Teacher Professor

November 20, 2010

24 hours

Filed under: Autism — Teacher Professor @ 6:19 pm

See those clothes tossed on the floor of the bathroom?  Mine.  See that plate by the side of the sink?  Also mine.  See that movie of “Sex in the City-2” in the DVD player- MINE, ALL MINE!

For 24 hours I am alone- ALONE… all aloooone… and I’m reveling in it.  Reveling.  Even though I know that it comes at a cost…

James and Ray are in Boston for the weekend, visiting Yiayia- like we did last month– only without all of us, without Emily, without the whole touristy thing.  But the most important part- visiting Yiayia- they’re doing that!  Oh yes- they’re doing that.


Elizabeth… Elizabeth is at Emily’s birthday party- which is where the price for my aloneness will be paid.  Elizabeth is spending the night with Emily and Tracy down at Emily’s grandparents’ house out in the country- grandparents who do not “get it”- and Emily’s dad, who definitely does not “get it”.  And Elizabeth is in her singsongy “NO” place…

I almost didn’t let her go.  Last night, we took Emily and Tracy out to see Harry Potter last night- a  movie that Elizabeth knew would be scary, but as she put it “I can tell everyone I saw it”!  The “coolness” factor seriously outweighed the fear factor.  I was amused that she is so aware by watching the 4th graders to know what would gain her conversation points- that she was willing to take on the fear in order to be “cool”.  Very 4th grade of her.  I went along to mediate the fear and to translate, since Elizabeth has a hard time with accents and movie dialogue anyways.  If Harry Potter was a way she could buy coolness points, I was willing to fund that.

And it wasn’t bad- we sat on the side, where it’s easy to stare at curtains to detract from the movie, and because it was so crowded, Elizabeth’s constant questions to me were less noticeable.  I did my usual running dialogue/translation with her that we do in most movies at home, and it wasn’t particularly bad- the whole movie was so loud that we could talk just under it.  I think it was a good movie- I spent so much time translating, I lost most of the “magic”…  Emily and Tracy had a good time.  It was a good time!

But this morning… the strain of holding it together around her friends and in the movie caught up to her, and she was tired and irritable and singsongy- where every request was met with a “No” and followed up by a “nononono” with her hands over her ears.  She didn’t want to eat, but she was fixated on going with Emily and Tracy- on not being left out.

Elizabeth and Tracy came over early and came with us on our errands before they left- I had to get Emily a present, and a trip to spend her Old Navy gift certificate was the choice.   One sweater for Emily later, (all right and yes, a darling hot pink lightweight pea coat for Elizabeth- it WAS on sale!) I also bought the three girls each a stuffed dog at PetSmart because they were $5 and benfitted the Humane Society.  Emily named her dog “Fluffybottoms”, while Tracy named hers “Stuffybottoms”.  They were making similarly-themed suggestions to Elizabeth, who refused to name her dog.  “Nononono“, she chanted.  I smoothed things over  with a “Perhaps later… but not everything has to be named” such-a-mom-statement.

When we got home, we packed Elizabeth up, which was a challenge.  She didn’t want to take pajamas- I can wear this!- and she didn’t want to take her warmer coat that can get dirty- I want my NEW COAT!- and she was already in tears “Emily and Tracy are making fun of me!” because of the eye rolling- eye rolling that I wanted to do too.  “Baby, do you want to stay home with me?” I offered in a private moment- an offer I had been making throughout last night.  “We can watch movies (NOT Sex in the City- I was offering up… gulp-Hannah Montana), and just be… you are welcome to stay here, you know.”   “Nonononono!” she sang.  “It’s Emily’s birthday party and I can’t miss that!”

And I sent her across the street to Emily’s waiting truck, with a last note of “If she gets cranky, feed her” to Emily’s dad, and a feeling of trepidation mixed with deep sadness, and worry, and.. all right, I’ll admit it, a touch of glee (Glee’s on my To Watch list as well for tonight). But mostly worry…

I know the cost.  I know that there will be new problems that arise.  I worry that that gains we’ve made will be damaged- that the friendships that I consciously try to mediate- and occasionally bribe- will be broken.  Elizabeth is intense at any time, but with her challenges being particularly strong today, and around grownups who do not understand- maybe I should have kept her home.

Or maybe it was all right- that she’s almost-10 and needs to strike out on her own, knowing that Mama is there right behind her to mop up what every happens.  That she can have a challenging weekend, and come home where it’s everything is all right.

So for 24 hours, I am going to revel in that I am alone, that I will blast MY music loudly; that I will watch what I want to watch, that I will go out to eat with a girlfriend tonight, that I will sleep in late, that I will listen to the silence.  I will enjoy my 24 hours without autism, without Tourette’s, without being someone’s picker-upper, reminder, shusher, mediator, driver, or cleaner- or someone’s soother, hugger, discusser, or comforter.

I will gladly pick back up all of those jobs tomorrow- after 24 hours.

1 Comment »

  1. enjoy every moment! and let us know how the sleep over went – i know the worry intimately.

    Comment by jess — November 21, 2010 @ 9:01 am | Reply

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