Five or so months ago we moved into our new home. A year after moving to Arkansas we finally found our own place. The whole process was a bit crazy, but that’s a story for another day.
When we bought our home we knew that it needed some love. It had been vacant for a number of years, and it was now owned by the bank. Something that the bank had done was to paint EVERYTHING! They had a crew come in and paint the walls and ceilings a wonderful beige, and paint all the wood trim white. But when they painted the wood they painted with the wrong paint. So as much as it looks great and clean and pristine. Well, it’s not. The nice clean white paint peels off, any time we bump it, or slide a box along it. Thank goodness for mac-tac in the pantry.
So here’s the thing about the peeling paint. Every day a bit more pain peels off. Every day we see more and more of what the colour was before. And this peeling paint is a heck of a lot like parenting, especially parenting a child on the spectrum.
Every day I get to see more and more of how Autism and Aspergers affects my son’s life. If it’s how he reacts to something, or someone. How one day his behaviour is amazing, but the next day we’re peeling off paint and his behaviour is no longer pristine.
This peeling paint is also a reminder that the quick and easy fix will not last. It reminds me that the time we spend in therapy and the effort we put into it, the consistency, the hours and tears, are worth it. That doing the work now, will mean that we aren’t redoing it later on. And on a day like today I need that reminder. I need to be reminded that as many tears are shed now, and how defeated I can feel by the end of the day, it’s worth it if it means that we have an impact. If we can work through something, have any small impact on future behaviour.
From the outside it may seem like our lives are ‘perfect’, but I really hope that you know, it isn’t. I put on a brave face most days. I use humour to get through the days, because if I didn’t laugh at things, I would probably not stop crying. I do my best to let people see how it really is. I don’t want people to feel like they’re peeling paint off who we are when they get to know us. I don’t want a layer of paint on top.