Monday, January 29, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different!

I am out of crisis mode and into 2007! And to prove it I have had a date with my husband, gone out to dinner with a friend and started taking yoga again. All in one month! I have it in my head that this year will be a bit different than the last and so far I'm off to a good start.

I came to see that I was in crisis mode some time back when friend and fellow blogger, ThisMom, wrote a passage in one of her posts about how she had been feeling like she was in a state of constant emergency since the time of her son's diagnosis with Aspergers Syndrome. Yes, I thought, that is exactly how I felt. But I didn't quite know what to do about it either. A big part of my emotional state was tied up in not having a clear roadmap or plan when it came to what to do about Oliver's autism. And then there was the mythic, looming, magic, five-year mark, rapidly approaching, at which time his brain would suddenly become less agile, less capable of developing new pathways -- whatever that means. So there I was, the house was on fire, the clock was ticking and I was sitting on the floor of the room, the boy on my lap, smoke pouring in from all around, and it all depended on me but I was completely unable to focus and prioritize.

But gradually, things have changed. For one thing, begining RDI has given me a pretty good roadmap. And more importantly, I feel competent to use it to find our way. And competency is such a huge thing for all of us. Feeling competent is what allows us to keep finding the motivation to face that which challenges us. And although I love Oliver more than I could ever begin to describe, parenting him challenges me in ways that I never expected. And that frightened me more than anything because there were times when I honestly could not see that I was up to the challenges. But today, even in the face of all those challenges, I now find myself recounting to Nik all of our successes at the end of each day. With each success, my feelings of competency soar. And as I re-gain my competency as a parent, Oliver's trust in me is also growing. I see it everyday in willingness to try new things with me. Three months ago when I called Oliver's name he would literally run in the other direction. Now he runs to me. I don't feel like I'm in the midst of an emergency all the time anymore. Every day just seems normal. Ordinary almost.

But all of this is a process and even through we have made great strides in the past few months I know we still have some distance to travel. One of the things that remains very hard for me is looking into the future. Thinking about Oliver's future begs many questions that I'm just not sure I'm ready to look at squarely. My dearest hope is that I will one day be able to have a conversation with Oliver. But that might not happen. It is a struggle to maintain that hope and yet accept that conversational-style communication just might not be in the cards for us. But if it is, when might it be reasonable to think it might happen? In a year? Five? Twenty? I'm not yet willing to totally give up on verbal communication. But setting goals requires that we evaluate what we believe to be realisitic and it also requires that we maintain some sort of expectations about the future. If we don't believe that our goals are attainable then why set them? And so my goals tend to be very short-term. I know what I want to accomplish this week, this month. But it is as if my road-map is leading me over very rocky terrain and I still need to keep my eyes on the very next step. Maybe as I become more adept -- more competent -- I will be able to look up at the bigger picture. But I'm just not there yet.

But I AM taking Yoga every week. And after my first class on Sunday my muscles have been reminding me that stretching in new directions comes at a cost. I'm achey and sore but also pleasantly surprised that I could keep up with the class. And during that first class last week, the instructor offered up this: "All balance is a gift.

I'm not sure how to end this post, except with that thought. Balance is a gift. And if 2007 brings me nothing more than balance I will be happy.


  1. I love you attitude! I think having a roadmap to follow is so wonderful. I think that is what I have always struggled with. In Roo's verbal behavior they follow the ABLLS, but I do think that the stages of RDI are more clear and real. Hmmm, I am still pondering the RDI I guess. Maybe we will head that way with Roo someday. But for now, like you I have been feeling pretty competent lately and have been looking at ever little accomplishment more and trying not to get too ahead of myself. I have been looking at how far Roo has come and not looking at how far he still needs to go.

    Yoga, now that is something I should be doing. A prenatal class of some sort. You may have just motivated me to look into it seriously.

  2. This week at work we were offered a free "chair massage". The woman first squeezed my neck and immediately said "have you been in a car accident?! Your neck is so stiff!" "I have 3 kids" I joked. (But she was not the jokey type.) My first thought was that I need to get back to yoga- haven't done it since I was pregnant with Thomas 3 years ago.

    Maybe my neck is stiff from being in crisis mode for so long? I have always regretted that Henry was diagnosed so late (age 5), but maybe that saved me from the early years of worry that you speak of here.

    Also- I want to take issue with a comment you made on Kyra's blog- "I'm not a great writer. I don't have anything all that profound to say." You are and you do. I love reading your blog!

    Here's to a great 2007 and I bet you and Oliver will have a conversation before the year is out!

  3. that is so WONDERFUL! how joyous and exciting! to be stretching OUT, in life, in yoga, in the family, out of your feelings of panic! yay! RDI is like magic. i really think so.

    oh, and i SO AGREE with gretchen about your comment on my blog. if i haven't yet said it, please add it to my long list of inadaquacies, including my inability to spell that word. i SO love your writing, your blog, and keeping up with ALL the MANY great things you have to say.