We're at the halfway mark in this round with the psych hospital.  Halfway there...

Last night I went to visit my son.  Picked him up and took him out for an ice cream cone.  It is moments such as these that I so treasure with him.  Just him and I doing what any parent and child would/should do.  We walked through the door of the ice cream shop and another man was being served.  He had a huge cone with a ton of ice cream and whipped cream and cherries on top and it made Kaeden's mouth water.  "Mama, that is a big ice cream.  Can I have one of those?"  he asked.  I wanted to say yes, have whatever you want, but I also know that 1) he shouldn't have so much  2) this was a little treat, not something that should cost a days work and 3) he needs to know that I am in control, I have the final say.  "No, Kaeden, we came to get a little treat.  Look at all those flavors they have.  Which ONE would you like?  I'm going to have the lemon sorbet."

We ordered and sat out in the sunshine, the heat of the hottest day of the year thus far hanging onto us.  I asked him how he was doing, what they'd been doing in the group.  He responded with "Nothing."  So, I tried another tactic.  "I see you have a new bracelet.  Did you make that?"

And then the floodgates opened.  He started telling me about the crafts they had done, the outdoor games with water balloons, showed me the blister on his hand from tug of war.  He smiled and laughed and couldn't get it all out quickly enough.  I laughed with him, my smile meeting the smile in his own eyes.  This was what I wanted, what I needed.  Just a regular ole conversation of daily events of mother and son.

We sat there in the sun enjoying our time together.  "So, Kaeden, what flavor are you going to choose next time we come for a cone?"  I asked my boy, my young man.  "Are you going to get coconut again, or try something else?"  I could see the wheels turning as he tried to decide.  "That tasted just like a bounty," he answered.  "But maybe I want to try something else next time.  Maybe we can come enough times that I could try ALL the flavors!"  He looked at me with a smirk, but with light in his eyes, teasing me...

This was all I wanted, all I needed.  This game parents and children play.  This is reality.


Where Is GOD?

Shades of blue come out from hiding
Behind the white clouded feathers in the sky
Somewhere up there, somewhere
God is looking down on me?

I touch the musty earth
Feel it rough upon my hand
The blades of green poking through
Grass , the world is a living being.

I take a step, and another
Waiting for His steps to match mine
Where is He when I need Him
Why doesn't He come down and carry me?

My belief is being tested
I kneel down and pray
But the sky doesn't open up
Instead tears fall over my face.

Faith is failing me, my faith
Where has it gone
Where is He?
God please help me.

Autism and Psychiatric Hospital

Today I have to find mental strength.  It seems so hard to do the past few months as I find myself sinking into some emotional pit of doom, unable to find even enough strength to do the required tasks of the day.  However, this is also a required task, and one of great importance.  But, it doesn't make it any easier to gear up for.

My son has been hospitalized in a psychiatric center for issues he is unable to control due to his autism.  He is no longer functioning in our world as his fear and struggles prevent him from managing on a day to day basis.  And it sounds like he's pulling mama along for the ride, as I am having the exact same issues, without the aggression and violence.

This afternoon we head once again for another meeting with his psychologist, our psychologist, to discuss the ups and downs of our life as a family with autism.  The ups come fewer and further between than the downs, and the worry from this has taken the livelihood from my eyes and replaced it with someone I don't even know.  I look at myself and wonder where the spirited, passionate mother and woman of long ago has gone.  What I see scares me.  I do not wish to be the woman behind those eyes.  She looks back with a defeated blank stare on her face.  She is not alive.  She cannot find happiness.

This is the second round of psychiatric hospitals for our family.  I have major doubts about what they can do to help.  All the time and energy and focus put into helping my child, and I really don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can't fathom finding help for this child whom owns my heart as I think about his thoughts and actions and his manner of living.  And yet, something in me won't give up, won't quit searching, won't quit trying.  He deserves my full attention, my every breath to get him to a place of happiness and success in whatever his path through life takes.  He deserves my undying commitment.

But what he can't take from me, I have learned, is my own happiness and success.  He can't grab onto the gleam of pride and strength in my eyes and turn it into the woman I have allowed myself to become.  He can't take away my own life.  I have allowed that to happen through fault of my own, given in to the power it has over me, this autism thing.  I have allowed it to suffocate me.  I haven't been strong enough to overcome the pain and hurt and fear and worry and sadness.  This isn't about him, but about me.  This is me living with autism.  Not autism in my own head, but the outward effects of having an autistic child. I am at a place where I am no longer willing to give it the power I have in the past.  I want to stand with pride, find the twinkle of expression in my eyes, be one step above this living with autism thing.

Today I will go to the psychiatric hospital where my son is being kept for the coming 9 weeks.  I will go and tell them how autism is affecting me, my marriage, my family.  I will tell our psychologist what I need to beat autism, what I need to do to find my sanity and regain my lust for life.  I will tell her I want my husband to see the life in my eyes, be able to laugh with me again.  I will tell her that I want to be the best mother I can be for my little guy, to have energy to play.  That I want to do everything within my power to help my son find his place in life, but not give up myself in the process.  I will tell her all of this, and ask her opinion on what i need to do to achieve it.

I need mental strength.  I need to be alive.  I need to live, not with autism, but above it.



I smiled, I laughed, and then I cried.  Tears of acceptance through the raw emotion of truth.  She came to me, wrapped her arms around me, and the nervous laughter replaced the tears, until tears of her own began to fall, the reality of more raw emotion.

Girlfriends, those women in my life with whom I share intimate and personal stories, the women who dare not lie to me, but bring me freedom in telling the bitter truth, no matter how much it hurts.

My very best friend in life too far away to share the truth of my everyday existence, oh how I miss her.  It is in these moments that I recognize how very much distance does matter, how a phone call cannot bring me the same feeling of reality I crave from being within the same space, a personal space.  She can no longer wipe away my tears, encompass me in a hug, tell me it will all be okay in the truth of her glance into my eyes.  I miss her, my best friend.  I miss what we have shared, what brought me the joy of having a  best female friend, someone I have come to love more deeply than if I had been given the gift of a sister.  She is a treasure to me, but a treasure just a bit too far away to fully share in my world.  No less important, maybe even more so, but the miles between us are tangible.

I have made new friends, been given the gift of friendship yet again.  I have opened my heart, my past and my future, and shared stories of triumph and struggle.  She looked deep into my eyes as I spoke, a broken soul with a history being honest and sincere, and her eyes never left mine, bored into my soul, allowing me to grieve in a safe place.  She is my friend, a person with whom I can be me and through it all, it will be okay.

We spoke of our husbands, of my children, of our childhoods and of religion.  We talked about spirituality and what it means to us, about simple things like food we eat and clothes we like to wear.  We discussed secrets we have been unable to share before in our relationship, our friendship.  We reached another level of trust, I allowed her into my safe place inside, and she opened her heart to me.

We grabbed another cocktail concoction, green and blue, snacked on some goodies in bowls on the table, the lights dimmed low and music playing in the background.  And we shared this space, these treasured hours in time, deep into the morning hours as we yawned and our eyes became sleepy, and we felt friendship, safety, trust and security.  My girlfriend and I, this person I have chosen to allow into my life, this friend I chose to be mine, this person who has become my sister, my family.

I smiled, I laughed and then I cried.  And though it all, she was present, and I know she will always be so, a present in my life, my friend.