Tag: respite

Hitting the reset button

Here I am, on my bi-weekly trek to the laundromat.  My husband and I trade off this delightful task, making it slightly less unpleasant for each of us.  Will I be happier when we own our home and can do laundry whenever we want, one load at a time?  Perhaps, but I see it in a different light.  Once every other week, I get an hour to sit in the sunshine and write, kid-free. Not only that, but I can cram seven loads into two large-capacity washers followed by four large-capacity dryers and get it all done for around $11.50.  I don’t know yet what the costs will be once I’m running my own standard machines every single day for the rest of my natural born life, because I never bothered to calculate it when I owned my home before.

What am I trying to say?  

That’s right.  Kid-free.  Important time for all of us, regardless of our child’s needs. It’s like hitting the reset button on your brain, only you also get clean clothes and sheets at the end.  Bonus!

Isn’t this a blog about raising kids on the spectrum?  Why is she rambling on about laundry?

Because sometimes even I get sick of talking about autism.  Sometimes I want to talk about laundry pods and the fact that our laundromat now has free WiFi.  Sometimes I want to type endlessly just to see who is listening.  Sometimes daily household tasks are just that.  And sometimes kids are just kids.

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Last weekend, we enjoyed our annual respite trip.  Two nights of rest and relaxation, and we played tourists an hour from home.  We visited wineries, witnessed an elaborate and tear-inducing marriage proposal, met incredible people who just feel passion for life, hiked a gorge (my calves have finally recovered), took in countless views of Seneca and Keuka Lakes (two of the Finger Lakes), we finished our first night out with a bottle of wine on the sprawling front porch of the B&B, and we started our last morning there with our first cups of coffee.

To be able to recover and recharge has so many merits that I’m not certain I could list them all here.  What I think that I can say to summarize is that when every single day takes energy that you may not always have, these annual weekends trips are crucial.  It allows me to be a better ME.  I can be a more attentive person at home and at work, in my marriage and in my writing. I am able to be better at stepping back and recognizing what is happening as a result of autistic traits/ADHD, and what might just be natural kid behaviors.  

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Look how happy we look!

Huh.  I guess it did turn out to be a post about spectrum life after all.  

By the way, and this has nothing to do with this post other than Wonder Boy had a shining moment after a very challenging weekend, we were having a discussion yesterday as we left the house:

As I locked the front door, he said in a gravelly voice “I’m gonna lock you in the basement”.
“Sweetie, that’s not okay to say” was my reply as I hid my surprise- he doesn’t usually say things like that.  “I was kidding! I promise”. “Okay, thank you for saying that”. “I understand, mommy.  I’m sorry”.  
What? You understand?  You’ve just spent the week stomping your foot, folding your arms indignantly across your chest, and scowling at me, and you understand?  

Interesting.  Perhaps Wonder Boy found his reset button, too.  

Respite time!

Respite time!

As my husband and I teeter on the brink of our annual respite weekend, the tension is palpable.  Not between us as much as between me and our kids.  Okay, between us too.

As much as our neurotypical parenting counterparts can empathize with what our daily life is like, they haven’t lived it and often I feel like they’re watching me and scratching their heads in confusion over why I am the way I am.  I cancel plans. I’m tired. I say weird things.  I drink coffee every day and wine every night.  I talk about autism a LOT.  But in all fairness, it’s kind of my entire existence.

Once a year, we take a break for two nights.  Last year that meant our first chance to sleep without having WonderBoy sleep in our bed with us.  This year it means a chance to not spend every waking moment wrangling a child who cannot seem to control his body.  It means not having to redirect him ten times just to get him to the bathroom.  It means we can breathe for two days and not have someone yammering non-stop about I don’t even know what.

I can’t pretend that this is fun.

I can’t even pretend that I’m any good at this.

While we didn’t feel certain at first with Wonder Boy, I feel utterly thrown for a loop with Speedy.  The anxiety I understand because I live with it every single day.  But the ADHD?  HOLY COW it’s utter chaos.  And I’m tired.

Thankfully we live where we do, and there is an organization that supports parents by providing one respite weekend per year.  I cannot wait to spend our time reconnecting and meeting other couples who live our life.