Why I Don’t Write About Autism Anymore

I almost titled this, “We’ve Still Got It!”  Sorry, a little autism humor.

I haven’t written much about Autism, in this space, lately. There’s a reason for that.

There was a time when Sweetboy was newly diagnosed and I needed to write of the devastation I felt at receiving the news that our child would face challenges more than your average bear. I needed every letter of the alphabet to deal with All The Feelings as they poured over me like a deluge.

So, I wrote through them.

Then came those times when I wanted to celebrate his victories and make note of every challenge he was able to overcome and highlight the achievements.

So, I wrote about them.

But, that Sweetboy is now fast approaching his fourteenth year. And you know what? He doesn’t want me to write about him here anymore.

Part of being a good story teller is knowing where your part of the story ends and another person’s begins. He would like to take over ownership of his story. And, to me, that is a grand new adventure!

I can’t wait to watch it unfold! I’m finding the beauty in watching my son, my Sweetboy, own who he is and choose to move forward from here on out.


Does that mean that Autism has no place here, anymore?

As if that could ever happen!

It does mean that I choose to honor and respect the wishes of this man-child. If he wants to share a story, you can be sure I’ll be making space for him to.

It’s all a grace, this parenting thing. And to parent a child with Autism is truly layer upon layer of grace. Daily. Hourly. Minute by agonizing minute.

But the joy of seeing your child continue to progress… there is nothing greater!

To those of you in the thick of the diagnosis, or the thrill of the achievement, warrior on! We are rooting for you and praying for you and loving on you from afar.

And always will be.

Yes indeedy!

When to Turn the Other Cheek

One of the most helpful things I ever learned in counseling was to try to limit my use of “never” and “always” when thinking and speaking about feelings.

If you just broke into the theme song from the Broadway show “Cats”, I feel you.

If not, neither did I.

Sweetboy has a tendency to take his emotions to the extreme.  Words like always and never get lots of use. Sometimes, they are warranted. Most times, though, they’re just not.

We’ve had to work incredibly hard to curb his use of these words. It’s a tricky process.  When he’s in the throes of a meltdown, for instance, and ranting about how unlucky he always is, it’s a dicey proposition to step in and attempt to stem the tide of always or never.

He’s getting there.

Slowly, but surely.

Lately, we’ve had to work a lot more on the “why” behind his use of these polarizing words.  Why, as in, “Why do you feel like you are always a nobody?”

It turns out that there are some girls, some 4th grade girls, some not-even-in-his-class girls, who have been saying things to him on the playground.  Things like, “Your shirt and shorts don’t even match, you know!

For a kid who’s finally broken through to that dreaded other side of social understanding that now knows there is a social pecking order, those sorts of comments are devastating.

Especially when you are an always and never kind of kid.

Each time that Sweetboy encounters some slight at the hands of his classmates, (And it happens more and more, in these past few months of fourth grade.), he feels it very deeply.

His emotions run high, and that’s only somewhat because of his ASD.  It’s mostly because he’s my child.

Just keepin’ it real.

Honestly, though, I’d like to know who doesn’t go all Mama Bear when other kids pick on their children. Really! Show me a mom that exhibits loving-kindness in that kind of social situation, and I would like her to become my mentor.

Preferably, tonight.

Determining that turning the other cheek is the right course of action is generally not so hard for me.

Actually turning the other cheek?

That takes some prayerful effort.

Turning the other cheek when the circumstances involve my children?

Oh, jeepers…

I know what the right answer is… I do!

Thankfully, I didn’t have to give it.

“That’s not a nice thing to say,” he told them. “Besides, they’re just clothes.”

The boy up and turned his cheek all by himself.

Forgive_One_Another_Missindeedy

And, while I’d love to pick up the phone and ask these mothers, both of whom I am acquainted with around town, if they are aware that their girls are speaking to another child this way, I won’t.

Instead, I’ll turn the other cheek.

Because, God knew it would take my Sweetboy to plant that particular lesson a little more firmly in this thick head of mine.

I’m learning that the answer to the question of when to turn the other cheek, is one simple word.

Always.

Find Your Special

I_Won_April_Fools

APRIL FOOLS!

(Someone go check on Sweetboy.  I’m pretty sure he’s online trying to buy us a house in Disney World as I type!)

Special is as special does. (Did Forrest Gump say that?) And, since my sweet family has just come off of the high that was “The Lego Movie”, we’re all feeling like we really can be special.  And, that everything is awesome. I have to admit, I’m a fan of the message that movie sent.

Find your Special.

We’re all diamonds in the rough.  Some of our rough is just… well, rougher than others.

Back to being special.  Because, really, don’t we all long to be?

Tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day.  If you’ve been around here for any length of time, then you already know the scoop.  Sweetboy was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, an Autism Spectrum Disorder, when he was two years old.  You can read how we roll with it here and how the depression hit because of it here.

I think it’s safe to say that this day holds a very special place in my heart.  Greater awareness helps everyone – the children, the educators, the parents, the care providers and the larger community.

The theme this year is “Light It Up Blue” for Autism. You can find out more about that here.

And while we’re talking about being special, unique, and yea, maybe even nerdish, please! Go check out this awesome answer actor Wil Wheaton gave to a young girl’s question about being called a nerd at Comic Con.  So. Amazing.

We need more of exactly this in humanity.

Less looking for how others are weird and more finding your Special.

Yes indeedy.

Dontcha’ think?

