Thursday, July 14, 2011
The room at the top of the stairs sits empty....
I go upstairs daily. I have to, as that is where Carlie's room is. That is where the bathroom and shower are... I have no choice but to go up the stairs. When I do, I glance to my left til the first platform where I have to turn to go up the second set of stairs. The wall is covered in the photos. Sis being little, where curls adorned her hair in a soft honey color of light brown. I see her big brown eyes, and the little white dress with pink ribbon she wore. I see his photo, as a baby, in his little baseball suit, with a matching cap. I see the scared look on his face, of shock when the flash of the camera went off, laying on a piece of white fabric. His eyes are the deepest brown, almost black and the little pink cheeks. I see Carlie's photo of her in her first kimono, little pig tails on the top of her head, looking at the Japanese lucky cat. I see photos of my sister's wedding, of Bethwel, (our first international son to live with us from Kenya) as he graduated college with honors before he left for medical school. I see a family portrait of my side of the family when the older kids are small... my high school mullet hair cut, wearing a pink angora sweater... the bi-level makes me smile and laugh as I shake my head and climb the next set of stairs and my heart starts to beat rapidly yet again. I am getting closer, nearer... the familiar pit in my stomach hurts.
To the far left is Carlie's room. It has a net hanging from the ceiling. It turns a somewhat ordinary bed into a princess bed. Toys scattered on her floor. She is a little girl for sure with lotions, perfumes and lipgloss on the dressers... She has a little container that hold her brets, ponytail holders and head bands. Pillow pets are lined on the floor ready for the next school lesson, picnic or tea party, depending on the day. The shelves in the closet have become a personal library for my daughter that loves to read. I walk to leave the room and focus... focus... focus on going to the bathroom and changing the scentsy out or checking to make sure the night light is on for it... and I quickly turn to leave in a hurry to get down the stairs... and that room calls my attention every time. AND....
end of story.
In the past week I have forced myself to look at some photos from when Tay entered the hospital for nearly a year... on and off. The band aids were peeled off of my heart... not slowly... FAST... and it... HURT. I know I need to face this hurt and yet, I simply, at times don't know how. I don't know how to face the hurt and smile. I don't know how to be gracious about it. I don't know how to be brave... so, it all sat, under these so called band aids for two, almost three years.
I today, had to enter that room. I was not looking for anything... other than how to mend a heart that longs for my son to be in my home. I opened that door and as soon as I saw the sun coming out of the room and knowing I was IN... I began to sob. Not the cute little cries that I can put my finger under my nose like a mustache and stop the eyes from watering... but like a damn ... Like Coulee Dam! How do I ever face this? How do I heal? How do I stop missing him so very much? To me it is as foreign as working on the engine of a car... lost... confused and frustrated. I want to just put the key in the ignition, fill the dumb thing with gas and just drive. Same with Taylor. I want to knock on his door and tell him ten minutes til dinner. I want to call him from outside playing basketball or riding his rip tide. I want to tell him to turn his music down or to turn the tv down as his sister is trying to sleep... yet... that is not going to happen. Instead, I search for the answers on how to be a rock of strength for him and for my girls as we face the many faces of autism and the other disorders that make my son who he is.
I love him just the way he is. He has the cutest grin when he feels shy, while turning red. He can tell when I am worn down, and offers a hug... EVERY SINGLE TIME. He reassures me not to worry about him. How can a mom not worry about their son that has the mentality of a ten year old boy, living outside of her home? It is not possible. He loves his video games and his magic card game. I don't care for either. He loves to scare me by hiding in closets and jumping out when I walk by. He loves taking things apart and putting them back together again. He loves the cooking torch I use to crystalize the sugar on my creme brulee to like off fireworks. He loves crabbing and walking down the dock to see what everyone else has caught. He loves being a big brother.
No more laughs come from his room. No more cries in frustration when he can't understand how to communicate his feelings. No more Chumbawamba or Santana at loud volumes coming out. No more sitting in the special chair to play video games that vibrates and plays music... no more begging him to wear his retainer or brush his teeth. No teasing and dancing as I climb the stairs about how I fell of the riptide or lost at H O R S E while playing basketball... just a room that is dark without him in it. The tv still sits on the dresser and the bed is still not made as he didn't like his bed to be made. His stop light still sits on his book shelf, along with his stereo and the picture frame with him and his sisters in it. The trophies he saved of his dads wrestling and judo days are on a shelf... they need dusting for sure... Mickey Mouse, Donald, and Goofy are on a picture on the wall and I smile knowing how much he loves Disneyland. The picture he colored and framed of Superman also hangs there. The large book of Marvel heros is on the shelf... how he loves them. The pair of jeans I asked him to throw in the wash three years ago, they hang from the post at the end of his bed. It is like a ghost town... everything the way he left it... keeping his space safe for him... as it had to be his way for him to be comfortable.
I sit on the bed and remember sitting there after his night tremors... just wanting him to feel safe and secure by my presence. As I stare to the side of me... my mind becomes a time machine and takes me back to gentler times. The middle drawer was at one time his bed. Sounds odd, but, he was so small when he came home from the hospital, I had to put him in a drawer... I was afraid he would get hurt in the bassinet and the crib... so a drawer it was thanks to the bright thinking of his pediatrician. That drawer, as I opened it is now filled with transformers and pokeman cards and games to his xbox. I cry as I run my finger on the wood... trying to forget how much my heart misses him. I see the coat he used to wear when he would run away and be gone for days. It hangs from a hook in his closet. I remember it being so wet I would need to go outside and wring the water out when the police would find him sleeping outside in an alley behind Baskin and Robins, and drive him home. My thoughts go to the police telling me he would stay calm and tell them, my name is Taylor, I am autistic, will you give me a ride home? My mind goes to all these thoughts... and... it simply is too much for one day... so... I wipe my tears, put the bandaids back on... walk out of the room with one last look... trying to listen really hard to remember the laughs that he would let out when he would watch I love Lucy... I cry... I come to the computer. I am determined to heal.
I see him often. I talk to him daily. We do lunch... he teases me... yet... it is not the same. His room is empty of life and joy. My heart is missing a link... it sits waiting for the day he can come home. Will that day ever come? I pick up the phone... and call him... just to hear his voice... and he tells me he just got paid and is on his way to get a video game. I hang up and I feel my chin start to quiver yet again, and those damned bandaids on my heart aren't doing the trick anymore. I want to crawl in my bed. I want to curl up in the fetal position. I want to listen to our song. I want him to jump out of the closet so I can yell and him that he will give me a heart attack at any moment one of these days and he is going to be really sorry when that happens. I want to rest my thoughts and fall asleep and I know that is but an impossibility.
I am supposed to be the one that teaches him how to treat women and how to be kind. I am the one that is supposed to teach him how to cook and keep a checkbook and write down in your check ledger. I am the one that is supposed to check on him when the night terrors happen, and plan camping trips and suffer through scary movies with him... ME. I am not only sad... but a part of me is bitter for not being able to do these things. My heart... it hurts... it is a mess... and so I will continue to put my money on counselors and try to avoid numbing items...
Will he ever understand how much I miss him. I wish Carlie was here to color with or paint her nails... anything... but... THIS.