By Mir
May 7, 2011

What I wanted to tell you, after yesterday’s post, was that my fears were for naught, and Monkey had a great day and a hard but meaningful farewell with his parapro.

What I wanted to do was gently poke fun at myself for always fearing the worst, for always tensing up for the collision. I would make a joke about how being angry and worried had clearly appeased the Gods Of Suck, and everything worked out okay, after all. We would all exhale together and Otto would tell me I worry too much but look, everything’s okay, and then life would go on.

What I do not want to do is to detail the phone call I got, the chaos that ensued, the broken down little boy who came home to me yesterday afternoon and crawled into my bed and whispered that he always ruins everything. I do not want to tell you about how he cried himself out and then slept, brow sweaty, while I rubbed his back and cried silently behind him.

I want to tell you that yesterday was awful but perspective arrived with the morning and all was well today, but that would be a lie. Because the truth is that sleep was elusive, and fear is my constant companion. I want to be angry at the people at school who failed him. I want to be angry at his parapro for sending him off into a crowded situation by himself for “just a few minutes,” because it was the wrong choice, and maybe if that hadn’t happened, maybe the rest wouldn’t have, either. But the truth is that no one has a crystal ball, and I don’t know how it all came down, and mostly I am angry at myself, because I feel like I let him down. Again. Somehow.

[Do not ask me how I could’ve avoided or fixed this. WITH MY AMAZING PSYCHIC ABILITIES, perchance. By firmly outlining the expectations for the day. For not specifically instructing the people who have worked with him for a year that HEY, TODAY IS GONNA BE A HARD ONE, maybe? I don’t know. But my job is to protect him and he was not protected and ergo, my heart and conscience buckle accordingly.]

I want to tell you that I rallied, that I pulled myself together, that we had a nice morning and it gets better and we’re okay, but that would be a lie. I don’t want to tell you that I dragged around this morning until we got into the car for baseball, that I found tears slipping down my cheeks as Otto drove, and by the time we got there I quite honestly didn’t think I could get out of the car. I don’t want to tell you that I sent my family ahead and sat there sobbing and wondering where the hell my mythical bootstraps were.

But I do want to tell you that I picked up my phone and called a dear friend across the country, and it was too early there and I probably shouldn’t have, but she answered the phone and it all poured out: yesterday, today, I can’t see a tomorrow that doesn’t hurt all the time, I can’t get out of the car, help me.

And she did. Without telling me it would all be fine or that I was being unacceptable. She sat with me and let me cry until I was done. She held me up, she held up my sweet boy and reminded me to take each day as it comes, reminded me that I have Monkey and Monkey has me and we will figure it out. She offered to make me a cup of tea and we laughed. I found myself breathing again, finally.

So I can tell you that I made my way to the field and I cheered for my boy and the rest of the kids and helped a little bit with first aid (it was a bad day for scraped knees). I was thanked for a band-aid by a young man much older than Monkey, with arguably more challenges, who smiled at the bandage and trotted off to continue playing.

We’re having a houseful of Otto’s students come over tonight, so it was a day full of errands and preparation, but we invited Lemur over after baseball, anyway, because it was the closest thing I could think of to a Monkey-sized band-aid. The boys have been bouncing around together for hours, perfectly content, far away from the classmates who taunt them, calling them weirdos or assholes or—their latest favorite—fags. (Fifth grade, people. Yeah.)

I can tell you that right now, this second, my son is happy and safe. And I will keep trying to string those seconds into minutes and hours and days as much as I can. And when I think I can’t, I am so grateful for those who help prop me up and remind me I can keep going, even when I can’t see the road anymore.

Somehow, we’ll get where we’re supposed to be going. I have to believe that.


  1. Carrie

    I’m sorry. Imagine me giving you a big hug.

  2. Leah

    Awwww very touching. Sorry about the extra bad day.

    Bad day or not you’re a very lucky women and I like reading your writings on it.

  3. jodifur

    I try to remind myself it won’t always be this hard. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    Love you lots.

  4. Midj

    Love winging your way. So glad Monkey has Lemur and you have someone to call and offer you tea. So sorry for your pain. Our PANDAS troubles are not the same as your Aspie troubles but I understand your feeling overwhelmed when there is not much you can do to fix things. A Lemur bandage can go a long way. You need a Lemur bandage for your heart. I hope we in the “cloud” can help if only a little.

