I said goodbye to Mom at the airport this morning. Each visit she is frailer. Today, her hands shook as she lowered herself into the airport wheelchair. I wondered if emotion gripped her, but age and medication were more likely culprits. We hugged and kissed goodbye. I glanced into her eyes and presented an automatic smile that I did not feel. Every trip, sadness washes over me when she leaves.
Mom’s month-long visit lacked our usual adventures and trips. We did not hunt for lighthouses in Maine or haul her scooter to remote beaches in Massachusetts. Mom, Liev and I stayed home, enduring sniffly colds and endless rain. I missed getting away and doing something different. A change of scenery is invigorating since taking care of my family consumes me.
Mother came to help me process my recent Asperger’s diagnosis. My diagnosis is a happy occurrence, however, the stress and excitement of the process left me overwrought and exhausted. I welcomed her help and support. The smell of home-cooked meals again wafted through the house. Liev gladly spent time with her, leaving me time to read, relax and fold laundry.
In the evenings, Mom had many questions. The process of answering them drained me. When my son was diagnosed autistic, we realized that my dad was autistic, too. We quietly accepted that Dad had Asperger’s, especially when his psychiatrist backed it. It was an obvious fit. Seeing the condition in me challenged my mother, not only because women on the spectrum present differently, but also because I am her daughter and she needed to understand.
In the end, Mother educated herself through books and websites, embracing my diagnosis. Although I missed our seaside trips, we both needed this time to reflect on my life and future. Now, I want those trips back, with all the joy they bring. A diagnosis has not changed who I am, but it has given me insight into how I can handle my life with wisdom.