Once Again

I’m once again faced with the situation of Little Man having  new friend – one who has invited him over to hang out, and to go to the zoo at some point this summer. He went to this friend’s house for a birthday party yesterday, and even over an extended afternoon, seemed fine. But I find myself faced with the dilemma/decision/choice of telling this friend’s mom about Little Man’s autism.

Maybe she knows, or at least senses something. She didn’t say anything yesterday when I picked him up, but she has to wonder why a 13 year old chooses to hang out with a 10 year old. She said my guy waits for her son by the gate at school each morning too, and I know they spend hours facetiming, talking all things video game.

I haven’t had to struggle with this issue in a few years. What do I tell the parent of a new friend, when do I tell that parent? What’s best? What’s right for all involved?

If you didn’t know he’s autistic, you may just guess he’s either a lot younger than his chronological age, or just very immature, unless you have the pure pleasure of seeing him in meltdown or tantrum mode. Then you know for sure something is different. I don’t even know if his friend realizes he’s autistic.

I think part of me just wants him to be able to engage with friends without having Autism hanging over his head, part of me wants his life experience to be “normal” and me not have to consider this decision. But then am I being fair to that parent by not giving them fair warning, especially when they are going to be in charge of my child for a few hours? Sigh…….

What would you want to know about your child’s new friend, and when would you want to know it?

Guest Blogging

When I started blogging 12 (yikes!) years ago, it was mostly for me – to tell my story, to process life, to get support. My writing has evolved over the years, and enabled me to connect, as well as reconnect. What a privilege! To have someone I respect deeply, and appreciate even more, ask me (a second time!) to write a guest post is an honor, as scary as it is. It took me a few months to work out how the prompt/topic for this year with Miracles in the Mundane, but I think it worked out. Check it out here, and while you’re over on my dear friend’s page, give her some love. She’s an amazing writer, momma, friend.

Recreate, Re-Create, and Create at Miracles in the Mundane

Happy Wednesday

 

Loss

Good friends of ours lost their young son last night to a rare, incurable, horrible brain cancer. Spouse and I have both stumbled through our day today. I find myself in moments of disbelief, glazed and incapable of doing “normal”. I’ve wondered with other friends how any parent survives this loss. It hurts so much just being on the friend side of it.

My prayers yesterday wound down from long sentences, to hours of just, “Please, God.” And then this morning, the words were there. The dear boy had gone to be with Jesus last evening. Our hearts broke. We know him. We’ve laughed with him, swam with him, shared meals and football games with him and his brother and his parents. We’ve watched him grow from infant to a sweet young man, whose smile was absolutely contagious.

Loss isn’t new. I was heavily reminded of when my sister passed. I pray she is there for him as he reaches Heaven. But even that picture brings tears to my eyes.

I’ve known other parents who have lost their children. I found myself wondering yet again how such a terrible, indescribably painful thing could  happen to such amazingly good people.

In it all, I’m reminded, we aren’t promised today. We aren’t even promised all of today. Knowing that makes it a lot easier to say “I love you”, say “I’m sorry”, say “You’re forgiven”, to let go of the past, and treasure this very moment we’re in. I’ve spent today doing what needed to be done, but also checking in on my own babies a bit more than usual. It’s quiet around here today.

Slumber Party

Little Man talked us into a slumber party for his birthday celebration. He’s never asked for one before.  Parties are hard for him – he gets super excited, and that super excitement typically leads to a lot of anxiety. And he frequently shuts down during his actual party, with so much going on. But asking for a slumber party…we couldn’t say no. This, too, is a milestone for my sweet boy.

In 10 hours, five 9-12 year old boys will invade our house. We’re being very casual about it..pizza, cookies (he doesn’t like cake), and video games. Gone are the days of hand-made invitations, planned crafts, goodie bags, Pinterest-inspired cupcakes and decorations. We are past that stage, and I didn’t have the time this week to go overboard even if I were so inclined. Maybe it’ll be easier on him this way…no excessive excitement in the build-up. I just need to order and pick up the pizzas, and run to the store after my  yoga class this morning.

