Let there be light inside you this winter

My autistic teenager’s latest OCD is very eco – friendly. He keeps turning off all the lights. When I turn them on he turns them off again. It doesn’t matter if its six o’clock in the morning or six o’clock in the evening. Right now, he is saying “NO” to lights.

As you can imagine, this is great for my electricity bill but not so great at this time of year when we need all the light we can get, and it’s getting uncomfortably close to the time we all attempt to light up Christmas. He could have picked a better month to ‘go green,’ bless him. With the lack of light round here, I’m in serious danger of suffering from an overwhelming dose of stress, while Motley and little Missy battles it out with the Christmas light switches.

Alternatives, however, are in place to calm the situation. Shortly after 4pm my home turns into a blessed santuary and takes on the look of one of those weekend retreat getaways from an expensive magazine: blazing fire, burning tea lights, scented candles and soothing music. Believe me, like the picture in the magazine it’s only an image. When Motley’s not around and I hit the kitchen light that glaring florescent tube blows my cover every time. What cleaning can you do in the dark, for heaven’s sake?

Living with my son’s autism, however, has taught me a lot about light. Living in Donegal during the winter months has the potential to teach us all the same lesson. Mostly we have to create our own and I’m not talking about planting a turbo powered spotlight in the garden.  The light that matters, really matters, when a veil of darkness falls over your world is the light we have within. To have your own light in great reserve will carry you right through winter and all the challenges that you may face on your journey. To reflect it on others has the added benefit of lighting up someone else. It’s really not that hard to do. All you have to do is smile. It’s amazing the light that can be created from just smiling.

Thankfully, there are a whole lot of smiles in this house. Motley is going round turning off lights and giggling for all he’s worth. If I say, “Pretty pretty please,” and explain to him, in the best way I can, that we need light to cook and to eat he will turn it back on. Once the dishes are in the dishwasher, however, they are off again and I am back on the sofa pretending I have nothing to do but read by candle light in front of a log fire. Magic!

I don’t know how long this little OCD of his is going to last. We have managed to get through dark November, and December always promises more light, with the magic (or madness) of Christmas.  Hopefully, by the time it comes, Motley will be over his fad, or maybe not. I’ll just have to keep the curtains open wide and take joy in my neighbour’s twinkling creations. Of course there may be a little snow to light up the darkness too. It may cause havoc but it sure is pretty when you are looking out at it. For once, I might be glad of it. It may be the only light I’ll have, along with my own wee light, shining from within.  Until next time, shine bright and keep smiling, Aileen.

©Aileen McGee

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