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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Confession #999

I confess that I no longer enjoy cooking.  It's become just another huge chore. It takes my appetite away for various reasons. There's the whole tasting-as-you-go thing, which is not really a major issue.  It's usually just exhaustion that turns me off.  By the time I finish cooking, I'm just worn out. I end up eating just enough to take the edge off my hunger and then I have a glass of wine. Wine for dinner! Yay! The lack of appreciation from the boys does not help my enthusiasm for cooking one single bit.

I cooked a big dinner last night. Half way through the process, I was sorry that I began. I marinated a lot of chicken in teriyaki marinade and spices the day before. The plan was to put it on the grill.  Mom was to make a big salad and I would make some quick macaroni and cheese.

As I'm prepping to go out back to the grill, I hear the boys talking upstairs.  It sounds like a decent conversation at first, until it gets louder and louder. I start to cringe as the debate turns into quick anger.  Then I hear, "Get off of me...!"

I yell up the stairs to basically disburse ...go to their perspective rooms. I get zero response. It's like my voice is mute. Yeah. Big surprise.

I have to march up there to get them apart with threats of course.

"Do you want to lose the Ipad for tonight!?" I yell at Blue.
"Do you want me to cook dinner? Because I can't do it if I'm up here pulling you two apart!"
"I'm sorry mom, but he..."
"He my ass! It takes two to fight!"

I turn to Red, "I guess you don't want me to help you with the video editing tonight!"  (We've been working on the family reunion video together.)

I made Blue go out for a bike ride and sent Red to his room.
I am sick.of.them.both!
Hubby of course is out with colleagues at some fun spot downtown. Yeah. Not.jealous.at.all.

By the time my head hit the pillow, I thought to myself ...Why do I do this? Why do I cook for these heathens? Why do I do anything for them? I should just let them fight it out.  What am I supposed to do when two gigantic wild animals are attacking each other?

I really just don't want to be here. 

This isn't fun anymore. 

I wish I could just enjoy my family. 

(There is this family across the street from me.  Their daughter is grown of course, and out of the house, but she's there visiting like every day.  They are always having family dinners and going out together.  They seem to really enjoy each other. What is that about?  It's kind of weird and wickedly cool at the same time.) 

My weekend get-away-high is gone.  I'm back to feeling as low as a rock.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I need for somebody in this equation to be absent, because my heart is not fond right now.

My home is not a haven. It's the storm.

*My friends reading this ...

I will get through this. This depression is situational.  I need to change the situation and I know what I have to do.  It will take time, but it will get better. I know it will. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dogs don't lie

"A cat scratched me today."
"Where were you?"
"I was at the college campus.  I asked the owner could I hold him. He had sharp nails and he scratched me."
Hmm...maybe I should get Harry's nails sharpened. 
"You know, Harry only makes that sound when you pick him up. He is saying, leave me alone. He looks at me with those eyes saying, Mommy help me. You are the only one he runs from.  When you enter the room, he leaves the room."
"Harry is full of it."
"Oh!  So now it's the dog who is lying about you. Dogs don't lie. Most dogs make a yelping sound, they bark or they bite when they're unhappy. Unfortunately, Harry doesn't bite."
I stop for a moment to think.
"I think I will start to bite you for him. Since he is too nice to do it.  I am not nice."
My sweet Harry 

This was a conversation I had with Red last week.  It's just full of all kinds of reality, symbolism, truth and more truth.

Red can't seem to see himself as a part of the equation. Everything is someone else's fault.  He can't get along with us because we make him mad.  If I hold a mirror up to him so that he can see his own behavior, his own reflection, he deflects the view.

The boy will blame the dog, a door, a piece of trash ...whatever.  It doesn't matter.  As long as he is not a part of the problem.  It's everyone, anyone or anything else in the world.  It's definitely NOT him!

"You people make me mad! You should change!"

I've been pushed beyond my limits and my limits are vast. I sat in my car on Friday night after a conversation over dinner with my husband.  Heaviness laying across my heart like a wet blanket.  I couldn't move.  I couldn't drive. I wanted to cry, but I just had nothing left.

