Did you hear it this morning sometime between 8 and 9 am? It was the collective sigh of moms seeing their kids off to school! I know I feel a little lighter this morning and my house is a lot quieter! Having a bright, sunny day is definitely a bonus!
Actually, I enjoy having my kids home. It's only Peter who is hard to have home for long periods of time. Right now, between having Peter, an infant and a toddler, family outings are really difficult. (Of course the stomach bug that raced through our house took care of having to worry about outings this past week!) Trying to do something special with the kids as a family is definitely something I want to work on this year. I want to make as many family memories I can with the time I have left with all of the kids at home.
What's been hard is coming to the realization that we really need to start doing some of the family activities without Peter. It's hard taking Peter places because you never know how he will react to things. Plus, he is impulsive and bolts places so you have to hold on to him at all times. You have to keep a close eye on him too because he has this obsession with rubbing people's arms which can cause quite a problem(especially if people don't realize he is autistic right away!).
It's definitely a lot more stressful when we have Peter with us, trying to keep him safe and out of embarrasing situations. It's also hard because we can't pay attention to the other kids as much. And, honestly, unless we are at a zoo, or an aquarium, or Disney World, Peter doesn't really have a good time. He doesn't really enjoy a lot of things. He would rather be home. It makes me feel sad and a little guilty to think of not including him, but I know we need the opportunity to give our other children opportunities for normalcy and our undivided attention. And sometimes Jay and I need a break from Peter so that we can enjoy outings more and have our own positive memories.
Having a definition of "family time" that doesn't truly involve the whole family is definitely a tough change for me and it's sad too. It's a tough reminder of Peter's struggles and highlights that he is very far from a normal functioning 10 year old. There is always a sense of loss and a little bit of grieving for me when that happens.
Just because change is hard doesn't mean it is bad though. It also doesn't mean it's permanent, just best for our family right now. We haven't given up on Peter. He keeps making progress and we are grateful for that! We will continue to work with his teachers and therapists and, most importantly with God through prayer, to help Peter become the person God created him to be. And, really, that's what I want for all my children....to become the people God created them to be!