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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Eve’

After being separated for a little more than two years, I received final divorce papers in the mail on Saturday, complete with Judge McN’s signature dated Christmas Eve, 2013.   I have a thing with dates and would have preferred one less easy to remember… less, well, holy.  The joke’s on me, I suppose.  Oh well.  For the judge it’s just a piece of paper he has to sign.

I’m lucky that Andy and I get along and are friends, because it makes everything a whole lot easier.  As if underscoring the unimportance of our official split to him personally, Jonah ran around for a while yelling mamadaddy!  mamadaddy!  That’s right, Boo.  Mama and daddy love you so much, no matter what.

Andy called me earlier today;  school’s closed for MLK Jr. Day and so he’d picked Jonah up for a visit.   He told me Jonah wanted to talk to mama on the phone.  This is kind of a new thing because he was never much interested in the phone.  Even with his new willingness to hold the magic plastic piece while speaking and listening to invisible mama, I have to do most of the work.

Hi Boo!  (silence.)  Are you watching Oompa Oompa yes.  Can you say “I love you mama?” I love you mama.  I love you too Boo, mama loves you so much.  Be good for daddy, okay?  okay Bye bye sweetheart.  bye bye.

It’s the closest thing we get to conversation, but light-years beyond how it was years ago.  It’s part of why I keep this blog — so I can look back and measure progress, both his and my own.  Andy also said Jonah was being exceptionally good today, and I’ll talk to him later to see how long it lasted.

On Saturday I wanted to take a couple new pictures of Boo, but when I ask him to smile, he turns all silly and gives me a hammy, angelic grin:

I changed it a little in my photo editor to make it look even creepier.  :-)

I changed it a little in my photo editor to make it look creepy, for fun

I think it’s much cuter when he doesn’t know you’re taking the photo, like here at his improvised bathtub/swim-up bar:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Most of what happens regularly every weekend happened again.  The endless requests for grandma’s house? and, of course & most especially, car ride?

It’s a 90 minute car ride each way to him, and then I take two car rides with him, Andy drives, my mom stays back at the apartment and either struggles with the Internet (I am trying to be more patient as I teach her the simplest moves of the mouse) or watches QVC or FOX until we return.  Always on our car ride, Jonah wants music and he wants it loud.

We know this not because he tells us turn it up, but because while the music is already playing he will say music on!?  over and over until it is at his desired level, which means that for Andy and I to have a conversation, we have to raise our voices.  We don’t want to hurt Jonah’s hearing of course,  so at about the halfway point we tell him “this is as loud as it goes” as if he understands what we are saying.  Maybe he does, but still he asks for “music on?”

This is what it is now, our strange little family, usually interrupted by Jonah’s dissolving into tears and sometimes an aggression or two.  Practice radical acceptance, they taught me in the hospitalDBT:  Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) combines cognitive and behavioral therapy, incorporating methodologies from various practices including Eastern mindfulness techniques.

It would serve me well to read through the notebook I kept there.  Eight days of wisdom-teaching does not a wise woman make.

But I’m facing forward, moving slow…forging ahead…

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On Christmas Eve I went with M to return a fixed computer to a man’s apartment; the guy had autism and softhearted M had done the work for free.  The man had all these vinyl albums hung on the walls, and each album had a painting or design on it.  In another room he’d constructed 3-D sculptures from popsicle sticks and fuzzy dots and crafty pieces of all kinds of things.

It was all very cool.  He had so many books and so much music.  Joseph Heller and J. R. R. Tolkien, Mario Puzo and Thomas Hardy.  His music was eclectic:  Eric Clapton, The Beach Boys, Gordon Lightfoot, the Soundtrack to Grease.   And he was very happy to have his computer back in time for Christmas.

He would ask random questions of us, and he could make good conversation.  I asked him if he had brothers and sisters, and then he asked me.  M and he were both the youngest, they discovered.  I  asked him about his music and books, and the artwork all over.  “Oh, yeah,” he said enthusiastically.

“Were you born on July 30th?” he asked me.  “1969,” he added:  statement, not question.

I smiled.  “No, but close.  September 2nd.  The 1969 part is right.”  Then I asked, “When is your birthday?”

As if thinking weren’t you listening? – he said “July 30th, 1969!”

I liked him.

While we were there his mother called.  Then he said his counselor was due to come over soon, so I asked him directly, “are we all done or do you need any more help?”

“Oh, yeah,” he said in the same enthusiastic voice.  “We’re all done.”

Good thing I’ve read The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, because I don’t have a lot of experience with adults who have autism, and that book helped me see things through his eyes.  You have to be pretty direct; subtleties and metaphors get lost.

That sounds like a Paul Simon song:  Subtleties and Metaphors.

Andy brought Jonah up to my mom’s house on Christmas Day and then kept him for a long time after that.  Jonah was very good at my mom’s, even though he paced a lot and wanted sandwich and bath and car ride in rapid succession, caring nothing for the presents.  He is indifferent to everything related to Christmas except perhaps the lights and songs.

Definitely the lights and songs.

I am kind of okay, but for a while I couldn’t write because I was re-visiting the necessity, safety and camaraderie of last year mid-December, when everything changed forever.   I love those peeps, even if I did only know them (in person) for 8 days.

Thank you to everyone who has written.  I just don’t get to my e-mail as much as I want to.  I read them but then I can’t reply.  I hate bitching about shit, and I’m always bitching about shit.  Today my mom and I spent hours sorting through like 15 bags of clothing into donation and keep piles for Jonah.  I was agitated and tired.

I wanted to clean today.  I cleaned and cleaned and organized and cleaned.  There is still too much.  I keep thinking of the man who was born on July 30, 1969.

It occurs to me that we are equidistant from Woodstock.

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