Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Small time big change

"I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
and gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hovels and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in."
Based on a poem by Robert Fletcher-revised and set to music by Cole Porter

My ten year old is anxious about moving away from home. Yes, at ten, my son is already worried about living on his own. The other night as I was bringing him up to bed, he tried to slip through the "short cut" a broken section of our banister that the kids climb through. He got stuck. "Hey buddy, you're getting too tall to slip through there" "I am not tall I am ten years old" "Yes, but you are a tall ten year old" "No I'm not! I am the size that a ten year old should be" "Sammy, You are almost as tall as me..I thought that you were happy about that" "No..I will never be as tall as you!" sigh.."Buddy, whats going on here...I thought you were happy that you were growing so tall." "I don't want to move out." "WHAT!!! who said anything about moving out?""You did Mama..you said that when I grew up I would move out and go to college" "Sammy,...buddy, I was talking about when you were older, when you graduated from high school...that maybe you would want to go to college..you're only in the fifth grade..that's a long time from now" "But you said when I grew up!" "Oh Sammy, I didn't just mean physically..I meant when you were done with high school and were ready to move out." The tears start welling up in his beautiful dark green eyes. It is like looking at Bambi..or 'Ol Yeller through the scope of a rifle before they were about to be shot..big liquid pools welling up under incredibly long eyelashes.."I won't ever (hiccup) be ready..." "Oh buddy...you don't ever have to leave me...no matter what, you always have a home with me and papa" "But will it be for real?"he said while one big fat tear rolls down his cheek.."What do you mean for real...?""Will I still be able to eat dinner with you and have snacks and live in my room..." At this point the fantasy I had of me and Omar holding hands and running on a beach somewhere is slowly fading..only to be replaced by visions of me at eighty five years of age still making snacks, still filling juice cups..all while riding a "rascal". "Yes bud, always for real."

Sammy doesn't not like change...not one bit, and with puberty starting to rear its head, he doesn't have much choice. Change is coming whether he likes it or not. He does his best to try and control it.."Mama, when I go to college, can Oscar come with me?" "We'll see bud, Oscar may have different ideas of what he wants to do".."But we can have bunk beds..and I can bring my castle.." " Well, you can bring your castle...although you might not be interested in it when it is time for college." "I will ALWAYS play with my castle!! ALWAYS! I will never NOT want to play with my castle" "Then bring your castle!" sigh..We have lots of conversations like this..I have learned to just let things go... There is no point in arguing..Sammy will get there in his own time..I know this by looking at all the changes that have happened.

There was a time that I thought I would forever be watching the same episode of the Teletubbies at three in the morning..the one with LaLa and the bunnies..,a time when I thought he was going to eat pizza three times a day for the rest of his life (we are down to twice a week),A time when I thought that he would never talk, use the potty, wear short sleeves in the summer, ride a bike, read, sing at a concert..and so much more. I look back at all those things and think does it really matter WHEN he did those things-or rather, that he did them. He just did it in his own time.

Time is a funny thing. When you are in the middle of a bad stretch, it seems to crawl..and when things are running smoothly it speeds up. I look back on all of Sammy's past struggles, and they seem so insignificant now that we are not in the midst of them. And yes, he still has many challenges ahead of him, but he has worked so hard and come so far. In his own way and at his own pace. He is an incredible boy.

This evening while the kids were riding their bikes up and down the driveway, Sammy came to me and said.."Mamma?...when are you going to let me ride my bike in the street?" "Sammy, you really need to be able to pay attention to cars and the road before I can let you do that" "But I'm almost eleven Mama!" Sigh...I have to laugh at my silliness....There I was thinking "When will you finally grow up!" and at the same time kicking myself wondering "When am I going to LET them grow up?"I guess change isn't always easy for anyone.

I do dream of a day when Omar and I can have some time together. ALONE. When my kids don't need us quite so much. I don't know what the future holds for any of them. The only thing I do know is that they will get there when they get there. Hopefully, I won't be eighty five. But if I am..I'm going to be riding a kick-ass "rascal"..that's for damn sure.


Kim Wombles said...

Lovely, Kathleen.

Things do change, and often we only notice the improvement, the development after it's happened. One day we wake up and we realize that an issue one of our kids was having is no longer an issue for them, that a skill they didn't have, they now do and we have to learn to adapt to their changes, to not hold who they are and what they do stagnant, when they are not. Not even when it's a child for whom development is often agonizingly slow, is the person not growing, not adding to his knowledge.

I expect and plan for my bright boy to be with me for the rest of my life, and at times that knowledge hurts in many ways. Hurts because of course I'd like him to achieve independence and a life of his own, and hurts because of course I'd like to not always be in the role of caregiver. And then I realize that my bright boy may not be independent, but we have worked hard together so that he does have a life of his own and that he is not dependent in the home, that he helps to the best of his abilities.

Time alone, even if some of the herd remains at home, will happen. You might have to work creatively to make it happen, but it will. :-)Think of them as deliciously stolen and precious moments.

denise said...

Kick ass rascal-hehe, the mental image of an old lady on one painted purple with gold flames popped right into my head. If this ever happens, you must promise me that you'll dye your hair bubblegum pink.

And Sammy's whole, "I will never NOT want to play with my castle."-too cute.

Do you ever watch The Big Bang Theory? I LOVE that show, because there's a guy named Sheldon on it, who's not autistic-but he is actually.Soooo autistic. I think the characters never been stated as such because people would complain about stereotypes.Why it would be insulting to have a leading physicist autistic character i have no idea, but, anyways-sometimes when you write funny things that Sammy has said, i see Sheldon, and it cracks me up.

kathleen said...

Thanks Kim...yeah, my kids constantly suprise me..and if some wind up nneeding to stay with me...so be it..precious stolen moments..I would just like more of them sometimes!! :)
Denise...You KNOW that my "rascal" will be the coolest one in the retirement community (where Sammy believes that I belong! I've never seen that show-but I will look for it..

Maddy said...

Nobody likes change around here either. [worried about change to middle school = over a year away but nevertheless......

jeff said...

I know just what you mean. I have two already grown and out the door. The last one is 18 and has just discovered he missed the deadline for just about anything related to going to college this Fall - or even the next semester. We are just barely approaching the concept of him getting a job and a place of his own.

I think we still have a while to go before the nest is finally empty.

Perhaps 18 is the age where Aspie and teenager merge. It's hard to tell those two aspects apart at this stage. Neither one wants to take the trash out, let alone get a job ;-)

kathleen said...

Maddy, I so know how you feel-Sammy will be off to middle school in a year as well..
Jeff, Do you remember the time when your kids thought taking out the trash was fun? My Sammy used to think that-but now...not so much:)