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Category Archives: Autism: Reality, Sensory Issues, and Other Abstract Concepts

Autism: One Thing In Several Things Out

Though I really want to, I haven’t been able to keep up.

One thing in, several things out.

It is always that way.

Even when the ‘thing in’ is a good thing – such as now, with my mom visiting. Still I can’t keep up, no matter how hard I try.

It isn’t even like I haven’t got the time. Most afternoons I can expect at least a couple of hours when she is reading her book, or playing her games (Facebook games – so addicting, so frustrating!) And even when we are visiting, I could be writing, too. But I don’t.

I want to, but I don’t.

Coming up with ideas of what to write? Also not an issue. I have the ideas. I have enough thoughts going through my head to have the posts written, and then some. There really doesn’t seem to be any reason why I am struggling so much to do these things. I just am. Struggling.

The visit is going well. I am less anxious, and so much more content than I have been… ever, really.

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Everything is good. Everything. Yet still I struggling to juggle the routine.

And at the end of the week, with my anxiety strong with the knowledge that I am ‘behind’ (meaning only two weeks ahead of schedule rather than the three I prefer) I sit down, and rush to get out those posts and ‘catch up.’ I assure myself that I will be able to keep up next week. After all, the ideas – even the whole posts many times – are already there in my head.

I just need to sit down and write.

And I love to write. I do.

Yet each week the days seem to fly by, and I get behind. So fast.

Even now as I write, I am being pulled away from the computer – for my mom is in the kitchen doing the dishes for the second time today. It should have been my turn. So I know that for the next several days, I will rush to get to the kitchen before she does so that I can do the dishes, and not feel bad that she got there faster again.

One thing in, several things out.

Still, I am determined to keep up with this blog somehow.

But I wonder how in the world other people do it. How do they keep up with everything, when I have so little that must be done, and still can’t do it. And once more I come face to face with the idea that this world is too much for me. Too fast. Too busy. Too demanding. Too hard. Too much… too much… too much.

 

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Autism: Through the Storm 2

The storm, though bringing a lot of wind, didn’t seem any worse than others we had been through.  We don’t live in a very windy city, but a few times a year storms like this come.

Since in our area it is very rare to have the power go out for even two hours, I was surprised to wake up to find it still out. Large trees had fallen across the power lines on both sides of Lakeshore (the street above us that takes us to town) we were told. In fact, to get to work, my husband nearly gave up trying to find detours he could get through with all the trees down.

The power was out from about 10:15pm until 3:10pm the next day – nearly 17 hours! Thankfully (as far as I have heard) no people or animals were harmed by the storm. Fences, garages, vehicles, even some houses weren’t so lucky. There were trees down and debris everywhere! The lakefront trail that we walk along had three trees fallen across it in the short section that we can reach before the trail is flooded (as it does every summer.) Three – and all of them seemingly healthy trees, and that not mentioning the numerous ones that fell beside rather than on the trail.

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A few days later we found that at least two other trails were closed due to danger – we found the one when my mom and I tried to take my girls for a walk. It had red police tape saying, “Danger” all across the entrance. I guess some loose trees haven’t fallen yet.

During the time when we didn’t have any power, I was surprised by the difference in the concerns each of us had.

My dog, Molly, was scared of a pine cone that landed in our yard, which hadn’t been there before (they were scattered all over the yard of our neighbour across the hedge, though.) True to her, after running from it, she decided the best thing to do would be to try and eat it. Funny girl.

My husband worried about how much damage there was to clean up when he got to work. Tarps everywhere! And then was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to get to work at all since there were trees across the main road in both directions.

When she got up, my mom was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to have her morning cappuccino. We solved that issue with the use of a camping kettle, and the side burner on our barbecue (since my husband always deals with things made on the barbecue – and I have little interest in learning – I was glad to find out that she knew how to work it.)

My son was worried that his routine would be broken for the first time in nearly 17 months, as he has been doing his German, pixel art, and word building every morning since January of 2016.

And me? I was okay with not having a computer, or a hot drink, or being able to get to town, or even the debris all over my lawn. I felt that I would be fine if I never had those things again.

