Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dear Noah:

Where do I even begin? I am under incredible pressure from most family members to MOVE. I totally understand we have out-stayed our welcome here at grandma's house. I GET THAT. I wish everyone would remember...that I did not even want to move back here to OHIO to begin with. The only reason I did was cause I felt it might be more affordable and my entire family was back here. I figured I would have support. I KNEW you being around family gatherings and such would be a good experience for the most part. I felt it was important during this transition of me leaving your daddy to at least get you to be around things with others...PLAY with other kids...etc.

SO I did accomplish at least that by making this move back. You have enjoyed playing with cousin Audrey whom I think is a kick. She is so much fun to be around and you two seem to really play well together. My sister Angela and her husband Gary and her son Alex ALL have TOTALLY accepted you and invite us over on a regular basis for dinner and play dates. Alex is 13 years old but likes to play with you..or fakes it well. You enjoy your visits there and cry when it is time to leave.

The neighbor kids here at grandma's house have come over and you have made friends with them. BOTH of them ages 11 and 8 seem to enjoy playing with you regardless. They get a kick out of you standing upstairs looking down at their dog through the window.... howling in unison with him when he howls.....and they try to make you laugh and such. You do. They do. Their dad has talked to me many times and has told me many times you are more than welcome to come over and play. I think for a complete stranger to come up and offer that to me...even OVER family is great. Speaks volumes to me.

SO you are thriving. YOU love the company here when they come to visit grandma. YOU SOAK it all up and have blossomed. We saw the realtor so much you were even hugging her all the time. Well crap you even hugged the home inspector. You hugged the man renting that house we might get.

BUT today I am sitting here typing this through tears. My mom sent me a huge e-mail telling me it was time for us to move on. Grandma was afraid she might get hurt because of something you might do. Trip her....lay down in front of her feet as she walks by.....pushing her from behind as she walks by...just jumping into her lap to give you a hug or kiss....her 83-year-old body cannot take it. She about falls down now at times when she walks.....cause she has diabetic she cannot feel her feet many times when she walks. You coming up and putting your hands on her backside to even gently push against her as she walks makes her almost fall down or she probably feels like she will fall down. I think she is a bit afraid of you now. I am honestly trying to get us out of here fast. I had no URGE to move back to Ohio to begin with. I DID NOT want to move in with a family member, even my grandma. She offered...more than once. I told her up front it could be a couple of months before we could leave if I was buying a house. She still offered. I HAD NO INTENTIONS of ever staying anywhere already for 3 months PLUS. I wanted to be gone and on our own immediately! I know we looked at 35 houses at least for sale when I was thinking about just buying a place. I made 2 offers...we got nothing. I decided to forgo buying and just rent a house. APARTMENT life is less than ideal with you because you do move around a lot and make noises which can be disturbing for other tenants at times. PLUS you need a place to get out and run around...a fenced in yard...basement ..something.

SO I immediately started calling and checking around about rental properties. I finally found this current home we are trying to rent. I think I may get it. Meanwhile however.....all my relatives out of concern for grandma.....either due to things she has told them they misinterpreted or whatever....have all been talking amongst "themselves" about US. About how it is a matter of time before an ACCIDENT knock grandma over and she breaks a hip and ends up in a nursing home..etc. Matter of time before something bad happens. THey tell me that grandma is stressed...wants her home afraid to say anything for fear of hurting my feelings. SO my cousin contacts MY mom to vent her concerns....or other's concerns....who really even cares. Like my mommy can any longer tell me anything or fix a problem with "you". If my cousin had a problem with me or you or wanted to just make me aware of what you might be doing...she should have taken me aside and told me directly. BUT this did not happen. She goes around also behind my back...contacts my mom....and the shit hits the fan and I get one of mom's world famous letters in e-mail form. This of course is already since we had the falling out with my dad (your grandpa). My one sister appears to be mad at me or apparently also thinks I am taking advantage of grandma. Another sister I also don't see or hear from. ONE I do and she has accepted us into her home very well and offered complete support. Apparently everyone else tells me one thing to my face and then another behind my back....all saying they cannot believe I am STILL HERE after 3 months. Oh I CAN? LIKE that was my long-term goal? Like I am delaying moving back out cause I want to delay it? GIVE ME A FREAKIN break! Living apparently under the magnifying lens of my relatives is horrible! EVERYONE knows my business or seems to.....word of mouth is no one gets the story straight. BUT they are also all one coming to me directly...not even my mom. Always a letter.

