"I'd murder a glass of wine right now."
"Pardon?" The waitress is young and likely childless and doesn't see wine as a necessity. I imagine she only drinks cocktails; the fruity ones. It doesn't occur to her that I need this wine, today, and I need a healthy pour.
"Wine, I want wine, please."
"5 ounces or 9?"
I'm sitting here waiting for my wine and trying not to cry. Today I am overwhelmed. Today I can't stop my mind from running.
Kate has become more aggressive. She's mostly used me to expend some of her pent up anger but on occasion she used Grace and that bothers me to no end. The aggression worries me. Not just the physical stuff, because we've been dealing with that for a long time now. We have our battle scars and we understand that Kate's frustration and confusion is far more painful than the pinch or the bite we get now and then. What is getting to me today is her verbal aggression. She is five and works hard to form every sentence that comes out of her mouth with makes it especially difficult to hear her threaten to hurt us.
Mama, I will smash your head.
Mama, I will put you where you're not safe.
Mama, you're never my family.
Mama, I will make you be dead.
Relax, now. I don't expect to wake up in the middle of night and see Kate leaning over me with a pillow. Although, on occasion I will wake up in the middle of the night to her peeling my eyelids open and saying, "Mama, cuddle?" She loves us. She really truly does, and we know that for sure. She is just experimenting with threats right now and it kinda breaking my heart. Buddha knows, I've probably said some shitty things to my own mother in my life and trust me when I say, payback is a bitch.
We lie to Kate constantly, you know. We do it save her feelings of confusion and fear. We do it so she doesn't feel left out and we do it for our own sanity.
"Mama, why does I always mix up?"
When she said this to me I was at the same time destroyed for her sadness and impressed by her articulation. Tell me, do you know that feeling? It's a tough one.
I thought I would share some example of our lies and why we do it. Our reasons don't make it feel any less terrible but here they are:
Whenever her sister is off to play outside with her friends (and Kate certainly cannot go unchaperoned, nor does she often share their interests), we tell her Grace is going to school. What kid goes to school at 6pm on a Saturday? But we tell Kate that because time means little to her and she accepts it and we don't have to deal with her tears and questions about why she can't go out to play whenever her sister does.
Whenever she asks about her birthday (which is every single day because autism is like that) we tell her: "Soon Katie" because she can't remember what we said yesterday and she can only remember how amazing that day was for her. Her Birthday is nine months away. It's going to be a long go of it for her, and us. Maybe we should start celebrating half birthdays?
Whenever she says she's going to be a Pirate or a Ninja or a Spaceman, we tell her "Yes, you sure will, baby", because maybe she will, and at the very least we want to encourage her confidence.
As proud as we are that Kate is beginning to articulate more, it terrifies us that she is beginning to understand her differences, her deficits.
Like any parent, our goal is to protect her. And Everyday we wonder if we are doing it right.
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)