Who is this person living in my house?

Yesterday was Veterans Day. 

Willy didn’t have school, so he spent his morning with Suzie (his home therapist). 

I spent my morning at work. 

When we got home around 1:30 in the afternoon, I had no idea what to do next. I just stood there in the kitchen, staring at my little boy and said “if you want to go play, that’s ok with me.” And off he ran with excitement and delight, all the while shouting “OK mommy!”

A moment later I realized that I was still standing there. So, I grabbed my laptop and delved into a lengthy assignment that is due for my class shortly, and started typing away like a mad-woman. Occasionally Willy would come by and ask me for a snack, or for me to put a show on for him, so I would stop everything and give him exactly what he wanted. And after brief hug and kiss, he happily went back to playing in his playroom. 

And after the fourth interruption in the span of 15 minutes, I said to myself allowed, “Who is this person living in my house?” It was the weirdest feeling I’ve ever felt. It was almost as if I’ve forgotten how to parent my own child! Ever since Willy started home services almost 9 months ago, there is chronically another woman in his life and in his house. My husband comes home to another woman every day that’s not me, and my son calls me Susie instead of mommy on a daily basis. It bothered me a lot at first, but that’s just how it has to be; I know I now play second fiddle instead of the starring role in my sons eyes. 

But the  weirdest part of all, is the part that I can’t seem to wrap my head around. It’s the part where I look at my only child, and I have absolutely no idea what to do with him. He’s almost like a different kid in a good way, but entirely in the same in other ways. And sometimes I just looked at him as if we were complete strangers. This feeling is not sitting nicely with me. 

At all. 

My son has always been fiercely independent in certain departments. He would rather play on his own, then play with me any o’l day, and that is something that I’ve come to terms with over the years. But if I asked him if he would like to play a boardgame with me, he would rather line up the pieces or use the pieces in another play schema, then actually play the game with me. Then it turns into a huge fight that I never intended to have to begin with, when all I wanted to do was play a boardgame with him. The same thing goes with coloring or playdoh. If I asked him if he wants to color or play with playdoh with me, it’s on his terms, and his terms only. Any interfering on my end would lead to a major meltdown. So I’ve learned in the past few years, to just let him do his own thing. It makes him happy, and as long as he’s happy… I’m happy. 

Well, sort of. 

Usually on a crummy weather days (like yesterday) I would take my son somewhere fun. But because we both worked fairly hard in the morning, I was already exhausted in the afternoon, so I let him do his own thing, while I did homework. By the time 3 o’clock rolled around, the guilt started to really set in. I thought to myself, “maybe I should move me and my laptop into the playroom so we could spend some time together.” And then I thought against it. I’m still scratching my head on the “why” of the whole situation, but the feeling of not being a very good mother was very real at that moment. It still is as of right now. 

So I walked into the playroom to check on him. He was watching “Little Einsteins” on Netflix. I said “hi” to him cheerfully, and he mumbled a “hi” back, but he didn’t turn around to acknowledge my presence. I sat down in a chair near him, and asked him if he wanted to snuggle with me. He turned around and said “no mommy” and went back to playing and watching his show. 

I get it. I really do. 

He didn’t want to be disturbed in that moment, and I was feeling guilty for having a plethora of emotions that I felt like I shouldn’t be having. 

So I went back into the living room and continued banging away on my laptop. A few minutes later, Willy comes bounding in and jumps on the couch next to Everest. He smothers the dog with a huge hug and is petting him on his back gently. So I say to him, “where’s my hug?” And he practically climbed over the dog over just to get to me. Now, THAT made me feel good. I gave him a huge hug and told him that I loved him to the moon and back. He told me that he loved me too, and then ran off to play again. 

Just that one little hug made me feel a world better. I stopped feeling like a crappy mom in the moment, and I smiled to myself. EditBut the fact is, I know my boy better than anyone else, and sometimes I do feel like he’s a little stranger living in my house. 

Sometimes I feel like my son works twice as hard as other kids when it comes to behavior and every day tasks that most people don’t even think twice about. He works hard when he’s at school just to keep it together and try’s his hardest on things that most of us take for granted, like toileting, trying new foods, and being polite. And other days, like yesterday, he just wants to be left alone. It may make me feel like a bad mom, because I’m not entertaining my child 24/7, but that’s the way he wants it. And I guess that’s something that I’m going to have to get used to. 

There’s a time and there’s a place, and finding the balance between both of those is just something that I’m just going to have to keep on working at. I love my boy with everything that I have, and the fact that he feels like a stranger to me at times, is all part of growing up and getting older. And again, that’s just something that I’m going to have to get used to as well. 

Have a great day everyone. 


    2 thoughts on “Who is this person living in my house?

    1. I understand how this can feel. I think you will find it helpful to write about your feelings here. It’s a very honest and truthful account of how living with a child with Autism can be. X

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