Susan's Blog

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Road to Independence is Paved with Bad Dreams

Just woke up from a horrible dream. I’m heartsore from it. First there was the part where I just knew that a baby — I think it was a baby of mine — was in some kind of ocean danger, due to people not paying attention. There was something, inexplicably, about course selection, and that if someone chose a certain class in the following year, this baby would end up with sharks or would drown. I was filled with terror that this was my fault. I somehow made it back to the baby, and he was okay. Next thing I knew, I looked outside and Nat was up in a tree, about twenty feet high, standing on one cut limb that was obviously loose, while someone else stood in another tree nearby on two limbs, talking and talking to him. I was terrified, and helpless to help him. I felt that if I got his attention, he would fall. He seemed to be unaware of the danger. Or okay with it. I was so angry at the person in the other tree, for thinking so blithely that it would be fine to just have him up there with her. She was so irresponsible, so stupid!! Yet I knew she loved him, and had only been thinking of having fun with him.

I had to just wait, impotent, until he came down on his own.

I stood there behind the silent glass of the window, choking on my helplessness and anger. Next thing I know they were both safely on the ground. I rushed outside, hugging and hugging Nat. (I think. As I slurp my coffee I am losing hold of the dream.) I was so angry at her that I said that she could not be with him for a long time, because I couldn’t trust her. Then she just kept following me around with such mournful eyes. Everywhere I looked, there she was, wanting me to forgive her. But she had been so horribly irresponsible!!!!!

Literal stuff going on: class selection for fifth grade for Beastie, who endured so much fourth grade turmoil this year. So much angst over his class, so much personal growth. He is impressing me, moving me, every day with his insight, his care for Ned and me, his humor, his heart. He is growing up. His ankles are getting that long flat look of adolescence, even while his face is still smooth, small, little-boy-perfect.

Max is also in the middle of so much. He is taking the SAT2 today. The SAT2 is a relatively new monster, a subject test. Max found out about it on his own, told me we had to register for the chemistry test, told me what books to get him, and has been studying the material for weeks now. His girlfriend H is studying for the biology, even though her test is not until next year!

The other day I stood in the Borders and searched for the SAT prep books. All around me were fresh young moms and strollers popping with fat babies. Toddlers ran around as if it were a playground. I was just with myself, buying pre-college texts for my 6′ 3″ son.

I realized I was truly not one of them, those bouncy, tired new mothers. I was old. I was there for Max, not for me. And I was happy to be there, exactly how it was. That was a first; being happy as an old mother, being done with the giddiness of babies. I loved what I had, and why I was there.

Max has also been talking to me a lot about his course selection, and all the areas he wants to study, including philosophy. How to fit it in, how maybe he’ll take biology during the summer to have room in the fall for all he wants to take! I have such a lump in my throat listening to him. He is such an interesting mix of Ned and me. I can’t believe the young man he is turning into. Responsible, in love (with a truly dear, smart, terrific young woman), funny, caring. Still Max, but all stretched out into a Man.

And Nat. Of course, he is a man now, so competent in so many ways. Still doing what he can, as the Miniman song went (Baby Delight… he does what he can, he’s Miniman, it’s Baby Delight…). He is going off to live in the Residences at his school soon. He — and others — will be responsible for him.

He also goes off with his friends on Friday nights, so bursting with happiness, Joyful Parking Lot Stompies all over the place. Everyone who sees him smiles because he expresses his full heart better and more openly the way they would like to.

All his life, he has drawn people to him. We used to call it The Cult of Nat. So many love him and his golden aura just shines. But — I worry.


Hello. I was reading your blog and found some things that reminded me a bit of my own. I have a son with autism that teaches me new things all of the time. Read my blog at I would love to be added as a link!

— added by jyll on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 7:49 am

I think your dream is very represenative of many therapists I have witnessed in the private centers as well as the schools in general. (and from feedback from very knowledgable parents) The therapists are very loving and somewhat trained but, in the end, very clueless in so many ways and poorly supervised.

— added by Anonymous on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 9:21 am

What a disturbing dream! I wonder if it’s more about your other boys —even though it was Nat in the tree (he was ultimately fine, wasn’t he). They are each entering such new and differnt phases of their individual lives and the choices they (and you) make will help shape their futures.

Of course you worry…”old” mom or “new” makes no difference except in WHAT you worry about. It’s a mother’s lot, I think.

Feel the worry but act on the love.

— added by Niksmom on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 9:24 am

My dad is having trouble with the idea of me going off to college, so I can understand peripherally what it’s like. It must be so hard, yet so exciting at the same time.

— added by geosaru on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 10:54 pm

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