Saturday, October 31, 2015


Discover. Play. Build.

2015 has been one of the hardest years for me as a mother. A year of poor choices, hospitalizations, car accidents, addiction. I have been slogging through long days of hopelessness, wondering if there would ever be anything good again. This week, there was a glimmer of hope. I read the celebrations on Ruth Ayres' blog almost every week, and decided that this week I would join in.


Thursday night. It has been a long, long week- full, full days followed by nights of parent teacher conferences. Three 13-hour days in a row. I am exhausted. I get home and find Zay's bike on the porch.  He is supposed to be at work. I check the family room. His bedroom. I call him. No answer. I call his brother. He tells me that Zay has a flat tire. He took him to work. I need to pick him up at ten.

I get to King Soopers at 10:01. No Zay. I text him. Five minutes later he comes out. He is with a coworker, about his age. Blonde. They are talking to each other as they walk out the door. Zay has almost no friends right now and I am glad to see him engaged in a conversation with another human being.

He brings him to the passenger side of the car. Before I can roll down the window, he opens the door.

"This is S. He wants to meet you."

He wants to meet me?  Not typical for most of my son's friends, but ok.

Almost as soon as Steffan opens his mouth, my teacher brain kicks into gear. The conversation seems rehearsed, like one I might have in our Center programs classrooms or with a band of fourth graders just learning to speak English.

Autistic? Cognitive delay?

My son has been taking heavy duty medication for the past six weeks. Has talked, at least to me, very little. I do not know if he is in there. I do not know what he knows. I do not know who he is capable of being any more.

S wants Zay to go for pizza. It's right around the corner he tells me. And of course, he will pay for Isaiah's pizza.

I groan. I am so tired. Pizza means at least a half an hour, probably longer.

And yet Zay has been so alone for the last few years.

A friend would be terrific. Maybe  I just need to get used to the fact that friends will no longer be the big hulking football players I am used to. Friends might look different. And that is ok.

I tell them to hurry. I will wait in the car. I pick up my book.

Ten minutes later they are back. No pizza. It is after ten. The pizza place is closed.

Zay bids his friend goodbye and gets in the car.

I don't expect him to say anything. He has been long silent.

"He wants to be my friend," says Zay. "And I see how other people treat him. I'm not going to do that to him. I don't care what other people think."

A tiny window of hope opens in my heart. My guy, the man I thought I was raising, is in there somewhere.

I celebrate.


Linda B said...

It's good to hear this celebration, Carol. What a sweet thing your son did. With parent conferences this week, plus the excitement of Halloween, I imagine you are exhausted. Hope you are sleeping in this morning, and will have a good and restful weekend.

Bernadette said...

Carol, I read this with tears in my eyes and pain in my heart. I have sat in that car and talked to that son. Celebrate and relish every tiny shred of positive.

Michelle Haseltine said...

What a beautiful post. I love this line, "A tiny window of hope opens in my heart. My guy, the man I thought I was raising, is in there somewhere." Thank you for sharing and for celebrating through such struggles. It's inspiring.

Holly Mueller said...

Awww! That brings tears to my eyes! And three nights of conferences in a row?! That's brutal! You can celebrate surviving that and making it to the weekend!!

Crystal said...

I had tears too. I hope you get some rest, but am so glad you were able to witness this new beginning.

writekimwrite said...

We celebrate with you and him, too! A hopeful sign. I always want to say more words of encouragement to you but I can not find the right ones so I continue to let you know you and your sons are in my prayers!

Ramona said...

Carol, so glad for these words of hope from the man you are raising, ""And I see how other people treat him. I'm not going to do that to him. I don't care what other people think." He's in there, and so glad you had this glimpse and celebration this week! I hope you'll have a restful weekend to recover from your long days of conference. Happy Halloween!

Carol Varsalona said...

There are so many shimmers of hope in this post Carol: your son meeting a friend, talking to you, and knowing deep inside that he is choosing kind. I have followed your saga and this that hope is making its way inside out. Stay grounded and continue to look for the silver lining even if it is very small.

Margaret Simon said...

This is such a sweet story. I am so glad you are seeing a glimmer of hope, but taking the time to write and celebrate this moment means more. You are acknowledging an important event in the recovery of your son.

Tabatha said...

Thank you for sharing this touching story with us even though you are wiped out! You wrote beautifully!

Mary Lee said...

Hallelujah! (for both of you!!)