Sunday, January 31, 2010

What you keep is the getting there

Some time ago I wrote that I had come to realize that in my subconscious mind there was always an after-autism. In this after-autism time we would look back and laugh at how much we worried. No, don't get me wrong. I knew from the start that autism is a way of being. A life-long way of being. There's no curing that. There's no changing that. But somehow in my magical way of thinking, there was to come a time when autism wouldn't hog center stage quite so much. When I held this thinking up to the light I saw a vision of Nik and me, sitting -- no, lounging, in the Adirondack chairs on the back patio. This was way off in the future because these weren't the crappy plastic chairs that we have now but the real deal wooden ones. And also, we don't have a back patio. (That is on the ten year plan and we are now only in year nine.)  But besides that, Nik and I were holding a long, cool tea and were deep in conversation. Also, there were no children nearby. And while there was nothing explicit about this vision that would tell me, I knew that the children were off doing their own thing. And that everything was alright.

If I could have imagined what those older versions of us were talking about it might have been some version of a conversation that we have from time to time. "Remember the 'Year of the Poop?'" or: "Do you remember when Oliver woke up screaming at 6am every morning for a year?" one of us will ask the other. The other sort of replies with a slow shake of the head and an exhaled laugh that pretty much says: Nobody would believe it if we told them and I'm sure glad that is over. Because at the time it felt like it might never end.

The part of the vision that I like to think about is how utterly relaxed Nik and I seem to be. Our faces are without worry. We look well rested. Turns out, I think, that Oliver is inside the house. Maybe he is on his bed reading a book. The point is, I don't appear to be worried about him even though I cannot see what he is doing. Everything is just alright.

The problem with magical thinking though is that it won't get you anywhere. Nowhere in that little vision is there a clue as to how we got there. And I don't really believe in magic.

I've been in a bit of a depression lately. It's pretty standard fare really in terms of a depression. I can't seem to focus. All I want to do is sleep. I've lost interest in things that I used to enjoy. I put off doing things I should be doing and absentmindedly surf the web. And did I mention the great, great, overwhelming desire to sleep? Oh, yeah right -- that part is normal for me.

But maybe in my depressed and sleep deprived state I'm overly susceptible to suggestion because today I was watching a music documentary and one of the old time musicians said something like:  "Enjoy life. You only come by this way but once." And I found myself annoyed at how wasteful I have been with mine lately. I don't know exactly how the things I'm worried about right now are all going to turn out in the end. But maybe it isn't the ending part that really matters.

This afternoon I found myself drawn to the kitchen. I wanted to cook something but there wasn't much by way of ingredients. Cooking was one of those things I had kind of lost interest in. But, aha! A bag of lentils and a butternut squash. Onions. Rice. As I pulled together a pot of soup I thought about the conversation that Nik and I will have one day when we sit on those real deal chairs on the back patio. It's the worries of today that we'll be shaking our heads over by that time. New ones, different ones will probably replace them. But by then maybe we'll just have the good sense to know that those worries will also be replaced one day.

Not too long ago Mom-NOS asked readers to post the name of a song that represented them. I chose "To Live is to Fly" by Townes Van Zandt  - a song that I've listened to quite a bit this year. The lyrics kept coming into my head as I wrote this post tonight:

Days up and down they come
Like rain on a conga drum
Forget most, remember some
But don't turn none away
Everything is not enough
Nothin' is to much to bear
Where you been is good and gone
All you keep is the gettin' there
To live is to fly
Low and high
So shake the dust off of your wings
And the sleep out of your eyes

(and because Gretchen found TVZ's version depressing I'm linking to the Steve Earle's version :-)


  1. Holy cow, Christine, are you living inside my head? The depression, the lack of motivation, the surfing...all me. I can't seem to shake it and I worry that it's deeper than just the utter, bone weary exhaustion from not sleeping through the night in so long. *sigh*

    You're right, though, that today's worries will be replaced by new ones. Guess that's just how it goes when we're grown-ups, eh? *double sigh*

  2. This song makes me cry (in a good way) every time I hear it or read the lyrics. Perfect poetry. Nothing is too much to bear my friend!

    I'm sorry you've been feeling depressed. I wish I could help.

    Sending you a hug and a virtual Adirondack chair.

  3. I'm sorry you're feeling down, Christine. These days are what will make the brighter days all that more brilliant. Wishing you lightness and brightness soon. xoxo

  4. You are a beautiful writer, Christine. My favorite kind of writer -- the kind who articulates things that have been lurking in my head that I haven't even put into words yet. I am sorry you're struggling with this. ((HUGS)) Can I help in some way?