I’m of three minds, or will be once I get through this week. But today is Monday, and Mondays are just hard. Hard-hard.
When God opened his creation kit, it must have been a Monday, because the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Then God moved upon the face of the waters, in the dark, without tripping on so much as a sea urchin (duh, because they didn’t exist until four days later).
I think every Monday we start over again, because we were resting the day before, the seventh day. So I’m out of it by Monday, my mind not yet divided into “TO-DOs”. It’s a slug on Mondays, still gooey from Sunday. We’re never prepared.
My seven year old son was in a mood today, loud and inattentive. He couldn’t focus on his homework. I sat beside him repeating over and over again, “If Jim has seven turtles, and Ellen has one more, how many turtles does Ellen have?”
He was mumbling about Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons, and sneakily inching out of his chair to grab a Wags-the-Dog toy from a nearby bench. I yelled more than once, “Sit back down and pay attention!”
We repeated this frustrating exchange at least five times per question. There were ten questions.
My brain was fried at the end. I’d been helping my nine year old with her homework as well, checking for mistakes (found two). Meanwhile, dinner was going, two meals I can stretch for several days — baked chicken thighs for salads, round roast with saffron and rosemary in the crock pot, then something quick for the kids because they were already hungry.
There was laundry in the washer and dryer. The dogs were hungry and wanted to go outside. I still had to go through kids’ backpacks and sign crap, read crap, toss and save crap. Plus I’d been working on a memoir all day, writing about disturbing things in the distant past, and now the present felt disturbing because my autistic son was acting very autistic.
I’d hoped for a good day but no, it’s Monday. And Mondays are just hard.
I later mentioned to my husband as he was leaving to take the nine year old to dance class, “Autism is harder than usual today. I’m out of tricks.”
He nodded and suggested I take our son to ride his bike.
I poured a glass of red wine first, sipped dark red serenity while making a list for the week: tests the kids have to study for, prayers my son has to learn, items we need to practice like tying shoes and piano, playing sentence structure and time-telling games. There were two videos to watch, one about swimming technique so Julian can visualize how to improve; three summers of swim lessons, and he still can’t swim. The other video is of kids hitting a pinata, so that next birthday party he doesn’t melt down when cut-throat kids dive insanely for candy. Social skills are hard for kids on the spectrum. How does one explain pinata etiquette? There isn’t any. That’s the problem.
The last thing on the list was Julian’s psychiatrist. We need to talk about adding attention medicine to the antidepressant he already takes. His father and I hate this, but it’s time. He has the attention span of a fly. Or krill, maybe.
I finished my wine then watched him ride his bike for a while, up and down our street, me wondering when the training wheels will finally come off. Then I finished laundry and set Julian down in front of the TV with popcorn and a good movie, Aladdin.
Aladdin: “Wish fulfillment?”
Genie: “Three wishes, to be exact. And ix-nay on the wishing for more wishes. That’s all. Uno, dos, tres. No substitutions, exchanges, or refunds.”
Tomorrow I’ll be of a second mind, like a second wish. I’ll follow my lists, focus on structure.
By Thursday I’ll be of a third mind, the mind that can smell Friday and rest on its way. And third mind knows my son will one day tie his shoes, swim, ditch the training wheels and master pinatas. Third mind knows how to trust, and let go:
Aladdin: “Genie, you’re free.”