Well...If they can find me a house for rent with a garage and what we need for the price I CAN afford...I sure as hell wish they would do it. That is the thing. SO many offer up their opinions on the subject. NO one has stepped forward to actually HELP with anything. My sister and her partner did step forward and help me unload my truck and such when I first got here. That has been it even from them.

So....the pressure is on to say the least now to get out. NOT like I was not already trying to get out and fast. BUT I have decided this. IF I do not get this house..I am moving all our extra stuff back into the storage locker. I will take minimal stuff to a motel and we will stay there till we can find a place to rent. OR I may just repack all our crap up and into a moving truck and drive back somewhere out west and start all over again.....though then you have no one again you would be around. THOUGH I could get involved with others once people and kids you could get involved with through the supports you would still be qualified to receive..etc. I don't know. I don't really care anymore. Perhaps being 1200 miles away from family is actually for the best as I can see it all very clearly now. Everyone in my family thinks I am not ABLE to make any sound decisions right now cause I have too much going on. Not one however except Angela or my cousin Debbie has offered to even WATCH Noah.....if I needed it. Well Melissa did once...but she has since stopped communicating to me altogether. So once again I am being labeled UNSTABLE and unable to make sound decisions...rational decisions and choices....of course this means they are more qualified in their minds than I ever will be..hence all the OPINIONS coming to me. Again..I HAVE NOT ASKED for their opinions.

I guess somewhere along the way I never made it clear to my family that you not only have autism...but you have a developmental delay. DUH. You look large for a 7-year-old they all expect you to act LISTEN when told to do or not to do something. They forget that developmentally and emotionally you are much much younger than 7. I think that is one reason you so enjoy playing with 2, 3 and 4-year-olds so much. I know when you had your speech evaluated the first time at about 3-4 you were only at an 18-month-old level for that then! How do 18-month-olds communicate? BY hitting...pushing.....crying......biting...etc. ALL behaviors you did try or use periodically. It is not a discipline problem....not an easy fix problem.....not a you are doing it on purpose to be mean problem. I don't think you can even understand what being "mean" entails. You do not grasp concepts like that.

Temple Grandin explains this very well. She talked about how as a younger child.....going to something like a birthday party was torture for her....all the noise..chaos...etc...was just too much for her and she would invariably act out by "pushing...biting...or finding an ashtry or any object within reach and flinging it across the room"! THIS IS YOU. NOT all the time but you do this. I have seen it. Hence my hesitancy many times to even take you to a family get together or function or large grouping of people. You can only take so much. The confusion created in that environment is too stimulating for you.

In others' eyes viewing your behavior however...they think you are a spoiled brat. They truly do not think you are doing this because of any disability. My family thinks you are just not listening because I do not discipline you enough. I so wish one of them would at least show enough INTEREST in trying to understand you and your world to learn about it. To look at a DVD I have on autism. To read material on it. To listen to your doctor or occupational therapist explain to them your behaviors...etc....and why they are a true physiological need of yours and not something you purposefully choose to do.

SO I have to teach you there are social rules in this world. I know you can learn them. BUT it can take YEARS for you to grasp simple social concepts if you ever even will. For example you laugh many times at things that are not socially something you should be laughing at. To you it is funny to try to go up and kiss grandma's boobies...not realizing that not only is is inappropriate...but also not funny! The main concern I have now is you are growing and getting bigger. You are getting stronger and weigh more. YOU can easily hurt someone if you are not careful...and not intentionally. SO this makes some afraid of you I think.....ignorant about you and autism etc...but still afraid. Afraid of the lack of control...lack of predictability....lack of understanding. If it was a simple thing as just telling you "NOT" to do something and you would listen wow.....we would have no problems would we?

Austim does not work that way. Autism combined with sensory integration disorder....generalized anxiety disorder......speech/language delay......etc. can cause huge issues to deal with. NONE are easy and all are exhausting. NOW I am in it alone. I have no one to really turn to...for help with you even. Well complete strangers....people I can meet via the help from the county. So be it.

BUT I feel sick to my stomach today. You left last night to be with your daddy. I have much to do here including trying to figure out do I stay here long enough to complete my residency requirement so I can get the divorce over and done with? Get you your benefits and SSI established..etc...or if I do not get this house do I just move on regardless? Load up and move em out and start everything all over again in another state? Some states would get you closer to your dad for visits and such....which IF he is being genuine (and that is a BIG if)....might be better for you as you could see him more often? I don't know. I know we cannot stay here any longer.

