“I haven’t done anything with my blog in a long time,” I said to my sister last night.
“I KNOW! I keep checking and it’s still on effing HALLOWEEN!” she responded, quite passionately. I had no idea anyone was still reading it. I rarely check the stat counter anymore.
So much has happened, yet it’s really the same old, same old stuff. Joy and heartache, progress and the ever present gap. Leaps forward, backward, and sideways, all in the same day, and sometimes in the same breath.
We had fall conferences, we had an IEP meeting, we signed off on evaluations to make sure the Roc meets MN criteria for autism, we have another meeting scheduled to go over the results. I feel a sense of peace for the placement he is in right now, and my heart constricts when I think of having to figure this all out again next year. I am amazed by the work that comes home and feel the gap widening between him and his peers. There is just so much to teach, and so much of it isn’t just the academics. But he’s learning! He started to haltingly read small sight words books to me and the pride in his eyes is so bright it brought tears to mine. We work every day, and there isn’t enough time in the afternoons/evenings to get to it all. There has to be some balance, he needs time to be a kid. I feel the weight of responsibility riding high on my shoulders, I am such a huge piece of the school puzzle. Some days I feel strong enough to carry it, and just as often the pressure makes me feel as if I am drowning.
We had Thanksgiving at my sister’s house and it was good to be with family this year. We arrived right as the food was being served up, a little later than we should have perhaps, but perfect timing for the Roc who has a hard time waiting for things to get started and was already anxious about the fact that my sister’s in-laws would be there (never mind that he spent time at their cabin this summer!) After dinner the kids did a feather hunt – the big kids hid the brightly colored feathers all over the yard and the Roc and Matthew had to run around find them all. Later we went on a “nighttime walk” which the Roc completely enjoyed.
After years of not being here, I was really glad to participate in the annual tradition of baking cookies all day on “black Friday” instead of getting maced at Walmart by people racing to buy cheap towels. The Roc made it the whole day, helping make cookies, going on more feather hunts, and playing outside. He wouldn’t have made it the whole day 2 years ago. We would have had to go home, it helps to remind myself of these facts.
The Roc is even keeled one day, unglued the next. He asks me questions he knows the answers to, repeatedly, and I balance my gratefulness for the asking with the need to teach him to “only ask these questions once.” The Roc asks questions I never saw coming, and he comments on things I never knew he was thinking about. Again I balance my gratefulness for the asking with the fear of questions to come, and whether I’ll do a good enough job to answer them. Have I so far? I am still thinking about talking to him about autism, but is he ready? Or did I wait too long? Should I have done this already? I am paralyzed and am waiting for the right moment, I do not think it’s a conversation I can schedule.
The Roc plays more than he ever has, and he adores his cousin Matthew. I often hear, “Matthew is my favorite cousin,” from the Roc. The first thing he asks me every day when he gets home from school, “Can Matthew come over?” I often have to remind him not to boss, that he needs to take turns doing what Matthew wants to do, and that we must end the day nicely – he never wants Matthew to leave. We have days where Matthew has to go home not long after he gets here because the Roc threw the fit of all fits, and then the polar opposite days like yesterday where they made up a game with stuffed animals and when it was time for Matthew to go home because it was getting dark the Roc said goodbye nicely. There is so much to teach the Roc about social skills, I am overwhelmed sometimes listening to him converse with Matthew, and then doubly overwhelmed when I think about the fact that he is conversing–with a peer! It’s been so good for him, in so many ways to be able to see his cousin so frequently. I am so glad we bought this house, one street up from my sister and her family. Now if I could only get the Roc to relax his stance about talking to Matthew at school. They even have recess together and the Roc won’t play with him, he tells me, “I’m too anxious on the playground to talk to him,” and my heart hurts and I simultaneously rejoice that he can tell me that he feels anxious, that he can articulate himself in this way.
Around and around, up and down.
We are plugging along at this life.
New location, same stuff.
Joy, heartache, pain, progress.