  5. divrchk

    I’m sorry you are having such a hard time. Keep believing. You’ll get there!

  6. Karen R.

    {{{{{Mir}}}}} {{{{{Monkey}}}}} I hope next week is better.

  7. Beth in Iowa

    Sending out much empathy and positive thoughts for better days ahead. Take care of yourself and remember that it’s OK if you need a band-aid too sometimes.

  8. Lucinda

    Breathe. That’s really all you can do. Do your best, pray like hell, pick up the pieces, take it one day, sometimes one minute, at a time and Breathe. Big hugs to all of you.

  9. Jaime

    couldn’t read this and not send ((((HUGS))))

  10. Lara

    Aw Mir, I am so, so sorry that it’s been so hard for you all lately. Your post has me weeping myself as I too have had so many days like that lately. Days where I wonder where the Fu$& my bootstraps are and do I really have to use them? Can’t I just curl up in the fetal position and admit defeat?! Thank goodness for good friends and spouses to help us along :) I keep hoping for some easier, happier days for you all. Big hugs, L.

  11. Kristi

    That’s a bunch of shit right there. Why does it have to be so hard? Why can kids be such complete jerks?

    Hoping it all gets better for you and Monkey.

  12. My Kids Mom

    Oh, Mir. I wish I could forward him through time to help him, because just like for gay teens, “It gets better”.

  13. Birchsprite

    Sending you a big hug. Wish I was able to offer a cup of tea too. I’ve got a cracking lapsang / Assam mix. Hope next week is full of happy surprises.

  14. meghann

    My heart hurts for you guys. If I could put Monkey in my pocket and keep him there, safe, I would.

    I know y’all are busy busy people, but if you’re ever up for us coming up for another playdate, you know where to find me.

  15. Fiona

    Sending you both hugs, thoughts of peace, and a quote that helps me keep putting one foot in front of the other… sometimes.

    “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi

  16. ramblin red

    Hugs Mir. Thank God for friends across the country who will just listen. And thank God for friends like Lemur who can distract Monkey with some happy times. And eff the rest of it….praying for no more detours.

  17. Amy

    I find myself enraged on your behalf. What the hell is wrong with the school??? I mean, it was impossible not to know yesterday was going to be hard for him! I wish you all the peace in the world, and I wish I could take from you that feeling of helplessness and rage that all this causes. You are doing all a person can do, and he knows he has you. You are a good mother. How maddening this all is!

  18. Jackie

    These entries always make me cry. As if Monkey isn’t having a hard enough time inside–the kids tease him outside. Fortunately he has a mom like you–hope you realize that even if you are losing your temper or crying, you are still a fabulous mother. I lose my temper and cry over my kid and her struggles all the time, even though they are purely mainstream, and I realized a long time ago that I just need to cut myself some slack. (And so do you!)

  19. Jen

    I hear you. Sending you all lots of hugs!

  20. amy

    Oh man. Such big big ~hugs~ coming your way.

  21. Deirdre

    {{{{{hugs}}}}}. And some awesome orange tea if you ever need some in CNY.

  22. Lady M

    Thinking of you and your sweet boy.

  23. Jill W.

    {{{{hugs}}}} I am sorry you all are dealing with all of this.

  24. Zuska

    Huge, Huge hugs to you and Monkey, Mir…

  25. Navhelowife

    I’m so sorry that things did not go well.
    But I rejoice with you in friends that can hold you up long distance. I have those, and through this time of grieving for my mother, I don’t know what I’d do without them.

  26. Beth A.

    It seems that you have *friends* crying all over the country for you.

    I am so sorry to hear about your extra bad day and the next extra bad day. I hope tomorrow can be super relaxing for you. Not just because it’s Mother’s Day, but because after 2 heartwrenching days, a relaxing day is what your soul needs.

    Someone once told me that when you share happiness with someone it multiplies but when you share sorrow, it divides and each person can carry just a small part. Maybe we can all carry a tiny part for you so you don’t have to carry it all.

  27. Jodie

    “A Monkey size bandaid” is such a good image. And I am so glad you thought to reach out to your Mir sized one to gently pick you up instead of you wrenching on those boot straps again.