I have a few blogs. I quit posting anything PERSONAL on my efx2 because my family members would read what I posted and then form their own opinions that I would then invariably hear about. But you know what? I don't recall asking any of them for their opinion. I cannot believe my mom (your grandma-NOT the one we live with now) would think for a minute she could e-mail me anything along the lines she did where she is telling me to move US out and NOW and why she thinks it would be best and how she is interpreting it...etc. First off I am 47-years-old now. I am no longer 14 where she can tell me what to do. I did not ask her opinion and this was not her business to butt her nose into. This is between me and grandma. I WOULD never have sent her an e-mail withouth her asking for my opinion on something, to offer up my opinion to her on anything going on in her life. No matter if I even felt an urge to do so. Mom has always stuck her nose into our business in totally inappropriate ways. Out of love? No...I don't think so. I think out of a control issue. Since coming back from Colorado to Ohio they all now realize they can no longer control me. I am no longer persuaded to easily do what they think I should be doing. I think this bothers them immensely and is one of the things that creates the problems in our lives from them we are having now. Do they honestly think something is wrong with ME? What.....ever ince I tried to commit suicide at 22 I am forever marked UNSTABLE??????? Get over it. I am the most stable person around considering the crap I live in all the time. If I act paranoid gee....maybe you have all given me reasons to feel that way? AM I the only one who sees that or gets that??????

I was told no one wanted to tell me these issues they had with us still living here directly cause they did not want to hurt my feelings. They did not want me to get mad. They were afraid I would get mad. Oh really? I get more mad when someone goes behind my back and stirs up all sorts of gossip......rather than come to my face directly. HEather should have contacted me directly if she had a problem with Noah doing something to grandma. I am his mother and the only one who can be more aware or try to fix the issue..NOT MY MOM.

Was their goal to make me so uncomfortable I would do something drastic and get out like TODAY? if they had asked...they would have found out I was likely going to be going this week to begin with. NOW they will think it is because of mom's e-mails that we are SUDDENLY leaving. Shit no. I was making arrangements to go regardless as I cannot live like this anymore. I am an extremely independent person...and while I am thankful grandma let us stay here for a bit...I CANNOT stand living like this anymore and it is more than time for me and MY sanity too move on. I GET that everyone in my family...ARE YOU READING THiS????????? hope so cause I have changed my other blogs to BUDDIES only and that means if you are not my buddy you will no longer be able to read my posts. Not like I was posting anything personal anymore anywhere anyway. I stopped that a long time ago.....but yes...I decided to post one personal post yesterday...and then look what happens. SHIT flew....

I am extremely uncomfortable being here. KNOWING you are living somewhere and not welcome is horrible. IT may never have been anyone's intentions to make me or you feel that way...but that is exactly what has happened.

SO stress. you think we have experienced enough of it? I can only hope and pray too I keep my job! I need to work from home to be there for you. I need to get through all this crap meanwhile too. Figure out housing....get you insurance...homeschool you..etc. What a nightmare. NOTHING has been easy.

BUT I love you. I will be packing stuff up later today no matter where I go. No one in my family even needs to know where I am going. They do not really care anyway...they just want us gone. SO gone we will be. To me it does not really matter any longer that your grandma (my mom) will never invite you over to spend the day with her......or want to volunteer to babysit you at our house. Her fears of not being able to handle you have been shown to me numerous times...SO BE IT. It is not a requirement. You will do fine without that in your life. Aunt Angela has even mentioned that you might stay have discovered your needs can be met in different ways than the usual traditional ways.


K.C.'sMommy said...

Hi Melinda,
I am sorry this is happening to you and Noah. I pray for you two everynight and know it must be incredibly difficult for you two. Only parents of Autistic children really know how it is and people always assume our kiddos are not listening and need discipline. I hope that you and your beautiful Noah who is an amazing youngster (I have been following your's and Noah's story for a long time even before you moved) find a great place to live without all the stress. From what I have read Noah IS NOT spoiled and is NOT in need of discipline. He seems to be the most affectionate darling youngster ever! You are raising a great kiddo and doing a beautiful job homeschooling Noah. It must hurt alot to have family talk behind your back and insert their opinions where they don't belong:( You don't need that stress from family not supporting you and giving you stress. Don't listen to them, I know that Noah is your life and your first priority. You are an excellent Mommy!!

BettsBits said...

I read your efx blog and saw that you were moving back to Colorado. Good luck. Wishing you the best, and Happy Mother's day to you.

Melinda said...

thanks for the encouragement and support. We will likely leave in about 3 weeks. It will actually be a good move....

LynAnne said...

Gosh, how horrible that family would treat you that way. I'm so sorry to hear about it :( You've been through enough with the break-up with your husband, major move across the country, etc. My parents don't "get" that my son is autistic either. They think he should "know better" and it's just something he'll grow out of. But, they've NEVER done anything so nasty.

All the best to you!