Monday, December 2, 2013

emmy's often mornings

i would venture to say that the majority of us have trouble getting up in the morning. especially on a Monday, after a 4 day weekend. right?

but for Emma, it's a whole other story some mornings. like this morning. it's something that has happened probably since preschool age. some mornings when I go to get Emma up, it is like her brain just isn't "ON" yet. and it is quite visibly not "ON." her stare is vacant. her back is arched. her stemming hands and arms are moving so quickly. she can't control them. doesn't even know what they are doing. she twitches. her breathing is sucky gulps. I have to coax and soothe. Ease her up. guide her shaking arms into sleeves. lift her stiff, arched body. she doesn't talk on these mornings. the words aren't there yet. there are times when I will have to put her on the toilet. not this morning. but this morning was a morning where I had to show her the egg on her plate, hold my hand over hers on the fork. ...

... and then, BAM! the switch is flipped. it is almost like I can HEAR the gears come to life in her head. she speaks. she moves. the arching subsides. she becomes animated Emma, the one we all know.

those are our many mornings. just how it goes.

it is AMAZING to me: this process. how her brain turns "ON." I've thought of videoing her on these mornings, but I can't do it. this is just her. it is just us. just how it goes.

we go with the flow here. everything is one thing at a time. we have time. time is all we have. time is our blessing.

these mornings make me think of how fortunate we really are. some kids like Emma don't have that BAM! moment. not like that. their days are like that all day, every day. that isn't to say that Emma's days are just a piece of cake --because they are not always.

I appreciate my life. my children's lives. I cry a lot. the beauty in all things ordinary is what gets me. tugs at me. and my heart fills with love.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

it isn't thirty years ago. that's for sure.

what happened to the good ol' days when farmers waved as they passed, and when they didn't try to run you off the road? I have been alive for 37 years -- has it all changed that much? even here, in the country, in the heart of America? I remember being a little girl-- mom and my brother and myself would pass a farmer in his truck, or tractor, or combine... there would be an exchange of smiles and waves. if his vehicle was large, he would pull over and give us some room to get by. fast forward 30 years later, and my daughter and I have a massive combine coming right at us on a narrow road. I can't get over because it is all ditch on my side. I watch as the combine passes one driveway, two driveways. and his speed never decreases. I am wondering IS HE REALLY GOING TO RUN RIGHT INTO US?? at the last minute he swerves over on his side. he is young. I probably have 15 years on him. didn't his daddy or papaw teach him right? the rules of the road? respect? politeness? this isn't an isolated incident. it happens weekly, if not every other day, on these country roads. these days, I notice many of the younger farm generation, "own" the road. hog it. are reckless. there is no waving. no smiles. in this fast-paced electronic, technologic world, there is not much awareness of our surroundings. of our actions and how they affect others. ... now from time to time, there is that courteous farmer (sometimes older, sometimes young), who is not reckless, who smiles, who knows that getting there faster isn't always better. or safer, for sure. and I breathe a little easier. and don't shout profanities in the car, into the air.
I have the upmost respect for ALL farmers and their families. I COME from a farm family. I get it. but let's please slow down and not give me a heart attack. thanks.

Monday, October 28, 2013

a birthday letter for my mom



Hey, Mom. Just me here. I fancy you can read this. Or actually you are hearing the words in my mind as I type them. That is, if your energy is still out there, and all your energy particles didn't disburse into the universe. I believe you CAN hear me. I think you hear all my tears, anger, and joy. I imagine none of it hurts you -- you just smile a lot now and nod your head knowingly. Maybe you know exactly how it's all going to turn out. So there you are, silent. But knowing.

Last night Noah read to me, book after book. He loves reading so much. Reading is a super power when you are little. I remember when Emma started reading everything to me, almost overnight. Now it is his turn, and he is amazing! They both like the big words, love a good challenge. ... You spent so much time listening to Nathan and I reading. Night after night having us practice spelling words for the Bee. Our first word to spell wasn't "cat" or "it." nope, it was ten letters long. you showed us what syllables were and how to break the word up.You taught us how some letters are silent and some make a sound you wouldn't even think ... Noah thinks that compound words are the cat's meow for sure. I like that he WANTS to know things. They are both sponges, absorbing everything.

Emma wishes you were here so she could have a Mamaw Jennifer. She has fantasies that you would bake with her and sing and play games. I know you would. If you were really here.

I wish you were here. I want to make you a pumpkin pie. Remember I had just started doing that a couple of years before you got sick? I want to make you supper. I never did do that. I would take you out for lunch at a nice restaurant and we would get Starbucks, which I imagine you would think was silly because you have a coffee pot at home (or you did.) But you are NOT here physically anymore on this earth, walking and talking. I remember you though. Everything but your voice. It alludes me completely, although I am sure I would recognize it instantly if I heard it.

I wish you could meet your five grandchildren. That you could be the Mamaw you always wanted to be.

