An Autistic Son = An Interesting Life

As the parent of any specially challenged child knows, your life can be a roller coaster of emotions…and I’ve experienced them all. From fear, to anger, to heartbreak. But mostly I’ve just enjoyed it.

CJ can be the single most frustrating person in my life. Everything is black or white…there are never any shades of gray. There is no thinking outside the box, no other solution than the most logical one, and if you try to change up his routine, baby, you had better be prepared to hear some flak.

So yeah, it can be rough sometimes. But you know what? For as aggravating as he can be, I swear no one has made me laugh as much in my life.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I will never forget the day he got mad and accused my daughter and I of finding some way of multiplying garbage…because we throw away more trash than anyone else in the world (yes, it’s his job to take the bags out to the to our little dumpster). I didn’t think I’d ever stop giggling over that one.

Last night our power went out for a couple of hours. It’s been a while since that’s happened, and a couple of times it’s taken the power company days to get it restored. I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case this time, since there weren’t any storms in the area. Hopefully it was just an isolated case, and us country dwellers would be high on the repair list.

When you lose power in the country, your well pump doesn’t work…which means no flushing. Things can get unpleasant fairly quickly, meaning you have to find someone in town who will let you fill five-gallon buckets with water from their house.

Anyway, it was a very humid 85 degrees, so my daughter and I made a fast trip to town…to find that the closest all-night grocery store was also without power. So off to Walmart we go…for flashlights, battery-operated fans…and lots of batteries.

We also wanted something cold to drink, so we stopped at McD’s for large sodas with plenty of ice. Apparently everyone else without power had the same idea, because the drive-thru line was huge…at eleven o’clock at night. I didn’t mind, though. I was too busy enjoying the air conditioning in my van.

So we finally get home, fill seven flashlights and two fans with batteries, and I kick back to relax and read…and lo and behold, the the lights come back to life.


CJ comes peeling out to my office all excited -about five minutes later (he was playing with his GameBoy, and didn’t notice immediately). “Mom! Mom! The power is back on! Look! Your air conditioner is on!”

I’m not sure how, but I managed to thank him for telling me…with a straight face. Yup. I didn’t even snicker until he went back to his room.

What got me thinking about some of the funny things he’s said and done is because of something that happened a few minutes ago.

He has a love/hate relationship with Jack (our 100 pound pit bull mix). CJ is a real laid back kind of guy (some might see it as lazy), while Jack is like Robin Williams on a gallon of 5-Hour Energy. Basically they’re kind of like oil and water, and when CJ does something nice for Jack, it’s a red-letter moment.

So he walked out here, grinning, and said his hand felt funny after scratching Jack’s ears…his way of telling me he’d put forth some effort to bond with him. Me being me, I said maybe his hand feels funny because Jack has cooties.

CJ quickly inspected his fingers.

Care to wager we’ll be seeing this girl in the Olympics in a few years?

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16 Responses to An Autistic Son = An Interesting Life

  1. Karen McFarland says:

    It always amazes me how kids with disabilities seems to sense discomfort in other people. They are more sensitive to others needs and like to please you. You have a sweet dear son. My hat is off to you. Now if only you can get through the rest of the summer without another power outage. Long life A/C!!! 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Karen. I have to agree with you…75% of the time. Twenty-five percent of the time he’s so far removed from sweet as to not even be in the same galaxy with it. 😉

      Specially challenged kids are amazing. They don’t always pick up on social cues (for instance, CJ still hasn’t learned that talking about video games cause me to zone out, and want to beat my head against a wall). But sometimes it’s really surprising with how in tune he is with me.

      Amen to the no more power outages. I’m definitely a modern girl. I need my well and septic tank pumps working. I need my computer, and stove and lights. And when it’s summer…yes…the air conditioner needs to be running 24/7!!! 🙂

  2. My Godson has aspergers syndrom and no one can make me laugh like him! His sense of humor and his spirit is simply an awesome thing to behold CJ sounds much the same…here’s to finding the humor and beauty in all things in life!

  3. we’ve finally had a week of hot weather. one day it went up to 86F LOL my assistant traveled by bike on route 66. the hit Oklahoma and turned north. she couldn’t stand the heat. but heat in the summer or snow in the winter – either is inevitible.

