April 9, 2019

Take Care of Yourself

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , at 10:54 am by autismmommytherapist

Every year during Autism Awareness Month I try to write about different themes, ranging from early diagnosis to adult life issues. It’s never a struggle to come up with topics (there’s always so much to write about), but one topic always finds its way into my writing, and it’s one dear to my heart.

No matter what stage you’re in with your child’s autism, make sure you take care of yourself.

There have been a number of times during the years with my two kids on the spectrum that I have not followed my own advice. After Justin was diagnosed at seventeen months I threw myself completely and utterly into his ABA program, and most of my needs were put on hold. When our second child, Zach, was also diagnosed, I again put my needs on hold and immersed myself in his daily program for the next year-and-a-half until he started pre-school. Periodically throughout the years we have gone through soul-sucking times with our oldest- sleep issues, eating issues, aggression issues, and most recently, discovering that he’d developed tic disorder.

If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t taking my own advice during most of these periods.

I have learned over the years that when my kids are really suffering I am not very good at taking care of my needs, but I will say during this last difficult period with Justin I improved from past experiences. Fun was pretty much off the table, but I was able to make sure I slept, got to those doctor appointments, and at least took care of basic needs until we got a diagnosis and a treatment plan. I did better with this last crisis, and although I’m hoping for calmer waters as we move on the truth is autism issues are cyclical, and I’ll probably experience soul-sucking times again down the road.

But this time, I’m better equipped to deal with them.

It is so important to figure out what you need when your family is in crisis with your child, or even just going through incredibly difficult times. For me I’ve learned that sleeping and eating are essential (when my kids are suffering that is pretty much the only time in my entire life I forget to eat), and I try to simplify my life whenever possible so I can focus on them. I have learned over the years however that often this is not enough- that I need to focus on that fact that we will weather this crisis too, just as we have others in the past. It’s important for me mentally to remember how much we’ve conquered as a family- that we do have wonderful periods with the boys, and fun times will come back again (and one of my needs is definitely having fun).

And I’m proud to say we had some family fun just this past weekend with our youngest when we took him to Washington, DC, his parents old stomping grounds, for a weekend just about him (and a little bit about his parents too).

It literally takes a village for Jeff and I to get away for a weekend (no less than four adults were in attendance this past weekend to cover Justin during our 72 hour getaway), and it was a tremendous amount of work on everyone’s part. I literally started planning it three months ago so we could acquire the child care, and it was worth every minute of the planning I needed to do to make sure Justin’s needs were met and our other son had a fantastic trip. Our weekend gave me and my husband some time together out of our house, and gave us some important time with our youngest that made him the priority. One of my needs is making sure Zach has a great childhood, and this weekend I felt like we achieved even more memories toward this goal.

In addition, I got my DC fix too.

Wherever you are with your autistic child, try to take care of yourself too. As his or her parent you are the most important person in their life- if you’re happy, there’s a better chance they will be too.

And when you can, and this is so important, find your fun. Make a plan, put anxiety on hold if you can, and do something great for you. It’s important for your health and well-being- and both of those things are integral to the well-being of your child as well.

During Autism Awareness Month and beyond, remember to always take care of yourself too.

 

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March 11, 2019

Compassion at the Cinema

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , at 11:43 am by autismmommytherapist

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take Justin to see the last of the “How to Train Your Dragon” movies at our local theater. This is a series we have both loved, as evidenced by the amount of times he has chosen to play the DVDs of the first two movies on his DVD player.

Here’s a secret- I love the franchise as much as he does.

Justin did spectacularly at the cinema, however there have been times in the past when attempting a movie was an epic fail. At times he has just been too loud for me to bring him to anything but the sensory showings, which have since been discontinued. Then there was a period of a few years where he’d leave as soon as the popcorn was finished.

Eventually there was a period where we’d never even make it past the previews.

The truth is (if you haven’t figured this out by now) that I am stubborn, and although we took some cinematic breaks, I always knew I’d give it another try. He is still loud sometimes. When he’s excited he bounces up and down in his chair.