All the boys coming are great boys. They  know Little Man well, and seem to see past his issues. They’ve seen him in full-meltdown glory, but it doesn’t seem to phase a single one of them. He has surrounded himself with some really good kids. I appreciate each one of them.

I’d sworn off slumber parties after Big Man’s 10th, when we had 13 boys show up. It was your worst sleepover nightmare….and they were up until almost 3am. It’s taken me almost this long to recover. One of Little Man’s friend’s asked if they could “pull an all-nighter.” Unfortunately, he asked this question in my presence. You can guess what my emphatic answer was…NO!!

It’ll be fun. I’m sure it will get a bit loud. But the fact he asked for this slumber party….it makes me smile.  I’m trying not to think about him turning 12 later this month. My baby is not a baby any longer.

Bright Lights and Warm Glows

The Princess had some security issues a couple of weeks ago. It’s been building for a couple of months. Most of the problem is her view of it, and how she responds in certain situations, and the fact that she’s in it, rather than outside of it, and so doesn’t have the best perspective. Regardless, it prompted a few talks between us.

In this world are bright, noisy, sparkly lights, and warm, gentle, quiet glows. She is definitely the latter of the two. There’s nothing wrong with that. The people who are warm, gentle, quiet glows tend to hang onto people longer if they’re patient and understand those bright, noisy, sparkly lights are going to steal the show for a bit.

Some of her friends are bright, noisy, sparkly lights, and some of them are warm, gentle, quiet glows. The problem arises when the bright and noisy kind of takes over those warm and quiet friends, not necessarily intentionally, but just by way of their nature. While the Princess normally has no trouble standing up for herself, she struggled to deal with this situation. She didn’t know what to do, except get sad and upset. I said little at the time, wanting her to work through it. But then it came up in a bigger arena, and had to be managed. All is well, with little drama, thankfully.

I don’t want her to change who she is. She is a loving, sweet girl. She quietly goes about her business. She’s the same with her friends. But I did tell her she can’t just sit back and pout when the bright,  noisy lights grab the attentions of one of her friends. Pouting won’t get you anywhere. Sometimes, even the quiet glows need to make a little noise.

She understood what I was talking about. I hope she took it to heart. Time will tell. Oh, the joy of teenage girls!

Friday Favorites #19 (I think)

Oh my friends…how long has it been since a real Friday Favorites? Just when you think life is going to settle down……..Two weeks ago, I was in Big Bear for a scrapbooking weekend (yay!), and last week, the Princess had a dance competition (blog post coming). I think I have finally worked out a good routine during the week to balance work, kids/home/pets, and taking care of me, but it doesn’t leave much time for writing. I plan to work on that. But since the craziness for this week with the big job ended last night,  I found myself with time today to go WordPress lurking. I feel like I haven’t seen my virtual friends in forever! It’s been an awesome afternoon hanging out with y’all (No, I’m not southern, but my mom’s momma was…that counts, right?), so I finally have a real live return to Friday Favorites! Go read some good stuff, or not…

  1. This little snippet from bluebird of bitterness just made me laugh. I had to share.
  2. If you have a child on the spectrum, you know there’s a delicate balance between pushing your child (aka therapy), and accommodating him. It’s difficult for me as his mom, much less for me to ask someone who spends 6.5 hours with him a day, to decipher his mood and respond accordingly. Shawna at Not The Former Things had some insight she received in a comment to one of her posts. Okay, peeps, it gave me chills, and a few tears. Go read this. If you have an autistic child, you’ll be nodding your head. If you don’t have an autistic child, you’ll learn something.
  3. Colleen, aka Chatter Master, at The Chatter Blog shared a note from a friend. We all need friends like this in our lives, especially if they write cool notes like this.
  4. Ahhhhh….poetry that makes me see pictures in my head, like this one at Elan Mudrow.
  5. A lot of life is about perspective. We may not think we like something, or that it’s defective, until we turn it around. This particular gem at Bzirkworld makes that evident.
  6. There were so many posts from Jason, A Opinionated Man, today….I had a hard time choosing one. This, Shattered Glass, in the end was my winner for the afternoon.
  7. I find myself just loving words lately, and the way gifted writers use them, thus the poetry-filled shares today. But this one by Alisa Hutton on The Daily Crapper is beautifully crafted.

