I'm raising the white flag.
I can't do it anymore.
I can not cure my son. He has autism. He had it yesterday, and he will have it tomorrow.
My son has autism. My only child has autism. My beautiful Ethan has autism. Autism, autism, autism...
Right or wrong, this is the thought that runs through my mind everyday. I wonder if there will ever come a day when this fact doesn't cross my mind? I wonder if I will ever be able to play with my son without thinking of how I need to incorporate some teachable moments? I wonder if I will ever wake up in the morning without my first thought being how I can help my son today. I wonder if the overwhelming-ness of this new path of life will ever ease. Because it has almost been a year since the official diagnosis, and it still consumes my every thought. EVERY thought.
Last night, however, this mommy had a breakdown. I unloaded a mess of emotions that I didn't even realize I was feeling. Apparently, I have been harboring anger towards my husband over this past year. And it all came out last night during a late night cry session.
As we have been learning how to live with autism this past year, I have been the main person to be responsible for Ethan's care, therapy, and education. This was the arrangement when we first had Ethan. I would become a stay-at-home mom & take care of the kids (at that time we thought we might have more children). So, the bulk of Ethan's care has been under my "jurisdiction." And the Type A personality that I am, I take it all on....I can do it all, no problem.
Well, apparently, I can't do it all. And it's not that my husband doesn't want to help, but...again...asking for any kind of help or admitting that I need help goes against my grain. That would be like admitting that I'm a failure. Well....I guess that's what I'm doing. I can't do it all. It is too much for one person to do on their own.
My husband asked me last night why Ethan having autism is so consuming for me. I told him that it's like I see Ethan in a burning building, and someone has to go in to save him. So, I go into the burning building....I do things that I don't enjoy doing, I go to things that I don't want to go to, I do things over & over again, I read books, I go to conferences, I reach out to organizations....none of this for my benefit.....but to help Ethan out of the burning building. There is a inner driving force to save my son! Who's going to do it if I don't?!
We do have a team of firefighters...and they are AMAZING! Ethan's teachers, therapists, family members, friends....everyone is so awesome, knowledgeable, loving & helpful. But if his own parents are not part of the team, Ethan will be in that burning building longer. So, I strap on my uniform & head into the building. And that is what I have been doing.....but last night I realized that I forgot someone on my team....my husband. He wants to help too, but he doesn't know how. And I have had the thought that it is MY responsibility, and I don't want to burden him. He has enough burden as sole provider. Plus, honestly, it is just easier if I do things myself instead of taking the time to show/teach him what I have been taught.
But no more. I am exhausted. I am overwhelmed. I am stressed. I am tired. I need to find some balance while learning to live with autism. And I need to share the responsibility with my husband. He is WANTING to help & WANTING to learn....and that is amazing.
So, I am surrendering. This will be a process for me, and I don't think my autism consuming thoughts will change instantly....if ever. But as I learn to trust Corey in this burning building, I think things will be better for this caretaker. I can catch my breath, take a break, get a drink of water, and then resume the rescue. We all know that I won't ever stop fighting for my son, but I think it will benefit our entire family if I can learn to balance. It's time to start taking care of this caretaker....then maybe I won't go down in flames. :0)