I hate Mom.
Those were the last words I heard Aaron mutter softly as he lay in his bed after a very rough evening. I heard those words on the baby monitor that I keep on my nightstand so that I can hear seizures. I would rather have heard a seizure, honestly.
And I was so frustrated at his hurtful words that I picked up the monitor, pressed the talk button, and nearly…very nearly…spoke angry words that would have only exacerbated the situation on so many levels. I am glad I didn’t.
Earlier in the evening I had written another funny clip about Aaron on Facebook. I love sharing the very unique and humorous ways that Aaron speaks. His take on the world can be side-splitting hilarious and so refreshing.
But he has another take on the world as well, and that take can take a huge toll on me and on Gary…and take every tiny ounce of patience that we have left in order not to erupt ourselves into verbal onslaughts that will match Aaron’s, word for word.
I knew that we might be in for a rough night when Aaron was still playing a game on his computer after 9:00. He’s usually downstairs long before then, hovering over me, waiting for me to finish whatever I am doing so that we can watch one of his TV shows on his DVD set. But 9:00 came and went, with no return of Aaron who had previously asked me to assure him that we would watch a DVD at his precise, set time.
Upstairs I went, only to find him playing one of his favorite Lego Star Wars games on his computer. When Aaron plays a game like this, he has a very hard time stopping it and saving it. He must reach a certain point in the game, and in his mind, before he will turn it off. For over an hour he kept repeating the same phrase, loudly: “I’m coming!!” Over and over and over.
I knew better than to rush him, but I also knew that the clock was moving toward bedtime and not TV time. We were in for it, I knew it…and I was right.
Aaron finally rushed downstairs and barreled into the family room, eyes wide and words rushing out.
“Can we watch Bones, Mom?!! Can we??!!”
I reminded him of the late hour, but he didn’t care one bit about that. He was in such a tizzy. And he could tell that I was tired and didn’t want to stay up late. His whole nighttime routine was a wreck now, due to no fault of mine, but Aaron refused to take responsibility.
Mom was mean. Mom was dumb. Mom didn’t care. On and on.
He turned his DVD on. Turned it off. More yelling. Turned it on. Turned it off. Asked if I was crying, over and over and over…for Aaron does NOT like to see me cry. I wasn’t crying, but he didn’t believe me, so he stared and stared at me. And he also does not like for me to make funny eye or facial movements, so he stood in front of me as I sat on the couch, demonstrating to me with his own face the looks from MY face that he would not tolerate.
It was just too much. He looked so funny, really, that in my tiredness I did the forbidden…I laughed. Aaron thought I was laughing AT him personally. He erupted and we traveled even further downhill than we already were.
It was a wild hour after that. He was in and out of his bedroom…in and out of bed…in and out of our bedroom. He was calmer talking to Gary…angry talking to me. Say goodnight, Mom…no, don’t say goodnight, Mom. I don’t want your goodnight kiss…OK, I do want your kiss.
He calmed when Gary came upstairs. He let me hug and kiss him goodnight. And then the soft, muttered words that I heard on the monitor…words that showed he was still upended and very frustrated.
My calmness during the whole episode only seemed to fuel his flames. The realistic, upset words I did say seemed to appeal to him more than soft kindness. So strange how that works. So strange how that complex brain of his works.
Seizures are honestly easier to handle than are the behaviors. Seizures are scary and sad. Behaviors are exhausting and often hurtful. People feel sorry for seizures. But behaviors…what do you do with behaviors?
And behaviors leave me feeling like a very unfit special needs mother. I am not above the anger and the lost patience that Aaron’s anger and lost patience trigger in me. Then comes the guilt and regret.
I lay in bed last night, Gary’s calmness and nearness giving me comfort. But my tension was strong, too, and sleep wouldn’t come. My tossing and turning was keeping Gary awake, too, I knew. I would relax and then thoughts would wash over me. I would relax again and Aaron would stir, seeming to be restless as well.
There are so many thoughts and emotions that go through my mind after these episodes, infrequent though they have been lately. How could I have handled it differently? What should I have said? What should I have NOT said? Guilt for not liking Aaron when he’s out of control. On and on.
What I do know is that God is always there for me. He heard me last night, there in the dark, praying and confessing and praising. He knows my form. He knows that I am human and that I am weak and that I need Him, totally. He knows that I get frustrated and tired, and that I do love Aaron with all my heart. And He knows that though I love Aaron, sometimes I don’t like him when he’s angry and full of hurtful…and hurting…words.
Being a mom of a child with special needs is never easy. Some days…and happenings…make it harder than others.
But then I think about God, and how often I am that child with special needs and how much He gives me His love and His grace.
That’s the kind of parent I need to be with Aaron. Forgiving him…understanding but not condoning…and opening my heart and my arms with love.
I have no superior wisdom or strength. I mess up…I give up…I look up. And there I find God, always understanding and giving me grace.
God’s a good Father to me, his special needs daughter. I need all He gives to me and does for me, for I have nothing of my own. He certainly didn’t choose me for this parenting role because of anything I have to bring to the table. He chose me because…well, I don’t really know. But what I DO know is that He is all-knowing about what is best, and that in all of this I see MY special needs every bit as much as I see Aaron’s.
And in the seeing, I am shown God’s great love and great grace and how His arms are always under me, bearing me up when I am at my weakest. Which is often.
God loves me, His special needs daughter.
And He will give me all that I need to do the same for Aaron, His special needs son that He entrusted to my feeble care.