Thursday, September 18, 2014

The way-to-cool-to-talk-to-mom-until-trapped-in-a-car, teenager

I love the rides to school in the morning. Well, I should say, I love some rides to school on some mornings. Others are filled with a lot of loudness and craziness from a couple of boys in a vehicle way to small for a mom who hasn't had a sip of coffee.

Anyway, back to the story...I really do enjoy most mornings in the car, especially once I drop my little guy off, because it is just me and the teenager. The way-to-cool-to-talk-to-mom-until-trapped-in-a-car, teenager. Yes, this is my time to have deep discussions about girls, life, school, mean kids, nice kids, hopes, dreams, you name it, and he can do NOTHING about it (insert evil laugh)!!!

This morning, our morning discussion was about school. It is his fourth week, and he is already behind. Year after year, we have had the same issues with school. He has had trouble staying organized, he has struggled to keep up with his homework, he has lied almost every night about the amount of homework he has. Schoolwork has always been one, big, constant stressor for our family.

This year, my fears are magnified due to the fact that he is an 8th grader. This is it!! If he can't get his organization figured out by the end of this year, how will he ever handle high school! If he can't understand the importance of homework, how is he ever going to pass high school and move on to college.

During our 15 minute discussion this morning about his grades, I made the comment to him that when he lies to me about homework and doesn't turn his assignments in on time, he is only hurting himself. He looked at me and said, "You don't understand me at all! It is not that I don't want to do my homework, it is that my brain just can't take any more. It is tired and exhausted just can't do anymore!"

Suddenly, it smacked me in the face! Why did I not comprehend this before?? My son has ADHD. His brain is moving at a much faster pace than mine will ever go. It is going non-stop until he goes to sleep at night.  My son has Asperger's syndrome. His brain is having to work double-time just to process things that come easily to others. He is starting at 7a.m. By 3, 4, or 5 o'clock, his brain has to be exhausted. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to be him. Then, I am asking him what homework he has, and his mind is saying "I can't do this", and his mouth his speaking the words, "I don't have any."

For the first time ever, I feel like I understand his struggles with school. I would love to say that I feel so much better now, but I don't. Actually, I am even more fearful of how hard life is going to be for him. How is he ever going to handle college or a job or doing homework with his own children, if his brain just can't keep up?? I can only hope and pray that eventually, it clicks. Somehow, someway, he will figure out how to make this all work to his advantage. I hope that this all happens sooner than later.

I don't have all the answers, but for now, I am just thankful for those 15 minutes of a trapped teenager in a car. My son, who I love so much and understand just a little better.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The invisible shield

This was a journal entry of mine from last week.

I look into his eyes. I feel his pain. I see the fear. I hear the words of hate that spill from his mouth with an eerie ease. I know the words are not truly meant for me. Instead, he says them to me as a way of disguising everything he feels inside.

I put up my shield...the invisible shield that is meant to protect me from the pain and hurt his words cause. The shield is dented and damaged. It still does its best to protect me, but it is not as strong as it once was.

God, Your love never fails, it never gives up on me.

It is so hard to explain the pain of watching my child with Asperger's struggle to find himself. The stage between childhood and adulthood is steep and treacherous, and for him there are so many more obstacles in the way.

I am "Mom". I am the one he trusts. I am the one he speaks to about his thoughts and fears. I am the one he turns to when no one else is around. I am the one at whom he screams and yells. I am the one who he blames for all of life's woes. I am the one who he knows with certainty will always love him.

I am "Mom". I am the one whose heart stings constantly from watching his pain . Who never wants to see him hurt. Who wants to teach him right from wrong. Who wants to teach him to respect but doesn't know how. The one whose feelings are hurt so often, but whose love is never ending.

Some days there are no right answers. Sometimes on those days when he is struggling and his words flow from his mouth like venom, my conscious, my head, my heart and my anger all mixed together in one large melting pot. Sometimes I struggle to keep that shield to my heart in place.

I struggle with whether the things he says are his personality or Asperger's. Does it matter?
How do I keep him from hurting others with his words? How do I keep him from losing important relationships because he does not know the right things to say? Does anything I say actually stick? Currently, my list of questions seems much longer than my list of answers.

There are very few things I am sure of these days, but I am sure that it is my job, as his mother, to turn him into a respectful young man. A young man that will one day turn into a wonderful husband, father, and friend. I am sure that my love for him, although not without mistakes, will never give up on my beautiful son.