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It’s been a long time since G has had a real, full blown fit. The summer has been smooth. Day camp has kept him stimulated, and left him pleasantly exhausted at the end of the day. He had a 9 day hiatus to Vermont to visit his grandparents and a gaggle of cousins.
Even though deep down I knew it couldn’t last, I chose not to think about it. One of the most unpleasant aspects of his Asperger’s was in a kind of remission, and I was enjoying the ride.
And then there was Tuesday.
Tuesday morning, I was frustrated to discover that not only had G forgotten to bring his bathing suit home for the billionth day in row, but he had also forgotten his water bottle and lunch bag. In a fever of pure desperation, I told G that if he forgot to bring home the forgotten items, as well as the alternate bathing suit I was packing for him, then he wouldn’t be able to play his Game Boy after camp.
The Game Boy, a 13-year-old antique he inherited from my brother, has been G’s most recent, and most enduring obsession. I knew it was the one item I could use to my advantage.
When I went to pick him up that afternoon, I checked his backpack, and, low-and-behold, only the lunch bag had made it into the bag. With a deep sigh, I told him no Game Boy for the night. And that was that.
G’s face screwed up and turned red in an expression I was all to familiar with. The tears began to leak, and the angry grunts and growls issued from his throat. I tried to get him into the car as quickly as possible, but he refused. I told him if I had to carry him to the car, he wasn’t going to enjoy it. Finally, with many whispered prompts, he stormed to car. As I began to drive off, he kicked the seat, and punched the window. I stomped on the brakes (I was only going about 5 miles an hour in the parking lot) and hollered for him to cut the crap.
I swallowed down my boiling anger and embarrassment, and tried not to squirm from the guilt of my own outburst. Apparently the patience that I had worked so hard to build had been made weak from lack of exercise.
The rest of the night was a wash, and there have been touchy moments ever since. I’m working on rebuilding my fragile patience, and trying not to let the other life stresses eat at it. G is who is, and there’s no changing it, only making the best of the bad moments, and enjoying the good. Bearing it with bravery when he screams that he doesn’t want to go home in front of all kinds of people I don’t know. Basking in the amazement of people who can’t believe how smart he is. Smiling at the bewildered cashier when G begins firing random math equations at her. Holding on to the tender, heart trembling moments when he asks me to chase away his bad dreams at night, or hugs me, without me having to force my affections on him. Loving him with all my heart.