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Just Be

Summer 06 008

I just returned from a week in paradise. Please don’t hate me.

Last week my husband and I spent a week in St. Lucia to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. There were the usual ups and downs of any trip- a delayed entry to the island, being flooded out of our room the second night, a day lost to torrential downpour.

And none of it mattered, because we were together, childless, and given the priceless gift of relaxation.

I’m very fortunate that my mom is able to watch the boys for that length of time, and grateful we were able to sneak away. It’s been years since we’ve had the opportunity, and I could tell we really needed it. Of course being me I had to spend part of my week thinking about things (even being on a lush tropical island doesn’t preclude me from thought.) I subsequently realized a few things of importance while chilling out on my lounge chair. First, I acknowledged that in the past it would take me two days to truly relax, and this trip I got into the groove before the door even closed on our way to the airport. This is entirely due to the fact that as they’ve aged the boys have in general gotten easier.

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Yet another thing to be grateful for, along with nice men bringing me pretty drinks on the beach.

Second, and most important, no matter what Justin’s living arrangements are after high school, I have to figure out a way for Jeff and I to have the opportunity to simply be. Whether he continues to live with us, or resides in a group home or shared living experience, Jeff and I will need a break.

We all need a break.

As I’ve mentioned before Justin is only thirteen, so we’re a presidential term away from serious decision-making- where will we live after both boys graduate, where will Justin reside, should he work or have a life of leisure. I don’t know what we’ll do yet, but for once I stopped perseverating about everything and let go, allowing the prevailing island attitude of “just be happy” wash over me without the tidal wave of worry that often accompanies most of the big decisions I encounter.

And I am determined to retain this attitude no matter what comes next.

I won’t blame autism for making me a worrier- I’m a fourth generation perseverator, and as my mom says, I come by it honestly. When not engaged completely in having fun I’ve been known to get a good worry on, a condition which was exacerbated when Justin turned six months old and started spinning everything in sight.

Spinning is not included in any copy of the “What to Expect Your First Year” book.

But over the last few years as things have started to ease a bit, and in some cases a lot with both boys, I’ve been able to lay down that mantle of anxiety and be more present, enjoy what’s in front of me, and not think about the future so much.

Trust me, for me this is a major milestone.

And that’s the key to everything. The truth is worrying hasn’t made anything along the way any better- in fact it’s made some things worse. The fact is I have very little control over anything, and while that used to terrify me, I’m coming to see this as a benefit. I can only do my best, things will play out as they will.

As long as chocolate and wine continue to be in my future, things will be okay.

So as life hits me, and it will, I have to remember to go to my new happy place. It’s a particular lounge chair with a stunning view, a prevailing wind just strong enough to cool me down, and the ability to relax and take things as they come.

Here’s hoping it sticks.

For more on my family visit my blog at

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