Caring for someone who lives with autism generates its share of stress and challenge (duh… hence this blog).
But it struck me the other day that our son Joey does not provoke some of the stress that one reads about in many other care giving situations:
- He seldom complains (of course he’s now 21 and he’s come a long way – we can remember his childhood when frustration led to violent meltdowns).
- He does not blame, shame or otherwise emotionally batter his caregivers.
- He doesn’t sit around theorizing about all that could go wrong.
- He is not as emotionally detached and isolated as some who live with autism. He gives us a considerable amount of affection. And humor, some of it intentional.
- He no longer asks for superhuman effort (again, there was a time… ) These days his list of demands is short and usually realistic. Like pepperoni pizza on Saturdays…
I bumped into the idea of “giving thanks by mental subtraction” today. Identify one thing for which you are grateful, then briefly imagine life without it. It amplifies the awesomeness of that good thing. There are a lot of those blessings with Joey.
Weird as it sounds, being with him can be respite from some of life’s other stresses.