For some reason, I was dreading Mother's Day this year. Maybe it's because it seems in its core to me a Hallmark holiday, a day to feel certain acceptable feelings and to celebrate in a fake way, to reward certain kinds of perfect mothers for their correct form of mothering. I didn't sleep well last night, thinking about a multitude of things including that.
Then, this morning, for a little bit, I had a classic Mother's Day happy interlude. For one of the first times, the boys had (with just a little Tony help) gotten me some very heartfelt presents---some Whole Foods pastries treats, some fantastic local caramels (worth a look at, here's the link!), a homemade fantastic card with even a authentic J from Janey, and most exciting, in an ironic and hysterical way, a Brooklyn Lantern! I've gotten in tears of laughter every time I saw the informercial for it (another thing worth a look if you want!), especially the look of extreme delight the actress shows, and how she tried to eat spaghetti with a conventional flashlight under her chin. I never expected to own my very own Brooklyn Lantern, good for 100,000 hours! So we were all laughing and having a wonderful time. You can almost guess what came next...
Yes, with the 4 of us all happy and having fun, Janey slipped into the kitchen, right next to where we are in our very small house, not even separated by a door. All morning, she had been asking for Indian Chicken, which is chicken sauteed in a tomato sauce Tony buys in a jar. I guess she got tired of waiting, and in our literally two minutes of not strictly having our eyes totally on her, she somehow opened the jar, which is not at all easy to open, and poured the sauce completely all over the kitchen. On all kinds of things---cookbooks, Tony's shoes, clothes---just everyplace. And there we had it---the Mother's Day spell broken. A huge cleanup, an exchange of talk about who should have been watching her, all that fun. During that, she ran to our bed and got tomato sauce also all over all the bedding.
And that is Mother's Day, autism style. Autism never, ever, ever, ever takes a break. You can't let your guard down, not for 10 seconds. You can't relax and just enjoy, assuming all is fine. Every single moment has to involve autism. Every damn minute.
I don't mean to be so negative. It was still a great time, with the lantern laughter, with my great treats, with my card, with my fantastic kids and husband. But I am tireder than ever. It's never going to end. I'm an autism mother. I will always be an autism mother. That is my life. It's a crazy life. It has great moments. It has its rewards. And I know that's the case for any kind of mothering. Mothering isn't easy. No-one said it was. I have my own specific set of challenges, but I also have my own specific set of rewards. But just for that two minutes, couldn't Janey not have spilled that sauce?