I want to introduce to you all, my wife, Lizze. She’s an admin on this site but rarely ever posts. I asked her to post this today because I really, really liked what she had to say. I think that it’s an important message that may apply to many of us. If you want to read more of her writings, please visit her blog at www.mylifebeyondlabels.com.
So Gavin has been having a more difficult time of things lately. Which makes me sad, not just as a mother but as his mother. Gavin is like a bead on a string – forever moving, forever changing…nothing is ever the same with him. One day he’s high functioning, full fledged Asperger’s-type behavior. The next he’s lower functioning, and acting more like a stereo-typical Autistic child,
Then when you add his schizo-affective disorder, OCD, PTSD, ADHD and bi-polar into the mix…he’s a very complicated little guy. Because of his complications, which seem to be mounting as the months go by (we’ve recently added seizures (which are continually getting worse), primary immunodeficiency, and dysautonomia), it’s been discussed at great lengths among his entire health care staff (pediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist…right on down the line) realistically what Gavin’s options are as a teenager and then an adult.
Unfortunately, it’s been decided that realistically speaking his best chance at a life with any kind of independence is going to involve Gavin living in a group home. While I don’t like the idea of my baby in a group home. Actually, I hate it. Despise it. Loath it with every fiber of my being. I also know that it is Gavin’s best chance at “normal”. His best chance at doing as much of his life himself, with a little help from the workers in the group home.
A conversation I had with Gavin the other day about his future led me to wonder…am I a…
“Loving, supportive parent” or “an barer of false hope”?
Gavin came to me the other day and he wanted to tell me what he wants to be when he grows up. He would like to be an author and “an amusement park designer”. There is no doubt in my mind that if any one thing were different he could absolutely reach those goals. However, he loses IQ points every year. He has far too many disorders, illnesses, disabilities stacked against him for him to be able to make it on his own. Well, that’s not worded exactly right. It’s not the diagnoses themselves that will prevent him from being entirely independent. It is the manner in which his diagnoses present with Gavin that will prevent him from being entirely independent and make a group home necessary.
Truth be told, if he wanted to work at the local gas station for the rest of his life…if that’s what he discovered that makes him happy, then I would be over the moon ecstatic with joy because he had discovered a job/career that he both excels at and it makes him happy. I honestly don’t care what that job/career is.
But when he looked at me and for a moment he was my sweet little Gavin. My big doe-eyed little boy from before. Before the nasty divorce from Nick and the even nastier custody battle. Before the Autism took over. Before the bi-polar/schizo-affective disorder started riding shot-gun to Autism. Before the OCD, ADHD and PTSD jumped in the backseat while Autism drove like a madman through town.
It was that little boy who asked me, “Do you think I can do it, Mom? Do you believe I can be and author and an amusement park designer?”
And I was that Asperger’s Mama. Locked in the Land of Black and White. The Mama who knew I was likely giving him false hope. But all he wanted, all he needed was to know if I thought he could do it. Did I believe in him? How was I supposed to tow a fine line at that point? Hell! How was I supposed to find a fine line at that point?!
I wasn’t and I couldn’t so I did what Mamas are supposed to do. I gave him hope. In my own, Aspie black and white universe way, I gave him hope. I just pray we can find a way to balance his drive and desire, my hope and a very healthy dash of realism to help us all survive.