Friday, October 17, 2014


This weekend is a three-day weekend for our kids. "Teacher Inservice Day." If I hadn't taught Excel to some administrative assistants on an inservice day seven years ago, I would suggest that maybe the teachers were playing poker and smoking stogies, or something more potent. Alas, I know better, and knowing is half the battle.

My 14-year-old son Matthew came home from school yesterday, and after pacing the hallway for 20 minutes, headbutt me in the chest. Then kicked me. And kicked me again. And again. I am accustomed to getting assaulted on a daily basis, and "assaulted" really isn't too strong of a word; yesterday in particular I took fists to the head, headbutts to the back of the head, and kicks all around. One kick to the kneecap and another to the village preacher were particularly painful.

If a 14-year-old from the block were to kick me in the weathermen and beat me in the head I would take the opportunity to defend myself. But in this case I have to take it. I have to just let him do it, and I can't hit him back. I cannot hit him back and I have not. I will not. He is my son. Mind you, I don't stand there forever, I do retreat, I do keep him at arm's length when I can. But my perpetually bruised legs and arms testify to the fact that when I have to change his diaper, I get beaten; when I get his dinner, I get beaten; when I have to give him his meds, the meds get thrown across the room and I get beaten.

We have been to the ER again and again. And again. And again. I won't be going back there barring some serious emergency that they won't be able to blame on his autism. 9 hours... 10 hours... 17 hours.... Some of the nurses know us by name now. But every time it has been a useless endeavor. They give him a shot, they keep us there, they send a representative from the Nord Center to give him a pointless psych evaluation with questions that do not apply, they call around to see if anyone would be willing to admit him this time, and then... "Sorry, but we are just going to have to send you home." On the way home I usually get belted in the back of the head repeatedly. Five-minute drive, not so bad. Driving from Cleveland back home- yeah, bad.

My son is in pain. Let me repeat that. MY SON IS IN PAIN. I have been around him long enough to know. But no one is willing to do any more than the bare minimum to find out why. I am currently listening to my son beating his head against the wall and wailing. That hurts me more than any beating I could possibly take.

I speak of my son so much that I often fail to mention that I have a beautiful daughter named Rebecca. I don't get to spend as much time as I would like with her, to my detriment. She is funny. When she smiles she drives away the clouds if only for a moment. But she is afraid of Matthew, for good reason. Matthew hits her. When Matthew is headbutting and wailing Rebecca is afraid, and she cries. Which causes Matthew to headbang more. Which causes Rebecca to cry louder. And on and on and on.

Oh Rebecca, you are such a beautiful girl, so funny, so spirited, and I love you so much. My heart hurts that I can't spend the time with you that I ought. One day I hope you will understand. Maybe. Odds are that you won't. Just don't hate me. Please. I already have one child who would rather hit me than hug me, I don't need another.

I have to go now. I have to prepare myself for my next beating.

Day number 3,833 of our life with autism has just begun.