I rolled out of bed to have a coffee, it was 1:00 am in the morning. I have a hard time sleeping in the fall which usually spins into the winter. I sleepily shuffled into the kitchen and pressed the button. Soon the smell of fresh coffee reached my nose and my brain began to have happy thoughts.
I type away on my keyboard for a few hours in silence.
I love quiet, it’s rare.
Kyle, my twenty-seven-year-old son with autism, has awoken. He usually starts his day before 4:00 am in the morning. Kyle jumps around his room for a while. Up until a few days ago, he was starting his own TV, then he hit it and cracked the screen. Now we have it locked up again, and he watches it through a transparent plexy glass unit, which is locked now.
My husband Vance is in bed sleeping. We have a fan running that sounds like an airplane taking off, to drown out Kyle’s noises. If I unlock Kyle’s door, I may have to wrestle with him over things in our kitchen and living room.
He’s much bigger than me.
He used to roam the house at night destroying our home. Then we decided to put a lock on his bedroom door to protect him from hurting himself when he grabbed knives and scissors. He seemed happy when the lock went on, and he started sleeping better.
Even Kyle needs protection from this invader.
On this particular morning, he decided to play with the fire alarm in his enclosed area. I can hear it beeping, if he presses it too long, it turns on the master alarm which is incredibly loud and then we have to disarm it.
We don’t want neighbours to call the fire unit to our rescue. Kyle loves it when he’s at his day apartment across town, and he pulls the fire alarm and men in helmets, and beige and fluorescent suits show up.
He thinks it’s hilarious.
Finally, we open his door early, and he asks for a shower. I open the door to his shower room and run back downstairs. I think he’s in the shower, but he’s not. We end up without hot water since he shut the key coded door into his shower and it ran forever. I am making some eggs and bacon on the stove when he comes down the stairs. I scramble to hide my coffee because he will grab it and drink it all.
I’m also in the middle of making his favourite lunch, which is tuna pasta casserole made with rice pasta. There is enough pasta for four people. He gets about six spoons out of the drawer and grabs one of them and starts eating the plain pasta. I’m trying to cook eggs and bacon, make his lunch and keep him from stealing stuff.
He has no clothes on, so I grab a longer dress shirt of my husbands and throw it on Kyle. Since his housecoat is dirty, this will have to do. He prefers no clothing because his seizure medication makes his skin crawl.
Vance is upstairs scrubbing down Kyle’s two-room area. He doesn’t know Kyle snuck downstairs.
Even though Kyle is active, he seems calm also, and I am enjoying interacting with him. He helps me make his lunch and then he begins gulping it down by heaping serving-spoon fulls.
Then he starts to hiccup.
After a few minutes of quiet, he has an anxiety attack come over him, which snaps his hands into motions.
Grab. Grab. Grab. Grab.
Anything and everything.
You can’t stop him.
It just has to be played out.
He grabs all my bills, a pen, dishcloth, electronics…anything on site. One must always keep their cell phone on their body. Anxiety carries him quickly up the stairs and into his room where he opens his fake laundry shoot and tosses it all. If he’s grabbed a plate of food, it gets thrown on top of it all.
Before the laundry shoot, it used to go in the toilet, then flushed till it overflowed and flooded the house. Or he would toss it over the banister and down into the great room. We’ve lost laptops, cell phones, cordless phones, glasses, purses…he’s destroyed an abundance of things that weren’t his.
Vance comes down later with a blue-bin full of Kyle’s treasures. Everything is covered in food, so he tosses it into the laundry room and runs back upstairs to finish cleaning up be the staff arrives.
Kyle’s staff will arrive at 8:00. Vance is waiting for the hot water to return so he can shower Kyle.
We are behind today.
Kyle hasn’t left the house in over a week, due to seasonal bipolar showing up a week ago. Today he seems calmer than most days. Even though it may not look like it to you. This has been a good morning.
We used to scrub feces floor to ceiling at the crack of dawn and clean up everything he broke in the night.
Life was much, much worse than it is today.
Our new life seems like lemon drops and gum drops compared to a couple of years ago. I need that reminder daily. Especially when he hits bipolar season. It could be so much worse than this.
Two of our kids have the day off work today, and when Vance says he’s going to try and get Kyle out of the house to go for a drive with his staff, the kids and I go hang out in the basement. Kyle can’t leave if he sees us.
I am enjoying chatting with Aryanna and Eythan when we hear the stomping of Kyle’s feet. He’s always loud. Then the front door opening and closing.
I hold my breath.
The door opens again, I call upstairs, “Vance, did Kyle go out?”
I jump off the couch with a cheer. Today I will stay home all day. The house will be quiet with just the kids and the new puppy here.
Kyle and his staff have been here all week.
Aryanna bakes sugar cookies and her, and I decide to sit down and watch a Christmas movie in the middle of a Friday…just because.
But the movie, The Case For Christ, pops up on Netflix and we watch it instead. My eyes are filled with tears as I bawl throughout the film. It is the true story of Lee Strobel, a reporter who wanted to prove his wife’s new belief in Jesus Christ was just a fairy tale.
The harder he tries to prove Christ didn’t exist the more glaring the evidence is that he really did. I am completely mesmerized by this story.
The movie is over.
My whole face is puffy and red, and Kyle will come in the door soon. We don’t know if he will go out again in the coming weeks.
The house may be boisterous.
I have enjoyed my autism-free afternoon. I am ready for Kyle to come in the door and give me a big hug. But he bursts in and runs up the stairs to his bedroom to try to shut out all the noise of our home and calm himself down.
This is real life for us. This is an autism home.
Vacation is coming in February, and we will enjoy every minute of it. Then towards the end, we will begin to miss real life, miss Kyle, our kids and now a puppy.
The movie has reminded me that God exists, is real and powerful.
He will carry us through the days and years ahead, without him, we would sink. We used to be on the Titanic, and it was going down fast…down, down, down.
Then God threw us a line.
The rest of the story is in the book you see on the right, Beauty from Ashes.
Are you having a hard day today? Say a prayer. God cares. He wants to throw you a line and help carry you through your hardest days. Life is never easy as a christian…just better with someone walking with you.
God has walked with me many days and showed me where the beauty was amongst the ashes.
Love. Hope. Peace. Hugs. Family. Cookies.
There’s always beauty, you just have to look for it and maybe eat a cookie while your looking💗
Psalm 23: 1-6
A psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord