Friday, July 08, 2011

A Visit In The Morning

My bestest girl friend and old college roommate is in town, and I am so excited I am going to get to see her in the morning, I could just go SQUEEE!!!

And I am so nervous that I can't sleep.

I haven't seen Sue in a few years. Her son is about six months younger than Andy, and she has a daughter who is a preschooler. The last time I saw her son, he was just walking. I have never seen the daughter at all.

Sue's best quality is she tells it as she sees it. She doesn't allow for excuses in facing problems. She's not afraid to tell you when she sees a problem. She's not shy about helping you fix it. If you need to brainstorm ways of coping with an issue, she's the one to call. She's awesome.

On the other hand, with our family, what one sees is all too often the tip of a mysterious iceberg. A day with Joey might look like one thing, and be something completely different. The usual ideas and fixes, or the ones that may look like they work or might be helpful, often are nothing of the sort. The strategies that work with a lot of kids only escalate the anxiety for Joey. And there is no getting around it: tomorrow is going to be a hard day for Joey. It won't be his schedule. We don't know what we are going to do when we get to Northern VA to see Sue and her kids. I suggested the Reston zoo, but apparently she took her kids to the National Zoo today, so they may be zoo-ed out. (Zoos tend to be good to take my kids, because there is flexibility but familiarity- they know what a zoo is and what to expect at one, so if I have one little guy out of sorts, the other is still entertained).

I think a great deal of this woman. She is a powerful, dynamic person of dignity, character, and high respect. What she will think of me and my guys when she finds my back-up parenting plan is to bring iTouches loaded with Angry Birds and am not afraid to use them to get us through lunch? That my way of letting Joey get comfortable is to let him be Quack or Buzz Lightyear, and play along? When she finds my best trick for getting Joey's behavior under control if he starts to melt down is to hug him instead of just putting him in time out or whatever other method people use these days? We have differed and butted heads about differences in opinion in such kinds of matters before.

So many people react to Joey in so many different ways, and to how we handle Joey. Sue has not really seen Joey or had to deal with his autism before. Though I have faith that Sue, being Sue, will not love us the less or turn away from us, I simply don't know how this will play out. It is likely to be a long day for Joey, so I have lots of extra prep to do in a few hours to mitigate and support him through it. And though I know few people really understand the energy and work that goes into such a day for us, I at least hope she'll understand, no matter what happens, that I am doing my best for my guys.

And I wouldn't miss it for the world.

1 comment:

Stimey said...

Yay for hanging out with a friend! I can understand that you might be stressed, especially since the day will be a challenge for Joey. If she's all up-front about stuff, why don't you be too? Tell her what you wrote here. Tell her that there is thought and reason behind what you are doing and it is not indulgent parenting. Hopefully she will hear you and learn. Have a great day! Good luck!