The last few weeks have been so filled with intense happenings I feel as if I am in a moment of calm before the next storm hits me. At the same time I am hoping that the current batch of storms have now passed and I’ll see a few months of relative calm.
Eight weeks ago I was getting repeated calls from my daughter’s school to come and collect her early as she was being very disruptive and physically aggressive towards both staff and pupils. This ended up with her being suspended for half a day, back in for half a day and then suspended for another 3.5 days for physical violence towards staff and pupils, more towards the staff though. This was almost at the end of the school term. As I had found the build up to all of this very stressful I went off sick from work at that point and I haven’t been back since then.
Just into the new term the autism assessment for my daughter finally took place and as I expected she was found to fulfil the criteria for a diagnosis of Asperger’s. My son was diagnosed with highly functioning autism a few years ago. Diagnostically the difference is the my daughter started talking in the normal time frame while my son didn’t start talking until he was 3. Both children are bright, loving individuals who have different sensory reactions to this world about them and different emotional responses to a wide range of situations.
Just after the autism assessment but before the results were passed to me my daughter was suspended again, this time for a full week. On the same day my mum went into hospital with extreme breathing difficulties. I had up until that day been getting to the stage where I thought I could cope with work added into the mix again. Following that day I knew I’d need a bit more time off.
Mum was very ill, particularly during the first 24 hours she was in hospital. She had pneumonia and was treated for a suspected clot on her lung but for a few days her breathing was so bad that she couldn’t have a CAT scan to confirm that. Eventually she did have a scan and multiple blood clots on her lungs were found. She was in hospital for two weeks but is now home and continuing to improve.
Usually my parents help look after the children after school for a couple of hours. Needless to say that has had to change and Rowan in particular is missing his time with grandma and granddad. Mum will have to take it easy for some time yet but the kids will have visits once mum is well enough. Rowan would probably be fine on his own but Rosie does not really know the meaning of being gentle. Her hugs are wonderful but nearly always come with added omff! Rowan’s hugs can be like that too but he’s better at being careful.
In the middle of all of this was a pending Beltane ritual that my mum had already written most of but now was unable to attend let alone lead. Mum has also already organised volunteers for most of the roles but two of them were herself and my dad neither of whom would be there now. At one stage I hadn’t even been that sure about attending the Beltane ritual. I had decided I would a week or so before mum was taken into hospital. Now I would be taking over the organisation of the ritual and leading it. I wasn’t asked to do that, it was something I just knew had to be done. By the time the ritual came round mum was much better but still in hospital. I had still not seen any hawthorn blossom so I didn’t really feel that Beltane had properly arrived (and still don’t although I know it’s close). The ritual took place much as mum had originally written it with a few tweaks and changes of roles as there were others that were unable to make it due to health matters as well. Those of us that were there celebrated the coming summer with joy and laughter and took pleasure in being together.
As I write this most things have settled down considerably including my stress levels. I am due to return to work on Tuesday. I am not expecting things to be all smooth sailing by any means. I get called to pick up Rosie early from school at least once every week at the moment. Rowan is having transition visits to the high school he will be attending next academic year. So far this term I haven’t been called out to his school but you can never tell. I’m not expecting my parents to be able to take on some of the after school care for several weeks but as I work part time I can deal with that. I’m hoping they will be able to help out more during the summer holidays but that’s weeks away yet so time will tell.
My own personal spiritual practices continue but they are informal and simple to do in a busy life. I don’t have the time or energy to do more with the wider Pagan community. I have come to accept that it is highly unlikely that I will be in a position to start doing more again for several years. I am learning things and developing skills which can not be easily put into words (well not by me anyway). Patience and calmness come into the mixture but so do stubbornness and strength.
Mostly I’m learning much more about what it is to live with autism, learning to understand and appreciate each family member’s strengths and weaknesses.