Feeling the Fucking Love…

The most therapeutic month of my life…April….Autism Awareness month. The time where I can reflect with an ugly cry, choke up with tears, catch my breathe, find myself crying on a happy day, and know that I will be alright.

Tucker’s life has been beautiful, but the process has been fucking hard. When we found out he had Autism Spectrum Disorder, I felt my heart fucking squeeze tight. Where do we go from here? How did this happen? Did I do something during my pregnancy with Tucker? Is Autism genetic? I can’t believe this is happening right now. Chris and I’s lives were changed forever. A truth that we now needed to accept and peel back the fucking layers and figure out, what’s next. We searched for answers, but Tucker was the only one who had the answers. Life is fucking tough…shit…I really needed to sit down and pour myself a stiff drink at this point. 

Tucker was constantly overstimulated and confused in Preschool. I could never take my eyes off of him. He wasn’t talking and didn’t answer to his name. I was forcing Patrick to grow up faster than he had wanted, because I needed help. I was carrying Denny’s fat ass around in a car seat. I made sure that kid was strapped down at all times. I suddenly felt like I had triplets and not enough arms to fucking keep these kids alive. 

4 years old

When Tucker turned five, he started Kindergarten. It was our toughest year yet. It was incredibly stressful and he only had a good month or so in the classroom. He hated everything about school. He fully checked out in April like a Senior in High School. I got bad note after bad note, every fucking day in his backpack. I couldn’t stand it. 

Me: “Tucker, you need to do your work and listen to your teachers.” 

Tucker: “Sorry mom.” Always his response with his cute blonde curls shaping his face. 

I wanted him to be a “normal kid”, but he was telling me other things. He wanted to be Tucker. 

5 years old

I read a ton of spiritual shit to learn to let go…Cabernet was there for me too. what the fuck is normal anyways? He is the coolest kid I know and I’m not going to fucking rush anything. 

Kindergarten was finally over and my shoulders dropped 10 feet. Let’s fucking forget that school year ever happened. As I watched him gain more confidence that summer, Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy kept whispering in my ear. We couldn’t afford it, but Chris and I knew this was our last ditch effort to keep Tucker in a normal/ed classroom. Shit, fuck, piss…Where the fuck is Chris and I going to find the money for this? I’m desperate. I’ll go buy a red light and put it outside my house. My crooked vagina is open for business…3 kids later….beggars can’t be choosers. 

What is Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy? 

ABA is described to be the “Gold Standard” for Autism Treatment. It is private therapy outside what the state and school district provides. It’s is expensive. We’ve always said “no”…until now. This treatment is based on “desired behaviors” that can be taught with rewards or consequences. ABA is teaching Tucker behaviors’ that do not come natural to him. For instance, dressing himself, brushing his teeth, doing homework, hanging up his back pack, haircuts, tying shoes, taking a shit (can hold it in for days), sitting at the dinner table, trying new foods, asking his brothers to play and taking fucking turns (shit, Denny needs ABA too), etc….We currently have a therapists coming to the house 5 days a week for 3 hours at a time. Some people criticize ABA Therapy…Is it working?

Yes.

So, we keep with it and don’t want to cancel any sessions. It’s been teaching Patrick and Denny a lot about Autism. My house is a fucking shit show and I’m pretty sure our therapists are never having fucking kids. Yea…Satan Jr and I have painted a pretty picture.

Now going into 1st Grade, Tucker still hated school. He thought he was in jail and people put to many demands on him. COME ON TUCKER…FUCK! Your definitely not staying home or I would go to the nut house. It made me sad to think he was not experiencing school with friends. That’s all I wanted for him. My biggest fucking fear is bullying. I needed him to have kids that would look out for him. 

So, what have I learned from Tucker this year? 

A LOT OF PEOPLE LOVE TUCKER…

Story time…

One week in February. A classmate kept putting post it notes in Tucker’s lunchbox. This person had drawn hearts on them and said “I love you Tucker.”

Me: “Tucker, who are these from?”

Tucker: “I don’t know how?” His answer for everything when he does not understand the question.

Me: “No, who gave you these hearts in your lunch box?” Showing him the post it notes. 

Tucker: “I don’t know.”

More and more notes kept coming. Then finally, a note came with the person’s name on it…I open up Tucker’s lunchbox to make his lunch in the morning and there’s more hearts.

Me: “Tucker, Liliana wrote her name on these hearts.” 

Tucker: “Lilianna?”

Me: “Yea.” 

Tucker: “Can we hang them up here?” He points to a space on the wall. 

Me: “Sure.” FUCK ANYWHERE YOU WANT!!!!

Tucker got on the bus and I went upstairs to find his school picture. I scanned all the kids names with their pictures. There she was, Lilianna. Wow, she’s making my day. Tucker has a friend at school. Tears filled in eyes and my heart warmed. 