I love you. Forever and ever. I will continue to pass on to Emma and Noah all the good things you taught me. Happy Birthday from This Side. Fifteen would-have-been birthdays have passed, and I have smiled and cried on every one. Love. Love. Love.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

holding on

I know their sadness well. I've worn it myself. I don't know that shock though that comes with a sudden death. how terrible. I grieve for them. their loss.
Gaylord, I always liked you and your quirky sense of humor. You will truly be missed. I look at these photos of you, and it does not seem real. I look at the one of you with your sister (my momma)--- you were both so young. and my heart aches.
I miss her. so terribly much. just like they are missing you now and forevermore.
I think about my dad too. you were not much older than he --- and his health is not so good these days. how much time do we have? I cherish every little second I have with him. we didn't have a perfect childhood. far from it. but who cares? I don't. I love my dad like crazy. even when he drives me crazy. heck, i'm sure I drive him crazy too. he thinks probably that I am too loud. he says I speak my mind too much. I probably embarrass him. but I know he loves me. me, whom he still calls "Princess."... We were at the bank drive-thru the other day, and he wasn't hearing everything the teller said. without thinking, I said, "Daddy, ..." It isn't the first time. It isn't something I do all the time. It doesn't always feel right. but sometimes I just blurt it out. ... I didn't always have my daddy when I was younger, but I do have some good memories that I hold onto. and I will keep on holding onto MY dad for now. I will keep trying to make him proud. because you just don't know how long you have, do you?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

let the sunshine in

i need to blog. i have an urge. BUT do i really have nothing to say? really? me? ME who has a million thoughts in her head at any given moment? ME who talks to herself while running, washing dishes, mowing, uh...while doing anything. what to say? ...

i know in this blog i give away a lot of personal info about me. but it doesn't bother ME. i hope sincerely that anything i write will touch someone in some way. i hope i can help YOU understand me. understand Emma. understand Autism. understand parenting. i hope you are brought to laughter. and even a tear sometimes. i hope you feel emotion.

how is Emma handling having a broken leg? well, it was tough at first. she cried. she got mad. but we are getting around much better now. she really doesn't have the cognitive ability to understand how to use the crutches, so we are going with the wheelchair. right now i wish i had a ramp. but i try not to think of the NEXT TIMES every time i am transferring her, helping her hobble in and out of the house. i am just STAYING IN THE NOW. the orthopedist said it will probably be around Thanksgiving before she is able to completely walk again.

for those of you who are divorced and have some kind of decent relationship with your ex- spouse, i congratulate you. and i am jealous. appreciate it. know how fortunate you are. that is all on that.

the hardest part about being single and a parent of two children, one with Autism, is trying to figure out how to make an income and also be at home. i am limited, probably until the kids are through high school, to the hours of 8 am and 2 pm to work any outside job. because we just don't do babysitters here anymore. (except for the nice girl in high school who watches my kids for a few hours on some Saturday nights so i can leave the house and get a breath of fresh air and renew my Soul) babysitters in our situation don't work: 1. Emma has meltdowns and cries. A LOT. 2. it costs money. that i don't have. 3. i LIKE being here with my kids. i had them so i could raise them.
so i am poor right now. not poor in Love-- we have lots of Love. BUT in m-o-n-e-y. i will make it work. i always do. i am always looking for that ray of hope. hey, sunshine, shine on me. now. right now.

i am going longer distances with my running on some days. i still love it a lot. not that i truly care what anyone thinks of me, i do still have this feeling (that i need to erase) that people might look at me and judge. because i really haven't lost any weight. i still look the same. yes, it is frustrating for me. i feel that i just have to work harder. and i do. i feel much better about myself. i feel GOOD. so i need to tell the voices in my head to stop it. stupid voices.

and i will leave you with an honest-to-goodness quote from Noah:

"Mom, what is this called again?"

a pad.

"What is it for?"

____________ (blankness from me)

"Oh, yeah. Is it to cover up your hoo hoo?"



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

i am happiest when:

i am happiest when:

i have paint splatters on my hands and arms. **i am too lazy to scrub really hard and get it all off.**
i am ripping my ugly bad memory closet doors down.
i am cutting up tank tops and using the spaghetti straps to tie up up a cute sheet "curtain" on my closet.

i like doing destructive things. it makes me feel good. so i have to find PRODUCTIVE CONSTRUCTIVE USEFUL things to do to put my destructive tendencies to use. i like to tear shit up. i like to crack eggshells in my hands ...C-R-A-C-K! and pulverize them. i like to mow and cut the heck out of that grass and send the little crickets running. watch out for me!

i cry nearly every single morning when at my computer or Kindle and i read a news story or a Positive Living quote/ story. i cried just a minute ago at the news update of the little girl in Illinois who has been missing since Sunday, believed to have wandered away. she has not been found yet, and my heart ACHES for that family. dear lord.

i talk to myself. i talk to the television. i talk to the commercials on the radio when i drive.

sometimes i don't know my kids' names. sometimes i don't know how old i am.

i am happiest when:

i visit my children's classrooms and see all the beautiful faces smiling at me. i like to help them read and do math. i like "learning." and there is a LOT of shushing. and ignoring the child who puts her hand up for everything, so the others can have a turn answering. i like it all. a lot.

i am happiest too when:

i have time for myself. to drive. to think. to work at home. to destroy things. <----- then take my destruction and turn it into something beautiful that pleases me.

oh, j., i am looking at my wall now and I've realized it is very dusty. ick. i might have to vacuum it. the wall. for reals.