My husband feels like the boy is pulling our family apart.  He is driving a wedge between us, because after dealing with him,  most days,  I simply have nothing left over for myself or our marriage.  I have nothing.  No patience, no loving heart. Nothing. I'm just existing. Living from day to day, getting the bare minimum details done, but not really living.  I'm not conscious daily of how small I've allowed my world to become.  I'm not as social as I used to be, because I'm empty.  I don't even want to hear myself complaining about my life anymore.  I know my friends are tired of hearing it, not that I see many of my local friends often.

So I mask the pain with jokes and hilarity. I smile because I am happy for the moment when and if I get away, but I dread going back home, wondering what kind of explosion I will face. Which fight will I have to referee? Who's need to I have to fill?

Confession...

My only way of recharging, is sleeping, enjoying occasional silence when the boys are out of the house,  writing whenever I can focus long enough, engaging with my peeps on Facebook and drinking.  I don't even enjoy food or desserts as much as I used to.  Honestly, drinking is that one small thing that I look forward to at the end of the day. It's like the one thing that I can control.

I can't always go out with friends or even with my husband. I can't always disappear from the house to go out and do yoga or exercise.  I can't pull out my paint and canvas to just create in peace.  I can't always even focus on writing.  As a matter of fact, when Red is at home, I can hardly focus on anything.  I lose all train of thought.  Once he's home at 3 o'clock, I can only manage to to things like laundry, cooking or cleaning.  That I can do kind of on auto pilot.  Then shortly after that here comes Blue and then the fireworks.

Fortunately, or unfortunately I'm not sure which, God has created this small little bladder which doesn't hold much liquid.  Otherwise, I'd probably be a drunk.  I can only have 1 drink, 2 max or I'm up and down all night peeing.  I've even considered how cool it would be to smoke a joint and just be oblivious. Like ...hey cool man. Whatever. You 2 dudes want to fight? Go right ahead. I'll just be over hear chillin and then I'll get the munchies and just pass out.  I've seen it in the movies. It looks really pretty cool. No of course, I've never experienced it in real life. Wink, wink.

In the real world, I am a responsible adult.  I don't drink myself to death, or smoke a doobie. I take care of the details every.single. freaking. day. And I'm seriously exhausted.

My support group moms got on my case the other night because I disclosed that I'm not in therapy. I'm too busy trying to make sure everyone else gets therapy, gets to their medical appointments, gets their hair done, their haircuts, manicures and pedicures.  Ensuring that everyone has their groceries and medication. I could go on all day with this list.

After Friday night's feeling like I was ready to drive off a cliff, I decided that something has got to change for sure and with a swiftness. Number one, hubby and I spent the night away from home last night. We reconnected like we hadn't in a very long time. I felt like a grown up.  I sent Red to spend some time with his Pastor and friend and when he came home I told him not to call me.  I would not be answering my phone.  Blue went to spend the night with a friend. I told him not to call me unless he was dying. I left my mom at home with her wine and the dog.

This night away was just a bandaid on a gaping wound. The next step is finding myself a therapist ...stat! Beyond that it is inevitable that I have to find a place for Red to live.  I may not be able to focus on working on the book everyday.  I just don't have the capacity right now.  I've got to work on fixing my life.  It looks like Iyanla ain't gonna do it.

If I had just Blue, I could do this.  He has Aspergers. He has anxiety, but he would be more manageable without his brother in the mix every single day.  Red is just that ...Red.  He's like handling a piece of dynamite.  He is a spark that lights all of the fires.  I am the firewoman and my extinguisher is out of that white stuff ...you know that puts the fires out.

Disclaimer...
If you come here to read my blogs in the near future, don't expect perfection, fluff or polished work (not that you ever got that). Just know that right now, I really don't care. I'm writing for my sanity, not for blog popularity. If you find something helpful along the way, that makes me happy beyond belief.You in my blog community have been my life line, my therapy, my reason for smiling many a day.

