The Three Times my Son Cried

I don’t think my son cried more than three times in his life.  Yes, there were times when he  screamed often from either unexplainable pain or frustration.  It was hard to witness his distress, even more so because nobody knew for sure what had caused it and how to help. Very hard.  But there was nothing harder than seeing my son cry. I am not counting his baby cries. He cried like babies do.  There was nothing special about those cries and I don’t remember them at all. I remember those three times he cried after he turned 2,

1. Robert cried the night after he had gotten lost in Boston Commons.  ( Don’t Blink) It was only an hour or less, but for his sister, his dad, and for me, it lasted for eternity.  He did not show any signs of distress when he was found  close to the huge playground he remembered from previous visits.  He walked with me trying  to skip and to wiggle out of my hold.  He seemed happy although, he did not appreciate his movements being restricted. It seemed that the whole experience did not have any effect on him.  But that night,  his cry woke us up.  It was a cry of a lost , abandoned, scared soul.

2. He cried another night, just a few years ago.  He shed the same kind of tears of being scared and abandoned.  Maybe he had a nightmare.  Maybe he experienced something during the day, he was not able to share.  Maybe he missed his father who after loosing  job in Massachusetts, worked in California.  Maybe he missed his sister who was studying in Oregon. I did not know.  I still don’t know.  I just held him in my arms until he stopped and  fell asleep.

3.My son’s most excruciating cry was of my doing.  He was twelve years old.  My husband and my daughter went on a two-week long  trip to Mexico.  I don’t remember exactly what had happened that in ther end resulted in my son’s uncontrollable sobbing.  I know  that his crying was preceded by some  OCD behaviors.  I remember  that two different parts of the house needed my immediate attention as there was a leak from the toilet and a broken glass somewhere.  I know that Robert tried to fix everything in his own way which scared me even more.  I remember him going to the garage and getting a plunger.  I  know that I had a feeling of immediate danger.  I was running from one end of the house to another attempting to prevent something.  I don’t remember what it was, but I was exasperated.

And I showed it.

I am not trying to excuse the rumbling which followed by telling that I was exasperated.  I think there is hardly anything worse than showing a child – typical or with special needs – that you are exasperated with him or her.  Nothing worse.  But I was exasperated and I showed it to Robert.

I started rumbling like an angry victim or a prosecutor accusing a criminal. I was like a psychologist coldly diagnosing someone as a psychopath, and thus being beyond redemption.  I was not even  loud but I showed my exasperation in the worst way.   And that was when Robert began to weep.

It was as  if the dam was  suddenly broken and the tears gushed not just from his eyes but straight from his heart.  As if all the emotions, he could not express for the first 11 years of his life, suddenly became unbearable. and broke through iron and concrete fortifications.   He was crying as if he was telling me, “I don’t know how I should live.  I don’t know how to move.  I don’t know where to go.  I don’t know what is my place in this world.  I don’t know who I am. ”

Even now, 10 years later, I still cannot get over that cry.

I am not always sweet mother to him.  I am not afraid to say, “No” to Robert, refuse him something.  I do tell him that I am angry when I am angry and I tell him why.  He is, more or less, tolerating that.  Sometimes, he negotiates his own way, sometimes he accepts my decisions.  Sometimes, by making groaning sounds he shows me that he is angry too. Sometimes I am still exasperated.  But when that happens, I either avoid showing my feelings to Robert, or I tell him precisely  which of his actions made me angry.

I don’t  ever show my EXASPERATION WITH Robert.  Mainly, because I am never exasperated by him. I carry his cry with me all the time.  I understand that everything Robert does, no matter how it looks to those who don’t know him, comes  from his understanding how the world works and his efforts to fit in.  That might be a wrong understanding and it might cause some problems but it is never, never  malicious.

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