Wake-Up Call

20 Oct

I didn’t realize it was Wednesday all over again till I sat down and found corned beef at the breakfast table. Corned beef is always Wednesday morning’s breakfast, the same way tocino (sweetened cured pork) is on Sundays, or boneless tinapang bangus (smoked milkfish) is on Saturdays. Everything is downright predictable in this household, save for some rare days when someone wants French toast made from old raisin bread with a generous dollop of apple cinnamon marmalade (that someone is usually me), or a less imaginative but always hungry young man wants fried crisp Spam with garlic rice. Regular days with regular schedules keep this household running smoothly… until something goes wrong, that is.

I wanted to share the details of Alphonse’s most recent misadventures, but on advice from my better half, decided against it. A feels that Alphonse deserves a bit of privacy to his life and that as Alphonse turns older (he will be 16 in exactly 14 days) I will have to be more discreet about the things I share about him with the public. I should have realized that much earlier. That Alphonse has autism and that he still is very much a young child in terms of cognition and experiences should not take away his right to privacy. This is most important now that he is on the cusp of manhood and on the brink of a new self-discovery and voyage. Some things- not all- will have to be just among the family.

I write about my children often, that cannot be denied. When they were smaller and my world revolved around parenthood, every single moment of my life was about them. It would have been impossible then to separate the writer from my person as a mother, seeing how my history and experiences of the world were almost always seen through this particular perspective. And yet, now that the kids are beginning to pull away from my apron strings, I will have to let them speak of their own lives themselves and choose what they want to share with the world or keep to themselves.

The truth is, it’s difficult not to see Alphonse as a baby, not when he is dependent on us for almost everything. From morning till night, his world is the world we built for him. Even as we help him discover new things in the world, this home, this life, and this family are the things that keep him grounded to us. We look at him and still see a child when the whole world already sees a young man. I guess that’s where the lines are sometimes crossed, when I share too much of his life that may not be mine to share anymore.

I won’t stop writing about my kids, but I will be more discerning when I do. I will keep in mind that these are young men, who regardless of their abilities and/or disabilities, must always have a choice on who and what they want to be. It won’t be long now before they test their new wings. As a parent, all I can do now is to let them fly.

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9 Responses to “Wake-Up Call”

  1. Just A Friend October 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    I think that’s always going to be an issue when it comes to personal blogs- drawing the line between the public and the personal. I do think you strike a good balance.

    • Kittymama October 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

      Thank you very much for your kind words, my friend. I will always strive to maintain that balance, and hope that you always find it here too.

  2. Indiana Lori October 20, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    So beautifully written! I think those same thoughts, even with my girls so small: what will they think if someday, they read every single word I’ve written? So many posts take nights of “sleeping on it”, and many, I delete before publishing. Sometimes we write because we need to, and delete because it’s best…even if there are words we wish to say out loud.

    Best Wishes, Indiana Lori

    • Kittymama October 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

      I guess that’s why I don’t write about my older son as much, because I am always wary that he may not want others to know what is going on in his life. He is at this stage when his privacy means a lot to him. And then again, because we are their mothers, we can’t help but write about them. I always have to remind myself that what I write will linger, long after their childhood, and I don’t want them to think that I ever made fun of, or humiliated, or insulted them, even unintentionally, before the whole world.

      Thanks for the good wishes, Lori. I’m sending you blessings too!

  3. Lyra October 21, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Sad to learn that I won’t be reading so much about Alphonse anymore. I’m a regular silent reader (lurker). I can relate so much because my daughter has autism too. She’s 11 and all the things you share about Alphonse are the same experiences we have with our daughter. You say it so well that when I’m lost for words to explain, I direct my friends to your blog. It’s like I’m the one telling them how we live with autism everyday. Would you by any chance care to share your email address?

    • Kittymama October 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

      I think what this post means is that while I will continue to advocate for autism and share what I’ve learned parenting Alphonse, some things will have to be all his. I love to write about him because he really is a wonderful human being but if he could speak for himself, I bet he would say “Too much information, Mom!”
      If I respect my older son’s privacy, then I should do so with Alphonse too. But don’t worry, I will continue to write about autism from a parent’s perspective.

      I’ll send you email on the address you left in this blog and share mine with you there. 🙂

  4. Michael October 22, 2010 at 12:17 am #

    It can be difficult deciding what to speak of and what not to. It may be less of a big deal to speak of someone to others who do not know them. While disclosure of some things to those acquainted with the person might be a bit more risky as they actually may encounter them and it is a more personal connection rather than the impersonal nature of random people who will likely never encounter them.

    • Kittymama October 22, 2010 at 11:24 am #

      I totally agree, Michael. Where to draw the line is always a difficult subjective decision. Alphonse can’t speak for himself so I am often his voice and there lies the balancing act between speaking for myself and him using me to speak for him. Even if random people were all who read this blog, I still would want them to know that I strive to protect my son’s right to his privacy.

      • Michael October 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

        That makes perfect sense. ::nod::

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