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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dear Elizabeth Gilbert

Dear Liz,

(Yes. I'll call you Liz if you don't mind. After all, you are one of my dear friends)

On Sunday morning, I woke up and grabbed my phone from my bedside table as I usually do. I checked the Facebook group that I run and then switched over to my personal page. I was pleasantly surprised to see a reply from you.
I wrote this…

Oprah Winfrey hired me to do
P.R. for my dear friend
Elizabeth Gilbert.
She will be on
 SuperSoulSunday
Tomorrow
Don't miss it.
"This is so beautiful! Thank YOU!
And you wrote back …


I’m sure you are busy in your life hanging out with Oprah and the gang.  Yet, of all the people who shared the post about you being on Super Soul Sunday, you took the time to reply to me! My heart smiled as I read your reply.  I did a happy dance. It felt as if you knew that my soul needed a gentle touch in that moment.

My heart has been heavy lately with a lot of tough decisions regarding my son. He is a young man with high functioning autism who is transitioning into adulthood and driving me completely bonkers in the process. I’m hearing this good whisper saying,  "It’s time for him to go."

The whisper has actually screaming at me lately. Oh wait a second …that was him. But anyway, the whisper has been saying, “Release him to the world so that he can grow into the man that he needs to be. He will not do that as long as he is with you.”

He shows the promise of being a wonderful citizen of the world. He will be a man with challenges and he will conquer them.  He will need support to make this happen, but what he doesn’t need, is to be coddled and protected by his mother. I just don’t think he will grow into a man until he takes some steps away from me.

The whispers have also been saying, “You can’t keep living this way Karen. You are giving way too much of yourself.” I can hardly make myself out in a mirror. My inner light is fading. The walls are closing in on me. This world that I have created is now suffocating me. I have spoiled them all, including my husband and my mother.

I too have been spoiled.  I have been given the gift of being a mother full-time for my boys. However,  in giving everyone so much of my focus, I have almost been erased. I think of them before I feed myself.  I think of them before I pee! I think of them before I exercise and subsequently, I usually put it off.  It’s become a bad habit.

What does this person need from me now? Here you go.  Slowly, I am giving away a small piece of my soul.

The whispers are saying, “You have given to them out of love and protection, but it’s time to let them fly. It’s time for you to start flapping your own wings and start living instead of just existing.” 

After I saw your message on Facebook, I flipped on the t.v.  and watched you on Super Soul Sunday on OWN.  You sat there chatting with my girlfriend Oprah, but you spoke directly to me.  It was like you were sitting there having the chat that I, specifically needed to hear.

“If you stay on this path you may literally die or die in pieces.” Liz Gilbert 

I’ve been feeling like I am dying a slow death. This life that I’m living is a part of my path, but it is NOT my path in total. I am called to do more.

“Good whispers scare you. They open you up.” Liz Gilbert

You’re a writer Karen. You have a gift to give to the world. Your family is a part of your world. They are not your ENTIRE world.
You don’t like Texas. This is not where you are meant to spend the rest of your life. Stop doing what everyone else wants you to do. Empower them to do for themselves. Get yourself in a position to pay someone to do the things you no longer want to do. They will probably do a better job anyway. You are meant to travel the world. You are meant to be in the places where you are loved simply for being who you are. You are meant to have a relationship with your husband. He’s supposed to be your lover and your partner, not just the dad, the breadwinner and the guy you share a room with.”

“The good whispers scare you. They open you up. Bad whispers shut you down. You can’t listen to them." Liz Gilbert

My good whispers say, “It’s time for him to move to the next step of his life.” The unknown variables of that scare the shit out of me. The good whispers say, “You are supposed to write a larger piece of work, that will reach farther and help more people.”
My bad whispers say, “You do not have time to write today. You don’t have time to exercise. You can never finish a long term project. You have too much on your plate.”

“Obstacles help you gain what you need for the battle.” Liz Gilbert 

The difficulties that I face right now are what’s making me stronger.  My destiny is to encourage others through my writing.  To tell them that they can get through these obstacles and and make it to the other side.  It doesn't really matter what channel that writing comes in on write now. The point is that it touches someone.

I made this and shared it on FB and Instagram

This was one of my favorite quotes.
The voice in my head says to me, "You’re not smart enough. Your grammar is horrible. You can’t focus. No one you know has ever done this. What makes you think you can?"
Who is that shit talker? She really needs to shut up! 

“Sometimes you have to shape the quest to the reality of your life.” Liz Gilbert  

As much as I'd love to run off to Italy, France, Bali, anywhere but here ...my reality is that right now, I am a mother, a wife, a caregiver.  I write a blog that touches many all over the world.  My writing helps them and let’s them know that they are not alone in this difficult journey raising children with autism. What I’m going through each and every day with my boys, the good and the bad and sometimes hilarious, I share and someone’s life is touched. I make someone laugh. I help them realize they they are not crying alone.

I am also called to write a larger piece of work. Perhaps that hasn’t happened yet, because I’m still walking the path of raising these boys. My journey with them is not complete and it does require a lot of focus. And remember Karen, you don't focus all that well. 

You reminded me however, that even if I can’t do things exactly the way I want to do them today, I need a plan. I need to set up my "coffee can plan" and put something away in it every day toward my goals. I will write something every day. What I’m living and what I’m doing right now, is a part of my spiritual journey.

“Grace says I don't care what you do, you're splendid, magnificent and I'm here. I'm right beside you and we're gonna get through this.” 

Thank you Liz, for helping me to give myself a little grace.

And guess what?

I will see you and my girlfriend Oprah next weekend in Houston at Oprah's The Life you Want Weekend. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Village People

I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. Every person enters your life to teach you something.

