We All Have Something

Since we are on the topic of Liam.....recently I took Liam to see Madeline's therapist, Miss H. You see, one of the main comorbidities of people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. While OCD affects around 2% of the general population, 30-50% of people on the autistic spectrum also have symptoms of OCD, if not full fledged OCD. Liam has been displaying some signs of anxiety and panic recently so we decided we would have him seen, hoping to get on top of anything before it gets out of control. (Yes, I still live under the illusion that I have some control in these matters!) While at that appointment, I asked Miss H if it was appropriate to talk about Liam's diagnosis with him and she confirmed that we should probably speak with him about it sooner than later.

So, here's how that went.

Liam, Lily, Solomon and I were sitting amongst the mess of the little boys' bedroom before bedtime when I impulsively decided: Hey, let's have that talk now, without any plan or thought about it whatsoever.

"Liam," I started. "Do you now why you go to the support teacher's classroom everyday?" (Lily's eyes widened.)

"No," Liam said, full of smiles and an air of laughter. "But everyone goes there sometime."

"No, not everyone," I replied. "Do you know why you go to the social skills class in school?"

"Yes....um, no," he admitted.

"Well, do you know how we went to see Miss H last month because you were having some anxiety?"


"Do you know why Madeline goes to see her?"

"Yes. Because she has OCD," he said enthusiastically. (You could almost see him tallying his score in his head.)

"Do you know what OCD is?" I asked.

"Obsessive Compulsive Disorder," Lily chimed in.

"OCD is something Madeline has that makes her brain work a little differently than other people. She has to take medicine to keep it under control and she goes to talk to Miss H in order to work through the ways her brain is different," I explained. "And recently your brother, Aidan, was diagnosed with ADHD because his brain works differently as well. His brain is like your dad's brain and my brain and most likely Lily's brain. We all have various levels of ADHD which means we have issues with certain things like organization and focus and distractibility among other things. You have something different with your brain, too. It's called ASD which stands for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. When you were a little boy, we noticed you did some things unlike other kids and so they evaluated you and diagnosed you with Aspergers which is kind of a high end form of ASD."

"Well, what does Solomon have?" Liam asked.

"Nothing," Lily said.

"Not that we know of anyway," I added.

Liam looked at Solly, grinned and then ecstatically blurted:

"Ha! We all have something....except you, Solly! You don't have ANYTHING!"

 * * * *

So,  admittedly, I didn't see THAT coming.


My Made For TV Movie

Just to be clear, I did not make a movie. But sometimes I feel like I am in the middle of one, that the plot is unfolding with obvious foreshadowing, crystal clear yet dynamically developing characters (oh the character sketches I could turn in now....if only I were still in 9th grade!) and the most humorous and/or grace-filled moments in the most unexpected of places.

But, the problem with being the woman who defines "mess" in "hot mess mom" is that sometimes I miss things....like, big-ish things.

A few weeks back for instance, I was standing near the soccer field, randomly taking over the concession stand duty while watching Lily play when I got a call from Kurt. Liam had just hit his first home run.

Now, I use that term as loosely as a definition can be used. You see, it was the first time Liam had hit a ball that went beyond the foot in front of home plate. For reference, a few weeks before this, my bestie neighbor, who had graciously donated her time to take Liam to his game since we were stretched too thin (aren't we always?), called to tell me that Liam had hit the ball. "Well, he made contact," she said, which she assumed he had never done before because the entire crowd went wild. It was a proud moment for him, one that Kurt and I completely missed but heard about for several days following.

But this was different. Liam had actually made contact with the ball AND the ball moved forward, straight to the pitcher. And then, as if that were not enough to be completely thrilling, just when one thought the play was over at first base, the first baseman missed the catch and Liam, in all his determined glory, kept running. ("Run, Forrest, Run!")  He must have had it in his head that he was not stopping until he was either safely home or undeniably out because base after base he ran, through mistake after mistake by the infield who, much to everyone's surprise, simply could not stop him. The angels were smiling on him that day (actually, probably every day to be honest) because the kid, who at nine years old still struggles to run straight half the time, made it all around the bases and safely home to the cheering and adoring fans. My understanding is that both teams' parents were cheering when he arrived at home plate.

Now, I have heard the story so many times, I feel like I was actually there. Liam, who crossed home plate, half laughing, half crying, tears rolling down his face and his whole body shaking in complete exhilaration, had just hit his first "career home run" as he would tell us later.

I arrived an hour too late. Because I'm mom of the year. Duh. (And to make it worse, Kurt showed up right AFTER it happened. The fact is, when you have 5 kids, you miss a lot of things. Sigh.)

Somewhere toward the end of the game, the coach put Liam in left field, next to where we were sitting. We watched as the pitcher threw the ball, the batter swung and hit it; up, up, up it soared, straight toward Liam. Liam watched the ball, adjusted his feet just slightly, actually put his glove up in the air and by the grace of the baseball gods, he caught that fly ball.


His eyes widened. He took a double look at the ball in his glove to make sure he had actually caught it and started waving the ball in the air, cheering for himself. "I caught it!"

He was as surprised as the rest of us. "Did you see that?! Did you see that?!"

Everyone went wild. You would think he had just made the final play of the World Series. It was the first out of some random inning in the middle of a random rec league game. But for him, it was a highlight in his life. The kid who almost quit last season because of fear now hit an in-field homer and caught a fly ball for an out, all in one game. Progress.

He has a blessed life, even in light of his differences. Or maybe, just maybe, it is because of his differences that we are able to see the little things as blessings. And when "life" hits the fan, it is those blessings that continuously hold us up, when we remember to let them.

Admittedly, sometimes it feels a little like living with Rudy....or living smack dab in the middle of Rudy, our own little made for TV movie.... And we are oh so grateful.