To be honest, it was easy to engage in the one day of blog silence yesterday. I probably would have been silent yesterday even if there hadn't been a blogosphere-wide day of silence and contemplation for the Virginia Tech victims.
I've been away on a work trip — still am — and the time has itself been filled with silence. Not the silence of trying to coax one's language-impaired child into speech, but the silence of working in solitude in a quiet place, where the only "noise" is the internal sound of the ideas that one is knocking about inside . . . In a Zen sort of way wouldn't qualify as silence at all, but compared to my usual life in the city, it's a miracle of quietude.
I am ambivalent about being away from Sweet M and Fathersvox for work. It's necessary since I'm currently the primary wage earner for the Vox family and the contract I'm working on requires it. But it's also a guilty pleasure. I get a great deal done when I am away. And my body relaxes in ways that it never does when I'm at home with them in the city, in our rather crowded apartment where, when the window are open and street noise is light, one can actually hear the sounds of the subway pulling into the station.
But it's not just the street noise that makes the city noisy. Somehow when I'm at home with M and her dad, I feel as though my attention is divided . . . that I have antennae that are out, searching for information about what they're up to, what they're thinking, what's next on the agenda. When I am home I feel as though I am constantly attending . . . Much as an attending (as in attending physician) is required to be attending, on call. When I'm away, my antennae are drawn in and I can rest. I can think. I can work with a focus – an intensity – that tends to elude me when I'm at home.
I began to wonder how this might be for other autism parents. Do you ever get a respite from your autism caregiving responsibilities? Do you have this experience of quietude and shifted attention that is so refreshing and productive? And if so, do you know of any ways to bring this back with you, so that you can find quiet amidst the demands of your daily life?