It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since our lives turned upside down. Two years ago, tonight, our house caught on fire and sent our little family into a four-month tailspin.
The boys slept through the night before the fire. John always had issues, but his episodes were the exception, not the rule. Back then, we felt crowded in our house, taking it for granted — maybe a little ungrateful?
As summer turned to fall, we moved from hotel to a stay with family to an apartment — waiting, waiting, waiting for our home to be repaired. Those days were electric with insomnia, with a frustration so immense it nearly swallowed me. I began to pine for my house, driving by it each morning to see what had been repaired, and quickly realized how silly I was to bemoan its size. It was perfect!
Would John’s sleep issues have escalated without the disruption to our lives? My guess is probably. Would he have started talking as much as he first did that summer? I don’t think so, I think the chaos our world became forced him to look for other ways to communicate.
Tonight as I chopped strawberries and blueberries for our 4th of July picnic, I remembered how I slaved over a potato salad two years ago. I remembered how it remained unfinished on the counter when we were forced to vacate. I remembered how hot it was and how irritated I was by my kitchen of all things — it seemed so small. I remembered and relived it all tonight.
The biggest lesson from those days is we go on. Even when things were at their worst and I didn’t think I could bear it one second longer, we managed. What other choice is there? In some ways, it’s just like getting an autism diagnosis. At first you don’t think you can bear it, you pine for what you thought might be — but you learn, you adapt — and one day there you are: in your home, watching your boys play and you feel lucky.