Thursday, April 19, 2007

Looking forward to Autreat

I've blogged about Autreat before. A retreat, once a year, a week free from the endless pressures to conform in the neurotypical world. I was worried that we might not be able to attend this year, as the school year ends quite close to the dates of Autreat. If we'd had more than 1 or 2 snowdays, the Autreat dates would have been while school was still in session.

(There weren't snow days, and thus no overlap)

The other issue was a possible move.

Now that it's not going to happen, I can talk about it and process how it affected me. My husband has been having a difficult time of it in his job and was offered a position that would have entailed a relocation for the family.

In terms of sheer miles, it wasn't that far. Just a few hours from where we live now, but in terms of life change, a huge rift.

Maybe that sort of change is hard for everyone. Certainly neurotypical teenagers resent having to move in their high school years and it is difficult to get used to new neighborhoods, schools, routines. For me, it would have been hard on many levels at once.

I would leave behind comfort with geographic place. I know my way around here. That might not seem like a big deal, but it took me years to feel secure driving in my town, and navigating the highways here. My sense of direction is very poor and I used to get panic attacks when I didn't know where I was.

I would leave behind several really supportive friends. Friends who understand my oddities and appreciate me for them. Friends who only ask for what I can readily give and who have found that without pressure, I can give quite a lot.

I would leave behind a private practice in physical therapy that I have taken years to build, knowing that I would not have the time or personal resources to start all over again.

I would leave behind the familiarity of a school district, that, for the most part, has served my boys well.

I would have to deal with managing my own depression and stress while being the conduit for my boys to manage theirs.

I would have to learn a new school system without the support and advocacy of others I know who have worked with that system before.

I would have to learn how to navigate, both in the literal sense and in the metaphorical sense, a new place, with new people, and new expectations.

All while my husband was settling in to a new work community in a demanding job, that no matter what the employer assured us, was going to entail long hours away from home.

We have lived in the same place for nearly 15 years. That *is* my children's lifetime. A long time, even for a grown up.

I can't say I'm sorry my husband turned down this opportunity. Even though it would have entailed more money and (perhaps) less work stress for him. I still worry about his physical and emotional health, working the way he does, and I hope that he is able to find a way to manage it. But I think even her realized that the net result of this move would have been much more stress, rather than less.

So we stay.

In our lovely home.

In this familiar neighborhood.

And we will be at Autreat this year, enjoying the familiar comfort of its support.


Phil Schwarz said...

And as a fellow traveler (to Autreat from our neck of the woods, and through life as an Aspie parent of a child on the spectrum), I'm glad on all counts, except for your husband's job stress.

Barbara said...


Your blog has given me much comfort! I think that your son is so lucky to share such a special connection with you. That would have made a world of difference for me. I grew up in a home with an Aspie father and consequently I felt like it was a prison instead of a refuge. Refuge/havens was/were found in the homes of close friends. I am a 41 year old woman who VERY likely has Asperger's Syndrome. I first heard about it on The Infinite Mind, a public radio program, in July of this year. I went out and bought Tony Attwood's book, The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. I thought that it would help me understand my husband, who is UNDOUBTEDLY an Aspie. I was very surprised/relieved to find myself in those pages as well.

Last year we lost a baby and have been unable to conceive again. I know that everyone considering parenthood has a certain amount of trepidation, but the fact that my husband and I both are Aspie's does complicate matters. We have been through infertility testing and now the next step is to actually begin IUI. As the reality that our dreams of having a child MAY actually come true, however small the chance, the concerns about the wisdom in pursuing this resurface.

I feel much like the man who has fled to the roof of his house to escape flood waters. He refuses offers of help from folks in a boat and a helicopter, stating that he is waiting for God to help. When he gets to heaven, he asks God, why didn't you help. God says, I did, but you refused to accept the help I sent.

Anyway, I would greatly appreciate any comment from you. The internet fosters a false sense of anonymity and I tend to be inappropriately personal anyway, so I understand if you are not comfortable with responding to me. Thank you for your time and best wishes to you and your family.