And I can honestly tell you that this weekend nobody gave a damn.

Now that we can pick our seats (a Godsend!) I strategically choose the back row, end seats. Given how loud these movies are I usually only have to worry about the people just to the right or left of us as the people in front are too far away to be affected. This past Sunday I had the good fortune to sit next to a mom to whom I introduced myself, told her about Justin, explained about the possibility of bouncing and vocal utterances, and waited to see her response.

I got back a smile and a “No problem, it’s perfectly fine.”

To me, that’s just pure joy.

I will be honest and tell you that ten years ago I would have cared a great deal more about what someone thought of my son’s deep-voiced vocals. At this point he’s not much louder now than many of the toddlers who frequent these films, and I can rein him in when he really gets going. I will tell you however that having someone sit next to me who got it and truly didn’t care if my teen got excited watching a kid’s movie just put me at ease.

And given this life, I truly enjoy things that put me at ease.

With Autism Awareness month fast approaching, I am just so grateful that people “get it,” both for me as a “seasoned veteran,” but more for those families whose children have just been diagnosed or are dealing with extremely challenging situations. A kind word can make all the difference- understanding and acceptance can literally change a family’s day from negative to positive.

So thank you, stranger in a movie theater on a rainy Sunday. I hope people read about you and are inspired to mirror your compassion.

Thank you!

 

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March 1, 2019

Autism New Jersey Transition Conference

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , at 10:32 am by autismmommytherapist

This past Monday I had the good fortune to attend the Autism NJ Transition conference with a dear fellow autism-mom friend. I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect- would I be overwhelmed, or would most of the information be redundant since I’ve been watching a number of seminars from various organizations regarding this topic. I have to say at the end of the day I felt it had been a good investment of my money and time, in part due to the informed speakers (and in part due to the fabulous lunch buffet- food is important at these events). There was one huge reason to go however, and I encourage anyone with a child who’s fifteen or older to consider attending.

Honestly, just the vendors alone made it worth my time that day.

I don’t want to take away from the speakers who did a wonderful job both breaking down the mysteries and the intricacies of the DDD and explored long-term disability planning.The first workshop I attended truly explained the ins and outs of applying for DDD eligibility, both the timelines for applying and the different possible outcomes I could expect. The speakers also discussed the order in which I will have to apply for assistance for Justin and the measures I’ll have to take- first guardianship, then applying for SSI/Medicaid, then DDD eligibility. They also touched on the importance of a good support coordinator, and how crucial it is to check out possible daytime programs before committing my child to any of them. I also attended an excellent workshop on long-term disability planning, which confirmed that my husband and I have gone in the right direction in planning for Justin, and taught me some tips to keep in mind for future decisions.

Since I’m a planner, the two-and-a-half hours were well spent.

If I’m being perfectly honest however, the part of the event which made me feel incredibly optimistic about Justin’s future and dispelled a lot of my fears was meeting the vendors. In about five years I will start the process to select a support coordinator who will be instrumental in helping me acquire adult services for my son, including a day program, and perhaps even a few hours at a job site or volunteering. I felt like my friend and I met a number of people who cared passionately about what they do, and were eager to answer our questions. I will tell you that we soon streamlined our “opening bit” with all of them, first by telling them we lived in central Jersey in case they didn’t service our area, and also letting them know our boys were on the more severe end of the spectrum.

This saved us from wasting time with agencies who only worked with clients in the north or south or high-functioning adults, and allowed us to really focus on those who could work with our sons. One of the pieces of information we learned at the first workshop is that certain agencies are allowed to skip the final approval process with the DDD, this speeding up the onset of services as our sons aged out of their educational entitlement. I have heard that some families wait until up to six months after graduation for adult services to start, and I know I personally would like to fill that gap as soon as possible since my son likes to be out and about in the community.