Speaking With an Accent for Love

Those stormy moments we have with Sweetboy? They are always, eventually, countered by the treasured sound of his laughter. His giggle and guffaw do more to soothe our tattered hearts…  I believe that God provided Sweetboy’s laughter as a gift, wrapped up in this quirky melancholy son of ours.

And nothing makes my Sweetboy laugh harder than people talking in accents. If you ask him why, he’ll tell you that he finds different accents “interesting”.  And, in his mind apparently, interesting = hilarious.

This child is obsessed with All Things Geography, so it should come as no surprise that he enjoys learning how the people speak over in, say… Wales.  Or Mozambique. Or France.

I seized the moment, recently, when we were in the midst of a full on meltdown, to try out an accent that I’d been working on to make him laugh. (Try asking Mr. Google how to speak in a Welsh accent, some time.  Pure entertainment.) And it worked. Oh, how it worked!

He instantly snapped out of his deep dark place and asked, “Do you think they speak like that on the Western border of England, too, mama?”

Wait. What?

“Wales is on the western border of England. So, do you think that the people who live in England on the western border, but on the England side, not the Wales side…”

I now see who got my propensity for wordiness.

Seeing something worth moving his mind out of that negative parking space for, we were off on a You Tube search for “Welsh Accents”.

Just a few days ago, it was National Drink Wine Day. Serious. I took that as a sign that I should work on my Italian accent.  Maybe from the Tuscany region?

Yes.

Yes indeedy.

How About Some Shorter Days

Christina_Shaw_Creationswap_Missindeedy

This has been a vacation week full of laughter and tears (goodbye routine!). We’ve been mending bodies that are trying desperately to stay healthy, enjoying family time in another state, and playing games that require a doctorate in astrophysics to understand.

It’s been fun.

Wouldn’t you agree, Sweetman?

Sweetman???

I think he went on a long quick Starbucks run.

Desperate times…

In addition to all of the fun and games, we’ve had a few new interesting conversations, too.

“I’m not gonna teacher you any more daddy.”, promised Sweetgirl.

“What’s that now?”, he asked.

“Teacher you! You KNOW, Daddy, drive you crazy.”, she explained.

“Ah, you mean torture me?”

“Yeah, that word.”

So she says…

And then, Sweetboy… He who is obsessed with All Things Maps and All Things Countries, presented us with this little list of Countries that interest him. Some, he’d like to visit.  Some, he hopes never to have to.

Sweetboy_Country_Info_Missindeedy

Beware the Puffer Fish!

As of press time, he informed me there are new ones he’d like to add.  And I’m guessing poor Papua New Guinea will be on the left; for, as we talked last night, he made sure to tell us that they wear scary looking masks there.

And, with that pertinent information, I know you are waiting on the edge of your seats for the newest additions. I can only imagine that you are especially eager to find out which column each additional country will land in.

He says they will be forthcoming.

Oh children… how I love you and treasure this time with you. And, to be quite honest, I’d prefer some shorter days and longer years, please.

Yes indeedy.

A Social Story About Shorts

shorts_l

Shorts. We’re talking about shorts.  The kind you wear.

I’m over at (in)courage today in my (in)Able and (included) community, writing a social story about shorts.  And a deep need for something bigger than All The Patience to lean on when the learning curve is steep.

Join me over there, won’t you?  Just click the button below and you’ll be whisked away.  See you there!

InCourage Is My superpower

Yes indeedy!

 

Serenity Now and Then

Have you ever tried to stuff a sleeping bag back into its original shape and wind those stretchy cords around it, just so?  Does it work out that well for you?  Because it never does for me. And I can tell you one word that most certainly would not describe me at the end of that effort? Serene.

Sometimes, I feel like our life with Sweetboy, this child that has Autism, is just like that.  I know what the “shape” of a typical boy should be.  The rough and tumble, boisterous, full of gusto world that is so often spoken of by parent after parent.  And I just can’t seem to fit those blasted stretchy cords over his atypical person.

And so…

One of the ways that I’m able to get my “Let. It. Go” on is in relation to parenting our Sweetboy. There are these kinds of days:

tumultuous_waves_missindeedy

And then, there are these kinds of days:

Calm_Sea_Missindeedy

And guess what?  I don’t get to choose.  I’m 101% certain that most parents will agree, typical child or special needs child, it doesn’t matter.  There will be moments where that parenting thing? It just will not roll your way, simply because your child is an entirely separate human being from you.  And he or she is going to feel, think, and say things completely other than you would.

Much like we think differently from our Father, who art in heaven. He leaves no room for uncertainty here.  And I am so grateful.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

Isaiah 55:8

And my child, with an Autism Spectrum Disorder?  He teaches me, daily, about reliance.  On God.  And His timing.

“But I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands;”

Psalm 31:14-15

I, quite simply, must rely on, and rest in, His ability to control the outcome.  Serenity is so much easier said than done, though.

Because, some days?  Some days when I stumble down the stairs to see All The Hopping, I also see that it’s going to be a day filled to the brim with this:

cardboard_drawer

And I think to myself, “Alrighty then. If that’s how we’re going to roll today, Lord, I’m gonna need some help.  And serenity. Because that wouldn’t hurt either.”

As Karen Ehman so eloquently put it in her book, Let.It.Go.,

“Instead of longing for God to change the trajectory of your life’s story line, look for his face as you practice your faith at each twist and turn along the way.”

Amen to that!  Now, bring on the cardboard. And the serenity, please. Oh, yes indeedy.