  4. Bummer about the power outage! That’s so sweet that he let you know your AC was back on. My experience with autistic kids is very limited, so I’m not even going to try and pretend I understand your day to day life, but I will say I love your acceptance of all that it entails. Sometimes being a mom is the coolest thing in the world, and sometimes it sucks hard. Hugs to you!

    That video is pretty funny. If we don’t see her in the Olympics, I’m thinking on America’s Got Talent or one of those shows pretty darn soon. She definitely has stage presence.

  5. Power outages in the country are the worst. We’ve been out long enough to make the bathroom situation precarious too. We have large water jugs to drink from always on hand, but that doesn’t help with flushing or bathing or cooking–all of which become impossible.

    Your son sounds like a really cool kid. I don’t have much personal experience with autism, but I do have friends whose children are autistic and they say the same thing as you–some days can be almost impossible and other days they wouldn’t trade for the world.

    • I live in fear of power outages when there are storm warnings. I love my a/c…but I love my well and septic system to work more. I always have bottled water (even the pets drink that), But you’re right…you can’t shower, or cook (and my house is entirely electric…no gas, so I couldn’t get a flame to heat anything up). But it’s the toilet that I worry about. Rather my nose worries about. I don’t handle bad odors well, and if you can flush for a day or three, it doesn’t smell very nice. Which is why I keep 5-gallon buckets around. I will find water to haul home when needed. 🙂

      CJ is cool. He’s actually quite intelligent…about the things he’s interested in anyway. He saw something about an herb about a week ago, and spent hours Googling it…and coming out to tell me what he’d discovered. You’d think I’d remember the name of it, but I zoned out to it all after a bit. 🙂

      Your friends are spot on about raising autistic kids.

  6. Debra Kristi says:

    I so get this. {hugs} It’s not much fun when the power goes out. One year we had so many brown outs we considered investing in a generator. Now that’s a fun thing to store. Give CJ a hug for me -if he will allow that.

    • I know you do. You’re one of the few who can. 🙂

      It is ZERO fun when the power goes out, although it’s easier when it happens in the winter. At least I can light candles then. That’s not even something I would consider in the summer.

      I’ve thought about getting a generator, but the salespeople always lose me when they tell me to go home and find out something like how many kilowatts the appliances and pumps use. It drives me nuts. I’m like I just want to run my refrigerator, freezer, well and septic tanks pumps, and my computer…can’t you PLEASE tell me which one to buy? If it’s big enough to run more than those few things, I’m cool with it, but I don’t know where that information is on the well pump…and I flatly refuse to do any checking for the septic system!

      Hmm. Thanks for the thought behind the hug, but he’s not much into physical contact. Even when he was an infant, he was only comforted by a hand beneath his head, and another under his butt. He didn’t like being cuddled. I blame that on two months in an isolette…and that was the only way you could ‘pick him up.’

      • Debra Kristi says:

        I suspected he might be that way regarding touch. Mine isn’t as bad, but he doesn’t like a lot of touch that most people crave. I don’t use candles ever since the fire. We have a bunch of small electric lanterns. They work great and I don’t have to worry about the kids.

        • Oh, he doesn’t freak out if he’s touched, you can just tell he’s not comfortable with it. Kind of like his personal space has been invaded…and he hopes you get out of it…soon.

          Fires are scary. With the cats, the ONLY candles lit are either on my desk, or my daughter’s…and it’s a law (Kristy’s Law)…NEVER walk away from them. I’ve heard too many stories about curious cats and tails catching on fire…then burning the house down. Mostly it’s candle warmers for me now. But sometimes in the winter and fall, I just need to see one burning on my desk. 🙂

  7. mj monaghan says:

    Sorry to hear about the power outage. Bad enough that it’s been so hot there.

    CJ sounds like a fun lad. Pretty perceptive of him to notice how much the A/C meant to you, when he called it “your air conditioner.”

    It also Seems Jack is serving a purpose in CJ’s life, eh? 🙂

    • Oh no kidding. I could love summer…if it never got warmer than 75 degrees…and ALWAYS dropped into the 50’s at night, but that never happens unless it’s very early spring or late fall.

      CJ really is a fun kid. And yes, he knows I love my a/c more than just about anything on the planet from May through September. This house has baseboard heating so it’s window air conditioners, so mine was one of the ones that came back on. But he knew this one meant the most to me (since I spend the bulk of my time in my office).

      LOL…yeah. Jack is serving a purpose in CJ’s life. Mostly in the irritant area. 🙂

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