Friday, February 5, 2010

The thing

Here's the thing They don't tell you about parenting. Certainly not in any of the books you read. Of course, if They did tell you, you wouldn't believe them.

Here's the thing They don't tell you about parenting: it will rip your fucking heart out.

A few days ago, Rory told me that he wanted to invent a machine that would let you stay one age for your whole life. The age he chose was 5, when he was in kindergarten only half-day, when he got to stay with us the rest of the time.

School is not going well. My quirky boy is not fitting in so well. School does not play to his strengths - the ability to entertain oneself for hours while imagining the science you'll do when you grow up is not really conducive to the learning. Instead, his inability to catch or hit a ball, his extreme dislike for the sound of children singing, his slow and methodical approach to tasks, an approach that must not be upset, are making it hard for him to learn, hard for him to be like the other children. He is having a hard time.

And to write it all out, to put those quirks into words, or even to say them aloud like I did today to an occupational therapist, it seems obvious, doesn't it? Something is wrong. He needs help. And he is getting help.

But here's the part that rips my heart out - and I know it shouldn't but it does - I didn't realize any of this last month, last year, 3 years ago when he developed an irrational fear of heights, 4 years ago when my once fearless boy stopped hurtling himself through life and became more sedate. He was talking, I thought, and hugging, and loving, and learning, and and and. And I missed it. And how hard has school been for him because I didn't see it?

If I could choose a time for him to be forever, for us to be together forever, I would have chosen when he was 3. Before. Before the things that started happening that I didn't see. Before when my heart lived in him and was safe.


Katie said...

Hi, Liza. My stepson is autistic. He was like this (all of it), only ten times worse when he was Rory's age. He is 16 now, and after lots of tough times in school, he is going to normal classes, and is actually being inducted into national honor society next week. He will always be 'different', but he's doing well, and he knows his strengths and limitations. He's an amazing kid, and Rory will be too, no matter how you are feeling about any help he may need right now.

Liza said...

Thank you, Katie. (sniff sniff)