Reflections of and on a probably Asperger's parent parenting an Asperger's kid (or 2)!

dragon pups

dragon pups

Friday, July 26, 2013

Renewing my Vows

ok - so there is a cute side to this story:  We knew it was our 15th anniversary this year, so In January as we looked at the Annual Calendar (yes, I plan that far ahead), we started looking through our wedding pictures.  My young (6 yo) daughter says:

Where am I?

Well, honey, you weren't born yet. You aren't in these pictures.

But I am part of this family!!! I should be in these pictures!!

So, we talked about it, and decided that renewing our vows would not only be an economical way to celebrate 15 years, it would also be let her be in our wedding pictures.

We set a date near our actual anniversary, and we decided to keep it low key, we worked that day, we put it in a Facebook event without actual invitations, talked to some people about it, and just went about our year.  We decided that THIS time, we would write our own vows (no officiant = less cost) - I kinda challenged him to do that the first time, but he declined, so I was proud to see him agree  to that.

Life went on.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted and needed to say to him.  I spent most of the year really happy & content with where we are as a couple, as friends - a place I really have not been before very often.  I wrote soliloquies in my head, Great Odes to love and to my husband and to our history... and knew they were just too much to say.  The week of the ceremony, I FINALLY started writing all these ideas down, to condense them into something that was hearable... 

Here's some of the things I came up with:

1) A mother puts up with the man because she loves the boy.  A wife puts up with the boyishness because she loves the man.  This has been poignant this year as my mother-in-law ails.  She now calls our son by my husband's name.  And I have watched my son grow a lot this year.  He has ASTOUNDED us with his understanding of people and human dynamics.  He is approaching puberty and I need to prepare myself...  I compared the way in which I love my son to the way I look at my husband, and tried to see how my mother-in-law sees my husband...  and I came up with this Truth.  I did NOT mention it in my vows BTW.

2) My son said to me out of the blue on a car ride this spring, "Don't worry Mom, your secret is safe with me."  Oh Crap, I think.  What the heck have I done that is so bad?!  "Um, what secret is that, honey?"  "That you and Daddy fight."  That's it?!  Thank goodness...
"Sweetheart - it is no secret that your daddy & I fight.  ALL people disagree and misunderstand each other.  The point is not that we should never fight, it's that we say we are sorry, that we forgive each other, and we try to fix when we hurt each other."  It became important to me to acknowledge that we HAVE struggled to keep this relationship, to build it through time - it HAS been a LONG hard road, with a good share of doubters.  I wanted to be sure that whatever I said in my vows acknowledged that LOVE is a VERB, and we have to actively choose it.  What I wanted to say was:
"There were times I couldn't help but love you, and there were times that I wanted to love you, and there were times I wished I loved you, and there were times I decided to love you... but through any of it - I always LOVED you.  I am looking forward to seeing how I will love you in the future."  But then I thought about how the ending could be taken to be sexually suggestive, so I decided it might be a little too irreverent to say all that...

4) I started retelling all our stories, our history, to coworkers & family, to myself.  The time we met, the prolonged unromantic story of our engagement, the years it took me to forgive him for thoughtless words spoken when he first met my family, the time I told him he HAD to go on a vacation away from me, the times I felt judged by him, the time he walked across DC on 9/11 to find me, the winter before the kids that was dark and suicidal for me, my journey to redefining intuition and God, the times he pushed me, the times he carried me, the times I pushed back, the times I asked too much, the times we forgave each other for being too young...  I realized:

It takes a lot of woman to love a man like him.  And it takes a LOT of man to love a woman like me.

So that is what I told him.

I said other stuff too. I don't actually remember the exact words, but it made him tear up (the only time I have seen him do so) - so I am grateful that the Holy Spirit gave me the words he needed to hear!

Here's what I didn't tell him (well not until 2 weeks later - 'cuz I can't keep secrets to SAVE MY LIFE)

The inside of our rings are engraved with the words we used to sign our letters to each other during our 3 years of distance relationship.  He always signed his letters, "Love Always" - so that is what my ring says.  I always signed his letters, "Yours Alone" - so that is what his says.  As I thought about what to say, I thought about those rings, those words - and I couldn't bring myself to repeat them in the ceremony, because I haven't lived up to them.

Not because I have EVER given my body to another!  The truth is that he is and has always been the only man who's touch has not disgusted or frightened me.  I am a touchy-feely person, but the sexual touch is totally different!  I hug, but I cannot bring myself to kiss another person.

Did I share my heart?  Yes, and no.  Not that I gave my heart to another man, but that I continue to ALWAYS give my heart to my students, my coworkers, my friends, my family.  It has been a point of argument for us MANY times, because he feels my loyalty to others trumps my loyalty to him.  We both work TOO HARD, and spend way to much time on work.  As kids came, and there were even more pulls on my time (and his), and this became clearer, and easier to handle because we both saw that we NEEDED to share that loyalty and love.  

There was a time in the not distant past that I said to him, "I am a mother first, an instrument of God's will second, and your wife when and if I have time."  I finally reached a point that I felt his demands on me compromised my ability to teach, to make a difference in the world around me.  I decided that I had heard the Call, that I was being directed to move down a particular work path, that the Kids needed to see "mom's work" as a sibling and be prepared to share me with my commitments to others.  Not only would I be doing what I was Divinely Made To Do, but they would learn a good work ethic.

This issue with saying "yours alone" was not that I had given me to someone besides him - it is that I realized I had RECLAIMED part of myself FOR ME!  And I was not gonna be giving that back!  I am NOT "his alone", because I am mine too.

