The last day of Christmas break and I am quite honestly dreading going back to work tomorrow. Not that my job is all that strenuous or difficult necessarily, only that it tires me in a way that running a marathon, biking 60 miles or even swimming 800 meters do not. Sounds crazy I know! To be on your so called ‘p’s and q’s’ for 8 hours a day dealing with the problems of 4 children who happen to be Autistic is absolutely exhausting. Perhaps this does not sound like much – 4 children with 3 adult teacher types to dictate their movements all day long. 

     However, I am here to tell you that those 4 kiddos are the very definition of high maintenance. We spend the entire day in ONE classroom from the moment all of them arrive at approximately 7:45 until we put the last one on the bus at 3:45. Imagine, if you will, spending 38 hours a week with children who react to the slightest changes in their environment by throwing a horrible fit for 30 minutes or possibly shutting down completely for the entire day. On the other side of this coin, they can be the sweetest children at times. Requesting attention in their own way; demonstrating their peculiar brand of affection and even providing moments of a teasing kind of behavior to make you laugh. 

     I find myself thinking of these youngsters at the strangest times! I’m out on the trail, halfway through a 15 mile run that’s been rough because I’ve tripped numerous times, fallen a few and generally feel like hot garbage. A picture of one of them will run through my head. The life they have had to lead since coming into this world has not been easy by any sense of the word. Yet, here they are still fighting, struggling and moving forward in their own unique ways. 

    These kids have touched my life in a way that cannot be measured in a traditional sense. A woman who has brought several of her own babies into this crazy world and is someone of a self professed, little bit of patience….works through her days in that classroom, one hour at a time and sometimes even 10 minutes at a time, with due diligence and just the right amount of patience. 

    My time spent on the trails and the road allow me the presence of mind to keep on keeping on, with my own kids as well as those that I care for as part of my “job”. The trails offer me the clarity I need to see the forest through the trees – to live for this moment right here and still plan for the future and what will be. 

Until next time…….

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