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50 shades of BLUE

IMG_0210World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), celebrated each year on April 2, was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis.

On World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Speaks celebrates its international Light It Up Blue Campaign. Thousands of iconic landmarks, communities, businesses and homes across the globe unite by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families around the world affected by autism.

We’re talking the Eiffel Tower in France. The leaning tower of Pisa in Italy. The Sydney Opera House. The Empire State Building in New York. On April 2nd every year, they are all very specially adorned with a fantastic display of blue lights shining up and down gloriously to bring Autism awareness.

So, what can you do? Pick a lamp, or – even better – a porch light, and put in a blue bulb (you can get ‘em for about $1.29 at a local store). How does putting a blue light on your doorstep increase autism awareness?  I’m so glad you asked that question ;).

Just by putting a blue light bulb into the lamp on your porch, you are affecting someone, somewhere. Why? Because someone is going to be out there asking themselves “Why is that porch light blue?”  Or maybe it’s more like “What are those weirdos doing in March with the funky Halloween lighting?”  Either way, someone is asking a question.

One person asks a question; they are seeking an answer. Once an answer is given, the information gets passed on so others can reap the fruit of such knowledge (or, you know, because we like to gossip).  Because doesn’t everyone need to know that Bob and Sue’s porch light is blue for a great cause?

Let’s look at the numbers…Simply put, if all 50 states decided to “Light it Up Blue” for a night, and if only *ONE* person asked that ONE question in every ONE state, we’d have 50 people who are more aware of Autism. Can you imagine the possibilities? How many people drive by your home in a week?

Let’s do ONE better…let’s see if WE can get 50 people to “Light it up BLUE” this year on April 2 just from reading this post. Ready? GO!

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5 steps to changing the world

Today, my heart hurts.

Special needs families – special needs Moms – do a lot of hurting, sure. There’s a lot to face, a lot to overcome, and a lot to mourn. But as time progresses, it becomes very clear that there is also a lot to celebrate. For instance, that first time your child calls you “mommy” and means it…well, there’s no greater joy in that moment, and you tend to *live* for the chance to hear your maternal “name” being called out again by your little sweetheart. It is especially sweet in a case like mine; my son didn’t call me “Mommy” until he was probably 4 years old. (Ah, a story for another day…)

My point today is that my heart hurts like it hasn’t in a really long time. People who have been in this “boat” for a long time often remind you to pace yourself when it comes to rejoicing the good in progress. It always seemed so skeptical to me, so presumptuous when some other Autism Mom would give me the proverbial “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” comment. It felt rude, even a little unfeeling at the time. I never understood why they felt the need to burst anyone’s bubble about overcoming triumphs!

But I understand now that their intention was not to “burst my bubble,” or rob me of my joy in a moment when my son was achieving a long-desired goal.  Their desire, their drive, came from a place in their own guarded hearts, which had been broken again and again by achievements and milestones first gained by their own children and then, sadly, lost again for a time. It took me a long time to realize that these women were not trying to be bitter or jealous of me; they were simply trying to prepare me to guard my heart against the dreaded “2 steps forward, 3 steps back” moniker that is pretty much guaranteed to occur regularly in the lifelong journey of an autistic child.

Essentially, their purpose was the exact opposite of what I had thought…these other, wiser, Moms were trying to prepare me to withstand the depression that threatens to overwhelm a young, hopeful, optimistic heart.  And so, with my best interests in mind, these caring people did their best to bring me back down to earth, with the intention of sparing me the amount of pain that had saturated their own hearts when dreams and love did not “conquer all.”

I appreciate these Moms (and Dads!) because their guidance has been vital in learning important steps I needed to take to help my son. And they were right! I had hard lessons to be learned and so many tears to be cried because I thought one particular milestone had been “conquered”…but yeah, that’s not always the way it works.

Still, I am not one of these moms. These women (and men) are strong, wise, formidable and unmoving… but I am not one of these moms.  Now, I thank the Lord God on high for these types of ladies/men, because we NEED their perspective (especially early on)…I will just simply never quite be one of them.  Why, you ask? Because I still believe in miracles. I still believe in love, God, the goodness in the world, and the fact that, though my son is categorized as “different,” he is so much more than he appears.

