Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crying on the inside

When I started this blog I never intended for it to be one about autism. As a matter of fact it wasn't something I considered part of my life yet. YET...
Today is World Autism Awareness day so I think it's a good time for me to write a little about it.

I work with a woman who has an adult son who is autistic. She and I sometimes will sit and relay stories to each other about how our day went and the things we've gone through with our children. Her son is 21 so she's been through a lot. It really helps me to have her to talk to and encourage me when Nick makes break throughs, give ideas on ways to get through some of our experiences and share a bit of a laugh about them too. Surprisingly, there are lots of times when we laugh. The stories are funny. Our children are quirky and that's funny.

Being able to laugh at this is such a gift. The truth is while we are laughing on the outside, we are crying on the inside. On the inside we worry about their future, about their education, about how accepting the public will be of their differences. We cry for the loss of the childhood we wanted them to have but will not. We cry for the loss of OUR dreams for them. The laughter, well it's a very good method of emotional self defense. The immortals of Greek mythology had the ability to laugh in the midst of difficult circumstances. Somehow, the immortals knew that their merriment in the things that caused mere humans to fall apart, defied natural laws and guaranteed them a balance of happiness to their adversities. In the balance of the Universe you have to have equal dark and light, positive and negative and happiness and sadness. If you never feel the rocks beneath your feet how can you enjoy the sand between your toes? One makes the other possible.

So even though I may be crying on the inside, I wouldn't change it for anything because I would have to give up the laughter I have been gifted with.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Enjoying Holland

A friend of mine brought it to my attention that I haven't blogged in a very long time. It's not that I don't have anything to write about. That's far from the truth. Maybe it's just that I have so many thoughts that I get lost in them and can't find my way out. There have been so many things happen in the world that I am very passionate about. Most important is the one change that has happened in my own little world, the one under my roof.
My youngest son, Nick, is autistic.

We found this out a little over a year ago and the last year has been a constant learning experience. I will not lie to you, the first week or so was rough. I cried a lot. I had lots of questions, most of which started with "why me?", "why us?", and "why him?".

"Why me?" "Why us?"
After all these years of trying so hard to have another child, all the babies I lost and all the years of infertility. Why can't I just enjoy the last and final child I will have in this lifetime and not have it be a struggle. I'm too old for this. I can't do this. WE can't do this. Where do we start? What do we do?

"Why him?"
I finally have my miracle baby. The one that survived when all the other angel siblings did not. I was sure he was destined for greatness. I just knew he was the golden child. Now we find out he's autistic. His life is a struggle and he doesn't know it. Why him? Why can't he be "normal"?

I was stuck on the idea of "normal". I wanted a child that was "normal". I have since learned that no one is "normal". I mean really, we are all a little screwed up in our own way. I have accepted that Nick IS normal. He is normal for NICK. I accept my son for who he is and I enjoy his little quirks.

When I was in the deepest of my depression about his diagnosis, I happened upon this post on a website about autism. I read it and was amazed as I read it through teary eyes that it made me feel better.

Welcome to Holland

by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ...about Holland.

Maybe he is still my golden child. Maybe he is destined for greatness. He is my tulip, my windmill and my Rembrandt. I have decided to enjoy Holland.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A little bit of COMMON SENSE

I did a google search for the definition of this word, actually not a word, this phrase. I wanted to get a better grasp on it. defines it as:

n. Sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge; native good judgment.
According to Aristotle, common sense provides the place in which the senses come together, and which processes sense-data and makes the results available to consciousness. Thus the modern psychological term "perception" fulfills the same function. Individuals could have different common senses depending on how their personal and social experience has taught them to categorize sensation. A famous quote from Voltaire states "Le sens commun est fort rare" The better known variant of this quote is "Common sense is not so common".

THAT is where my experience starts. I have recently realized that I live in a home, surrounded by people who do not have any of this "native good judgment". How does this happen? How is it that a human being can grow to adulthood without even an ounce of common sense? Not that I am saying these people are dumb or unintelligent. It's not that at all. I have become very fond of the phrase "it's not rocket science" but the truth is, if it were rocket science then maybe they would have half a chance to understand it. Reality is, common sense is not rocket science and rocket science is not common sense.

