The Mother and Son Phase We’re In Now

“Where are you going?” Norrin demanded as he saw me opening the door to leave. 

“To throw away the garbage.” I answered slowly and softly, trying to maintain my patience with my 8 year old son with autism.

Is this an autism thing or a boy thing? I wondered.

Five years ago, the first day I put Norrin on the bus I worried. Would he cry? Would he hate the separation? But Norrin didn’t cry, he stepped right on without looking back.

It’s always been that way. As a mom who has had to work outside the home, I’ve prided myself on raising a “secure” baby who didn’t cry when dropped off with sitter, put on the bus or when I walked out the door to go to the market. 
In the last year that has all changed.

I can’t go anywhere without a demand to know where I’m going or a plea to come with. “I want to go with mom,” he says. He wants to go with me everywhere and be with me all the time. Which is sweet in theory but impossible in practice, considering I work full time outside the home and he goes to school. 

My husband, Joseph, has told me that on nights when I work late, Norrin cries for me, constantly asking “when will mama be back?” I’ll come home from work and Norrin will run out from his room and say, “Mama you’re back. I missed you.” I give him a hug and kiss his tear stained cheeks and my heart breaks. 

I don’t attend many blog conferences but the last few I attended, have been extremely challenging for Norrin. I’ve talked to him before I leave. Print out calendars with the dates circled. But he cries every day I’m gone and continuously asks when I coming home. And when I return, he requires constant reassurance that I will not “go to the airport again.”

It’s working mom guilt to the 10 millionth degree.

And then every morning when Joseph drops me off at the train station he urges me to be careful. “Norrin can live the rest of his life without me, it’s you that he needs.” No pressure, babe. No pressure at all. 

I’ll be honest, it catches me off guard when I realize how much Norrin loves me. I am amazed how much he misses me when I’m gone. He doesn’t draw pictures or make me jewelry or cards to express his feelings. He doesn’t even want to hear my voice over the phone. The only way he can express his love for me, is through tears. Sometimes I take the importance of my presence in his life for granted. 

The thing is, there isn’t a person on this planet who loves me, the way Norrin does. Whatever phase this is, I know it won’t last forever. There will come a day when he’ll slam his bedroom door as soon as he comes home from school, be embarrassed to be seen with me and refuse to hold my hand in public. So I will enjoy this phase for as long as I can and continue to reassure Norrin that no matter where I am, I am always in his heart. And he is always in mine.

Mothers of Sons – have you experienced this kind of separation anxiety?


On Autism Hopes @ The Max – How To Help Your Child With Separation Anxiety

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