The Secrets We Keep

I backed out of the garage. Music blaring. Sunglasses on.

To my neighbors it probably appeared like I was just running an errand.

To the grocery store most likely.

My neighborhood was alive as usual. So many people in their yards and driveways.

I saw kids playing tag. Some were riding bikes.

A few waved and shouted, ‘hello.’

I saw people gathered at the park.

Babies in strollers. Dogs chasing balls.

I live here, in this neighborhood. Suburbia.

Every family much like ours. Two or more kids. Parents busy with sports.

We all work. Mow our lawns. BBQ on beautiful days. Take our kids to the park.

Only, we are different. My husband and I. Our family is different.

I left my house tonight because my son just had a meltdown so severe that I had to call my husband for help.

And I felt exhausted. Defeated. Beat up. Emotionally drained. Heartbroken. And empty.

All at once.

The child that I gave birth too. The one I bathe. Snuggle. Tuck into bed. And tickle. Turned on me.

He turned into something I have never seen before. Quick and fast he morphed.

Super human strength. Destructive. Relentless. Uncontrollable.

He couldn’t be reasoned with. His eyes were glazed over. He didn’t look like himself.

My husband was only gone for 60 minutes. He had to run to his dads.

No big deal.

I made dinner. Fed my kids.

And sat down to nurse my baby.

I thought we were in for the night. I offered up a movie and popcorn.

Only my social butterfly wanted to go back outside and play.

He tried to negotiate and when I said no, he turned to protesting. He’s six. He was doing what six year olds do.

And my other son couldn’t handle it. He can’t handle his brother yelling.

He got upset. This is not new.

We’ve had little meltdowns before. I wasn’t worried.

I did what the therapists say to do. I ignored. I redirected. I negotiated. I tried to bribe.

For the next 25 minutes he raged. And I chased. I did everything I could possibly do.

Only, he is big. Really big. And fast.

So, I put him in a hold just like I was taught to do. Right there on my kitchen floor.

The garbage can went flying. Cupboard doors banging. Rugs sliding.

I did this to keep him safe. And to protect myself, my other boys and my house.

Only I couldn’t contain him. I wasn’t strong enough.

Me, the mom.

For a brief second I thought I lost control. I made eye contact with my baby who was being held by his brother in the living room, both crying.

And I knew this was bad. Really bad.

This was what other families talk about.

When my husband got home our house was torn apart.

It looked like we’d been vandalized.

All three boys were crying.

One saying, ‘It’s my fault. If I wasn’t here he would never hurt you. I should just be gone.’

And with that, I couldn’t be the invincible mom anymore.

I backed down the driveway, drenched in sweat, red faced, and a little bruised. Marks on my arms. And chest. Legs and torso.

And I waited for the tears to fall behind my glasses.

I waved to my neighbors. I smiled.

I left it all behind.

I drove, going nowhere really.

I let myself feel out of control for a while. And let the dark, scary thoughts consume me.

I let myself wonder why and how. I thought about full moons, changes in routine, medications and the mystery of autism.

I let myself cry. Be angry. And worried.

As I pulled back into my neighborhood it was nearly dark.

A group of boys, my son included, were using up the last few minutes of sunlight to play catch in our driveway.

I smiled. And studied that very brave little six year old boy with the backwards baseball cap on. The one who an hour before said he wished he could be gone so his brother wouldn’t hurt us.

I watched his peers too. All of them laughing.

And I thought about the secrets we keep behind closed doors.

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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, subscribe for exclusive videos, 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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