I believe there is a reason my son is the way he is. I believe he was sent here to change my life. I believe he was sent here to change YOUR life, and so many of those around us. I believe that, together, we can change the world.

Am I, therefore, a wimp? A pushover? Do I sit back and just hope and pray that God will “cure” my boy? No way, man. I am firm, I am determined, and if I believe my son is being wronged or misunderstood,  you better back up off me at that point because my Mama Bear personality comes out… (No really, I get a little scary). I am fighter for my cause…but I am *not* pessimistic.

Confused? Let me give you the details of my crazy heart mixed with my crazy mind…

I believe in love. I believe that good will triumph over evil in every end. I believe that “different” is NOT a bad word, but a NEW way to look at the world. I believe that our nice, comfortable, tunnel-vision belief systems need to be shaken up a bit. I think people need to know *why* they believe in something, and that the reason in which that belief system is rooted should *never* be based on simply accepting what a parent or other authority figure told you to do.

I believe in the good in people. I believe that, no matter what someone does to me, I have the capacity to forgive, because *I* have been GRACIOUSLY forgiven.

I believe that 1 person can change the world, just by *being* in it.

And I believe that 2 + 3 = 5. Sometimes the first 2 steps to making the world a better place may result in 3 steps backward. You want to know why?  Forward or backward, it’s still 5 steps toward changing the world.

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My son’s school Burned down…

To the Ground.

I’m not kidding. It’s not a metaphor—It’s real. It’s surreal.

Have you ever seen a playground on fire?  I still can’t get it out of my head.

Let me back up a bit: Alex, my autistic son, started 1st grade this year in a K-5 ALC Classroom. Kindergarten had brought so many trials, heartache and hard work – I was afraid of what was to come. But my worries were over quickly; this year he was matched up with the most wonderful folks I could ask for… I don’t even like to refer to them as “teachers,” because the word seems somehow inappropriate.

(I think maybe God personally addressed His angels in heaven and said “Look, y’all, Alex’s family has been THROUGH IT. They need some good folks to lead their boy through his first grade year…Volunteers?”…And 4 or 5 angels floated down to Earth to nurture one of their own.) I finally had peace when my son climbed onto his school bus each morning.

But then, on a Sunday morning in February, Alex’s school was in flames. Have you ever had to say those words out loud? It’s not easy. In an attempt to respond to many concerned loved ones, I posted this to Facebook…Take this journey with me; you may find the strength I never knew I had:

“My son’s school burned down to the ground today. An elementary school is just a building, yes. But the news that my son’s school had burnt down was incredibly painful. My son has special needs and will not understand. ALL 500 kids have to be moved, spread out to other schools in the area. I have been so afraid of what will happen to Alex’s classroom, his amazing teachers, his little friends, everything familiar to him. I have no words. 

Even as I wrote this, Alex’s teacher was calling.

We cried together. I had not considered how hard this would be on all those angels God sent down to that class…

STILL, there was beautiful news: That solid, brick, school building burnt down to the ground – yes – but Alex’s portable classroom, made out of plywood and all things flammable was, and remains to this day, untouched by the fire. The sprinkler system caused water damage, but the simple structure, which stood just a few feet from the destruction, remains untainted on the outside, a symbol of the strength and purity these kids reflect in Heaven’s eyes.

That little building may be waterlogged and ruined inside, but it didn’t matter to us. No, not everything will be salvageable, yet even one or two familiar items can help special needs kids feel more at home, more safe in their new environment. And so I rejoiced because that portable classroom still stands in defiance of the flames that took a school away from 500 children.

With tears of sadness mixed with newfound joy, his teacher then assured me that, whichever school hosted them, the district promised to keep the whole class together. ALL OF THEM.

Teachers, students, and Alex’s 1-to-1, they were all allowed to stay TOGETHER. You have no idea how much this means to me. These Special needs kids – MY special needs kid – have been given 2 miraculous gifts from God. I am so thankful. I cannot describe the lengths to which this reaches into my heart and reminds me that God is watching over *not* just their safety, but their WELL-BEING. It is as if He is reminding me that He understands their lifelong needs, even when I feel like the world doesn’t. God will make a way, even when there seems to be no way.”

 

Today, I am here to tell you that it has not been easy, and that, though the kids are handling everything like little champions (maybe better than the adults), they still do not understand…Alex remains thankfully, blissfully ignorant. Still, he misses his old school.

