My youngest son, Daniel, and our dog, Pepper, made our daily field trip to the nearby developed lake. We hunted for turtles, fish, and green algae. I have surrendered the idea of convincing my son about switching obsessions to something else because of my opinion of its tediousness. He loves this daily ritual of speaking to the flora and fauna and listening to their quiet. So, who am I to disrupt this calming activity, which, once I look past its repetitiveness, is calming to me, too?
The symptoms of repetitiveness and obsession are aspects of my son’s diagnosis on the autism spectrum. He is rated “high functioning,” whatever that means. I am rated a high functioning recovering person. My home environment mostly reflects my high functionability with echoes of chaos. I married a high functioning working man who has an obsession of taking opportunities wherever they take us. They have taken us to eight homes in 18 years. That’s a household move every 2 ½ years. So, it ought not be a shock that some boxes are 18 years old, but when I look at them I am surprised that they are still with me. They are loaded into the moving van and relocated. This last relocation, however, feels like a long-term one. While I rationalize it as being in my son’s best interest, I know deep down it’s in my best interest, too, to stay put. More boxes have been unpacked than ever before, including the 30 plus ones bequeathed to me by my mother.
One room displays like a museum. It is perfectly put together and we don’t live in it. It is used only as a passage way into the kitchen. It is an unattainable model for the rest of the house. Every other room is in some kind of organizing process with a few boxes scattered around as reminders to my previously vagabond life. My son, with his obsession to reliable routines, is helping me exchange my feelings of discomfort to feelings of security for order and structure.