At The End Of The Day….

bunny hill

There are some days that my heart breaks selfishly a bit. Days like today. As A2 gets older there really are no play dates. While kids are generally kind, there are limits to their patience. It’s hard to figure out how to play with another kid who wants to stand at the bottom of the water slide flapping rather than going down. His peers are now preteens and the adults that are close by interpreting for him, ensuring safety and cueing socially reciprocal behavior are going to inhibit their own wing stretching. So today, as I sat entering in my second hour in direct sun making sure my guy didn’t keep going past the “do not pass” safety barrier at the waterslide, I couldn’t help but notice the world around us. I had nothing else to do but try to clear my mind of things that poke at my side and wake me breathless in the middle of the night that were now tugging at the straps of my mom-suit with sunburned shoulders. I see the young women in their bikinis, laughing and hanging off of tattooed boyfriends and remembered a time where wondering if my thighs were firm enough or if my mascara was running were my biggest concerns. And at the time they really did feel like big concerns.  There are days….just like every other chubby middle aged mom…I just miss my youth. I watch other moms read their books and drink stealthy mojitos next to the pool as their kids run to them at rest time asking for $5 for a hot pretzel. The lifeguards are there to protect theirs while I stand knee deep in freezing water wondering what would happen if I tried to do the same. There are days….like every other mom of little ones…. I wish I could enjoy a day off near a pool where I didn’t feel like my purpose was to make certain my kid didn’t die. I see the moms with toddlers and infants on changing tables and laugh as I remember being in the same predicament with a wet, slippery cherub in a soaking wet swimmy full of poop and trying to carefully slide it down over a squirmy tushy  not realizing the sides rip off for easy disposal. Today I am trying to find a dry floor free of clumpy toilet paper wads to change an 11-year-old in a soiled swimmy and keep my fingers crossed that this  won’t be the last year I can squeeze him into a size large Huggies with Nemo on the back.   There are days….like every mom of infants…I just wish we were out of the diaper stage.

Once I shook the delirium of the midday sun and made my own mojito at home I felt less like I was crawling toward a mirage in the desert only to be disappointed by more sand.  I feel conflicted by my own selfishness. I know the bottom line is if he is still oblivious to his differences and is still filled with joy doing what he likes to do whether it suits me or not then we are still golden. And yet….I can feel like I have received a sucker punch to the gut when I watch pubescent girls walk quickly in cliques past him whispering and giggling.   I don’t know if my child worries about the same things I do or if he has crushes on girls or if he sometimes grieves his differences.  I hope not. That way I can keep my selfishness where it belongs…to myself.

But that’s the thing.  Don’t ALL moms go through this?  We have a sacred ground that feels like it is being broken if we say it out loud or admit to having a bad mom day.  Special Needs bad mom days and Typical bad mom days have a different script but definitely the same plot.  No.  I will never worry about my kid having a psycho girlfriend.  I will never worry about my child’s heartbreak of  being brushed off and losing social status. I will never worry that I did not raise him with morals or respect for adults.   I will never worry about whether or not weed will be his gateway drug to heroin.  And those things are equally as important even though there are days I would rather worry about those things.  Somehow it became not ok to admit to worry or heartbreak or disappointment for fear of being seen that we somehow don’t appreciate our children. I hesitate to share on these days that I must sit quietly for a little too long and think about things a little too much. I am weary of feeling somehow missing our old lives or having a twinge of disappointment over “what could have been” cannot possibly coexist with loving our children with all our souls or appreciating their uniqueness in all their flappy, pool water drinking ways.  See…because you know what I miss too some days?  My flat stomach with a belly ring that didn’t look like it was a way to deflate my abdomen. I miss not checking moles and worrying about sun cancer.  I miss not having to hire a crane to hoist my chest up in a bathing suit.  I miss drinking beer all afternoon in the sun and flirting.  I miss working 40 hours a week and actually being bored in the evening when I couldn’t find someone to go to the coffeehouse and play scrabble or see some local guy playing acoustic somewhere.  And I dare anyone reading this to NOT feel like they miss those things too sometimes and that they too would consider trading their situation in to go back for just one day…..and then realize there would be no way in hell.  Because we will never be the same…and for that the world will never be the same and that is the backward legacy that our kids give to us….as we gave to our parents.

I often wonder what kind of mom I would be in an alternate universe….and feel very selfish on the sad days. But ultimately…..autism or not…..I really don’t think I’d feel different from any other mom.



4 thoughts on “At The End Of The Day….

  1. whitneyljory July 13, 2016 / 5:52 am

    I’m not a mom (by choice) because I’m chronically disabled. Although I can’t exactly relate to your post, I try to not worry so much about those silly things like why I don’t weigh 145lbs instead of 158. I remind myself that I will look back in 20 years and think I was delusional. I lost most of my vanity since my Dystonia diagnosis. All I can really say that if I had been the lifeguard on duty (I was a lifeguard for 7 years and I damn good one), you would never need to worry. Also, you are damn good writer. Don’t think about what could of been, but what is. That gets me through the tough times.


    • Jaycee Kemp July 13, 2016 / 2:30 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes–there is a beauty that exists in getting older that I did not recognize-the balance of watching youth slip away and not recognizing the lady in the mirror…and 99% of the days being completely fine with that! We cannot be mindful and present when we think of the things that “could have been”–which is why I normally don’t stray into that territory….but good lord…the days I do!


  2. theheartofsassylassie July 13, 2016 / 11:17 pm

    I loved this post. I am now 60, have raised three children, one of which was my step-daughter who has fetal alcohol syndrome. She made my life a living hell and I’m not ashamed to say so. She fought me every step of the way as did her dad. She wanted to play the disability card for sympathy and he allowed it. My thought once I witnessed this (she was 5 when her dad and I married) was, wow, you are one smart little cookie. She tried and tried to turn my husband against me so she would reign as queen but finally, in family therapy, our therapist told my husband that I was right and that he needed to get on board. It was hell but I pushed her and pushed her and she has accomplished every single thing the doctors said she wouldn’t be able to do. She now lives in Colorado, on her own, and volunteers a few places. She lives on disability and the life insurance money my husband willed her but we don’t speak. For me, I would much rather know she is happy and independent and able to live her life than to try and make her love me. Perhaps I was never meant to be her mother, only her teacher. I don’t know. I get so tired of the endless posts of joyful motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, of course it’s wonderful but it isn’t realistic, at least for most mothers. It’s a damn hard and thankless job a lot of the time. We feel free to complain about our jobs outside of motherhood, why not be able to complain about being a mom? And, I didn’t take your post as a complaint at all, it was just truthful. I miss my youth and write of it often and like you, I’d never go back but sometimes I have a harder time convincing myself of that than others. I also love that you acknowledge that all mothers have moments of guilt and stress, not just those of us with SN kids. Excellent.


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