where you've been.  They don't know that you've tried it all, and none of the typical things seem to work.  This was our situation... the 'typical' just didn't work.  She doesn't respond to it.  But now we know why, and can adjust our ways of thinking and work WITH it, rather than against it.

You know what worries me now?  Good days.

Now that everyone knows what's going on, and knows her diagnosis, I fear they will always be expecting the worst.  I fear that on her good days (and she definitely does have them) they will think "There's nothing wrong with that kid.  She's fine!  This is the problem with parents today... diagnosis-shopping so they don't have to deal with their kids!"

On her very good days, I feel like a fraud.  I worry that others will think I'm a fraud, and I second guess myself.  I wonder if it's really true.  After all, where's the difficulty?  (It can be easy to forget that the previous 3 days were a living hell when everything is going so smoothly....)

I've already had people say to me "Really?  She's not that bad!"  "But, she's so friendly!"  "But, she's so happy!"  The guilt of having to explain gets to me.  I feel like I'm talking down my child to justify myself rather than celebrating her good points.

I hope that I won't always feel the need to justify myself.  I hope that one day I will just say "Yep.  Really."  :)  And leave it at that.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Big Day

I came into an empty room early this morning to wait for my bride to arrive.  I sat for hours waiting, wondering when she would show up, and hold me in her arms for our walk down the aisle.

 I couldn’t wait for our big moment.  I knew she would be resplendent in white, with me nestled in her arms.   My freesia, roses, hydrangeas and peonies add such a gorgeous splash of color.

 You didn’t think I was her husband-to-be, did you?  Oh no, not me… I am not the groom.   I am the most beautiful bouquet you will ever lay eyes on, and was about to be part of a truly lovely, extravagant wedding for the happiest couple you’d ever meet. 

I knew they must be really happy together, because it was going to be one heck of a party!  The room I was in was beautiful, and I saw the church and the cake on the way in.  It was all breathtaking.  Yes, very happy indeed…   I mean, you don’t order a bridal bouquet, and spend thousands and thousands of dollars to celebrate something you aren’t happy about, do you?  Of course not.  They were obviously very, very happy.

This morning it was just me and her.  I watched as she walked around the room, touching her dress and inspecting the flowers… then she plopped into an easy chair, studying a photograph of a very handsome man.  She whispered “I love you.  Always.”  How sweet - she brought a picture of him because she couldn’t see her groom before the wedding!  A little odd, though, that I heard her whisper “Pull yourself together!  They’ll be here any minute!”

 She put the picture away, and started to get ready.

It was so touching.  I was so happy to be a part of such a special day for a couple that much in love!  I got to see it all:  the bridesmaids arriving, the pictures being taken, the bride slipping into her dress and shoes.  Then eventually, she took me in her hands… it was showtime!

I smelled great, and I looked beautiful.  So did the bride, and everyone else.  Waiting right outside the church doors I thought that I couldn’t even imagine how giddy with anticipation she must have been.  Until… until a tear rolled down her face and fell onto me.

She’s was crying, and I had no idea why.

The doors opened, and she walked down the aisle toward her husband-to-be with me clasped in her hands, wondering what was happening, and why humans were so strange.  It didn’t make sense to me, but whatever… I had a job to do, and the groom was standing right in front of us.

The groom.

The groom smiled, and in an instant I was sure I’d never seen this man before.  Not in a picture, or anywhere else.  Yet, she walked over and took his hand.  They spoke their vows, and sealed it with a kiss. 

As they walked down the aisle as husband and wife, I felt another tear fall onto my petals and wondered who the man in the picture was.

(Writing prompt:  Write from the point-of-view of a wedding bouquet)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This Little Piggy

I remember a time when I was just a pig – well, a pile of cleverly disguised stuffing, really.  I lived on a shelf in a busy, busy place where a million eyes passed over me, and nobody stopped to see me.  I sat, and waited there for a long time… It was OK, though, I had plenty of time.

Those days are so far behind me now that they are like an echo from another world.  I am no longer a pig, you see.  True, I am still a pile of cleverly disguised stuffing, but I am not a pig.  A million pieces of my new world fill my fibers, and have made me into something entirely different.

