Susan's Blog

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Home Wasn’t Built in a Day

If you plant ice, you’re gonna harvest wind.
–GFD, Roll Away the Dew

Sometimes even a big guy needs a little nap… Max is putting in a lot of academic hours these days, what with an honors physics final today, and the state’s science test (the infamous MCAS) in a week. He came home yesterday and was just kind of hanging out with me, chatting while I finished up making reservations in Colorado(! Thanks to everyone who wrote me with ideas and suggestions and encouragement. We now have an aide who is going with Nat, so there will be an extra level of support. Ned has set me loose with two guidebooks and a map, and I have planned a great trip!)

In this picture, I was telling Max about where we were going to go in Colorado. “Cool,” he would answer. Eventually, though, he grew quiet and when I looked up, I saw he was sleeping. I IM’ed Ned (the one person I like IMing with because he never overdoes it and he goes slow) and told him, “Little Little is asleep!” He said to take a picture, so I did. Max didn’t even wake up!

When Max visits with me like that it makes my heart beat a little faster. I feel almost lightheaded with happiness that he wants to sit and talk to me. At times like that, it is so unforced and easy, with him just raising topic after topic while I work on my computer. I think perhaps he chooses those times subconsciously because I am not looking at him intently so it is less intense for him.

I guess that when my boys are adults they might look back and say how overly intense Mom was, how super-attached to them I was. Then again, sometimes I worry that I am not attached enough, because I need my space and I take it. Maybe they’ll say how uneven Mom was, thank God Dad was so steady! Or maybe they’ll think I was a lot of fun to be around, like my family, who are not all that steady in their moods, but mostly a real delight to be around.

But I just am what I am. C’est ca. I work around the boys, I nap in the middle of the living room while they talk and play. But I also just grab them and kiss them whenever I feel like it and they don’t seem to mind, or maybe they just think, “Yeah,that’s Mom.” Benj will say, “Mom, just call me Ben!” (instead of Little B or Beastie) and I’m trying, I really am! Ben is really growing up. Today we had an actual conversation about autism, about who in our lives is and who isn’t. He attended long enough for me to explain that there are different types, different levels, and that Nat has it a real lot, and that it is all about how your nerve cells (brain cells, whatever) are taking in information differently. I had the chance to reiterate that Nat is not stupid, as Ben would like to think, but that he has trouble getting out the right words and gets overloaded with stimuli. Ironically, Ben gets extremely upset if we use the wrong word or get a fact wrong or can’t guess what he’s talking about; but he himself is very careless with words and often not tuned into what we’re talking about. I try to use those moments when he is upset with me for that, to hammer the point home that this is how it feels for me! This is how it feels for Nat! Ben’s therapist says to use those moments to teach him. We do. But it takes a long time. We’re just planting the seeds; someday we’ll have a harvest. Provided I don’t under-water or over-fertilize.

Trying to build a family where everyone’s needs count, where everyone’s happy, takes a long time. But it is so worth the effort.


You never cease to impress me with your thoughtful and unique parenting. What an inspiration your family is.

— added by Drama Mama on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Thanks, I needed that! 🙂

— added by Susan Senator on Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 5:26 am

the name of the Dead song is “Franklin’s Tower”

love your blog

— added by Barry on Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 7:56 am

I wish that people in this world cared half as much about each other as you do about your family.

— added by MarkZ on Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 10:38 am

I have to say that I have never known a parent quite like you. You are there for your kids when you need them and they are there when you need them. A friend when you need to be and a parent when you have to be. I wish all moms were as good and caring as you – society would have something to be very proud of.

— added by lizziehoop on Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 2:09 pm

That was supposed to say that you are there for your kids when they need you and they are there when you need them — darn keyboard!

— added by lizziehoop on Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 2:36 pm

hey-are you going to share some of your Colorado plans?

— added by Anonymous on Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 3:25 pm