At this point, I realize I need a little more.  I need some professional help.  As my friend Meredith said the other day, "I'm only strong ...until I'm not anymore."
I'm not anymore. So hold me up in prayer, positive energy and whatever else you got. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Autism Awareness -One Neighbor at a Time.

Notice the gray hair taking over!
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  A beautiful day in which to spread some autism awareness. So that's what we did. 

I'm in the line at the grocery store. My purchases are mostly lined up on the conveyor belt --cereal, a few things for Blue's lunch and most importantly, my mom's wine. The cell phone rings. It's not a familiar number, but it's local so innately, I answer.  It's Red's voice that I hear. Heart sinks! Shit! What is it now? 

"Mom! Dad called the cops on me. They're probably on their way to get me right now! You have to do something!" 
(He has been doing a lot of this turning our words around into something we've never said. What is that about?)

He said more than that, actually.  There is a disgusting line from a Boondocks video that he likes to include whenever he talks about what happens when people go to jail. Because in his mind, the Boondocks is a documentary.  Yep. Thanks You-Tube.  Autism parents around the world thank you for our children's ability to find the most disgusting videos, play them over and over again, and then script the most inappropriate lines, at the most inopportune times. 

Wait a minute? Cops? Where is he calling me from? 
My head starts swimming, spinning like I'm in a dream sequence in a movie. What the hell did he just say? 
"Where are you?" I manage to get out of my mouth.

It turns out that he's calling from our neighbor's phone. Just great! Wonderful! Neighbors if you weren't aware of autism ...this is it! We are the poster family for autism awareness! If you don't know...now you know! 

I hang up with him and call the house to find out what actually happened. No police have been called. There is no imminent threat. Great. Again. I hang up. I can barely process what the hell is going on while trying to run two different debit cards through the thingy. Somehow, I manage to pay for my groceries. At least, I think I paid for them.

Blue and I end up wandering around the parking lot for what seems like 30 minutes looking for my car. I have absolutely no recollection of how I arrived here.  What does my car looks like again? I think it's white.  Oh there's a white car! Not mine. Damn! 

I finally sit down in the middle of the lot, on curb. I park the basket and tell Blue to go find our car.  He looks at me like ...really? Why are you sitting down in the parking lot? 

I somehow manage to make it home. 
My neighbor was the one responsible for calming Red down. He asked him, "Why do you think your Dad called the police?" 
"Because I was yelling and screaming at my grandmother." 
"Well, is that what you're supposed to be doing?"
"Well...no." 
They talk for a while about God knows what. 

When I arrive home, the 3 of them (Dad, Red and Neighbor) are talking in the driveway.  

After unloading the car, I'm searching for my earring that somehow fell out of my ear in the car. The neighbor comes over.  "So ...the boys have Aspergers? How exactly does that affect him?"

"Well, he has autism.  Maybe not specifically Aspergers.  Aspergers actually describes Blue more than Red.  But this isn't just autism, this is also ..." I go on explaining all of his challenges as well as his strengths. 

It turns out that our neighbor knows someone at work who has Aspergers.  He also knows someone at his church who own's a video business.  He's going to talk to him about Red.  He says, "Maybe he can throw some work his way, they can collaborate or he could mentor Red in someway." 

Wow! Another person willing to help this kid! Amazing. 

And that my friends is how you create autism awareness. 



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Loss Mitigation

Dear Family,

I think we need to try something new. I know that one of our family members seems to be the biggest agitator -the biggest annoyance and therefore, appears to be the source of a lot of disruptiveness. Well o.k. he is a big source of disruption.  He's 18 years old.  It would seem like there are certain things he should get by now.  Maybe he does get some of it, but old habits die hard, especially if you are still getting a payoff from all of your antics.

Here's the thing, that person let's call him the Disrupter, has a brain that works differently than most of ours.  This doesn't make him dumb, stupid or even crazy. However, his thinking is definitely different.
For example, he came out of his therapy appointment yesterday and said, "I guess if I want my life easier and to keep living with you and the sergeant (dad), I'll have to learn how to tolerate you."
Now I know damn well, that is not what his therapist said, but that's the way that he took it. Sounds like a little upside down thinking, right?

