quiet LOUD

There are some lovely, languid backyard summer moments in my recent memory. But there was also yesterday on the freeway in rush hour with three of the guys.

Jack screamed when we turned right instead of left, and lunged violently at Baby until I shouted repeatedly at him to stop. Apparently, if I shriek wildly enough, my lungs can halt an in-car attack. And yet, I made Truman cry, so there were no real winners.

I felt like the meanest mom in the world with my perma-furrowed brow, fists clutching the wheel as I screamed at my son—my voice a megaphone of fury making my toddler cry.


I hate that I must morph during these stress moments into the special-needs mom-version of Mr. Hyde.

No one listens if I speak sweetly and softly. It’s white noise to two of my children. They struggle reading social cues, so visible anger is the quickest means of portraying “NO!” Especially on the freeway, when I am the driver and the only parent in the car.

When his brothers began to chill, Charlie had questions for me. “Can we get rid of our garage?” “Can we put four dogs and two cats in our house?” “Can my last name be something else?” “Can we have three boys instead of four?” “Can we shoot zombies down?” “Can helicopters have guns?” “Can we go to Alaska?” “Can Dad have a beard and be bald?” “Can I have blue hair?” “Can ladies drive motorcycles?” “Can I be twelve?” “Can we go to the movies/pool/curiosity museum/cabin?” “Can I have surgery?”

The answer to all of these, incidentally, is ,”Maybe. We’ll think about.” Any other response is unsatisfactory and results in ongoing arguments with a six-year-old with high-functioning autism.

At one point, mid-questioning, Charlie wailed, “This song is making my ears bleed!” when “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” played on the radio. Dude couldn’t handle any more REO Speedwagon.

I get it.

Sometimes we just crave silence.

All of us.

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