I am still mulling over the results of my cross country business adventure. I realize that I am totally weird and that most people hire babysitters, and travel for a variety of reasons with out their children or spouse. I haven't. With Chet, a babysitter just wasn't an option. We tried it several times and it was never a success. Even when he was a mid teen it ended badly. The disconnect between Chet's abilities and his disabilities is so complex that even our extended family have a hard time understanding what is safe for him and what will be dangerous. Try to help someone understand that he can go to the corner store to buy milk, but not walk down town alone. He can empty the dehumidifier but not clip his fingernails. It is tough to explain to folks who don't live it.
But I am rambling a bit. What was interesting to me for this trip was that I could gauge the level of connections that I had with each of the kids. My quietest teen texted me often--just short snippets or comments but it was clearly a need to connect. He wanted to know I was out there, still ready to hear what he had to say. And he talked on the phone with me twice a day.
The littles, well they are still in recovery from my absence. They handled things well while I was gone. They chattered when we talked on the phone, they eagerly read the notes that I had left them. But since I returned home, they have been what we call "cling-ons." Not the Star Trek variety with the scary foreheads. The don't move without looking for a small person under foot variety. My cling-ons have found their way into my bed every single night since I returned home. I am ignoring this and operating on the assumption that at some point in the near future they will again feel confident that I will be physically here for the long haul.
And Chet? I am not sure he noticed I was gone. As long as the sphere of his world operates in its predictable pattern, he is not overly concerned with those he lives with. He cares passionately about some things, but they tend to be "big picture" things. The intimacy of familial love is sort of a mine field for the autistic.