Thursday, January 28, 2010
A Bad Day
OK, We all have them.
Too much on our To Do list.
Clerk or cashier rude or incompetent.
Too many drivers are texting or talking on the phone and forgetting they are on YOUR Road at the same time.
Bad Hair, PMS, pants to tight, tongue to loose.
It's Monday, It's Not Friday
Bank Account Low, stack of Bills too High.
You get the picture- A Bad Day.

Rejoice that just about every time you have a bad day, you know why!
And if you wanted to, you could remedy the situation or at least talk yourself into a better mood or stew quietly until it passes.
When my son has a bad day, we can sometimes guess or imagine or theorize the reason why.
We have a long list of the usual suspects.
It's Monday is a common annoyance.
Dark Clouds, rainy weather or just a lot of wind can throw him for a loop.
Change in routine at school can render him flummoxed.
A shirt he doesn't like or shoes he did not want to wear can render World War.
His sister asking the wrong question or Dad or I making a casual remark can just royally piss him off.
Sometimes he just doesn't want to leave the Mommy. Me. or as Riley often puts it
"my mom".
Do you remember that animated prime time sitcom called "Dinosaurs" where the baby Dino starting yelling "NOT THE MOMMA NOT THE MOMMA" every time someone other than his Mom got near.
Many days, that's my life. He just doesn't want,need or will tolerate anyone but me.
Or Dad.
Mostly Me.
And I am honored and overjoyed by his love. No woman has ever felt such love and devotion, such loyalty and affection from a man( or a woman) as I get from my son.

So Yesterday, my precious angel of a son did not have a good day at school.
No reason.
His school and his teachers are phenomenal. They cater to his every need, whim and mood. They have more tricks up their proverbial sleeves to help him have a good day and learn in the process, then David Copperfield. They make changes in his daily schedule at the drop of hat or a shoe, as he has been known to do.
The have the patience of the Saints and the caring attitude of Mother Theresa.
Still, he had a bad day.
A bad day, ALL DAY.
For No Reason.
Let me rephrase, for no reason we could determine. That in no way means that he did not think he had a reason. Something most definitely was bothering him, troubling his soul and hurting his heart.
No bribe worked and leaving him to his own devices did not make him happy either.
Yesterday, he just needed his Mommy.
I have finally come to terms with that.
Sometimes he just needs me.
He may just as ornery or sad or dysregulated with me.
But it is an iota better with me around at those times.
Or rather with him just having to get outta Dodge. (where ever Dodge is at the time).
I am a Type A- solving problems, getting answers, getting to the bottom of it-
is my nature.
I am learning with my son, that is just not always possible. His mind and body and soul harbour mysteries that may never be solved and I am now OK with that.
A bad moment or hour or day or week may just pop up on his radar for no reason.
And they just as quickly seem to leave.
As much as I try to manipulate and control and influence his every environment, I just cannot be Super Mom. His own aura and the world will always be able to trump me.
That's just fine and dandy.
After talking to his wonderful teacher, who is Good as Gold, I decided the next time he is having a bad day, when he is just not that into it, then she can call me and I will come get him.
Tomorrow is a new day.
I am gonna start living my mantra about living life in 24 hour increments.
To really take to heart that the future comes to us one day at a time.
No need to look any further than that.
Every question does not need an answer. Every problem does not need to be solved.
So if today he needs the Momma, then so be it.
Tomorrow is another day.
Plain and simple.

So far today is a Good Day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
So, its the New Year.
I will turn 50 this year. I know, it is a big deal and then again, not really.
The funny thing is I still keep waiting to grow up, or feel grown up.
Yeah, I know I am almost half a century old, have two school age kids and been married almost 28 years. That does sound pretty grown up. But I find myself thinking all the time-"When I grow up I will..............."
Self preservation
Early Senility
or maybe 50 is the new 30. I like that reason much better.
My existence as a grown up is evident in my every waking moment.
I am the chief laundress, house cleaner, toilet scrubber, toy picker upper, Head Animal care specialist, Materials management clerk, cook , driver and education specialist. Not to mention Family CPA and Business office.
Yeah, these are all grown up responsibilities.
I am raising a precocious, smart and verbally adroit 9 year old daughter. Our current conversation subjects of late tend to involve her needing to wear a bra(yes, GASP, she really NEEDS to), when can she shave her legs and anything pertaining to her and her boyfriend (again GASP) she deems private.
I am also raising a wonderful son affected by autism, and he surely keeps me on my P's and Q's minute by minute. Not only does he keep me on my physical toes but he also keeps my brain on overdrive in balancing the world around him.
Again, all endorsements for a Grown Up Life.
I have been menopausal and now, oddly, non menopausal.
What's Up with that, it is as if my 49 year old body said It's time and then my brain sent out a message that screamed- NOT QUITE YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, I think the most wisdom my almost 50 years as brought me is this.
Ok, other people said it but I am in complete agreement.
Helen Keller remarked that
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.To keep your face toward change and behave like a free spirit in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.

