The Rose finds huge relief in writing us notes. In them she can order her thoughts and communicate her side of things – without having to deal with our reactions which just complicates the stuff she’s trying to say.
She likes to slip these notes under the bedroom door late at night. They are gifts.
I love this – she is articulate in her notes, creative and expansive. It gives me a chance to ‘get her’ and deal with what she is asking or saying. We connect.
But I often feel a bit of a fraud.
Aspergers has always rendered her ‘quirky’ (a trait I would love in anyone anyway) but she has learned the social game fairly well and can keep it up for some time – often for several hours before having to withdraw to her cave.
And let’s face it, that’s often about the limit for us Typicals too, but it does mean that I forget. Sometimes when she displays anger, irrational behaviour or the bag of wierdness she carries around, I can often react like a regular Mum and get angry and outraged back – before I remember.
Oh the remorse! The wishing I could have bitten back the rage, been more detached – tolerant, kind – but sometimes it’s just too late.
I’m the household breadwinner. I often work long hours but it’s not so much the length of the day which slays me but the stress and pressure the working hours consist of. It can be relentless and I exist sometimes on pure worry juice. So I can be ‘testy” (great word) and as wired and tense as The Rose.
So when I got home late the other night and opened the door to the house and found myself facing a wall of expletives and shouting, my nerves and stomach tightened and my brain ‘snapped’. The Rose was behaving like a toddler and was swearing like a docker because the skin foundation I bought her on Saturday was too dark. She was taking it out on her Dad and as soon as I walked in the full force of her anger got turned straight on me. Course it wasn’t about the foundation precisely, it was about feeling young, spotty, boyfriend and friend less, ugly, and unable to leave the house without instructions. But these thoughts hadn’t formed with me yet, when I hit the wall of sound!
Her Dad was taking the brunt of it. He is slow to anger and very tolerant. The Rose finds her Dad the best fun and easy to be with, but when it gets tricky she needs me to help pull out of her what’s tangling her up.
She’s a teenager, she needs me a lot and I usually get her – but not always
Faced with the carnage and another wrecked evening I overcompensated with my ‘trying too hard’ voice and because The Rose was hell bent on revenge and I was hell bent on justice we both ended up screaming – both equally frustrated at not being understood and that our particular pain was un-appreciated. Both feeling locked in and unable to BE HEARD.
I accused The Rose of thinking she was the centre of the universe, she shouted back that of course she knew she wasn’t but she WAS at the centre of the house. And at that point I remembered again, she’s literal and desperate for her complicated feelings to be unravelled for her.
Eventually we both crumbled – she crying that I had “no idea what it was like” to be her and how much hell she was in and how she loved us all when she was in her room but hated us when she was with us in the house. How she knew that was wrong and how she didn’t mean it but that everything we ever said made her ANGRY!
Me ? – Guilty as charged.
Later on in the night – The Rose pushed a note under the door. (I was in The Brother’s bedroom. He was very angry with Rose and was furiously making plans to murder her. I was monitoring arms control!)
This was and remains The Rose’s solution going forward. I love her so much:
RULES for Mum
1. When you come in to any room that I’m in or the house generally don’t say anything to me
2. Don’t start a conversation with me.
3. Don’t look at me unless we are talking
4. Don’t say small things, I only want to know about the big things
5. Don’t tell me about big things unless I ask
6. If I am in danger or if food is ready you must say ‘The Rose, I want to talk to you’
I love you and Dad and The Brother
I love you too Rose. x