Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Catching Up

To begin with the obvious, it's been a good long while since I've written anything. At first, I felt like I didn't have much new to say. From my son's obsessions and behavioral protocols, his budget, his tantrums and his multiple hospitalizations, the struggle to provide a stable environment for my typical child, the impact of Mother Nature on our quest for routine and structure, the difficulty of holiday and summer breaks, blah blah blah wah wah wah--sometimes I feel I've touched on it all. Even the dog has had his due.

And if I'm honest, I've been in a bit of a funk for the last six months, and I've found that most people generally don't want to read something funky. Or smell it. Bruno Mars is good funky, but that's about it.

Then, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I got caught up in the tornado of planning a charity gala in
Being interviewed by media company at the gala for a
promotional video for Pathfinders for Autism.
Not sure I made the cut, but it was fun!
Picture by Rachel Rock Photography
October and early November. A fun kind of whirlwind, to be sure, but a significant time commitment nonetheless. All for a great cause, of course.

Pathfinders for Autism is a Maryland-based nonprofit that helps caregivers and individuals with autism find the support and services that they need, trains first responders and emergency personnel in dealing with individuals on the spectrum, hosts free family fun nights in our community, and more.

Being in charge of the live and silent auction meant a tremendous amount of groveling and begging for super cool items, so I spent most of my writing time making sure that committee members were getting some nice swag. I tell ya, being in management is really tough. It's hard telling people what to do all day. I mean, people who are not my husband.

(Oh, who am I kidding, only the dog listens to me, and I think it’s because he feels sorry for me.)

Next thing I know, the fantabulous gala was over (thank God, those 5 inch heels HURT, what was I thinking?), and Christmas came barreling. Shopping is such hard work for a demanding recipient—I mean, look at the effort Kim Kardashian puts into it--especially in a time crunch. Conor has pretty high expectations, and at 16 years old, he still believes in Santa Claus. I remember one year, I spent months trying to find one of those scrolling signs that you see in store fronts.

He never used it. Oh well.

Along with Christmas each year comes a trip to Massachusetts and other New England states to see family. Planning travel with my son with autism is such an angst-ridden process. It usually makes me want to hide my head in the sand.  

On our way home
(Which I would be happy to do if we were going to the beach… but no beach. Just an over-chlorinated hotel pool.)

We've had mixed results during our 'vacations' in the past. I mean, you never know if your macadamia nuts will be served to you in the bag instead of on a silver platter, for Pete's sake. I mean, seriously. And then they don't bother to heat up the lemon water to the most optimal temperature. How are you supposed to clean the macadamia nut dust off your fingers? Unbelievable.

It takes a ton of planning, in all seriousness, to ensure a successful, smooth experience when traveling with my son. I actually considered packing some sweet potatoes in my carry-on bag along with all his medications but came to my senses. (I packed them in the checked baggage. Duh. Nonstop flight.

For those that don't know, Conor eats a sweet potato every night. Every. Night.)

Surely, I remember thinking to myself, this year's trip up north would be much easier than last year's

This year, while we were away visiting my in-laws just after Christmas, my sister’s husband was struck and killed by a drunk driver as he rode his bicycle on a warm-for-December Saturday afternoon in Baltimore. We cut our trip short and flew back home as quickly as we could. Conor handled it well, all things considered.

I did not handle it well, myself.

This deserves its own, more thoughtful blog post, so that’s all I’ll say about that right now. It’s hard to write when you’re crying, I’ve discovered. And I get a headache from all the trying-not-to-cry-ing. (Conor gets upset when I am upset, so I try to limit how much he sees.)

Suffice to say, it’s been difficult to get back on track. Grief is exhausting, I’ve found. Not sure I really realized that before now. Nobody told me that. Or maybe I just didn’t understand.

In any case, while I’m writing the next blog post, click here to read an old one. It's about Rachel and Tom's wedding. Or rather, how they nicely included Conor in it.  

We miss you, Tom.