Today is the last day of school before the October half term holiday for us and it will be the only day this week that Joshua makes it into school, as he had a day at home with Yorkshire Grandma yesterday. I am all set for my parents coffee morning so we will both be in school today and if he is not well enough with his cold, I can bring him home again afterwards. Then I have packing to do as we are heading away on holiday on Saturday and I feel very ready for this break. I love on holiday to be free of plans and schedules, to just get up and out when we are ready and to spend the day how we choose. Last weekend was so precision planned, apart from the unfortunate ending, that it will be a relief to be simply spontaneous.
I know when we get back at the start of Novemeber, we will be on the countdown to Christmas as it always sneaks up on me then – we go away and its the end of summer and we come back, the dark nights have snuck in and everyone is talking about festivities. But I am looking forward to a week away with my two boys, to having more opportunities to use our off-road wheelchair and to our puppy , Kevin’s, first beach experiences, so its all exciting stuff.
But to look forward to October Half term, is to wish the end of the year for me as we hurtle towards Christmas next, after Halloween and Bonfire Night. I must be getting old as Last Christmas doesn’t seem long enough ago, we have not long packed away the outsde lights surely?
I am not sure how , and if, Joshua marks the passing of time : I know that if you say someone is coming in the future, Joshua will look over his shoulder for them as he thinks that they are coming right now! We do not warn him about future events too far in advance, as he expects it to happen at the time, so it is only when I begin packing his respite bag do I mention to him where he is going the next day. I know that many people with autism cannot handle changes in routine, and so they need to be gently prepared for events like Christmas or holidays, but Joshua is not like that. Life for Joshua is about the ‘here and now’ and he seems unable to understand too far ahead. So, as I got the suitcase out last night and piled some clean clothes onto the spare bed, I explained to him where,when and who was going on holiday soon. I am not sure if he really took the news in and if suitcases mean family holiday to him – he was more interested in taking a bath and in throwing his books on his bedrrom floor as I gathered up clothes.
Not looking forward allows him not to have the worry of frightening future events, like surgery for instance, but it also means that he does not look forward to anything with excitement, like I used to count the days down to my birthday when I was a girl. Of all the things that Joshua’s stroke has deprived him of, looking forward to things in the future is the least of his worries.