Sunday, 31 July 2011

Hearts, Minds and Feelings

It has been a few years now since M and I separated due to various issues causing hurt on both sides and I have never felt the need to blog about it before.

M and I still maintain a good (if slightly difficult) friendship which is essential for J. He needs to see his Mum and Dad talking civilly to one another without arguments and recriminations. I think on the whole we manage this well and J has had fun times in the company of both parents.

Until last year I had been under the impression that neither of us had been able to move on emotionally. However, I am now aware from M that he has made attempts at dating other women and had one or two lunch dates. On these occasions his feelings were not reciprocated (their loss ) but it is safe to assume that had they been interested in taking things further M would have moved on. I asked him about this last week and he confirmed that this was the case.

So now I am starting to feel a need to move on albeit slowly.  M’s feelings were badly hurt by my leaving Somerset. My feelings were badly hurt by issues which occurred there and which M had never shared with me. It is no exaggeration to say that I felt stunned by what I heard from M regarding one issue and coupled with the other problems it was the final straw. It ruined everything for me with regard to our marriage and I told M this when we went out  one evening to talk at the time. I have never been able to change this...I think our marriage was in effect over at that point.

We limped on for a few months before I succumbed to what can only be termed as a meltdown/nervous breakdown (call it what you will).  Without a doubt this was one of the lowest times of my life and it was also the same for M. We were both hurt, confused and lacked the ability to tackle this together despite still getting on well. M felt rejected by me, I know this, I felt low, depressed and exhausted all the time. The guilt I felt by my perceived rejection of M has never really dissipated and despite his issue (which predated our relationship by some years) I could not help but feel partially responsible. Even worse I was aware that M still loved me but after all that had occurred I could no longer feel the same way.
I guess that’s the way when any marriage breaks down, you have two people who have failed to communicate fairly major issues which if tackled might have kept them together....and in our case M had lied throughout our marriage with regard to a fairly major issue.

So – we are both moving on, M is looking for a new relationship and has been for some time, he expresses self esteem issues when rejected and needs to accept that sometimes people are just not take it on the chin as it were and move on... others will be interested.
Me, well I am moving on finally too – it’s been a few years now and I have not dated, have not wanted to date and felt quite happy with my single status. This is now changing....
I am not going to identify M here, he knows who he is and so do I. I'd like to see him happy in a new relationship and I'd like to see him have more of a liking for himself... nothing is more attractive than someone who realises their worth, it's time M realised his despite the difficulties which led to the breakdown of our marriage.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Autism speak

I love autism speak....J like most children with autism can be very precise and literal in what he says and understands without necessarily getting things quite right. This leads to some hilarious conversations at times - either with J or overheard when J is talking to others.
For example, my mother has practically adopted one of the local priests, he is about my age but has lost both parents. In my Mum's eyes this makes him an orphan in need of adoption - and she wants to adopt! Recently he was invited over to my Mum's house for dinner - an event to which J and I were also invited. All went well - my father referred to the priest as "the parson" (shades of Little House on the Prairie) and also as "the vicar" (actually suspect my Dad may have some autistic tendancies) and J was on his best behaviour.
At around 9.30pm as J, I and the priest left for our respective homes, J shook the priest solomnly by the hand .. "Goodbye Fr B.....and make sure you look after God", and good old Fr B replied with good humour, "Actually J, I am rather hoping God is going to look after me".

A few days later and J's Dad is here with a collection of Dr Who DVDs, now I have a hankering after the ...ahem...talented Christopher Eccleston in the role of Dr Who and requested several episodes from that series including one called "Bad Wolf".  J having sat through a few episodes was agog at the "Bad Wolf" one until he realised after much explanation from both his parents, that there was in fact no wolf and the name of the episode related to something else entirely - J was not impressed and showed it by stomping off in a huff.

