As of tonight, there are two days left of school. Nine weeks of unstructured time lie ahead with precious few gaps for personal use.
Holidays are always a dilemma. My boys, particularly Alex, do best when they have a predictable, varied routine. Too similar a routine day after day and they get bored. Too irregular a routine and they start acting out because of anxiety.
Summer is particularly tricky because it lasts so darn long. And because I don't want the seasons to blur together under a burden of constant work. I want my kids to remember summer as a fun time, a time when the rules got relaxed a little and we explored the world around us.
Maybe I'm idealistic but I don't think I need to give up that goal just because our children have autism. But at the same time, I can't get so caught up in my ideals that I don't see what their actual experience is.
I've learned over the years that having an ideal vision in mind can actually hamper my enjoyment of an event. The plans become overwhelming and everything starts to become an irritant in my rose-coloured contacts. If I want to enjoy myself, I have to be willing to experience the magic as it happens, not half-kill myself trying to set up magic-worthy circumstances. I'm still proud of myself for having an enjoyable wedding. Despite family clashes and catering difficulties, I never cared that it wasn't picture perfect. Instead, it was fun.
I think I've set things up for a fun summer, too. Alex will still have a daily tutorial but only for the mornings. Afternoons will be for fun experiences. And his tutor is more than happy to go along with an exploratory program of 'field trips' to the park and woods and hands-on science experiments. I had a plan for Nathan as well but we've sadly had to cut some of what we'd planned due to expenses. But he'll still get a weekly martial arts lesson and a creative arts lesson, we'll still go to the library and I've set things up so that he has the opportunity for regular play dates.
Will it work out the way I see it in my head? Probably not. But will it be fun? That I'm willing to bet on.