Or maybe Dinah Shore best describes my refusal to completely grow up.She believed that


I think only when we stop playing and being playful do we truly get old or feel older.
So I will wear my Ed Hardy tennis shoes and practice those new dances with the help of the You Tube tutorials. I will proudly proclaim to be Team Jacob and sing along with Justin Beiber.
And if you ever see me looking or acting my age, please just give me a good slap up side my head, Please.
I'll Thank You.

Saturday, January 23, 2010
A New Day, A New Lesson for Mom
I was going to write today about my son's transition to Middle school this year. Which was as much about my transition as his.
But last night, while reading my newest edition of "Guidepost" I happened to read one little sentence that really made me take a pause. It was a story written by Gary Levox, who is the lead singer in "Rascal Flatts". Before he made it in country music, he worked for 10 years, training the mentally challenged to live as independently as they could and how to hold a job. He spoke about despite their many challenges and how much of their lives involve failures before a success,they keep at it and never give up. He told how the indomitable spirits of his clients inspired him to keep pursuing his dreams of a music career, despite the many hurdles.
He learned a very deep lesson from them and one that my son teaches me everyday, but I never really stopped and thought about it. DespiteRiley's challenges, he has never given up on anything. He has a kind of faith in himself to keep trying. He gets up each day and takes risk after risk in trying new things and attempting things that have always been tinged with failure. And yet the drive and faith that, today could be the day he succeeds at just one small or big thing is always there.
I do not think that many of us wake up each day knowing that so much of our day will be just an attempt to succeed at so many things or the reality that most of them may not. I mean really, we seem to edit our days and actions toward success don't we? And we tend to avoid what we deem to be risky or fraught with failure.
But those with mental, or emotional or physical challenges cannot and do not live their lives that way.
My son's days are filled with exercises in communication and environmental tolerances and confusion and frustrations.
Daily and sometimes hourly.
And yet he wakes up each morning a clean slate. Happy and excited to meet the day and all it brings.
Thrilled to just be a part of this big wide World.
His past failures and frustrations have never made him raise the white flag.
My daughter, who it seems so much comes so easily and effortlessly, does not have near his perseverance or optimism or faith in herself.
She is quickly annoyed and frustrated to the point of quitting if it even seems possible that success will not be easily gained in an endeavor or new skill.
She could learn a lot from her brother and Why have I never pointed this out to her? When I am encouraging her to have faith in herself and that the hard work will pay off , I have been missing the greatest example of that in my own house.
I have always been deliriously in love with my son and he is undeniably special in so many ways to me.
I can, at a drop of a hat, list so many reasons why he is a true blessing in my life and why he makes me proud everyday to be his mother.
But, until today, I think I have been missing the most amazing thing about him.
He has never, ever given up.
Wow, what a lesson in a life well lived.
Faith, Hope, Perseverance!
There are many words that have been used to describe him by teachers, therapists, doctor's, family and peers. I am sure by strangers too!
But none really ring truer than that every day he is one step closer to fulfilling dreams and desires.
He never takes a day off.
Nor should anyone else.
Everyday you have to take a leap of faith to get where you need to go.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Letting Go
I guess right now I am trying to play catch up here and think about what has happened in the last year in our family. Naturally, I first think about my son, because he does set me apart as a mother from most others that I know.
Ironically, not as much as you probably think , but more than most think they could handle.But they are wrong, they could handle it just fine.
Riley will be 11 two weeks from today.
He is a tall and lean kid who is constant motion. Not in the ADHD type of motion and not in an annoying get into trouble kind of way either. Just busy and engaged in the world around him. In fact, many of those couch and mouse potato kids you hear so much about today could take a few lessons from him. And if I would just follow him around for a few months, I would quickly morph into a thinner version of my own self.
I think one big lesson I have learned in the last year is how to let go and also how to appreciate the hanging on.
When you have a child with different needs, it takes a while to really grasp what that means and a realistic view of the present and the future. I mean really take a good long unblinking look at it. This takes a few years, not a few minutes or days or weeks. But a few years really. Or more than a few. And it should. On good days or weeks or months you will think, well maybe we are all wrong about the impact of his issues. And in bad stretches you again will think, maybe we were wrong about the impact of his issues. And then one day you realize that reality lies somewhere in the middle, which translates to mean ya just don't know and predicting most things about the future are just impossible.
I learned this year that one of his most "on my last nerve" habits is really one of the Golden Tickets in autism. This is his echolalia. Ya know that constant repeating of dialoge or conversations or questions or just words or phrases. Like how he askes me about 100 times a day, what day it is? or what day is tomorrow? or what grade a certain friend is in? or who are his teachers? I chose a path of answering, ignoring, asking him the question or giving a silly answer. Mixing up my responses is my way of staying sane. Then a few weeks ago I read an amazing report that kids with autism that do not exhibit echolalia have the toughest time ever really grasping language communication. That echolalia is the key to learning to communicate and a natural step in language development. The researcher tells us that if our child has echolalia to rejoice and embrace it , because it is the key to continuing social interaction and language maturation. Well, now that puts a whole new spin on things. And funny how knowing that has totally taken all the annoyance out of it.