Friday, September 6, 2013

all the beautiful babies, baby

i looked at someone's facebook photo of a newborn baby tonight and just started bawling. oh, a baby. memories FLOODED my tired head and made my heart ache. September is always the hardest month for me. this weather. babies. the way the air smells and feels. babies. Noah will be six this month. he was born five weeks early and was in the NICU for a week. we were so fortunate, but it was still a difficult time. My C-section recovery was more difficult also the second time around. i didn't see Emma much that week we were in the hospital. and her adjustment to a new baby was ROUGH. i was scared i was losing her, that we were going backward...how cruel of Autism to take many of her words from her for nearly a year and to take away my little sweet girl who sometimes cuddled with me. because she did disappear more for that year. i cried constantly. and my baby Noah--how i loved carrying him in his sling so close to me. he smelled wonderful. oh, sure, he cried nearly nonstop after about three weeks. i got NO sleep. but it was all so amazing. the love i felt for him and Emma. the love i still feel, always. ...so when i see a newborn, or, heck, even when i'm driving--because the sun in the sky is positioned just right this time of year and the air smells perfectly wonderful-- i get teary-eyed, and i wish for another one. ...then i remember i am not as young anymore and sleep is quite nice. ...

Noah lost his tooth this morning, his very first one. he was so excited! tonight i had to remember to be The Tooth Fairy. i would hate to disappoint on this momentous occasion. Before bed he started stacking pillow upon pillow on the bagged tooth. i said, "oh, don't do that. the Tooth Fairy won't be able to find your tooth." he said, "oh, yeah, you're right. the tooth fairy is probably small and not very strong." :-)

i took advantage of the Free Dental Clinic today in town. now i no longer have a sharp, jagged tooth cutting into my mouth and tongue. i emailed the dentist office personally thanking them for this wonderful, MUCH NEEDED service they provided to our community today. i am thankful.

Friday, August 23, 2013

a little help please

another Emma-Lou story I am bringing over from the facebook archives... from april 2, 2013



as Emma had a laughter meltdown in public this evening, I wonder if any of those people trying not to stare were aware this is World Autism Day? ha. ... i am used to people's reactions and used to trying to get the hell out of somewhere fast. i recognize she was over-stimulated...not 100% sure of the trigger this time. i'm guessing she was tired. but the loud noises and uncontrollable laughter lasted a good hour. finally all clear. hoping we all sleep well and no one wakes up in the middle of the night to sort Barbies. ....p.s. i write these posts because i like to write and it helps me deal with my crazy head. also, i write them for awareness. and with hopes that one day there will be a stranger who doesn't just stare but will say, "hey, could i help you carry anything to your car?" as i gracefully and so smoothly juggle pizza boxes, drinks, coats that refuse to be carried, and try to hang on to the hands of one child maniacally laughing and another one whining because i don't have a quarter. you know-- just saying.

somewhere over the rainbow

moved over from facebookland:





http://youtu.be/PSZxmZmBfnU


this song is me, 8 years old on my personal "Broadway Stage," singing for the cats and birds, and unknowingly for my mother who peeked out from behind a shaded screened window. this song is my mamaw and me, with her CD player turned up, tuning out everything else, singing along. this song is my Emma, begging me to sing more, just one more time, before sleep takes us into the night.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

because i get what "autistic chick" is saying.






i get this. emma is in her room now curled up under the covers with the curtains closed. she usually doesn't speak much after school. it takes hours to do homework, even fifteen problems, because she requires MANY breaks. when we go into town to go shopping, i only take her to one place. even that is so difficult for her-- she lies on the floor in wal-mart or kroger crying for home. ... she loves to swim, but as soon as the time is up i cant get her to move. can barely get her to the car. she shuffles. and goes silent in the car. i know this. .... when she's at a low at school, i suggest "heavy work" to get her moving again. at home, i give her peace. she works so hard.











http://autisticchick.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-strain-of-functioning.html

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

exhausted

exhaustion. <----- i have that.

noah has been sick for four days now. i mean, he's had the sniffles longer than that, but i won't count that. i mean, like, really sick. with an on and off fever. sleeplessness. runny nose. cough. headache. then earache. then the pink eye development. got medication today. so now he's on the mend. should be good to go by Thursday to return to school. fingers crossed we get that relief--that emma nor i get sick.

we all got sleep last night. thank goodness for nighttime medication. maybe tonight will be even better--maybe i won't wake up every couple of hours because of weird dreams about cats coming back from the dead. don't ask.

just a minute ago noah came running in here, "mommy, i have the BEST news!" he has a loose tooth! wow oh wow! that is the BEST news. i really am excited for him. :-)

be well. i will try to be. just have to keep exercising and taking my gazillion supplements. :-)

