One could (and would) say I am a little bit paranoid, just a tad…… especially when it comes to children. I drive myself crazy watching other people’s children. I’ve pulled drowning kids out of pools and lakes while their parents were not watching them, grabbed kids away from traffic, ledges or anything that may cause an injury, again while their own parents were not watching. When we go to a fair or some other type of event where there are a lot of people, there is a good chance I will be bringing a lost child to security or helping him/her find his/her parents. There’s more; but you get the picture. I can’t help this. I have always been like this. I have always said that I am just too paranoid to be anyone’s mother.
So why not give me a child with Autism…..
Welcome to a whole new level of paranoia…..
I was talking to my friend, Al at work last week. His son had just been sick; trip to the Emergency Room sick. He’s just fine now, but I can imagine how frightening it must have been at the time. This particular day was the day of his follow-up appointment. From there we moved on to the subject about his own paranoia. He insists on taking his kids to the doctor for everything (in his words). I get that! It’s always worth a trip to the doctor just to hear everything is all right than to continue to worry that a cold may not be just a cold…..just for the peace of mind. But he was beginning to feel that he was being overly protective.
Now believe me, he has heard plenty of my DC-obsessed stories before but I decided he needed to hear a few more.
I told him that when DC was little I would calculate the time that he would be alone until my ex got home from work if I dropped dead, “right now”. I’d make sure there was nothing around that could hurt him if something like that were to happen. I had no reason to believe I’d be “dropping dead” at any time, but just in case, I had to be ready. I forgot to tell him that I would also force myself to watch Rescue 911 (hosted by William Shatner) when DC was little and then have nightmares about all the horrible things that they showed. His father always asked why I insisted on watching a show that gave me nightmares. I told him that I was afraid that they would show some sort of dangerous situation that I hadn’t considered yet and I might miss something very important to DC’s safety – There were actually a few accidents that I wouldn’t have come up with in my own head, believe it or not, unless I had seen the show. So there!
I also forgot to tell him about the time I called my poor sister-in-law at her cottage continuously because his father took him camping at the beach, near her cottage and didn’t call for two days! What if something happened to him and DC was in some tent on a beach of all places, by himself? – Fortunately his Dad’s sisters are used to me…..
I’ve been a single mother for 20 years now and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but being alone with a child with special needs can be, for me frightening at times. Anytime I am sick I wonder again, if I dropped dead “right now”, how long would it be before someone knows he’s alone? What would he do? Would he be safe until someone figures this out? As you can see, it’s not the me “dropping dead” that I worry about, it is DC being by himself for who knows how long.
The final nugget from the “tales from the paranoid mother” for Al was to tell him that when DC was young and we went grocery shopping; he would get in the car, I would unload the groceries and then I would walk the 20 feet to put the cart back, in full view of the car. But I would be sure to leave his door wide open because if I happened to get hit by a car in those 20 feet (or drop dead), no one would know he was sitting in the car and I couldn’t say for sure that he would get out or let anyone know he was there. He could be sitting there for hours before someone notices. At least someone might wonder why there was a car door wide open in the parking lot and take a look inside.
– In any situation, I can come up with at least a dozen disaster scenarios. I can and do make myself crazy over this child, but he’s worth every second of
my the craziness.
Needless to say, Al went home that day feeling much better about himself.
He’s 22 and in case you were wondering.. I do still check to see if he’s breathing at night.