 

An Elementary School is in ashes. But Mrs. Hamilton still stands. Ms. Carolyn still stands. Alex and his little friends still stand. Love, laughter, friends, community…they all still stand. OUR. KIDS. STILL. STAND. They’ll never be able to fully replace that building. Thank God an Elementary school is not just a building.

Alex on his new swings

 Instead of posting a picture of the fire, I have chosen to post a happy picture of Alex on his new playground =)

( If you’d like to read more about the fire, you can go to this site: http://www.oregonlive.com/clark-county/index.ssf/2013/02/crestline_middle_school_destro.html )

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This is not a real post…really. ;)

To coin a popular phrase from one of my favorite bloggers, this is not a real post. Mostly it’s an apology with a side of excuses, drenched in promises and a “teaser” on top!

Truly, I just wanted to reach out and apologize for slacking, and that I will be back up and blogging soon, with all sorts of stories, great lessons and exciting moments to share, including the tale of our 2nd annual “magical” trip to Camp Meadowood Springs!

I have really good excuses for flaking, by the way, including surgery on my lower back (resulting in weeks oImagef recovery) and a sprained ankle (another sneak peek at what’s to come)!

…Okay, so I’ve *gotta* give you one quick tidbit to keep you coming back: I do want to say that my very hyperactive, autistic son, Alex – who is now 6 years old & 65 lbs – has become SO gentle, sweet and careful when he’s around Mommy, because “Mommy hurts.” And he cuddles into the corner of my bed every night to be near me. It’s pretty great.

More to come SOON, as I start getting back to my old self 😉 I PROMISE.

~ Kristi ❤

^ ^ Me after my surgery, ^ ^

w/Boo-boo bunny (the family healer).

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Oh, Happy Day

Today, as recent as an hour ago, I hated my life. After mopping up a flooded bathroom floor for the 3rd time this week, trying to avoid being smacked in the face, failing to rescue a picture frame from destruction, barely rescuing a crystal vase from a similar fate, and dragging my crying, flailing, 60-lb 5-year-old son across the room to keep him safe, I was ready to give up.  I literally wanted the earth to just open up and swallow me whole.

Right now, my autistic son is going through a state of major regression, which basically means that he lost skills and/or functions that he had as recent as a week ago.  We were warned about these periods of regression – how all of the sudden one day you just have to start over, pretty much throwing away everything that “worked” before & develop new strategies, create new boundaries, figure out what works NOW. Because the other stuff doesn’t work anymore.

Let me give you a better picture: for those parents out there who have 2 or more children, do you remember what it was like figuring out that what works on one kid doesn’t necessarily work on the other? Maybe you have one child who would burst into tears with a harsh look, but the other was so defiant that stronger measures had to be taken. Or maybe one kid breezed through Math while the other needed tutors, extra homework and constant monitoring just to get a C. Imagine all of these things all balled up in one kid, and changing every so often during childhood.

Don’t get me wrong, my boy is smarter than ever; I’m positive there are amazing things going on in his mind…It’s just that he struggles with sensory issues that cause his body to get in the way of his mind. And his body is freaking out again, except this time he is heavier, taller, and stronger. We thought we had finally overcome this obstacle, but we’re back to square one.

And my heart breaks daily because of it.

So, I cried today. And I screamed. And then I hated myself for screaming and crying. And I hated that I felt like a bad parent. I hate that I love him so much and can’t help him. So I guess you could say that this was a BAD DAY.

Still, even in the midst of my absolute destruction today, I remembered a music video that always brings me joy. It just happens to be a song called “Oh Happy Day,” and it is featured in the movie “Sister Act 2.” So I got on my computer, and I played the video of that song. And I cried, and then I smiled, and I sang, and then I cried some more. Then it hit me. I know why I love this video *so* much. It’s because of the progression of emotion that unfolds during the course of the song.

See, in the beginning, the teenage choir and their soloist appear obviously unhappy while singing those words. Oh Happy Day.

Haha, they WEREN’T HAPPY. But they still had to sing those words. They had to keep singing that stupid song, even though they didn’t feel anything like its intended message. But then something wonderful happens…someone encourages them, sorta whips ‘em back into shape, reminds them of why they’re doing what they’re doing, and BAM. All of the sudden, that soloist starts singing with more intensity. And that choir starts getting more confident. And that music builds and builds, and it feels like they fight the world, singing with everything they have, until they are finally bursting at the seams with JOY. OH Happy Day!

