Garden Gnomes

This morning Truman woke the whole house up at 5:00 AM, screaming for a bobby (ie, a bottle of warm milk.) Is he a newborn? No, he is three and a half. And we are tired of doing this every night. So we gave him a cracker and a drink of water, and he responded by wailing for the next two hours.

Which meant Charlie woke up way too early, too, and thus had a major meltdown this evening wherein he turned feral and irrational.

And then Jack took from my bathroom the package of new makeup I just got and destroyed it in the backyard. This is when I had a major meltdown and turned feral and irrational. Over makeup. But mostly over the pattern of destruction of everything in my house for the last eleven years.

And the lack of sleep. And the ongoing tradition of hating weekends because of Jack’s spazzy behavior. Regardless, my reaction was still lame.

Feeling shell-shocked from the house of screaming, I walked outside to take out the trash and felt really conflicted thinking about all the home and family talks from conference in the last couple of weeks. Love at home, joy in my posterity, peaceful families—these things feel like a mirage to me. Survival at home, barely hanging on at home, struggling at home with the chaos of family members with mental, behavioral, and emotional disabilities—this is us.

What happens when home and family are kicking your can? What does it mean when your whole life is at home, all your energy is invested in raising the extremely difficult children, and yet it still is woefully inadequate and you want to shout and swear and knock people’s heads together? How can a house of people with autism screaming at you be a bastion of peace and joy?

I understand on a very basic, cellular level that my children are making subtle progress because they have a stable, nurturing family environment that is essentially a greenhouse for their tender, flourishing little plant selves.

But what happens when the gardner loses her marbles?

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