Long breaks and lots of changes

It’s officially summer here in Boston. Sort of. The weather is confused but the kids are officially done with school as of Monday. J has a just a few more days of therapy before that too, ends. We are entering that limbo time, when you’re moving and chaos and lawlessness ensue. There is no structure structure. We have some routines but not the absolute of the school year. We eat breakfast around the same time. Lunch around the same time. “Quiet” time around the same time. Dinner than bed. That’s about it. I do not have structured activities and crafts. J wouldn’t do those anyway and E eats crayons. I don’t schedule out blocks of time tot do structured activities.

We currently live in 1400sqft a good chunk of which is bedrooms upstairs. We do not have a backyard. It is also currently pouring rain outside so any playground I could walk to is out. We are stuck inside. For two children who have some sensory needs this is hard. We broke down our big indoor trampoline a month ago to get ready for the move. We now have a small one that is not the same. A needs space. She likes to run. She enjoys being outside. Once this week is over we enter into that terrible in between where everything will be different, crazy, hectic, chaotic, you get it. The end result will be wonderful. A bigger house, a backyard but getting there is going to be hard. Change is hard.

J is smart. Intuitive. He knows changes are coming. He’s been aggressive. More so than usual. He has no constructive outlet. That’s a work in progress. He’s been moodier and defiant. I’ve been making small changes to help him adjust. In less than two weeks, my parents will be here and the kids and I will be making the trek to Georgia without my husband and just a Uhaul. We bought a house!! Crazy. For three days it will be my parents, the kids, 2 cats and me making our way down south. Another adventure.

There will be lots of new things. J was 2 when we moved to Boston. A was 8 weeks. E was born here. This is the only home A has ever known. Where J made so much progress. Where we established. It’s the first place J and A went to school. Where I watched A make friends. Grow. J learned some signs. Started vocalizing more. Acquired his ACC device. We made great friends. Had wonderful therapists. It’ll be completely bittersweet to move on. Since I left my parents house at 21, this house and this place has been the longest I’ve been in one location. I’m 34 now. 3.5 years we’ve been here. J completed and graduated from preschool here. I’ve enjoyed the community that this base had. Being able to walk everywhere.

When I married Mr. J, he had already been in the military for 7 years. I married into the military. When I said yes, I knew what that entailed. I knew there would be separations. Moves. Changes all the time. I knew we’d more than likely never live in one place more than 3 years. That we’d be at the whim of the army (never has that been more evident then in this move). I knew that friendships would be transient. That we’d say hello and goodbye almost in the same breath. That we’d probably never live near family. That the military community would become your family. That you’d cultivate a tribe of people who became your emergency contacts and swapped date nights.

The tribe you build becomes even more important when you bring special needs into it. You don’t just let anyone watch your kids. Be the school emergency contacts. When you don’t have immediate family around you create one. I’ve learned this over the last 3.5 years. When you move, you leave your current tribe behind and have to create a new one. You become adept at making friends quickly. You navigate your new city and base efficiently. You don’t have time to do things slowly.

When you have an autistic child, change and adaptability is hard. Military life is hard. You’re asking them to adjust and adapt quickly. Form new routines quickly. New relationships quickly. It’s not easy. J loves several of his therapists. He’ll do things for them that he won’t do for others. He’s going to have to form new bonds with new people. Change is hard.

So as I sit here and reflect on all the changes happening ahead, I send a prayer up, giving me patience and strength to help my kids navigate, especially J. To make this move as easy as possible. As fun as possible. Because when you’re in the military, everything is an adventure and you have to look on the bright side every day.

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