Let's not forget his diagnosis...

  • PDD/NOS (pervasive developmental disorder -not otherwise specified). In other words Autism which is a neurological difference.  His thinking is different!
  • ODD  (oppositional defiant disorder)  He has been known as oppositional and defiant since he was a toddler! Since before he could talk! This is the one diagnosis they got right early on. 
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). He is acts impulsively, without thinking of the consequences of his actions. He is constantly moving in some way. He is constantly singing! This was on his 3 year-old neurology evaluation. 
  • Mood Disorder or Bi-Polar/NOS (signs include -depression, OCD obsessive compulsive disorder, easily angered, etc.)  

Sometimes, I think we forget all that HE is dealing with.  It's kind of amazing that he is doing as well as he is in all other areas of life, based on all of the things he has going on.

Yes. He drives us all crazy, especially me.  We are human. We can only be pushed so far before we are triggered into pushing back.  Fight or flight is a normal human response when we feel that we are being attacked.  It seems like in this house we often choose fight, instead of flight.  Flight would mean walking, perhaps even running away from the attack.  Some of us even seem to take flight directly towards the flame, instead of away from it. We seem to take some pleasure in the fight. It's like ...
Ooh! I got him! He's making me angry. He's interrupting me.  He's annoying me so ...Bam! Take that!
Even though that fight is such a waste of energy.  It certainly doesn't change the behavior of the person with a different neurology.

So what if we were to act like the Christians we profess to be and try to simply turn the other cheek?  What if we approach the person who seems to think differently than we do, with love and compassion instead of anger and further agitation.  Do you think that may reduce a small portion of his anger and disruptiveness?  I certainly don't think it will erase it.  It may mitigate it by a margin, therefore, making all of our lives just a little bit more peaceful.

Mitigate ...I love that word.  (Yes. I am in love with words.)  It means to lessen, make less severe or painful. (Yes. He can be painful.)

There are certain words in my vocabulary that I remember the exact  first time that I heard them, or at least actually became aware of their definition. I remember the word mitigation distinctly.

I used to work for a mortgage bank as a Loan Analyst.  (Yes. Once upon a time, I had a job that paid real money. We even got time off, and vacations. It was great!) Our department was called Loss Mitigation.  It was my job to look at loans that we were about to foreclose on to determine how we could lessen our loss.  When a bank takes a property back through foreclosure, there are a lot of expenses incurred.  If there was a way to lessen those expenses, then we may do something called a Short Sale, thereby taking a payoff for less than what the current owner of the property actually owed us.  This would have to be more than we would get if we actually foreclosed.

What if we could mitigate the amount of arguments, fights screaming and disruption in out house. Wouldn't that be helpful?
What if we could lessen our pain, and my headaches?
What if we could mitigate the number of times that I (the mom) have to step in to referee between everyone in this house?  And I do mean everyone, including the adults who supposedly are not on the autism spectrum.
Why do we buy into the negative behavior and try to teach a lesson by displaying more negative behavior.
What are we teaching?
What are we modeling?

We are modeling? You act ugly. I can act uglier.
Is that going to motivate him to change?
Is that promoting an atmosphere of peace?

One of us or more of us may be more resistant to change than others of us. One of us may not have the ability to readily change his thinking, just because we want him to. We can't control that can we?  But what can we control? We can control our reaction to him.

If one person is out of control for whatever reason, and you have the ability to remain in control, why not exercise that ability whenever possible?  I'm not saying it's always possible, but there are some places we just don't have to go. For instance ...
Do we have to go into name calling or cursing, just so that we can make the person who is not in control, or does not have the correct thought process, even more angry?
Do we meet irrational thought by adding insult to injury?
How does that make things any better?

I know we're all tired and we're all frustrated.  But it seems to me, that the more we give in to being upset by his antics, the more he loves it. What if we all take our power back, especially the 3 adults in  our house.  Imagine the example we would be setting for the child in our house who still needs to learn how to do this.

