Plan B

My poor blog. I’ve let her whither. Thank you to everyone who left comments or emailed (findingmykid@yahoo.com) to say you missed new posts. It is beyond gratifying, to know my words are being read.

By way of explanation, I few weeks ago I fell ill. Nothing life-threatening; I’m on the mend now, and going to be fine. Nevertheless, I required a blog vacation.

Vacation’s over.

Since I stopped working as a lawyer, back in January, Martin’s recovery has felt like less of a burden.

(I use that word—burden—conscientiously. Martin’s path is a burden, for our whole family. I don’t pretend otherwise, and I know that one day Martin may read these words and regret that his condition burdened us. For Martin I note that all parenthood, by its nature, is a burden. Adrian and I chose that path, we’re glad we did, we would not want any child other than Martin, and the effort that we expend is repaid a thousand-fold every today that Martin manages some feat he couldn’t do yesterday.)

(Cripes, that was sappy. Sorry, Martin.)

The first morning I became sick, I experienced the full burden again. I woke cramped and barely able to stand. I needed half an hour to believe I could do anything more than lie in bed and moan.

In the pre-autism-diagnosis days, I would have asked Adrian to take Martin to the diner for breakfast and leave me alone. In the ASD recovery world, Martin’s breakfast must be made fresh, at home, and his morning supplementation routine takes an hour to complete, and unless I’ve made advance arrangements, I’m the one who must complete those tasks.

So I did. I dragged myself to the kitchen and fried a duck egg in fat with broccoli. I counted pills, measured oils, stirred powders into tea. I alternated standing at the counter, sitting on a stool, crouching on the floor. Finally I scribbled a shopping list and sent Adrian and Martin to Fairway, to buy myself some peace.

That was Saturday. I muddled through until Tuesday, and then wound up in the hospital, whereupon Martin’s nanny Samara interrupted her own life to come take over my home. Together we made it work until I was steady on my feet again.

Here’s the point: I don’t have a Plan B. I am the one who knows Martin’s routine, to a speck. If I am incapacitated, Martin’s recovery stalls until alternative arrangements are made. That’s what feels most challenging these days—being on call every moment, not having emergency time-off. It makes me realize that I’ve really got to take care of myself, if I’m going to take care of Martin.

Okay. I got the kvetching out of my system. Lest my readers think I’ve returned to blogging only to complain, let me end with the following three points:

1. Lacking a Plan B is no more than what most single parents face, day-in and day-out, whether their children are neurotypical or not. Moreover, many families lack the resources to have a functioning Plan A in place. In so many ways, I am blessed.

2. I’ve returned to blogging! Taking a month off, and receiving so many comments and emails during that time, makes me realize just how therapeutic this writing process has become.

3. Last week Martin and I were having breakfast. Adrian had finished his breakfast and gone to prepare for work. Unprompted, Martin addressed me and remarked, “I hear Daddy blowing his nose upstairs.” Martin expressed neither a need nor a want; he formulated (perfectly) that sentence solely for the purpose of sharing an observation with me. At that moment I needed no break, no Plan B, no time off. Plan A is working. That will do.

Happy to be back.

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