Our visit to the psych on Friday featured praise for J’s progress, suggestions regarding keeping him on the med for a whole year, and the possibility of on putting him on Metformin. We don’t go back until July.
And then J decided to pepper our weekend with random moments of being obstreperous. Such is life.
Dada had taken Monday and Tuesday off from work, and this caused J anxiety. We went out of our way to clarify beyond any doubt that this was a “fun” time, and -regardless of how “un-fun” The Smurf movie was, we did our best to make sure J enjoyed those four days of Dada being home.
Menopause (or its vicinity) and Autism are not a good combo. Sunday was Easter…Sunday was horrible. I don’t know how Dada survived two extremely crabby human beings under one roof, but he survived. J and I were both exhausted by the time we went to bed.
We managed in the end. We had to reinforce the “fun” elements over and over, and remind J of the altered schedule, but we managed.
At one point during the weekend there was an epiphany, and our life is turned upside down (in a good way) because of it. We actually, in hindsight, blame it on This Is Us. If you haven’t watched this show, or if you do and are -like we were- savoring each episode and not bingeing (like one wants to do with the conclusion of each episode,) I won’t spoil it for you. If you have watched the show, I’ll just blame it on William…you know what I mean.
Anyway…on Saturday morning, while we were getting dressed to take J to the inevitable Smurf movie, Dada just looked up and said he was done with his job, and -if it was ok with me- he was putting in his notice.
The only difficult part of saying “yes, a thousand times yes” was that I wasn’t fully dressed (I was trying to put on a skirt that I can never quite find the button on the waistband, and I had one foot up on the bed because I was (and this is dangerous at any age, but more so at ours) trying to put an espadrille on at the same time…
Once I regained my balance, I hopped on the bed (yet another precarious arrangement) and said a rather enthusiastic yes. If I tell you that my husband suddenly looked a lot younger, a lot less stressed, and massive relieved you have to take my word for it…we are not “let me capture this moment for Instagram” people.
No, that didn’t really contribute to J’s anxiety…at least not completely. I think he was more thrown off by the usual “you’re taking me to the doctor, right? He’s only here when I’m going to the doctor…so that has to be it…come on, guys, I feel FINE!!!! YOU! The man with the goatee and the Subaru…go away…go to work…I don’t need to go anywhere where they will poke me, jab me, make me say AAAAH.”
This was, in part, a factor in Dada realizing just how immersed in work and work-related worries he has been. J only associates Dada being here with going to the doctor, going shopping, or a weekend (which usually means shopping or errands.) Dada used to be a person who took him for walks, who watched movies with him…Dada has become the person with the work ID around his neck, and being here on a weekday means “doctor.”
I know this is an extreme interpretation on J’s part. I know Dada does more than that, but J has processed it that way, and it has had an effect. We worked, quite assiduously, at reframing that image these past few days. By the time J woke up yesterday, found Dada was not here, and started his regular routine, there was a different vibe. We did our usual stuff, but Dada was missed…
On Tuesday I told Dada to take over Wednesday’s Lego…he and J sat down while I cooked dinner, and put it together. A day early (routine flies out window…film at eleven) and in a different room in the house (dining room,) but J was happy and relaxed, and he enjoyed the presence of the person he had come to identify as the family “ambulance.”
If J realized that Dada isn’t just here to hop in the car with us and take a vacation (always too brief, and always hectic,) or to take us to an appointment, or meet us at a doctor’s office, or simply to go to Target, Five Guys, Barnes and Noble, Kroger, Michael’s…Dada realized that he has spent way too much time working when he could have been here.
Mind you: the man will get a job, and he will have responsibilities and obligations, and a steady income…but…
Our plans to scale back, reframe, rethink, reassess are in full swing. We are not disappointed by the lessons learned. Yes, it is easy to take for granted certain things…that is clear. Yes, work is important and necessary…but family comes first. Always first.
We are doing our inventory, setting wheels in motion, creating a timeframe, organizing our materials, and setting this project in motion. And it feels good. My husband’s early morning sneezing attacks that would happen only on workdays, and which I would joke were an allergic reaction to his stressful work situation have, surprise surprise, ceased…he hasn’t sneezed once while getting ready to go to work in the morning. Maybe they’ll start up again tomorrow…maybe…maybe they were just his way of letting out that he wasn’t happy with his job.
We face a new adventure. We are, actually, quite thrilled and freaked out, and excited and hyper about this… Our eight year-old selves are building a raft, stealing a sheet to make a sail, and gathering provisions… Our fifty-something year-old selves are letting them take over while we do the grown-up stuff.
This is all bound to be chaotic, hectic, complicated, scary, exhilarating.
And away we go…