I learned a very valuable lesson that day. Just a little change in how I view certain behaviors that my son has can totally change everything. It doesn't change the issue but it can really lighten the load of it on the rest of us. That really gave me a sense of power. That just by changing my mind I can change my environment or rather my response to it. And since my reaction is different, I just don't notice it near as much. WOW, now to me that is big.
The other big new thing this year is that have learned to let go a little. This means that I do not have to be with him all the time or most of the time. That the lessons we have taught him, he has actually learned. And isn't that what all parent's goal is with their kids. My first lesson in this began in June. A year ago my Step Dad retired and they moved about 6 minutes from us. Thus began a very wonderful relationship between him and my son. When school was out, he asked one Friday if Riley wanted to go run some errands with him. I was so surprised and excited and NERVOUS!!!! and my first instinct was to say NONONONONONONOO!!!!!!!!
What if he got upset, had a meltdown, ran out into the parking lot or, God Forbid, embarrassed him. So I would not have to be the bad guy, I asked my son if he wanted to go off with Pa Richard, just knowing he would give his stock answer of "No, I want to say with my Mom" which is what he usually said. Then I heard him say "OK, Go with Pa Richard". I do not know what hit the floor first- My heart or My Jaw.
I remembered the quote I have posted on my fridge that reads
"Instant Availability without continuous presence is probably that best role a mother can play"
So off he went. This was big.
I mean really BIG!
They went to the Bank and Books A Million.
They went to eat lunch at Red Robin. A nice sit down, order off the menu restuarant.
Without me. My 10 year old has left the building with nary a parent in sight.
The one who orders for him, puts ketchup on his burger. Cuts it in half.
Me. Who makes sure he doesn't just eat his french fries. Or drink 3 cokes.
I was at home conjuring all kinds of scenarios. Ashamedly, none of them good.
About 2 1/2 hours later they return home and he skips inside, off to play.
I hear my Step Dad tell him "See ya Next Friday", "OK Pa Richard" he yells in return.
He tells me everything was just fine and this will be there weekly thing.
I had tears in my eyes and a song in my heart.
Maybe just maybe this is that small light that parents of special kids are always looking for.
This did continue all summer.
The gratefulness I have toward his grandfather cannot be put into words.
I learned that it is not only the gift of someone else reaching out their arms to my son.
It is also my letting go.
The world is out there. Everyday of his life we have worked to teach him to live in it.
There comes a time when ya have to see just what he has learned.
And, he has learned a lot.
Next we will talk abour Middle school.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No, despite rumors to the contrary, I am not dead. I did not forget how to type or spell or speak my mind. My computer did not break and, I am sure much to my husband's dismay, I did not run out of things to say. I am stil opinionated and somewhat obsessed with sharing those opinions, whether they are asked for or not.
I am not sure why I took a year off from my blog. In fact, when I was rereading my last few posts before starting back, I was quite shocked that it has been so long.
Really, that Kenny Chesney song "Don't Blink", well I think I have just lived that in a way.
I blink a few times, and a year and a half went by.
Maybe it was that menopause mind that I wrote about a few blogs ago.
But I think that it was more a point in my life where I needed to sit back and be silent.
Figuratively, not literally.
I said a lot here and I have more to say now.
Some times you need to sit back and let life move around you and really soak it up.
You need to let yourself evolve or move into a new phase.
Or at least think about it.
Lately I have been feeling the itch to return.
I find myself mentally composing about an incident or moment in my life.
And then this week I received 3 emails from new readers of my blog.
After more than a year, 3 in one week.
Surely, a sign from above or Karmic nudge.
They all three asked me why I stopped. But more importantly, I interpreted it as Why not start back? It seemed the right time. It felt like the right time.
So, it's now 2010.
This is the year I will be a half a century old.
I am 49 years,3 months and 13 days old.
OMG, as I now often text.
Yes, I now text.
I now have an iPhone, but that is a blog all in itself.
My daughter is 9 and my son will be 11 in 2 weeks.
My son is now in Middle school, again that transition will be a posting of its own. Or the subject of many I am sure.
My father in law has passed away.
My neighbor has made it through her chemo and radiation. Her hair has grown back and she just had her 6 month tests and so far, all is clear. And she and I have gone back to being preoccupied with the school pagent and Little League and the unleashed dogs in our neighborhood. Those things that we get caught up in life until something like cancer makes you look at the big picture. Or makes you grateful for those really little things, like ice cream or your husband's kiss or your child's laughter.
Or American Idol or the new Project Runway or latest celebrity scandal.
Or Young and the Restless
So, I am back here in blogger land. I hope some of you are still around and I hope some new eyes will join me also.
Boy, have we got a lot to catch up on.
See ya tomorrow.

P.S. I thought I would post a recent picture of my two reasons for everything I do.
Someone once said a picture is worth a thousand words.
I think a picture tells a thousand stories and conveys a thousand feelings.