the other day i said to my oldest friend that i feel as if i’ve lost my faith. i am a person who has always subscribed to a lot of woo-woo stuff, from astrology to cosmic force and all of the “everything happens for a reason” dogma that goes along with it. but there i was, spilling my guts to a most trusted confidant over a glass of rose, saying, “lately i just think…shit happens.”
i came to this conclusion after hearing myself saying, once again, that the past week or month or months have been “some of the hardest” or toughest or roughest or most difficult. after hearing myself say this for the umpteenth time i realized that i am no longer in a “tough phase,” this is my life. it is hard. there are a lot of days where i feel like i’m struggling just to make it through the day. where i feel like i’m not strong enough or good enough or compassionate enough or nurturing enough to be the mother my child needs. like things are just worsening with time. part of the process of having a child on the autism spectrum, for me, has been walking through the levels of acceptance. levels that go deeper and further and take different directions. facing the fact that this is not going away. facing the fact that my life is always going to be difficult. that i might never be able to work again. that my son might never talk. that he might never become independent. facing those possibilities is terrifying. but necessary. and doing that, lately, has caused a sort of unraveling for me.
lately the struggle has been about routines. my son has to have things a certain way, and when something doesn’t fit what he expects or wants, crisis usually ensues. i make myself sick trying to anticipate what he might want or need out of every minute, and of course i fail because life cannot be just the way anyone wants it all the time. i realize that i’ve been just as uptight and rigid about his routines as he has. i realized this when all of my carefully laid plans started to fall apart, and the falling apart got larger and larger until i had to pay attention. and realize that i can’t control my son and his reactions to life. all that i can do is be here for him. i can’t make the world go away.
when i told my friend that i felt as if there was no universe or star map or reason behind things anymore, that i no longer believed in magic, something funny happened. i started seeing things that gave me a certain kind of flutter, the kind that comes from synchronicity. i overheard conversations that felt like they were speaking to me. my plans fell apart so much that they left me alone with my son, and i realized that no amount of therapy or school or play groups can compare to me being with and connecting to him. i love him unconditionally, and i was so caught up in doing all of the right things, of making sure he got all of this therapy and intervention and just the right people and places and things to avoid some big scary dark unknown future. grinding through each day until i could get some time to myself, or my husband got home, or some vacation or future perfect. and in that i was missing the moment. the moments in the day where he wants to snuggle with me, or sing to me, or show me how incredibly smart he is. it’s not that i didn’t live those moments, it’s that i let them slip by. in my quest for something else, something that i can’t even define.
so i think that yes, shit happens. but it’s kind of magic when it does. because it’s the shit that makes you pay attention and look at where you are and who you’re with and what is going on in the present moment.