Autism Cuppa

February Funk

I haven’t blogged for a bit.  If you follow my blog, you know I threw my back out the beginning of January.  It’s been wonky ever since.  I have a new lumbar support pillow for MY KITCHEN CHAIR and a brand new, *fully loaded* heating pad too. Add to the fact I celebrated a significant birthday in October and The Kiddo will be 36 in 12 days, and I feel old and crappy.

I don’t look old; I’m a classical performer (oops, no one is supposed to know what *artistic field* I am in but here’s a hint……I wave my arms around and people sing & play music….got it? Wink, Wink!), and have to do my roots regularly and stay slim-ish. But I feel as old as dirt right now.

Part of it probably has to do with The Kiddo’s birthday. Around the time he was ten I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself.  Kiddo was a lovely child with low functioning autism but a sunny boy, smiley and flirty.  I think the fact he was so adorable and such a big flirt saved him and actually got him more therapy and services because folks fell in love with him. My other boys were cute and, well, gifted.  The Middle Boy could read when he was three and demanded to be taught algebra when he was in first grade  . The Youngest could count (and understand that numbers stood for something) when he was TEN MONTHS OLD. They had their challenges in addition to Kiddo’s, but I loved being their Mama.

When Kiddo was almost ten, something snapped.  I was wasting time doing a bit of whining and feeling sorry for myself and then it struck me; if I spent the time I was whining living my life and enjoying my boys and Hubby instead , I would feel better. But every once in a while, something would happen….or not happen……and I would feel sad and stuck in the funk.  It was then I struck upon the idea of giving myself permission to feel bad and to mourn one day a year. I choose that day every year to be his birthday.

Sounds strange, I know, to mourn and grieve and feel sad on his birthday when he is alive, healthy and happy and eating chocolate cupcakes across the table from me. I am not mourning him as he is, but what we had imagined he would be.  I mourn for the things he will never accomplish and the milestones he never made. When he was 16, I mourned he would never get a drivers license. When he was 18, I mourned he would not be graduating from high school with his peers but *aging out* when he was 21. The year The Middle Boy graduated from high school, Kiddo aged out and I was happy and proud The Middle Boy would be attending Hubby’s (and his grandfather’s) alma mater but also a bit sad… about bittersweet! The years his brothers’ received their bachelor degrees and their masters, I mourned Kiddo would never go to college, never date, never marry or have children.  Not to take ANYTHING away from my younger two, but I grieve for the normal life they have and he will never have.  Bittersweet is the right term for it, that’s for sure!

My Kiddo Birthday grieving is not overt.  I allow myself a good cry in my morning shower.  I am weepy when getting his gifts wrapped (this year it will be new jeans and some Disney–classics of course–videos) and getting his cake together. And I am sad.  Hubby will catch my eye as we go about the Birthday Business traditions of our family and he knows, he knows and is the only person in this world who does know what I am thinking and feeling. We will sing Happy Birthday and clap as he blows out his candles (he was nine the first time he blew  out his birthday candles himself…we worked on it with his speech therapist for YEARS) and Hubby will squeeze my hand as we stand around the table. Kiddo will open his gifts and want two pieces of chocolate cake and we will relent…it IS his birthday after all. We will laugh and I will be teary. And the next day I will be back to normal.

I won’t get stuck in the February Funk for more than a day…….and you know which day!



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Your Autism Cuppa is written by a longtime Autism Mom. A former Autism Society of America local chapter president, she is an educator and artist and has done inclusion consulting work for over 20 years. Married for 36 years to the father of her Three Sons, the eldest having autism, she wants young parents to know they are not alone. Life can be fun!

4 thoughts on “February Funk”

  1. Pass the tissues, please. What am incredibly heartfelt post, beautifully written as usual. I adore the honesty and am in awe of your strength.

    Happy almost birthday to Kiddo! We will both be 36 for a few months till I take the lead again.

    Liked by 1 person

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