Susan's Blog

Friday, February 15, 2008

Old Mom

Old Mom
Leave me alone
Old Mom
Just go on home.
–E.C. and me

How bad can life be when you have the sun shining through the window and Mozart playing? The living room is alive with color and sound; my veils are lying in a pile of rainbow sherbet on the vanilla couch, left over from last night’s dancing. The Mozart is at Nat’s request.

People who don’t know think that my life is sad or tough because of autism. But as I’ve said many times, we decide for ourselves what makes our lives sad or tough. For me it is not autism; it is my own struggle with depression and her nasty sister, anxiety. It is the desire to feel comfortable in my own skin.

My children provide me with a challenge and distraction from my own pain. Nat gives me a lot to think about, and also, a lot to love. Especially when he is crazy-happy, the way he’s been lately. He gets giddy; you could say it was because his nervous system is oversaturated, out-of-whack, sensitive. But why would you? You could also say that he knows that the light is changing, the snow is receding, the days are getting longer. Or, whatever. He’s just happy, and I bask in his beautiful smile. Just looking at his gorgeous face, his pool-blue eyes, his fluffy blond hair, and I feel such an urge to hug and kiss. His face is bristly now. He, like his brothers, tolerates it but does not often seek it out. The closest he comes to it is when he sniffs my hair.

Beastie is still at school, Max is home early because he was feeling nauseous. I felt such a relief in my sense of purpose this morning, driving over to the high school, calling the dean, picking up ginger ale. “Maxie’s sick,” I said to myself, and as I drove past the playground, I remembered taking him to Murphy Park when he was two, and sick. I remember him throwing up right there on the pavement outside the sandbox, and looking up at me, concerned. Then, of course, he started to feel better, so he smiled and ran off to play. He came back again a half hour later and threw up again. Then I took him home.

I think I have really enjoyed being a mother without being aware that I was. I enjoyed them with my body, on a physical level, taking care of them, washing them, feeding them, carrying them, holding and hugging them, bringing them food and to visit people and places. Looking back, I know that I loved being so needed, so important to such beautiful boys. It’s all so much more subtle now, with me much more in the background, no longer needed in quite such a physical way. Now I do more of the planning needed: I make calls, I make meals, I drive them places, I check in with teachers and therapists, I push for services, I fill out forms, I organize parties, buddies, playdates, social group nights. No more impromptu trips to the park; they’ve all got other things to do.

That’s as it should be. But today I’m glad for the sun and the music and the company of my two teenage sons, even if they’re in opposite ends of the house from me.


I’ve been thinking a lot on the subject of my own depression and anxiety. I, too, recognize that it isn’t so much anything to do with austism, but my ability to deal. My reactions are so key…to the detriment or happiness of me and all surrounding me, it seems. I’m off my meds because the doctor told me to go off of them if I get pregnant. For a month or so I really thought that might be a mistake. I also know that pregnancy has had a calming effect on me in the past. Now that I have stuck with it, I somehow feel better, at least emotionally. I have a hell of a head cold this week, though, and it sucks the big one. Anyway, I think about my own appreciation of motherhood all the time. Why is it so damned hard to enjoy it while we are doing it?? We think about it while it is going on. Are the memories really sweeter later on? Why? It’s just cruel. I’m feeling ya, Susan. Hugs- Tina

— added by Anonymous on Friday, February 15, 2008 at 1:50 pm

I have been meaning to email you and send my love and congrats about the baby! I’m soooo envious. I don’t know, maybe youth is wasted on the young?!
Love, Sue

— added by Susan Senator on Friday, February 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm

I am with Tina. As one of my wise friends said “If these years are passing by so quickly, why do the days last FOREVER?”

I am thinking of this a lot these days, as I hear people tell me how envious they are of me having an 18-day old baby. (Apparently, they forget what it’s like not to sleep for more than two hours at a stretch!)

And then there’s the ASD worry — I take comfort that you have two NT boys. We shall see. But when my 9-year old daughter held her baby brother and whispered “Please don’t have autism, please don’t have autism” it broke my heart in a thousand pieces. Here’s to all of us Mommies. — Cathy in CT.

— added by Anonymous on Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Beautiful post, Sue!

— added by Nancy Bea Miller on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 6:04 pm

have to say, you are seriously amazing. beautiful post.

— added by jackie on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Thanks, Jackie and NB!

— added by Susan Senator on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:33 pm

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