Back to the Present

photo credit: Etsy Seller OutNerdMe

 

I thought we were in the clear. I mean, it’s March for goodness’ sake.

Rewind to Christmas, a good one for J.R., which meant my hubby and I were able to breathe a tad easier and drink a little less. And thanks to Amazon.com’s clever wish list system, J.R. easily and conveniently tagged his desired oddities for Santa’s viewing and buying pleasure. There was that plush nursing manatee set (no I am not even kidding), world record-worthy sized microscopic music box, and … wait for it: the time machine. I think he chose an H.G. Wells biography as well as Hot Tub Time Machine on DVD just to cover all bases. Welcome to the wonderful world of the holidays with a side autism.

Now my husband and I knew J.R. was as serious as H.G. Wells about receiving a working time machine from Santa, mostly because he talked about it incessantly. For this reason, the “t” word was avoided like the plague. I recall diving for my car radio touch screen at the first bars of the hallowed 70’s hits “Do That To Me One More Time” (Captain & Tennille), “Too Much Time On My Hands” (Styx), and “Love Takes Time” (Orleans). Sacrilege! One day an oversight involving Jim Croce immediately prompted the “time” conversation again, and this one in particular would stay with me forever. J.R. asked, “Mom, when you borrow my real time machine, will you use it to go forward or backward?”

Wow.

Christmas arrived and thank you Lord that a Lego DeLorean, complete with minifigures of Dr. Emmett Brown and Marty McFly (Calvin Klein?) sufficed as a “real live working time machine.” My husband and I thought our pick was genius and J.R., evolving because he accepted this “off grid” gift. Whew! Oh but don’t think for one minute that we didn’t have Hot Tub in our hip pocket.

Lego Delorean

Photo credit: AFP

 

Flash forward back to the present, and J.R. is currently and decidedly “over” the DeLorean ruse a.k.a. the “GODDAMNED FAKE TIME MACHINE THAT DOESN’T WORRRRRRRRKKKK! DAD, I AM STILL HERE AREN’T I?????????????”

This too shall pass, however, I can’t get his question out of my head. What would I do if I had a real time machine? I would turn that bitch back, that’s what I would do.  Let’s see…I would just grab the dial…turn it counter-clockwise and click, click, click …

{cue sound of lightning cracking and other science-y noises that indicate we’re no longer in Kansas}

It’s 2006. I am watching my two year old run down our sidewalk. Away from me. His new behavior therapist asks if I am going to stop him. He is now around the corner and out of my sight. I hesitate, because for every second he is not in my presence, my load feels lighter. All I want (all I am begging for, truthfully) is for my toddler J.R. to grow up. And pronto. God if I can wind his arm a-la Skipper Ken, I will. I wish these days away because my gorgeous, lost boy takes up all of my time. And all I have to focus on is the time: What has he done this time? Is it time for yet another therapy session? Better yet, when is bedtime?

I don’t love being a mom. I am confused and exhausted. It’s a good thing I truly haven’t yet internalized what autism takes from a child. Then I would just be sad. Now where’s that dial again?…

{sound of lightning cracking, my back cracking, and other indications that my frown lines are deepening}

It’s 2015. Suddenly I want all of those awful “times” back. I would give anything (yes, to sit through hundreds of hours of therapy) just to hear my four-year-old string two syllables of Eric Carle together for the first time.

Pur-pul cat, pur-pul cat [what do you see?]

How about the first time J.R. tolerated trick-or-treating, which predated his toleration of an actual Halloween costume? I think he was 8. Please take me back. And I will never, ever forget our first dance. To disco, naturally. So. Many. Memories. I never dreamed the incredible ones would eclipse the awful ones. No matter how few. Damned hindsight!

Sadly, Tom Wolfe reminds us that we can’t go home again. Fine! As a last resort then, I’d like to jam time. Freeze it altogether. Hell if I could re-live this week alone in a constant loop, I would. I say this mostly because when I asked J.R. to blow his runny nose he said “Well of course I will!” It’s the little things.

I don’t want J.R. or his brother out of my sight ever again, because I am afraid if I look away they’ll be all grown up. I simply can’t squeeze enough time in with either one of them (except of course when they’re wrestling, screaming, blaming, burping, or farting). Why must bedtime come so soon? Why can’t their clothes stop “shrinking” before my eyes? Why are they starting to pull away as I grab for their hands?

All kidding aside, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t confess why I really wouldn’t mind wearing my new Express Boyfriend jeans for all of eternity: because there is no eternity. Time is marching on. I cannot bear to think about J.R.’s statistically grim prospects for the future, much less a future without the person who ties his shoes (me). Will he live on his own? Will he marry? Will he miss me terribly when I am gone? As Dr. Emmett Brown would say, Why are things so heavy in the future?

Given he can be a fairly difficult child, J.R. absolutely loves his current life (just don’t mention the DeLorean debacle). Not only has he exceeded the expectations of medical professionals, teachers, and his parents, he’s light-years ahead of his own. I can see the pride on his face every single day.You see my point? There’s just no reason to move forward.

What gets me through the day as I watch my son and I grow “old” together? J.R.’s self-projected future. And it’s bright. He talks about acquiring girlfriends, juggling multiple wives, cradling babies, and raising turtles. Leatherbacks, specifically. And one day (way too) soon, I’ll be ready to watch him fulfill his dream of becoming a father.  Even if it is to a sea animal. Just give me time.

2018-10-08T15:54:06+00:00By |Blog|

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