The Good Day

The other day I posted this photo collage of Baby Roland eating ice cream on my facebook page:

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I chose the collage template from an iphone app.  This template had the correct number of photo spaces that I needed, and it said “today is a good day.”  “Oh, that will be cute,” I thought, “an adorable baby enjoying an ice cream cone with that caption.  How perfect!”

But I am here to tell you that it was NOT a good day.

I said I wasn’t going to sugar coat things in this blog, and I won’t.  The day SUCKED.  Some days are just plain hard.

It had been a busy few days leading up to Saturday.  Lennon has started going to karate classes, which we are all really excited about (and I plan to post more about later).  He had karate on Thursday evening and was too wound up to go to bed afterward.  The next day, he had a long day at school, and then we picked up Juliette from therapy and went to McDonald’s (a weekly routine that is really important to Juliette), and then Lennon went back to the karate dojo from 6:00-10:00 pm for a “Disco Dodge Ball” fun event.  Again, he was overstimulated from such a busy day, and was up very late.

Lennon has never been a “good” sleeper (if you knew him as a baby, you know that is a huge understatement….to put it mildly, the child NEVER SLEPT).  He still has sleep difficulties now, at age seven.  When he doesn’t get enough rest, his functioning really suffers.

Saturday was a rough day from the start.  Lennon was tired and surly.  It was “family day,” and Jacob’s only day off all week after working a lot of overtime hours.  We wanted to take the kids to do something fun.  Juliette had therapy from 9:00-2:00, and Jacob was going to sleep during that time.  For that entire 5 hour interval, Lennon badgered me about what we were going to do.  I know he has a strong need to know “what the plan is,” and I am the same way, so I totally get it.  However, life doesn’t always work that way.  I didn’t know what the plan was, and wouldn’t know until Jacob woke up and we decided what we wanted to do.

Lennon wanted to go bowling.  We had signed up for this “Kids Bowl Free” program (which is really cool, by the way, check it out here:  http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/) and we hadn’t taken advantage of any of our free bowling games yet.  However, a quick phone call to the bowling alley informed us that they didn’t offer the Kids Bowl Free promotion on weekends.  Lennon was devastated.  He gets very fixated on ideas, and he just could not let this one go.

We did come up with an alternate plan (going out for ice cream), but the day just continued to go south.  Meltdowns galore.  Suffice to say it was NOT a good day.

You never know what people are going through.  A seemingly “perfect” picture of a seemingly “perfect” family could be something else entirely.

I have kept my struggles related to my own autism under wraps for years, putting on the “perfect” facade, and it nearly killed me.  Literally.

So this blog is my safe space to say, hey, I’m FAR from perfect, and that day was NOT actually a good day.

But I will never give up.  I will never stop trying to better myself, and be the best mom I can be.  Maybe tomorrow will be that “good day.”  🙂

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Happy Mother’s Day to my mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mommy.

She has taught me the most important part of being a parent: loving unconditionally. We have both been through a lot over the years. We have both made mistakes. Things haven’t been perfect. But she has NEVER once turned her back on me. She has been the one person I can talk to about absolutely anything. She knows me and understands me in a way that no one else ever could. I would not have become the woman and mother that I am if not for the kind and loving hand of my mother.

{Image is a collage of two photos of my mother and I when I was a baby}

collage mothers day

Sunshine and Roses

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this blog.  What are my goals here?

First and foremost, I want to portray autism in a positive light.  Sadly, many people still view it as a negative thing that should be feared and extinguished.  Autistic people have so many gifts to offer, and I hope to share these gifts with the world through my family’s stories.

However, I have had this nagging thought in the back of my mind for awhile….that I need to share the hard parts too.  The truth is that autism is not all sunshine and roses 100% of the time.  Autistic people will always be at a disadvantage in some aspects of life.  We need to try to navigate through a world that is intense, overwhelming, confusing, and getting more and more fast-paced.  Things that come naturally to neurotypical people need to be thought through using an autistic person’s considerable intellect.  We see the small details, and have to sequentially put them together in order to see the “big picture” that others can infer instantly and effortlessly.  We can come to the same conclusions in the end, but it takes more time and brain power for someone on the spectrum….and the world simply doesn’t slow down to accommodate these cognitive differences.

Autism truly is an invisible disability.

Yes, it comes with some interesting and impressive gifts.  I can hear a song just once and know every lyric.  I could tell you what I was wearing for any significant day of my entire life, going all the way back to childhood (I now have an ongoing mental catalog of my daughter’s outfits too).  I have memorized the name of every Goodmama cloth diaper from the years 2008-2014 (this was my main “special interest” for years).  I rock at trivia games because I have a good memory for lots of facts.

But…I have days where I cannot leave my house because I just can’t face people.  If someone unexpectedly knocks on my door, I have an immediate panic reaction.  I don’t answer my phone or return phone calls.  I loathe the phone with every fiber of my being.  I have lost friends, and sadly, family members from my life because of my inability to maintain regular interactions with people.

I am horrible with directions.  I can get lost in the town that I grew up in, just driving to the post office or any other place that I have been to 481 times before.  I have been told my entire life that I have “no common sense.”  I am constantly forgetting things.  My organizational skills are basically nonexistent, and my penchant for “collections” is in danger of crossing over into hoarding territory.  And let’s not talk about the embarrassing number of times that I have left my headlights on and killed my car’s battery, ok?

It’s not easy living in a world where you know, with every fiber of your being, that you are different.  Also, because I am extremely sensitive and perceptive to the emotional states of those around me, I know that THEY know I am different.  I see it in the way that people look me over, quizzically, as if trying to put their finger on what it is.  I feel them questioning it, and then deciding that my aloofness must actually be unfriendliness or conceitedness (I can assure that it is neither of those things).  It’s as if I carry some kind of energy of….otherness….that is somehow unsettling and intimidating.

All I can say is thank GOODNESS for the internet.  I have been able to foster true connections with people, and find others who are like me.  The person I am online is the real me, the me I wish I could be in face to face interactions, if there wasn’t this goddamned wall between me and everyone else that try as I might, I simply cannot break through.

And thank goodness for this blog.  I have decided to be a completely open book here.  This is who I am, after so many years of feeling like a fraud, an actress in the never-ending, constantly changing production that is life.

I will never stop trying to portray autism positively.  It has made me who I am, and for nearly the first time ever, I am starting to like that person.  ❤

But it’s not all sunshine and roses.  It most certainly is not.  There are thorns, and there is rainfall.  But the sunbeams are coming through more frequently now.  I can appreciate their warmth, while still acknowledging the raindrops’ existence.

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