Tag Archives: spring break

The Lowdown, Vol. 3

Since the boys are gone this week for Spring Break (visiting their dad in L.A.) and I am feeling the usual disjointedness with them away, I figured it was time for another edition of Personal Posts. Because I’m sure you were all waiting for it with baited breath, right? No? Okay.

But surely you must be slightly curious about the raw food thing I wrote about last time. You might recall that I was pretty excited about it, and I still am, but I’ve had to slow waaaay down with it. I got a little overzealous and went 100% raw and lost weight that I didn’t need to lose (nor wanted to). While it’s true that many people go on a raw food diet specifically to lose weight and become healthier, I just wanted to become healthier and increase my energy. And I discovered that being underweight does not make one feel energetic. So I cut back to about 50% raw for the time being while I try to gain back the weight I lost. I know – that’s not something you usually hear – trying to gain back weight – but some of us unfortunately fit into that category. I am still having green smoothies for breakfast every morning, which I love. So, I’m not giving up on raw, but I have to find a way to do it without losing weight, and that may take me a while since I’m focusing on several other things.

And one of the things I’ve been focusing on is publishing my book. Like, really focusing, pushing myself. And I am thrilled to say that I’ve made significant progress! In fact, I hope to be sharing some exciting news very soon! Sorry no deets yet – that will be described in a post of its own, you can be sure.  But I promise I won’t leave you hanging for long!

In other news, we’ve lived in our current home for almost seven years, and the carpet is sporting seven years’ worth of stains and hard living (with two boys and various pets trampling it), so I’m having it replaced. I had hoped to have it done while the boys were away, but it turns out that the installers are on Spring Break as well. So it’s going to be done next week, and I’ve spent all of this week moving everything out of the rooms and closets – seven years’ worth of books, DVDs, papers, Lego, clothing, Nerf guns, action figures, cars, stuffed animals, and whatever else I stuffed in our back room, to be sorted later. Then I touched up the walls in the rooms that will get new carpet, and I used up a half gallon of paint just “touching up” the boys’ rooms!  Not to mention half a container of Spackle. God help me, boys are hard on a house!

But those boys are also the loves of my life, and I enjoyed talking to them on the phone yesterday. They are having a blast, spending time with their dad and visiting with L.A. friends, and they even got to go to Universal Studios! Nigel was ecstatic over the Jurassic Park ride, of course. Aidan, with his vestibular issues, preferred the Mummy ride. They had flown down again, their second solo flight, and everything went well. When it was time to board, I waited with them in line for a few minutes, and as they neared the ticket-taking agent, Aidan said gently, “Mom, I think we’ll be fine now. You don’t need to wait with us.” And Nigel chimed in, “Yeah.” So I tried not to cry and hugged them, saying, “Be safe and have a great time. I love you!” And as I stepped out of the line, an older lady a few feet behind us said good-naturedly, “You boys be good now!” And right then, at that moment in the airport, I felt like a regular parent. A regular parent saying goodbye to her teenage sons as they boarded a plane, trusting that everything would be fine.

I smiled and waved, watching them pull their carry-ons. And for the first time, I felt normal. I know – we shouldn’t use that word. I even discourage Nigel from using it when he describes non-autistic people, because I want him to think of himself as normal too. But the nonchalant way that woman said what she said, and the way I felt just knowing that I didn’t have to worry, I can’t think of another word for it. I guess the fact that I was aware of feeling that way negates the normalcy of it. But I don’t care. I felt normal, or what I assumed felt normal, and it was great, that little glimpse. And hard-won. I sat at the gate for a while longer, and then I watched the plane take off, taking my beautiful, almost-grown boys with it. And although I feel disjointed with them away, somehow it feels a little more manageable this time. A little more normal.

Suspended Reality

I sit in my quiet house watching snow falling on branches of trees that had already started blooming again. But the really unusual part of that sentence is that one word – “quiet.” That’s right – my sons are not home this week.

They visit their father in LA for several weeks every summer, as well as Spring Break and Christmas. I’ve mentioned The 700-Mile Kid Swap before, as well as what happened the last time we did it. But this time was by far the most beautiful (scenery-wise). We took a little detour into north-central California to meet up with their dad at a different spot, since he wanted to take the boys to visit his mother for a few days. And the drive there was simply incredible. At one point we drove through seven miles of orchards. Yes – seven miles of orchards one right after another! And through the trees we could see views of beautiful Mt. Lassen, which Nigel and I climbed last summer. Nigel liked seeing Mt. Lassen, but Aidan was enamored with the orchards. “I would love to live here,” he said in a dreamy voice.

So now they are away this week, and my home is quiet. And I have tons of things to do to fill that time, but I feel like I’m missing an arm and a leg with the boys gone, and it’s hard to get anything done that way. I don’t feel like myself when they’re not here. I’m living in a suspended reality.

I sometimes wonder if that’s what life is like for Nigel – he has his way of viewing the world, and a lot of it is very different from how others view it. And I especially wonder how it is for him being on Risperidone. He is calmer, yes, and can regulate his behavior a bit better, but he is not himself. It is a subdued version of him, a suspended reality.  His eyes – and his demeanor – are different. I know – this was what we wanted. He wanted it, too. We wanted the change in behavior. But I didn’t know there would be a change in him, in his countenance.  

Again I remind myself that he doesn’t need to be on it forever – just a couple of years, I hope, until he learns to regulate his behavior himself. And eventually he will, of that I am sure. He says he can feel the difference in himself, and he is satisfied with the results, which is most important. But I’m looking forward to the day when he no longer needs to take it, and I can have the real Nigel back. For now, though, I know that I’ll still enjoy the company of the modified Nigel. He may not appear to be himself right now, but he’s still unequivocally Nigel.  And I’ll smile as I think of him at the sunny beach this week, while I watch the snow fall.