October 28, 2010

Talk, Talk…

Posted in Life's Little Moments tagged , , , , , , at 11:32 am by autismmommytherapist

So, I loved high school, AND I enjoy public speaking. I know, I’m finding myself just a wee bit insufferable too. Readers, please bear with me.

Early this week I made my annual trek back to Washington, DC, in part to reconnect with friends I’ve had for almost twenty years now, and in part to test out my blatant “self-promotion speech” on a group of Maryland teachers. I was fortunate in that my first boss from Virginia is now a principal of an elementary school across the state line, and she was kind enough to give me the opportunity to speak to her faculty about my blog and manuscript. I ended up with an audience of about thirty educators, which is amazing considering they weren’t required to attend, and also that it took place on a Monday afternoon at 4:00. Yes, there was food, and yes I brought the good chocolate, but still, it was an excellent turn-out, and I am deeply appreciative of their participation as well as to my former principal for having me there.

I haven’t really spoken to anyone older than the pre-school set in about seven years, so to say I was a bit nervous about the event would be a slight understatement. I wasn’t as anxious about the delivery or the content as I was about the likely prospect I’d start bawling in the middle of it, but fortunately my friend Jess at www.diaryofamom helped me out on that end. Prior to leaving Jersey she thankfully reminded me that no, it was not okay to deliver my speech while simultaneously conjuring up next week’s grocery list, that in fact it would be okay if I got a little bit emotional considering the content of my talk. I did in fact end up keeping it together, but I think that particular counsel helped me a great deal. In the end, my gravest concern during delivery was the onset of the worst attack of dry mouth ever in the history of speech-giving, an affliction which will most certainly require a beverage of some kind to accompany me at my next gig.

No, sadly, it will not be a nice glass of pinot grigio. I am speaking in schools, people.

While there weren’t any waterworks, I admit the butterflies however were in abundance before I approached the podium, and as I turned one ear to the lovely introduction my former boss gave me I tried to quell those little bastards with my own inner voice. I ranged from admonishing myself to “just do it”, which seemed a little trite, to picturing Clooney from his Out of Sight days (which was much too distracting), to finally summoning up the faces of my sweet boys.

This, it turns out, is about as bright an idea as conjuring up the deathbed scene in Terms of Endearment prior to giving a wedding toast. I quickly moved on.

No, when the preliminaries were concluded I just decided to get up there and go for it, and with camera rolling so I could critique myself later (I’m a glutton for punishment) I approached the podium, laid down my carefully organized speech, and was just about to begin when that little voice piped up one more time with yet another of its bossy demands. This time, it simply said this:  “Kim, just have fun”.

And despite my need to conquer the Sahara residing in my mouth, that’s exactly what I did. Much to my surprise, I can’t wait to do it again.

There were a few other commensurate highlights of my trip. My first night in town I got to indulge my Indian food fetish with one of my dearest friends in the world, and the lovely young man who served us thought it necessary to card me despite the fact I could easily have given birth to a twenty-year-old (trust me, the lighting was VERY dim). I spent another evening with former co-workers discussing Waiting for Superman, which sounds so good I might potentially leave my couch and darken the doors of a movie theater if it plays around here. Finally, after indulging yet another fetish of mine and devouring an entire bowl of shrimp pad tai, I had the opportunity to plead unsuccessfully with the young shopkeepers at Georgetown Cupcake not to throw away their wares at five minutes past closing (we were in the NATION’S CAPITOL after all, what closes at 9:00 PM?), and despite telling them I’d commuted from Jersey for this specific carb, found myself resoundingly ignored. Clearly, the blonde thing doesn’t work as well anymore.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip, and one I hope to make more frequently in the future, as I believe I’ll one day be able to return with Zachary without losing my sanity permanently.

I was granted one last gift upon leaving, as I rounded the beltway sandwiched between the patchwork quilt of fall foliage that signifies the best month of the year in the District. I thought back to my last four trips since I’d left the area, from the weekend celebrating the birth of my dear friend’s beautiful daughter, to the trip I’d made last year, twelve months after my youngest regressed into autism, a few months after he’d begun to make his journey back to us. I realized all of these trips upon departure had been tinged with sadness, as some part of me when leaving this town always feels as if I’m leaving my youth behind once again.

And while that regret remained my companion, another one appeared to take up residence in my child-worn SUV as well. My new friend was hope, a figure eager to appreciate both what I was leaving behind, and what I was approaching as my GPS helpfully navigated me north. The truth is, both of my sons are productive, and happy. Most days my husband is as well. When I manage to get enough sleep between those pre-menopausal hot flashes, I must admit I am too. I realized, this is the first trip I’ve made since we relocated from DC that I can honestly say my melancholy at leaving is in equal measure to my desire to return home.

And that, my friends, constitutes a good vacation.


  1. LZ said,

    Okj my friend, I am very glad that you had a good “vacation”, but you’ve left me hanging….you said it went well, but DETAILS!! I would love to know if they asked questions, and what kind. Because I can then translate it into something for my teachers over here during my IEPs, and for parents new into this difficult-to-navigate system (unless you plan to travel to Oregon?).

  2. Mom said,

    So glad for all the good things that came to you this trip. You are most deserving. And your boys did well while you were gone, although Zachary said at least 10 times the day I was there: Mama is on vacation? And Justin just wanted me to take him somewhere like we usually do together. And Jeff was a great daddy and chef. We had a good day too!

  3. misifusa said,

    Congrats on a great beginning of your book tour!

  4. Shivon said,

    Good for you!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: