I have been a week without a computer at home. I have known for a long time that I depend on my Internet access for more that fifty percent of my communication. Emails and message board posts are more common to me than phone calls and face-to-face visits. I have become more dependant on text messaging recently, and the thought that I may be able to avoid phone conversations altogether is hugely appealing to me.
But here I am, 2 feet away from a stranger (which is something I am never comfortable with) and in clear view of anybody who wants to look over my shoulder, making an effort to update my family, friends, and other loyal followers as to the current situation of life in the Jones household.
The computer: broken. It has withstood so much in its short life- missing keys, loose and jiggly battery, liquid spills on the keyboard- but the weight of Jacob, all 155 pounds of him happily stomping on the keys and mouse pad, well, that did her in. It was a night of tears when I came home to see Jacob dancing on my valuable friends, my most reliable connection to the world outside my double-padlocked and every-possible-exit-alarmed fortress I call home.
I really shouldn't have been so surprised. So many of the things a normal family depends on every day for sanity, privacy, safety have been victims of my son. Our refrigerator, brand new and shiny clean when we moved into this house only 18 months ago, has had it's door slammed open and closed one too many times, and now we cannot shut it without it popping open of it's own accord seconds later. Every time I walk into the kitchen I have to re-shut it, praying that it hasn't been ajar long enough to ruin the food inside. The freezer is even worse. That door doesn't close at all, and we have to prop a chair against it all day long to keep the whole thing from defrosting over and over. This isn't fail proof- kids don't always remember to replace the heavy chair and our big dogs push it out of the way as they try to steal remnants from the garbage can so we have lost more food from this than I care to think about. Chris has replaced and repaired hinges and small parts so many times that they are no longer fixable.
Then there is my bedroom door. It seems Jacob cannot go in and out of my room without slamming it as hard as he possibly can, ripping the hinges out of the wall and even out of the door themselves. This is another endless project that Chris has to complete, and he does, often. The last event, roughly a month ago, caused the entire door frame to bust and despite buying the longest nails Chris could find at the hardware store hoping that this might hold the door into place for just a little longer, we now have no door to close up our bedroom and have the privacy that two tired parents really, really need. Replacing it would restore some sanity but since this has happened before and undoubtedly will happen again, it feels like a pointless exercise to go through the time, expense, and frustration repeatedly. So we live with no private time and deal with it.
There are so many little, less significant things that are systematically destroyed on a daily basis. Really, I have had to remove myself from caring about anything that I buy or am given, knowing that it's time in my possession may be quickly extinguished. No one could call me materialistic at this point in my life. Too bad I quite enjoy my trinkets and treasures, and mourn the times when a small item could make me smile.
Am I being dumb? My son is autistic and not emerging. Daily living with him is getting harder instead of easier, and the thought of sending him away looms over my head sneaks it's way into everyday. He has to be very unhealthy- no child at his size could be as fit. But how to remedy this? I have no idea but the fact is he just keep getting larger and stronger and now outweighs most everyone who has previously been able to care for him. This is scary to think about. How much longer can we go on like this? How do parents ever decide it is time to find alternative living situations for their children? How could I ever let anyone else put my baby to bed? He needs me to cuddle him and rub his back and tell him that I love him. I need this just as much as he does. Its our connection and the resolution to whatever kind of harrowing, tiring, destruction-filled day it that has preceded it.
I have fifteen minutes. My time online at the library is scheduled and limited to 60 minutes a day. I haven't even checked my email yet. I don't want to go up the hill back to my house and still feel disconnected from the world outside. My neighbor to the left of me, also approaching his one hour limit, seems to have some kind of cold or virus, and I'm debating if it is worth it to be here in such close proximity when I could potentially take home germs to the rest of my family.
I wish I had access to my photos. I'd love to show you all how great Jacob's room looks since I painted it with an under-the-sea theme. Or post all the back-to-school pics of my children to show you how much they are growing. But this will have to do for now.
Catch me if you can-