J is home. It’s vacation time. It’s not like we didn’t know it was coming, but -geez!- it got here fast. Screeching its tires, swerving recklessly, it has come to stop a hairsbreadth away from us…we are still breathless from the experience. The same guy who had to be pried off his bed with a crowbar at 5:40 yesterday morning was up and, rather loudly, asking for coffee at 5 a.m. today. No Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Opus 46 Morning Mood for us…it was definitely more Alice Cooper’s School’s Out. We found the floor with our feet, and we hit the ground running.
I don’t need to tell you (but I will anyway) that by 9:30 we’d had breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, worked in the garden, taken the trash to the dumpster, started one load of laundry and set another one to dry… You know all this as well as you know that it’s not yet one o’clock and we’ve gone for a second walk, done five loads of laundry, dried three, had 10 a.m. snack, had lunch, taken another turn in the garden, identified every item in the most recent issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and cleaned the kitchen again.
The brief moment of anxiety that comes with a weekday morning’s breakfast time, when everyone is at the table wearing their pajamas and it’s unclear to J if we’re staying home, or if this is a ruse to get him to the doctor, passed quickly. TGG changed into his brand-new gray scrubs for the new job at the oncology department, and Dada went to get dressed for the office. I, exercising every bit of prudence that I knew would guarantee an easy transition into our at-home routine, remained in my nightgown and slippers until after Dada left. By the time we’d finished working on vocabulary with our handy-dandy magazine, J was ready for me to put the mom uniform on, and we headed out to the garage to work.
If anyone has ten-thousand tasks to complete and no motivation, please, take J home and have him motivate you…I got so many things done in such a short period of time that I’m already well on my way to being tuckered out. That it’s been rainy during the morning hours, and breezy since doesn’t help matters: we are basically indoors until it’s time to venture outside once more.
I have sufficient arts and crafts materials to last us the better part of summer. I have a shelving unit that J can put together for the library. We have our flash cards, and our workbooks. Puzzles galore and board games are part of the fun we have ahead of us. After a rather grueling spelunking expedition (we checked closets, drawers, cabinets, boxes,) we managed to locate the CD binder where we keep the Wii games. It is evidence of how long it had been since we used anything but the Wii Fit that it took us the better part of two days to find one simple item. I am hoping the Wii Sports will get J going on rainy days.
To help J settle into the summer routine, and to help remind him of when to be ready for summer school and the lull in activity that precedes and follows it, I created a thirteen-week calendar with all the school days marked, with the days Dada isn’t working because they are holidays or vacation days highlighted, and every night we mark it with a happy face sticker to signify “move on to the next day!” So far so good…of course, we only started doing this on Sunday, and there are a lot of those between here and summer school, and even more between here and the regular school year. I am confident, however, that J will actually like this because anything that is a visual cue seems to work rather well.
The undercurrent of stress that we’re dealing with remains strong, but we’re managing it with as much grace as possible. We can’t do anything about it right now, but there are corollary things related to the stress that we can start handling. I’m concentrating on those, and it’s helping. I’ve found that, like J, I want to be busy with something productive, and it calms me…so instead of waiting for the phone to ring (which I’m totally doing) and having my hands unoccupied, I am waiting for the phone to ring while doing something else. I’ve told Dada he doesn’t really have to worry until he comes home and finds the house full of origami animals…
Other than the usual start-of-vacation upheaval, all is well. We are, as usual, settling into a new routine. We are, as usual, trying to display as much grace as possible while doing it. J is leading the way, and -from time to time- dragging us along if we can’t keep up with his pace.
Maybe tomorrow he’ll sleep until 5:15???? Yeah…maybe…
Since I am very fond of looking back and thinking of how many millimeters we’ve moved forward over time, I would like to point out that this summer has indeed started on an auspicious note. It may not SOUND like it, but I am encouraged and comforted by the memory of J walking in the garden this morning and leaning to pick spinach leaves from the bottomed-out fire pit we repurposed as a planter. Last summer he might have picked the leaves, but he wouldn’t have rinsed them and eaten them as a snack while watching TV. Last summer he wouldn’t have grabbed shredded carrots from a ramekin and eaten them as a side to his curry. Last summer he wouldn’t have entertained the notion of kale chips being edible, and last night he had some without looking twice to see what they were.
J weighs now what he weighed three years ago, and he actually has healthy eating habits. If that isn’t sufficient encouragement for a positive summer, I don’t know what is.
So, yes, it begins…and it’ll be an interesting summer because we intend to make it so, and because we know J is open to the world in ways he wasn’t before. We see the psych again in a few days, and after that we see the nutritionist. After the iffy-days of transitioning to less med, and the ever-expanding repertoire of food in our midst, we’re in for interesting times at those appointments. Until then, we’ll deal with each day as it comes. A six a.m. starting time wouldn’t hurt, but…we’ll find a way to figure THAT out…