Let's give it a try and see how we all feel 2 weeks from now.

Let's meet anger with love. It will take energy.  Trust me. I've been trying this for a few days. It won't be easy. We won't be perfect, but let's try.  Let's see if we can mitigate our pain.

Sincerely,

Your Tired,  Loving, Wife, Daughter, Mother & Referee



Sunday, September 14, 2014

One Good Thing on a Night from Hell

Every once in a while we have one of those crazy nights where I feel like I seriously live in the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (the black family version).  On this night Red came this close (holds fingers together) to becoming homeless.  I went off the deep end! I was ready to explode completely. The whole house seemed to be going mad. But in the midst of all of the pandemonium, one good thing managed to happen.

Have I ever described my 2 teenage boys to you? Let's see, Red is about 5' foot 10" close to 11" and weighs ...a lot. Blue is catching up to him quickly at about 5' 9" close to 10" and he weighs ...a lot. I am about 5 ft. 1" and I weigh hardly anything.  I am so skinny. (Not!) But let's just say I weigh a hell of a lot less than either of them.

When the two of them go at it with their non-stop mouths, insulting each other, trying to intimidate each other, with typical sibling rivalry issues, it often turns physical with a quickness.  Blue is not afraid to smack the crap out of his big brother, but then he acts surprised when Red goes nuts in return. The next thing you know, what started as a silly sibling fight can turn into one of them ending up in complete meltdown and tearing up something in my house.  Sometimes I just let them go at it. Other times, when I know someone is already close to the edge, I try to prevent them going over.

We've all been a little done with Red over the past few weeks.  His antics in the house have been very disruptive and has everyone on edge and unhappy. He's been ranting about one thing or another and Blue has very little patience for that. The rants don't usually make a lot of sense and since everything needs to make sense to Blue, he feels the need to let his brother know how idiotic and irrational his thoughts are.  Blue often tells Red that his i.q. is much higher than his. He's in advanced classes, while Red was mostly in special education classes.

I will jump in when Red really has no defense, other than, "Shut up! You are not smarter than me!" I disallow Blue to use certain words against his brother like stupid and dumb.  I feel like these words are more hurtful than some of the curse words he uses.  I point out Red's special gifts.  The fact that he has a job, that he loves and is good at and is even working on developing his own business.  I point out the fact that Red is loving and kind to other kids with special needs.  He has a gift for working with and talking to seniors and has volunteered in a Senior Rehab center.

He's not dumb by any means.  He just focuses on what he's really good at and pretty much only wants to do that.  There's nothing wrong with that.

So on this night Red is ranting. Thee two of them are fighting.  I'm trying my best to juggle and keep them apart.  You go upstairs, while he is downstairs. You eat dinner, while he's doing homework. I need to go to the pharmacy but I'm afraid to leave the house for 10 minutes because all hell may break loose.  My husband is trying to stay out of everything, because his approach to discipline is the subject of one of Red's rants.
"Dad is a wannabe tough guy because he was in the military! The military is full of wannabe tough guys."
(This rant is based on some stupid video about a Marine who has become a police officer.  He clocks this guy for mouthing off to him and then says, "You're messing with a United States Marine! Don't disrespect me!")

He has somehow connected this Mr. Tough guy mentality with his father, who in his opinion often "soldiers up on him."  Of course, he makes no connection that we have spoken to him civilly over and over again, you know,  repeating don't, stop, quit, 2 or 10 times,  but we get no change in behavior.  We only get action from him when dad has to become Mr. Tough guy.

Red has told me straight out, if you have nothing to hold over his head, if he has nothing to lose, he will not listen to you.  Hence, he does well at work because he doesn't want to lose his job.  He doesn't make the connection that he has a soft place to land, to lose in this situation.  He is very close to losing the comfort of this home to live in.

On this night, as I am juggling to keep the boys apart, I am also trying to cook and serve dinner. I made two chicken breast especially for my husband. He doesn't eat wings which is mostly what I have prepared for the rest of us.  Red knows these two big pieces of chicken are specifically for dad.  But of course, he's like, "I want that piece!"
Begrudgingly, I agree to let him have one of the breasts along with his other pieces.

