War and Peace

I declared war in something new, leaves. I spent an hour raking them up off the gravel driveway only to awake the next day to a repeat of the day before. Guess I really need to invest in a leaf blower, seeing as we live among the trees. Hopefully I can budget for that soon.

I do love living here and really cannot wait for the pretty leaves that I have missed out on in Florida for the past twenty-four years. All we had there was endless Summer and leaves fell off green and died a horrid brown death on the ground. Here I’m hoping to enjoy my favorite season for the first time since I was a child.

Apparently Fall in North Georgia is just like Winter in South Florida, in the 50s. Except it doesn’t just last a day or two before hitting 80 again. It lasts. Helps when raking leaves as I sweat less, haha.

DS has being doing most of the yard work for me though. We set up a program for technology tickets which means he has to earn them to use them and raking and mowing is just a few tasks available on the list. He really enjoys playing on the Xbox and this is the only way he can earn that time.

He has been a bit depressed over having to do school virtually because he has no socialization with peers his age. He has always had a tough time making friends, something I empathize with very well, but being sensory seeking he likewise needs the hustle and bustle that school offers in addition to being around kids his age.

He reminds me a lot of my brother who I’m sure would be diagnosed with ASD if we took him in for testing. He is 35 now and really there is no point in going through the expense. I’m sure I have a touch of something as well but I’m quite the opposite. Both DS and my brother want socialization and enjoy groups. I abhor them. Neither have empathy but I’m more an empath than I like to admit.

When I was younger I did want friends because that was the normal thing to want and I wanted to be normal and like the other kids more than anything. Instead we were bullied and teased and tormented for our living situation which neither of us could control. We were dirt poor living off the government as my father was disabled and very sick at the end. We didn’t have much of anything, structure or role models. No curfews and no rules. We did what we pleased without a thought for consequences. I’m not sure where I would have ended up in life if my father had not passed when he did. Everything happens for a reason, or so they say. I’ve since made peace with my past and the horror they contained.

Seeing how similar DS is to my brother gives me an edge as I am older and wiser now at my ripe 36 and hopefully I can assist DS with gaining appropriate two-way friendships and the structure and role models I was missing. It took me until my early 30s to escape my upbringing and figure out me despite them. Either I was strong enough to beat them or strong as a result of beating them. Whole chicken vs. egg conundrum there.

Which is why when DS’s school friend was playing with him on the Xbox, I gave him extra free time even though he was out of tickets to use. This school friend added a few of his friends to the game and now DS has a list of people he can play with. I even allowed voice chat as I’m sitting with him in the living room and firmly believe online and gaming socialization is important for him. There is none of that awkward in person introduction or shyness. No judgment on my son and who he is. A chance for him to be him.

It crushes me that he has no one his age that he can talk to and my hope is that through this he can find others and learn cooperative play. To be a part of a team instead of trying of forcing others to play how or what he wants. So when his friends are online I will allow him free time because imo it is not fruitless technology time but a learning experience and the socializing he seeks and needs. I coach him through moments when is is too overbearing and guide him as much as I can.

He opens up to me and I’m very thankful to be here with him. It was a long twelve years apart but we have found our relationship these past few months and he is mostly just a socially awkward teenage boy whose autism is only a part of why he behaves the way he does and needs certain things. It doesn’t define him but is part of his special nature that we celebrate.

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