Releasing MY Own Doubts and Fears

I stood there sobbing as Ethan stared at me, wondering what was wrong. “Mom why are you crying?” I couldn’t answer. The tears just rolled down my face as the illumination of another glimmer of possibility, of hope, burst through the room like a ray of sunshine bursting through the clouds.

“Mom what’s wrong? You’re making me uncomfortable,” Ethan said in his funny quirky, humorous way.

I burst out laughing. I couldn’t help it. He always knows just what to say to make me laugh and smile. I’m not only crying, but now I’m laughing and I am happy. It may seem like something so simple, so automatic, for a 14-year-old child, but for me, it was a milestone.

This road has been different, not better, not worse, just different. Very challenging, yes. Yesterday’s experience was no exception. It was another experience on the journey of striving for Ethan’s independence.

It was just five minutes ago I stood in the corner of the room, behind a wall peeking around, staring out the window waiting for Ethan to come home. I didn’t want him to see me. “What is he going to think?” I thought to myself, “What will he do?” My car was in the repair shop and he wouldn’t see that familiar sense of security.

We’ve been working on his ability to lock and unlock a door. Easy for you and me, right? I gave him a house key this school year to carry in his book bag, helping him to feel a new level of responsibility, independence, and trustworthiness.

We’ve had that talk…..you know… that talk? No, not that one. The one where we’ve discussed that if he ever comes home and the doors are locked, what to do. How would he get in the house? A few simple instructions, a few different discussions, and I let it be.

So yesterday, I finally put it to the test. A perfect day I thought to myself, because my car is not here and it’s been a few weeks since we talked about it and if we have any shot at this, if we have any shot at Ethan’s independence in life, these are going to be crucial years. Got to keep pushing him, guiding him, directing him, to self-sufficiency.

The van finally pulls up. I’m nervous. I always want him to feel safe, never scared. This has never happened to him, so I’m anxious to see how he’ll react. I hear the clanging of the door, the turning of the knob trying to open. He’s trying to get in and can’t. There’s a moment of brief silence as I hold my breath to his reaction.

Will he go back to the van? Will he wander around wondering what to do?

Knock knock knock. I wait….

I tell myself, do not open that door, Rebecca. Let him figure it out. This is important.

Knock knock knock again.

I wait it out…. And this is hard, really hard, for me.

It’s deeper than just a door being locked and not being able to get in. I’m right on the other side of it. I don’t ever want him to feel abandoned or rejected or stuck or confused or scared. And I know that these are my fears, not his, that I have to work through, fears that I know all mothers can relate to, but especially those mothers of autistic children.

We have different challenges, similar in a way, but different. And then at last, that magical sound, music to my ears, and heart. I hear the rustling of keys, I hear the lock turn and in he walks, his smiling and happy usual self.

Yes, Rebecca, he did it.

What seemed like an eternity to me, took him less than a minute to figure out and execute, effortlessly, and seemingly without a second thought. As I dried my tears, I knew if we continue to work hard together, we just might have a shot at this.

I wonder if he will ever understand or know the depth of the milestone that happened that day. For him, it’s just what normal 14-year-old boys do when they come home and the door is locked and he didn’t think anything about it. I guess that’s my point.

For me it was everything.

This just might happen.

Written by, Dr. Rebecca Delaney

My name is Dr. Rebecca Delaney and I have many more stories to share about my son, Ethan, and my journey together. I am a mom, entrepreneur, healer, truth seeker, adventurer, and lover of life…but it wasn’t always this way. Ethan came and saved my life.  It’s been a journey for sure and I’m just now starting to share our story, to hopefully inspire  and share perspectives that can help other moms. You can follow our journey at Life After Autism.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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