Everyday was a flight to an exotic dwelling. A region purposed for one. An environment of habitual activity and a song on repeat that swept through the air. The absence of words dominated the scene but clamor roared at a mere discomfort of interruption of any kind. It was a risk entering into this domain without a roadmap, and feeling your way was like hanging out with a volcano….always on the edge, waiting for a reason to erupt. I felt engulfed in the day’s challenges and in the night’s uncertainties. Social interaction hid behind the lack of communication and progress played hide & seek with them both. Because I hadn’t ever made acquaintance with my son’s new attachment, I became consumed with why, how and what this addition to the family was & meant. I couldn’t see anything else. My husband. My oldest son. My job. Myself….all because a guest decided to occupy our living quarters…indefinitely. My two youngest weren’t born when autism shook hands with Callie. My oldest was only five. The order of my children’s arrival into the world was strategically in God’s plan. He knew I could barely handle two boys, much less four plus one. I was going down a devastating path and clouds of darkness overshadowed motherhood. My oldest called me Mom but saw me as a frequent out-of-towner. Even though I was visible, I wasn’t present and my “no show” affected my oldest more than I realized. An apology wasn’t enough to rebuild our relationship nor sustain it. He missed his Mom. He needed an embrace that assured my love and deserved time that was beyond words. My son was slipping through my hands and I was falling fast from his heart. His eyes turned from me and his withdrawal spoke volumes. Alteration to the status quo was imperative and precious time was gradually disappearing. At the same autism unpacked its bags, asthma & fear had already set up camp and welcomed autism with open arms. I was running from one child to another but never equally settling with each. One always absorbed more time than the other. However, the unforeseen attack pushed me to see who I had been overlooking….for much too long. My oldest’s breathing or the lack there of took over his speech, as well as, his entire body. His pain slapped me into his reality. One phone call disciplined me in such a way that guilt hastened to hug me as if this was the moment it had longed to see. Pale was the face of my son and gasping for air was his new tune. Both were snapshots that sent me into a panic. The doctor performed breathing treatments after breathing treatments….and my heart sank. The ER was filled with fragile & helpless bodies and my son was one of them. Tubes. Oxygen mask. Weak. His eyes sunk in as if this was the final round to a fight, having barely enough strength to scream for help. At that moment I saw him and only him. His distress was my distress. His tears I felt. His heart I held. I became painfully aware that I had removed myself from this ray of sunshine, basked in my own despair and missed his needs, his questions, his concerns…him. I fell asleep with Callie at the edge of my oldest son’s hospital bed, holding onto me as if for dear life…..and my oldest cradled in my arms, holding onto me too as if for dear life. My two babies…neither the same except for the desire to secure the fireworks & the calm…the fight & the vulnerability…the fall & the soaring of a mother’s love. I was blinded by the uncharted. The either or was based on how bad the condition – not understanding that no matter the severity, love can spread its wings wide to cover the needs of all. I knew I had two sons but now they both know they have a Mom.
Thanks for listening,