Thanksgiving Rollercoaster

I know that holidays are usually a series of ups and downs.  But I wasn’t prepared for the emotional rollercoaster I went through yesterday… and some of the stories aren’t even mine!

First emotion: anxiety.

Start the day off by getting up and getting cooking… I tried a new recipe, which always brings anxiety.  I made a sweet potato, bacon and apple “hash” as a side dish for our family dinner.  Since I was cooking for 8 adults and 2 kids (who might or might not eat it), I needed to make 2 batches.  Add to this that both boys woke up while I was making the 1st batch and so I was trying to rush… well let’s just say that I moved in a bubble of anxiety until the 2nd batch was done, everything was tasted (yummy by the way, let me know if you want the link to the recipe) and I could get the boys up and feed them breakfast.

Next emotion: relief.

I went in and got Monkey up, changed his diaper but left him in jammies and carried him into Bubba’s room.  Bubba was sitting up in his bed and gave me his normal scripted greeting “good morning”.  I put Monkey on the floor and told Bubba “Happy Thanksgiving”, which he repeated back.

Next emotion: distress/anxiety.

Then I realized that there were dried spots of bright yellow *something* on Bub’s jammies and pillow… Hmmm, did he spit up something?  I asked him if he was ok and he started to cry.  Then he started to cough.  Then he started to puke.  Since he already needed new sheets and jammies, I just layed him down and let him finish.

Now we’re at: sad. oh, and still anxious.

When he’s done, I scoop him up, wake up Big A so he can deal with Monkey, and get Bubba all cleaned up and dressed.  I fed him cheerios, water and bananas for breakfast (which he barely ate).

Now I’m: worried.

Bubs seemed to be acting fine.  Monkey seemed fine.  Everyone was fine, so we decided to proceed with Thanksgiving Day plans.  We had somewhat of a lazy morning, with plans to leave to go to my parents’ house at noonish.

Ok, we’re at: calm.

I went on facebook during the morning and found out that a dear friend of mine was not spending the day with either of her teenage sons (the 18 year old is away in the National Guard and the 16 year old was with his dad for the day) for the first time.

Because of this, back to: sad.  Very very sad.

I messaged her and made sure she wasn’t spending the day alone (she messaged back and said she had plans with other family).

Back to: relief.

Get everybody ready, pack up the car, leave the house for the trip to my parents’ house (we’ll call my mom Nana and my dad PopPop).

Wow, I’m actually: Happy!

Nice hour+ drive, singing with the boys, chatting with Big A, working on a needlepoint project.

Feeling: pleased, content.

3 miles away from my parents’ house, we stop for gas.  While waiting, Bubba started to act distressed and cry a little bit.

Here we go: concerned.

We get back on the road, and Bubs is still whining in the back seat.  I keep turning around to look at him, and he’s looking like he doesn’t feel good.  Big A is driving faster and faster, but we’re on a road with lots of stoplights so there’s only so much he can do.  About a mile away from my parents’ house, Bubba starts puking.  Big A at first starts to slam on the brakes, but then realizes there’s really nothing we can do since we’re on a very busy road and will arrive at my parents’ house in about 5 minutes.

And we’ve got: anxiety, fear (what if he starts choking???), sympathy, helplessness, disappointment, etc.

What a long 5 minutes!  I twist around and hold Bub’s hand as he continues to throw up all over himself.  We arrive at my parents’ house and explode from the car, Big A running inside to get help, me openning Bub’s door but not really wanting to touch him until I have materials to clean him up.  He’s pale and crying slightly, and I think he’s a little scared.  PopPop comes out to help and takes Monkey inside.  I clean Bubba off as best I can and take him inside to change him and finally be able to hold and comfort him.  Big A takes on the task of cleaning off the car seat.  After about a half an hour things start to calm down and somebody pours me a glass of wine.

Ok, starting to feel: relief, calm.

My Uncle B is there, I only get to see him once or twice a year.  Big A’s parents (we’ll call them Grandma and Grandpa) and his Aunt P join us.  I love family get togethers!  Both boys are playing nicely, giving hugs when asked, Bubba is responding to requests to relay information he’s learned at school and sing songs, which are really stinkin cute.

Dare I say it?  I’m at: happy, love, having fun!

Dinner goes well, Monkey takes a nap and gets up hungry, the boys tag team eating in the high chair.  Bubba has a bunch of saltine crackers and a bowl of applesauce, drinks a cup of water, and politely says “Mommy, I’ma all done”.  Everyone is charmed.  We all visit for a bit, a few people drift off to sleep in their chairs for a minute or two, both boys go back to playing nicely.

Ahhhh: calm, content.

We decide we have to go, Big A’s family leave, we pack up the car and head out.  Big A and I laugh at people we see camped out in front of Best Buy, sing our versions of different Christmas carols (we’ve changed some of the words to make them silly), talk about some of the topics that were discussed during the family visit.

Loving this: content, festive, closeness with Big A.

My phone lights up, it’s a text from one of my best friends Ampy.  I open it expecting a Thanksgiving greeting.  We just enjoyed a pedicure date Wednesday afternoon, so I knew what her Thanksgiving plans were.  But what I see on my phone’s screen is the news that her grandma passed away Thanksgiving morning.

Bam: heartbreak.

My heart in my throat, I text back and ask as gently as I can (via text) if she was there when grandma passed.  Because I knew that the plan had been for she and her parents to spend the morning with grandma at the nursing home.  The answer I get back: they were 20 minutes too late to say goodbye.

Devestation.  More heartbreak.

I text back as many loving words as I can think to convey, knowing there’s really nothing I can say.  I think to my own grandmother in her own nursing home, and how I allowed Thanksgiving to pass without seeing her.

Sadness.  Guilt.  More guilt.

We get home, unload from the car (both boys slept the final 30 minutes of the drive) and spend an hour just laying around watching TV.  I’m trying not to think too much so I go on facebook to see how everyone else’s Thanksgiving went.  I’m realizing as I read posts of some of my autism mama friends that autism really wasn’t a factor in our day.  We had no meltdowns, very little stimming, mostly scripted but still appropriate talk.

Wow: thankful.  Hopeful.

I scroll through the facebook feed and see a picture of my friend who has the 2 teenage sons.  In the picture she’s hugging the 18 year old.  Wait, WHAT???  I click onto her facebook page and read that he flew home and surprised her with a visit!

ELATION!  I was so happy I was crying.  For her!

Whew!  I was done.  Spent.  We put the kids to bed, I got into my jammies, made a half-hearted attempt to work on my needlepoint for a few more minutes, then gave up.  I went to bed and fell asleep listening to the TV, playing one of the Friends Thanksgiving episodes.

How the heck do you sum up a day like that?  You got it: Rollercoaster!

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