That’s what it’s about, that’s what we do, THAT’S how we FIGHT when we have days like this. Just keep singing. Just keep moving. I don’t have to put on a happy face at first, but when I keep singing and fighting, and I remember why I’ve been chosen especially for this job, that sun begins to burst through the clouds and I swear that Heaven shines down and the angels shout it, too: OH HAPPY DAY!

And then it all falls into place. And I watch that stupid video over and over again. And I calm down, take a deep breath, and move forward. And my son visibly gets a little calmer, too.

So next time you’re hoping that crawling under a rock will help your mood, I dare you to watch this video instead and not have a big fat grin on your face by the end of it. In fact, I double dare you 😉

Click Here & enjoy: “OH HAPPY DAY!” – Sister Act 2

UPDATE: Alex has begun to stop and watch this video *with* me! You wanna know the best part?  He sings along =D

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My name is “Mommy”

Mother’s Day weekend is always special to me. You see, May is my birth-month, and my birthday is always a couple of days away from Mother’s day. This used to be hard for me in the past…I mean, it is, in some small way, *kind* of like having a birthday a few days before Christmas. Everyone just sort of lumps birthday + holiday into one, because it is in our multitasking, time-saving nature to “kill two birds with one stone.”  I mean, who wants to throw two celebrations for someone else in the same weekend?  Who wants to buy two sets of presents or cards, or flowers, or whatever? Doesn’t one expression of amazement to a person in a weekend suffice?  Do they really need that again? 

As a hard-working, Disney-princess-singing, world-changing, fundraising, trailblazing mother of an autistic son, stepmother to a teenage girl, and wife of an equally hard working husband, I am here to tell you that YEAH. Yeah, I really do need that again.

All that being said, I should that my birthday this year was absolutely amazing…not only did my family completely knock it out of the park with their special treatment of me – and some precious moments that made me cry, made me laugh, and made me feel *so* loved – but I felt like God just kept raining down new blessings on me with every passing hour.

Short, selfish version: My son spoke his first real spontaneous sentence to me (a HUGE step for us), which left me feeling amazed and hopeful. Then, *I* was left speechless and teary-eyed by a loving card written by my teen stepdaughter in her OWN handwriting. And, of course, I giggled and beamed when my husband took me to dinner and then shopping for a few ridiculously frivolous gifts just so he could see me smile in that special way again. My whole family helped me feel loved beyond my imagination. What a rush! What an outpouring of love and adoration! Best. Birthday. Ever.

With my family’s promise that the weekend would essentially be “mine” to do as I pleased, I was excited for Mother’s day. Could it get any better?  Well, I started off that very special Mother’s Day clinging to the promise that I would be celebrated, and that maybe I would get a day off!

To be brief, Ummmmm, yeah, NO. It didn’t happen, and I was hurt. My regular duties weighed heavily on my shoulders, just like always. And I attended to them, because that’s what moms do. Dangit, I knew the whole thing was too good to be true!

But that afternoon, while I was feeling forgotten and sorry for myself, I looked outside and saw my son – alone – trying to swing on his play set. He wasn’t getting far, but he was still smiling to himself. I was drawn to him; I walked out and played with him on the swings. On Mother’s Day, with big fat grins on our faces, I told Alex, my awesome autistic son – that I loved him…and he repeated it back.

I may not have been treated like royalty this Mother’s Day, but I got something better. I was given the blessing of meeting my special son exactly where he was. I was given the gift of hug as I un-wrapped his sweet smile, topped off by the big, beautiful “ribbon” of a giggle. There are very few greater gifts than these for the Mommy of an autistic (or ANY) child.

I was suddenly overwhelmed by the meaning of ‘motherhood.’  It is not just a title or a privilege that was meant to be celebrated on this day. It’s a state of being, or state of wanting to be. It’s a title that women would die for, and maybe that others are (jokingly) really tired of.

