Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Trip To Cali

Wow, I really have not been great lately at keeping up this blog! I have just been so tired lately. I almost feel like I might have some sort of medical problem, like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome... Even if I sleep in late in the morning, I cannot get through a day without having to take a nap. I start feeling like I'm melting, my eyes and my bones hurt and I have to crash immediately! Weird. Its not like I've been doing anything very strenuous lately... I've been keeping up my daily hikes for the most part, but we don't go extremely fast, we just walk at an average pace. 

Anyways... I've been here about six weeks now. I got to spend a few days with my parents, my brother, sister in law, and nephew Squeak last week. My parents flew down and rented a cabin in Bro and Sunny's small hometown. I took the Greyhound bus down there to meet them.

I deliberated long and hard about whether to bring Lily. On one hand, she is my assistance dog and she helps me get through daily life, plus she is very attached to me and would be lonely without me. This place is still sort of new to her, and although I've left her with my parents for weeks at a time before, I wasn't sure if she was ready to be without me for a week in this new house. On the other hand, I was worried about things that could go wrong in California that could endanger Lily. The small town is a little Wild-Wild-West like, plus there is a dangerous highway right outside Bro's house. And although I've come to feel safe in the parks and trails around my new town in Washington, and I've even gotten to the point where I can let Lily wander through the backyard on her own without being convinced that a cougar will swoop down out of a tree and eat her, I was still not that confident about California. 

In the end, I decided to bring her. More than anything else, she helps me deal with the transitions of going from place to place. She keeps me from feeling like the world is disappearing out from under me when things go wrong. She keeps me grounded, emotionally safe, and able to deal with the world. Ironically, having her with me in California did add a certain amount of anxiety to my life, because I had to worry about something happening to her. There are so many things that could happen to take a small dog away from me! While I was there, we saw a small stray dog run out into the highway and get hit by a truck one morning. It traumatized me and proved my point about how I need to protect Lily. I would have felt like she was safer if I'd left her in Washington, but I would have been sadder and more anxious (and so would she) if we were apart. Can you see the rock and the hard place there?

Lily riding the bus. Technically she is supposed to sit on the floor or in my lap, but since there were not many people on the bus and there were plenty of spare seats, she got to sit next to me like a proper little bus passenger! 
Things went well, though. I loved spending time with my family. It felt so normal to be with my parents again. Just relaxing and watching TV in the cabin with my mom, or joking with my dad, was so great. And of course, I was so happy to see Squeak! Can you believe he is two years old now?

Squeak loves sports. He literally never goes anywhere without a ball in his hand. At Christmas time he was obsessed with football, but now it seems to be baseball. He has this little mitt, and even though it is kid-sized it is still too big for his chubby little hand, but he shoves it on there anyways and tries to catch the ball with it. He has a great throwing arm already. Its crazy to watch him! Here is a (alienized) pic I took of him getting ready to catch a ball with his mitt.

Since his birthday was last month, I brought him a little bowling set as a present. It has six pins that look like caterpillars or something, and a little yellow ball to roll. It is like this: 
I thought it would be fun to introduce Squeak to a new sport! He seemed to like it a lot. He had fun setting up the pins and rolling the ball, although it took him a while to get the hang of rolling the ball straight at the pins. (It is harder than it looks, when you don't have lanes to keep the ball somewhat in the right area! He also likes to mix his sports to create whole new sports, such as kicking a basket ball at the bowling pins to knock them down, or trying to hit a football with a bat. Here is a pic of Squeak crawling around playing with his new bowling set. 

After spending three days with my family in California, I rode with my parents in their rented car, all the way back to Washington. They wanted to come up to spend some time with the always elusive BT, who is leaving for Ecuador in one week. (Boooooo!) BT spent the morning hiking with us, but then he left to go visit his other cousins for the rest of the weekend, so my parents were stuck hanging out with Auntie Em, Uncle J and me, It was fun. We had a picnic,  and then went home and sat outside on the deck. Large amounts of alcohol were consumed by all involved, except for Lily and me. I really ought to take up drinking! 

When it was time for my parents to leave, I nearly broke down. I was crying and sobbing and felt like I would have a meltdown. But Auntie Em and Uncle J kept me busy and distracted until I was settled into the house again. They didn't shame me for being sad, but they also actively tried to cheer me up. It was a lot different from what I've encountered in the past from my parents, who were more likely to completely ignore me, or tell me to snap out of it, when I was upset. 

Then I got the idea to make a paper chain... like the kind you make as a little kid to count how many days until Christmas. Auntie Em had given me some construction paper earlier in the week. I was expecting that I'd see my parents again at the end of the summer, in a little less than 70 days. I realized that the pack of paper had 10 different colors, so I cut out seven strips of each color, decorated them with crayons, and chained them together. Each night I take off one strip. (I am keeping the strips so I can reassemble the chain again the next time I return from seeing my parents!) 

Just the act of making the chain helped me a lot. It gave me something constructive (literally!) to do, and helped me see that I was not going to be missing them forever. 

Some other pics from the weekend...
Me and my dad by the ocean...

...Me by the ocean looking happy... 

... Me and Lily on our hike with my parents, Auntie Em, Uncle J, and BT (Lily walked most of the way but she got tired so I put her in my front pack to have a break)

Lily trying to learn how to swim. She likes the water. She used to go in only up to her toes, and then she'd shake vigorously as if she were soaking wet. Now she will actually go in up to her armpits and splash around! Roo, on the other hand, loves to swim and will swim after a stick into the river, and bring it back in her mouth!

One more pic of Lily and then I will let you go. This one is too cute for me to deal with... Lily snuggling with my Chumba bear in my bed while she waits for me to get done with my computer work or whatever it was I was doing!

Okay. That is all for now. Things are really picking up, and it looks like it will be an interesting summer, so I should have lots of great blog posts in the future! And I will try to do some reading as well, tomorrow. 

Good night, everyone!