I must admit that I have been remiss in writing of late. It's not as if I don't have a bonafide get out of jail free card, being a single mom of four kids (one with special needs) during a pandemic. Nonetheless, I found myself writing with much more diligence and consistency in the past, during more trying times. So, although I have good reason for slacking a bit, it's certainly not an excuse.
So if it's not just the predictable reason, single mom of four kids in a pandemic, that has eclipsed me from writing, what is it? It's certainly not a shortage of ideas either, as I have more than enough of those swirling around in my head all the time. Upon reflection, I think there are a few reasons for my silence.
Garin, my phenomenally bright but admittedly high-maintenance son with Asperger's, would be the first. Returning to full-time, in-person school, on the heels of the pandemic has been incredibly good for him. However, it has brought about some new and. some returning challenges, that we faced prior to the pandemic. Additionally, he will be heading to high school next year (how is that possible), resulting in a lot of due diligence on my part, in preparation for that monumental event. His needs, his special needs. that is, add up to a lot of time for me. There are countless phone calls,; emails to teachers. and providers of special services; various inquiries, too limitless to count; school visits; meetings with lawyers; meetings with consultants; school IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings; countless support sessions with friends and fellow warrior moms of special needs kids; and so much more that go into making sure his needs are met. I spend more. time on his needs than those of my other three children combined. This. is not said to make him feel badly nor to elicit pity, but rather to remind myself and illuminate others on what. it takes to. raise a special boy like Garin. Anyone reading this who has a child with special needs knows exactly what I'm referring to. For those of you with neurotypical kids, just multiply their needs by a thousand and that might give you a rough idea of what it is like to parent a child with special needs.
The second and much less interesting reason. for my absence from writing is that I discovered some operational problems with my website/blog that needed to be addressed. Since I had neither the time nor expertise to do so, my blog sat idle, which has felt like somewhat of a loss for me as well as for those of you who enjoy my regular posts.
Lest I bore you with the tedious details of how a website operates, suffice it to say that mine had some issues that needed rather immediate attention. So what else would a technologically ignorant person such as myself do, but call the company to get them fixed? My website is run by Wix, an Israeli-based software company that provides cloud-based web development services (and yes, I plagiarized that directly from the internet because I would never be able to figure out that vernacular on my own).
As I all but predicted, the particular issues I was having with my website left the customer service representative at Wix befuddled. After hours on the phone, she could not figure out how to be of help to me. She promised to escalate my problem to a higher division within the company and assured me they would call back soon with a solution. No surprise, ten days passed with no return phone call.
That left Garin or me to figure it out, which left only Garin, for obvious reasons. However, Garin is busy with school these days, both on the weekdays and weekends, so I hesitated to bother him with my technological problems. Nonetheless out of desperation, I finally mentioned the futile conversation I had had with Wix to him, to which he replied, "No problem Mommy, I can fix that. I’ll just make a copy of the home page, move that to the current blog page (less the recent posts that appear on the home page), and then change the current blog page into the new home page." What? I had no idea what he was talking about. Not only was I utterly confused, but also scared in that irrational way that technical idiots get when they don’t understand what's going on and think that their entire project (or in this case website, including two years of blog posts) is just going to disappear into thin air, never to be seen again.
Of course, that’s not the way this story ends. Rather, Garin worked his coding magic this weekend and was able to completely fix the rather complicated problems with my website. While he was working he asked me if I wanted to take the opportunity to make a few design changes, which of course I jumped at the chance to do. As I watched him work, I was in complete awe. His ability to maneuver his way around the website and work on complicated coding with such ease and expertise was mind-boggling to me. It’s been over two years since we created the website, so I would have thought he might be a bit rusty, but that was hardly the case. He recalled exactly how he had set things up to begin with (at the ripe old age of 11), and was able to determine with such confidence what changes needed to be made to remedy the problems.
My gratitude to Garin is immeasurable. I could never have fixed those problems without his help. And obviously neither could all the gainfully employed tech nerds at Wix. Sometimes I take his brilliance for granted, forgetting how challenging life would be if he were not in the next room to call on for help. But his intelligence and immense talent at virtually everything he does, come at a cost to him, to me, and to our family. Garin is a highly complex boy. He has an over-the-top intellect but also faces so many of the challenges commonly experienced by gifted children. Life is much more complicated for this select one percent of the population than one might imagine. Garin's daily challenges become our challenges as a family and that's not easy. Yet, when I watch him at his best, breezing through a 500-page book in a day, whizzing through algebra homework as if he's doing perfunctory kindergarten math, or working on complicated coding for a website, I try to remind myself to be more grateful for his prodigious attributes and less focused on his deficits. As frustrating as he can be to live with at times (okay, every day), I don't know how this family would ever manage without him, foibles and all.