I worry about dying brain cells.
I am no longer able to remember how to spell ‘Tchaikovsky’ but find that ‘Schizophrenia’ is a doddle.
I have mislaid my encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaurs and my ability to match the correct face and name of Thomas the Tank Engine and his rabble. It’s a losing battle. Meanwhile I struggle with Pokemon powers, pronunciation and other evolutions. NPR drifts into my auditory processing system about “twins,” separated twins. I listen with my ears closed because the quips that I hear set off alarm bells:- their sense of loss and being incomplete.
My working knowledge of twins is limited. I have friends who are twins. I have have friends who have twins. I have friends who have autistic twins both in real life and on line. When I had children of my own I would attend baby showers, a largely American phenomenon. The first time expectant parents would announce their double delight, twins were on the way. All those without children would say ‘how cute.’ All those with children, would think, silently, ‘baptism of fire.’
I see no point in dwelling upon the past but at the same time I recall a period of years when I was always pregnant. The number of pregnancies is easy to count, but not good to share. It is enough that I have four perfect children now. Through all the fear, I can reflect upon one miscarriage in particular. The blood was a tip off at four months. It is the clue that shuts down your brain and heart because numbness is the only way to survive, especially if you have other children to thrive for. The telephone call was compassionate but at 17 weeks there was nothing to be done. We went through the same steps that we had been through before, the resignation and acceptance of the inevitable.
Once in the obstetrician’s office I removed my glasses so that I would be unable to focus upon the screen. Instead I focused upon what possible arrangements we could make for our other children whilst I visited the hospital, again? Overnight stay or ‘out-patients’? It was hard to resist the magnetic pull of the screen. My eyes were drawn to it’s darkness and displayed a black blob. It was not a picture that I wanted seared into my retina. My ears remained open, listening to the silence. We could not ignore the sudden familiar detection of a rhythmic heart beat, hidden, until it was chased down, cornered and came into view. A hidden twin! A perfect, fast moving little shrimp of grey fuzzy dots.
It’s not that I don’t ever think about such things, it’s more that I find it important to concentrate on the here and now of life, rather than the ‘what if?’ of years gone by.
The here and now, makes me wonder what percentage of his agitation, hyper-vigilance and anxiety is related to what he himself has lost, his twin? His reliance and dependence upon little talismen to help him through the day? The slew of stress. How much is autism, how much is being a little kid, how much is an absent presence?