We have a joke, my Aspie daughter and I.
When things get too much and she observes that peculiar glazed look I get in my eyes matching only the heaviness of my heart, she asks: “Have you lost control of your life again Mom? Are you making chocolate pudding?” This always makes me laugh because I know that it is her way of showing me concern and trying to cheer me up.
She says this because when she was little, we used to watch a children’s cartoon called ‘Rugrats’ together. One couple would frequently become distracted beyond reason by their very demanding daughter Angelica’s escipades. In one such epidsode, her father, Stu, was found by his wife, Didi, in the kitchen at 4 o’clock one morning. When she asked him what on earth he was doing in the kitchen at that hour, he said that he was making chocolate pudding because he had lost control of his life.
I know the feeling!
For two years my daughter has languished in her bedroom, her online life her only life other than interaction with her immediate family and occasional days out. Severe social avoidance and anxiety has blighted her ability to do anything else.
I live with her, in her safe, comfortable bubble but I know that I am not doing her any favours by keeping things this way. I won’t be here for ever, she wants to be independent but asks: “How can I be when I can’t even answer the door?”
She says this because she is an obsessive Ebay shopper. All her items are handmade, personally ordered and created. It’s a good job that I am here to answer the door. As it is, we are inundated with those dreaded ‘red cards’ when the postman calls and I am not home. This means another trip across town during the height of the rush hour to present said red card at the sorting office so she can collect her parcel as it can’t wait until tomorrow.
Her latest obsession is that for her 21st birthday she wants a Peach Faced Lovebird. “Where will it go?” I ask resolutely. “In my room, of course!” she replies. This, together, with her Hamster, her corn snake and our two cats. Just perfect.
I sigh and she persists. She would happily have a zoo in her bedroom if it were possible.
Today I became embroiled in a rather heated discussion with her support worker. I became so frustrated that he told me that he was going to put the phone down on me as I was “shouting at him” and that he would not talk to me in this “mood”.
Oh no you don’t mate. Trust me, if I was shouting you would know about it. I say that he owes me an apology but it won’t happen. After all, what am I? I’m just the mother, what do I know?
I want to take my hands off the wheel and let it all go but I can’t.
Instead, I’ll be in the kitchen. So if you see lights on in the small hours, don’t worry. It will only be me, making chocolate pudding.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” – Tim Page