Girl in the Bubble
School ends soon, and I will have the summer with Erik. I feel a little sick to my stomach about this because I probably need to schedule some activities for him to do. Just the thought of that makes me exhausted and depressed. He's not ready for a formal program through parks and recreation yet, and I'm not up for that, anyway. I really don't want to haul him to a place that should be fun kicking and screaming like he does sometimes when we go to school. He just seems to hate being around other children. What am I supposed to do, then? When we do things with my friends' kids, I get depressed because he still shuts down. At least his tears are few these days. I laugh his quirks off and make light of things, but I feel absolutely rotten inside and then guilty for feeling rotten. He has never gone off to play with a child voluntarily. Other kids tend to run him over, and he definitely doesn't like the noises they make. All he wants to do is push his stroller all over the property for hours at a time. Alone. That's his dream day. I purchased a couple of sprinkler-type toys for him, and we will try those soon. They look like fun, but Erik isn't always on the same page as I am. In all fairness, not many people are.
Somebody told me recently that I don't have to worry because Erik is definitely not mentally retarded. I guess our geneticist was wrong. She also stated the fact that he is cute and looks "normal" will hide any disability that he has and make things easier. In other words, he doesn't look very retarded. While I appreciate where she was going with all of that, it has taken me years to accept the profound effects of WS on my son's body and brain, and I could care less about hiding anything. I suspect it's progressively apparent to strangers that something is different about him. I take him in to pick up work, and I'm sure they are beginning to figure it out. I'm really okay with that. Most people love his strange, loving ways, although they don't know the reason he is different. The only reason I steer clear of the topic around people who don't know is that I lack the energy or experience to provide a sufficient explanation. Sometimes I think a few people who know are more comfortable pushing things under the rug and making it go away. That doesn't help me much because I can't make it go away. I heard it before at the beginning of all of this, and it comforts me greatly now: He is who he is. I finally get it.
I just smile and keep my mouth shut a lot.
The fear of being trapped here at home still haunts me. I have several favorite mindless activities I do on a regular basis. However, no matter what I do, I feel like I am alone inside a thick-walled bubble. I'm less sad these days and more angry. I'm not sure where the anger comes from. It's a nebulous cloud of emotion that seems to have no set target. It doesn't rise to the surface much anymore, but when it does, it emerges like a spray of heavy, seething molten lava. It surprises me every time. I think, wow, I really am pretty pissed off. I don't really know why.
Worst of all, sometimes I still feel Erik and I are invisible, rising up in this giant bubble, caught by a swift breeze. We float silently over playgrounds, schools, and birthday parties, helplessly watching it all drift by below us. The sunlight makes the filmy walls imprisoning us sparkle brilliantly.
Nobody looks up, and we drift away unnoticed.