This post was put together late Thursday afternoon. I dug back into the archives of my old blog from when my kids were younger, in search of a specific time when Will’s obsessive behaviours were turning my hair white. The post was ready to go and I left the computer for the evening to tend to our routine.
Will was especially tough for me today. A couple of times a year (at least) we have an iPad crisis. A screen gets shattered, or a plug breaks off from headphones and gets stuck in the port. It stops the world when that happens. My boys cannot survive without their iPads. But I cannot afford the cost to constantly replace or repair them. It’s a stress that we live with and I feel like we hold our breath for months at a time and today a pin pierced the balloon and I deflated. “iPad broken. New iPad” – says Will. Dammit.
It won’t charge. I’ve done everything that I could think of trying and followed every step that the online forums suggest, but it’s dunzo. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of keeping Will distracted and happy despite the setback. It was after 8:15 and he went to his room, playing with his Wiggly guitar. About 5 minutes later I heard him walking around I thought he just went to the washroom. The next thing I heard is someone keying in the code to the front door keypad. I jumped up and found Will, shirtless, coming into the house. I never heard him leave. The alarm never went off at the front door, so he didn’t leave from there. I was at the back of the house and he never got by me to the back door. I checked my security camera:
This kid discovered windows he could escape out of. Thankfully he came right back in. But bloody hell! He is always a step ahead of me. The evening was made worse when he spoke repeatedly about a train every time he heard the whistle (we are very close to the tracks). I know that he has recently been obsessed with the Backyardigans and there is a scene with a runaway train that he finds hilarious. I can’t bear to think of where this obsession might lead.
I need help.
Which ties in perfectly with my Flashback Friday post from 2011. I wonder if I could have ever imagined in 2011, all of the hundreds of future scares I would have in the coming decade. We have lived several lives since then. Read on…
I’ve seen scenes in movies where the victim falls to their knees and cries to the heavens for help. They’ve hit their bottom. They have exhausted all options and finally succumbed to the last resort of begging for someone to hear them as they shout out to an empty room. Notice I said victim. Those movie scenes made me laugh inside. I’d scoff at the actors as they talked out loud to their Higher Power or their dearly departed, in whom they were now placing all their faith that somehow magically, their spirit would swoop down and solve all their problems.
I’m not a hard-core cynic. I believe that I’ve got some guardian angels of my own who have watched over me over the years. I have been known to silently say a prayer or two in my bleaker moments and pray that my Nan and Pop can help me through whatever tough spot I have found myself in. But have I truly believed that anyone heard my pleas? The ones that I silently uttered in the privacy of my own thoughts? – Not really.
Last Saturday I found myself in a scene from a movie. As I entered the darkness of my walk-in closet, I unashamedly found myself dropping to my knees, laundry basket falling to the floor, and I cried out. “Please! If you can hear me, Please help me! I need help. Help me dig deeper to find the strength to keep it together and to pull my family out of this hole. Please show me what I’m missing, what I can’t see, what I need to do to figure out how to keep my boys safe. Please watch over Will and keep him safe.” I am a little embarrassed to share that with the world, but you know what? I was at my bottom and when you’re desperate, you do what you have to do.
The cause of my panic?
Toy Story. Will’s most recent love and obsession. Watch this scene.
Seems harmless? Who doesn’t love Woody and his bravery? Not so harmless when your eight year old son’s obsessive compulsive behaviours are so extreme that he is driven to run away from the safety of his home, to dart out into traffic and hurl himself under MOVING vehicles to either reenact the scene above, or to search for his beloved Woody and Toy Story friends.
I thought he was gone from us. I thought he was run over. Someone was watching over him that day. And the day after when he did it again.
And after one of the most terror-filled and intense weeks of my life, of desperately shopping for, and installing even MORE locks that Will can’t figure out, for every external door in this house, Will upped the ante again.
So what caused the next horror in our home less than a week later? Could it have been this scene?
I am a woman who does not see the upper level of her home because she must have all eyes on her doors. I don’t shower unless my husband is at home. I can go hours needing to pee, but don’t because my guys wait for those moments. My twins might put themselves in harm’s way, they might be naughty sometimes, over-zealous, opportunistic and too adventurous. But one thing they are not – is stupid. They are smarter than most adults that I know. They are uber-observant, their memories are SHARP, they are quick thinkers and they know what they want. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on things, they throw me a curve ball and remind me that I can’t let my guard down for a second.
9am and my doorbell rings. I had just checked on Will and left him playing with his iPod on his bed in his room. A woman at my door frantically asks me “do you know that there is a little boy running on your roof?”. My blood ran cold. Buzz Lightyear’s fall from a window was the likely cause of Will’s newest interest in my upper story windows.
What more can I say. I can continue to list the trials we have gone through this week. I can tell you that when we figured out a solution to secure our windows to prevent another escape, that I slept soundly for the first time in years – without the stress of waking from every creak or noise from outside, imagining that Will had escaped beneath our noses. I have dug deeper than I ever imagined possible. To find the strength to cope. To put on a brave face and smile with my children so that they don’t know the terror I feel inside. To stay positive when talking with my husband so that we can keep each other from sinking into a permanent place of fear. I have shared this story. There is only so much phony “we’re fine” lines we can sell. I’m sick of pretending we’ve got it all under control.
In telling this story we’ve had offers of help and support from some of the most generous and kind people – people who barely know us. And I am learning to accept that help. Because I have to. Because it’s for my boys. Because if I’m at a point when I am dropping to my knees and begging, I think it’s time I take the hand that has been offered in response.
I didn’t plan for my post to end this way. Calling on those angels again to keep Will safe and my blood pressure at a manageable level.
I’ll finish with one more video that reminds me how much I love this kid that causes me so much stress.
I’m trying my best to pay it forward by dealing hope and sharing stories & tips on caregiving and how to survive hard things. I blog a lot about single parenting my adult twin sons who both have autism, and the challenges we face in surviving the everyday challenges and planning for a future full of unknowns.