Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sans pajamas...

~"Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they're already asleep."~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Last week, Sam had a field trip with his class. He's gone on so many of them before so normally it wouldn't have been a big deal...except this time..this time it was a sleep away trip.  He would be away from home for four whole nights. Four whole nights away from Although I didn't let him know-(with the exception of telling him that we were going to miss him (40 million times)) ..this was giving me ginormous  anxiety. Sam has never slept away from us before. Never gone on a sleep over..never even asked to. So this was a, a HUGE hairy deal!  Our Sam has come so very far in the past few years- has made really big strides.  This is the kid who used to freak out over change or food or really anything that strayed from his normal routine..and now-he was going away to leadership camp-with no idea of what to expect-AND he was excited about it.  When the hell did this happen?  More importantly-where was I when it did? It isn't like I have gone anywhere. I mean I basically live between the kitchen and the laundry room. Have I been so caught up in the excitement of folding laundry or heating frozen pizza that I have failed to see all of this growth? It has certainly been a month of surprises.

  We had Sam's IEP meeting a few days before his trip. Now, I look upon IEP meetings as one of Dante's unwritten about circles of hell with all the excitement of medieval dentistry thrown in..So, as Sam is transitioning to (eek!) high school next year-I demanded invited him to attend.(  he was more than happy to -as it got him out of class). It was time to let him in on the fun. The meeting went pretty easily..we set up his services for next year..picked his courses...And then his adviser stopped the meeting..he had a few words that he wanted to say..words like "In thirty years of teaching Sam was one of the students that impacted him the most..he spoke of Sam's kindness and openness...his deep empathy for people and his compassion..of how loved he was by students and staff and of how his presence would be sorely missed.." All the things that we (his family) already knew..all the things that we are told autistic people CAN'T have (yeah THOSE things)...I just sat there and soaked it all in.  That it was said at an IEP meeting- icing on the cake.  Afterwards, as I was saying goodbye to Sam "Hey-that was some huge compliment from Mr. C."  "Uh huh."  "Holy crap Sam!  People don't get compliments like that every day-be proud of yourself!" "O.k....can I have popcorn when I get home?"...*sigh* He is fourteen..

 As we stood with his packed bags waiting for the bus last Monday, I once again -(in between asking him if he was sure he had everything)-told him how much I was going to miss him. As the bus pulled up-I leaned in to give him a big hug...only to grab air. With not so much a a backward glance, I got a "see ya"...and off he went to the bus. "See ya???" That's it?  No hug?  I was bereft!  My boy, leaving home for the first time EVER didn't even bother to give me a hug? My poor heart! I of course ran and (indignantly) texted this to Omar-who replied-"He's fourteen-there were people there." Pouting-I went to do what I always do under times of duress-laundry.  Where I noticed-he had forgotten his pajama's..".NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I cried..I may have even gnashed my teeth.  "Not his pajama's!!!" *sob* "He can't be without his pajama's!"

  Sam loves his pajamas. He always has.  When he was three years old until he was about six-he wore the same exact pair of pajamas every single night.  It did not matter that they became six sizes to small.  It did not matter that they were full of holes (that his wonderful Aunt Ursula lovingly tried to sew up for him).IT. DID. NOT. MATTER. He was going to wear them-and god help anyone who tried to take them away!  Only when they became more hole than pajama did he kicking and screaming begrudgingly let them go..Only then did he allow me to get him a new pair...that he in turn wore out.  Yes, he has gotten better about these things...much better...and perhaps that particular memory is indelibly etched into my eardrums brain..Perhaps my anxiety got a tad out of control...but I was panicking! All I could think about was my poor boy-wandering in the wilderness without his pajama's. Cold, sad....and hugless.  Of course I knew not to intervene.  He is fourteen.  That's all he needs-a mother showing up at camp carrying his pajama's!  I figured that if he needed me-he would call. So for the next four days I kept the phone by my side, and did a whole lot of laundry. I fluffed-I folded-I even used dryer sheets.  There was nothing washable that went unwashed..

