A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"And Then?"

Every morning, I'm up before my girl. Not for long, usually about 10, 15 minutes or so. In that time, I tense up. I wonder what awaits me that day. Will she have stayed dry overnight? Will she be connected? Will she feel regulated? Will she be easily overwhelmed by the morning's tasks? Will there be meltdowns? Will she be able to focus enough to get dressed on time, or will we all be shouting as the bus waits in the driveway?

I go through this all over again during the moments where I sit at the front door and I wait for the bus to deliver my baby girl to me after a long day at school.  I am wondering (in no particular order): will she be wearing what I sent her to school in? Will she have stayed dry? What will she be like today? for the next ten minutes? Connected? Engaged? Off in her own space? What will the teacher's notes say (my only way of knowing what happened at school)? Will she have behaved? followed directions? kept her hands to herself? Those moments are the most anxiety filled time of my day. But they're not the only ones. 

At the same time, I'm so excited during those moments- eager to get her home- hanging on to the hope that she might be engaged and tell me something anything about school.

Its a funny thing about raising a kid like Little Bird. My mind is incredibly preoccupied with all things her. Truly, I think about her ALL THE TIME. It's all the same stuff: am I doing enough for her? what am I missing? Is she happy? How can I make her happier? How can I help her feel better? And of course, the constant.... "what's going to happen when..." This is one of the reasons that moms like me have been compared to combat soldiers with PTSD symptoms. Sometimes, I feel like I have to apologize sometimes when people are talking to me. Like, I need to say, "I'm listening and I hear you, but I'm also trying to figure out what's going to happen when." The fears and the thoughts are constant, but the when changes: when she goes to the next ASD classroom next year, when she goes to middle school, when she gets her period, when she ages out of the school programming, when everyone else's kids grow up and move on, and the constant worry- when I am gone.

It's amazing how many thoughts I can have in the span of about 10 minutes, even seconds. Unfortunately, many of those thoughts and fears are constants that ebb and flow in intensity. Actually, it's kinda funny.... she's always asking, "and then?" in effort to confirm our schedule and have some kind of idea of what's coming next. I guess in my own way, I'm doing the same thing. Always wondering, "and then??"

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