Each morning, my son and I head down a hill from 1800 feet above sea level to about 200 feet above sea level, about 30 miles to civilization. Where we live, oftentimes, we are “above the fog” that rolls in from the coast in the winter here. As I drive down the hill, we lose the sunshine and beauty of the morning, and become enveloped in the thick, cold fog. I admit, it’s a little depressing. I’d much rather stay up the hill. But down we go, because that is where the help is. We live in a small town. Almost all of my son’s therapy and my “other” job, practicing law, are located down the hill.
Currently, my son has speech and occupational therapy, a social skills class, and EIBT (early intensive behavioral therapy). He is working his way back to “regular” preschool and will be adding dance class. This demanding schedule often leaves me feeling like the proverbial taxi. EIBT is trying to slowly integrate him with the “regular” kids at pre-school. It’s somewhat of a test case to determine whether he will be ready to enter a neuro-typical (regular) kids’ kindergarten class next fall, whether he should be in a special ed class, or whether he should wait another year to enter kindergarten.
The emotional upheaval that accompanies all of this is lost on my son. My husband has other worries about earning income at the law practice where I used to be the senior partner. We have almost silently agreed to split the worrying. I worry about our son’s progress and whether I’m doing everything I can for him. He worries about our son’s progress, to be sure, but he also focuses on providing the funding of the parts of therapy not covered by our regional center or insurance.
I spend a lot of time in waiting rooms – waiting, worrying and thinking. The fog outside recently, seems a huge reminder for how I’m feeling within. Wondering and speculating about my son, I often feel I cannot see, even his immediate future. At the end of each therapy session (usually 45 minutes in length), the therapists or tutors will give me a brief report. Much of it is positive (not always) but my little boy is usually running circles (literally) around me and my conversation, trying to open the door and bolt, or playing with blind cords on windows of the offices we visit. A part of me is always preoccupied with his movement during these conversations and keeping him from breaking things or running away. I often walk away from the conversations wondering what all was said and whether, really, we’re making progress. In a fog, of sorts.
Now, I have added this blog to the mix. I’ve been wondering what I’m doing this week by writing about life with my son. Writing these stories, talking about our lives, I have found a whole new world of like-minded parents, blogging about their children, facing their own challenges. Many of these parents are quite sophisticated, educated and “in-the-know”. This is a wonderful group that I am grateful to join and they sometimes have become my lights, guiding me through my fog. But I still wonder what I could possibly contribute that they are not already doing.
As I was pondering all of this stuff, I received a message. The message was from someone I knew long ago. Her words were simple. “Keep writing,” she said. Her son, she told me, had been diagnosed with Asperger’s. I had not known this. She said she had been reading from afar and saw herself in me. She told me how now, her son has friends, he drives a car and has succeeded at school. She told me to surround myself with positive people and never to doubt my son’s accomplishments. It gave me chills.
She said she knew how I felt. She shared that she too, often wondered if therapy would ever end. It did. Her son grew out of childhood to become a happy young adult. She assured me my son will be happy too. She walked in my footsteps.
But for this blog, I would have never known. I never would have been graced with these words of hope, this gift of words. And so, I thank her.
For now, I’m re-energized. I will keep blogging. I’m grateful for all the gifts of words that I receive every day in comments to these posts, and in the outpouring of support and love. And I remember that at the end of each day, my son and I get back in the car, drive out of the fog, and go home.