Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our Orbit

He wakes up, and I know. I know immediately. Breakfast is a battle, the granola bars he has eaten a million times, including yesterday, are "yucky". They are "bad", they "will make you throw up".  He glances out the window and sees an overcast sky and cries. It's going to rain today, he says. We can't play outside. Oh no, we can't play outside anymore ever again. We are fifteen minutes into the day, and I know.

His orbit is at its farthest point from me. He's on that outer arc, pushing against the gravity that threatens to bring him back, closer to me, to his family.  It's a struggle; he wants to come back and he doesn't want to come back, and it's a familiar, painful struggle.

I know what the day will be like, and I'm right. Every simple decision is hard, none of the toys cooperate and there are many tears, lots of yelling and hurt feelings. Amelia understands the cycle, but she's five.  On these days, we go above and beyond to find creative things to do, things that are novel and new but not outside the comfort zone. On this particular day, we make Eclair cake, which requires the use of a mixer--one of his favorite things. He settles in, gets his toy mixer out and just like that, calm settles over the house. We breathe, and enjoy a solid hour of quiet play.

These orbital shifts are hard. There are a few rough days, days where he swings, almost out of control, through that farthest point. In the beginning, his anxiety spread through our house and caused everyone to be on edge. But that's the thing about orbits. They're routine, and predictable. So while my wild satellite inevitably pushes his way to that distant part of his path, the part that is most distant from me, I hunker down to ride it out, knowing that almost as quickly as he swings away, he will always, always come back around to me.

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