My forehead laid against the top of the steering wheel and it hurt as pressed up and down between my sobs. I hadn’t cried this hard in a while. I was defeated. My son’s meltdown kicked my ass. I spent hours picking apart what I’d wear and did my makeup with extra precision so I would “look” like a mom who had it all together. My son, and his autism sure as hell didn’t care.
He sat in the back staring off at pigeons circling the parking lot. I tried my best not to let him hear me cry. Worn down and scared, I pulled out of the parking lot and started running down the list of people to blame. My parents, my sister, my husband….yep…my husband’s fault.
A flood of pointed questions came over me:
“Where is he?
Why isn’t he here?
Why do I have to do this alone?
Don’t they know I wasn’t built for this?
HE’S the laid back and patient one.
What kind of father would let us walk into this scary assessment by ourselves?”
A distant, very quiet voice inside of me started answering:
“He’s at work.
He couldn’t get the time off today.
You didn’t ask anyone to come with you.
You are built for this, you’re his mom.
He’s doing his part. He’s at work. He’s providing.”
Nonetheless, when he got home, I let him have it. I just railed into him about how terrible everything was, how I felt so alone, how he wasn’t there for me, how I needed him to do more…because his hepling bathe the kids, do dishes, laundry, diapers, basically everything I do on a daily basis wasn’t enough. And then I realize it. I was having my own meltdown.
I was allowing my stress to pop the bottle top off of my pent up emotions and sprayed it all over my husband…the most hands-on father and provider you’ve met.
Parents of children with autism are at higher risk of divorcing than those with neurotypical children. I can sympathize. I think God put us through the ringer the first several years of our marriage because he knew we longer bumpy road ahead of us. So we had to build up our love, respect, and strength for one another.
Being a parent is hard. Being a parents and REMEMBERING you have a spouse is hard. Keeping that spark is hard. Adding elements like children with special needs, traumatic experiences, etc. make it all the more hard to be the happy couple who walked down the aisle.
Don’t let your words or actions make it even harder. Life will do its part to put obstacles in your way, don’t make the mistake of placing those obstacles there yourself.