Feeling blue on the red couch

I’m feeling a little sad these days.  I can’t quite pinpoint exactly what’s making me blue, but most likely it’s a bit of this and a bit of that.

Wow, things have been busy this summer.  In many ways, so much of it has been good, if not great, that I feel guilty about sharing my down attitude, but it is what it is, and I just share the good, the bad and the ugly because, well, that’s just what I do.

We started June with Elliott finishing up his therapy program completely.  Wow, was I freaked out about that.  Even now, just thinking about it makes me cry.  Having traveled the road we have traveled left me more than a little bit nervous about striking out on our own this summer.  Sure, I tried to plan as much “activity” into our days as possible, and Lord knows I’ve had countless hours of help in learning how to be a proactive rather than a reactive parent – how to plan ahead, how to foresee challenges and cut them off at the pass, strategies for melt-downs or inappropriate questions, reinforcement for moments of greatness, etc.  It’s just that having been through what we have been through was at times excruciatingly painful, and the thought of losing our support system was scary to the point of mild panic attacks for me.  (No, there was no ambulance this time, but it was ugly just the same).

Let’s get real – apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – change is damn hard for me.  While Elliott was thrilled beyond measure, I was scared that our world might collapse like an undercooked pronto pup on a stick from the fair.

But, it didn’t.  Actually, things went surprisingly well – even frighteningly well.  Because Ada had some extra openings in her schedule in the beginning of summer, I had lots of 3-on-1 time with our offspring, and we had some serious fun.  It was kind of awesome.

Sure, each of the kids has had struggles throughout the summer – Elliott has been off his ADHD medication this summer in order to help him grow, and while he’s eating enough to feed the state of New Jersey, his activity level is elevated, especially early in the morning before I have sufficient coffee to deal with him.  Henry has been a bit of a loner this summer, and although when he is with his buddies, he has an awesome time, he is perfectly content to have a lot of alone time this summer.  Likely, this is only troubling to me because both his siblings are on the autism spectrum, and I am hyper-vigilant about social interactions with all the children.  Henry’s just a quiet, low-key kind of guy, but a moments, I can’t help but feel nervous  – I own that this is more my problem than his.  Ada has occasional struggles with what we call “drama days”.  While most days are very good – she’s more social than ever, and is picking skills up faster and faster, her occasional snarkiness puts us all on edge.  While she is the smallest among us, she makes up for it in spirit.  She’s a spitfire to the tenth.

Lately, since we’ve been spending enormous amounts of time with one another (family vacation), the siblings have been fighting like crazy.  They are all bugging each other, making Ada scream, and causing general mischief.  While earlier in the summer, this kind of behavior made me smile because in order to bug each other, it means they know one another well enough to push each other’s buttons.  Their bond as siblings has grown remarkably this summer, and it’s been amazing and at moments fun.  But now, in late August, my patience is slipping quickly away, and I’m thinking evil thoughts, and dreaming of the school bus.

Here’s what it is – even though Elliott has made remarkable gains, he is many days a very difficult person to hang out with.  I hate even saying that out loud, because I love him endlessly, and would go to the ends of the earth for him, but often I feel like he sucks every ounce of energy from the room, and I am tired.  I hate that I feel that way, and I hate admitting it, but Elliott can be simply exhausting to be with.

He’s had a challenging week this week, as we just returned from a wonderful weeklong vacation with extended family in the WI Dells.  We have all had an adjustment back to reality – and coming back from vacation is not easy for anyone.  He’s a bit out of sorts, and just edgy and fidgety, and I’m feeling the same way, which is probably not helping matters.  My temper is short with him, so even though he’s not doing anythin behaviorally significant or awful (charging thousands on our credit card, etc.), he is nickel and diming me all day long with little things, and I’m losing my patience and not being the kind of parent he needs, nor that I want to be.

Maybe you can relate – like when you plan tons of activities to keep kids busy, and then you get home at 4 and just want an hour to sit on the couch watching a movie (or in my case “Rocco’s Dinner Party”), but it is at that moment that Elliott needs me the most because idle time is not his friend.  He is not now, and maybe never will be able to attend to movies, TV shows, etc. and that can be very difficult.  When I am the most tired and feeling the most impatient is when he needs me to be serene and his soft place to fall, and this week, that has not happened, and I feel guilty.

I’m sad because he’s come so far, but we still have days that push each of us to the edge, and I hate that I sometimes focus on the challenges rather than his many accomplishments.  I feel guilty, impatient, and overwhelmed today, and I am sad.

I have many faults, and impatience is one of my worst qualities.  Thankfully, Elliott is likely the most awesome teacher I will ever have in that department.  Tomorrow, after I have coffee, we will have a red couch chat about what each of us can work on throughout our day.  My guess is he will have several suggestions for me – and I might share a few with him as well . . .

 

Babble.com is trying to find the 25 best autism blogs.  Visit http://www.babble.com/Baby/baby-development/top-25-autism-blog-favorite-nominate/, and vote for your favorite!  The Red Couch is currently at #9!

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6 responses to “Feeling blue on the red couch

  1. I love you Kammy. I have tough days like that, too. When I JUST need a little quiet time and there is none to be had. You are an excellent mom, and the perfect mom for your perfect kids.

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  2. Just admitting that you aren’t always the best parent makes you a fantastic parent, Kam! We are human and, therefore, imperfect. Please remind yourself that it is the difficult situations in our life that make us become better (and stronger) people. We are all learning from our mistakes. Our children and our God are very forgiving…I love you, dear friend!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your heart, Kammy. I can completely identify with being “nickel and dimed” in both the energy and patience dpartments. My daughter who is oln the spectrum is also a drama queen at times (OK, at least twice a day, but who’s counting?) Your kids are so blessed to have a mom like you. Even though you might feel sad and depleted, the very fact that you can process all this as you do makes you an incredible mom.

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  4. I remember those last few weeks before school feeling exactly like you!! I just needed a breather and there was none; I started missing you and your sister subconciously knowing you were growing up and going to school again, another year down. Hang in there, I survived you and your sister and you will survive also. I wish I could get there to help you out and give you a few hours off. Hopefully, soon!!! Love to you

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  5. I read, “Feeling Blue on the Red Couch,” with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. You would think the dual reaction to be strange, but not from a Mom who has been “there”. You are the most compassionate woman I have ever met. You have not only been blessed with your children, but they with you. Keep running on, Kammy. Just keep running – it’s ok to look down once in awhile, maybe you will find a nickel or two!
    “Life is a journey, not as much to a destination, but a transformation.” unknown

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