The last month, even with only twenty eight days, can sometimes feel like the longest, most tedious month. We battled rain, a soaking downpour for days on end, leaving my hair frizzy and fingers like prunes. And with the rain comes the isolation. The ground muddy and completely soaked with puddles like small lakes spreading around us, trapping us indoors.
I complained about the weather in my writing class. A fellow student reminded me that the rainy winters are what keep the population at one million and not seven million. The summers are incredible, blue skies and sunshine, mountains in the distance but first we must suffer through a long, wet winter.
I often wonder if the lack of sunshine makes Sean harder to handle. He doesn’t have the opportunity to run and climb trees and ride his bike. He plays on his gymnastics rings, hops up and down the stairs and rolls on his giant exercise ball. He is often edgier and stims more. And I am in not in a good mood either – sore throat, congestion, headache and cabin fever-y. I find myself being short with him when he begins his list of questions over and over:
“There is no such thing as a talking door house?”
“Why did Dad clap at the hockey game?”
“How do you spell Wiggles?”
“Everyone has bad days?”
And I respond quickly:
“No such thing as a talking door house. That’s on the Wiggles and it’s a TV show.”
“Dad was excited and happy that his team was winning.”
The last question always gets to me because there seems to be a certain unreachable sadness in his voice and loneliness in his eyes.
“We all have bad days, Sean. We have to work hard to have more good days.”
Sean struggles to have good days. He’s had a couple in a row but then the pressure gets to him and the note comes home saying that he had to cool down in the quiet room or cried and threw a tantrum outside at recess.
“Kids bump into me. They throw the balls in the wood chips.” He says this over and over when I ask him about recess. The children are playing games of tag and wall-ball, and Sean feels as if he is being swallowed whole by the ground, squeals and laughter from children startle him, his heart racing and his hands clammy with sweat.
I try to explain that the kids are playing and that they are not intentionally trying to stress him out but he has little understanding. He repeats back to me what I say in question form.
“It’s not on purpose? It’s only an accident? Don’t get angry?”
I hope Sean can, at some point, feel somewhat in sync with the other children or at the very least find better coping skills and understand social situations better. For now though we take it day by day and try to chart some kind of progress.
The truth is we are crowded in the house, the windows streaked with rain and pine needles, the gutters clogged with mossy leaves. The schoolchildren are crowded, too, trying to carve out some space to join in on some fun underneath the covered play area. And we are all just trying to get along and to get through it without losing our patience and wits. At least it’s March – we are a little closer to sunshine.
Sam Smiles Project
3 months ago