We even met one support coordination agency who only permitted their employees to service clients within the county in which they lived so they would be on top of all the best opportunities for them, which I felt was a fantastic idea. I encountered one who already worked with my son’s school, and one so enthusiastic about what they do they’d emailed me thanking me for my time before the day even ended.

I enjoy that kind of service.

The other reason meeting the vendors was so great was that I got to talk to different agencies who handle day programs for autistic adults and other adults with disabilities, and had the opportunity to really get a feel for what a day in the adult world might look like for my son. I was able to talk to several who had facilities in our area, and was again struck by the enthusiasm with which they spoke about their jobs, their activities, and the adults with whom they worked. As I am convinced a daily program will be best for Justin, this put many of my “oh God the cliff is coming” fears to rest.

And yes, those fears are daunting- anything I can do to ameliorate them is fine by me.

All in all, I really recommend this conference for anyone whose child is approaching the age of twenty-one. It was both informative and reassuring to see how many different agencies are working in New Jersey to provide fulfilling lives for our kids who are aging into adulthood. I’ve saved every flier (and made notes, I’ll never remember all I learned five years from now), and I feel better prepared to meet the challenge of creating a safe, productive, and happy life for my son.

In the end, there’s nothing more important than that.

 

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January 3, 2019

Resolution Evolution

Posted in AMT's Faves, Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , at 12:19 pm by autismmommytherapist

It’s only January 3rd, and I’m already wavering on my “reduce chocolate” resolution.

Maybe some things are for the best.

Generally I am a person who takes New Year’s Resolutions seriously. The holiday reminds me of my teaching days, when the end of August usually found me setting up my classroom, excited about a clean slate with my incoming students. Most of the time that enthusiasm, that drive to make this an even better year than the one before, lasted until June.

There were a few years however when my charges brought me to my knees by October.

I usually find my January resolutions last for at least a few months, sometimes longer. This is the first year in many, many years losing weight is not one of them (stress is a bitch but great for my BMI). I still have my resolutions for 2018 written on a scrap of paper on my desk, mostly for the boys. I had half a dozen for each, and got to three and two respectively for each kid.

Not a bad haul after all.

But this year I decided to change things up a bit. Most years I am very specific in my “improvement desires,” but this year I went old school.

My resolution for 2019 for this family, and for me, is just to be happy.

I know, it probably sounds like I’m slacking a bit (and maybe I am, but frankly the last two years have been hell, and I’m finding I don’t rebound as easily between disasters as I used to in my youth). So this year, I’m keeping it simple- bliss, in whatever form that takes for every member of my clan, is the goal.

And although I’m writing this for my brothers and sisters who have been in the autism game as long as I have, or much longer, I’m also writing this for my brethren who are just starting out, or any of you in crisis with your child.

Those of you who have just received a diagnosis for your child, or are realizing they will probably reside on the more severe end of the spectrum, or are just thinking about reaching out to Early Intervention to have your son evaluated, this is for you. If your kid is taller than you now and aggressive or self-injurious and you often contemplate how to get through the hour, not the day, this is for you.

No matter what is going on with your child, you have to take care of yourself, and find some “happy.”

For years, I didn’t do this. I threw myself headlong into being my eldest son’s ABA therapist when he was eighteen months old because Early Intervention barely exists in Virginia, and I kept up a grueling pace for two years before we moved back to NJ, no fun in sight. When my son has moved through what I call his “relentless cycles” of insomnia, aggression, extreme OCD, etc. I focused entirely on him, never thinking of my needs. Doctors visits got postponed; exercise was a thing of the past.

Fun, of any kind, was not on my radar.

I have people new to the autism journey ask me often if I could go back and change things, what would I alter. Aside from firing a few therapists a lot sooner than I did, I can honestly say the one big thing I would change is the fact I didn’t take care of myself, and allowed myself very few opportunities for respite.

That choice has affected my health, some friendships, and my overall outlook on life, which has generally been disgustingly positive.

I have vowed never to let that happen again.

