Anyone worried about the zombie invasion can rest assured that the masses of women walking around in a daze are not part of it. I know this because I am one of them. And the dazedness is not being caused by any movie star either. We’ve just spent a whole summer wrangling, entertaining, being entertained and driven up walls by our children. This is happening to the female population blessed with offspring of school-age and you can factor in some exponent for mothers of developmentally disabled adolescents. I knoweth what I speaketh of…
On Friday evening -an evening like any other, mind you- I caught myself having an argument, spoken and augmented with sign language, while in the laundry room’s pantry area. I was looking for some necessary ingredients and I found myself accosted by a complaining creature who seemed unsatisfied with the food available for dinner. I, in high dudgeon, announced that enough complaining had been done, and that was that…off I went, carrying my basket of supplies and stomping up the stairs.
I was halfway to the kitchen when I stopped on my tracks and sat down. Ten minutes later, Dada found me holding my head in my hands and laughing hysterically. “What is up with you????” I explained, amid peals of laughter, that I had just had an argument, using spoken words and sign language, with Miss Pipa, the cat. I then informed him that Thursday the sixteenth might prove to be the day when I slowly start inching back closer to sanity, and then it was Dada’s turn to laugh…loudly!
From what I’ve been told, my level of tolerance for summer has been waning consistently. The effects of all-J, all-day have made themselves vividly noticeable for the past week or so. At the grocery store I performed a long monologue about whether I’d asked to be reminded of the need to buy tomato paste. They call it a monologue because I kept going with it even though Dada, J and TGG had already moved on and were in the next aisle over. Furthermore, I seem to have been insisting to J that I had asked him to remind me. My family doesn’t think it’s early on-set Alzheimer’s…they just think it’s time for J to go back to school full-time so that mom can go back to doing something other than trying to save the world one autistic teenager at a time.
I know I’m not the only one thus afflicted. I have seen the other moms, and we exchange looks of empathy when we meet at the store, the doctors’ office (where a whole waiting room seemed poised to get shots today,) or the pool. We all look at each other and wonder “can she possibly think that those three kids are more work than J?,” and “she can’t possibly imagine that the kid with the hats is more work than Huey, Louie and Dewey here…” They’re not crosses to bear, of course, but they -like fish and house guests- start to smell funny after a while…you love them, but you want them gone for a whole day. OK…five days a week from 7:20 to 2:30…that’s enough…
I confess (with some shame clouding my heart) that I would love to sit on the couch and flip through the whole array of worthless TV channels we pay for… I also would like to sit down on the floor and not get up with any remnants of laminating material stuck to my pants or feet. I won’t deny that, come Thursday morning, I will be filling the tub and taking a bath…while reading…and I might go so far as to give myself what passes for a pedicure around these parts. I am strangely (and guiltily) excited about the prospect of eating a bagel and having some coffee without having to worry that there are sixty things on my to-do list, and 55 of them will take a longer time than necessary because the purpose is to teach J something.
I am a bad mother. I know. I should be ashamed of myself. I am. I also am happy that J will no longer roll his eyes when he sees me because I can tell he’s thinking “again? You? Don’t we have someone else? This is a lot of YOU for one summer, isn’t it?” On Thursday we will revert to the “oh, Mrs. So-and-so, J starts smiling so broadly as soon as we crest that hill!!! He knows you’re waiting for him!!! Look how happy he is to be home with his momma!!!” I, by virtue of my absence, regain my popularity…and that’s what I need right now…to regain my popularity!
Seriously, though…I am excited about J returning to school because I KNOW how much he has learned and how much he will enjoy seeing his friends after a whole summer without them. He can go back and announce proudly that TODAY IS THURSDAY AND MY NAME IS SO-AND-SO AND GOOD NORMING (ok…he still doesn’t say MORNING, but NORMING is cute.) Anyone who whips out a book of animals will be dazzled by his ability to name them and repeat the noise they make. Yesterday at Barnes and Noble he didn’t name more animals because I couldn’t find more to point out to him. So, yeah, he will go and conquer this school year…
And I will sit at home and find ten thousand more things that I want to teach him and wonder “when’s he coming home??????”
But there’s that hill and we both get happy when we realize the school day is over and it’s home-time.
I really need to get out more, huh?