Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sand Trap Weekend

This weekend I spent too much time caught in the sand trap, mourning the family I thought I should have instead of enjoying the one that I actually do.

And, truth to tell, it's pretty hard to enjoy my family right now.

Jacob is getting on Ethan's every last nerve, every minute of the day they are together. And Ethan is being mean to his brother. And there's only so much I can do.

One has Autism and the other doesn't. It is what it is.

I fled the coop for 4 hours on Sunday afternoon to attend a family event (for my husband's family, so he couldn't say no to watching the boys for the afternoon) and the boys just sat around the apartment with screens of various sorts on a beautiful day.

I tried, I tried, really I tried to get Ethan a playdate for the afternoon, but it didn't pan out, so our wonderful upstairs neighbors (who have nearly adopted the boy) having other plans, deposited him back home at 2:30, and the idea of going anywhere with his brother brought tears and moans and groans of "I HATE him, he ruins EVERYTHING mom!"

So there I was at a lovely old world, old school, top tier French restaurant in NYC eating and drinking up a storm with the female contingent of my husband's large and embracing, enveloping family (we affectionately call them the Borg Collective for a reason) but still fielding phone calls from home, pulled in two directions and fully present in neither.

My usual state.

This weekend I struggled to be a good enough mother. Struggled and failed. I didn't have the energy, the herculean energy it takes to pull on the happy face and make fun happen for our family.

We used to be able to just roll out and spend the day together. Jake was a bit odd, but often lost in his own internal little world. We had to make sure he didn't wander off, but for a spectrum kid he was pretty easy to take out into the world.

But now that he wants to interact and talk all the time, he requires a lot more energy and focus. He still loves going out, but now I have to be completely vigilant, to keep him from going up to everyone he sees and starting strange conversations.  And he so drives his brother 'round the bend.

I am sure some day Ethan will develop more distance, more compassion, but right now he is all rage and annoyance. And I don't want to be here in the middle of it. Not at all, not even for one minute of it.

And so I dread the weekends. I get a stone in the pit of my stomach as 3:45 pm on Friday rolls around, knowing  the boys are mine and more or less together until 6:45 am on Monday.

I ask too much from my friends, the mothers of Ethan's friends. I am always foisting him off on them. And if those kids want to come over, we're really limited to the ones with high tolerance for Jacob.

I am tired of whining about this, tired of complaining. Also I am worried that I am making my wonderful son Jacob sound like a burden, which he never is.  He is lively and delightful and full of light. But exhausting. Yes exhausting, always, too.

And the biggest issue is the dynamics between the two, so far from healed, so far from resolved. Maybe worse now than it's ever been, I can't really tell, I have no perspective.

So I separate and separate and separate some more, as much as I can. And still at bedtime tonight Ethan asks when we'll make enough money so we can get a bigger apartment and he can have his own room, asks if I could send Jacob away for a day "Send him on a trip to D.C., Mom." so he and I can have a day together, at home just us "because I almost never get time at home without Jacob around. "

And also the separateness feels just too separate, feels like individuals and not a family. I want a family unit, damn it, something that feels cohesive and whole. Not just this hole in my heart. Not a big one, but a small one, drippity leaking, draining the joy out drop by drop.

It's 4 am and I have not gone to bed yet. Sitting here ruminating and writing. Because if you don't go to bed, tomorrow never comes, right?

Damn, got that wrong too.

Just Write
And I'm linking this up with Heather's "Just Write" Tuesdays meme at The Extraordinary Ordinary, even though it's not the lovely little slice of life I wanted to write tonight. Oh, well.

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