Going into having LittleOne I was confident. I was 34. I was educated and confident. I read 4 books. I had a birth plan. I expected a child like me. Just like me.
Instead, I got a mirror image. A perfect reflection that looked like me, and in any ways seemed to act like me. Yet when I reached out to touch him I missed. When I thought he was leaning right, it was in fact left. No doubt he was me made over, but yet when I moved he countered. We weren’t in sync.
Have you ever tried to trim your bangs in the mirror? You comb your hair up and hold it between two fingers of one hand. Then when you go in for the snip, your scissors miss completely? It seems so simple but you can’t rely on your perceptions. It looks lined up, but still you miss.
Such is autism. Raising a bright, lovable boy seems so simple, yet it’s not. Some days I think he and I are lined up, reaching for the same goal, but we miss.
Yesterday we had a complete melt down. One minute we are leaving, the next he’s sobbing for “the blue one” -heartfelt aching tears and desperate angry screams. He rips through his DVD collection throwing movies on the floor, leaving with an empty case. He is sobbing, and I am scolding. “If you throw your movies down they will get scratched and be thrown away.” To his room he runs, still sobbing. I offer the blue juice drink, the blue covered book, the blue everything.
Exasperated, I say, “if you want the blue one go get it.” Through tears he yells, “bad, bad girl.” We are officially at odds because I’m hindering him from reaching whatever goal “my blue one” should be indicating.
Finally as he throws the covers off his bed and crawls on the floor, he finds the magical “blue one”. It’s a silver DVD with blue writing. The correct DVD for the case he has. We put the DVD in the case and he carried it everywhere for the next hour.
He didn’t want to watch it, just to put it in order. An hour of sobbing and two rooms totally pulled part, all to get one DVD with blue lettering back in its case.
Our day resumed. Four hours of normalcy later, he said, “You’re a bad, bad girl.” and kissed me on the cheek. Our love is strong; our connections are fragile. I let him down. I missed. Through tears, sadness and anger he told me what he needed, and I offered everything but that thing. Even worse, I got upset too. I was out of sync with his needs and yet here he was reminding me that though I failed and let anger and frustration impact my parenting, he still loves me.
Like a mirror he reflects back all of me, including my love and my flaws. What I am and am not, turned around to stare right into my eyes.