    Love and hugs both are coming your way, but also some unsolicited advice (duh duh duhhhhh!)….remember to look for the Mir sized band aids more. I don’t know if this is the truth, but what comes across in your writing is that you work VERY hard and always being able to pick yourself up by your boot straps and that it can be difficult to reach out for help when you need it. If just the commenters on this post is any indication, I can only imagine you have many folks who will gladly and with love help prop you up so you can keep propping up Monkey.


  28. Rachael

    I think that God knew how much Monkey would need you and how much you would need Monkey… and how much you would need Otto, and Chickadee… and a friend across thousands of miles that would offer you a cup of tea to make you laugh. But in pouring your heart out here, Mir, you’re more human to all of us. I don’t think that there’s a mother out there who couldn’t get this kind of glimpse into your life and not recall a moment herself when she’s cried when her child has and it’s almost ripped her in two. Who knew that our kidlets would reveal the best parts of us?

  29. Momma Chaos

    Hugs for both of you !!

  30. Meg

    Oh, Mir, I’m so sorry.

    I’m really glad that you have someone to lean on, and that you were smart enough to know you needed to reach out to her. That kinda thing’s really hard in itself sometimes.

    Monkey’s a great kid, and very lucky to have you, but yeah I totally get feeling like you’ve failed (I have a daughter on the spectrum, and I often fail my other two kids, too). I feel for you guys.

    My boss always says “Jump the hurdle that’s in front of you,” and I like that, fwiw.

    ^my baby says hello.

  31. Veronica


    My aspie daughter told me this morning that “I need a new brain, because this one keeps getting me into trouble” and on Thursday we got the “no one played with me, why didn’t anyone play with me Mummy?” and my heart was broken and I can’t make it better. She is four and in Kindergarten and surely, Kinder should be easy?

    Sending love your way. This path is not the easy one it seems.

  32. Casey

    I’m so sorry about the difficult day… My heart breaks for you and Monkey. But your honesty helps moms like me, who don’t have a child on the spectrum, understand how to talk to those who do. And how to help our kids not be one of those awful kids on the playground. And right now, Woulda Shoulda Coulda is the one thing I look forward to reading all day. You are a gift.

  33. Julie

    Ohhh. This makes me ache.

  34. Kgp

    Sending virtual hugs and strength your way.

  35. sonia

    Are you ever tempted to home school your Monkey? Keep him safe and still learning at home until he is more equipped to handle this cruel world? If I ever heard classmates called one of my kids the names you listed I’m not sure what I would do, but sending them back the next day for more would be close to impossible for me. I don’t home school personally, but I would be very tempted for Monkey.

  36. Carmen


    It’s all I can say. I’m in a very similar boat with one of my guys and it hurts my heart that you both are struggling so.

    Be good to you. And know I’m pulling for both of you.

  37. Nancy

    Oh, Mir. I’m so sorry. I wish I had a magic wand to make it all better. Hugs to all of you.

  38. Heather


  39. Jane

    What you are dealing with, I can’t imagine. But I hope for the best for you and your family; somehow, I have a feeling the best will find you.

  40. Fun Mama

    Sometimes all we can do is breathe, because even walking is too hard.

  41. MamaChristy

    Yes, you deserve fancy tea. One lump or two? There are no happy endings. Best we can hope for is that most of the journeys are happy. Next one is bound to be better. XOXO

  42. Mamaspeak

    (((hugs))) for you both.
    I like Beth’s suggestion, let’s all divde & conquer together. :-) I wish there were words to make it all better.

  43. Damsel

    I’m so sorry for the rough days, Mir & Monkey. Sending big hugs to you.

    Mir, you are awesome. I love to read about your love for your children. Happy Mother’s Day to you!!

  44. Amma Always

    It shocks me that in a time when we talk about sensitivity and tolerance that kids still call other kids by those kind of names and treat them so badly. But humans will be… human, I guess. One of my kids (now grown) was the terror of the second grade. Children would cry when this child walked down a row of desks. Same child was also the mocking tormentor and name caller of the handicapped children in the classroom next door. One day something invisible and miraculous happened – we had no idea what at the time, but I will tell you it had nothing to do with me or my “wise mothering”. (You and my dear daughter leave me in the dust in the wise mothering category!) The same child who was the terror of the second grade instantly became the saint of the second grade. The change was literally overnight, and lasted through the next 6 months of school. Said child would rush through school work to finish and go help the handicapped kids next door. Said kid gave up most recesses to pair with an autistic child and shepherd and protect her on the playground, befriend her and help her with her work. This same child today is a wise and wonderfully caring adult.

