Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Be-Ing Roostery : Absence Makes the Heart Grow

Almost never is it just the Rooster and me, home alone.
In fact, I have been struggling to remember when we ever had a night like this, and it's possible we never did. 

Peaches had the rare weekday play date though, far on the other side of town, and when Rooster and I settled in together, we took out his homework to discover another extremely rare occurrence: Because he had to take a big, long test today, his teachers gave only one assignment: Read for twenty minutes. I didn't even tell him that his homework was reading, because to him "homework" is automatically a negative association, and I want him to continue to revel in the joy of his reading. Honestly, to my boy, reading for only twenty minutes would be a punishment.

So we have been hanging out, eating dinner, resting, and reading, for about three hours now.

We didn't do anything fancy. That is just what made it ideal -- the things we didn't do. We didn't yell or get wild, we didn't have time outs, we didn't struggle through pages of math, we didn't have any standoffs about mistakes on assignments, we didn't rush, we didn't have to do deep breathing exercises to keep our sanity.

I liked how we read. I liked how we sat on the sofa. I liked how we ate. It sounds ridiculous, but it was a wonderful evening. I liked all the things that lacked drama. I liked the calm.

The absence of homework from school, and the absence of working at home to manage two kids who can sometimes bring out the wild in each other, made for a night of restorative be-ing.

I highly recommend you take some things off your plate as soon as possible and have a night like ours. It does a soul good.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


You don't get days much more beautiful than the one we had today.

Not hot or cold or windy or wet or anything other than bright, comfortable, glorious, inviting weather.

I drove home with an ache in my belly past kids on bikes, families on walks, parents pushing strollers, a skateboarder, and many smiling faces.

Once I arrived home, I sat in my car an extra minute or two, not sure how to go inside and seize the day.

It's hard when you have a child who has learning disabilities, communication challenges, and poor social skills, to know the right way to begin the evening.

As much as I'd like to join the beauty outside my house, inside, there is work to be done. Homework means reteaching, much needed practices, playing catch-up, addressing areas of great challenge for my son, and corralling my precocious and undisciplined daughter.  Family time means balancing difficult dynamics and endless quarreling. Housework means some idiosyncratic chores that, I'll just say, are probably not occupying most typical families on the block. Dinner and packing lunches means constant care with kids with severe allergies.

When I get home from work, hours of effort stretch out before me, and the hardest work of all is figuring out how to experience any leisure or play. Sometimes the effort feels debilitating, if that makes any sense.

And so I'm blogging now as the sun disappears, taking away the perfection outside our window, closing yet another opportunity when I am entirely unsure whether or not I blew it.

Probably I did. Probably I blew it.

Hopefully the sun will come up again tomorrow and give me another chance.

Friday, November 9, 2012

If You Only Knew

The other day, a colleague told me, "You worry too much!"

I laughed, because I thought, "If you only knew!"

The other day my sitter gave my kids fat circles of carrots for a snack, and when I walked in and saw them I had the sense of needing to swoop in, rescue them, conquer those evil carrots, protect my babies like they were about to fall off cliffs, and I recognized my overreaction with both a laugh and some concern. (Then, of course, I diced the carrots finely and let my sitter know to always do the same.)

Yesterday I had a very minor traffic accident. No one was hurt, the rate of speed was very slow, and you would have to carefully scrutinize my license plate to even find a clue anything had happened. Today, I drove like I am 200 years old, and every single shadow on the freeway caused me to slow down, check my mirrors, sit up straighter. I laughed at my over-cautiousness, but stayed in the right lane all day.

Partly, I was born this way.

Partly, I have some autism PTSD. I worry about everything because I am worried that I didn't worry about some of the things that I should have worried about regarding my son and autism.  I worry because when I worry sometimes - voila - some of the things I worried about don't happen, maybe because I have learned to worry about them, so I want to be worry vigilant. I worry because there is so much press about all the things you have to worry about if your child has autism. I worry because it's easier to worry about carrots and cars than a child's autism -- his social isolation, multiple learning disabilities, health concerns, expensive therapies, and future prospects -- by a long shot. Worry has become a habit, a mantra, and a way of life, and I worry about the worry. That's probably what worries me most.