Yet my concern was that the power would not return in time to save the food in my fridge and freezer. Food… it is always food. I guess when someone has such an issue with something, it does tend to become their main concern. And as the hours ticked by, I became more and more determined to find ways to store my food which were not dependent on electricity.

For thousands of years people lived without the use of fridges and freezers – yet one storm… one power outage, and so much could have been lost.

 

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Autism: Through the Storm 1

The weather warning came in a couple of days ahead of schedule, as I remember it. It was no surprise when the wind hit, and it wasn’t the first time we watched from the (hopeful) safety of our home as the cedar hedge beside us nearly bent in half with the gusts.

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It was frightening. I will give it that. Yet we don’t live in tornado or hurricane country. It could have been so much worse.

Though I watched the maple tree in our front yard, concerned that it might come through the house, I wasn’t that worried. We have had such storms before, and it held up just fine.

I held off a little while before shutting down my computer, hoping that we wouldn’t get a power surge and fry it before I could shut it down – but then, a power surge would likely fry the computer whether it was turned on or not.

There was time to get through my bedtime routine (take care of my ‘girls’ – brush their teeth, feed them, take them out – write my journal, watch some Netflix, read on my tablet…) when the power went out. “No big deal,” I thought. It was expected, after all.

I turned off my tablet, plugged it in (out of habit, obviously it wouldn’t be charging) and tried to sleep. Tried.

There is this cherry tree (oh poor cherry tree) which I planted ten years ago in the worst place I could have chosen. To be fair, the tag said it was a dwarf – and it is most definitely not a dwarf. Even so it was a bad place for it as there is too much shade. It towers above our roof line, though we have cut it back, and is right against the corner of our carport.

All night long that three swayed back and forth in the strong wind making loud creaking, and deep moaning noises – it almost sounded like a really sad ghost movie or something (but couldn’t have been as there was no power.)

Above that, since my aquarium wasn’t running for white background noise (I have no fish, but keep the aquarium running in my room to help me sleep) every sound had Molly barking… and there were a lot of sounds.

Needless to say I woke up tired. Very tired.

 

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Autism: This Is Normal

After a few days, it became normal. Normal for her to be here. Normal to be talking to her. Normal to see her.

Just a few days in, and though I know it isn’t true, in my mind she has always been here – just as much as for the years between visits, I never see her.

I like having my mom here.

We talk… or we don’t talk – and it is all okay. At least I think it is okay. Maybe it isn’t. Sometimes I get it wrong. Usually I get it wrong.

This morning I was playing ‘Candy Crush’ and talking to my mom. There was a bit of silence, and ‘my girls’ (Chihuahuas) came to ask me to go outside. The first time I just went out with them, but then I thought of my mom inside alone, and decided to mention what I was doing the next time.

I went outside and started working in the garden – mentioning to her that is what I planned to do. She said she would be out shortly.

As I worked on my garden (I only planned to plant some wildflower seeds in the dirt by our house, but then saw the mound of dirt in an area that still needed to be worked on, and went there instead.) My mom came out and sat on the lawn swing. I think she was reading or something. My girls ran back and forth around the yard, then found places to sit and rest.

For a long time, there we were – I in the garden, and the others doing their thing. Sometimes the girls came to see me, and I talked to them. I don’t remember talking to my mom very much. I even had my back to her, as this section I was working on faced the fence, and the road, and it was the only way I could work on it – plus, I don’t work well with people watching me… but she wasn’t watching, she was reading. That seemed to be okay.

As I write, my mom has been here for six days. We walk, we talk, we shop (for food – I am not a shopper) we watch movies or shows (with my son, or sometimes without as he can’t handle too much interaction, or too much change to his routine) and sometimes we just sit quietly doing our own thing.

Normal.

I like that this is ‘normal.’

I also know it won’t last, and that for the most part it will be hard for me to even remember a time when this was normal. But I am grateful for it now.

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Autism: There She Was

In the afternoon, I was singing and dancing around the house. My son told me that he was going to record it and show it to Nana when she got here.

It helped to calm me that WestJet had flight updates on their website, and I was able to see that her first plane had both left the original city, and arrived at the layover stop on time. Suddenly she was only a 5 hour car ride away – rather than a 5 day drive! Even though I couldn’t see her or talk to her at that time, she seemed much closer, and therefore I was much more confident that she would arrive safely.