    You and monkey are in my prayers. But I am also going to try to remember the name-callers in my prayers. They all need a well placed miracle.

  45. erma

    Hugs and more hugs to you, Mir.

  46. Jen

    Oh hon. I’m sorry. Not much else I can say. Hang in there.

  47. Megan

    Oh I wish I had some magical store of wisdom I could draw on. I wish I had some… SOMETHING… that would not only sooth the memories but, I dunno, fix tomorrow too? So glad you have such wonderful friends, and a wonderful Otto, and a wonderful, challengeful, POTENTIALful Monkey.

  48. J from Ireland

    Oh Mir this is so heartbreaking. This stuff is just so difficult for you all. Much love and hugs to you all.

  49. Jean

    I have found that expecting the worst is a safety net for not being disappointed and sometimes being pleasantly surprised. Sort of like a defense mechanism. I fully understand why some of us head in that direction instead of bright optimism.

    So very sorry that in this instance, your expectations were realized and not replaced with a brighter outcome. It certainly seems that Monkey’s school really didn’t have a handle on this situation, but I’m sure you’ve covered that a million times over already.

    I think that all of us need to sob to a friend sometimes, just to relieve ourselves of whatever burden we carry, if only for the length of the phone call. So glad that you have friends to call and hoping that writing this blog helps you cope as much as it helps me to read it and try to do some things differently.

    Best wishes to you and your family. Hoping for the best possible outcome for all of you.

  50. TC

    Yeah. Nothing more to give you than hugs.

  51. parodie

    Hard days (weeks, months) are hard.


  52. Cele

    You know the sad part is that it’s Monkey who has the challenges, and kids who call others fags are just badly parented… my ass. Monkey is my hero and a reminder of my everyday life and the better person I should be.

  53. tj

    More and more loves for Monkey and you! <3's and hugs all around!

  54. Lynette

    I am sorry you are going through this very difficult time. I hope you know that you are not alone. You have many online “friends” rooting for you and Monkey. You can get through this.Things will get better.

  55. Saskia

    I have so much faith that you will get where you need to be, with Monkey. I have no doubt it will be hard but I’m sure you all will make it.

  56. Petunia

    Sending up prayers for all of you.

  57. Tracy B

    {{{{hugs}}}} Today is a new day! Hang in there, Mir & Monkey!

  58. liz


  59. Julie in Austin

    HUGS to you and your sweet Monkey! You are an amazing Mom!

  60. Brigitte

    I also want to send a hug to your friend; it takes someone very special to make you see a glimmer of light once you’ve been sucked into the deepening, endless well of despair (why, yes, that place IS familiar, why do you ask?). Here’s hoping you and Monkey make it all the way to the top of that well someday soon!

  61. Sharon

    Oh Mir, I’m so sorry.You are a wonderful mom.

  62. Andrea

    Ouch. My heart pains for you both.

    Thank God your Monkey has found his friend Lemur who can make him feel OK when they are together.

    My nephew is on the spectrum and I thank God everyday he’s found a bestie that gets him, too.

  63. KarenP

    Hugs from far away. Happy you had a friend you can count on. One that listens without giving advice.

  64. Sheila


    (That’s all I’ve got, but it’s heartfelt.)

  65. Grace

    Oh Mir. it’s so heartbreaking. I’m sorry it has to be so hard. But I am really glad that a kid like Monkey has a mom like you.

  66. Katie in MA

    Yeah, that was my day yesterday. But I will be okay and you will be okay and Monkey will be okay, too. Sometimes you just need to cry it out before you can find your relative version of “okay.” Hoping today you can find it a little easier…

  67. Amelia

    This post reminds me of this quote:
    “It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said, Do the best you can with these, they will have to do. And mostly, against all odds, they’re enough.” -Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

    You have all “the rusty bent old tools” you need for today. And the ones you don’t have yet will come to you when you need them. I believe it.

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