You're laying in bed, snuggled under the blankets. You're sound asleep and as comfortable as can be. Suddenly the night is pierced by a blood curdling scream. A child, in the next room, is screaming and shrieking.
You might leap to your feet, visions of intruders or wild animals mauling your child in your head. You might rush to your child's bed ready to do battle or whatever is required because no human child would make such a sound unless being tortured.
Unless of course, your child is severely autistic.
In that case, you might open your eyes and listen for a moment. Much like the cries of a baby, screams and shrieks have their own language, their own meaning. They can mean "I need a diaper" or "I don't want to be in bed anymore" or "I really like the way this screaming sounds." Often it's the latter.
That's how the past three mornings have started for me. Screaming and shrieking from the other room.
Autism isn't rational. Applying reason to it isn't a relevant prospect, you'll lose and end up in tears yourself.
On Saturday, the day the screaming STARTED up in such earnest, I decided we weren't doing this.
So we had a good day. I insisted we have a good day.
We baked cookies and made hot chocolate, and we focused on CHRISTMAS.
There was still a lot of screaming. But for the non-autistic people in the house, there is something therapeutic about saying "OK now if you're done screaming, let's make cookies." "OK who wants to help me make eggnog pancakes? You can't help if you are throwing a fit." "Stop eating your hair and we'll play tea party."
I know that's probably weird, but autism wants to control my life. In many ways, ways I can't really even articulate, it dictates a lot of the direction of it.
But autism is just the wind blowing a storm at us. We captain the ship, and WE can trim our sails and make some progress. Maybe not always the way we want - but a good captain knows some progress is always a victory.
But I'm still writing it.
That's sort of my mood this morning. Autism slows me down, it makes life harder. But it doesn't STOP me.
Our life will never be normal. But it will be ours.