Hey, they’re still alive, aren’t they?

When the kids were little, I learned it was okay for me to take time for myself. It was necessary to maintaining my sanity – those once-a-month bunco nights, book club, the occasional GNO….When they were older, I started to take weekends – scrapbooking retreats and girls’ getaways. Every time I came home though, I felt I was being punished for having had the nerve to go out/away. The house would be a total disaster – kitchen covered in food and dishes, cups everywhere, everything anyone had worn while I was gone tossed wherever, shoes and blankets all over the floor. I’d cry and yell in frustration. I’d bang things around, making sure everyone was aware I was unhappy with the state of our home. It didn’t make anyone feel any better.

Years passed. I continue to do book club, Girls’ Night Out, weekends away. Sometimes when I come home, they’ve taken the time to clean up, knowing it will ease re-entry for everyone involved.  Sometimes it’s a total disaster. I never really know what I’m going to get, but even if it’s relatively clean, it’s not how I would do it. Counters aren’t wiped down. Blankets aren’t folded on the back of the couch. Shoes aren’t in their baskets. There are likely towels hanging over the chairs in the backyard. The dishwasher isn’t loaded the way I load it (and everyone knows the moms load dishwashers the most effective, efficient way possible to make the most of every inch, right?).  The trash and recycling bins are probably overflowing. Floors likely aren’t swept. I’ve learned to let it go.

Hey, the kids (and pets) are still alive, right? They’ve probably been off-schedule, the boys likely haven’t taken their meds every day. But they’ve been fed. They’ve probably done some fun stuff with dad. They got a break from the way mom does everything. No, it isn’t the way I do things, but everyone is still intact, and the house can be put back to order.

I got home from my weekend in Chicago yesterday. I’d been gone for five days. The house was a DISASTER of the first order. I was so tired, and my luggage had been put on another, much-later plane than mine, so I was dealing with that too. I walked in the door, happy to be home and see my babies. I saw the mess, and sighed. I gave the boys a hug, greeted the fur herd, dropped my bag, and set about putting things in order, my order. But I wasn’t mad. It is what it is. I had an amazing weekend away. My kids had a great time at home (well except for the part both Big Man and the Princess’ phones took a dunking and had to be replaced). And hey, they were still alive, right?

Don’t mind the noise, it’s just a regular night in an autism house.

Houses with autistic kids are noisy…at least ours is.  Most of the time,  I don’t particularly notice all the sound and movement. It’s part of life, our normal.  I do become aware, however, when people are over who don’t see Little Man in his element on a regular basis.

I hosted book club last night…..all wonderful, loving, fun women. They know Little Man’s issues. He did okay for the most part, but bedtime is never easy, particularly when I am inaccessible to walk him through it.  He definitely let me know he was unhappy with the situation, wandering back and forth between the back bedroom and the kitchen, crying a couple of times, running upstairs, stomping around his room. These are all fairly typical behaviors for him. It distracted me. I was trying to manage him, and yet focus on book club at the same time. He finagled a later bedtime with me trying to avoid full meltdown. Then at the extended time, decided he needed a snack. Upstairs, downstairs, he needed water, he wanted me, he was upset, he was anxious. He wandered in and out of the family room.

At the height of it, I did say, “Don’t mind the noise, it’s just a regular night in an autism house.” Everyone nodded, and we went on with the night. Spouse managed bedtime, and Little Man eventually settled. He was in a sound sleep when the ladies left and I went up to bed.

Our household is chaotic. But everyone has their stuff to deal with.  I think we take the hand we’ve been dealt in stride. We roll with what comes. Sometimes that means there’s lot of door-slamming, foot-stomping, lashing out, tears, and yelling. Sometimes, there are quiet, painful tears. Sometimes, there’s calm and quiet. Sometimes, there’s giggling and lots of hugs. Sound pretty normal? Yeah, I thought so too.

Me and my writing voice, and a regular old post

NaBloPoMo prompt for March 4 – How is your writing voice like you? How does your writing voice differ from you?

Hmmmm…that’s a hard one. I think I do write as I would speak. The words that come out on the page are the words in my head, and often are taken from conversations I’ve already had with regard to whatever I’m writing about. The commas, the pauses are just as they would be if I were saying the words out loud.

Where do I differ from my writing voice? I think I’m a lot more honest in my writing. I use this blog as a way to not only document what’s going on with our family on a near-daily basis, but to also process whatever I may be dealing with. It’s my outlet, and probably more of a journal/diary. Often, I find myself turning my conscious brain off and just letting the words flow (outside of typos). Sometimes, I don’t even know what I’ve written until I go back and read it. In that case, my writing voice is more the true me, my true thoughts and feelings than I would probably allow the outside world to see.

And now for our regularly scheduled programming….

How’s running going lately? Pretty well. My short runs are getting longer, although I have yet to go over 7 miles since Surf City. I have a 15K on March 23rd, and then the OC Half on May 10th. I’ve been spending a lot of time on a running store site, supplementing my Spring running gear. I have been studiously working on my breathing while running, getting some negative splits down, and watching my gait. A couple of weeks ago, I developed some left heel pain, which has been somewhat nagging, although it doesn’t seem to hurt while I’m running. Random. I have been getting in three runs a week, which has been the goal for a couple of years. I’m owning the whole “I’m a runner” thing, even following running blogs.

As for Little Man – we seem to be doing either really well, or are really in the tank. He’s way up, or he’s freaking out. He has great days and then he has awful days at school. The new SAI is on top of things, emailing me at least weekly to let me know how he’s doing, how often he’s going to see her, what’s happening when he is in her classroom. I think we may have figured out his post-lunch trigger. It seems the anxiety over upcoming PE time is what’s freaking him out. The SAI is getting the adaptive PE instructor involved, trying to get him engaged and lower his anxiety. Let’s face it though – outside activity is so not his gig. Team and class physical activities stress him out. This is why he’s no longer playing recreational baseball or soccer. It just got to be too much for him, too much to put on a coach, too much worry  he was going to be injured playing with kids who are his age or younger but who are entirely  more athletic and who outweigh him by 20+ pounds. Anyhow, we are scheduling a meeting of his team to check in, adjust goals if needed, and discuss other interventions/accommodations. I’m worried. I’m always worried. When I dropped him off this morning, he stood outside the car door, repeating his typical morning script, and then as I was starting to pull away from the curb, he blew me a kiss. He had the saddest look on his face, his huge blue eyes saying what he could not. I still have my days I would haul him back in the car and not put him through those 6.5 hours 5 days a week. Last night, I had book club, and it ran a bit longer than normal. I didn’t see the text from the husband until I was sitting on our driveway getting out of the car. Little Man was upset, not wanting to go to sleep because I wasn’t home yet. He did not settle until I was inside the house and had gone in to tuck him in, tell him everything was okay, and kiss him goodnight. I reminded him that Momma always comes back, but he just doesn’t do well when I am not home at bedtime. Sigh.

How’s your week going? Doing anything particular to celebrate Fat Tuesday? Are you giving anything up for Lent, and if so, what?