Monday, September 29, 2008

Thank you

When I was growing up, my neighbor's grandchildren would come to visit every summer. Their grandson, who was my age, would ask me countless questions about what day and year I was born and what colors shirts I owned. Brett had autism and in the 1980s and even 90s, there was little known about it. There were no organizations promoting acceptance. No TLC specials on it. As far as I knew, he was the only person with it -- at least in my insulated world.

Recalling significant dates in other people's lives was always interesting to him. He also liked to pace back and forth in front of his grandparent's house. He signed my autograph book by writing "a green shirt" and his name.

After his grandparents died, we lost touch with him and his sister. But the impact of knowing him has reached across the decades.

Today, I have a six-year-old son with autism. I know about self-calming habits like pacing; I know how minute details can become so important, so significant that they are recalled whenever or where ever. I know more about the science and mechanics of autism then I ever thought I would know.

But the important stuff, I owe to a man named Brett. By being himself, he taught me a valuable lesson. Its one I appreciate even more today. Like Brett, my son is not defined by autism. That's just a label. My son is a funny, intelligent boy with beautiful blue/green eyes who can't resist a humorous story. He loves chocolate milk and hates thunderstorms. He will draw you a map from his house to yours. He loves reading about the solar system.

His having autism is not a tragedy; a terrible disease to be cured. Yes it means we might need to make accommodations for him. But I am not looking to change him. I am simply here to support him and make life a little easier for him when I can. That's what every Mom does. Its what all people deserve regardless of their strengths or limitations.

So Brett, wherever you are, thank you for a lesson well taught.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I got the chicken pox vaccine booster yesterday. I am one of those rare wonders who had no immunity to chicken pox. I am not a huge advocate of childhood vaccinating for chicken pox -- especially since we don't know if the immunity will be for life unlike actually getting chicken pox. But I do advocate for adults to get it especially women of childbearing age.

But I digress ... I got the vaccination yesterday. Side effects are rare. Unless of course you are named Jenifer because if there is a side effect YOU WILL GET IT. Now I don't have a mild case of CP which would suck royally. But I do have a big welt on my arm that itches like all get out.

I really thought I had at least until my 60s to fall apart.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'll never do that!

You know how as a Mom you end up doing things you never EVER thought you'd do in your life? Well I had one of those moments today.

I was volunteering at Jake's school this morning. I was working with kids on their word lists. Well the teacher tells me Jake had an issue in the bathroom and needed assistance.

The kid pooped in the urinal!!! I had to dig a log out of the urinal. And all he could say was "I thought it would flush."

THEN (because I made him help me clean up) he threw paper towels in the toilet and the toilet overflowed. The janitor was walking into school as I left and I made sure to hold the door for him and wish him a good day.

Seriously, I have to laugh or I'd cry.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

We've moved ...

We are officially in our new house. In fact, we have been here for over two weeks. I just haven't posted. Sorry. Believe it or not, moving actually takes a considerable amount of work. Seventy-five percent of the family is settling in very well -- I will let you guess which 25 percent is not. (If you guessed Jake, pat yourself on the back.)

Take one kids who hates change, move him to a new state, house and school and see what you get. I'd love to get into more detail but my Xanax prescription has run out and I have to be sober at the bus stop. I'm mostly kidding (not about Jake's behavior but about what crutches I would need to get through retelling it all).
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