The plan is falling apart. I haven't yet figured out how to pick up the pieces.
I have been following some of my friends and colleagues online, and summers for a child living with autism are profoundly disorienting. The loss of a school routine is jarring. We regularly ask the question in our household--is this teenage or autism stuff? Or some combination thereof? Behaviors and responses do not fit into tidy categories, and we become alchemists with food, sleep, health care, and structural variables. Our daughter is getting ready for high school, which adds another layer. Her life is amiss, and we aren't sure how to help. It helps when our friends and family ask us how we are doing. I get choked up even thinking about the question.
I do not write about these struggles willingly. I tend to shy away from topic specific support groups. My challenges seem small compared to the plights of others. Sometimes ASD parents and I give each other knowing glances and encouragement on occasion, which at the right time can be pain relief. We move forward.
We had big plans for this sabbatical in my household. We thought the time and space would allow us extended time for new adventures. Those dreams and expectations have been curbed, and in some cases--slashed. It's hard to say whether they will completely crumble, or whether we regroup and rally. At the very least, we are thankful that we do not have to wonder about whether we can survive a day at work because today...we have time. And while this sabbatical may not turn out to be the stuff that dreams are made of, maybe I can appreciate some space to breathe.