It’s day 2 of back to school week after February vacation, which is always a good thing as we embrace structure and routine. Day 1 featured an unexpected kid financial paperwork matter which sucked up 2 hours of time I didn’t have, capped off by a respite worker cancellation which further crimped work time and put me more behinder (apologies to the grammar police). Welcome to my world, special needs parents. Isn’t this the life. In my down moments I wonder if the rest of the world understands what it takes for us somedays just to get it together for the most minor of activities.
Autism being a disorder where visuals help, I’m instantly drawn to the same efforts that help my kids. Pictures. For years I’ve guided my guys in understanding daily routines using the ubiquitous Meyer-Johnson pictures arranged in a strip, with some prized reward at the end. Well here mine for the day. I’ll skip over the 1st 15 cards which would basically say Work-Work-Work-Work. The reward is the view from where we are, and where we’ve been.
Mountains call me, and remind me there is a gorgeous vista with autism and all things. This one was from Sunday, when we summited a minor peak in NH’s Waterville Valley made tougher by freshly fallen snow that required a mile of trail-breaking. I see it and instantly I know no matter what crap is before this on the schedule, there IS a prize later in the day.
On Sunday’s trek, my good knee was killing me and each squishy step down a foot or more of unconsolidated snow made it twist sideways – not fun. The hubby was equally challenged and W. was flopping on the easy part up. – But we made it. The real star of the day was J., who of course broke trail in the hardest part practically without breaking a sweat. We also rotated out the 2nd position of who was behind J. for harder stuff, and took breaks.
Really seeing your accomplishments is so powerful, in autism and all things. On Sunday it was sitting at a chilly yet sun-bathed ledge looking out at 3 peaks we summited last year, while ringed by two other mountain ranges to the left and right which we’ve also done. It was seeing W. enjoy the summit after the flops, and J. smile – while I rested assured knowing that although the walk down was going to kill my knee, we all made it on a day when it was tough. – Yesterday it was seeing that a yucky work situation was ending and over the course of a few years I really did help the player in question. And it was seeing the daily improvements that we as parents of special needs can relish if we but open our eyes to see them – in my case, J. being able to take out the trash with only the most minimal assistance, and W. verbalizing a genuine choice about what he wanted for the afternoon.
So here’s to another day of the slog, when something will hurt, the trail breaking won’t be perfect, but my guys are increasingly more independent, I have trusted help, my day will assuredly have some surprises – and there will be another vista just like this one as my reward.