“…if I can live through this…I can do anything…”
I heard a song a few months ago while driving around town running some errands. It was still playing on the radio when I got to my destination. Rocking out to it while sitting in my car in the Costco parking lot, I waited until the song ended before resuming my busy day. Once it was over, I turned off the car and grabbed my shopping list. Repeated the refrain as I walked into the store, I told myself, Don’t forget to look up the lyrics when you get home. It would be a few hours before I’d make my way back home though. When I finally got there, I completely forgot to look it up. Last week in the midst of some other errands that had me running all over town, the song came on again. I had just turned on the car. Staying in the parking spot so I could listen to the lyrics, I rocked out to the song once again.
…I’m calling you from the future
To let you know we made a mistake
And there’s a fog from the past
That’s giving me, giving me such a headache…
Golly, is that my life or what? It isn’t every day, mind you, but I do feel like mistakes have been made. Some people can look past mistakes, theirs and ones made by others. They can let the past go, and I applaud them, but I will still sometimes struggle with the “I would have if I could have” thoughts that pop into my head. They pop into my head when Ronan has another seizures, when he lashes out at his loving therapists, and when he pulls his sisters’ hair. Those frustrating moments bring out the worst in Ronan. They can bring out the worst in me and make me want to throw every positive thought I have out the window.
…I got nothing but dreams inside
I got nothing but dreams…
Ahh, yes, those dreams. Those dreams! I believe in them, and I hope in them fully. Dreams help me put one foot in front of the other. They help me get out of whatever funk I have gotten myself into, too. Falling into a funk - that happens, and it’s hard to get out of sometimes. Most of the time the funk happens when I get a peek back at the past. People have told me to stop thinking about the past and to move on. They are usually people with much higher functioning children or people who have no children at all. I don’t begrudge them for not understanding, but I also don’t give them too much of my time. It is sometimes pointless to talk to them because they don’t have the same deep, emotional scars I have. But I’d love to ask them how does one move on fully when the past lingers as much as it does in the present?
Ronan never made it through certain stages.
He never hit some major milestones.
He hasn’t grown up like other typically developing kids have.
His past included enjoying baby books, watching baby movies, and wearing diapers. Presently, he still likes his old baby books, still likes baby movies, and still wears diapers. The past never left. It parked itself in our home, and on some days, it rules our house morning, noon, and night! Believe me I’ve tried to not think about the past, but it’s right there in my face all day long. I handle it by dreaming about the future and living as hopefully ever after as I can. That’s because …I can do anything…
People ask me all of the time, Cat, how do you do it all? Some days, I seriously don’t know, so I sheepishly reply, I just do what I have to do. Ronan needs me. He needs endless support. I do what I can when I can. That’s because I believe that Ronan can do anything. If I think otherwise, I’ve set him up for failure. This kid hasn’t failed anything! Other people may have failed him, but he has soared.
…If I can live through this…
Change that to line to …If he can live through this… Oh, the things Ronan’s accomplished! I’ve seen Ronan do the impossible. I’ve seen him go from not being able to walk to walking, to not being able to follow directions to completing multi-step tasks, to not being able to communicate to typing a full sentence. Despite his glaring limitations, he continuously wows me. He proves over and over again how resilient he is. Sure, he still struggles and gets slowed down by the simplest of things, but he tries. He tries his hardest. He does his best. Because of that, I do my best for him as well.
Dreams and hope are my remedy, and I’m very glad for them. I pray that you believe in them, too.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.