Sunday, January 22, 2012

Are You Excited?

I told my son he was annoying today.

Not exactly something that gets me “Mother of the Year”… especially considering it was my 13 year-old autistic son that I said this to.

But it was truthful.

It’s been a heck of a 2012 for me.  I won’t go into details but it’s been stressful enough for 12 months, let alone 3 weeks.

And so this morning when Sean called out from the other room, trying once again to gather information from an adult conversation that he had no reason to be listening in on, I told him that he was annoying.


That toe-walking, excited pacing between the kitchen and the other rooms that was so cute in the days before Christmas has taken up permanent residence.

That “Are you excited?” has become white noise.

And the ever present “I like girls” statement hangs in the air like a conversation balloon from a cartoon.

I am annoyed.

True, it was not fair – or right – to tell him that.  It was actually pretty mean and I felt bad afterward.

But sometimes you get frustrated.  Sometimes you want the quiet.  Sometimes you need the quiet.  Sometimes you feel like every call for “mom”… every word that is spoken to you by someone chips away at your sanity.

And sometimes you get annoyed.

Am I excited Sean?  Yes.  I am excited and so proud of you for scoring well on your high school placement tests.

But I am scared as well.  Scared for what lies in the next building down the street.  High school is just a block down the road from the junior high but for me, it’s as if I’m sending my son off to a foreign land with no passport, no cell phone, no credit card, and no way to come back home.

In a short two years time, Sean will have gone from the comfort of special education and 100 students in the entire school to a junior high with over 800 and then to a high school with over 2000.

Two thousand faces to not recognize.  Two thousand kids with ample opportunity to bully my son.  Two thousand reasons to worry every single day.

And you wonder why I am annoyed.

Excitement is not the word.  Fear is.

So while I applaud my son for sticking his nose into adult business and trying to understand, I also wish he would remain oblivious and continue to be just a kid.

But I can’t keep him from growing up.  I can’t protect him from girls who laugh at him behind his back or from boys who taunt and throw things at him.

I can only hope that given all that he has…. all the difficulties that he has faced… I can hope that he overcomes.

Success will not be measured on a report card or by awards on a shelf.

Sean’s happiness will be the standard by which his high school experience will be calculated.

And right now, the toe walking, the pacing, and the asking all imply one thing…  Sean is happy.

So the next time Sean asks me, “Are you excited, Mom?”

I’ll answer, “Yes, Sean.  I am.”

And I will be… because my son will be happy at that moment.  The rest of the moments, those thousands of moments ahead of us on that journey through high school, those times when I am annoyed at a world I cannot control… those moments will just have to wait because right now my son is happy and therefore, so am I.

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