Posts tagged ‘violence’

Heartache and heartbreak

Parenting has not been anything like I thought it would be. I hear comments from parents about it being the greatest joy in their lives, the best thing they’ve ever done, or the purpose for their very existence – and I want to scream. It has not been the case for me, not even close. Parenting C – through no fault of his own – has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. I recognize how awful that sounds as well as the ramifications for saying it. I wrote this long before posting it; letting it simmer in its sadness and reality long before I decided to share it.

I do remember having a sense of joy in parenting when C was little, despite the complications and before most of his anger and venom had a target. I wonder, had that anger been turned toward the world and not me and sometimes Husband, if I would have had a different outcome than I am experiencing now. I’d like to think so.

But the reality is that it didn’t. We are where we are.

We have landed right back where we started, and far more quickly than I thought we would. A mere two months after C returned home, he is now back in an acute care psychiatric hospital. His behaviors have been escalating, culminating in my calling the police yesterday morning. They called in their psych team that rides with the force, and they elected to put him on a 72-hour hold.

I think both Hubs and I are pretty numb at this point. We have realized we need to find C alternative housing, as we have to be absolutely *perfect* in order to manage C’s behavior, and even when we are, it’s no guarantee. It is no way to live. We’ve been told that if C isn’t in the home, he is very unlikely to finish high school, which is part of why we hoped we could keep him at home for the next year and a half. But the cost is simply too high.

In the biggest act of radical acceptance I can muster, I recognize that this is the way it is, and it is unlikely to change. C is who he is. I hope that he will grow up and grow out of his current mindset, but he may not. My hope is that if we can find him some placement, he will settle in and blossom much like he did while in residential treatment. Given that his issues exist mostly in our home, I find this hope possible despite my nervousness about the unknown in his future.

So where do *I* go from here? If that isn’t the question of my life, I don’t know what is. I recognize that while I have come very far, parenting C is likely always going to overwhelm me in ways I am unable to overcome. I will continue to hope that we can help C become independent and that he’ll live a life that is meaningful to him, whatever that looks like. While I want that for him, I also know that it is what I need in order to have the same for myself.





May 25, 2019 at 10:45 pm 2 comments

A Pain in My…

This past week, I’ve been struck down – and I mean down – with a severe case of shingles. I’m not even telling you where, but imagine the worst possible place one could experience this most painful of diseases and then light it on fire. Yup.

I have had a lot of time to think. And cry. And overthink. And not think at all because it hurts too much. Yet I landed on one thing: things with C used to be more fun. I remembered, reading through the whole of What We Need, how entertaining he was. How charming. Cute. Funny. I also remember worrying that if we didn’t get his elementary school tantrums under control, teenage C would be scary.

I was right.

I do recognize C’s tantrums now are much like his tantrums then, except on a grander scale and with far more serious consequences. We have listened to mental health practitioners and juvenile justice officers tell us that he needs more help before he turns 18, because everything changes then. Police officers won’t sit and calmly try to talk him off the figurative ledge, they’ll just put him in the back of the car and take him away. And if we aren’t with him when something happens? They won’t know he has autism and mental health issues – they’ll just think he’s being aggressive and violent. My greatest fear, if I’m honest, is that he’ll end up in the “system.” Because at some point, he won’t be here, or we won’t be here, and someone won’t understand.

So C is somewhere – a state away, in fact – getting that help. Or at least we hope so. We won’t really know until he comes home, around the time he turns 18. He will have been gone seven months at that time. He is in a place with other kids with ASD, and he sounds like he is thriving when we speak with him. While I can’t speak for Hubs, sending C away was both the hardest and the easiest decision I have ever made.

What I am still waiting to see is if it was the best decision.