Shortly after, I have to leave the kitchen for a few minutes to talk to Blue.  When I return, you bet your butt Red ate ALL of the large pieces.  It was like he swallowed them whole because I wasn't gone that long.

I swear ...steam was coming out of my ears!  I was livid!  My husband who works hard to provide for this family, who had just returned from a business trip, would basically have nothing to eat because of Red, who pays for nothing in this house.  After all of the other havoc he was causing, this was just the last draw.

Of course this situation reminded me of Chris Rock, "Oh Lawd! You mean to tell me, you ate the big piece of chicken?!" Don't click this link this if you don't like profanity...

(*Also Warning if you are viewing this post from a smart phone you may not be able to see the link. Try it from a laptop or pc)


I make Blue get in the car with me, again because I'm trying to keep them apart.  I need to go around the corner to Walgreen's to pick up his allergy medicine. He can see how visibly shaken I am.   He's asking me why I'm so upset?  I basically blast him.

"Really? You're kidding me right? You two huge boys continually going at each other! Me trying to keep you from killing each other! And it's not all your brother! It's you too! You're like a moth to the flame! You have to get involved in every conversation. You insult him constantly! I'm sick and tired of all of it! To top it off...your brother just ate all of the dinner I prepared for your father! He has got to get out of my house! I'm done! I can't live like this anymore!"

This is a mild version of what I said.  My rant was laced with expletives and I didn't care.  Blue curses worse than I do, so he wasn't hearing anything he doesn't already know.  He was a little shocked to hear me using it.  I was between anger and tears ...completely falling apart.

When we got home I was ready to go upstairs and completely lay into Red. I was ready to tell him he has got to get the f*@# out of my house! Blue stopped me.

"Mom. Please don't go up there and lose it with Red. Can you please just take a second take some deep breaths and listen to this song?"
"A song! I don't want to listen to any song!"
"Please mom! Please! I promise you. Just listen to this."
I stopped. I listened.

His social skills teacher had showed him this video earlier in the day and now he was showing it to me. He made me stop before I acted.  Knowing that my actions would just lead to more explosion in the house.  It's like the saying, war begets war.  There was really no good to come of me exploding on Red who was already in an agitated state.  When he's like this, he's just looking for another fight and I was about to give it to him. 

The good thing was that I was able to reach Blue and he was able to reach me.  He did not engage with Red for the rest of the night and neither did I.  In fact, the following day when Blue came home from school, instead of going straight for the jugular with his brother, he was more patient and understanding. 

It will be interesting to see if he can stop and pull out the Mr. Rodgers song the next time he's ready to blow a gasket. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Asshatery 101

Our family may have very well just had our last trip with everyone together.  It was my mother's 75th birthday and a family reunion on her father's side of the family.  The boys had not been to St. Louis to see the family since before they could walk and talk.  I felt it was important that we all be there so that the boys would have an opportunity to meet their relatives. The fact that the planning committee requested that Red be the videographer for the event, sealed the deal on his going.

Over the past few weeks his behavior and attitude towards this family has royally sucked.  More than once I thought about eating the cost of his ticket and just canceling.  He is 18 years-old, but could not be left alone here at home.  There are no guarantees that the house would be locked, that he would eat properly or take his medicine regularly.  We would have to either send him somewhere, or have someone come here.  Both alternatives would cost even more money.  And so ...off we went.

The boys first got to meet my cousin Court who was absolutely, awesome with them.  They both were filled with anxiety over meeting all of these new people.  Court put them at ease instantly.  He reads my blog regularly and follows my Facebook page, so he had an idea of what to expect from the boys.  Although, there's nothing like meeting them in person.  He spoke their language.  He's young enough to know about the same music and popular culture that they are interested in.  He's just old enough to  have a little experience in life that he could relate to their experiences as young black men, being raised in a predominantly white culture and world. Court is a well spoken, college educated man who they related to rather well.  The boys were impressed with him. Both boys feel it is important to speak well and present the best of yourself so as not to be stereotyped and thought of in a negative manner by society.

