Susan's Blog

Monday, May 2, 2016

How I Got Here

It’s been a really long time since I wrote just to write. For me, not with an eye towards publication somewhere other than here. I’ve been doing so much promotional work and now presentations for the Autism Adulthood book that I am feeling the need for a different thing to focus on. The thing I do when I want to get away from writing is to write.  The thing I want to write about when I’m not writing about autism and my family is autism and my family.

Yeah, I’m not that original. For the last 26 years my whole life’s purpose has been to be a mother. This was not what I was raised to be. I was raised by a Career Woman, a focused, driven mother who went for her MLS degree when I was little and became part of the workforce before it was a thing. Mom was a feminist, and so that term has never been negative to me. I went to college thinking about what I was going to “be.” I studied humanities, world languages, history, literature, philosophy, to prepare my mind and soul for adult life. Mom and Dad taught me to value a life of the mind and then to get a purposeful job and make the world a better place. These values of theirs permeated everything in my childhood. From lists of books that I needed to know, to trips to the National Parks rather than Amusement Parks, to discussions about foreign policy and war, the rebellions of the ’60’s, to what it means to be a friend, a daughter, a sister.

My mother was a good, loving mother, and yet I never imagined myself as a mother. I rarely played with baby dolls. I played with Barbies. I pretended I was older, I lived to be sixteen.  I worked as soon as I could, as a babysitter, then a waitress, then an advertising assistant in a work/study program.

But when I met Ned, everything stopped. And then picked up a forceful speed, hurtling me towards him, with a certainty that I’d never felt about anyone else before. There was a rightness, a safety with Ned that was as exhilarating as it was comfortable. He was everything to me: handsome, mysterious, funny, brilliant, kind, and my best friend. My first love, my first lover. And I was his. I thought only that I needed to make sure we would be together the rest of my life, and second to that, I thought I would be a professor of history.

We got married, and I immediately became lost. The career did not come together, but even worse was my crisis in purpose. I did not understand what it meant that we were now married, different somehow than what we’d been. I still loved him, so much, but I no longer loved me. A whole decade of uncertainty and OCD and hypochondria began for me then, and a twitchy sadness and anxiety that made me want to run away, I could not stand the feel of my own skin.

So I did what you are not supposed to do when you feel this way about yourself — or so they say. Five years into feeling like that I decided to have a baby. I thought this would anchor me, keep me from floating around afraid of my own body. I was 27, so it was easy getting pregnant.  I knew exactly the moment Nat was conceived, because after a particularly festive and loving Valentine’s Day, late into the night, an image of an explosion came into my head.

And just like that, my life as I had known it, ended, and a new one began.  It became the age of Everything You Know is Wrong. Nat turned my life inside out, that’s no secret. But it’s interesting to me to see it in the long view, that in so many ways he came along right when I needed him to. And no, this is not Inspiration Porn for y’all, I’m not saying he was put on this earth for me — I’m not that egotistical. But then again, what’s wrong with believing that your baby is so special that he has a special purpose for you, for him? Who the hell gets to say that this is not true, even though so many other things are true as well? Of course babies happen randomly, autism is genetic roulette — or let’s say, genetic blackjack — and all children have a unique path and affect their parents in mind-blowing ways.

So, yeah, Nat. And then Max, and then Ben. I had them all pretty young, and all thought of doing something “else” with my life just got vacuumed right out of my universe, like a black hole. And yet, what was left was everything rather than nothingness. Now I had a purpose, even if I didn’t always enjoy it or understand it. There were so many times when suddenly things would all come together and my little sons would indeed explode me into perfect pieces of happiness. Max’s easy smile. His utter sweetness, like cake batter — a flavor I never get tired of. He showed me how much fun a mind could be. And Ben’s breathtaking clarity, his black jellybean eyes, seeing everything. The joy that day when he started drawing — pirate ship after pirate ship after pirate ship.

My whole purpose was to take care of those babies. But not alone. I had Ned with me, who split himself — lucky he is a Gemini — and became a father and remained king of my heart — along with my three princes.

And although I can’t say that I never looked back, I can say that I became me again as soon as Nat burst into my mind/life. Max came along so quickly, like Nat’s twin, utterly and magnificently different, beautiful and free. Six years later, my Ben arrived, the rushing back of a long-delayed high tide, sweeping me up in his energy.

Carrying me right back into Ned’s arms.

And there I have stayed, anchored and held by the four of them.









Anchors come in many forms. XO!
Keep writing pleeeeeeeease.

— added by dawn on Monday, May 2, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Always, Dawn, always.

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, May 2, 2016 at 2:22 pm

I love everything about this post. You’ve shared so much with your fans, but this … this is you.

— added by Don on Monday, May 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm


— added by Susan Senator on Monday, May 2, 2016 at 2:41 pm