I am not going to win the Mom of the Year award.
I know, it's shocking! Right? They always say that it was just a pleasure being nominated, but really I wanted to win. And I was feeling so good about my chances, especially when another autism Mom had complimented me after watching me coax David into the lobby for speech therapy. "You are SO patient," she told me.
I need to let you in on a little secret. I really am not a very patient person, but sometimes it is just easier. Sometimes I am being self-serving. If I spend a few minutes letting David FILL IN THE BLANK—pretend to put gas in the car, or press an imaginary elevator button and then wait until the elevator arrives at the appointed imaginary floor, my life so much easier. Plus, as I remind myself constantly, pretend play is good. Pretend play is our friend. Pretend play is—sometimes I am SOOO over pretend play.
Two weeks ago, we purchased some shelves from Costco for our garage, nice metal shelves with casters and a weight limit per shelf of 600 pounds—not that it matters. We have not been allowed to put anything on the shelves because David has been pushing them around the garage. Or out toward the street. Or up the sidewalk to the front porch. Did I mention that the shelves have wheels? And they make the perfect sweeper arm for a pretend car wash, or gas pump, or anything else David could possibly imagine.
Yesterday, in trying to have a successful "transition" from school, David and I played in the garage. Or, more accurately, I sat in the car reading a novel while David played. Then, David transformed the shower stall into an elevator, which I rode to every floor from one to ten. Then, we were back in the garage, pumping gas once again. I gave the ten minute warning. I set the timer and gave the five minute warning. I did the countdown and advised him that we needed to move the shelves from Dad's side of the garage before he arrived home, but David had other ideas.
After a brief wrestling match, it became apparent that I was not going to move the shelves when David had other ideas and I shifted my focus to getting David in the house. As I moved toward David to ever so tenderly grab his arm and provide gentle encouragement for him to proceed into the house, I tripped over the tire stop that we have positioned to tell my husband how far to pull into the garage without accidentally having the garage door scrape paint off of the rear bumper of his car. (What? I am not saying that has ever happened.)
I think I actually heard myself groan, followed by a loud SPLAT. I know it couldn't have been pretty—Mom-mom, dressed for work, rolling around on the garage floor and now in a not-so-patient mood. But then, without any regard to whether or not there were neighbors within earshot, I said it. I may have even yelled it.
"WHY CAN'T IT EVER BE EASY?"
And then David started to cry. And I started to cry. And since I am relatively sure that my tears were coming horizontally out of my tear ducts, I took off my glasses, which for some reason was even more upsetting to David.
And then he said it. A new question he has just begun to ask. "Why? Why? Why?"
I am not sure really what he means by that question, but it was quite appropriate. I had asked it, too, but I hadn't been thinking about David when I said it.
Why? Why does David have to work so hard to do what comes easily for most? Why does he still sometimes struggle even to call us by name? Why does he sometimes have to make things so difficult?
Why? Why does he take such joy in things that most people don't even notice? Why is he so easy to please? Why is he almost always happy? Why does he work so hard each and every day?
So, this year I have been disqualified. But there is always next year.