I woke this morning and looked at my alarm clock. It was 6:50 and around the time I had wanted to leave the house. I jumped out of bed, took care of the dog, yelled to Colin, who was sleeping on the family room couch to wake up and I scurried up the stairs to get dressed and ready for the day. Before my ascent I reminded Colin that it was St. Patrick's Day and he needed to wear green, to which I was met with a "Shut Up!".
Today is also "Senior Skip Day" and my middle-son had made it clear he had no plans to go to school today. I woke my husband to have him deal with the drama as I did not want to add to my routine to have to take Colin to school.
As I was leaving the house, I looked at the living room clock. I was already more than 30 minutes off schedule. I loaded my belongings and the pup into my van and was ready to pull out, when Colin came running out of the house. He was half-dressed and shoeless. At least he was wearing a green shirt and coordinating tie!
"Wait!" he exclaimed. " I need to get to school early and am almost ready!".
I marched back into the house. I was told my son needed to be at school by 7:50 and my senior was stomping around upstairs. Forced by his dad to skip the skip-day and go to school, he was prepared to take his younger brother but there was no way he would get him there on time.
Exasperated, I asked "What do you have to get to school early for?" and Colin answered with four words that changed my attitude.
"National Honor Society Meeting"
Change of Attitude
Due to our sparse communications with Colin, there are many details of his life that we are not clued into. The only hint I had that our youngest son was interested in joining the National Honor Society was an off-hand explanation why he skipped his Ultimate Frisbee Team practice one day last week. I was told he had an interview with two teachers for this prestigious society. While I was proud of our son, I have learned not to ask further questions and all would be revealed in good time, "Colin's Time".
I silently sighed as I finally made it out of our driveway and completely rerouted my morning. First stop: the boys' high school. There are far worse problems to have in life than a little extra driving. I reminded myself how truly lucky we are. *Moment of Gratitude*
As I pulled into the oval to drop my son off, I noticed the gas light was lit up on my dashboard, indicating I was about to run out of gas. I took a deep breath and told myself it would be o.k. but I still could feel my stress-levels rise a bit. I was ten miles from my next stop and driving a new mini-van. I was unclear how many miles to empty the tank was.
I ended up getting gas at the nearest convenient station on my route adding a small additional cost to filling my tank. At least my stress-levels were lowered a bit. When I finally made it to my office I was an hour and 15 minutes off my desired arrival time.
Putting things into perspective, life is good. I was not late for anything, did not run out of gas and my son is doing good. Make that GREAT! I won't be sporting a boasting bumper sticker, nor will I post this as a status on my FaceBook page. So you have an exclusive:
It looks like my son is going to be a NHS Student!!!!! #proudmommoment!
Colin is still on a wonky sleep schedule and we continue to leave it be. On weekends he continues to live like a vampire, sleeping all day and up all night. His time-change / birth day was no exception. Tradition dictates that we take the birthday boy out to dinner and a movie of their choice.
Colin woke up in time for dinner at Max & Erma's and then the movie "Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot" at 7:10 p.m.
Sunday night at the movies rewarded us with an empty theater. There were only two other people in the screening. They were seated in the back row and extremely quiet. It felt like we had the place to ourselves and I could not help but tell Colin that we arranged for a private screening.
"Wasn't it nice that we rented out the entire theatre for your birthday?"
He cracked a smile at my joke. On the way home, we picked up a chocolate cake. After lighting candles and enjoying a piece of chocolate cake, Dad brought a giant box in from the garage. Colin got a new computer for his birthday.
Colin was a bit subdued and politely thanked his father but added that all he really wanted was Lifeguard Certification classes so he could get a summer job as a Life Guard. I replied that he will get the coursework but not as a birthday gift as we had done the same for his brothers. Dad explained the reason for the new computer is that his laptop is a bit out-of-date and does not have enough memory to support all his games and computer programs.
In the end, it was a nice, somewhat normal birthday which in our world is extraordinary! The only thing missing was the presence of our eldest son who is away at college. We are all looking forward to his return at the end of this week.
Yesterday I was a volunteer driver for Colin's Jazz Band. This entailed waking up at the ungodly hour of 5:00 a.m. to get dressed and ready to chauffeur to a local performance. What made this task especially tough was the fact I had only a few hours of sleep. Our night owl came home right after school on Tuesday with his brother and immediately went into a coma from 4 - 9 p.m.
After a pizza dinner, Colin was up the rest of the night for homework and who knows what else. At 2:00 a.m. our son decided it was time to practice his trombone. I have no idea if he had the door to his room closed and did not have the energy to find out. Unfortunately half-way into his session, the dog started whining to go out. I was not destined to get any sleep.
I was rewarded with a chance to transport my son and two other boys to their gig and hear them interact. It did my heart good to see that not only did my son seem to fit in, he was in his element as the boys discussed Math and Latin classes.
I also had the chance to connect with another band mom. Part of our discussion turned to mental health issues. She has a teen daughter dealing with anxiety. I briefly shared that we had faced some challenges with Colin due to some "Sensory Processing / Select Sound Processing" issues. We share a common belief that most mental illnesses have a biological basis and that brain research is not where it needs to be.
We originally started talking about her mother's Alzheimer's which led to the topic of brain research which then crept into mental health. She mentioned her daughter's struggles with Anxiety to explain her interest in the topic which made me feel safe to confide the reason for my interest. We found much common ground and felt we were destined to meet. There are so many similarities in dealing with Anxiety and Sensory Issues ( Misophonia). We both are obsessed with trying to help our children while facing the stigma of a disorder that falls under the umbrella of "Mental Illness".
She has found support through her church while I have been fortunate to have discovered help online in support groups. We share the bond of having a stigma-inducing family issue that we don't often discuss with others. Fear of being unfairly judged and misunderstood forces us to try to maintain a stiff upper-lip. I often wonder how many of my friends and acquaintances are facing hidden hardships. I pride myself on being an "open book". It is a challenge to keep our issues with Colin quiet.
As I reflect over the past few years, I am extremely proud of what our son has been able to achieve, as well as our successes in navigating this tricky terrain on our own, without the help of pedigreed professionals.
As always..... "We are a Work-In-Progress!