Three years ago when my oldest son married and moved out of our home I was embarrassed to realize how little he could do for himself. He couldn’t cook … anything. He couldn’t wash his own clothes. And, we won’t even get into money management. I don’t blame him for those deficits—I hold myself responsible because those are things I should have taught him to do before he left the nest.
At that point I decided that all of our children should learn some basic self-sufficiency. So, they were going to begin getting up to an alarm clock, preparing their own school lunches, washing their own laundry, and we would increase the amount of their allowances to give them enough spending money to pay for their own snacks on the way home from school if they wanted them.
I should also tell you that I am not a morning person, so I don’t do well with getting up and preparing breakfast for the family before school. If there is going to be a family breakfast, it will be prepared by my husband who rises with the roosters (most mornings). But, most mornings it is more of a fend for yourself kind of thing. That is where this story really begins.
Stephen (our almost 16 year old son with AS) sets his alarm and gets up at 5:30 every school morning. The rest of the house is quiet. He does this so that he can take a leisurely shower (and steal all the hot water, even though he would never admit that.) After he showers and dresses he goes to the kitchen to prepare for breakfast. First he decides what to have for breakfast. I think he usually has frozen waffles. But, this morning we were out of frozen waffles and he had to use leftover homemade waffles. He begrudgingly prepared and ate them. But, as a result of the deviation from the routine it was 6:55 and he was just finishing his breakfast. Lunch had not been prepared and he had not yet brushed his teeth. (He can’t figure out what happens to all of the time—almost 1 ½ hours to shower, dress and eat!) He and his father usually leave for school between 7:00 and 7:15.
Normally, I would have stepped in to help save the day. But, after a discussion we had yesterday about how mom always helps him when he is short on time, I decided he had no reason to change his behavior. So, today when he commented that I could help him, I said, “no, I’m not going to.” To which he jokingly replied, “Why, because you don’t love me?” And I answered, “Because I DO love you!”
Sometimes I’m slow to learn, but I do eventually get it! It took 18 years with my first son. But, now, I think I get it.