  It sustained me

  Sam called me on Friday to pick him up from school- just as I had run out of things to clean.  Thank goodness for that-as I had been perilously close to taking the neighbors clothes (whether they wanted it or not)   I went in to the school and saw a man at the far end of the hall..I figured he too was eagerly looking for his kid..until I heard "Mama?"...that "man" was my Sam. He RAN to me and caught me up in the biggest and best spine cracking feet off of the ground hugs. "Hey Mama!  I missed you!" (squee! he missed me!) "Hey buddy! Did you have a great time?"  "I did.".."You forgot your pajama's." "Yeah..I slept in my shorts." (he slept in his shorts!) "That was smart thinking.".."Yeah...oh, I almost forgot...(he hands me his bag) this is for's my laundry.." Oddly enough-I didn't feel like washing it... There are only four years until he leaves for college..sigh...I don't think that there is enough detergent in the world for that...

* This past week, three autistic children died as a result of their wandering. There are far too many negative voices both in the online autism community and from parents- who feel just so damn superior in either their parenting skills and or experience that they dare to criticize these families.  As if these children's lives and deaths are open to public debate. I am disgusted.  I wrote this joyful piece to maybe try and erase some of the horrible and unconscionable comments made towards these families. My heart goes out to them.  I hope that they may find some peace.

  "The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul 
arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something 
which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, 
absolutely and irretrievably lost."
~Arthur Schopenhauer


Kim Wombles said...

Wonderful. :)

Floortime Lite Mama said...

this was an AMAZING post
you made me all weepy about the IEP meeting
R is the EXACT same with pajamas

jazzygal said...

Oh Kathleen, I was so ecstatic (and teary) reading this! Wonderful, wonderful stuff. So thrilled for you and for Sam. Good news allround.

I will be like you in July, even though my guy has been on quite a few sleepovers, when he goes off on his first scout trip.... for a whole week!!

Wanna send me your laundry??!!

xx Jazzy

Bright Side of Life said...

What a fantastic(and joyful) post. Kids are so funny.. of course he slept in his shorts and I bet he didn't brush his teeth either!

I haven't been able to read all the negative stuff written by parents. People are so quick to judge.. it stinks! One of our kids (age 5) did a runner from home last week. He was spotted by his sister, who was in a car coming home from school. It happens in the blink of an eye.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

So the IEP went well then, and the school trip, and you got a hug at the end :D This was EXACTLY the post I needed to read this morning: hopefully when my boy is 14 he might go on a sleepover and stop wearing his pyjamas which are now so short they may as well be shorts anyway!

kathleen said...

@ K Wombles-yes it is! :))

@ Floortime-me too! I hate when I get weepy at IEP meetings-but for once, it was a good weepy!

@Jazzy-it is isn't it? I would send you laundry...but..well..I may need it!!

@brightside-They are funny..and surprising..*sigh* I happened upon a few posts and comments on this and it made me so does happen in the blink of an eye..we need to support each other more...

@bluesky-My fingers are crossed for much of just feels like it was overnight..although I know that it wasn't..It is nice to know that there are others who have the same pajama struggles!

Stephanie said...


What can I say? I identify so very much.

And I'm glad I missed the wandering criticism. I think I'll go out of my way to continue to miss that. Thanks for the heads up there.

kathleen said...

@Stephanie-thanks...Yes, stay away from those thread-they will just upset you...:(

Stephanie Allen Crist said...

We haven't had any wandering incidents in a while, but the thing of it...however good the supervision is there comes a time when the kiddos just out-smart us. It's the human/fallibility thing.

When the worst is attacking the parents supposed to help? But...letting it go, picking my battles.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! This is Laura from Life In the House That Asperger Built. It's been a long time. I was wandering the internet, and stumbled back across yours and Kim's blogs. It's good to see you're still writing. Sam is 14! Amazing. I can't believe how fast they're growing up. :-)

You're doing great! (but you prolly already knew that)...

That's all..just wanted to say hi.

Be well.