I Hate Summer Vacation!!!!!
When I was a kid, summer was the ultimate. I could be in the pool from the moment I woke up until bedtime, excepting only the occasional meal time. Or possibly, there were great movies on cable or a mountain of books to read. My family always had one big and several small camping trips, which for the record, at the time, I hated. They were halcyon days that lasted forever, until the summer before eighth grade ruined it for me. That was the year our big six state trip took place at the end of summer and we were going to be cutting it close to get me back to be registered on time (we actually had to go to my school before going home when we got back). Looking at the calendar, I counted out the weeks until the trip and school registration and my heart broke a little. Summer didn't last forever. It only lasted twelve weeks. That summer and every summer after, flew by at break neck speed with school always coming back just a little earlier each year. Once I was out of school I didn't pay much attention to summer. My time was now spent with a work schedule that varied week to week, but never took the seasons into account. Summer was just the time of year when it sucked to be outside because it was so hot. Then my baby started school.
I never looked forward to summer more than that first summer after kindergarten. It signaled the end of a truly hellacious year. Lian's teacher even started it early by giving him the last day off because it wasn't necessary and she just couldn't handle him back in the classroom. Personally, I was glad that the fight to get the boy out the door each morning amid tears was over. We had already decided that we would be doing anything we could to not send him back to that school, for both their sakes. Summer was going to be a huge relief.
We had just become acquainted with the concept of Aspergers Syndrome and I still hadn't grasped just what that meant. I should have been prepared. The three long holiday breaks during the school year were trying times for us. The super long Winter break was difficult to begin and even more difficult to end. In the crush of everything else going on it never occurred to us to ask why. Of course he was misbehaving, he was decompressing from the stress of school. Of course he didn't want to go back, he hated school. It never occurred to us that the drastic and sudden change in routine was causing problems for our little one. Summer that year was the worst break of all. The entire three months was one meltdown after another. It wouldn't be until the next summer that that would make sense to me.
By the next summer, I was better educated as to why my son behaves the way he does. Summer doesn't mean fun to him. It is this gaping chasm of indeterminate time, where daily routines change daily, television plays different shows than he is used to and the sun and heat wreak havoc with his overactive senses. Plus, if that wasn't enough, at the end, he faces a new teacher, in a new class, and new, as yet undefined, challenges in his new grade. Summer, to put it lightly, is purgatory for him.
As we get older and hopefully wiser, we have learned to change up his routine as little as possible during the summer. It is a learning curve. It is a battle between doing what is necessary and letting Lian be as much like other kids as he can. This summer it has meant summer school lessons, structured walks and timed sessions in the pool, and stricter than usual rules about television consumption. Still, that doesn't completely fill the void of missing hours in the usual school routine. I keep him as busy as I can with projects for his blog. It has worked moderately well so far, but as the first two thirds of summer comes to a close, school and a normal routine is just too far in the distance.
It is made worse by the fact that Dad is also on Summer Break. For all the same reasons it is just as hard for him. Being an adult he has, over the years, learned to cope with the changes in routine that life throws at him, but that doesn't mean they are easy for him. Then just to be difficult, not only does he have to change up everything for the summer but he has all the grown up issues of everyday life to contend with. Quite frankly by this time each summer, it's like a powder keg around here. Both my guys have had just about much as they can take. This should be the point where a new routine falls into place and life moves forward more smoothly. However, since they both know that at the end of August the routine changes up again, this period turns into one of limbo. Putting as Aspie into limbo is just plain cruel. Just to throw some more gas on the fire, I have stepped up my attempts to either get an outside job or go back to school myself. That anticipation of my not being there like always has Lian filled with anxiety and having to work around a new schedule has added stress to Dad's life.
Connections Academy has the kids going back a week earlier this year. School is going to be a huge relief. Since we already have the books and the printed lesson plans, I will be gradually gearing school back into place over the next month, so the transition back to a full school day (which usually takes several weeks) hopefully won't be as difficult this year. I still have four weeks of summer to get through. I really need a vacation from summer vacation. I long for the days when summer lasted forever and it was a good thing.