Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Today is a half day. So is tomorrow. Friday is the official last day of school. The kids are excited. At least, all but my youngest who is saying goodbye to second grade and still enjoys school. She has been tormenting her siblings telling them that she will miss homework and asking them why they won't. I watch their mounting excitement and try to figure out my own reaction to the upcoming break.
I will be so very happy to have my kiddos home. They are exceptional young people and really cool kids. I actually do miss them during the day so the prospect of spending my days with these small humans is exhilarating. They are some of my very favorite people on the planet.
I watch Isaac as the end of school draws near. I wonder how the summer will be for us. He is a goof nut (that is a mommy term of endearment, folks) and I do enjoy his shenanigans. I watch him smile and giggle as I hope and pray for a good break.
We have had difficult summers. There have been breaks where I have spent the entire three months standing in front of my kitchen sink. Literally. One can see all the exits to the house from the vantage point of the kitchen sink. I have spent many days and many months leaned up on the cabinets in front of the sink watching to see if Isaac is going to try to leave the house. When the boy descended the stairs, I was there ready to redirect and supply an alternate activity that would keep him inside and under my care.
There were summers when his behaviors were out of control. Thank God, I don't think this will be one of those. There were summers when Isaac was angry. He spent his days hitting himself and lashing out against others near him. I spent those summers praying that all would be well. Whereas a school has a collection of professionals within the scope of their radio, I have only myself to rely upon. I am glad to report that Isaac and I got through those rough summers. He was as happy as he could have been and everyone stayed ok. Isaac and his siblings and I...we got through.
There were summers when we spent the entire holiday in the house. Particularly when my youngest was small, it was impossible to plan for the myriad of potential scenarios that one may encounter by taking them all out by myself. Those days are mostly past. I can reasonably count of Isaac's siblings to obey me the first time. They know what I am managing. They know the importance of their own behavior. Still, outside events like Bible School would take so much planning that I will probably decide against them. Every excursion's success always gets down to the question of how can we do this with Isaac.
It is difficult to plan play dates for the other children too. Their friends and their families must be vetted first. Before any child comes over, I call the parent. I tell them about Isaac's autism. I try to keep my voice light and blithe as I discuss the fact that while Isaac usually prefers to keep himself entertained with his computer in his room, that their child will see some potentially different behaviors and that these behaviors may be frightening. I ask the parent to talk to their child beforehand about Isaac's happy behaviors of jumping and shouting at his computer as he replays a Veggie Tale line over and over. I tell the parent that there is the potential that Isaac will be up singing loudly to himself all night. I suggest a day visit before the child will spend the night. If the parent agrees to allow their child to come over, I spend the day watchful of Isaac's behavior so that I can interpret it and soothe our newly arrived visitor so they may want to come back again. Sometimes, the thought of the process is too grueling and I attempt to steer my children away from asking for play dates or slumber parties.
I want it to be a good summer. I want so badly to spend family time with the children and to learn more of who and what they are. I want us to enjoy some of these fleeting moments together before adulthood pulls them off into their own whirlwind worlds. I tell myself that it will be a good summer. Isaac is at a really good place this year. His therapists are pleased with his progress and he has had a great semester at school. His baby sister is 8 this year. Maybe this summer everyone is old enough to support some summer outings. I want to try. As difficult as it may be, I want to try. I have connected with so many wonderful people through this blog and Isaac's Face Book page. People are beginning to understand. Maybe they will be ok sharing some days with us without being frightened off. I want to try. I want to think that this will be an amazing summer.