And now, you’re probably wondering where your Cute Overload link is…..I was destroyed to find out today they are no more. Oh, the site is still there, but no more posts. I’m so sad. So, for now, you’ll have to do with a picture of my littlest pet, Maizy. She, rightfully, assumed the new giant pillow pet that came into the house was her new bed. Imagine her surprise when we informed her it belonged to one of her humans?

Happy Weekend!

Maizy on the pillow pet

No really, how are you?

I was exchanging emails earlier this week with another mom from the dance studio over the Princess’ upcoming birthday party. Said mom noticed the link to my blog under my email signature and asked if I minded she’d read it. No worries…read away. She also sent me the link to her blog, which I went on right away. Within minutes, I sent her a text, thanking her for her courage in writing so honestly about what she faces in her life day after day. It’s not my place to share, but suffice it to say, I’ve known this woman for nearly four years and I had no clue. None. Nada. Zip. She said the same of me. We’ve spent HOURS in the studio lounge, chatting away while the girls were in classes, and we never knew the real challenges of each other’s lives. How is that? She said, after we both read each other’s blogs, “I think we’re going to know each other a lot better now.” Yup.

Social media seems to take the brunt of blame for only  knowing people on the surface and/or how they present their perfect selves on Facebook (or whatever other site you may belong).  I don’t necessarily think social media is the sole culprit. I know that long before the earliest chat rooms came along, my typical response to the question, “How are you?” was 99.9% of the time, “I’m fine, thank you, and you?” or “Great, thanks!” regardless of whatever horrible thing was going on for me that day. I may reach my car immediately after that interaction, and fall into a heap of tears. But we keep that stuff to ourselves, don’t we? We don’t usually answer that question with the answer, “Well, today totally blows, and yesterday was worse. And you?” Do we ask that question of people praying the only response we get is, “I’m fine, thanks, and you?” Are we afraid we won’t know what to say if someone does have the courage to give us the real answer? Are we worried the response we will get if we answer the question truthfully? If we don’t ask, ready for whatever the answer may be, or if we don’t answer honestly, then we will spend three years, or more, thinking we know someone when we absolutely have no clue.

I’m not saying to go out there and share all your intimate details with everyone who asks, “How are you?”.  You can usually tell the people who really want you to give them the pat answer, especially if they’re asking it as they quickly stroll by you in the grocery store aisle, or from across the school parking lot.

It takes courage to be honest about the garbage parts of our lives. But being vulnerable, sharing the yuck…..I believe the people in our lives will be more compassionate, more patient if we don’t hide behind the mask of “I’ve totally got this”.

Contrary to popular belief (or maybe even that’s all in my head – hah!), I do not have it together. As an aside, and as a reminder to myself of a post for days ahead, we need to start a “Keeping It Real” movement.  The only reason my house is relatively clean is because I paid someone to come clean it two days ago. By the time Sunday rolls around, it’ll be a disaster once again. I frequently forget what day of the week it is. I walk into the grocery store with a list, but will still inevitably forget at least two things. I procrastinate with the best of them. If it weren’t for Facebook, I’d forget half my friends’ birthdays.  I have social anxiety, which I hide behind a suit of armor consisting of clothes, makeup, hair, shoes to make me feel more confident.

The thing is, we all have stuff. We. All. Have. Stuff. I would almost guarantee whenever we hear the question, “How are you?” we mentally stream through 85 things we could say, but settle for the, “I’m fine, thanks, and you?” response because it’s easier, less fraught, less a can of worms.  It’s super hard to be vulnerable and tell people what’s really going on in our lives. I would say, based upon experience, if we embrace that vulnerability, we will end up with more caring, understanding, compassionate people in our lives, and we won’t say, “How could I not have known you were dealing with that?” years and years down the line.