So please, whatever is going on with your child at this moment, do whatever it takes to create some “happy” for yourself. Go beyond that daily run or that gynecologist exam- figure out what brings you joy, and move mountains to allow yourself those hours just for you. If a neighbor, friend, or relative has offered to babysit, take them up on it (even if it’s a disaster you’ll get out once!). Remember, your family and partner need a whole, happy, and healthy person in their lives- do whatever it takes to get there, and leave those other resolutions in the dust. They’ll be there waiting for you down the road, but you are the priority- you come first.

Do whatever it takes to find your happy.

 

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December 18, 2018

Dear Santa

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , at 11:30 am by autismmommytherapist

Dear Santa,

Yes, I realize I’m a fifty-something-year-old woman writing to Santa, but it can never hurt to throw out your wishes to the universe, so here goes.

Hey, at this point when it comes to McCafferty clan happiness, I’ll try anything.

So Santa, just to be clear, I don’t hold you responsible for anything that’s transpired this year (and I’m grandfathering in 2017 too just for the hell of it), so don’t think I’m putting anything on you. It’s just that this family is in the mood for some change, so here’s my Christmas wish list. I hope you’re feeling generous, so here goes.

 

1) My youngest son actually loves middle school. Yes, I said loves. Let’s please keep it that way.

2) My eldest, despite a debilitating movement disorder that has plagued him for a year, is finally beginning to show glimpses of his former self, including all the glory of his drop dead smile and belly laughs. Truly grateful for this one and hoping these new developments remain (thank you!).

3) Despite my own fifty-something ailments, I am in good health, and my husband is too. Good health is a keeper!

4) Please bring me more patience to deal with my kids (and husband). Yes, I know this may be my “big gift” this year.

5) If you could, return some semblance of my failing memory to me. I’ll even take what I had at forty. I think I was “zippier” then (but I can’t remember).

6) Please let us go somewhere fun in 2019. The most excitement we had this year was multiple doctor visits to Philadelphia. Let’s step it up a bit.

7) Let awareness and kindness rule within the autism community, both in how we interact with autistic kids and adults, and how we parents interact with each other. Let’s extend that kindness request to the world at large.

8) This is a big one- please let my boys remain safe, happy and productive (had to get one more serious thing in here!).

Thanks Santa!

I want to take a moment to thank all of my readers- I truly appreciate the time you take to read about my family, and the uplifting comments you leave on the various places I post. My goal is to help as many people as I can, and it’s gratifying to know when I’ve reached someone. I hope all of you get everything you wish for on Santa’s list, and I wish for all of you a peaceful, safe and happy 2019!

 

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June 4, 2018

Tribute to Midstreams Elementary School

Posted in AMT's Faves, Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged at 11:41 am by autismmommytherapist

To the Midstreams Elementary Staff,

It’s over. My son is graduating from the cocoon of his wonderful elementary school, and it’s time for Mommy to be mature about it.

Don’t hold your breath.

I knew this day would come. For the past few years I’ve breathed sighs of relief at every school event, reveling in the fact that this wasn’t the last one, that we had a year or years left of field day or book fair or holiday shop. Today I don my bright blue field day shirt for the last time and head to the fields, cognizant of the fact that this is the first of many “lasts” in the weeks to come.

Yes, I’ve already turned to chocolate.

I can still remember (which is quite a miracle really) a day five years ago when his principal kindly granted him a special tour of the school because we had to miss the “new arrivals night,” my boy both anxious and excited to leave his pre-school and start a new adventure. Over the next five years I’ve watched my son thrive in this academic yet fun environment, watched him stretch himself past his safety zone with the encouragement of his teachers.

By the way, I’m a former educator and I loved every last one of them. Yes, people, that means something.

Zach has a severely autistic older brother who happens to also have OCD and catatonia (the disability tri-fecta!), and I would be lying if I didn’t reveal that I spend a great deal of time worrying about him and his needs. The truth is having our youngest in a wonderful school placement has permitted my husband and I to spend many hours contriving things so Justin will be happy, as I am a firm believer that every family is only as happy as their least happy child.

