Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pack your bags. We're going on a guilt trip!!

Waiting for the Kiddo to come home.  I'm on the front steps flanked by my dogs on high alert.  I click "shuffle" on my music and sit back to do a double dog belly rub while I gear myself up for the next shift of Kiddo wrangling.  Our pool was opened today and I know I will find myself in a heated debate about going into our unheated pool.  I wonder how fast he will wear me down with his perseveration.  Despite it being a whopping 46 degrees, I know just saying it's too cold for swimming will not appease him.   I sigh and close my eyes a moment while listening to one of my favorite Tori Amos songs, "Crucify".

"Got enough guilt to start my own religion." 

This line made my eyes pop back open.  I've listened to this song since I was 18 but today it might as well been the first time I had ever heard it.  It really slapped me upside the head.  Forget about swimming in the pool in my backyard that may have icebergs in it.  I am constantly treading water in a ocean of guilt.  It's exhausting, trying to stay afloat.  Sometimes those seas are rough too.  Other times, it's not so bad.  I mean, I'm still very much aware of it but it's kind of like chilling on an inner tube on a lazy river with a cold beer in hand.  You make the best of what was given to you and just go with the flow.

You know the part that gets me the most?  The enormous amounts of trust required.  His trust in me and mine in him.  It's a real balancing act.  Just the other night we all went out get a pizza at a popular local place.  His idea actually. Not having done in a while and kind of thrilled by the spontaneous nature of it, we decided to do it.   Of course, the entire population of New Jersey decided to go there too.  Resulting in a crowded waiting room filled with a 8,238 people (give or take)  and a bored hostess that informed me that it would be a good half hour wait.  In autism time, she might as well said ten billion years.  My husband and I looked at each other in complete fear.  Stay and risk a public meltdown for waiting?  Or try to get him to leave now to go somewhere else and still of course endure a public meltdown over plans gone wonky.

I started explaining to the Kiddo how long it would take.  That we had to wait until all the other people went first.  While I could tell he was annoyed to wait, he was damned determined he was getting his mofo pizza.  The husband shrugged his shoulders and handed the kiddo his smart phone to keep him busy.  You know what happened?  He did great!  Yeah, he scripted a lot about getting his pizza but he did just fine.  He even managed to charm a few of the older folks around me as my boy is quite the gigolo with the "Grandma" crowd.  (He likes a cougar!)  Eventually they yelled our name and we happily ordered our food.  A meal that contained no "safety order" of fries by the way.  We all ate the same thing!  How about dem apples?  Or Pizza, in this case.

Ask me if I fully enjoyed this moment of progress?  Nope.  I mean, kind of, sort of did BUT (and there is always a but) all I could do on the ride home is think "Why didn't I just trust him to be able to do it in the first place?"  The guilt seeps in.  Granted, what happened that night was a perfect storm for a mega meltdown.  In the past, it would of gotten ugly and that place would of been put on that list of places we can't show our faces in for quite sometime and when we do, tip well as to get in their good graces again.   Maybe it's a little maturity. Maybe it's some of the communication progress he's made.  Maybe it was pure motivation on his part to get some of their kick ass pizza that he was able to script his way through an overcrowded loud sensory nightmare and just cope cause he know the end result was PIZZA.  I mean it's really good pizza.  Pizza motivates me all the time.

But why didn't I just trust him?  He trusted me when I gave him the information that there would be a wait but eventually we would be seated.  For crying out loud, I didn't have to cook or clean any dinner up and I couldn't even fully enjoy that!  Nope, got to schlep around this guilt everywhere I go like Sophia on the Golden Girls always walking around with her purse.

Maybe all this hanging around my head was the reason why today I relented and said "Fine!" and let him go in our pool after school today.  He tells me he's a penguin all the time anyway.  Let him go in and see if he can be trusted to realize that the water is entirely too cold. He got as deep as his knees and ask me to "Turn the warm time on please!".

Threw my hands up in the air and said "I can't buddy but we can do something else. "

So he turned and got out of the pool.  I guess he trusted me. That and he knew I'd make him a side of fries inside, where it was warm.  :-)


  1. What a great story. And it's hard to gauge what their reactions will be because that is the nature of the beast we call autism. Even knowing that I still fight the guilt.

  2. Oh my word! Me, too! I was killing myself over the guilt of my daughter losing her security blanket! She left it and apparently it was so torn and worn the workers who watched her the other night just threw it out! What the What??? So we dealt with the meltdown the night before. When I had to tell my daughter that she would no longer have her best friend of 8 years, my husband decided to handle it for me. Surprise, no meltdown, my sister found the exact same blanket by a miracle, and my DD was FINE with the long wait. She knows she is getting blanky back and she was fine. Slept well, smiled and just tugged along a substitute, because her blanket is coming. Why do we do this to ourselves? I learned I need to trust my daughter's ability to cope. Despite what the past tells me, the future is looking better.

  3. Well you just reached into my head and heart and pulled out everything I feel about guilt when it comes to my son. So glad others get it!