It’s New Years Eve 2016, and I’m ready to assess how well I did in curing autism, achieving world peace and losing 7 pounds. Crap, they’re not done yet.
I’ve been in a blue funk for the past 3 months since I tore my meniscus leading my autism hiking group on Sept 18. My knee has been in various levels of dis-ease (I used that word because I hate associating myself with the word Pain) and the December 2 surgery has not really fixed it. And what a surprise, I’m my worst enemy on rehabbing slowly, which is not my typical speed.
And then, comes this most beautiful quote from a hiking duo I love:
“Trust the timing of everything. Just because it’s not happening now doesn’t mean it never will.”
How utterly fitting, as a summary of our 2016, of my always – as hope springs eternal when I look at these quirky beings called Will and Jeff who life has put under my care, and who are my mission to make happy, and whole. As I sat here doing some yucky long-avoided chore that made me feel incompetent, Jeff has circled around my office, chanting a few nonsense phrases that somehow have now turned into full-throated “Yodelay-Hee-Hee” crooning from the Lonely Goatherd song in the “Sound of Music.” Meanwhile Will has been doing his extended “sitting,” enjoying his favorite bathroom throne in a way that confirms my husband is indeed his biological father. Autism parents probably recognize these far from normal, normals like this. Typically I bend the family agenda to the boys, but today they’ve had to wait. I so needed to be here on this page, processing all the year brought, what it didn’t, want what I’ll do to change us in the coming weeks, as I think about our yellow brick road, and where I want it to take us in 2017.
I didn’t cure autism in 2016. I hope I habilitated the boys. We certainly transitioned as nicely as one could expect from school years to adult services grid at age 22, and I’m pleased by that. But I’m the personality type in the photo above – a Go-See-Do fanatic. I want more, for them, for me, for the world. I want them to be high functioning autistic individuals, or at least higher-functioning than yesterday or last week or heck, last year. I don’t want them to struggle to read the words Will and Jeff taped to their drink cups, or to orient shirt fronts and backs, or to complete a sequence of getting cereal, or wipe their bottoms.
Their timing is off in the grand plan of life, according to me. They are not where I want them to be. I probably wrote that last year, and the year before, and each of the preceding 19 years since diagnosis. – And while we’re at it I didn’t succeed in getting enough people to vote for Hillary Clinton such that we can even hope to achieve world peace or maybe avoid world annihilation as Donald Trump defines it. Nor did I hit my Weight Watchers goal, although having a goal itself has made me better off than without one.
And yet, here we are. Jeff has just returned, awaiting my joining him to help start our day. Will is back at the computer playing his favorite puzzle games and probably attacking the new iPod on the charger. I awoke this morning worried about how low-functioning they are, while noting that Will routinely takes himself to bed these days, and Jeff now tells, half asks me with words when he wants to go to bed, and busily neatens up each room which, while his rearrangements often confuse me, is actually not such a bad skill to have.
Their timing is perfect – for them. I know that intellectually, and on a good day, for real. I wish I could say the same for my knee healing’s timing. But perhaps, maybe, there’s some grander plan, such that their slow rate of progress, and this extended period of non-hiking, of being forced to rely more on Paul, to let go of my obsession on an action items list, is good for me, and us.
So for today, I trust that I did something right in 2016. I’ll go to my personal journal pages in a few minutes and blather about my lists of What Works, What Didn’t in the year, and probably depress myself with more lists of skills Will and Jeff need to learn, in an effort to prioritize our time. I’ll look at the incremental gains and celebrate them, always mindful that their flawed neurological wiring makes their pace not that of my own.
Then I’ll trust the timing of everything in 2017 – that there will still be mountains there for me to climb when my knee is better – new friends and experiences out there waiting to be had -opportunities for me to grab that force me to be my better self. Most importantly, I’ll trust that with that fire of all fires – love – to guide us, we will summit our peak, whatever it may be – and keep marching into another bright beyond.