Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Stranger in My House

Trey Smith

On Friday night, I discovered a stranger in my house: my wife! For the first time in nearly two months, Della was able to come home. It was so good to see her...sort of.

One of the hallmark characteristics of autism is the formation of routines. For most of the past 28+ years, my routine has included Della. When she first went off to White Salmon to serve in AmeriCorps, I was lost. Even though I spent most of my time puttering around by my lonesome, Della was close by. When she left, she removed herself from my periphery and my routine seemed somehow out of kilter.

I struggled that first week to adapt. In time, I did and so a new routine was established. This new routine was that of a single man with 2 dogs and a cat. Since I had no other human to rely on -- with the exception of my "taxi buddy", Dan -- I had to rely on myself more. I got used to this pattern.

Then Della was back for 1 1/2 days and my new routine seemed a bit out of whack. She will head back to White Salmon in a few hours and so my new routine will get back to what it was...until she returns in 2 weeks for a three day weekend.

While I long for the day (July 16) when Della again will be part of the usual routine, her infrequent (albeit brief) comings and goings both are refreshing and challenging. For someone who craves a set routine, my routine keeps changing.

But that's life, isn't it?

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