Friday, August 16, 2013

run to get good.

this was one of the songs i ran to while running this morning: Helena Beat by Foster the People.





i love this song, this band. they're one of those groups that play catchy dance/club tunes and their music appears on obscure independent movies. oh, and television commercials. but i like them because of the lyrics too. because i am a "word" girl. i love words. these lines hit me this morning: "You know those days when you want to just choose
To not get out of bed, you're lost in your head again."

ohhhh, how i know that feeling. just this morning the clock was ticking on, time passing, my running hour getting later. i was sorting the kids' clothes and i just began to stare into nothing. and the sadness threatened to take over. ... why? i don't know. because i wasn't being active enough? because i was Born like this? but i sat there in the half dark, and i wanted only to crawl back in bed. BUT i didn't. i said NO! to myself. in my head. or maybe it was out loud. and i put my hated sports bra on. ( i need a more comfortable one...Gordman's, i am going to revisit you and buy myself that pretty LOUD, YELLOW sports bra.) and i got in the car and started to drive to where i like to run. then... YARD SALE! momma loves a yard sale! and i had no kids with me. GLORIOUS! my sadness was gone. just like that. i did get to my running spot, and i ran ran ran. and i listened to the words. and i knew those words.

running. in high school i loved it. then i didn't try to run again until i was 31. not happening. then i tried again when i was 34. definitely happening. and i haven't stopped since. except for when i fall. while walking. which i am prone to do. ... running isn't always easy. some days i can run without stopping. others i have to stop and walk in intervals. it doesn't matter. i just like to keep moving. sometimes my feet hurt. but it doesn't matter. forward motion. flexed muscles. energy. inner peace. i feel alive, and i work things out in my head. i write in my head. i really really REALLY like to run. it makes me happy.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

by the door

the backpacks are by the door, nearly filled with all the supplies they'll need to get started this school year. only a few more things to get: erasers, Kleenex, wipes... it makes my heart swell with pride and burst with a sadness. tears pour down my face. my babies. not knowing yet who Emma's teacher will be makes me uneasy, anxious. i think on it and send my wishes out on the wind: please be a good one. please understand my baby girl. thankful mrs. o is following the class for another year. ... and Noah, going into Kindergarten. *gasp!* now where has the time gone?? you were just a little baby boy with ducky wisps of white-blonde hair, binky in mouth, lining up cars and forks from one end of the house to the other. why does time fly by so quickly? oh, sure, i am so happy they are big kids now, learning and growing. but i am a momma, in my late thirties, and i grab on to all the little moments. i don't want to let them go.

may all our babies have memorable, fun, learning experiences this year. go into the world, little ones, and show 'em whatcha got. ;-)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

remember when...

stories from my facebook page i'm moving over here:









yesterday Noah held a piece of chalk, contemplating his next project. he is a busy boy, never less than eleven projects at hand~~proof in the tricky paths I have to take throughout my home over lands of every Lego, brick, box, marble and track. he asked me would I tell him a story of myself and his uncle Nate. "Chalk," was my easy response. "You know the woods where uncle Tony lives now? through the Enchanted Tree Tunnel. (that really is our name for it.) it is Magical." Nate and I spent a great deal of our childhood in those woods. unfortunately those woods were often used as a dumping grounds. well,their loss and our gain of new- found treasure! "Nate and I found a chalkboard in some leaves near the road one day." ..."You really found an actual chalkboard?!" ... "Yep. we went back to the house and found that one piece of chalk we had. we wrote and drew, and PRETENDED! we were soldiers, castaways, pirates, the boxcar children, warriors, believers of fairies and ghosts, daydreamers and planners." ... we were AWAY. we were free from adult stress and pain and tears. there wasn't the burden of being the responsible, well- behaved children; we were US. no longer the weird kids on the bus, no longer teased at school. "We fashioned a teeter- totter out of logs and had a swinging vine. Nate' s G.I. Joe's braved several tours at Old Crick." some unfortunate Joe's lost their lives in battle. we were out in every season, in all weather from 8 a.m. until dinner. (dinner is ' lunch' you know.) then back out again... my little brother was my best friend.
I know if Noah were free to roam those woods, he would at every opportunity.

train meltdown in March

you've already read this on my facebook, but i'm trying to go back and find these stories for you and put them on here.