This morning I had breakfast with the Transition Coordinator for special education in our school district.  She is also the Principal of the Adult Transition program that Red is in now. Feeling desperate for answers for moving into the next phase for Red, I messaged her last week and asked her if she could meet with me privately, before our next meeting with him.

We first met years ago when Blue did a presentation at our school district's teachers conference, on why students should participate in their I.E.P.  (individual education plan) meetings. You can read about that experience here on my blog. Yep. That was my kid!  

She was the teary eyed administrator attending his presentation. In that moment she made me realize that there are administrators special education in our district who are in it for the right reasons. She is one of the special ones who really cares about the lives of the students she touches. She genuinely wants to see them become successful and independent.

Since then, this wonderful woman helped me put Red on the right path by mapping out his future through a process they call a V.I.S.I.T. meeting. Together, we got him out of the high school where he was not thriving at all. We placed him in another high school program, that although not perfect, worked much better for him. We got him through high school a semester early even, and into adult transition, because we could clearly see, that the high school environment was just not the place for him.

She runs his PCP (Person Centered Planning) meetings here at our home. Where a group of mentors, including teachers, job coaches, and his Pastor come together periodically to help him work on personal goals for his life.
I took her to breakfast today, so that we could talk one on one, about the next steps with Red and the possibilities for him finding a supported living environment.

What an excellent resource, friend, and the example of an Administrator who truly wants to make the lives of those with disabilities better.

They are out there people! Get involved and get to know the powers that be in your area. We need all that the resources and help that we can get. I am a firm believer that it takes a village to raise a child.  Even more so, when they are children like mine. We are so blessed to have her as one of our village people.   

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Little Light

Here in my reality, I am not always able to find the bright side of the story.  Lately, there hasn't been much light to be found in the shadows and darkness.  Yesterday, was different.  The sun was shining and I definitely saw a bit of light.

I had a rational conversation with Red, in which he finally took some responsibility for his recent behaviors.

"I just can't do it.  I don't know what it is ...but I can't get along with this family."
"Do you think there is anything that can change that?"
"No. Honestly, I don't."

Wow! I wish I had recorded it. He seemed to be reaching a point of acceptance that he is going to have to move out. He still thinks he's not ready and that he can't afford it.  He doesn't think he can handle everything on his own and neither do I.  I assured him that I would make sure that he has the support that he needs.  We talked about a post-production film program in California for young adults on the spectrum.  We talked about supported living environments both here and in California.

I illustrated how well he is doing in all environments except for home.  He saw the picture. I told him that I think he will grow into the young man that he needs to be if he gets away from me.  He's a mama's boy and he knows it.

I have been his anchor, his voice and his advocate for so long.  Maybe I have over-mothered in attempts to protect him from himself and from the horror that was middle and high school. He was so sad, depressed and felt so isolated.  I knew that he was in deep pain in those situations and I tried to compensate for that however I could.  I fought for the best possible scenario available in a sea of  bad options for a kid like him.

However, I feel like at this point, I'm stunting his growth. I can't be his lifeline anymore. I just can't do it. The more I give, the more he takes, leaving nothing left over for me. He needs to stand on his own.  He will continue to need support, but he will get it from other adults who have high expectations of him and he will rise to the occasion, just as we've already seen since he left high school.  Being away from me will force him to grow up.  I think he'll be happier.  I told him that during our rational conversation. It may not be all roses. There will be some thorns.  There will be some setbacks but ultimately, he will thrive.

It's not like he's someone with absolutely no drive and no initiative.  He was that way in high school. But since then, he is on point with his job.  He hasn't missed a single day and hasn't had one, single issue there.  He has the drive and initiative to work on his own business, even though he still has a lot to learn.  He is motivated to make money! I think that getting some distance from me will be the spark that puts him into overdrive.

I was feeling discouraged and messaged my good friend Paul yesterday.  I met Paul through this blog and my Confessions Facebook community  (See...Social media is good for something!)

Paul wrote a little about his Aspergers story on my blog last year. (It's a really great piece of writing.  You really should check it out.) Paul had had a difficult childhood not knowing that he had Aspergers.  He is now a successful business owner, excellent father and a husband.  He has friended Red on FB and always has encouraging things to say to him.

I love him for who he is as a man and the way he treats my son with such dignity.

Paul wrote the following...

"I have this gut feeling that I've never been able to shake...but I have always thought there was something very special about your boys. I mean that with all my heart, and I've probably even told you that before, but I absolutely cannot shake the feeling that, despite the frustrations and challenges, God is cooking up something extraordinary in Red's life. I swear to you, it's just feel it as real as the air I breathe. 

You've always inspired me so much just in the way you live your life and carry yourself through these struggles. It doesn't seem like much of a consolation, but it takes an extraordinary person to raise kids like that, and it's pretty clear why God picked you. Gee...thanks, God! Right? 

Maybe I just relate to him because I was like that too, and I was blessed enough to have a dad with the same heart you have ...and he never gave up. It wasn't like he said "I'm done with you" but instead he was saying "I love you too much to let you keep living like this". And because he was a parent with the same heart as you, he saved my life over and over and we have a great relationship now. He's my hero and always has been. I would bet my life Red sees that in you too when he looks back 5 or 10 years from now. 

You are all amazing people and I count myself blessed to call you friend. Please hang in there...you are doing an amazing job!!"

This brought a tear to my eyes and joy to my heart. Everything he said made absolute sense. It's almost like Red is pushing me to push him out and that may be a God thing too.

Again, thank you Paul for being there for him and for me. I appreciate your support more than you'll ever know.

It is a daunting to think of my child moving away from me, out there into the big, bad  ugly world. I know it's scary for him.  It's scary for me. Ultimately, it will be for the best for both of us.  

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 do 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