Monday, October 27, 2008

Homecoming: Finale and a Lesson Learned

I didn’t want to write this post, especially as a follow up to the previous (part I) post. I really didn’t, but I must be honest and accurate. The later half of Meghan’s visit really sucked. Again, I’m not talking about the whole weekend, but the later part (tough) and especially the part where she had to get back on the bus and go back to school (sad). I was working hard to keep it together … sending her off, again, and noting that she would have preferred to stay at home, where she could be lazy. We packed her some food and treats for the ride and she did get on the bus and waived goodbye, and did seem fine, thank God. Nick was in the living room and reading the paper (the shopping for x-mass toys part) and not really noticing that Meghan was leaving. He said a quick bye and by the time I walked back into the house, he was just flipping through the paper like nothing was new. Interesting!!

The later part of the weekend didn’t quite go off without a hitch. At some point on the second night—after such a lovely first night—somewhere between after dinner and bedtime, she took a temper tantrum. Not sure what caused it and I wasn’t in the room (my room) at the time—thank God!! She threw a glass cabinet across my bedroom and, thankfully, missed the windows; then she tipped over an iron bookshelf housing books and a DVD player. Not lovely. After the outburst she sheepishly walked back to her room; I followed after a short period of time and tried to ask her what was wrong, but I couldn’t figure it out. It could have been anything, really: Her clothes, the sounds of the television, sounds coming from the other rooms, the bed comforter not splayed out on the bed quite right. I was just happy that I wasn’t in the room with her and cuddling, because I would have been in the line of fire and surely would not have come out looking pretty …

I’m not trying to sound like a bummer, but, demonstrably, things haven’t changed that much. Not that I really expected a new child since living under stricter rules, continuity and learning to control outburst--even though 2 per day is her norm. Except there was one moment before her explosive behavior that she was taking cheese out of the refrigerator during dinner and the cheese drawer came off its hinge and she said sorry (one of few, new words that she has). Oh, it was soooo nice to hear and we smiled. This is, in fact, new, because if that were to happen in the past, she might have attacked me for the door coming off the hinge (out of frustration)—so a sign of progress.

What is also new is that I forgot how much work she really encompasses. I really had to be on alert helping her everywhere, such as in the bathroom so that she doesn’t use too much hand soap (or all of it at one wash), or too much bathroom tissue, or too much water and flood the sink; these are just a few examples. So the tension is there just being on a constant “listening out” to help her, work with her and make sure that she doesn’t become behavioral—it’s a tough job all day, everyday. I forgot. I really did forget how much work and stress she can be after living without her for so many months. I really don’t know how I managed for so many years living under this constant stress and fear. I think Nick noted it too. This contrast is interesting and a lesson learned. Even though I hate to admit it.

I guess you could say that since she is back at school, I’m on a type of vacation again until next time. And, yes, life is changing for the better--for us all.


Tanya @ Teenautism said...

That must have been so difficult for you, especially after things went well the first day. But I'm sure the experience helped you to realize that you made the right decision about what would be best for Meghan - and all of you. Take care.

Holly Nappi Collins said...

Thanks, Tanya!!