The alarm goes off. My mind swims back to consciousness, prodded by the chimes of my cellphone and the soft nudge of a cat. She wants breakfast. I want more sleep. I've been having issues with that, trying to sleep and being awakened, or simply worrying myself for hours. I need to start a new story, so I can make up some characters and let my brain whirr on that instead of the fifty things I need to try to do tomorrow; I'd get to sleep faster. Allan has already left for work, so the bathroom is free. I stumble in that direction.
Sometimes Joey is already up, playing a game or chasing cats. Sometimes he comes in and slips into Allan's spot, cuddling (and sometimes also playing a game), getting in some mom snuggles. Today, he is rolled up like a boy burrito in his blankets in his own bed. Andy is up, on his iPad, petting a cat.
"Rise and shine, Buddy!" I call as I head down the stairs. There is lunch to be made, cats to feed, pills to prep, breakfast to put together. Sometimes I let Joey make his own lunch, but it makes him grumpy. With the late sleep, another possible red flag, I start on it myself. A sandwich, an apple, some crackers he may or may not eat; sometimes they are fine, sometimes he puts them on his "junk food" list in his head, and won't touch them. I think of the wonderful, creative lunches I've seen online. I bought some containers to make some, but I've never done it.
Joey appears in his favorite shirt, and I hand him pills and breakfast. We keep trying to find something to reel in the anxiety, but this combo is the only thing that both takes the edge off while not having him go nuts or feel weird. I am not looking forward to the day his body compensates and makes it useless. I push aside the pang of futility and go through his notebook, looking for forms I need to sign and return.
"STOP TAKING MY HAND!" Joey yells, and I jump. What?
He's staring at me, and my brain is racing. What is it? I'm not near him. His hands are empty.
"STOP TAKING MY HAND!" he yells louder, and then laughs. "LET GO OF ME!" He picks up a stick- a walking-stick or cane size, not his usual writing size- and heads to the back yard. I finish the lunch, put the bag together with a supply of chewing gum, and my next alarm goes off- time to remind Joey to put on shoes and make sure he is ready for the car to come. He tromps back in just as I reach my phone to turn it off.
"THE GARBAGE WILL DO!" he shouts, grabbing his backpack, and giggling mightily.
Oh, Right. Star Wars. It's going to be a yell-the-script kind of day.
As he slips into the back seat and buckles in, I silently wish the school folks good luck. It's going to be loud. Very loud.
May the Force be with him.