It’s been well over a year since I’ve written anything. And there are reasons for that…ones that I’m not going to get into just now. Yes, instead of delving into all of that, instead of explaining and dissecting and shining a light into the dark corners of my soul, I’m just going to reintroduce myself. I promise there will be time for all of that grimy, gooey, deliciously introspective stuff later.
Hi! I’m Erin Anderson. I’m a single mother of an autistic child.
I’m also an unemployed librarian, a fanatical reader, a huge nerd, a bit of a scatterbrain, a former party girl, a dog lover, a tv addict. I drink too much at weddings, I eat chocolate only late at night, I get tipsy off of two glasses of red wine, I constantly dream of travel, I obsessively use my slow-cooker, I’m a recovering shopaholic, I’m extremely clumsy. I craft, I sew, I read, I take long walks, I have a near constant case of the drops. I’m a worrier, an obsesser, an over-analyzer, a bit my nails and twitch my feet in distraction kind of woman. Every day I take two gummy vitamins, two fiber gummies, a B complex vitamin, and medicine for anxiety and depression. I think constantly of food and also of my waist line. I vacillate wildly between lovingly accepting my 10/12 size body and despairing over it.
I love my child to pieces. If I could keep him safe from the world in my arms everyday, I would do it. And it kills me that I cannot. It pains me to no end knowing that the world can be a cruel, punishing task master. I feel a pain deep in my chest every time I drop him off at school, or a babysitters, or a therapy session, and he cries for me not to go, screaming and fighting to get to me, fat tears rolling down his pink cheeks. My feet turn to stone as I trudge away, each step a battle to keep moving. My arms I keep pinned to my sides with all the will power I can muster. Because I can’t go through life with him or fight his battles for him. I can’t teach him how to socialize with other kids when he can run to me for comfort at any moment. I can’t teach him that we must do things we don’t like in this world if I don’t walk away. And all I want to do, every damn time, is to sweep him into my arms and kisses away his tears. But I don’t and it still hurts.
Connor’s autism has made my life a challenge, which means I can’t imagine how challenging the world must be for him to understand through the veil of autism. If it’s hard for me, every day must be an intense struggle for him.
And yet miraculously he improves. Everyday he learns something new. A new word, a new way to play, a new name, a new food he’ll try. Everyday I see him bend towards fitting in a little bit more and it both fills me with hope and pains me that I have to put him through this.
Connor is a joy. He’s a rascal though too. His inquisitive nature makes him both delightful and demonic. It’s amazing to see him name different animals at the aquarium or to remember phrases from books and pull them out of his head from days before. It’s also highly distressing to find he has dumped out every toy box or basket in the house in search of some object and he cannot express what it is. He’s full of mischievous energy!
Yet through it all, there are still more good days than bad. I’ll take the tantrums with the smiles, the tears with the hugs. I’ll take running myself ragged to hear him speak something new.
So despite it all, or maybe because of it all, I’m an eternal optimist. I see lights at the end of the tunnel and the flowers that bloom in the desert. I believe in the power of positive thinking and modern medicine. I have hope.
We’ve begun a new chapter in our lives this week, Connor and I. Preschool started a few days ago and suddenly I have free time on my hands. So I’m back, friends; be prepared to be inundated with my musings!