The joy and despair of a weekend of two halves

This isn’t the story I intended to post today. But then the weekend happened and I felt compelled to start writing something new.

Basically, Saturday I felt depressed. I don’t really know why – despite searching my feelings for answers. I just woke up in a funk and stayed in a funk until we streamed a movie that night, Women Talking, and the sense of foreboding I’d been carrying around in my belly all day turned to rage, and then dismay, instead.

If you pressed me for a reason though, about my mood on Saturday, I’d say it related to my fear of the unknown, or, more precisely, uncertainty over what happens next.

Regular readers will know that it’s been a big 12 months for me, and it does feel like the closer the actual 12-month anniversary of me taking sick leave from work, and getting my Autism diagnosis becomes, the more cluttered my thoughts about the future get.

Wondering for so long what was happening with me, and then finding out I’m Autistic and taking the necessary steps to relearn how to live and behave, are such different beasts, but each overwhelming in their own way.

I have never been someone to do things gradually. If there is a pile of rocks to move, I want to move all the rocks in one go – despite the objections of my screaming back.

It seems that if I’m in on something, I’m all in. But Autistic burnout doesn’t work that way. It won’t allow it, and neither will my aching mind.

It’s why I suppose I’m suddenly filled with doubt about the coming years. I am notorious for spending far too much time ruminating on the how and the why and even the when of life (right honey? 😉), when taking solace in the present and surrendering control over everything around me would most likely do me good.

But, fortunately, ‘The weekend of two halves’, a play on the game of two halves idiom used so often in football, was just that: a weekend of contrasting emotions across two distinctly different days.

Sunday in Australia was Father’s Day. And oh did I feel the love.

My wife had bought me a card and left it on the table for me to find. The words inside warmed my heart, but it was the picture on the front that really put a smile on my face and seemed to buoy me for the day ahead.

A greeting card with a blue cover and four ducks. Three of the ducks are yellow rubber ducks, but the fourth, positioned third in the row of four, is a real baby duck, standing up, looking right at the camera.
I smile every time I look at this card my wife gave me for Father’s Day

That duck was me. Inquisitive looking fella poking his head up to look around. (The fact that a packet of my favourite potato chips were lying next to the card didn’t hurt my mood either!)

First stop for the day after breakfast was to drive out to my parents’ place to drop off my own dad’s present.

Plans had changed on Saturday after my sister had convinced dad (although in his words, we “pressured him” 😁) to meet us out for a coffee instead of seeing him at his house.

For years, I’ve been trying to take my dad out for Father’s Day, but each time he tells me that he’d rather get together at home.

I was glad that my suggestion to my sister for her to join us did the trick. It’s the first time I can recall in years (maybe ever!) that the three of us have done something without my mum being present. And while we did miss her being with us, it was nice to have dad all to ourselves for a while.

I did get to see my mum briefly as well though – and revel for a moment in the kind of hug only a mother can give – when I dropped off dad’s present. Something I had to do because the thought of the cold “Father’s Day” beer I had bought him getting warm and going flat while we were having our hard-won coffee, just wouldn’t do.

A four-pack of tinned beer: black cans with big red writing that says dad, and white writing that says Happy Father's day, you're the best, have a beer on me.
My dad had told me not to get him anything for Father’s Day this year – but the moment I saw this beer, I couldn’t resist

My own dad’s outing complete, it was time to get home in time to see my son, who, in what has become tradition in recent years, had booked a table at a local café for lunch.

Again, like the relationship I have with my own dad, my son and I rarely spend time together without the women in our lives present. I always, therefore, look forward to this one day a year when it can be just him and me.

He has become an incredibly generous young man, in all senses of the word, and it is always a genuine pleasure to have him treat me.

Once again, I basked in the glow of spending time with someone I love – and enjoyed a delicious lunch to boot.

A cluttered café table with a full plate breakfast, tea cup, sugar bowl, bottle of water, pepper and salt shaker, a bowl of hot chips, and a hamburger on it.
The ‘full plate’ breakfast I had for lunch (of course I did) meant I could barely eat anything else for the rest of the day. But boy was it worth it!

An afternoon in front of the telly followed (sports mainly – English Premiere League football, some T20 cricket from South Africa, even though I’m not a fan of T20 cricket – but hey, it was Father’s Day), during which time I had planned to eat the chips my wife had given me. But lunch had been so substantial, so satisfying, that tea and toast, many hours later, were the only other things I could consume.

Later that evening, after everything had thankfully stopped (yes, I loved every minute of the morning and early afternoon I had spent out with my family – but that doesn’t magically change who I am, you know), it occurred to me how good I was feeling.

I had seen, apart from a few exceptions, all of the people I care about the most in the world. And it occurred to me then what a truly amazing thing that is to have happen: to see almost all the people that you love in a single day.

I felt emboldened and resolved to write about it, to delay the story I had planned to release on my blog today and instead run with this one. And I’m glad that I did.

For while right now I feel wistful – perhaps a letdown of sorts after the highs of Sunday – next weekend is my wife’s birthday.

And that means I can look forward to spoiling her – and to spending time with the people I love all over again.

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