You can prepare a child who has Autism for new situations. It worked well for our trip to Sky Nails-- I think because I had been there before. I could describe what would happen in great detail, down to the feel of the water and the smell of the chemicals. Her stimming was very pronounced during the pedicure visit, especially towards the end...but the staff and customers alike were very kind and understanding. ... But preparing Emma for a train ride... wasn't as awesome. She immediately hated the idea. Then on most of the way there (over 2 1/2 hours), she said she was carsick and I think was trying to make herself vomit. Finally after soothing her and having her put her window down a crack, she stopped making the wretched sounds into that McDonald's bag and announced it was a "stuck burp" the whole time and she was better. Whew. So...we get there. The gift shop made her happy. I found a bubbly lava toy that she fell in love with. Then while waiting for the train she cried on and off for several minutes saying she was "homesick." Then she was better. We were in line outside waiting to board when panic-meltdown mode kicked in. I am incredibly thankful I was holding her hand because she jerked hard, trying to get away. Pulled and pulled, but in her eyes I could see she didn't know where to go or exactly what she was doing. She pulled us into a concrete post and I said "excuse me" to all those people staring, who we were holding up. ***note: if this had just been Emma and me here, we would've been gone in a flash, but I do have a little boy who was quite eager to be so up close and personal with a real train!" *** so I told Noah to get out of line and stand by me. Of course, this upset HIM. ...I asked Emma, " Are you afraid, baby? What are you afraid of exactly?" Her response was, "Yes! I want to go home!" Then suddenly she just stopped. And we got on last... She was okay until a passenger commented she didn't know if we were going to make it on board. Then the tears came. My phone saved the day. She took photos and edited them for most of the trip. And she laughed. And had fun. Noah did too. I would say I had fun too. But that would be a lie. I was just relieved that she was calm.


this and that

if i had a summer birthday i would ask for a fire pit. i want one so bad!! i would just go buy one. or make one. but i am so broke. so i am telling myself i will be able to afford one when they get marked way down... and end of summer/beginning of autumn fires are nice too! so-- i can wait. this has been a beautiful summer. i've enjoyed it a great deal. i hope the kids have too. it is so hard to get emma interested in doing things.

speaking of emma, i have a good example for you of just how long it takes someone with Autism and/or Auditory Processing Disorder to RESPOND to a statement. if you don't know emma well, you may ASSUME incorrectly that she is ignoring you when you speak to her. wrong wrong wrong. the average is 3 minutes to process what you are saying. really. today in the car i placed something on top of the stereo remote so the remote increased the volume. oops! i laughed about it. emma stared at the stereo face. then the remote. then looked out the front window. 2 minutes later she exclaimed, "mom! that remote has a mind of it's own!" it really takes that long. so, can you imagine what it is like for her on a daily basis? when people start a topic, then move on to something else, and she is still processing the first issue. can you imagine how frustrating it is for her to hear a question, then either the question-asker moves on and ignores her when she doesn't respond immediately OR the question-asker gets ANGRY! and ANNOYED! with her, snapping at her? i am her mother, and I sometimes get impatient. believe me. but i have to step back, breathe, WAIT. i have to set an example, be an advocate for her, to those who don't know and understand.

in other news, we are all coping with our cat Sammy being gone. it is difficult not knowing what happened to him. i miss his baby cry and his fluffy tail. i miss him flopping down on me. he was a flopper. :-/ he wasn't yet a year old when i was pregnant with emma. sometimes she wouldn't kick and i would worry. i would call for sam and he would jump up on my big belly and purr so LOUD! i'm sure his purr would reverberate through my belly-- it would get emma to kicking in no time. :-) we had him for ten years. he is missed incredibly.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

extreme couponing, i think not.

i got hooked on that show Extreme Couponing a while back. well, honestly, just the first few episodes because the rest were total crap. it was all a contest towards the end...meh...too much for me. anyway, i watched the episodes in total awe. mouth hanging open, my mind on fire...i even worked out watching it, my adrenaline pumping.
i am SMALLTIME when it comes to couponing. in fact, for years, it was a big joke because i loved to clip coupons, but NEVER ever used them. if i did remember to carry them in the store with me IN MY HAND, i still forgot to give them to the cashier. but lately i have been getting into it. you can get some really good deals.
and there IS that little factor, that addiction, that high, i see it on the shows, in these people, these crazy couponers. i GET that. i know what it feels like to line my little bathroom shelf with 6 matching lotions, nine different sunscreens... my drawer has multiple toothpastes...the laundry room has neatly basketed detergents. i didn't pay much for these things; i had discounts, coupons, and took advantage of clearance items. but when i watched that show, i see what would happen to me if i WENT FOR IT. if i became crazy and obsessed. and couponed. i might buy a hundred boxes of Tic-Tacs. and only pay 39 cents. my gawd! (i hate Tic-Tacs.) oh, sure, i noticed that some of the people on the show donate a lot of what they get...or help out family members... but THE DEDICATION! lord! this one lady spends 30 hours a week getting her coupons ready. this other woman was in the grocery for TEN FREAKING HOURS. sweet jesus. i don't have this kind of discipline or dedication. i don't have THAT kind of crazy. (i have other crazy.)
but i LOVE that show. i want to watch more of it. more more more!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

life.

so yesterday was the day i returned to the dermatologist for my in-office surgery. ...i received the biopsy results a week and a half ago. on a scale of 0-10 with zero being no cancer to 10 being OHMYGODMELANOMATHISISBAD, my biopsied mole was a 2.5, meaning that it was atypical and consisted of more cells than it should: PRECANCEROUS. so i had more cut out. to be sure. to be safe. the procedure was unfortable, i'll tell you that. and i'm a bleeder, so this caused a minor issue. the smell of my burning flesh was nauseating. but i am NOT complaining; i am ecstatic that it is all gone! they stitched me up, charged me a lot, and i was on my way. and it hurts. but i'm tough and dealing with it! because i don't have cancer!!!! it is amazing how we keep going --- i have a stitched up back, a swollen foot from a bad fall...but i keep on keeping on because life awaits, children scream, trash smells...and so on.

