Until Sir Dantes came along I only had a few keys; the key to my house, the key to my car, and the key to my office. Because I always equated the number of keys someone had to how important or complicated their lives were I liked only having three keys. I did not care of a lot about being "important" or of having extra responsibility. I like to keep things pretty simple. Life is just easier that way.
Now that Sir Dantes has come along the amount of keys I have has increased! In addition to my house key, car key, and office key I now have a key to the bicycle lock on the refrigerator, a key to Sir Dantes' closet, a separate key for the backdoor, another key for Ms. Maxie's room, and a key for our bedroom door. I think that it all...oh, a key to my husband's car, and an additional office key.
Most of these keys I wear on a lanyard around my neck; and it is getting heavy.
In case you are not familiar with the word; a lanyard holds badges and keys on a rope around your neck. I am not trying to insult anyone's intelligence because until I needed one I did not know what it was. I had seen them before holding badges and keys but I didn't know what they were called. I just figured if someone had one that they must be someone that was kinda important. They had a pass. They had access to some place that I did not. But, my lanyard does not make me feel more important...It makes me feel, well, restricted and tired.
I can't walk freely through my own home. After every door I open and I have to make sure it is locked up tight. You just never know. Life is not simple anymore. My keys do not represent a free pass to a place that someone else may want to go. How many people want to have lock the fridge or closets or every door because of autism? How many people want in our world?
In addition to the keys to lock up the house tight; we have "ding-dings" that go off if a door is opened that leads to the outside world. The keys and the dings are stressful. Every time I hear a ding I have to check on who went and and why. Did we forget to lock a door? Did Sir Dantes find a hidden key? Most people have the alarm systems on their home to keep intruders out so they do not get their valuables; we have to lock our valuables in. Ironic hu? Autism.
In direct positive correlation to the amount of keys I have; the amount of responsibilities I have has grown and I believe my importance has grown.
I always knew that having children was a huge responsibility. But, I did not expect the amount of responsibility involved when you have a child with autism. I am not sure what I expected, however, it is more than I imagined. The time, the patience, the therapies, the appointments, the increased work load...all bigger and there may never be an end. With typical children your work load decreased as they increase in age until eventually they move out and take care of themselves. With typical children, there is less needed doctor's appointments and, usually, there are not needed therapies involved.
Financially, my responsibilities has definitely increased. It had for one of us because one of us had and continues to need to stay home to oversee Sir Dantes. In order to maintain, I have increased my responsibilities at work. Sure, I could have stayed in a non-management position but with a higher position at work I increase our funds that we need. Have you checked the price of ground beef lately? In addition, we need to get to a point of providing real savings for Sir Dantes' unknown future and for Ms. Maxie's future (I am pretty sure she will go on to college). So, I work hard for all of them.
And, as silly as it may sound, I want to work hard for you and anyone else out there curious about autism. It is not always easy to put my thoughts into this blog. Sometimes I risk offending someone in my attempt to advocate and help. But I still do it because I want to help. It also helps me. It takes a lot of time and energy but it is rewarding. My hope is that it will inspire change for all of our children. I hope that is will bring understanding and fellowship. Yet, it is another responsibility. Sigh. I think I am done for tonight.
Of course, after I finish writing I will search for interesting articles for the facebook page. Call it a labor of love I guess. As I stretch my neck and take a sip of my beer, I will be thinking of more ways that maybe I can help. So as my lanyard feels heavy it will be okay. So will yours. Take care everyone.
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