Trust me, after fifteen years of dealing with autism, this is “truth.”

The glory of having his sibling in an environment where his teachers not only “get” him but love him is indescribable. For five years I have never once worried that any bump in the road would be addressed by both his teachers and his principal, that my son would be pushed to be his personal best, and equally important, that he’d have fun doing it.

This has allowed me not only time to focus on Justin’s needs, but to keep up with my tv shows. I have my priorities.

For half a decade I have witnessed a clan of teachers who listened to my boy, encouraged him when necessary, and perhaps my favorite, facilitated his burgeoning independence. They have inspired him to love learning (I know this because he often quoted all of you at home), to take responsibility for his actions, and to remind him to raise his hand when he has an idea (a continual work in progress). I have had the joy of knowing that his principal and former assistant principals would always be approachable if any issue arose, have been confident that a solution to any problem would be found.

Clearly, I am a fan of this school.

Sometimes, it takes a little bit more than a village, and my son has been fortunate to find a community within which he has thrived. My husband and I can’t thank all of you enough, from the custodian to every para and every specialist, to two amazing secretaries, to all his teachers and ancillary staff as well as his principal and assistant principals, for your care of our boy. For five years (once he’s awake, still a struggle, wondering how that will go next year) every single day he’s been excited to go to school, and I deeply thank all of you for fostering that love of learning within him.

We will be back to visit. Both Zach and I will need our fix.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for taking care of my son.

 

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May 29, 2018

One More Try

Posted in AMT's Faves, Fun Stuff, My Take on Autism tagged , , , , at 11:42 am by autismmommytherapist

Your “eeees” resound throughout the farm, and I smile to know how excited you are to show off your horseback riding prowess, how thrilled you are that your parents and brother and grandmas are here to watch you revel in your favorite pastime. I also smile because those “eeees” mean the catatonia is at bay, that what’s started off as a good morning may continue while you strut your stuff.

Today, my smile will be vindicated.

You are always so calm on a horse, have been so since you began therapeutic horseback riding at the tender age of five. You weren’t so thrilled about it at the start (you let us know in no uncertain terms that horses were the devil), but something inside me said to keep at this, and I’m so glad I did. You grew to love your weekly sessions, rocking back and forth with anticipation each week in the car, walking so quickly ahead of me to the barn I had to run to catch up with you.

Your joy was, and is, palpable.

Part of why I pushed you was because I was bound and determined to find something, some hobby or pastime that you would like other than your DVDs and driving around New Jersey on Rent-a-Car websites (while entertaining, it’s not exactly aerobic). Truth be told if I could host a horse in our backyard I would (hubbie, if you’re reading this, don’t freak out), but for now I have to settle for a once-a-week ride. I love the fact that you can do this for decades, can even get your equestrian fix after I’m gone (yes, I’m always thinking ahead).

Somehow, I will find a way for you to ride when you’re seventy-five. I’m just that much of a planner.

If some of you are thinking “no way, no how” could you ever get your son or daughter on a tall animal, perhaps you’re right. The first time we tried when Justin was in kindergarten he needed two people flanking him to keep him on the horse. He started off desperately trying to escape, and by the end of the twenty minute session he was calm and I even saw the ghost of a smile on his face. He certainly wasn’t as enamored of the saddle as he is now, but it was enough for me to see the burgeoning possibilities of an actual sport for my son, something he could do that would stretch him and get him out of the house.

Trust me, it wasn’t always easy to get him out of our home, but that’s another thing we’ve perservered in, and it’s opened up the world to him.

When Justin was little he was so much more difficult to deal with than he is now, even though he’s newly diagnosed with catatonia which brings its own challenges. His sensory issues were much more pronounced back in the day which I’m sure contributed to his angst, but somehow I knew if I started early getting him to go to places and doing activities these locations would become part of his routine, and eventually he would accept them. We pushed the beach, the boardwalks, Great Adventure and even Hurricane Harbor. We eventually even got brave and when he was ten we took him on a plane to Disney, where for a first trip away from home he did remarkably well. The truth is, I kept at it when he was young also because I could still physically remove him from any situation at the time, which at fifteen, is quite beyond me now.

