First off, have you ever had an awesome blog post half-written in your head at 2am, know you should at least write one word down to prompt you in the morning but don’t because it is so awesome you know you won’t forget it, but then you wake up and can’t even remember the topic? Yep. That happened. Grrrrrrrr….so frustrating!! I’ve been wracking my brain all day. I’m sure it’ll come back to me – probably at 2am again. I’m putting paper and pen by the bed right now!
As a person with a degree in Literature, I read, a lot. I read a lot of different genres, and I like to try new authors. Once I find an author I like, I tend to read everything written by the person. And so it is, I’ve started my third book by JoJo Moyes this week, One Plus One. It, as with the other two books of hers I’ve read, sucked me in. So I was happily reading along before bed last night, and WHAM!!!! Struck down. Done in. Sucked the breath completely out of me. Had to stop myself from crying. There is a line in the book which says: “Who was it who had said you were only as happy as your unhappiest child?” Take a moment. I had to.
You are only as happy as your unhappiest child. Ouch. My unhappiest child can be pretty unhappy. And it is so true that as his day goes, so can mine. When his anxiety rises, mine does as well. When he melts down, my heart aches and my need to make it better takes over. When he is so angry, I can easily become angry and am so frustrated his life is so hard. When he struggles to let us know what is wrong, or what he needs, I feel myself ramping up, trying to anticipate, trying to fix.
It is our nature – or at least it’s my nature – to want our children to be happy, no matter what their definition of happy may be. Knowing so clearly how often he is unhappy nearly breaks me. I keep telling myself this will get easier. His life will get easier. He has all the help we can get for him. And despite my frequent doubts, he will mature. He won’t always be a ten-year-old with the behavioral, emotional, and social skills of a five-year-old. He will be a successful adult, in his own way. In the meantime, isn’t it my job to help make his life less hard? Isn’t it my job to help him see happiness?
You are only as happy as your unhappiest child. He is not typical. He is autistic. That adds a new twist. I would ache for his sadness even if I had nothing to blame for its existence. We’re both working on it.