“Whirlyjoy” is the blog name for Joy Daniel who writes about “Life in the Spin Cycle” as a single mother of two coming-of-age daughters and a host of supporting characters. Mimi, the youngest daughter, is a “Tween with a vengeance, voracious reader, performing arts aficionado and Whirlyjoy artist-in-residence” (The drawing above is by Mimi). Her eldest daughter, Aida, is in Whirlyjoy’s words, a “game-changer (who) has reached her teens. She’s still deaf and still autistic. Also: baffling, stubborn, valiant and heartbreaking.”
Whirlyjoy’s most recent post is the often hilarious description of how Mimi, Joy and the other caregivers in her cast of characters nurture Aida and themselves through the more embarrassing moments of autistic behavior. Joy interprets these incidents as part of Aida’s grand “master plan”:
"Aida always has some kind of purpose to work towards. Those who don’t know her can easily miss this, distracted by the wild bouncing of her head and hands, her piercing voice, or perhaps in a quieter moment their attention is simply arrested by the heavy fleece jacket worn over running shorts and Crocs…
Mimi, who has never known a life without her sister to love and watch over, is one of the best at noticing when Aida might be angling to take advantage of a momentary lull in supervision, and she feels it acutely when Aida gets away with inappropriate behavior in the community. (AKA stealing food or disrobing, among other things)."
Whirlyjoy describes Mimi’s report about her sister’s successful theft of M&M’s and a Cinnabon while at a mall with their grandparents.
Was Aida upset? I asked, which, as intended, made Mimi laugh and report how smug her sister had been about getting her hands on all those treats…
I can just picture Aida mentally rubbing her hands together and cackling gleefully as she crammed contraband M&M’s into her mouth: “Once again they fall for my master plan!”
But lurking inside Whirlyjoy’s buoyant narrative, there is the caregiver’s constant worry about the next crisis. Aida is now spending some time in a group home, and Joy relates the simple delight of being able to take a shower without worry. The post recalls an incident when Aida was younger:
Aida seemed so relaxed on the couch, watching Scooby Doo with her sister, just as she had for several evenings running… Suddenly through the sound of the spray and the suds in my ears, I heard Mimi shouting desperately for me. Aida had seized her chance to go outside to the car and climb into the trunk to look for the Cheez-Its she knew were in there from a shopping trip a few days before. I eventually got us both inside, dripping with soapy water, but not before she’d consumed a couple of the snack bags.
Once again her master plan had prevailed.
Joy Daniel is scheduled to take advantage of a Caregifted Getaway soon, where she’ll be able to shower with all the spray and suds she wants, in peace.
About the Caregiver Blog of the Week Award
The Caregiver Blog of the Week Award will recognize the most outstanding, beautiful, uplifting, painful and/or moving story of the week blogged by a caregiver.
Caregivers are the unsung heroes of our world. Caregivers who not only do the more-than-fulltime work of caregiving but also write and share their experiences with the world deserve to be recognized and honored. Each week our team will sift through the caregiving blogosphere and select a winning blogger, blog or blog post to be honored at CAREGIFTED.ORG. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate a Caregiver Blog of the Week.