The drive from our home to the airport is a little under an hour and a half. My mom’s second flight hadn’t even taken off when we needed to leave to pick her up. I did the normal bedtime routine for ‘my girls’ (my 2 Chihuahua’s for those who don’t know.) I then brought them to bed, and put up the gate that I leave just outside of my room at night to stop them from wandering the house (and making messes) during the night.

Clara brought me her bunny rattle (her favourite toy) which she does when it is time for bed. I am not allowed to take it from her, but it is a real honour to have the toys brought to me, and I am supposed to make a big deal out of it (which I do.) I felt really bad about saying goodbye to them at that point, but what could I do?

We arrived at the airport at 10:36pm; a little early, but not bad. The airport is having extensive renovations being done. There was a work crew behind plastic sheets, tearing up tile and such with bobcats and other such machines. It is usually a very nice airport, but this time it was mostly noisy, dusty, and a bit of a mess.

Since we had time, we wandered to the observation deck. With the glare, it was hard to see the planes outside, but we were able to watch a video there about what was being done to the airport. There were diagrams and details on the expansion (something like double the size, with half the CO2 emissions – it was quite dizzying.)

Though the next flight out wasn’t until 5:30am, there were already people there, planning to spend the night in anticipation of their flight. I found that unusual – but since they would have to be there by about 4am, it kind of made sense.

Nana’s second flight was delayed by 15 minutes. Another flight arrived just before hers. Though there were many of us waiting at the arrivals gate, I was a bit saddened to see the people from that flight walk past all of us. They seemed like really tired workers – the flight is only an hour – I guess it is so common for them to fly in that people don’t come to greet them, but really?

There were a lot of different people coming next: Tall, short, with or without glasses, short hair, long hair, curly hair, thin, not really thin… as I watched them, my heart began to race. What if Nana doesn’t look the same? What if she got taller, or thinner, or cut her hair, or changed the colour, or… What if that person was Nana and I didn’t recognize her? But no, she walked past and met someone else. What if she were that person, or that?

And suddenly, there she was! Looking just like she always did. Finally my mom was here. It felt surreal. It does still. All the way home, I was shouting in my head to my son, “My mom is here!!!”

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Autism: I Need My Mom

My mom is coming tomorrow.

It feels unreal, and as I go about my day, I continue to repeat the words that have become all too familiar over the past several years: “I need my mom.”

The more anxious I get, the more the words come. I pace back and forth, and repeat, “I need my mom.”

“I need my mom. I need my mom. I need my mom.” The words come automatically, but they must mean something. The harder things seem, the more anxious I am, the more upset I am, the more the words come. “I need my mom.”

I don’t know when these words became such a compulsive thing. I can’t remember when I started saying them so frequently. Did this come from my childhood? I don’t remember. Did it start when my kids were lost, or when I started working for the first time away from home?

Honestly, I don’t know.

I do know that for many years now, in many situations, the words come. “I need my mom.”

And now, for the first time in 7.5 years, my mom is flying to see me. The day is almost here, and that makes me anxious.

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“I need my mom,” I think – and then, “Wait! She is coming.”

I have needed her for so long it is hard to wrap my head around the fact that she will be here so soon. We just have to get past the travel part – for the travel part makes me anxious. People fly every day, don’t they? Most of the time, people are fine. I don’t even mind flying myself. I often consider that something might happen, but I am not really afraid.

I am afraid something will happen tomorrow, though.

For years I have wanted her here. For months this trip has been planned. The day is almost here. But what if it isn’t? I am afraid.

At 40 years old, I wouldn’t have expected to still need my mom like a little child – but I do. I guess that is a good problem to have, maybe. Only people with good mothers would still need them at 40, right?

So I will wait in anxious anticipation. Tomorrow evening we will drive out to the airport and pick her up. Her plane arrives well past my bedtime, and it is even worse for her with the 3 hour time change. I am pretty sure we will all be too tired to visit tomorrow, even on the 1.5 hour car ride back home.

But she will be here. And for eight weeks, I won’t need to say, “I need my mom,” for my mom will be here.

I can hardly wait!

 

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