At first I felt I had violated my promises, but then thought about that "it takes lots of man" thing - I am a VERY VERY intense person.  He does not deserve to be saddled with all that intensity all the time.  Even I have trouble living with my intensity all the time!  And I did tell him all this just last night, because he deserves to know that I am True to him while I am True to me too.  I will continue to love him and honor our life together - as it was meant to be.  We teach each other.  And I will continue to love others too.  'Cuz that is what God made me to do.  I have to.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer bustle

So it is summer, which means SLAMMING busy for me.  I am finding that I feel busier this year than I have in previous years..

Part of me is thinking it is because the kids are older, so they are participating in more day camps and activities.

Part of me is thinking it is because I AM busier - having a hand in planning more events (Girl Scout weekend camp, water safety activities, home school day camp, Jedi camp at the local children's museum) on top of the swim lessons and being at the pool.

Part of me is thinking I just needed the change of pace from the winter - that I need to see beyond my sweet littles into the "bigger" world.

I am feeling both stretched thin and somewhat guilty about the whole thing.

I have felt for some time that my children should see my "life's work" as a "sibling" - so they can share me with the world and understand that while God made me for them, He ALSO made me for others.  I am starting to feel some parenting guilt about that.  I had a conversation with my kiddo last week about his meltdown - making it clear to him that we are there to make customers and guests feel welcome, and he needed to take the meltdown to the car so he did not make people feel sad or unwelcome.  In an EPIC move forward - he DID stop crying and screaming and it was nearly an hour later when I was able to sit down with him and he THEN told me what had been upsetting him, and we solved it.  I guess that is an important "life skill"/ "life lesson"... but I am still feeling a little bad that I am not putting his every need first.

Though the truth is that Younger Sibling (who is more NT) is manifesting insane jealousy behaviors this spring!  It is about time that our family dynamic is not "all about autism".  Now that we are at the pool most days and there are plenty of other kids to play with, Younger Sibling seems to be happier/ less needling.

But I also feel like I am re-examining "me" again - defining reality and perception and Truth again - a battle I thought I had conquered long ago.  Questions about how I know something is real, and how important is it that my reality mesh with those around me... do I need a second or third opinion on my perceptions?  How far "off" from "normal" can I get before I worry people?  DO I just need to change the "normal" around me?  What are the essential pieces of Me that I need to be sure don't get lost in transformation?

 - and I guess that is the real "concern"... I am transforming.  I am not sure where I am going, but I am sure that change is happening and it is real, and I am not the woman I was 2 years ago, or maybe even this past fall...  Those things that I believe to be "real" are changing.  Those things that I believed to be priority are morphing.  I have a vague fear that I am approaching a time to "move", and I REALLY don't want to...  my head keeps coming back to those times in my life where I learned to drive a new route home, built new routines.  Or the time I was driving to the pool and thought, "THIS is the cute time - they will never be as cute, fun, as there are this season." [the kids].  

And change IS happening.  My grandmothers are both gone, and my parents feel older for it, act older.  My mother-in-law ails, and we all hurt to watch her suffer.  My boy is growing bigger, and displaying physical signs of puberty.  My girl is still little, but her personality is NOT.  The leadership at work has changed profoundly, even if the nuts and bolts are still turning stiffly.  I expect negotiations on my work titles in the year to come.  And I am in a place, for really the first time I remember, that I want to grab the change by the horns, know it, and ride it, not just bob...  I want to actively make a new Me.  

It's like I am re-going thru that process I did in Jr. High/ High School where I set out my Primary Principles.  I did the same thing when I got pregnant and faced Parenthood, wrote essays to myself & my family [to the great unhappiness of both sets of future grandparents].  

I am feeling a "growth cycle" I guess...

And just as I could not know where and how that child's body would turn into a mother's body until it happened - I feel that I will not know where I am going until I get there...

And I am still looking at me, at what others see in me, at what I see reflected in my children, to determine IF I am who I think I am...

I still feel like I am missing the point.

I am left scattered - like my thoughts about Jedi camp, and Home School Camp, and swim lessons...

I feel like there is a "push", like there is a "call" to start making decisions and taking action, but I just cannot lay my hands on the records and resources I need... which makes me frustrated with myself.

I need to come back to the middle?  To find the eye of the storm?  I feel like I am doing better this year about not being frantic (except for the weeks hormones are involved), but definitely I feel I am more intense this year than I have been in a long time... I am playing less, and am very earnest in conversations/ interactions...

But I will push thru to the tasks that tomorrow needs, and be sure that I am meeting the responsibilities expected of me.

I still feel like I am in the right place at the right time... but maybe I just need to answer the phone more promptly?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Just up loading...

ok - so this is really a stream of consciousness post... my head is BUSY ...

So i have been trying to meditate more.  trying to find a little time very day to sit still, listen to nature or just "be" in my body -and I am finding it harder than i thought I would...

Cuz I THINK too much! I get still, and then my head starts building words, and words become sentences, and then sentences become monologues... there are just whole dialogues going thru my head.  And then it gets to where there are like 3 conversations happening at once in my head...  and then I can't tell who is answering who..

Then this big "mommy" voice comes on and tells them all to be quiet  - but the silence leads to more words, and the cycle starts again.

So the I kinda give up and embrace the words - "let's just pray" i think - and then this will be time spent constructively... so I pray and then my head finds more words, and then I think, "How can i be listening if I am doing all the talking?"

So then i try to sit still, and then I start hearing answers, more words... and then i start to think, "who is this?"

and the argument starts up again.

I am thinking that I am doing this meditation thing ALL wrong!!

I am thinking that I need to start using something like knitting or music or something like that to get my ADHD under control, to keep the busy part of my head busy while I REALLY think/ listen.  I do it while I drive ALL the time - i have to blare the radio to drown out my own thoughts so I can pay attention to the road.

And I have pretty much come to the conclusion that I am my own kind of just plain crazy...