have i mentioned in my blog how much I LOVE LIFE? well, i do. tremendously. i am that person who is genuinely optimistic nearly all the time. i say strange, weird, weird things, and i laugh A LOT. i sing shorty choppy sentences and long goofy ones. i will sing to you things normally mundane and definitely things innappropriate. i dance while running, vaccuuming, driving the car.

oh, don't get me wrong. i am also that person who has anxiety attacks out of nowhere. i didn't see it coming ---i've thought that a few times. i am that person who can tumble down into darkness and has to fight her back into the light. i can admit to you that depression is a terrible terrible thing. but i don't let it get me. not for long. i've got shit to do. that about sums it up, don't you think?

i am grateful to my dad for taking me this last time to my appointment and then out to eat. it was time with him i cherish. you never know how much time there is, do you?

i am grateful to my love for taking care of me the first time around and this time too. bandages and ointments and sweet kisses. thank you.

i am grateful to my babies, ever so inquisitive... i don't give them all the details... but they know that what's behind the bandage hurts, so they are more gentle than usual.

i am loved.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

wished us back

I wished us back to when we were children. This morning I stayed in bed listening to the day beginning. My window open, gauzy white curtain fluttering, birds sang, trucks rumbled past. I remembered a childhood where dawn beckoned, calling us to pull our shoes on and tip-toe across the house. Sneaking outside while mom and dad snored was a thrill. The dew on the grass dampened my canvas shoes and the blades made me itch. We went out to the old "garage" across the drive. It was our "secret hideout" when parents were still unaware in their slumber. We got into things we shouldn't. We poured concrete mix and pumped the old well out back. We stirred and mixed, concocted; we imagined. We dreamed. So I wished us back this morning. Because I'm not sure who you are today... but I knew you back then. When we were in it together. When the morning sun washed rosy pink over our faces.

the kindness of strangers

well. man. oh man. the kids and i went to the grocery today. about ten minutes into it, i became irritable. for no good reason really. my blood sugar was fine. i HAD been in a good mood. i was chalking it up to the simple fact we were in wal-mart, land of misery. i had cart rage and wanted to scream at people. i tried to calm down. fortunately, i think i was doing well not to take my irrational behavior out on the kids.

i should have known. should have known it was coming. but it's been a reasonably long time. i thought we were ready to check-out, then noah reminded me about popsicles. yes, yes, of course, i promised. we were almost back to the frozen foods section when it started. the waves in my vision. waves and flutters and flits, narrowing my vision a little more with every few steps i took. shit. emma was getting grumpy, at a sensory low, wanting to sit on the floor, so i got us over to a bench. we sat for a few minutes, me looking down, hoping my optical migraine would pass. but it didn't. we made our way to the check-out. i was stressing big time at this point because my vision was going fast. i couldn't look up, as the only sight i had left was a small "hole" in the lower part of my right eye. i finally told the cashier what was happening, as she was probably thinking, "what on earth is wrong with her??" i don't know how i swiped my card. she asked if i needed help to the car. i've never needed help taking my groceries out before. but i said, "yes. please." the kids and i waited up front, but no one came. a very kind stranger came to my rescue. she told her husband to take their cart and she'd be right back. she helped me push the cart out. i could hardly see a thing. finding the car was a chore, but i did it. the kids were being WONDERFUL thankfully. she made me sit in the car while she loaded everything in the back. believe me, i wasn't objecting. i hugged her when she was done, told her she was an ANGEL, and assured her my vision problem would pass. assured her i wasn't going to try to drive yet. and i didn't. the kids and i sat there in the car for about ten minutes until i could see again. i was left with a fogginess and a dull ache at the front of my head.

i've had these "optical migraines" for years, on and off, since i was a kid. i know i don't have a tumor--i've had scans. i've been checked thoroughly. i've been told there are several factors that put together cause these. 1. my corneas are irregular. 2. my optical nerves didn't form completely, resulting in about 98% blindness in my left eye and miraculously NONE in my right (although my vision has always been poor in the right.) 3. fair skin and fair eyes. i have prescription sunglasses that definitely help while i'm driving. glares on cars and parking lots from sun and ice are hell for me. fluorescent lights set them off too. i have had this happen while driving, while shopping, at work, etc. it is never convenient, always a little scary.

today i am thankful for my kind stranger.

