Eldest is home.
And I, and we are happy!
There is still an element of surprise at the wonderful, incredible fact that we look forward to seeing him. Which looks and sounds awful, of course. You must understand, that there has never been a moment, not a fraction of a fractured second when we did not love him, when my heart did not pull towards him and want to tug him back and envelop him with all the love in the world. And yet, there was a time even not so long ago when the act of being together, of living with each other brought nothing but pain to us all. The anticipation of that pain meant that each homecoming from his very special school was a sharp mixture of happiness and deep, deep concern at what might happen.
Eldest has Asperger’s syndrome. He feels profoundly, and each emotion stands alone as it is felt… often unmoderated by other feelings that might in others be present. He loves deeply, but when he is angry any love he feels is irrelevant. So although he and I have a very close bond, there have been times (far more than I would like) when anger has been so intense that he has become physically violent – with no restrictions brought on by social taboo. When a blow is released, the full force of that blow lands. The same goes for words. Although he is learning (slowly) that social convention dictates that he must moderate what he says to others and about others, in the heat of frustration or confusion or anger, social convention has no role. And he has a breathtaking ability to instinctively hone in on his “opponent’s” weak spot, the Achilles heel. I have always found it fascinating that a child who is so self-oriented and has such inability to put himself into others’ shoes can at such times have a deep knowledge of another…
He is a quite wonderful boy. His brain works in mysterious ways, some of which are remarkable and light up his future with a myriad stars of hope and potential. There are also a vast number of black holes in there, with the potential to block his stars’ progress.
And then there is his quite wonderful school.
It took a long time to find a school, and a battle to gain his entry. All of that is lived in my older blog, The goings-on of my little world and this post is actually not about those dark days.
You see, I have a friend. A wonderful, amazing, inspiring lady that Facebook has given me the privilege of meeting. Her words of peace and love and acceptance are filled with a wisdom that I feel honoured to witness. Yet she writes tantalising little things about hope, and seems to find it… frustrating? Something does not sit well with her when thinking of hope. I may of course be wrong, and I look forward to reading more of her words, but she has made me think long and hard about hope because it has become something I treasure.
I have a very specific relationship with hope, and it began with the dark days, weeks and months before Eldest went to his very special school.
It began with a total loss of any hope at all. I was living at home with a little boy for whom I could see no future. That is to say, the only paths I could imagine while living with him and trying so so hard to help him were the following. (And actually it’s really important for me now to separate the last sentence, its subject being my darling boy, from the next because they are no longer linked.) Suicide, Prison, Homelessness. My wonderful, special, exhausting little boy was eight years old, and yet these were the only things I could see. The absence of hope. Doing the things I had to do in the morning, afternoon and evening, and dreading the following day.
Yesterday, Eldest came home for his half term break. (Well, I went to pick him up, and oh my good golly was the traffic and weather awful… but we got there and back quite safely if tired.)
He is now a burgeoning young man of nearly thirteen!! He smiles again, and every time he does, I see blossoms bursting into the air around him. He hugs me and his siblings (and his Dad of course), and every time it’s unexpected and as wonderful as the first time he hugged me (on the birth of his little sister – he was nearly two years old). He (occasionally) accepts our rules, which make family life possible, and that’s very new and takes me by surprise each time.
Things are not all good, and his Asperger’s causes real difficulties at times. But right now, today, on the dawn of his home coming, there is Hope coming along with him.
Hope does not have a name, or a face. I have no idea what lies in his future, but I feel he has a future, where once there was none. Hope feels like spring, or a waft of air on a hot dry day, or a snowflake on your face.
Hope, I suppose, feels like Life.