Here’s my history, for those who don’t know…My son, Alex did not truly refer to me as “Mommy” until he was around 4 and a half years old. That might not mean a whole lot to everyone out there. But I had been waiting for that word my whole life (yeah, ok, drama, leave me alone)! And then I was blessed with a beautiful son who finally called me “Mommy” – and meant it – about 2 years after a lot of those other little boys. Did it break my heart during the wait for that title 2 years longer than other mommies? Maybe a li’l bit. But it *rocked* my whole world to hear my little boy ask for ME, his Mommy, when he finally did.

I don’t have any truly profound words to describe it, except to say that my name is finally “Mommy.” ❤

So this year, on Mother’s Day, nobody treated me anymore special than my son, now 5.5 years old, who laughed, and smiled, and called me “Mommy.” In doing so, he taught me a thing or two about that special day.

Mother’s day is meant to honor mothers…and until very recently, I thought it meant another day to be honored..and it IS to some families. But in this family, it doesn’t quite work out. Still, in one simple moment, I was reminded by an adorable little boy that I am his “Mommy.” And that right there?  That’s what it’s all about.

Treat me like a queen? Awesome! Treat me like a mother? Unbearably, heart-wrenchingly, incredibly priceless.

Image

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Angel

When I was a girl (and even as a young adult), I used to write poetry when things in my life were going badly. I poured my heart out in ink onto a piece of boring notebook paper. All the injustices in the world, all the heart-breaking middle school romances that tore my world apart…they’re all there, on those old, tear-stained pieces of paper.

I was quite the drama queen with a pen. But I had good reason to be.

All my life I’ve rooted for the “little guy,” fought like hell for true love, and offered kindness to the hateful. I befriended people who were the hardest to get along with…because they needed someone. I believed I could save people, thought I could reach people who didn’t want to be reached. And I succeeded in some cases, though my heart still aches for those I lost.

I cried a lot. During the hardest times in my life, I think I cried daily. People called me oversensitive, said I needed to “grow some skin.” My mom told me that my sensitivity and gentle spirit was an incredibly important part of who I was, and is now ultimately, who I am today. But I just felt broken, like there was nobody else out there in the world that felt what I felt.

One day when I was 21, still crying, still broken, and once again betrayed by someone with whom I thought I had made a difference, I made a phone call to my brother – probably the only other person in the world who truly “gets” me – and told him what was going on. I told him that I felt sort of like an angel in a world filled with darkness and lost people. (Please understand that, by “angel,” I meant a loving person, with honest motivations and a good heart, reflecting a purity in spirit that much of the world leaves behind in their childhood. The concept was not at all founded in arrogance.)

It’s just that I quite literally felt like I didn’t belong in this world, and that was a dangerously lonely place to be. It seemed that, for every one person I helped, there were a thousand others that made breaking my heart into a game. I was constantly questioning how the world could be so mean. And as I cried to my brother that day, I somehow communicated the fact that “I just don’t feel like there’s anyone else out there like me.”

My brother stopped me right there, and said “Kristi, there *isn’t* anyone out there like you.” He also alluded to the fact that I sort of was like a modern day angel, which was a good thing. I spent more time in tears, but they were tears of relief – I finally felt like someone heard me, and helped me to see that there was nothing wrong with me. I knew then that I could face the world with my head held just a little higher. I changed that day, mostly for the better, but my heart had to harden a little in order for me to move forward.

So now I am 34, and many things have happened since that conversation with my brother.  It is true that, no, there isn’t anyone out there exactly like me. But there are good people in the world, other modern-day angels who care as much as I do, and long to make a difference. I have also come to terms with the concept that, during my darkest hours, when life was the most painful, I was never alone. And that those same feelings that seemed so awful now serve a purpose for good.

You see, I have been in “training” to be a special needs mom in me since I was a very little girl, which means that I have been conditioned and prepped to love children both children and adults who society labels as “difficult” people. And I have been groomed for the job since I could first speak for myself.

As a child, I suffered greatly for this. As a teenager, I cried daily for this. As a young adult, I was used, abused, and sucked dry by people who were drawn to my passion, my optimism and the light I “cast” upon shadows. I was ridiculed when I loved on those who were considered “undesirable” by others. And even as a grown woman, I still give a bit too much of myself. All anyone has to do is ask it of me.

But now I know why.

As a mother, I have finally realized that all of these hardships have added tools, year after year, one at a time, to my toolbox as a special needs parent. The teardrops which caused ink to smudge on those old poetic pieces of notebook paper were not shed in vain. They are marks of courage and expression, war wounds earned during very strenuous times.