Once I was made of cloth and stuffing, and thread… now I am made of tears (many, many tears), of sweat, of dirt, of imperfections and uneven stitches made by the hand of a little girl ‘fixing’ me after an accident, or when my pieces started to wear out.  I remember every tear, and I remember every stitch.

I came from a shelf and a box, but I grew into something so much bigger.  I was a comforter and counselor to a little girl who lost her brother.  I held her the best I could when she couldn’t stop crying because she missed him so badly.  I comforted her when she had a bad dream, or was nervous alone at camp.  Oh yes, I remember camp… it smelled funny, and the bed was uncomfortable.  I had to stay there in the cabin all day.

I moved a few times, too.  Once I went with the girl, far away, to a place where it snowed all the time.  It was different and scary, but we did it together.  

I remember a time when my girl just couldn’t stop crying.  We’d been together for a long time by then, and I knew something very bad had happened.  It was then that I thought I might fall apart, because I wasn’t used to having so many tears fall on me.  She lost her first love and I worried for her, but I let her know she would always have me.

I’m still with my girl after many years.  Losses and tears still come.  Perhaps someday I will fall apart… but my girl will stitch me back together again just as I've done for her.

(This post is the result of a writing prompt.  The dictionary defines personification as “the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.”
Now it’s your turn to tell a piece of your story from the point of view of an object who bore witness in 400 words or less.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dream A Little Dream (aka: My Subconscious Is An Asshole)

I love how everything can be going along beautifully and then suddenly your subconscious rouses, yawns, and says to itself "I'm bored.  What can I stir up?"

Dreams... and not of the MLK variety, either.  No, when it's bored, these dreams that the subconscious so thoughtfully gifts you aren't dreams of a better tomorrow, dreams of peace and harmony, or dreams of equality... these dreams are evil, soul-destroying dreams, usually featuring someone you've loved and lost.

Never again.

Only, your subconscious makes you forget that, and replays lovely scenarios from the past, or creates new, wonderful ones based on your most heartfelt desires.  Desires, in fact, that you sometimes didn't even know you had, because you've spent so long bandaging the wounds that you don't even admit to yourself that they are there.

These are the ones that make tears spring to your eyes when you wake up and find yourself in your bed, and current reality comes crashing in.

Yep, thanks for that, subconscious.  This morning sucks, because last night was great.  It's like drinking your weight in tequila... SO not worth it.

Now, to get back to patching up this mess.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Distressing Things From A Pampered First-World Girl

A random list of (trivial) distressing things:

I wish I'd ordered the grande instead of the tall coffee this morning when I HAD to stop by Target for a few things.  (The fact that Starbucks is located there was just a happy coincidence... I swear.)

My kitchen and living room smell like Fruity Pebbles... and I cannot figure out why.

I am the only person currently living in this house who knows that trash goes IN the trash can.  Everyone else seems to be of the mindset that as long as the garbage is in the general vicinity of the can, it's all good.  No.  No, no, NO.

Toothpaste smears.  Need I say more?

Clutter.  The effing clutter is going to drive me batshit insane one of these days.  I put it away, someone brings it back out.  I donate stuff to Goodwill, the next day 6 boxes arrive from bearing more crap.  (Yes P, I'm talking to YOU.) Sometimes I think we are one bout of flu (and me not being able to clean for a week) from an episode of Hoarders.

Sad songs.  Sometimes a sad song (or at least it's sad to ME) is on every single station.  It's like the radio Gods are saying "Psst.  Hey, Dawn... yeah, you.  Got a little something for you... it's called 'The Song That Reminds You Of A Bad/Painful Time'.  Enjoy!  Oh, and PS... you can't get away, so don't even try."

Jeggings.  Jeggings are ugly and evil, and should be banned for anyone over the age of 10.

The 'mystery stain' on the living room carpet that nobody (not even the dog) will admit to having caused.

Toilet paper.  More accurately, the speed at which it disappears in a household with three girls/women.  I am constantly putting more TP out, replacing rolls, and making emergency runs to the bathroom with a new roll.

School reading logs.  Dude, I read to my kids almost every day, and have been since they were too young to even care.  I resent being asked to write down everything I read my kids, and being treated like a slacker criminal who never reads to her kids when I forget to mark it down.  Sheesh!