This was a particularly rough morning around the Enlow house. Michael’s behavior pushed me to tears – something that hasn’t happened since he was very small. After the dust settled, I realized how long it had been since I blogged and what a catharsis it is for me, so here I am.
Michael has been home sick for the entire week. What started as a cold became a full-blown sinus infection with fever. He literally slept the week away -the lethargy was actually worrisome at times. A child being sick is stressful enough, but when your child is 14 years old and has autism, you can’t treat it the same way you can with a typical teenager. Mike and I both work so this throws a slight curve into our lives, which most people only deal with when their kids are too young to be left alone. That will NEVER be the case for us. Christopher, at 13, can be left alone when sick – Michael, obviously, cannot. And so Sunday began the “who’s-going-to-watch-Michael” shuffle. Mike stayed with him 2 days, I took a day off, and my mom and Mike’s dad held down the other two shifts. There are weeks like this where I TOTALLY get why so many parents of special needs kids cannot work full-time. We are unbelievably fortunate that we have these nearby relatives who are willing to come on a moment’s notice to help us out. So many people, especially here in this transient community, do not have that support. So I’m going to take this opportunity (once again) to thank them. I often feel terribly guilty because my siblings are far away and my parents cannot do for them quite what they do for us. And to them, I say “thank you” for your unending patience and understanding. Please know that we try so hard not to overstep our boundaries, but in our situation, we are sometimes just up the creek without a paddle.
Getting back to today’s meltdown…….Michael doesn’t handle “time off”, such as vacations and sick days, very well. What seems like a time to kick back and decompress is a world of stress to him. Being home for 5 straight days was a necessity due to his illness, but a curse because emotionally,he was a wreck. I think today was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. He spent the morning screaming at the top of his lungs and biting his hand, all because he was trying to use electronic devices with low/dead batteries. Then things got quiet. I assumed he found a working iPad/iPod……….how wrong I was. He had discovered a paint sample that we had purchased at Lowe’s yesterday, and decided to open it and paint our spare room with a tiny brush. It was not pretty – not the room, and not mom’s reaction.
It’s been almost 2 hours since the incident and my head is still spinning a bit. (Thankfully, he is now taking a nice nap before we have to head to his running activity this afternoon.)
As for the rest of the family, we are working hard to make our new house a home. Lots of calls to handymen, contractors, and visits to Home Depot and Lowe’s. We are so thrilled with our new house. The amount of space is just astounding and we love the neighborhood. There are kids the boys’ age EVERYWHERE. Christopher is outside daily riding bikes, playing ping pong, having Nerf gun fights, and going to the park. It’s like an entire world has opened up to him. We couldn’t have picked a better place. Most of the reason we chose this area was because of the school for Michael. His high school is withing walking distance and we are thrilled with the SVE program at the school. It’s one of the smallest high schools in Broward County and we just knew that it would be the right fit for Michael when we visited. His therapist works with him at school several hours a week, and he continues to make steady progress.
Well, as expected, I’m feeling better. Things are in such better perspective in black and white.