Before the first Family Reunion dinner ...Blue started a anxiety-filled rant.  He was nervous about how the evening would go.  Red had been pouncing on him all day.  He pushed every button and was relentless in his taunting.  Red became stuck on how Blue doesn't get enough discipline.  How we let him get away with everything.  He's the only one who gets in trouble.  He actually brought this up at the table during the reunion dinner as we sat with extended family and he would not let it go.  I was kind of shocked by the fact that he was going there, in front of other people.  Usually, he reserves that behavior for just immediate family.  His behavior was so ugly, I had to get up and leave the room before I would end up losing it.

On our last night there, Red continued to pounce on Blue, with negative comments again during a family dinner situation.  My aunt and uncle were awesome at trying to distract him, allowing him to talk about himself and his interests to in order to get him to leave his brother alone and have a nice dinner.  He kept coming back to controversial subjects like racism and religion.  In the car on the way back to our hotel, again he pounced.  In fact, I may venture to say he was bullying Blue, calling him an atheist over and over again.  The irony in that of course, is how un-christ-like his own behavior was in the process.

The day that we traveled home didn't get much better. In fact, at DFW our second flight was delayed, and delayed and delayed, then finally another plane had to be brought in. He became anxious and visibly upset.  Imagine, a two-hundred plus pound angry looking, young, black, autistic teenager, pacing back and forth, going up to the staff continuously asking, "What's the problem?  How much longer do we have to wait?" Then he would come back to me and say, "I'm getting really angry!" Then, he would start to try to vent that anger on his brother, who actually did remarkably well in not responding.

Red is 18 years old now.  I can not protect him from everything.  With all that's been happening in the world lately, with police situations gone wrong, I couldn't help but worry, thinking at any moment, he would explode and would be taken down and detained by airport police.

He has traveled numerous times alone.  He has even been delayed and missed a flight in Chicago.  He NEVER behaved this way!  This is what made me say, I will NEVER do this again.  I will never travel with him and the entire family.  He was agitated by his father, and his brother.  The better Dad and Blue got along, the more upset Red became.  He was relentless with me.  "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom. I want to sit next to you! Mom listen to me!"

Blue is not perfect by any means.  He can push buttons also.  He can not mind his own business to save his life! The difference between Red and Blue, is that Blue can be redirected.  If you ask him to stop doing something, he will stop.  You can ask Red to stop and have to say it 10 times.  He won't listen until you become completely exasperated and are ready to lose it.  Then, he blames YOU for getting upset.  Then he blames his brother for not getting as much discipline as he does.

The next day after getting home, there was a moment of contrition where Red felt bad about his behavior.  He thought deeply about it when he was able to take a reprieve away from us, while at work.

He said, "Seems like no matter what I do, I can't stop being angry.  Even though I know that the way I treat you guys is making Dad want me to move out, I can't seem to stop treating you that way.  I need some other kind of help, maybe some other kind of therapy.  I can't stop this behavior. I know I need to do better to be able to keep living at home, but even that doesn't seem to stop me. Do you even think it's even possible for me to change?" (Honestly, I don't. At least not while he is living with us.)

"I think that people who respect their parents, have always respected their parents.  I never really have.  I really don't know what else to do," he said sadly.

I don't know what else to do either.

Last night, he went to church with his pastor and his girlfriend.  As soon as he got home, he started back up again.  "Blue needs more discipline!" Yelling, screaming, banging on doors, invading Blue's personal space, invading mine.

He goes to his room and starts playing annoying videos loudly.  I asked him to stop as his brother was doing homework.  He refused until I took the device away.  Then he starts screaming and pounding on Blue's door as he is trying to get to sleep so that he can get up for school the next day.

This was not a meltdown.  This was I'm pissed off and I'm going to piss you all off.  I don't care what you say.  I don't care how you feel.  I don't care about you being tired and ready for bed.  I don't care that Blue has to get up for school.  This was pure, unadulterated asshatery!