Mommy’s tough, but not tough enough to budge a teenager.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what the activity or outing is, and you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your proverbial prince. I want you to know I am well aware this isn’t easy. I’ve had trips where I’ve returned with bitemarks all over my shoulders from having to remove my child from a situation. I’ve had bruises on my shins where I’ve been kicked repeatedly for trying to leave a place, been drenched in sweat as I’ve wondered if I was tough enough to get him in the car before someone called the police on me for abducting a child. Often our outings were baptism by fire, with me swearing to myself “never again.”

I’ll tell you a secret. There was always “just one more try.”

Justin has his limits as to where he’ll go, and more importantly, how long he’ll stay. The kid who we used to have to drag off the beach will now only make it an hour (and sometimes it’s work to get him there that long), but he always has a smile on his face when we’re done. I know we wouldn’t be able to have these expeditions if I hadn’t braved his meltdowns when he was little.

Not sure about a lot of things with autism, but of this one I’m certain.

Finally, warm weather is coming, and we’ve managed to slough off a tenacious winter during which it’s easy to stay inside. My advice to anyone starting out with an autistic child is to take errands and outings as seriously as the latest ABA therapy technique your child’s therapist has suggested to you. Start early; start young. Know that sometimes your efforts will be for naught, and your trip will absolutely suck. Regroup, ask for help if you can, and try again.

Never give up. Never give in.

Always give it one more try.

 

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May 23, 2018

In the Moment

Posted in AMT's Faves, Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , , at 10:41 am by autismmommytherapist

As you speedily unwrap and liberate the toy from its imprisoning box your smile bursts forth followed by a deep-throated, fifteen-year-old chuckle (your laugh slays me every time), and your face simply radiates joy. This toy’s predecessor went to “toy heaven” a few months ago after serving us well for thirteen years, had been one of your favorites on and off for over a decade. Your dad diligently found it on eBay which was a miracle, and clearly it was well worth his effort. You follow up this toy with two books you haven’t owned in years because you’ve destroyed the poor things too many times, but since it’s been a while we thought to give you another chance. You quickly turn to the back pages of each and light up Eric Carle’s firefly and let his crickets sing, and once again I revel in your giggle, your ability to live totally in the moment at hand.

Mommy could learn a lesson or two from you.

You are fifteen. You are not talking about driving (thank God!), or a new cell phone, or why your iPad is hopelessly out-of-date. You are definitely thinking about girls as evidenced by your frequent pointing to a pretty babysitter-of-yore in a photo album, a huge grin making it very clear you would like to see her again. You still love your Eric Carle books, Baby Einstein videos, and every once in a while when our guard is down we buy you an old Wiggles DVD that has been (intentionally) lost in the shuffle. You were joyous at your party, even more so the day after when opening your presents from your parents (I believe in stretching out birthdays as long as possible). You were, in those moments, profoundly happy.

Truth be told, I cling to these moments when the going gets tough, and I’m always greedy for more.

Sometimes, the beautiful boy who made me a mom is extremely difficult to deal with. My boy has severe autism, OCD, and lately a diagnosis of catatonia which honestly threw his parents for a loop (we knew puberty would bring something else to the table, we just didn’t think it would be that). We’ve been struggling lately with bedtime which may purely be a function of advancing age, or could be something else. Since the catatonia diagnosis we’ve had regression in several areas of development, which is disheartening to say the least. To tell the truth we’ve gotten used to the stimming and the OCD over the years- watching him disappear in a catatonia episode has been distressing to say the least. We are so grateful with the proper diagnosis he has improved, although I’m told this will never go away.

Kind of like autism. We’re familiar.