Later that day, Tucker got home that day from school and I could not wait to show him her picture. 

Tucker: “There I am!! Tucker…T-U-C-K-E-R…Tucker!” He naturally found himself first. 

Me: “Where’s Lilianna?” 

Tucker: “Ummm is this person Lilianna?” Pointing to a girl who had moved away after Christmas. 

Me: “No, that’s not her.” 

Tucker: “Is this her?”

Me: “No, Tucker that’s not her.” 

Tucker: “Is it this one?”

Me: “No, she’s right here.” Pointing to her picture. “Do you know who she is?”

Tucker: “I don’t know how?” 

Wow, he doesn’t even know who she is. It crushed me a little bit.  

One more story….

I get a call on the home phone…still fucking love the home phone, never getting rid of it. I say hello to every telemarketer. I make them talk to me, instead of them trying to sell me shit. 

Nurse: “Hi Nurse Rachel here, nothing is wrong and everything is okay. Tucker fell in the mud and needs new pants.” 

Me: “Oh shit, okay, I’m on my way.” 

Denny and I get to school and Nurse calls Tucker down. We are waiting for him outside of the office. He comes flying out of nowhere with a little girl. OMG what’s going on here. Where the fuck is his aide? Tucker shows me his butt.

Tucker: “Mom look pooooooop.”

Me: “Wow, that is a lot of mud.” He looks like he took the biggest shit and smeared it everywhere on his ass, what a mess. “Oh that’s not poop honey, that’s mud. Let’s get you cleaned up.” 

Denny: “Did Tucker shit his pants?”

Me: “NO! and don’t talk like that.” 

Little Girl: “There’s a bathroom by our classroom.”

Me: “Okay, what’s your name?”

Little Girl: “Lilianna.”

My heart skipped a bit…

Me: “Hi Lilianna, I’m Tucker’s mom.” I’m smiling so fucking hard. 

I make the boys go to the Girls washroom. We use handicap stall. It felt humbling to be changing his clothes in school. I’m on all fours trying to change his pants and Denny keeps asking what we are doing in the Girls washroom. We finish and I open the bathroom stall door and there’s Lilianna smiling. Fuck had she been waiting the whole time?

Me: “Oh Hi.” 

Lilianna: “Hi.”

Tucker: “I go home with you mom?”

Me: “No your going back to the classroom with Lilianna, I will see you after school.”

Tucker: “Okay, bye mom.” 

Just like that, Lilianna grabbed him by the hand and walked him to the class. I thought I was going to fucking cry in the little girls washroom with Denny. The simplest gesture of her holding his hand, made my day. I wanted this girl to marry Tucker. 

I was so excited and called Chris right away. Crying as I told him how sweet this little girl was to Tucker.

Then it got me thinking…with Lilianna grabbing Tucker’s hand today. Would he ever know what the kind of gesture what was? Or is this girl making him uncomfortable? 

Sorry one last story…

In April, I get an email randomly from Tucker’s teacher saying his socks are bothering him and keep slipping. It’s affecting his day. Crap, this email was written a fucking hour ago. I reply…”I’m on my way.” I’m running through my house just looking for even a fucking pair of socks to bring. Why are socks such a pain in the ass to wash, match, and find a fucking matching pair in the drawer. The black hole of socks at peoples houses are insane. 

Denny and I get to school and we are waiting for Tucker to come down to the office to put new socks on. Suddenly Tucker comes out of nowhere with a little boy. Again, where’s the aide? 

Tucker: “MOM!!!”

Me: “Hi Tucker! Are your socks bothering you?”

Tucker: “YEA.”

Me: “Hi, what’s your name?” As I bend over to put new socks on Tucker.

Boy: “Oliver.” Denny is fucking sizing him up.

Me: “Thanks for walking him down.” 

Oliver: “Okay.”

I get Tucker situated. He’s ready to go back to class. 

Me: “Don’t run Tucker, okay?”

Oliver: “He’s not running, he’s good.” 

The boys walk away…Tucker walked toward the side of the hallway and dragged his hand on the wall brushing his finger tips as he walked. Suddenly, Oliver took his hand, and put it on his back and as if he was guiding Tucker. It was a beautiful gesture that a spouse would do for another. A moment, where Tucker is loved and he has no idea. My heart was stuck in my throat and eyes filled with water. 

Tucker is brutally honest. One of my favorite traits about Autism. I’m always white knuckling the genuine moments his classmates give him. They are nice and kind kids. I hope they never stop being genuine to Tucker. I’m starting to finally put my guard down a bit.

6 years old

Tucker is ending 1st Grade in a month or so. He fucking loves school and school loves him. 

Thank you for keeping our heads up. Love all of you. LIGHT IT UP BLUE. Another Autism Month in the fucking books. Cheers.

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