Susan's Blog

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Loss is Found

I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth.

Recently I wrote a post about my midlife crisis, and how I characterized it by inexplicable spaces that press in on me during my day. I have been exploring new friendships and stretching the boundaries of my old ones in an effort to understand myself and what’s going on with me. For a while, I attributed my newfound sadness to an intense relationship that has been a real roller coaster ride. I also have believed that the long sameness and routine of my marriage were contributing to those blue-gray moods of mine.

I have had a recent epiphany about this wintry state of my mind, however. It has to do far less with my marriage and friends, and much more with loss. I have come to the end of two major things in the last few months: my book, and my boys as needy children.

As difficult as my early years were with Nat, because I did not understand him until he was older, and as rough as I found the monotony of mothering small children, I did not anticipate how I would feel about the growing independence of my children, particularly Max. I joke about the new sullenness I see in him, my sunny, wide-open boy, but the truth is, I deeply miss how he used to be. I rejoice in his emerging adulthood, and what a wonder he is turning out to be, and I know that he is supposed to be independent and downright contemptuous of me sometimes. That is part of the process. And yet, I realize how much I miss just being Mommy! That heroine that I used to be, someone who used to automatically bring a smile to his face and whose lap he would fight over with Ben and Nat. I am so much a part of the furniture now. Old, junky furniture, too.

And my book is kind of over. Even though a paperback is due out in December, the first blush of my mission, my huge goal of nine years, is finished in this particular form. Another offspring (of sorts), grown. From the day I set out to write my first article in 1997, and dreamed of being on national television talking about Nat and what’s good about him, to the moment I waited in the green room of the Today Show, I have been on a high, on a roll, trying to make this thing happen. And it did. In spades. I have loved every minute of it, every reading, every conference, all the new people I’ve met and the conversations I’ve had about autism and life.

So, I’m not asking for your sympathy. I’m just realizing what has been going on in my heart, the cause of the soft squishy pervasive sadness underfoot that is with me in just about everything I do, everyone with whom I interact. When I was a young, fragile mother, I would wish for the days of silvery strength that I have now, and for my kids to be able to feed themselves, walk to and from school themselves (for the most part), make their own friends. And I also remember wishing fervently with every birthday cake, and every lost eyelash, that my book would become real.

I guess I am learning the true meaning of be careful what you wish for.


I’m glad you have the peace of having figured it out.

And I was going to hold out for the paperback, and the day before I find out the release date I decide I have to have it in hardcover to read NOW, and I’m not changing my plans to go to Borders tomorrow. 🙂 (I will probably pass along the hardcover after I’ve read it and keep the paperback.)

— added by Julia on Friday, May 19, 2006 at 12:32 am

Thanks, Julia. I hope you enjoy it; let me know.

— added by Susan Senator on Friday, May 19, 2006 at 11:59 am

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