24 hours… gone now. So sweet- but not nearly as significant- nor as eventful- as I had thought or worried about.
In those 24 hours, I:
- Napped. NAPPED! It was a lovely 2 hour nap…
- Drank two banana margaritas with Vicki over bad Mexican food (Don’t judge- they taste like banana popsicles and are yummy!)
- Shopped at leisure at Bed, Bath and Beyond- the scene of many a meltdown- and where I felt myself getting a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume. Didn’t get anything beyond gingerbread coffee- but I touched LOTS of things.
- Read a book until the wee hours of the morning.
- Slept in- an hour later than usual, for a total deficit of sleep
- Did a million loads of laundry
- Folded them while watching “The Backup Plan”
- Called the dryer repair people because I could follow through on my thoughts
- Spent 5 hours cleaning Elizabeth’s room- all with my music blasting loudly throughout the house.
I did NOT:
- Take a bath
- Take the dog for a walk on the beach
- Finish the afghan I’ve been working on for a year
- Start the quilt that I’ve been promising the children for three years
- Give myself a pedicure
- Eat ice cream
- Watch either of the Sex in the City movies
I could use another 24 hours, I think…
The most significant thing I did was clean Elizabeth’s room. I was anxious about her, and her room reflected her own level of recent anxiety- things thrown helter-skelter, her bedding on the floor where she’s been sleeping and her clothing all around her. I straightened, threw stuff away, and organized. I pushed her bed back in the closet where it had been dragged out to open to trundle for an overnight a month ago, made her bed neat. I found a blanket the right weight for the in-between weather we’re having, and I hung stuff up. I made it a room where she could find peace, rather than the room adding to her frantic mind. I did what I could so that my girl could be surrounded by calm.
And I waited for her to come home.
When she did, after I picked up James and Ray from the airport, it was as if nothing had happened when she left- as if she and Emily and Tracy were- and always had been- the best of friends. Her ability to tell me things is limited- she tends to live in the here and now- but she wasn’t upset; she wasn’t seeking solace, and she was invited back for Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
I am, of course, delighted. But it does seem that on those days- those days where I reluctantly let her go, when I see how difficult it is for her, when I fear the worst, it somehow magically fixes itself out of my sight. It’s the days when I least expect it- when I’ve dropped her off in a cheery, together place, that she comes drooping home, silent and unable to communicate about what has hurt so badly. Or when I witness the slights, the teasing, the outright nastiness- Those days that take weeks to recover from; those days that re-teach me about what I need to teach her; those days that send my Mommy Instincts in high combat mode- I never seem to see those coming. And when I’m prepared, when I’m so aware of how hard the world is to navigate for her, and how little others understand- those are the days when nothing happens. Unless something does. I can never see it coming- but I never see it clearly, either. Autism has no patterns.
My own anxiety- the anxiety that I channeled into making my girl’s world, as exemplified through her room, peaceful and organized and a place of safety- that anxiety has made me tired because all of that pent-up adrenaline now has nowhere to go. I’m glad… so glad. She- and I in my translation of the world to her- dodged an emotional bullet this time. She coped today. What about next time? What about tomorrow? There is more than a bit of a post-traumatic stress feeling from this- the fear that you can’t see it coming.
I need another 24 hours to recover from this last one…