Much of our region is shut in by a massive blizzard today. The City of Sioux Falls is asking people to stay off of city streets, let alone risk country roads or the Interstates.
Now that we are empty nest, I find myself remembering the anxiety that would have accompanied this kind of day when we had our son at home. Everything would be wrong and a potential meltdown: if the weather cancelled an anticipated outing; if it prevented fulfillment of a whim for some particular food that wasn’t in the house; if any daily routines were in disarray.
Boredom would make him edgy and mounting stress could issue in a seizure. But he wouldn’t engage in activities we tried to share. He’d generally vocalize some demand that was impossible to meet and his tension would escalate.
Today he’ll be in his group home. He has his own room with a computer and movies in case he wants to be alone. There are common spaces with things to do if he wants company. And there are staff there with the residents doing what we used to do, and we are grateful.
Stressful days are not limited to snow days when it comes to autism and care giving. School vacation or “in service” days, when routine is removed, can be walks through hell.
My respect goes out to all who are shut in today, be they people with special needs or their caregivers. Whatever inconveniences and challenges most of us endure, they have an extra helping or two.