Dread : to feel extreme reluctance to meet or face something.
I used to really dread the school holidays.
The thought of having the kids home every day made me want to hide under my blankets and stay there until they were over and I knew that the possibility of having a peaceful household was all but gone for the duration. Often the constant drama that continually unfolded was usually more than I could take and I would spend the days wishing for school to go back just so I could get a moment’s peace. I regularly locked myself in our walk in wardrobe with my iPod turned up loud JUST to drown the kids out. It was the only way I could cope.
But that was then.
THESE days, I understand the reason behind the tears, the tempers and the general unrest (well…MOST of the time anyway) and can usually take some measures to try to avert them before they occur. I have learned that dread is a very close cousin of fear. I no longer feel afraid and therefore no longer feel the need to sit in the corner in the foetal position rocking and chanting “It will be ok, it will be ok, it’s all going to be ok” until I finally started to believe it.
Today was the last day of school for my kids for this term. They are now on holidays for almost 3 weeks and this time – I couldn’t be happier.
20 days of stress-free mornings, 20 days of not having to be anywhere at a particular time and 20 days of semi sleep-ins. (Well – 6:00 am is a sleep in here )
Many people think that children on the autistic spectrum need rock solid routine and while that’s true on some levels – my kids cope ok with only a loose routine provided that they are not rushed or expected to be something that they’re not.
The more “out” activities – the more stress. It’s a simple formula really!
I used to take planning to the tenth degree and schedule holiday activity upon activity thinking that they needed that structure to cope, but in essence – what I was really doing was over scheduling them and kind of replicating school – they very thing that they were supposed to be on holidays from! The expectations that I put on them was causing all of us so much stress that it hardly seemed worth it in the end!
They got so tired from having to be here at a certain time and there at another when all they really wanted to do was to just chill out at home with a DVD and their favourite things surrounding them.I discovered that play dates are great – but not when they turn into another “requirement”.
And now that I know all of that – I can also relax more easily. It turns out that they don’t WANT to be traipsing around parks, bowling alleys and cinemas all the time. They are completely happy to just stay at home and do their own thing. It’s easier, MUCH cheaper and allows them to actually benefit from the break by recharging their batteries and refuelling so that they can cope better with term 3.
My beautiful Mum is arriving next week and both of the boys birthdays AND mine are also coming up so we still have a LOT to do this holidays. I’m very excited and have just started to see the light at the end of the so-I-guess-I-don’t-get-to-move-to-my-mum’s tunnel. And that light is in Ella. She has really blossomed this year and her and three other lovely girls have joined forces and created a lovely little group.
The group is made up of two 12 years olds & two 11 year olds so it’s a great mix, they all complement each other brilliantly and are as different as they are alike. They all Skype each other EVERY afternoon after school and have already planned 2 sleepovers in the holiday period. It’s ALL they talk about and their excitement is contagious plus it’s making this mothers heart sing after the horrible bullying that my princess has had to endure in past years.
I couldn’t be happier.
And as much pain as I have been in recently as I have witnessed my dream of moving home become less and less achievable – I have found a way to rejoice in the beautiful friendships that my girl is developing and I’m relaxing into the knowledge that she is going to be A-OK as she heads to high school next year.
It’s true that God works in mysterious ways and that His ways are not our own, but I also think that sometimes I need to just pull my head out of the sand long enough to observe the sun shining all around me instead of just noticing the dark shadows that it causes instead.
Happy holidays everyone