Monday, June 25, 2007

A mother of a phone call

My mother called this evening, which was quite the shock. I believe that our last phone call was when I called her in February to tell her I was pregnant. In March, I sent an email to let her and my sisters know about the miscarriage, and that was how we left things.

Trillian and I keep a family blog where we can post updates and pictures. Just about two weeks ago, Trillian wrote about the autism checklist and where things stood for Scooter. I was pretty sure that she had read the entry, but was actually relieved that I hadn't heard from her directly.

The conversation began with a discussion of the family reunion we're going to in August. She and at least one of my sisters will be heading down to see some family on the other side after the main event and wanted to see if I would want to join them. I'll still be teaching then, so I won't be able to extend the trip--something I actually regret since my favorite aunt is one of the people we'd be seeing.

Then she turned to the matter I would have expected to lead off. So we talked some about where we are in the process of getting Scooter evaluated. The role of genetics came up--when she mentioned that there are certain characteristics that run in our family. I agreed and mentioned that I'm pretty sure that, had the idea of high-functioning autism been the sort of thing tested for when I was a child, I probably would have fallen in the nebulous borders of such a diagnosis (more on that later). I decided not to point out that I'm pretty sure she would too, though I did mention that it tends to show up in children of engineers, computer experts, mathematicians, and the like. No need to remind her that her family is full of mathematicians, herself included.

And then I decided to slip in a subject I have avoided bringing up with her, our plans of moving closer to Trillian's parents. I started with the small town we're looking at, the high incidence of autism there, their public schools and incredibly well developed autism-support program, the public preschool for developmentally delayed children. And then I moved on to the possible job in the city where my in-laws live, but omitting all mention of said in-laws. No discernible reaction, something she'll probably meditate on for a while.

To my mother's credit, she was bearable, almost pleasant, nothing particular that rubbed me the wrong way. But I still wish it were more than that--more natural, less obligatory, a time when I didn't feel I need to guard my words. Luckily I have my aunt and mother-in-law, both of whom tend to say just the right thing or at least know when to just listen.


Aliki2006 said...

I'm glad the conversation went better than expected. I tiptoe around my mother, too.

As a related aside, it's been tough to "break the news" to both sides of parents about our son's Asperger's. Both sides voiced initial denial (of course my MIL said flat out last spring that she just *knew* Liam didn't have SID), which hurt quite a bit since we've been grappling with so much this past year.

Did you meet with any denial?

Mouse said...

We haven't had a lot of denial or resistance at this point (other than my own coping process), but we also haven't heard from very many people since we went the route of posting on our family blog. My in-laws were a little resistant around his birthday when we were putting him through some initial evaluations; that came from a place of "he's perfect just as he is," but they are very much on board now and have done a ton of legwork for us on services around their city.

vikki said...

My sister and I still struggle to reconcile the mother we wanted/needed with the mother that we have. Some days are harder than others...

Raji said...

You said it so well, the wish that we could be more "natural, less obligatory, the need to be guarded"....I wish that too, but I have learnt to accept that thats the way things will be. And I give thanks for MIL and Dad - both of whom I can be completely direct with and not tiptoe about.

Good luck with all your plans.


Lisa b said...

not bad, but never good. I know how it is.
I wish it was better. Accepting that the relationship will probably never be any better is hard. I always wish it would be. I always wish that my mom is the person I would know I could call to make everything better, or at least to make me feel better.
I just hope that I can make my kids feel that way about me.

Mouse said...

Late to responding on my own blog, but I think that Vikki perfectly articulates something I've been thinking about. My mother is not what I wanted/needed, and I still haven't quite figured out what to do with that. There's still a part of me that thinks and hopes something will just "click" and suddenly the relationship will work.