It’s just a movie, the hubby and I say to ourselves when a moment sucks and we just have to endure. Like startup clients on the failing end of the dream – those 9 out of 10 that don’t make it. You throw another Hail Mary pass, the fifth this month it seems, knowing it’s unlikely to score, but you’ve got to try. Like pandemic juggling, trying and trying to do that self-care, address those five #1 Top Priorities written on the Post-It-Note because they indeed are vital, they keep you from getting sick or worse, except your sons have other plans. So you juggle even more, knowing you’re juggling eggs that when the splat, won’t be pretty.
It’s another open door, I know.
I’m trying to remember that as today’s fog envelops the birch trees across the street and the lilacs stand poised for another day. Everything in my world is a metaphor. I know it will burn off, this moment and the swimming pool forecast of a high of 82 degrees will float across the lawn of my days. Soon my guys will smile simply looking at what soon will be turquoise waters, despite its too-green to swim tinge, and the need for the hubby to hose the greenness off the filter a few more times until it all kicks in, and we are free.
For the third time in five days, Will has remembered how to push the automatic garage door opener, and left. The good news is each time he came back. The bad news is apparently my sensitive Mommy ears have left, too, so I don’t hear these escapes. Today, God forbid, I was in the bathroom. Last weeks’ two times occurred in the middle of the night. While I was doing the unthinkable of sleeping, he’s sneak, slurk, slide downstairs, open the garage as if it’s his own personal statement of agency. He’d grab a few cool ones from the fridge, and leave open the door to the basement as he returns. I know not this has happened at the time, except for that mother instinct that makes me roll over and sense something is wrong.
I’d check his bed, and when he’s not there, the panic only we special mothers know would take hold of my feet and fly them downstairs to find the dark of night.
On many levels I get it. I live for my own open doors, too. The car door where magical destinations of my making await. My writer-office, cluttered and perpetually evolving yet an oasis of my lists and makings.
I’m immensely grateful that Will appears to only want the open door, not the traverse out of it to a lostness he doesn’t know. To the harms that I close my inner eyes, too painful, searing.
Autism’s communicative impairment at least for my guys means there’s a wellspring of humanity locked inside them that I can’t begin to know, though I try. Yesterday on Memorial Day as we arrived from a busy, demanding food pantry stint to a green swamp of a pool to be cleaned, Will lingered outside the garage, not wanting to go inside even with a promise of a snack. After wordly encouragement, his mouth formed his I want statement. I want to walk to Dunkin Donuts. I felt so bad but at that hour, I needed a break, and with the holiday it was highly likely even if started immediately, Dunkin’s usual short hours were even shorter on a holiday, so the trip would have been for naught. – I told him we’d try for a second neighborhood walk of the day. Sadly I didn’t deliver – by the time we did inside chores and I managed both men so Paul could do more pool work, then dinner, then cleanup, there wasn’t time for a 2+ hour walk. – I guess we have that in common – wanting more than words can say. Yet I couldn’t wait to tell the hubby we’d had a mini-victory. Real words, from a real man locked in an overgrown 5-year old’s spirit – my special gift.
Coronavirus is fresh yeast on whole grains that others pass by, waiting for finer flour. It’s clarified what matters, and showed me how much is right about my family, my sons, the boys’ programming, their team, their spirit. Last but not least, it’s flavored the frothy sourdough I keep within me – old dough that combined with new, makes ragged bubbles that aerate a loaf into artisanal bliss. I tried making one this weekend, but my bubbles were small. Maybe not enough living yet to become really crusty and toothsome.
Coronavirus also revealed where I’ve failed, in teaching Will limits, in lurking evil I can’t pretend away, behind a door I wish he wouldn’t open.
Dammit, the fog is still outside the window. The weather guy, the expert, said it would clear. That today was swimming pool weather – sunny and bright.
Yet as Will blares Raffi tunes behind the windows of the French door to the hallway, Jeff slams the basement door and rushes into the kitchen. Identical DNA, yet uniquely himself. He successfully follows 3 sets of directions I give him to make him realize he’s chosen the wrong cup, and rights himself. Looking me square in the eye over and over, we are connected. A team. In a minute the tired-muscled pool-cleaning hubby plops into the seat next to me with his coffee, regrouping before it’s time for supervising breakfast and showers and another day filming this movie.
I swear I see a patch of brilliance through the window-square of the door.