I wondered how Aaron would do this morning with having to get up to go to his day group after three fun days off. On his days off he was up early, in the shower without having to be told, and very happy first thing in the morning. I dreaded what this morning would hold as he faced reality. Aaron likes his day group, but if given the choice I do believe that he would stay home every day.
It didn’t help that Aaron had two seizures during the night. I was surprised, therefore, to hear him get up on his own this morning and go to the bathroom. However, he went back to his room and shut his door – which is not a good sign at all. He was either feeling bad from the effects of the seizures, or he just didn’t want to leave the house. I waited for awhile until it was finally time for him to really start getting out of bed and getting ready.
I softly knocked on his bedroom door, and then I opened it and stepped inside. He was all snug under his multiple covers…………and he did not want to be bothered. I spoke to him, and then left. I repeated this action several times until I finally got a reaction from him. “Leave me alone,” he muttered. And so it went for a few more tries. I decided not to say anything about his seizures that he never remembers. I knew he would latch onto that as a reason to stay home.
I became a little more insistent as I continued to go in his room and tell him to get up. I also tried to interest him in his coffee that was cooling downstairs in the mugs he likes, and also in the applesauce that I thought he would want. Finally, as I turned once again to walk out of his room, he perked up and asked, “Mom? Did you see what was on my door?” And as I looked up on his door, there on his Star Wars poster was a pink post-it note on which Aaron had scrawled a note to Mom. He has done this before, but his notes rarely say the same thing. I peered up at the note and saw what he had written.
Get lost. I just shook my head and smiled as Aaron watched me and tried to gauge my reaction. He laughed then. He was quite proud of himself and also thought that his little note was funny. I walked up the hall as I said, “Very funny, Aaron. Now I’m getting lost and I want you to get up!”
Oh, if Aaron only knew how many times I’ve wanted to do just that……..to get lost. Saturday evening was one of those times. Aaron’s heart was set on watching Wheel of Fortune with me. I thought I had enough time to do just a little ironing before Aaron’s favorite game show came on, but I wasn’t quite finished when I went in to Aaron’s room and told him to go on down and turn the TV on. He set aside what he was doing, and went downstairs…….only to find that I wasn’t there. “Mom? Mom? MOM!!” he yelled. He barreled upstairs to find me finishing up a shirt I was ironing. One little shirt. But Aaron was very unhappy that I wasn’t downstairs getting ready to watch Wheel of Fortune with him. I told him that I would be down in just a minute, but to Aaron this was totally unacceptable. He quickly escalated into yelling……..and I was not in the mood for this behavior on this day that had previously been so pleasant.
I then did the thing that never, ever works. I yelled back. But Aaron cannot be outdone in these battles………a fact that I know but that I disregarded in my complete frustration. No more details are needed, but I will say that I just totally lost my temper. For those of you who might see me as the most patient parent on planet earth………..your bubble has just been popped. I can get angry with the best………..or the worst……….of them.
I’m not proud of this incident and have even wondered if I should write about it. But I want to be honest as I portray life with an autistic adult child. I am imperfect. I get tired and frustrated and angry. Sometimes other concerns are weighing me down. When Aaron has a breakdown over something so selfish as me not being there to watch Wheel of Fortune at the moment he wanted me to be there, then I just might cross that line that leads to my own breakdown.
I took a little time to remove myself from Aaron and from the situation. Talking to Gary helped, as did getting some fresh air and collecting my thoughts. I also asked God to forgive me, as well as Aaron. But Aaron is so matter-of-fact about an argument. He can resume his life as if nothing even happened, while I am in an emotional heap. I was fighting guilt while he just wanted to know if we could play Skip-Bo later or tickle our backs. I wish I could pick up, dust off, and move on as quickly as Aaron can.
I know this is part of life that any parent faces. A parent of a child, adult or not, with special needs must also balance figuring out what it causing the emotional outburst of their child with trying to maintain some calm and discipline…………..for themselves as well as for their child. Sometimes it’s just too much, especially when our minds are tired or overwhelmed with other issues as well. I know not to let the guilt of my lack of control be something that I allow Satan to use in order to discourage me. I accept God’s forgiveness, even as I know I must forgive myself and close that chapter.
Get lost, Aaron wrote this morning. Ah, if only life was that simple! When Aaron starts escalating into anger, I wish I could hold up a Get Lost sign that either would apply to him…….or would allow ME to get lost until he calms down. But I can’t do that, so I buck up and deal with it………with God’s help and with lessons learned from years of experience.
I’ll just leave Aaron’s Get Lost sign on his door for awhile to remind me that it’s best not to lose the lessons we learn and the growth we experience as we travel this journey together.