Love and loss and unfairness
It always seems to be at important family times that I stumble over little 'losses' due to autism and feel a bit sorry for myself.
Today is my younger son's sixth birthday. Yes, we're all going to eat this purple rainbow cake with him tomorrow at his party. Unfortunately, however, he did tell me in tears on the couch today that, "this is the worst birthday ever... because of Bright Eyes."
It's true. From the very first mention of his brother's birthday last week, Bright Eyes has been spitting bile, anger and jealousy. He has been insulting his brother at every opportunity and taking every chance he can to be rude, unhelpful and obstreperous. All this while also refusing to go to school because "I'm getting bullied and laughed at..." It's ironic, but whatever attempts I make to connect the two behaviours do not seem to get through.
Anyway, things came to a head before dinner. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say that Bright Eyes ate his dinner upstairs in his bedroom while the rest of us enjoyed our takeaway outside on the grass.
It makes me sigh. Something as simple as a birthday dinner is ruined because one child is so inflexible and so chronically anxious about not being first at everything and cannot be kind to his little brother on his birthday.
Lots of our 'family time' is like that. Bright Eyes dominates or sulks and it takes all the strength I've got to hold things together, or to not lose my cool and wreck it for the entire family.
I had dreams, you know, as everyone does - of a family that enjoyed each other's company and that spent time laughing and having fun together. I had dreams of children who liked each other and who generally were kind to each other. Especially on their birthdays. Every time those dreams don't come to fruition on the very days that seem central and important to family building, I feel sad.
Tomorrow is the six year old's party, from 5-7pm. I am anxious to avoid any meltdown scenarios. I especially anticipate difficulties around the games, when he doesn't win. So I have these plans:
I will feed Bright Eyes his dinner before the guests arrive. I will ask him if he would like to choose a video to watch in his father's office, or attend the party. I will warn him that one piece of rudeness will send him to his room. I will invite him to join in once he feels comfortable with who is there and what is going on.