Monday, November 05, 2012

My Favorites

Each night, I put Aidan, my typical 10 1/2 year old, to bed. He will occasionally allow his father to substitute on the rare mom's-night-out. But if I'm in the house, he's not going to sleep unless he and I do our little song-and-dance routine. 

After I turn out the light, I hug Aidan, thinking of a positive thing to whisper in his ear. It's part of our routine.  I sing a song, whisper sweet nothings in his ear, and then dance out of the room as he listens to his relaxation CD.

(I’m totally kidding about the sweet nothings. The dance routine, however? That's a mix of pirouettes, Irish clogging, jookin’, and I have recently added in some gangnam style. It’s a sight to behold.)

Last night, as we hugged each other tight, I told Aidan that he and Conor were my two favorite kids on the entire planet.
(Think about it.  I mean, all those kids just in India.  That's HUGE, dude, the entire planet. My kids must really rock.)

"Mom?" Aidan asked when I finished, still hugging me.  "How can Conor be one of your favorite kids on the planet, but he throws major temper tantrums?"

"Because he's my son, Aidan," I replied.  "And I love him no matter what. Just like I love you, no matter what."

I’ve often asked myself that same question.  Oh, not about myself, no. I’ll always love my kiddos, no matter what.  That’s true despite Conor's monumental tantrums, which cause me deep, immense heartbreak.

Over the years, it has never ceased to amaze me that the majority of Conor’s aids and therapists have loved and accepted him despite the severity of his behavior problem.

I always ask them when I hire them.  Why?  Why do you want to work with a child with autism?  Do you know he has a serious behavioral issue?  Do you understand what that entails? But, why do you want to?


I worry about it, you know? 

When my husband and I are gone, and Aidan has his own family to care for, how will Conor’s caregivers feel about supporting him? I guess I feel that someone who enjoys and likes my son will be more inclined to treat him respectfully, positively. 

All right, I’m just going to say it. I’m afraid Conor is more likely to be abused or neglected as an adult because he’s not all fun-and-games and cutesy-pie like some individuals with special needs.

I just worry.  That’s all. When I'm gone, who will love him like I do? (And don't give me some unique-mom-love pattycake crap, you know what I mean.)

I asked Paisley, one of his current in-home aids, about it one day. He had gotten a few fistfuls of her hair during one of his tantrums just a few days earlier, not to mention chomping one of her forearms.

“It helps that he’s just too damn cute,” she replied, laughing.

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