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Dirk Ludwig's Mom

♥ I never knew how much love my heart could hold until someone called me Mama ♥

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Male in My Bed – By: Ms. Leonor Laluna

I have been an HR practitioner for about 5 years and definitely I love my job. For 5 years I was able to learn a lot and more importantly, I was able to gain true friends. My bosses were been very good to me. Since mother’s day is coming, I want to give credit to my very 1st boss, my very energetic and alluring Ms. Leonor Laluna (a.k.a Mommy Leony). She was my 1st boss in +Innodata and I really enjoy working with her.

She is a very active member of Toastmasters International. This speech I am sharing is her piece for mother’s day. 

to My Tita +lumen rodriguez, this is also for you!

The Male in My Bed 
By: Ms. Leonor Laluna

I can’t sleep!!! He keeps me up; awake at night, at 1, 2, sometimes 3 am, with his constant demands for attention. And I wish I could tell you I have a tall, dark, handsome, well-muscled man in my bed, but no. He’s a foot shorter than me, he’s 9 years old, he’s my son and he has autism.
Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, & by restricted & repetitive behavior. It affects 1 in 350 children, making this disability more common than childhood cancer, blindness, and Down syndrome. Autism occurs 4X more frequently in males than in females, & often in firstborn males. Personally, I have likened it to God’s last plague, of getting the first-born son, on whom much of a family’s hopes and futures are pinned on.

Source :

Its one thing to know what autism is, & another to live it every day. At 9, my son still doesn’t talk, but I can still remember the elation I felt when at 4, he called me “Mama”. He cries & shouts when having a tantrum. The weirdest things can set him off, like when he’s eaten something he shouldn’t. The ordinary, delicious things we take for granted are dietary no-no’s: bananas, ice cream, cake, bread, soda, orange juice. And the rain! I used to love sleeping to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof, but for most autistic children, rain is painful to their ears. I know when it’s going to rain, coz my son starts crying & raging violently for no reason at all. But it’s not as bad as it was, for with physical & occupational therapy & sensory integration & having grown up, the crying bout that would sometimes last for 2-3 hours, is now reduced to incessant crying for just only an hour. & sometimes he doesn’t even cry when it rains, but just puts his hands over his ears.

At his worst, during his autistic, violent rages, my son hurts himself, he pummels his cheeks with his hands, bangs his head on the wall, kicking and screaming. I wish I could take away the pain he feels – I try to restrain him & it helps when he turns it on me – he bites! Many a time I’d report groggy for work the next day, sporting bruises & bite marks, head aching after my son’s famous head-butts or for lack of sleep. But the most difficult thing sometimes is to clean up after him, for he’s still not toilet trained. Still, its one thing to clean up my son’s messes, & another to take the crap, psychologically & emotionally from someone else. Especially when that someone is the man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with. I never had difficulty accepting my son’s condition. I thought it pointless to ruminate endlessly about what could have caused his autism, but instead, focused my efforts on what to do from the moment of diagnosis. And yet, for a die-hard romantic, I have given up on romance. For it’s not just a matter of finding someone to love me, but also finding someone who’ll accept & love my son as well. How could I ask that of any man, when even his own father could not. I could accept my husband hurting & not loving me, but I could never forgive him for hurting & not loving my son. I grew tired of nights spent shielding my son from the blows he meant for my beautiful, defenseless boy, done ostensibly so as to shut him up when his tantrums were at his most severe.
It’s tiring too, having to look for different schools each time, & try out different therapies, looking & hoping for a cure & trying to find a way to pay for it all. It’s so hard trying to make ends meet, & doing it alone. Some times I’ve even thought of selling my body (after all, I have a pound or 2 of belly fat I can afford to lose). Being able to laugh at myself & find humor in the midst of all these.

But it’s worth it. My son is the sweetest boy there is. I can’t even begin to tell you the indescribable joy I feel, to see his face light up each time he sees me. How he waits patiently & looks out the window for me to come home. I’m glad he has hearing sensitivities & not touch unlike some kids with autism, for he loves being cuddled & he loves hugging me. I love the way he’d come up to me from behind, & loop his puny arms around me. In a world where I am accustomed to men who turn out to be insensitive bastards more often than not, my son is the perfect male in that he’ll be forever innocent & uncorrupted, & he’ll never break my heart. I have learned to appreciate & enjoy life all the more, because of him. I may live life with a sort of desperate quality to it, cramming my days with so many events and activities (outings with friends, work, and travel, Toastmasters, training and singing engagements). Part of it is having a creative outlet, but part of it is also living life for my son’s sake, for all the things he’d never experience. And I have learned to grab at whatever happiness I can have, however fleeting and transitory it may be.

I have to admit, I’m quite used to getting compliments about the way I look. Growing up in a brood of 4 girls, I’ve always been the one singled out by relatives in family gatherings as “the pretty one”. And now, I love it the most, when people, especially in Toastmasters, refer to me as “one hot momma”. Even now, at 35, on my best days, when the light is just right, I can even pass for a young, lithesome 25. Blame it on the way I look, or on my warm, engaging personality, how generally nice and friendly I am to strangers, friends & peers alike; how competent I am in the work I do; how talented & vibrant I can be in the pursuit of my passions – be it in singing, writing, or delivering a speech. But you don’t really see. And you don’t really know. For behind closed doors, when no one is looking & everybody is asleep, when my spirit is low, eyes brimming with tears, & I’m trying once again to pacify my beautiful boy in his violent, autistic rages, at 2am, that is when I am at my most beautiful.

As May comes around once again, I have this message to give to a special group of women. To all mothers, who give the best they can for their children & having done everything, entrust & pray to the good Lord for guidance for their kids. To all single moms who singly make all the decisions & who work real hard to make ends meet & bring up kids on their own. And most especially, to single moms with kids with special needs, for toughing it out & being brave, even though you certainly don’t feel brave at all. My wish for all of you is this: Be a happy mom. You owe it to your kids to be happy, to show them that one can choose to be happy in the face of life’s adversities. But most of all, you owe it to yourself, to be happy. Happy Mother’s Day!

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