My son celebrates his 18th birthday this week. I’ve done the sentimental, gushing, love you blog before as you would expect from this over emotional baggage, so now it’s time for celebration by way of day to day ordinariness or how life really is with a tall, skinny, handsome and he knows it, intelligent and he knows it, annoying, slightly lazy, pedantic, crazy…you get the drift, a fairly normal teenager.
Except of course he isn’t fairly normal. He is very Asperger’s and this brings with it blessings, a completely different way of looking at life, along with all the normal hormonal teenage angst. Life can be interesting at times!
At three he stood in the middle of a football sized grassy area in our local park in London, pulled down his trousers, mooned at the passing world, stood up and shouted at the top of his voice ’My Mom is 35 today’ .I was there was no denying that point. Nor was there denying at that age that my son had a special intelligence. The nursery nurses at his school argued over who would have the pleasure of sitting with him in the book corner to listen to him read. His temper tantrums were legendary. There was no argument as to who was dealing with them; the teacher!
When he was nearly four and I was bemoaning the fact that he had never slept through the night, well except once by accident when he was 9 months old and I woke one morning to see daylight (I never set my alarm, I never needed to) was momentarily confused and then rushed to his cot to check he was still breathing, I was warned that teenagers were far more exhausting to deal with. I dismissed this comment as from someone who had no idea about the world I inhabited but the words were indeed uttered by a woman of wisdom and experience and returned to haunt me.
They say you should never enter a teenagers personal domain, aka bedroom, known to me as the black hole for household objects enter that room and are never seen again. A couple of weeks ago I knew that I could leave it no longer. Previous excursions to the room previously known as bedroom have resulted in unpleasant discoveries, some of which I cannot detail here for fear of upsetting sensibilities, so I donned rubber gloves, old clothes and reminded myself that there was a shower with my name engraved upon it at the end. I started by clearing the gunk from the sides and underneath the bed. Two bin bags filled with old Doritos packets, soft drinks bottles and energy drink cans later, I examined the walls and radiator and knew that scrubbing was the only answer. Every time I kneeled down by the radiator my nose was assaulted by the most vile aroma. We’d been having aroma issues for a while and had not been able to pinpoint the exact source of Canal No5, just that it was in the general direction of the black hole. Now it appeared that the cupboard by the radiator may hold the answer. I drew a breath, held it and opened the draw. My preventative measures were in vain for the stench was all powerful and not of this earth. I gently reached into the cupboard and drew out t shirts, handfuls of them, all enveloped in the stench of a million rotting corpses. Every single one of them had to be laundered. Eventually at the bottom I discovered the source; an old sandwich box c.2006. It was sealed. The contents were indescribable in terms of structure but in colour they were black. I suspect the insect life within may have proved fascinating for biologists the world over, leading to the classification of several new species along with an entirely new genus for fungus.
Ok so I’m a slattern, What sort of woman leaves it 6 years between cleaning out cupboards/ Well a busy one with better things to do with her time says me in my defence! The sandwich box was disposed off (sorry Walsall Refuse Collectors) and the cupboard duly scrubbed. Son walks in a few hours later and remarks that the ‘smell’ has gone. Too right it has.
No doubt there are many mothers with similar stories to tell. I hope so because it means that despite evidence to the contrary, my lovely son is just the same as any other teenager. I do hope so.
Hopefully he’ll be off to University in just over 12 months time and if so then who knows what will be discovered in the ensuing mass extermination and deep cleaning process that will be a very necessary evil following the tearful departure. I don’t half love him though and I will miss him and I will promise him not sell up, depart and not leave a forwarding address. He’s a joy…no, really he is.
Happy 18th Birthday Son.
Oh and for the record I now have the use of several dozen utensils formerly lost, plates, mugs and glasses galore. I love my dishwasher as well as my son....