December 31, 2013

New Year’s Evolution

Posted in Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , , at 3:10 pm by autismmommytherapist

This piece originally ran on 12/31/10

Z Book Fair Dec 2010 026
We made a gingerbread house today, my youngest and me. Not the fancy version mind you, with its cinnamon-spiced cookie walls and sticky-sweet icing for snow, but the felt version, as I have yet to figure out how to create an edible construct that’s gluten and casein-free. The form doesn’t seem to matter to Zach however, as he seems content just to forge this linen building with craft glue and discretely adhered masking tape. He is simply happy to sit at our designated table with his mommy, and design his own.

I am thrilled to be here with him as well, as this is the first “Christmas house” we have built together, and the added bonus is it conjures up the requisite images of festive architecture from my childhood past, pleasant in their remembrance. As I sit with him and attempt to gain better purchase on the tiny chair I am well aware of the enormity of this gift, the ability to carry on a tradition with my child, one who is eager and willing to perform it with me, one who miraculously was able to request its creation.

It’s the last month of the year, and as always, just like the commencement of the school year, it’s a time of reflection for me. I consider where we’ve been and where we now reside as I help Zachary construct his house, watch him carefully separate out the pieces of his one-dimensional art form with such care, and manipulate the tiny forms with such ease. He desires to begin at the top of his home and work his way down, and as I’ve never been one to insist on coloring in the lines we alter our blueprint a little, an act we’ve committed time and time again in our family of four.

He begins with the roof, which he tells me firmly we require because “it will keep everyone warm and cozy.” As I contemplate how he’s incorporated the latter adjective into his lexicon of words I am simultaneously reminded of the outpouring of care and compassion we’ve received over the years, the small and grand acts of largesse, and the kind words both spoken and written to encourage our clan in times of conflict. These acts have blanketed us, permitted this family to retain the heat, the fire necessary to forge through the most searingly difficult times. We could not have built our own home without them.

Once the roof is safely adhered Zach moves onto the windows, neatly punching through the cloth panes of glass to afford us a glimpse of the other side, allowing us to widen our view. I recall how watching my youngest son’s language expand, and my oldest son’s increasing desire for social interaction, have both enabled me to envision a different world for my children this year. We now inhabit a home in which the future may hold more than just fleeting glimpses of a “normal” childhood, one in which both of them may actually one day possess a true friend. I am so grateful for that expanded vista, for the possibilities inherent in those translucent frames.

Finally, Zach addresses the foundation, shoring up the edges with his tiny fingers immersed in solvent, asking me if his careful ministrations are correct. I smile and tell him his house is lovely, as in its own way, is our own. Our foundation has also been conceived in patience, moored in consistency, cemented in love. It’s not seamless, and there will always be cracks. But it will continue to stand.

It will always stand.

And my wish for all of you in every year to come, is that your own house, no matter how it’s constructed or what form it takes, will continue to stand, wind and weather-battered, as magnificently strong as ours.

I’d like to take just a quick moment to extend my immense gratitude to all of my readers this year. I am so appreciative of your continued loyalty as I’ve shared our story. I’m including the photos that made it to the McCafferty family Christmas card this year below. Thank you to everyone. and I wish all of you a joyous and happy 2014!

Summer 2013 Part 2 117
My beach boy

Disney and Halloween 2013 189
Family photo at Disney

Summer 2013 Part 2 022
Zach conquers the dinosaur

December 22, 2011

Holiday Wishes

Posted in Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:22 pm by autismmommytherapist

I know. Everybody hates repeats.

Each Christmas since I’ve begun writing there has been either some miraculous occurrence or some serious debacle with one (or both) of the kids around the holidays, an event of such significance I would feel compelled to write about it. This year, I have to admit, I’ve got nothing. Chez McCafferty, things have been (dare I say the word), almost “normal”.

And boy, does that feel good.

So, I’m summoning up the repeat, a piece I wrote last year about making a gingerbread house with Zach (constructed out of felt people, you are familiar by now with my lack of culinary skills). I’m reposting it in part because I just don’t have anything that fabulous to write about for my holiday post, and in part because I simply love this piece.

But for those of you who have been with me since last year (and there are more people than just my mommy now, it’s quite gratifying), I’ve included a little letter to Santa from moi, just so you don’t feel completely cheated (after all, how would you make it through the holidays?).

So whether you’re celebrating Chanukah, Christmas, or any other holiday, here’s sincerely wishing the best to you and yours, as well as a profound thank you for taking the time to read my little missives. I’ll see you for New Year’s.

Love and joy to all…

Dear Santa,

According to my husband I have been an extremely good girl this year (which means I’ve been slightly less than a cranky old harridan most days), so I thought I’d send you a letter with my requests (demands) for my exceptional behavior. We are an ABA family here, and since I’m well past “sticker stage”, here we go:

1) Bring me more patience to deal with my kids (and we’re talking a veritable boatload here).

2) 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).

3) Bring Kim Kardashian some post-divorce peace. We share the same first name, I feel compelled to do my part.

4) Let my autism play not sucketh.

5) Let me not lose all of my friends when I mention said autism play on Facebook 1,000 times a day after the holidays (and if I ever figure out Twitter, the same goes for that damn social media outlet too).

6) Did I mention bringing me more patience?  If so, refer to request (demand) #2 please.

7) Bring on the world peace (duh).

8) Let my boys remain independent, happy and productive (had to get one more serious thing in here!).


New Year’s Evolution