Monday, June 24, 2013

a better me

if you write, then i'm sure you know what i am talking about. i have a private journal of sorts i keep. it archives MANY, MANY things i have written. i needed to access it today, to sift and sort through muck and yuck to find the treasured goodies to add to my book in progress. i couldn't do it. i tried. i tried to read through it all. but my long lost words jumped out at me, sucking me into the screen...dragging me down into blackness. there is a time in my life i don't want to revisit. it will drive me over the edge. i am ashamed of it.

so i have decided not to go back through it all. i had to stop. reading. i am not that person anymore.

i am better. truly a better person. a better me. a better mother. a better friend.

i can't go back to that time where i let myself down. and others. i am not her anymore.

i found peace. in my mid-thirties i finally found peace. there will be no more hurting. of myself. or anyone i love. i vow to myself to be kind to me. to my children, know that i have your best interests at heart always. i promise to my friends, if i am your friend, i will honor and respect you. if you are my lover, i will love honestly and completely and respect you. i now respect myself.

i have come a long way.

i can't look back through that and find something and polish it and present it to you all as something good and shiny. i will start over. from my new heart.

so much of my words was just MISERY. it was hard to read, to stomach it, with tears forming and my shoulders drooping...

life really IS a journey. we grow. evolve. evolve is one of my favorite words. we learn.

i wasn't a happy child. or teenager. or a twenty-something. guess what. i am NOW. NOW i know happiness. NOW i see clearly. i have a purpose, several purposes, in this life. and i will shine now. truly from the inside out.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

tech as "#%!@"

it took me FOREVER yesterday to google how to fix the laptop. the keys were delayed and there was a ticking noise coming from the speaker when i would tap a key. i knew i had to fix it in the Control Panel. finally figured out it was the Filter Keys setting. dang it, kids. quit changing my laptop settings! noah kept assuring me, "mom! you just hold down on the key and it will type the letter." um, i don't WANT to hold down on the key for two counts, dear noah. how will i ever blog? it will take me all day to key in a paragraph. geesh. probably a super easy fix for those of you who are tech savvy. i am not. i believe "tech things" should be done for me. and i never should have to pay. i have a nice smile. and i bake delicious cookies. the end.

there was a time when i set up an entire computer system at the POS in the store i worked in. NO PROBLEM. but, hello, that was thirteen years ago. now i look at cords and outlets and black and gray plastic, buttons and keys, AND I DIE INSIDE. MALFUNCTION. i'd rather cover it all up with a quilt, tuck it away. and go read a book. and pretend that it is the "olden days."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

got me to thinking...

last night i watched Robert MacNeil's PBS series on Autism. He had wanted to do this report because his own grandson is on the Spectrum. i think it was an interesting watch. i like that there were more than two sides to the story, not just two people interviewed, but several. of course, any program i watch on Autism always leaves me wanting more. there are no "definitive" answers. i have my own ideas on the subject, as all parents of children with Autism do. ...

it got me to thinking of Emma as a baby. how she rolled over onto her belly at an early age. then, not again until she was about ten months old. it got me to thinking how she would "disappear" for five minutes at a time or go longer with no response, rocking and humming on all fours, looking... where? i don't even know if she heard me or saw me. how she was an INFANT in a deep sleep, unwakeable, screaming with her eyes wide open. that was the only time she was ever loud. Emma was so quiet my Mamaw Virginia was worried. "Babies aren't that good." The pediatric neurologist described her as having frequent "catatonic" states. and "autistic-like" characteristics. she was 14 mos. old then.

when she began to use language, it was ODD. she repeated everything in question form. doors were not "doors" but "rectangles." hearts were her first "obsession." she could pick a heart out anywhere, identifying it excitedly. circles were next, later. she horded them. anything circular she would snatch up and stack. triangles, a bit later. all triangles were skirts, so she would place triangular shapes in books to make the characters look like they were wearing skirts. then heads. tearing the heads off of Barbies or ripping out pages in magazines, tearing paper doll heads off, so she could place the heads on the characters in her books.

looking back, there is a lot i don't remember. i have much of it written down in various notebooks here and there. sometimes i think maybe it isn't even that important. BECAUSE look at her now. she is always going to have trouble with things, but she has come so far. so it IS important. there has been a process. i have learned so much. about the brain. about modulating senses. about love.

two nights ago Emma came up and gave me the biggest hug. it wasn't a rough hug like she is prone to give. it was NICE! and she said without prompting, "i love you, mommy." she usually turns her head when i try to kiss her. but SHE kissed me. it was genuine. and my heart was full.

the PBS series got me to thinking more realistically about Emma growing up. There was a grown son on it who ran marathons and did triathalons, cycled everywhere, but always with his father at his side. he was physically fit, and he LOOKED neurotypical, but even as an adult he couldn't recognize danger. he still needs supervision and guidance. i wonder about Emma. i got her a custom trike because she is too big for training wheels. she feels more free and relaxed on the trike, but i still can't get her to look straight ahead. she's always watching her feet push the pedals or the wheel going round and round, so there are frequent crashes still. fortunately she can't tip over now. :) practice practice practice we do. i hope she will be able to drive a car one day. i have high hopes. but a car and a road are dangerous, and she has no comprehension of true danger, where her body is in space, depth perception issues. this is something we work on everyday and also during the school year with her occupational therapist.

