I spent the past four days on a visit with my parents. I didn’t spend the entire time with them, because my partner and I didn’t meet up with them till late afternoon on Friday, and then we had the weekend with them, and they drove home early yesterday morning.
So, all in all, I had about 67 hours with them, with additional time tacked on, before and after to prepare… and then decompress.
It’s a lot to take in. My parents are very much on the Autism Spectrum, and that means they’re alternately delightful and exasperating when it comes to interacting with them from my corner of the Spectrum. They have their ways of doing things, which are (of course, to them) the Only Right Way To Do Things. And everyone who doesn’t do things that way — especially if it’s us kids — is Wrong and Must Be Corrected.
So, I spend a lot of time around my parents on the defensive, never sure what I can or cannot say, because they’re so enthusiastic about promoting and defending their Proper Way Of Doing Things — and punishing everyone who doesn’t comply.
Ugh, it’s exhausting. I love my parents, and we’re getting along better than we ever have in my 52-year relationship with them, but it takes so much out of me.
Plus, when I’m around them, I can’t do my regular routine. They’re so locked into their way of doing things, they have to constantly hijack me to get me on their schedule. And their pace is grueling and break-neck — always going at top speed, always with the brain dumps about their special interests, always talking, talking, talking… which is utterly exhausting when I’m tired and non-verbal. The more tired I am, the more non-verbal I become, so you get the idea…
Now that’s over. My parents went home yesterday morning, and my partner and I had the day to decompress yesterday. The weather was amazing. I actually got to walk the beach and explore at my own pace. And there was no pressure to stick with my parents’ schedule, because their anxiety won’t let them do anything different.
We got to decompress. I got to relax. I had to do a conference call for work, yesterday afternoon, but that was fine, because it was familiar and got me out of my head.
And today, I woke up in my own bed, I got to have my exercise — first thing — I’ve had my breakfast… and now I get to drink my half mug of extremely strong coffee.
Everything’s getting back on track, and that’s a very good thing, indeed.