Snowmageddon 2015 here in New England continues, and as special needs parents know, it brings change in routines as well as opportunities. Amazingly we weathered the storm better than anticipated, and as always these moments bring aha moments that point the way.
The snowiest, most locked in day went along better than expected, thankfully with our power and heat supply unaffected, and the boys tolerating indoor limited play options very well. With “push” and “pull” concepts among the boys’ speech goals lately, the snows provided a great opportunity to “push it – push it real good” as the silly TV commercial says. I was surprised how well both boys pushed and dumped the extra inch of snow left over after the hubby and I had plowed the first 30 or so inches before nightfall. They worked on snow shoveling very briefly last year with a skills trainer. Either they remembered well, or maybe it just came naturally.
We also got lucky in that the roads were cleared pretty quickly here, so by noon on Day 2 we were out and about in search of a snowshoe location and a lunch-out treat. Car trips have always been our salvation, so when they’re not an option, I personally get squirrely. So here on Day 3, when W. doesn’t have school but J. does, I’m breathing easier knowing at least we can get out and about.
After I weather a storm of any kind, be it parental, personal or even professional, I find it helpful to step back and assess. Snowmageddon showed me yet again the many wonderful things about my guys. While their interests are proscribed and limited compared to a typical peer, they have pursuits they love, and a far better ability to roll with change than most profoundly affected autistic individuals – probably even better than me. We had some magical moments at night where J. in particular rediscovered needlepoint and I was so impressed with the uptick in his visual perceptual abilities to place the needle where it belonged on the next stitch. W. on the other hand, has finally realized that to get what you want, you need WORDS. And a slap on the head to Mom if she is not paying attention, although last night it was actually a stare in the face 2 inches away from me, without the slap. He still struggles to get beyond a repeated “I want……I want…..” verbally, and we still are working on the best prompt to get out of that – but for us, it’s progress and I’ll take it. We all baked too many cookies, fired up the crock pot so that the scent of something rich and wonderful wafted through the house all day long, and played Uno games and old family fun that makes me smile just thinking about it.
Pushing it here for me has meant driving the clutter out of my life and setting work hours and work life so that there’s actually room for something else. Snowstorms have a way of imposing other life priorities, although technology makes it so we can never truly get away. I struck a reasonable balance, better than sometimes. A recent work setback has me grateful for doing this even more. While I really love what I do for pay, I’m crappy at setting limits in a “jump-how high?” profession. I so loved being forced, if you will, to hang out with my guys, come up with ideas for a few new speech programs based on their challenges, and marvel at how they are so very patient with their distracted, always waylaid mother. They teach me about consistency and love, more than anyone knows.
I’m visualizing that snow shovel photo above and the “push it” metaphor as I segue into the day’s work. Clearing the path of the snows in my life was easier than expected this week – and is setting me up for the next opportunity from tomorrow’s oncoming storm – literally and symbolically.