I was in the car with Dayne and Colt earlier this weekend and we were chatting about the traffic. We don’t live in a huge city but the traffic sometimes acts like it; especially on holiday weekends. It seemed everyone was on the road, either out to get food to host company or on the way to someone else’s house and they were all going to the same store we were going to, apparently. I was looking from window to window, surrounded by cars and drivers and traffic jam and was near-panicking when I said:
“Holy shit I am so incredibly glad that our life is so quiet and secluded and we have only each other to visit with this weekend.”
From the back seat “Uh mom…..?”
“Sorry Colt. I didn’t mean to swear.”
From the front seat “So, you know that most people would rather spend the weekend with more than two other people right? I mean, people other than the ones they live with.”
Well, way to make me feel like a freak.
“Yes, Dayne, I do realize that but thanks ever-so-much for bringing it up!” I laughed, so genuine he didn’t even pause to see if I was mad. I thought about it though, for moments afterward.
“You know, you aren’t meant to be stuck inside the house just because I am. You know you can go out and do things whenever you want right?”
I’m sure it sounds awful and says little for my character but it honestly has never occurred to me before (in 15 plus years) that Dayne might actually want to go do things; be friends with people. I just thought he was like me. Then, with a thud in my chest, I realized what this sort of behaviour model would do to a kid like Colt.
“I know that I’m allowed,” Dayne paused to smile at me to make sure I knew he was in on the joke. “but I don’t want to do stuff without you guys. If I go out and do my own thing, you will start to go out and do your own thing and soon we won’t be doing anything together at all. When it comes down to it, I don’t want to trade that, for this.”
Oh. So, given the choice, he’d want to pack up the car and drive off to family gatherings every second weekend; spend holidays with others and have people just drop by. (No one has set foot in this house since my family last visited when Colt was 3. He is 10 now.)
I was suddenly crushed with guilt.
Oh my god. Have I secluded these two souls in here with me? I never had anyone come over when I was a kid…my dad was drunk and unpredictable, his hands went everywhere and my mother never stopped crying in the bathroom and I couldn’t make excuses fast enough when I had to do it live, with someone standing right there.
I had tons of friends when I was married to Harry. People came by every night, at some points. It was after he tore me down and tired me out that I left him and then formed this bond with Dayne. We clung to each other…he was so angry from life and I was just so hopeless and out of energy. I was still standing though, when we brought Colt into the world, screaming, miserable and inconsolable. Another failure of mine that tipped the scales of mental balance and plunged me into that darkness. It took me this long just to crawl out.
So yes, justifiable in ways but still not okay. This isn’t the life Dayne wanted. He’s in here because I’m in here and we are teaching our autistic son (who often seems to lack instinct not created from experience) to stay in this place with us. That’s terrible in my head.
I have to let people come in here. Let Dayne go make friends without fearing that it will trigger the loss of us somehow. (I’m quietly fearful that he’s right though. I bet I will seek company if I do not have his. It is somehow in my nature to do so, whether I vehimenly deny it or not.)
I didn’t mean to fuck things up for them too. They might even have a somewhat normal life if it were not for me. (Dayne won’t even let me say that out loud. He would jump in here to tell me about all the things I bring to this family, and would flat-out deny that they would be okay, in the least, were I not here).