Storing up these moments of joy whenever possible has been a trick I’ve used over the years, one that has helped me cope immeasurably. When things get difficult chez McCafferty and I get a moment to breathe I try to recall these times, his elation, the absence of dread. I have found over the years I’ve dealt in dread as much as I’ve dealt in joy with Justin, and I am diligently trying to change that (it’s even one of my New Year’s Eve resolutions!). Stockpiling those moments of joy and trotting them out in trying times restores my sanity, because it reminds me of this- everything with Justin is cyclical. Yes, we are often putting out fires, but there is an ebb and flow to the difficult times, and to date, peace has always returned.

May it always continue to do so.

Recently I celebrated my anniversary, my son’s birthday, and Mother’s Day (yes, I am quite tired). I’ve got good memories for the “bank,” and a reminder to myself that when things fall apart, and they invariably well, they will come together once again. Eventually there will be peace.

And when there is, I plan on being in the moment enough to enjoy it.

 

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May 14, 2018

Happy Birthday Boy

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , , at 11:44 am by autismmommytherapist

Last week you turned fifteen. It happened to be field day at your school, and your smile when you saw me waiting for you to perform was magnificent.

That smile carries me many days.

I usually have a variety of emotions on your birthday. I always take time to remember the first moment I heard you cry and held you in my arms- my firstborn, bright with promise. It took about three years and a lot of doctors to get you here, and your dad and I were beyond ecstatic. Your arrival made us a family.

It launched me into the role I was born into, if you believe in such a thing.

The reason I’m ambivalent on your birthday has nothing to do with your label, or even the dreams I had for you when I was still hosting you. I’m mostly past feeling sad that you will never go to college, marry, or enjoy the trappings of a more “conventional” life, because in my mother’s heart I know you don’t miss these things. You are truly happy with your DVDs, your YouTube videos and your hits of Baby Einstein. When not in the throes of a catatonia episode you are blissfully happy. It is more than enough.

It is almost everything.

No, I’m not ambivalent on your birthdays because of you “now.” I’m ambivalent because of your future. You see birthday boy, your mom reads a lot and talks to many people about what’s coming down the pike as you enter your transition years.

By the way just yesterday you were snuggled into a perfect fit in my arms, so how did this happen?

Some people call post-21 the cliff (or the abyss, it depends who you talk to).

Some say they’ve been able to create fulfilling lives for their adult children.

I want you to know with every inch of my soul I’m shooting for the latter.

I also want you to know that last week I did something different- I pushed that ambivalence down, lived in the moment (!) and just reveled in who you are, did not imagine who you will be.

I’m very proud of myself.

You’re strong, mercurial, funny, kind, smart and abundantly affectionate.

Your hugs are the best thing in the universe.

I love you with every core of my being, and I will fight for you with my last breath.

You are my heart.

Happy birthday to my not-so-much–a-boy anymore.

I love you.

 

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February 13, 2018

Love

Posted in AMT's Faves, Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , at 12:13 pm by autismmommytherapist

I love you, my two littlest loves.

To my eldest, I love you for your courage, your kindness for your affectionate nature.

I love you even for your stubbornness, your needs that must be met, am grateful for your myriad ways of expressing them.

I love you for your passion for horses, the gentle way you rub your host’s nose after each session, how you allow your ride to nuzzle you and share his love of you as well.

I love you for your laugh, that rare sound that stops an entire household in mid-action to come running to see what has summoned such joy from an often serious child.

 I love you for your need for hugs from me, morning and night, and that sacred time we spend each day strengthening our connection to one another.

I love that you made me a mom.

To my youngest, I love you for your courage, your sense of right and wrong, your tenacity of spirit.

I love how you fight for those you love, never retreating from taking care of your own.

I love how you love little kids, even when I promise you your dream of a younger sibling is really quite impossible.

I love your jokes, but even more I love the joy you receive from telling them.

I love even your millionth question, because it illuminates your radiant mind (which often sends me running to Google).

I love how you look out for your big brother.

I love you, my littlest loves.

Happy Valentines Day!

 

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