I have an autistic child. And he needs me. And God knew that my son would NEED me to be prepared for him before even I knew I’d even be having a child someday.

In fact, God gave me a gift. I am special, I am necessary, I am STRONG, I am an emotional WARRIOR, still advocating for the little guy – MY little guy. But it’s not a curse.

It’s a reward.

It’s a reason.

It’s an honor.

My whole, dramatic, sensitive, crying, fighting life finally makes SENSE. And *that,* my lovelies, is why I keep on writing. No more tear-stained notebook paper (Thank God my keyboard is pretty smudge-proof). No less injustice in the world. No shortage of lost people. But now I have a reason. Now I have a way. Now I have focus and direction.

So look out, world, you have an angel to contend with. The halo may be a little twisted, but these wings were made for flapping – and passing wings on to my child is just the beginning…

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Light it up BLUE

April 2nd has been declared “World Autism Awareness Day,” a title that is rich in meaning to many people who care for individuals with Autism. Even our U.S. President made an official proclamation this year, in recognition of the day that will be remembered every year in order to raise awareness for Autism.

On this day, and during the whole month of April, a tradition has been in effect by many major organizations that advocate, educate, and raise funds for Autism Spectrum Disorders. In fact, “Light it up Blue,” (where people everywhere are encouraged to use blue lights as a symbol of shining a light on Autism) is a tradition that the wonderful organization “Autism Speaks” has advertised and used to raise Worldwide support for 3 years.

Did you read that right? Did you *really* truly read that phrase “Worldwide support” and comprehend what it means? Because it’s a wonderful thing to raise *Worldwide* support, and to know that people all over the globe are “lighting it up blue” in support of shining a light on Autism.

So today I posted a link with pictures to the “Light it up Blue” website, where many pictures of famous buildings all over the world have changed their lighting to blue for this day, and a friend of mine on Facebook told me it gave her goosebumps.

When she said that I responded to her in a way that drove me to write this blog tonight. I supported those goosebumps and raised her a few by saying the following:

It’s a wonderful, worldwide show of support, but it is also a perfect example of how Autism does NOT discriminate. These different parts of the world aren’t necessarily showing support for Americans with Autism (as is all too easy for us to assume in the USA) – they are showing support for their OWN kids (and for their own people) all over the world who have Autism.

As Americans, we are not alone in our struggles with Autism; and while that may seem a little scary, I think that, in some small way, it unites us – globally. And let’s face it; if anyone can unite quibbling countries from around the world, it’s children.

Now there’s some goosebumps for you.

The pictures shown on the Light it up Blue site are incredible, famous buildings (and attractions) from around the world, literally turned blue for a day to support this cause. Japan, France, China, Hungary, the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Egypt, Australia, even Saudi Arabia…my God, people, this is incredible! Autism is very real, very beautiful, very difficult, very global. And it is a cause NOT to be ignored any longer.

So, Light it up Blue for a day, a week, or this whole month of Autism Awareness! Change your porch light to blue, wear blue 5 days in a row, make your Facebook profile pic blue…whatever you can and will do!

And when people ask you “…why are you doing this?” or “what’s with the blue?” You tell ’em. You tell ’em I told you to Light it up Blue for Autism 😉

And then you tell ’em to go check out the picture of Niagara Falls lit up blue, and to just try & ignore those goosebumps 😉

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PACE Family Immersion Camp 2012 at Meadowood!

Hi friends and fans! The time is here again for Meadowood Springs’ 2nd Annual ASD Family Immersion Camp! It is now being called the P.A.C.E Family Immersion Camp, probably because the wonderful therapists at PACE place in Beaverton, OR will be running the sessions, but the awesome counselors and folks that run the camp will be there to play with the kids and support all the families that attend!

Space is LIMITED, friends, they only take the first 10 families who apply! Fill out your application NOW! (Just don’t take *my* spot!) There are two camps this year! One from August 2-5th and a longer one from August 7-12th.

If you have a special needs child who is either officially on the Autism spectrum or may be presenting with behaviors common to Autism, this camp will change your life, I promise you!

