Friday, February 22, 2013

Stick A Needle In Me

I haven't felt much like writing these days. A sort of general malaise has me by the throat. I just can't seem to shake it off.

A few years back, when I was very sick, I did a series of acupuncture treatments.

So relaxing.  No, really.
During our discussions (you know, before she stuck needles all over my body), my acupuncturist/therapist/platonic girl crush determined that my least favorite time of year was actually NOT what she called "true winter". (Usually late November, December, January in Maryland.)

Rather, it was what she called the rising spring--February, March, into April--that really bothered me.  As I thought about it, it makes sense.

True spring brings flowers, longer days, and a little warmth here and there.  We don't have to crank up the space heaters or the fireplace as high as before, and Paisley (Conor's in-home aid) and I can take him hiking or for a long walk.

The summer, hard as it is with a less concrete schedule for Conor, at least brings with it sunshine, margaritas, boat rides, and flip flops. (Did I mention margaritas?)

Crisp autumn nights bring beer, slow-cooker meals, football games, and school.


Google "male cheerleader" and this is what comes up.
Um, yay school?

Google just "cheerleader" and this is what you get. Men suck.
FYI, this is what my acupuncturist looked like,
but she wore regular clothes.

And true winter?  Well, at least we have school (see above) if it doesn't snow, Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas, so I'm usually awash in guilt-free shopping and presents.  So I've got that going for me.

Knowing this is a tough time of year helps minimize my freak-outs. I can increase my intake of red wine, ramp up the amount of retail therapy at Target, and begin to obsess over our summer "vacation" plans. You know, self-care.

Hey, if it's good enough for Britney Spears, it's good enough for me.

It's quite simple, really. Rising spring is the perfect storm of exhaustion from the Christmas holidays and travel with autism, being cooped up in the house too long with autism, traveling with autism for spring break, and preparing for the upcoming summer with autism.

And summer's coming. School will be ending. People will be online posting about how happy they are school has ended, they'll upload pictures of their beach houses and how they slept until 10am everyday, picnics, sunbathing at the pool, a sort of endless nights bonanza. (No more homework! No more lunches to pack!)

Oh, we try to do those things, too. Boat rides with my dad, a trip to the beach to see my in-laws, summer day camp.  (Forget sleeping in. That'll never happen.)

But what people don't see is what's behind our pictures.  How hard it is to make each outing successful. What the toll of a topsy-turvy schedule takes on Conor and my family. Everyone tells us that kids with autism need routine to succeed, and then for months every year, we're left to fend for ourselves.

Last summer, we tried to take a "vacation" twice.  Both times, we cut the visit short due to severe tantrums and fled with our tails between our legs. Quite literally into the night. I didn't write about it because, honestly, I didn't know how.

"Conor ruins another vacation," Aidan cried in the backseat of the car.

Well, can't argue about that.

See?  See?  I'm already getting all worked up about it.  Just the memory.


I have to say, sometimes anticipating the events is more nerve-wracking than actually doing them.  At least then I can put my head down and push through it. Like a linebacker.

Bring it on, baby.  BRING IT! I've spent all rising spring getting ready.

So, each rising spring, I busy myself trying to prepare, mentally, emotionally, financially, logistically.

My husband might describe my behavior as "obsessing" rather than "preparing".  Well, pffffttt, I say to that.

What will we do differently this summer?  The same? How can I help my family have a less stressful summer? I'll write more social stories, better social stories. More medication, different medication, less medication.  More behaviorist support, less behaviorist support.  Less vacation, shorter vacation, different vacation. More red wine, better red wine. Chocolate!  I'll eat more chocolate!

Trying to put the pieces into place for my son's summer, it can be stressful.  Not to mention painful, what with all the bikini waxing and whatnot summer brings with it. (For me, not Conor.  He doesn't wax.)

I think it's time to go back to the acupuncturist.  Maybe a more intensive treatment this time of year, though.

Yeah, that should do it.


Anonymous said...

From what I'm seeing around the interwebz, this is a bad time of year for a lot of people. The angst and stress is just in overdrive, I guess. I'm sending good thoughts and hoping you get at least one successful vacation under your belt this year.

Alisa Rock said...

Thanks so much. From your lips...

Unknown said...

I understand the overwhelming responsibility with the summer schedule. Keeping out kids busy and meltdown free. It is another battle we as Autism parents fight and prepare for. Good luck. ;-)