Age is just a number in autism land.

Realizing all of the progress the boys have made is a great feeling. Seeing how far they have come and how much they have overcome keeps me going on the bad days. They have overcome so much that sometimes I forget that there is still much to work on. Yesterday was one of those days where I messed up,  a kick in the gut that made me feel like a horrible mother.

2014-05-23 11.11.07

Beginning of the month shopping trip needed to happen. Add into that, River’s birthday is tomorrow and I had to go get stuff for that. So without thinking about it I packed Eph up into the car and told River I wouldn’t be gone long. He was immersed in his computer game and seemed good to go. So at 12:30 PM I pulled out of the driveway.

We live a bit rural. We are 30 minutes from town and an hour from Vancouver. All the shops I wanted to go to were in Vancouver. So We headed down I-5 and hit our first stop, the Ocean King seafood market. That took about 15 minutes then we headed down the road to Gamestop. We were there about 30 minutes. So it is now about 2:30 and the phone rings. River wants to make some lunch and I give him the go ahead, let him know what he can have and that I am not quite halfway through the shopping trip.

Our next stop is Costco. This trip was about an hour, the store wasn’t packed so we got in and out easy and headed off to Winco. At this point I am tired and Eph is tired so we hurry through and are out of there in 20 minutes. Now it is about  4:45 and we are heading back north.

Have you enjoyed my itinerary so far?

The point is, this wasn’t a long trip for all that I needed to get done. For a Saturday, things were smooth in all the stores. I thank the amazing weather and the free fishing weekend keeping people out of the shops.

Halfway home my phone beeps letting me know I have new voice mail. OK I missed a call, no big deal I will check it when I get home. The cell service on the way to my house is spotty. It worsens the closer to where I live and then goes out completely. I live Rural remember. another 5 miles and another voicemail beep.  Odd, my cell doesn’t get that many calls. Another 5 miles and the phone rings. I am not at a point I can pull off the road but I notice it is the home phone and so I try and answer. It is garbled and disconnects. I try and pull off to call him back but there is no service. I am about 15 minutes from the house, so I decide to just push it home.

I got a pit in my stomach. This is actually the longest he has been home alone. Normally I do the shopping with him in tow or while he is at school. I assume the voice mails are him and since he called I am certain he isn’t in grave peril, but I am realizing he is upset. That pit in my stomach grows as the minutes tick by. When I pull into the driveway my phone links up to the house WiFi and I get a text, voice mail beep and Facebook ping all at once so I know River called grandma.

I get in the door and he is in tears. He just says you scared me and goes out to unload the groceries from the car. He won’t really talk to me as he brings items in from the trunk. He says you were gone a long time and you didn’t answer the phone. I feel like a horrible mom for multiple reasons.

I scared my baby. I made him feel frightened and alone. I forgot for a moment.

I forgot that his age doesn’t equal his independence level.

I forgot that his age doesn’t mean he doesn’t get scared.

I forgot that he has never been alone more then 2 hours.

I forgot how easily the anxiety can ramp up in him.

I forgot that all of his growth doesn’t take away the autism.

I scared my child. I scared him to panic and tears. He thought we had crashed the car. He didn’t know if we were coming home.

He remembered to call his grandma in the event he cant reach me and that is great. He shouldn’t have had to do that though. So no more long trips into town without him. No more forgetting how much he needs me. I feel like a horrible parent for the pain, fear and tears on my sons face yesterday.

River will be 18 in the morning. That doesn’t mean he is grown. That doesn’t mean he is ready to be treated like an adult. How could I forget and scare my baby like that.

It sucks how guilt can punch you so hard in the heart sometimes.

Always Love,



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  1. Age is just a number. It was made more crystal clear when I recently went on a field trip with Terrin. Intellectually speaking Terrin is leaps and bounds above his classmates. But, that’s where it ends. You aren’t a bad or terrible mom because this happened. Things like this happen to moms of all types of children.

    • Thanks Kendra. Sometimes I get fooled by how grown he seems. It is funny because I always tell people not to be fooled by his age and size and I just let it go for a minute. I was so caught up in the plans for the day I didn’t think about it. While it is nice to be at a point in life where his ASD isn’t a 24/7 in your face concern it is hard to believe I went about as if life in autism land would ever be that simple. I am just thankful we were able to talk it all out and he is ok.

  2. It’s okay. You’re not horrible. I’m sorry he was scared and upset, but it’s okay. It’s okay for him to be worried. It helps us grow when we embrace our challenges and see that we can overcome. He has faced this challenge, and he it overcame it beautifully. Not all of our feelings are good ones, but all are important. It always hurts when we do something that upsets our children. It hurts to know that you could have done something different. Next time, maybe you’ll call him when it gets close to two hours even if you just talked to him. Now he’s experienced that you’ll still come home after two hours. It was a hard lesson, but some of them are. Sorry this rambles.

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