Okay, here is an example. Without using any names I will call them example 1 (or E1) and example 2 (E2). E1 is a mature married woman who never finished high school, married young and spent most of her life as a stay at home mother raising her children or working as a waitress. She is not scholarly but she has an enormous amount of common sense and there is nothing she does not know how to do or can't figure out. She has shown me that common sense is not something that you find in a book or get from a lecture. It's something that you are given when you are born. Then there is E2. E2 is a college graduate who spent most of her life working in the capacity of an educator. She is very smart, a very worthy opponent at Trivial Pursuit. Despite all of her education and experience she is distinctly lacking in common sense.

Do you have to be blessed with one or the other or is there a happy medium? I would like to think that I have a bit of both. I have also discovered that my husband and my son definitely lack "the sense God gave a jackass" as the saying goes. The really sad thing is that neither one realizes their total lack of common sense. They are blissfully unaware of their short comings. On the other hand, I am painfully aware of them. I am aware of them as I clean egg shells and potato peels out of the clogged garbage disposal, as I unload a dishwasher that has 10 dishes in it while the sink still contains dishes, as I find garbage sitting on the counter ABOVE the garbage can instead of IN it, as I find wet clothing that has been removed from the washing machine and left in a laundry basket instead of placing them into the dryer, as I find deep gouges in the kitchen counter where a knife was used to cut a piece of meat without the aid of a cutting board which resides no more than 2 feet from the knife drawer.

Now what I wonder it too late for them to develop it?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First post of 2009

I thought I would introduce you all to the beauty that is Northern Colorado in the winter. I would never profess myself to be a photographer but I find the most amazing beauty here. When it gets really cold the water molecules in the air freeze and settle on the plants. The result are trees and bushes that look like they are completely made of ice. Christmas Eve morning I got off work and walked out of the hospital to a landscape that was covered in this crystal white shimmer. It looked like every tree and bush was covered in glitter. As beautiful as it was, it was also very very COLD but I managed to get out my cell phone and snap some pictures of the area. I still love the snow. Not the dirty driven on, shoveled to the side snow but the fresh, void of any footprints kind that looks like fluffy cotton. I guess I haven't lived here long enough to hate it. I can't imagine myself ever hating it as a matter of fact.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Not enough time

Have you ever noticed how there's just not enough time for anything? I don't just mean for work but for everything. I mean, sure, not enough time to do housework or Christmas shopping...........that's given. What I mean is time to enjoy everything that comes in between. I have 2 sons. One is less than a month away from turning 20. I'm sad because all this time has passed since he was born and how much of it did I take to enjoy him as a child? I spent the last 20 years working my butt off trying to make ends meet, thinking it was the best I could do for him. I guess I just don't think you can count the time you spend trying to survive as "living"time. Now that I have my 2 year old Nick, I try to remember things about Brandon at the same age and just too much time has passed. I don't remember. I was too busy trying to get by and survive to actually live. How can I change that? Now that I'm older it seems like time is passing too quickly adapt to. It seems like yesterday that Nick was born and now he's 2 1/2 and talking and growing so fast that sometimes I don't remember things he did a year ago. In 18 years will I be writing a blog about missing out on Nicks life because I spent too much of my limited time just getting by? What do you have to give up for the sake of something important. So let's see what is important. Of course you have to have an income, so working is important (give that 9 hours of your day including commute time). You need basic biological necessities, so sleep and food are important (we'll give that 9 hours of your day also...8 for sleep and a total of 1 for meals). Hygiene is a good thing ( give that one 1 hour counting all bathroom trips throughout the day). What does that add up to, 19 hours a day. That leaves only 5 hours a day for everything else. Do we really cut ourselves down to 5 hours of actual living time each day? That doesn't even count laundry, housekeeping and grocery shopping. What do you sacrifice?

My first official post!

Welcome! Welcome to my head!! Well, not really but close enough. I decided to start this because thoughts are like poop. If you don't get it out then the back up will cause lots of problems :-) My posts will probably be all over the place, that's why I call it random thoughts.

I'll start here with a little history. I grew up in Southern California. The baby and the only girl. Had my first child at 19, got married, moved to Las Vegas, developed a compulsive gambling habit, suffered many years of infertility, followed by many years of re-current miscarriage, had my second child at 37, loaded everything into a truck and moved the family to Northern Colorado, got a job in a hospital. That's me, the abridged version. If you would like any further information about my journey thus far, just ask. I view all of my life experiences, good and bad, as part of the lesson my soul was sent here to learn and I can't wait to see what lessons I have in my future.