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Cathy: Pleasant surprises


As I write this, it is Sunday evening. This morning I made another rare go of getting myself, one son and the baby off to church. This will not be a religious blog, I swear. One reason it is tough for me to attend church regularly is my son S’s autism. He’s high-functioning, most likely Asperger’s, but as is often the case, his diagnosis is a general one, and the fight for a specific one is exhausting and expensive. His behavior in public places can be very disruptive, especially when the expectation of quiet and stillness reigns, such as church. So, this morning, I went, I warned, and I will attempt to take him next week. If you didn’t notice, my tone is very dry here, as it often is when discussing S, who brings more spontaneous joy, and more challenges, headaches and avoidance of many social situations than any kid I’ve ever known, and I’ve known a lot more than most people. We have a small circle of friends, it is very small, and mostly where we used to live. If he is not directly responsible for this, he is indirectly, as challenges with him are probably my most visited topic of conversation. I love him dearly. It’s a tough kind of love.

So I came home, and he was still sitting in front of the TV, Honey was bemoaning that he wouldn’t listen when asked to turn it off, S and K almost immediately got into a back and forth, which escalates his voice in pitch and volume to a decimal level unlike any other human utterance. Oh boy. I’m not feeling great about him today. There have been many challenges all week with the transition back to school, and I hate to say it, but I’m kind of ‘over it’ already. K’s friend came over, and I basically forced them to include S, just so I wouldn’t hear another screech and have to deal with it. I will add now, I am incredibly sleep deprived from exclusively nursing Baby C until the six month mark (three weeks from now), when I will jump for joy when she eats her first cereal, because it won’t be me.

The guys wandered out of K’s room a while later quite noisily, and I’d just nursed Baby C to nap. I kicked them out to fresh air. K and friend exited the front door, S the back, left to wander the backyard on his own. I began to dread what would happen next, assuming he would come back in whining that K and friend wouldn’t let him play with them. Instead, he came in announcing I needed to get rid of the caterpillars all over my garden. I was only half-listening, which, I hate to say is often the case because he says everything with such urgency. So he repeated it several times until his message got through and he had my full attention. “They look like monarch caterpillars! I’m throwing dirt on them so they’ll go away. They have these orange things they stick out when I throw it at them.”

“Please leave the caterpillars alone. They aren’t hurting anything, you don’t need to torment them with dirt.”

“But MO-om, they’re eating up your garden! Get some pesticide!”

“Did you say monarchs?! Show me!”

He lead me out to the garden, and there they were: six monarch caterpillars all over my nearly leafless carrot stems.

Now, you may be asking what all this has to do with creativity. One: my son inspired me out of my funk and to love him a little more once again. And two: It’s monarch chrysalis season! Is there anything more inspiring than that?

I really hope they stay to build, transform and emerge with their wet wings flapping right there on my naked little carrot stems. I am so happy to sacrifice those carrots, even if I’ve worked very hard on my little vegetable garden, which has been largely decimated by rabbits through the hole in the fence, squash bug invasions, and other critters this year. If they do stay, I will gladly share more pictures with, hopefully, some spinning, some butterfly brewing stillness, some wet wings flapping and flying away dry, royal, orange and black. I wonder if the storm that turned out to be not much of a storm blew them in?

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. That is a very pleasant surprise, isn’t it?! How wonderful for you and for S, Cathy! Your post serves as a good reminder for me, too. Though I’m not dealing with something like S’s Aspergers like you face, I’ll admit to sometimes not really listening to the girls…just doing that “Oh, really? How nice” thing…when honestly I can’t tell you what they just said. I need to learn to be more present when I’m present, if that makes sense. I tend to get overwhelmed sometimes with all the juggling I do–and there are friends of mine who would read this and be shocked that I’m admitting it ;-)–and in doing that I sometimes zone out when my two beautiful little redheads are front and center wanting to tell me something that to them is just, “Soooooo coooollllll, Mama!!” Discovery through the eyes of a child is one of the most wonderful things in this otherwise crazy world.

    September 9, 2008
  2. cathy #

    don’t we all, more frequently than we’d like to admit? but it’s reality. i sure appreciated it when i finally did pay attention that day, even if i started reluctantly.

    down to one caterpillar now. wondering where the others could have gone so quickly.

    my honey and i both call each other out on not really listening to each other rather frequently, too.

    and i believe it is that child eye discovery you mentioned that is so necessary to creativity. now, if only s didn’t want to kill what he discovered…before i mentioned chrysalis business.

    ok, back to writing dialogue!

    September 9, 2008
  3. how perfect that your caterpillar found caterpillars …… not to worry, he too will become a butterfly …. after, metaphorically, decimating a few carrot plants … ha!

    happy day to you!

    September 9, 2008
  4. Cathy #

    lol! thank you, elizabeth! i didn’t even think of that! he IS my little caterpillar!

    September 9, 2008

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  1. Cathy: Waiting game « Creative Construction: Life & Art

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