Last week started out rough. On the heels of the biking meltdown on Sunday, it was followed by a “driving Dad to the airport” nightmarish tantrum. We were happily on our way. Sean had the day off of school and was free to accompany me on the drive. As we drove over the Morrison Bridge, the Willamette River running steadily underneath, Sean realized he had forgotten his DVD player.
“Oh no!” he said, his hands busy looking all over for his bag that held the DVD player, “Where did it go? Oh no, I forgot it! We have to go get it! We have to get it NOW!"
“Sean, we are not turning around to get it. You’ll just have to wait until we get home.” I said firmly, bracing myself for the fallout, my knuckles whitening on the steering wheel.
And then it came -- screaming, tears, kicking the back of my seat, shrieking and mumbling. We were ten minutes into a twenty-five minute ride -- fifty minutes if you count the ride back.
“So much for getting some work phone calls in,” my husband lamented.
One of his employees called and he answered amid the nuclear meltdown and told her he’d have to call her back. Luckily his two employees know the situation and weren't concerned that our son might be on fire in the backseat.
Sean finally calmed down at the airport, his breath still shallow and his face wet with angry tears. We said good-bye to Dad and headed back home. I could feel a migraine starting behind my right eye and thought, “Oh just perfect.”
The next day, Tuesday, I had to drive my older son to his hockey clinic. Since my husband was out of town, I had to bring Sean with me for the thirty minute drive. Five minutes into the drive Sean said in sheer panic, “Where is my DVD player?!”
Oh hell, here we go again. I had put the DVD player in his bag, along with the Finding Nemo DVD he was crying about minutes earlier (“Where is my Finding Nemo DVD!! I am never going to find it!”) I found it and told him to bring it with him to the car. For some reason, unknown to me, he took out the DVD player and carried his bag with only the Finding Nemo DVD.
“WE HAVE TO GO GET IT!” He screamed, my older son covering his ears.
“No, Sean, we are not going back. I told you to make sure you brought it with and you took it out of the bag. God knows why. Besides, you won't even watch the movie anyways.” This was true. Sean's need for the DVD player was not so much associated with him wanting to watch the movie. It was just an unexplainable desire -- a need that he have his DVD player with him regardless if he were to watch a movie or not. And this made the argument that much more illogical and difficult.
The screams, the kicking and now the “getting out of the car seat and trying to sit in Mom’s lap while she drives in the bad traffic” began.
“Sit down!”, I said loudly, trying to push him back into his car seat while steering the car. At a red light the car jumped up and down matched only by the ear splitting screams.
His brother tried to calm him. He made up a story about a DVD player fairy who was at this very minute delivering a new DVD player to our house. This didn't calm him down. He wanted HIS DVD player and he wanted it NOW.
“That’s enough!” I said, “You are going to break the window. Stop right now!"
After about five more minutes he calmed down. We pulled into the parking lot to let out his brother and I let Sean play in the snow piles that were left from the zambonie clearing the ice rink. When both boys were out of the car, I collapsed my face into my palms and had a good hard cry. I was scared and tired and sad and I was at my wit’s end.
I went to check on Charlie and saw a couple other mothers who smiled. I smiled but then felt the tears cluttering in my eyes and hurried out to get Sean. He came sprinting from the snow dunes, smiling and happy. How quickly his mood changed from one moment to another. It was exhausting.
So the next day, Wednesday, I woke with that tingling feeling on my lip -- that dreaded, “make room for a big, ugly cold sore” kinda feeling. And sure enough, by Thursday, it had made it’s entrance, a large, puffy sore on the top left of my lip. No makeup could cover it. Unless I was okay with wearing a fake mustache (I wasn't) there was no hiding this monstrosity.
On Friday I went for a check-up with my doctor. She immediately noticed the cold sore and said,
A cold sore? That's not good. Are you worn out? Are you stressed?” I laughed (because laughter can often mask tremendous sadness.)
“Is there anything you can give me for it?” I asked desperate.
“There is something. It smells like charcoal and it’s supposed to help clear it up a little sooner but I think you should just wait the 7 to 10 days and let it clear up on its own.” She’s a good doc and well aware of my lousy insurance. My guess is that the ointment was spendy and it made more sense to just live with it an extra couple of days.
So, now it is Tuesday. The sore is still here -- lovely as ever. In addition, I also got a painful pimple in the corner of my mouth. And I can’t forget this little bump on my chin that periodically sprouts a wiry blond hair that is as thick as dental floss. I’m calling it my Bermuda triangle.
Getting old is no fun. Having a child with autism has sped up that process. Worry and stress are everyday occurrences in our lives. Some weeks are tougher than others. And last week was a particularly tough one.
Hopefully by next week, the cold sore and pimple will be gone and I’ll have a chance to pull out that whisker (what am I, a cat?) Even when I try to keep the worry and stress inside it has an odd way off getting out, of sharing with the world that sometimes life isn't very pretty.
Sam Smiles Project
3 months ago