Funny old thing, this blogging. (That sentiment does crop up endlessly here, I apologise if it annoys some.) I’m struck today by the jumpy aspect of blogging. Life rushes forth, as ever, and it’s true to say that I don’t prioritise blogging above the everyday. I need, I think, to keep the real and concrete aspects of my life rather higher on my to-do list than this pleasant, warm and fuzzy land. More’s the pity!
Anyhow, the jumpiness of my blogging became apparent to me this evening when I saw that a lovely follower (go visit her blog over at FEC-this) “liked” a post I wrote a short while ago. Although it’s not long ago, a lot has happened in my real world, and I’d forgotten about it. And reading it back, I can’t help feeling I had left the story half untold.
I was writing about my anxiety and anticipation about helping those darling children back to school. Let me just say that life has really been rather lovely since, if hectic, and as we prepare for the beginning of the next holiday I’m feeling about as calm as I can hope to be. Back then, my nerves were rather on edge! I was hopeful that all would be fine on that fateful Tuesday morning. That I’d be able to help Eldest into the car, zip him back to school and get back just in time for Sweet Girl and Little Man to come home and then pop out once again in the evening to meet Sweet Girl’s teachers and learn about her progress.
Oh me. Oh my. NEVER underestimate the power of anxiety teamed with the neurological set up of the autistic mind. My wonderful little boy, who’s actually a young man in every way just suddenly utterly lost the plot about fifteen minutes before departure time. All the procedures had been followed – calm preparation, many gentle reminders, and I had given him a departure time one hour earlier than I needed to go.
Fortunately Darling Man had stayed. Our departure time had been 10am. We finally left at 3pm.
Darling Man had to take the day off, in part to ensure I was safe, in part to be at home when the Littles returned home.
I have yet to meet Sweet Girl’s teachers.
Eldest made it back to school on the appropriate day, if many hours later than I had planned.
More importantly, when he called home later that night, he was able to articulate his feelings: that actually, regardless of anything else going on, he felt strongly that back to school days should be all about Him. Not about the Littles, who get to see Mummy every day. That it was OK to be busy on every other day, but that back to school days needed to be focussed on his needs. Utterly, completely justifiable. And his ability to express that so calmly, so kindly, with such an understanding that it sometimes is very difficult to achieve means that we are already planning how to make just that happen in January.
We hope to make a day trip of the event. For Darling Man to take an official day off (rather than a rescue me day), for me to find alternative care for the Littles, and for us to take Eldest down, take him out to lunch, and re-settle him as much as possible.
Watch this space. It may work like a dream. It may simply postpone that moment of transition and trauma, and displace it.
No matter. He found the words to tell us how difficult this had been for him, that he had not meant any of the aggression that his body displayed, and that he was simply scared.
So there we go… without going into the gory details of an autistic meltdown and the devastation that ensues, especially for the young man in question, that is the end of the Back to School story.
Given that love is unconditional when these kids are concerned, I cannot help but come back to this startling and endearing thought: my overriding emotion where this boy is concerned is pride. Overflowing, overwhelming, immense pride in all that he is achieving. I hope one day he believes me when I tell him:
Eldest… I am PROUD of you!!