True enough, all negative behavior has a reason behind it.  At this point, I'm not sure exactly what it is. I don't even know if I care.  I just know that I am completely sick of it  and something has got to change.  It's not fair for the rest of us to have to live in fear of his antics.  It's not fair for Blue to have to deal with this when he's trying to get to sleep or do his homework on a school night.  This boy has got to go!

Where? I do not know. How? I really don't know. But he is pushing me to find out.

He keeps going on about how he wants to pursue his passion of video editing.  Hell! I want to pursue my passion of writing! But he sucks the life right out of me, till I have no creativity left in my body!

What he really wants is to have all of his money available to buy video equipment.  He says that moving out will prevent him from doing that.  He won't have the cushy life that he has here.  However, obviously he does not appreciate the cushion of living here.  He seems to be doing everything in his power to make it impossible for his cushy life to continue.

I told him today, "You know what's getting in your way of pursuing your passion? You are!"

My Facebook status after the night we got home...

"I feel like someone kicked my ass last night. Probably because someone did ...mentally."

My Facebook status this morning...

"Overwhelmed, exhausted and sad. I want to say, 'Jesus take the wheel,' but I know he needs me to do some work too. I guess I will just ask for guidance and strength." 

Something has got to give...I've only been saying that since he was 12.  When he was in high school, I would say, "I can't wait until this is over! Then everything will be so much better.  His stress level will be down.  He won't have as much to be angry about.  He'll be happier."

I could not have been more wrong.  It's just a new set of challenges that I don't know if I have the energy to face.

p.s.
Our weekend was not completely ruined. We did manage to have a really good time at our Family Reunion in between the antics.  I will have to write about that another day. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dating Red Part 2

So we are a couple of months into this relationship now.  It's going better than I ever could have expected.  I am seeing him grow and stretch, choosing her above his own selfish wants and needs, which is major for him. For example, she wants Chinese food.  He hates Chinese food, but he goes with her and makes it through the meal without complaint.  He comes home hungry of course.  But this is something that he would NEVER do for his family.  He may go with us.  He may find something to eat, but he would be majorly complaining the whole time.

He has gone to see a romantic comedy at the movies, when he really only likes action thrillers.  He has gone to the mall shopping with her countless times.  He usually HATES the mall.  Of course, the mall is probably a much more pleasant experience with a beautiful girl by your side.

It was her birthday the other day.  I was secretly thrilled that he has found a girl that shares in his love an enthusiasm for roller coasters.  He went with her family to an amusement park for the day. Score! He's out of my hair! 

I won't get into details, but when he came home he told me that she had kind of a hard time during parts of the day. She became very upset with her family members and had a bit of a meltdown.  Of course, I won't get into her diagnosis.  I don't even know what it is for sure.  Let's just say they seem have some similar issues.

I explained that a full day at an amusement park can be fun, but overwhelming at the same time. Blue has a meltdown at the end of almost every amusement park we've ever gone to.

He experienced the behavior as kind of unnerving.  I said to him, "You do understand that you have displayed very similar behavior."
He said, "Yes. But I don't see myself when I'm doing it.  So I guess I don't really know what it looks like."
I thought this was an incredibly insightful statement.  Sometimes he still surprises me.

After their date, she called to apologize for what he had seen that day.  He told her there was no need for apologies.  He understands.  He's been there and has had friends who have been there. He told her not to worry.  He is there for her, no matter what.  He doesn't give up on people just because they are having a hard time.  He also assured her that her family loves her.  That her parents are just doing their best to help her, but they are not perfect.

I thought I was going.to.die. Who is this mature person and what has he done with my kid? What is they say about autism and empathy? This kid has empathy, for sure! 

It's kind of cool when you hear your words of wisdom being regurgitated out of the mouth of one of your children as if it were his own original thought.  The part about her parents loving her, no matter what ...that was all me. The rest was all him and I could not be more proud.

If interested ...the first click here for the first Dating Red post