Here’s the link, hope to see you there! http://meadowoodsprings.org/summer-camp/familycamp/

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Angry Moms (like Angry birds, only way less fun)

Some days I don’t know what to type about. You know, I am aware that I have said that before in my blogs and that eventually I end up writing something  decent and in keeping with a certain subject. But the thing I’m struggling with today is that I have actually written a couple of pieces lately which start out well and good, with intention and drive…you know, stuff really from the heart. Except that I had to stop writing them, because they were being written out of pure anger.

Anger is not what “mommy4autism” is about. Frustration? Yes. Speaking out against injustices? Sure.  But pure, intentional anger which uses blame, harsh words and negativity to get its point across? No. That is not what this blog is for.

Unfortunately, lately it is how I am feeling. I am mad. I am mad at the world, I am mad at some particular individuals, and I am mad at the school system. And so I have some sort of anger “wall” up around me that seems to be prohibiting my ability to write in a more meaningful, well-rounded manner.

Now I’m not saying it’s a horrible thing to be angry. Anger is healthy, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling your emotions.  Trust me, suppressing them is much worse. But the key to any emotion is what you choose to *do* with it. Anger only becomes destructive when you act on it in a destructive way.

Well, you know those last couple of unpublished posts I mentioned? They were destructive. I “pointed fingers,” became very passive-aggressive with my feelings and then just kept on writing out of anger. The posts got to be really lengthy, and once I realized that, I made myself stop and look back at what I wrote (I try not to make my posts too terribly long, for the sake of my readers).  Do you know how I felt when I re-read those posts? I felt disheartened and angry all over again. And that is not what I want for you, my readers. I don’t want you to have to listen to me rant (well, at least not *that* much).

My blog is meant to display the ups and downs of having a child with autism, while sharing some secrets and special events along the way. It was also intended to help others like me to not feel so alone. Sure, when I write about the “downs,” there can be some sadness and anger displayed, but mostly as a part of a story that I am telling about the past. There is a big difference between writing *about* feeling angry and writing out of anger.

So those posts never made it to my blog…and that’s why I’ve been lagging on posting lately. I can’t seem to get rid of these emotions and get over myself. I’m just plain mad, and it is affecting my ability to write.

So what now? Well, to be honest, I’m not sure. I guess I need to get to the root of my anger and talk to someone about it (constructively). But that’s not easy to do. I’m a strong person; I could do it, sure, but there are a couple people who might not like to hear what I have to say. And there are institutions that may simply ignore me. And then what do I do about my life? And what do I do about me?

Yeah, I’m mad at me, I’ll admit it. What Mom doesn’t blame themselves for some of the bad things that are happening in life? And, more specifically, what mother of a special needs child does not, at some point, blame herself for her child’s regression, or their inappropriate behavior in social situations…or even worse, for maybe having been the cause of their child’s disability in the first place?

This is deep stuff. Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re not a bad mom. And I’m not a bad mom either. And you and I didn’t do anything to cause our child’s special needs. We love our kids, but we are neither specialists nor mind readers, and so we are going to get frustrated and blame ourselves.  But we need to practice the art of *not* placing blame. We deal with difficult situations almost every day. Today is no different.

And now I’m lost, once again. I don’t know where this is going. I’m trying to be uplifting, but I can’t even uplift myself. And when you don’t feel something strongly enough, you cannot teach others about it. I do feel like a bad mom. I do feel like a bad wife. And a part of me knows that isn’t true, but the dark side is looming.

Long story short? I’m human. Hi, this is me being human and struggling with anger due to injustice, not enough time in the day, the lack of communication I can achieve with my son…shoot, I’m even mad that this blog post is not turning out the way I want it to.

But maybe that’s the point this time. Maybe this time, the blog is supposed to be about showing you just how human and helpless I feel, too. I’m working on getting past the anger. But it is equally important to embrace the fact that I am feeling anger and to seek the support of other people in the same “boat.”

You are not alone, angry mom. I, too, am an angry mom from time to time. It’s ok to be mad at the world, and kick and scream at some unknown foe to make ourselves feel better. So take that time, and then have a little cry (or, in my case, a BIG one), take a deep breath and move forward.  There will be other times like this, to be sure. It comes with the territory. But for now, right this second, let’s feel our feelings deeply, express them and then let them go. Easier said than done, right?

It’s going to be okay, I’ll be right here with you. I promise.

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