Strong Too Long

Autism has kicked my butt these past two weeks.

You know it’s not even just autism.  It was having to work with my other son’s IEP team to make sure they’re really doing what they said they were doing.  Working with the school secretary to find the answer to bus questions.  Making sure the play group in the new location went smoothly.  The time change.  Two nights of insomnia. Appointments and special events and trying to figure out how to fit enough hours in at work around that, so I’m not letting down the kids I work with. Quarterly Progress Report time at work.  That feeling like I’m falling behind at work.  Figuring out babysitters.  Helping Corbin study for make-up quizzes as he’s struggling with grades.  Feeling guilty that he’s struggling with grades because there are nights where I just have time to feed them and get them into bed and don’t even have time to study with him. The extra stuff I take on particularly as Autism Awareness Month comes up: events, fundraisers, presentations.  The normal cycle of trying to keep up on laundry, dishes, and sweeping.  Being grumpy with the people I love because they’re the easiest targets.  And then feeling like crap that I’m grumpy with them.  Just our busy life in general.

It’s all of that and then having autism thrown in too.

Having this forsaken regression that started in December still rearing it’s head.

Applying boo-boo cream to self-inflicted bruises on my boy’s head every night.

Trying to be fast enough to get a pillow under his head when he starts to bang it on the floor.  And most often  not being fast enough.

Picking up objects that are thrown.

Asking for more meetings and more meetings.

Pushing everyone to not accept this as the new norm.

And feeling like I’m not dedicating enough time to autism.

Feeling like I’m not doing enough.

Feeling like I’m doing everything in my life half-assed because I don’t have enough time and energy and compassion to commit to any one thing.

And then feeling the overwhelming guilt that comes with being a special-needs parent.

But I put a smile on and I fulfill my commitments and I pretend it’s all okay.

Until that moment where I break.

And last week that moment was in the school hallway when I muttered to his teacher, after a hard morning of seeing him trying to bang his head through a window, “I just want him to be safe.”

And the tears fell and I turned and walked away as fast as I could so no one would see me as “weak”.

When I really need to let the tears go.  I need to let people embrace me.  I need to cry on someone’s shoulders every now and then.  I need to stop pretending I have it all together.  I need to allow myself to feel all of the emotions.  I need to tell myself it’s okay and perfectly normal to be sad and angry and feeling lost when I watch my baby regress and hurt himself.  I need to tell myself it’s okay to cry.


Heather Nelson

About Heather Nelson

Heather resides in Rockland where she is busy juggling life as a newlywed, a mom to two boys (one of which who has autism), a part time job in direct sales, and a full-time job as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. She has a love for live music, karaoke, and cheering on the underdogs.