This is a poem I wrote early last year. Since writing it we have had a diagnosis of ASD and ADHD. My life as a mother has forever changed. My whole approach to how I communicate with my child has had to evolve and be adapted. We’re getting there, and things are calmer. I spent a long time grieving for who I thought he would not be, instead of celebrating all he could be and all that he is.
I’m bruised and I’m battered
The pain is immense, as your clenched hand throws more punches at me.
My face, my upper arms, my abdomen. You’re not careful where you hit. Your rage, your anger is greater than you. You forget who you are when it comes. I think of last week as we walked along the beach you took my hand. I wore a new dress, you told me I looked beautiful as we smiled at one another. But now you scream at me, shouting you hate me. As you punch and you kick. I think of you crying your face resting on my chest, I will stroke your hair, I will kiss your head. But now you yell, now you scream. Now I cry but you’re blind to my tears. Yours will come soon, your face will taste of salt when my lips touch your check. You throw an object at the wall – I don’t see what. The impact makes a large bang. For a moment we both stare shocked and afraid. But then you carry on, you continue to fight. ‘I’m not you’re enemy, I’m not your enemy. I love you’ I say. But you can’t hear my words, your screams drown them out. More kicks, one hits me straight in the tummy. I back away now, I need to catch my breath. You watch as I rub my abdomen, a place you were once tugged up in oh so safe. You pull the blanket over your head, you hide. I sigh, you’re calming, you’re calming. I stand back wanting to hold you, wanting to make you safe, wanting to touch your face. I bruised and I’m battered, I’m hurt and I’m sore. But I’ll be back for more. I won’t leave you; I won’t run away. I know I’ll take more punches, face more of your anger and frustration. But when you’re kind, when you’re calm, when you are you – you are beautiful and fun. We laugh and we dance. You tell me I’m the best cook in the world, that you love me. You love me. You point out the long-tailed tits in our lilac tree, call me when the woodpecker lands. When we cuddle, we spoon so that each part of your body touches mine. I can hear each breath you make; at times we are so close I can feel your heartbeat. I can smell your shampoo, taste the toothpaste left on your lips. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. This anger is greater than you, this volcano in your tummy. Your lava erupts and it spills. Later you’ll forget this rage, forget this feeling. Later you’ll love and laugh and be filled with a joy. And I’ll stand by, my arms held out wide ready to engulf you. A smile on my face, my tears long dried. You’re my son and you’re 7 years old. …and I love you. I love you.