My middle son asked me a question yesterday. He asked me at the end of a very trying 2 hrs. His brother had a meltdown before , during and after we went to the store. It was an unplanned trip to the store. I typically try to avoid taking all three kids with me. My oldest son does not shop well. The grocery store, full of people and bright lights and noise, typically overstimulates him. I knew my husband would not be back from work until later. Looking back I can see that nothing I needed from the store that very instant was worth the consequences of going.
I went through the house and rounded up all 3 kids. We have to go the store for a sec. On a perfect day we wouldn't have even had to spend 15 minutes getting what we needed in the store. GRUNT. That was the first red flag I should have listened to. What I should have done was try to tell my son about 30 minutes before hand that we were going to take a trip to store. Transitions are hard for him. Normally I have to give him a "countdown" of sorts. For some reason I ignored that flag and kept pushing. I wanted to go to the store.
I got him into the car without much issue. I thought okay he is going to be able to fight this off. He will be able to right the ship that was listing to the side. I will spare you the dirty details. The ship went straight to the bottom. I should have turned around when we got to the store. But my other children had money they wanted to spend and quite honestly I am tired of them getting shortchanged some days. So I stupidly pushed ahead. I am now probably to embarrassed to step foot in that store for a while. Once we got back into the car I lost it. The days of frustration over the past few weeks were finally too much. I melted down. Big time. I cursed autism. I told autism I hate it. I told autism that I was tired of it controlling our lives. My husband picked that unfortunate time to call me and tell me he was home early.
The next hour was spent in tears. Both mommy's and kiddo's. I typically try very hard to not let my son see how this all affects me. Yesterday I couldn't stop the tears. I was crying so hard my other two children got very quiet and afraid. They both sat on either side of me and were patting me on the back. Then my son asks me the question. "Mom, is there a cure for autism?" As I had to tell him no there wasn't a cure it hit me hard. My other two children suffered as well as everybody else. They had to watch the meltdowns and the struggles. The times when I had to tell them I couldn't help them or watch them do something or whatever else because I was dealing with a meltdown or situation. I think my son was hoping I would say. Yes. Your brother will be cured in X amount of time and we can get back to normal. I could see it in his eyes. This was our normal. The hurt in his eyes made me cry even more. The advantage my autistic child has in all of this is once his meltdown or episode is over he is back to his cheerful self. It took a long time for everybody else in the family to get "over " it.