Here in New England, digging out usually refers to what we do after one of the Nor’easters roll through. Even the worst snowstorm I’ve seen required only about a day and a half to dig out. This storm has taken longer.
My family is digging out of what has been a particularly intense storm. I haven’t blogged about the details, because as my boys get older, I recognize that I need to be able to respect their privacy, even if I’m not concerned with my own. I also hate to dwell on the low points of parenting.
Nonetheless, I’ve come to call the family scene of the past few months ‘crisis mode’. It’s a situation in which all the normal rules get thrown out and we make up new ones as we go along. There’s no maps, the roads are unfamiliar, and the GPS doesn’t work. Most families get into this situation at one point or another. It’s not unique to families dealing with autism.
Oddly enough, parenting children with autism has prepared me to weather the recent storms. I learned how to be flexible, in ways that I didn’t think were possible. I learned to face the crisis with a strength that I didn’t know I had. The storms feed on the winds of emotion but we can still act with our own emotions in check. We bundle up and head out, turning away from the wind and the icy snow it carries. We’ve been here before and we’ve learned that no matter how deep the snow gets, we still pick up the same shovel. The tools are the same, it just takes more work to finish the job.
The Nor’easter metaphor seems out of place as the day lilies and the herb garden come back to life. It’s been nine days since it last snowed in Connecticut. And seven days since we dug the path out from our own storm. We’re all together again. We spent part of the day nurturing the plants in the yard back to life after winter. We spent the entire day nurturing each other. The boys may not have realized it, but I did.