October 21, 2018 at 7:56 pm 6 comments

Monkeys jumping on the bed

     C is a pretty happy kid, or, as we like to say, he’s a pretty happy kid – except when he’s not. He can whine with the best of them, and despite our consistency in not changing an answer once we give it, he still feels the need to push the issue at least a dozen times before completely losing it when the answer remains no. Sometimes I fantasize about sending him off to live with the Duggar house (if you don’t know who they are more power to you) for a week or two for behavior boot camp, but then I remind myself that autism lives at our house. There’s a reason for troubling behavior when it happens. I may not always know what triggers it, but there is most definitely a significant trigger and it’s not just about bad behavior. 

     This night, C rose to new heights of unhappiness, and it pains me to say that for the first time ever, I was actually afraid of my child. Scared that he would hurt me, I was left fretting about what his teenage years might bring if this is what we’re getting at 8. The multiple tantrums that started shortly after I picked C up from school seemed to only escalate in their severity and, frankly, violence.

     If you really knew C, you would be stunned. Aside from the fact that he’s a mere 46 pounds and I am, well, not 46 pounds, it’s uncharacteristic for him to go to this extreme. Fortunately it’s rare and unusual, and probably takes him by surprise as much as it does us. C’s teachers would not believe it was possible that a child who behaves beautifully at school could be such a Jekyll and Hyde at home on occasion. So much so this evening that even Husband, who always thinks we are great parents, said he felt like crying. I know it’s bad when it gets to that point. Actually, it’s never made it to that point before tonight.

     We have a plan, though. As C and I snuggled in his bed before lights out, I suggested some things he could do when he gets angry that won’t hurt himself or anyone else. He didn’t want to hit his pillow because he didn’t want to hurt its feelings (and have the now anthropomorphized pillow give him bad dreams). Instead, we decided, when he feels as though he’s about to lose control, he will go into his room and jump on the bed. That’s the plan for the moment, and I think C felt empowered to have a solution that he liked. And hopefully, it will diffuse the situation enough to keep C, and everyone around him, safe.

February 5, 2010 at 5:38 am 6 comments

The rest of the story

     I’ve had a few requests for a little more context about yesterday’s post, so here’s the rest of what I had originally written, but didn’t include:

     We’ve always tried to shelter C from news and violent images; not only because we want to protect his emotional health, but because he is so innocent and naive. Even though his peers have mostly all seen Batman, Spiderman and every other “man” movie, C has no interest. Developmentally, he hasn’t hit the “boy who wants to see grown up movies he really shouldn’t see” stage. Combine that with his fear of death, and real world issues become way too scary for him to contemplate. Consequently, we’ve not yet talked with him about war, the military, and the like. When he asked what a soldier is, we told him a soldier protects our country. The inevitable, “Protects our country from what?” question never followed, thankfully.

     So yesterday, you can imagine my surprise when C said to me, “Mommy do you want to know what I’d do if I was President? I’d not let anybody shoot anybody else.” To my knowledge, his only knowledge of “shooting” involved the spaceship shooting on Space Invaders. He might have borrowed this sentence from a classmate, or perhaps he knows more than I thought. I asked him some more context gathering questions, but all I could get was that they were talking in class about what they would do if they were elected President.

     I asked him tonight if he knew what shooting someone meant, and he said no. I asked him if he knew how a person would feel if they were shot, and he said no. I asked him if he knew what a gun is, and he said no. “OH, I’ve got it, is it like a water gun?” he asked. I told him it was more serious than that, and then he quickly moved on to building a tower with blocks, happily unaware that we’d just had one of our many conversations in which I feel completely out of my league. Trying to figure out how to share age appropriate lessons with a child who is the equivalent of a 10 year old 3 year old is always a challenge.

     “But would it tickle?” he asked a moment later.

     Score: Innocence – 1, Worldliness – 0.

August 14, 2008 at 9:56 pm 7 comments

Did anybody hear that?

     “Mommy do you want to know what I’d do if I was President? I’d not let anybody shoot anybody else. That’s what I learned in school today. You learn lots in 2nd grade.”

    If only the world would listen.

August 13, 2008 at 6:24 am 6 comments

It’s all autism, all the time.

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