Taking a Break

Winding down the fall break. The military schedule went out the window (not entirely for the kids, but at least for me it did). No school so no reason to get up at before the crack of dawn. Papa and J-lo (girlfriend-in-law) were in town all week so no reason to occupy the kids. It was actually a perfect formula to get some major work done, but did I? Not really. I've had some sort of a belly ache all week and we haven't been able to pin point why. I could eat fine, no fever, no other symptoms other than my belly ached. We still managed to get some shopping done (mostly for the kids - I did get a pair of $60 shoes for myself for only $11.91-woo hoo!) and even went to the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge. FUN!!!! I'll get pictures up later...my battery died and Papa has them all on his camera.

We went to Books-a-million, which was my fave place to take them because they could play on the train table and I could go read a book! I found a book there that has really impressed me. It is called Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew more as a quick reference for family because it is a thin, therefore less intimidating than the, by Ellen Notbohm. I bought it Attwood book, and simple and logically organized. There is the table of contents which lists the 10 things, then a preface with a little summary paragraph of each of the 10 things, and then 10 chapters which goes into each thing in more depth. I went through it and started making notes in the margins of what describes the Elder and what doesn't.

I also watched Mozart and the Whale again with J-lo. It is a funny movie, but I think it is because I know some inside stuff of how people with autism think. I found myself explaining a lot. So when you watch it, I do recommend that you watch it a second time with the commentary turned on because I think i learned more from that than just watching the movie.

When we went to the AMSE in Oak Ridge (which truly was an awesome experience - we'll have to go back again when I don't have a belly ache!), there was a young man with autism sitting to the side from his (I assume) dad and sister (maybe his brother and niece?) at an activity in the Cartoon Network exhibit. He appears to be nonverbal. I didn't even notice him at first, until the Younger ran by him and he caught my eye. What is interesting though is he was hitting his chest as he flapped and wasmgrunting fairly loudly, but it was only once I saw him that then I realized that I had been hearing him the whole time we were in that room (bc of my hyper-acute hearing I hear everything-something I can empathize with the Elder when I see him cover his ears, or constantly asking What's that sound?), but it never occurred to me that I needed to seek out who was making all those sounds like I might have needed to in the past. It was unconsciously filtered out. Also, in the past, I might have been a little stricken with fear at seeing him rocking away on the little stool where he was sitting, but instead I found myself just thinking "this is a pretty overwhelming place," and watched the dad as he was going back and forth between glances of engaging in activity with his daughter and keeping an eye on his son (brother?). I smiled in admiration of the dad and moved on to the next activity in the exhibit.

I was personally glad that I saw that young man. In conjunction with this past weekend's retreat, I am realizing that I am in a better place in my personal growth. It feels good to put my judgmental days behind me. Judging is really just the fear of the unknown or unexplained or the misery and dissatisfaction of one's own life. It has been amazing to go back and follow how God has had a hand in my life and how he is molding me and shaping me into the person that he wants me to be. He knew I wasn't happy constantly observing others and thinking about what they should or shouldn't do or what I would do if I were them. The truth is, I never know what I would do until it happens to me. Even what I predict I might do, I don't!

And when I stop judging others, I also stop fearing what others think of me.

Since the Elder and Hubs diagnoses, I have really had to step up to the plate in things even outside of household responsibilities, primarily around research and working, and even when I haven't wanted to, God throws in a curve ball that practically gives me no alternative but to grow up. One recent example of curve balls is that this week, I lost a really great employee (due to a parental illness) and probably won't replace her anytime soon. Plans to prosper and not to harm, right? Ooookaayyyy.....here come the growing pains...

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