It’s the latter half of July in Northern California. Let me clarify – in the inland portion of Northern California, away from the coast. It’s raining. I don’t remember a July when there was rain here. Perhaps that is because my poor brain has buried that memory amongst others that require more immediate use and attention. In any event, the rain now, is strange and disconcerting.
Also, disconcerting is that, for the second time in as many weeks, I’ve learned that a member of my son’s “team” is leaving. She is a cherished, kind, young woman who has devoted many hours of programs, of hugs and laughter to my child. Over time, she and my son have built a strong, understanding relationship (she knows him and all his tricks). She will remain with our ABA provider, closer to the coast and too far away to continue working with my little boy.
This loss comes with the departure of my son’s long time speech therapist who left for a new job working with the elderly.
And the trifecta of these changes will come in less than a month, when my son will transfer to an entirely new school, complete with new classmates, a new teacher and a new member of his ABA team.
A few weeks ago, when I explained his speech therapist was leaving, my son interrupted me and said, “Mommy, quit talking.”
He gets it. Maybe I’m the one who does not. Perhaps, the more I emphasize it, the more it gets to him. Yet, I cannot remain quiet. That would be likeI’m hiding something.
I have to remember that, even if it appears he is not listening, telling him once is enough. Reassuring myself, that he gets it, may be a bit condescending, even at his tender age of six. Just because his communication is not the same as mine, I should not assume he needs repetition.
And so I kept this in mind as I told him about the tutor. He did not respond, although I knew he was listening this time, from watching his eye contact and body language. Once I said it, I let it go. So far, he seems unaffected, emotionally. I know that, in his own way, he is processing it all. He will ask when he wants more information.
Today, I am filled with sadness. Some people like change and spontaneity. This often appears in feelings about changes of the seasons: liking the rain, the snow, the budding of tiny flowers in the fragile warming temperatures of spring. Change can be good, healthy and promote growth. It often accompanies knowledge, sophistication and makes for a ‘well-rounded’ individual.
But inside the selfish me, I despise change. I desire consistency, sameness. I don’t like the change of seasons, especially autumn, purveyor of death to the greenery of summer. It fills me with regret at the dying leaves of summer, the kiss goodbye to the hot summer sun, the flowering trees, the smell of fresh cut grass and the sound of sprinklers. Why does it end so fast?
Physically, with unexpected changes, I feel pain in the lining of my stomach. I have a heavy heart. I know it is neither rational nor logical but I feel a sort of sense of ‘abandonment’ of my child by others, who are “supposed to” help me when changes take place!
Yes, I know that people move on. They have their own lives to live, their own issues that have nothing to do with my son. At the end of the day, I want to lean on “a village” to help raise my son, but, at times like this, I feel alone. That feeling is coupled with fear of the new and unknown people who will enter his life.
I understand change and growth, new beginnings and the ends. I just have difficulty embracing them. With their passing, I wither a little, age, experience loss.
I don’t need a pep talk or a perspective lesson. I need to raise myself to the challenges that change presents for me. I must set the example for my child, you know, the one who is expected to have issues with change. This is a time when I recognize my own traits that fit so coincidentally with my son’s diagnosis. I want, always, to lessen the load for him. Yet, I must do that, not by written words, but by actions I take, responses I give, the framing I provide, what I do, and not what I say.
I must learn to teach my son acceptance, to rejoice with him in the beauty of the seasons. I must embrace them too, wholeheartedly, letting go of the aches, laughing where I fear, and welcoming in the new. I must teach him to discern between real and false dangers, to accept what cannot be changed.
In teaching him, perhaps I will teach the both of us.