Day #105 – Eye of the Storm

Right or wrong – when autism bears down on your family – it often feels like a hurricane; chaos, unplanned turns, and pure upheaval. Tucker is like the eye of our family storm.  Our family works ‘best’ when Tucker is calm and we ‘storm’ around him (often unknowingly) to help his world remain calm and expected.

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A report on Christmas celebrations thus far….

Christmas #1 – Grandma & Grandpa

This past weekend we went to my parents house.  We arrived Saturday early evening and life was good.  We arose Sunday morning and life was good.

We decided to open presents before lunch which meant lunch would be late.  As soon as I realized this I sprang into action preparing a plate of cheese, sausage, and crackers.  He didn’t want to eat – he just wanted to open presents.  Into a corner we went so I could explain to him that dinner would be later than normal.  We would open presents first.  Therefore, ‘ You need to sit and eat this food so that your brain doesn’t get angry.  It’s not you, it’s your brain.”  Then his amazing aunt, Deb, sat down and invited him to sit beside her to share some snacks.  I often wonder if people know how much they are really helping or if it’s just the immense amount of love they have for him.  At that moment, she had NO idea how much she helped (or she did…she’s pretty amazing like that).

Eye of the Storm.

Tucker sat in the doorway (as usual) to allow him space and a ‘quick exit’ if need be.  We surround him – all knowing that the spot is non-negotiable.

Eye of the Storm.

We finished presents and he was ready to eat.  Now.  He couldn’t – because the fillets weren’t finished on the grill.  So, I coaxed him with another soda (knowing I would pay for that later).

Eye of the Storm.

We ate and it was lovely.

We visited and it was lovely.

We lounged and it was lovely.

My husband comes to me and whispers in my ear, “Tucker has wrapped himself in a blanket and is rolling on the floor.  We need to go.  The storm is moving in.”

I look for him – sure enough, he is scooting around the floor with the blanket wrapped tightly around him – a 6’1″, 200 lb. caterpillar.  He wasn’t kidding – we’re on the brink of meltdown, flirting with disaster.

He and I begin packing furiously – my mom and dad get a bit sad because they know we are leaving.  We’d love to stay longer but he  – well….

Eye of the Storm.

The drive home went well – and on the way home all I could think about was how lucky we are.  How lucky we are to have a family that has worked at ‘getting it.’  I know it hasn’t always been easy – we’ve all come a long way, together.  I’m reminded of a decorative plate that my mom has resting on a shelf….

Christmas #2 – Our Own

This morning we did our own family Christmas – we made it through, fairly unscathed. Lunch came.  Then my husband looked at me as I was putting finishing touches on the Baked Alaska.  “We’ve got to get him down after lunch, his eyebrows are this color.” He pointed at the sour cream container lid…bright red.

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Only it’s not an unknown condition.  We both know exactly what is going to happen if we don’t make some moves. Not only for the rest of today…but tomorrow and the next day.  We currently have five children in our house – ages 17-10…how in the world is this going to work?  This is how…these children that live in this house?  They love him too and they know exactly how AND why to gather around him.  So when I announced, “Naps for everyone this afternoon because of all the activity we have over the next three days.”

The 42-year-old said, “Awesome.  I hope I can get you [as in me] to lay down too.”

The 17-year-old said, “YES!!!.”  He does nap, though…

The 15-year-old said, “I can’t wait.”  She never naps.

The other 12-year-old said, “Absolutely.”  She rarely naps.

The ten-year old said, “My bed or yours, mom?”

I went downstairs to tuck him in and take away any bootleg electronics. Tucker is asleep, right now.  We’re now going on 1 1/2 hours, in the meantime…

The 42-year-old left to get some supplies for the Red Velvet cake I’m making tomorrow.

The 17-year-old went off to a friend’s house for his own Secret Santa Party.

The 15 and other 12-year-old are with the 42-year-old getting supplies.

The ten-year old is in my bed – with the iPad on silent.

I am writing.

No one is napping, moving, or making noise – the house is in the eye of the storm.

I think back to that plate on my mom’s counter.  On that plate? The famous Vivian Greene quote, “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about Learning To Dance In The Rain.”

That’s what we all do – we don’t wait for the storm.  Instead, we choose to dance. We dance in the midst of the storm to keep him in the eye of the storm.

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9 thoughts on “Day #105 – Eye of the Storm

  1. Tears for me again today on this one, Nikki. Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing glimpses of your amazing life with your very special family. May you make wonderful memories this holiday season. God’s blessings to you, each and every one!

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    • Blessings to you and your family too, Lili. If you are ever this direction, let me know – would love to enjoy your company for awhile. I do still make it up there about once a year – it that happens, I will let you know!

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  2. Hello there! I’m from Brazil and I’m psychologist. I’ve worked with autism when I was at the university… It was one of the most amazing experiences of my graduation. I found your blog and it reminds me of that time when I worked with these chilndren. I learned a lot about life, respect and also psychology 🙂 I’m sorry for my poor english, I just wanted you to know that your writing is amazing, and this whole experience is even more amazing! God bless you, your family and your eye of the storm 😉

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    • Thank you! I am so happy that you are finding this site helpful. Please feel free to share it with others who may benefit. If I can help you in any way…please let me kno!

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  3. Wow, I really needed to read this this morning. We’re on the start of our Autism journey with our 2 year old. We left my parents yesterday as it was all getting too much but we’ve learnt a lot about how the day went. Best wishes for the New Year

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    • You’re just getting started – feel free to ask questions at any time. Most of all know that you are not alone in your journey and you are beginning early. Early is BEST. We started lots of intervention when Tucker was four and he has accomplished much more than what people ‘thought.’ My biggest advice? Pay attention to your gut and maternal instincts…they are usually right on. Please, please, please let me know if I can help you in ANY way!!

      Liked by 1 person

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