So - I have to watch what I say.....a couple of years ago on holiday with some friends who had a dog, we stopped to have a good long walk at Maiden Castle in Dorset - this is very windswept, wild and open and I noted with satisfaction that Sancha (friend's dog) would be in "doggie heaven" here. This throwaway comment drew much distress from J, "she's not really going to heaven is she Mum" and a reassurance that this was "a saying" and not meant to be taken literally.....the conversation went on for some time before J could accept that Sancha was not, in fact about to die, but was rather going to have a long and satisfying walk/run in a wide open space.

So we watch what we say and be prepared to explain when we have to....

"It's raining cats and dogs" = "Where Mum?"
"Kill two birds with one stone" = "What? You're joking aren't you Mum? Mum, is that a joke?"
"An apple a day keeps the Doctor away" = (J raids fruit bowl).

J is literal, not overly so and he is able to recall things so that once heard he may well know the next time "that is just a saying".....sometimes he needs reminders but mostly he gets by.
I am proud of him for being himself and for seeing the world in his own unique way...he is special and I never tire of telling him this. .. and I never tire either of hearing how J has interpreted conversations and events because without a doubt he will have seen something which nobody else has...and sometimes that is magical.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Strive for Five!

J's school has a neat little reward system going where each child is marked out of 5 each half term for a variety of "good" things like attitude, behaviour, politeness and respect for others. At the end of the year the scores are totted up and the points out of 30 is awarded to each child.
Depending on each child's score there is a reward, children earning 28-30 points get a trip to the local activity/adventure park. J has 29 points and I am so pleased with him for showing the world his good behaiour. Who says all children with ADHD are badly behaved ? I'd like to introduce them to my son.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Spiritual stuff and J.

J has attended a Catholic school since we moved to the town when he was aged 5, the school as I reported in my previous post has been amazingly supportive to his special needs. Although the school is a Catholic one with a Catholic ethos it is far from insisting on church attendance or making children enrol for Communion classes. It is just a nice local school which has the needs of its pupils as the focus for everything it does.
Recently J has started to ask about Communion classes as his friend attends and he wants to go to. As a result of this we started going to church and I have discovered that I actually really like doing so. J is less keen but if he wants to attend the Communion classes then the church attendance is pretty much a requirement. In addition he needs to be baptised too so even more reason for attending church.

What J wants to do more than anything though is ..."take the bread" as he sees others doing. I have explained that this is why he will be attending classes as this will be the focus of them. I asked J if he knew what "taking the bread" meant., "yes" he replied confidently.." it means I can eat it" so not quite got a clear understanding of the symbolism behind it then!
I often wonder when I see the children from "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" going off and making their first communion whether they attend any classes or understand the symbolism of what they are doing. It's a big leap of understanding for a child...any child... to have a real understanding of change from  the reality of bread to the symbolic body of Christ. Not easy to explain, even harder to understand when you are small and the world is already a bit confusing.

In addition to this we have J's Dad who does not believe in organized religion  as such and who finds the recent church attendance all a bit of a mystery. J will talk to his Dad about "Jesus being kind" and his Dad will reply that "Jesus was a good man" without going into his belief that Jesus was just that, "a man" and not wrapped up in all the religion as spoken by the Catholic church.  This might be something he will be able to discuss with J when he is older and more able to process difference in belief systems. He knows that his Aunty Moonroot is Pagan or "a witch" as J has heard (he is deeply impressed by this). J also know that his Aunty has a "magic wand"  AND "a broomstick" which she assures him she only flies on at night. So we have discussed the different ways people pray but not differences in who they may pray to. Life is already complicated enough without trying to tackle that one yet.

I am rambling a bit here because without a doubt J is enjoying some aspects of the church and finds others (such as Mass) "very boring" as he openly told the priest one afternoon.  Thankfully the priest was able to say that he also finds " the Mass boring sometimes" - thank Heaven for a human and normal priest.

So - come September J will start his communion classes and sometime next year will be baptised. I will attend the classes with him both to help supervise and also to ensure J understands what is happening.

In the meantime J says regular prayers, some of which are school taught and others  which are ad hoc as he sometimes prays for his hamster who died or for "all the children ill in hospital". I am proud of him for taking it all in his stride, for coping with Mass when the school take him over and for being an angel in Children's Liturgy when it is busy.