honestly, most of the time, i don't even think about Emma having Autism. it just IS. she just IS. and i love her immeasurably. and Noah too! it might surprise you to know that Noah is more difficult. he is 100% "neurotypical," but he is a challenge. daily. since he was three weeks old. with the crying and temper tantrums. he is my beautiful boy who thinks the world is against him and nothing goes his way. :( teaching him how to handle his emotions is the biggest challenge, how to handle change and disappointment. whew.

i LOVE my life. it is EVEN MORE than i hoped for. and i mean that. i struggle with things. especially recently. but i am HAPPY. :)

hold them close

even though things are not 100% ideal right now...i am not bringing in any income myself...i am counting my Blessings.

a couple of weeks ago i discovered that a mole on my back had changed. i was scratching my back, what i thought was a pimple or a bug bite...but it wasn't. it was a terrifying sight. a jagged mole, raised and scaly. it was very dark, a purplish color. the surrounding skin was tinged purple as well. and it ITCHED. a lot. and it didn't let up. i made an appointment with a dermatologist. yesterday was the day. i was so anxious and trying not to be. all these thoughts running through my head. scared. scared. but being strong. i had someone dear to me with me, by my side, easing my fears. the dermatologist was concerned, as well, about the mole. she removed it immediately and sent it off to be biopsied. i won't know for SURE for up to two weeks if indeed that was CANCER growing on my skin, but it is gone gone gone now. i am breathing a sigh of relief. thankful. holding my babies closer. gathering my loves of my life up, smooshing them... I AM HERE. I AM NOT GOING ANYWHERE!

Friday, May 31, 2013

a little less numb

sometimes in order to get things done, i tend to go "numb" and push through the task at hand. i need to avoid feeling anything so i may be more productive and JUST GET THE JOB DONE.

for example, this past holiday weekend. not much of a holiday. i, along with some of my family members, spent the time going through mamaw's house. picking and taking. negotiating. compromising. sure, we grilled out. we were hungry! we did have a few good laughs, a light chuckle or two... there were a few stories shared, memories forever held onto.

but all in all, we just got in and got out. day 1 turned to day 2...then some trickled in on day 3. my brother and i couldn't return until day 4... and so on.

now that THAT part of it is mostly done, i sit here in MY home surrounded by mamaw's things. and it's a bit overwhelming. my house doesn't really smell like US so much right now; there is the impressive smell of HER. it is both comforting AND distressing. i find myself shutting down a little less, but i am still not able to open my eyes and take it all in yet. i am s-l-o-w-l-y unpacking boxes, mixing her beloved possessions with mine.

i am thankful. APPRECIATIVE of all i have. mamaw's things now mine. but i am not used to them yet. in my space.

her house is nearly empty now. it is like a slow, drawn-out dream you wish you would wake from. all that is left is a strange dusty, musty smell and a hollowness.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

the little things

Educational Insights 1753 Idio (Google Affiliate Ad)sometimes i am in such a hurry to get things done, i don't even notice right away the little things, the milestones, that emma accomplishes. when did i get in such a rush? when there is a schedule to keep, three people's schedules, and supper, and bathtimes, and bedtime. ...

i should've given a hug when she dressed herself, brushed her teeth and hair, and got her jacket on ALL BY HERSELF when we needed to get out the door. i should've listened closer as she excitedly told me about funnel clouds and tornadoes. i should have high-fived when she got the milk out of the refrigerator, poured herself a glass, and put the container back.

emma is almost nine years old. these things may not be a big deal to some other parents of nearly-nine year olds. but for us, it is a BIG BIG deal. wow, she is really catching up fast developmentally. my girl tied her shoes this year. she unzipped her backpack this year and brought me her homework. this year she sat on the bed with noah and quizzed him on her Idiom of the Week cards.

oh, this year hasn't been short on meltdowns. we have had a few. you may recall the Train Station meltdown, for one.

i am not going to beat myself up over not saying "Wow!" every single time something new happens. BUT i will vow to pay more attention and to slow down. they are both growing up so quickly. i miss their little baby bottoms and baby breath... we don't get forever, you know.


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Sunday, May 12, 2013

none

wrote this last year... just putting it out there again.

visited you. there. In that place. stepping gingerly around the fresh dirt of your neighbors. i cry at this. so many new neighbors. you'll never know them. or maybe you once did. my skirt greening from the damp ground, blades of grass...my legs itch. i trace the groove of your name, stone cold. tears flow freely. i update you on the matters (or matters not) of my life. spring robin waiting, watching, for me to place over-priced "flowers" atop the granite. sorry, bird, i didn't come here today for that. you might have to make your nest elsewhere. i wonder if you can hear me at all, through so many layers of time. mom. mom. look at all these clovers! how many 4-leaf clovers are hiding here? how many would your eye see? i search. none.

"doesn't that floor look kinda like pizza cheese?"

the things Emma says. i love it. she melts me. she was referring to our new laundry room floor. we bought an old house-- one that has had next to no maintenance done on it all. i knew the laundry room floor has needed replaced since the beginning. but when the floor guy texted and said he was on his way Thursday, it was DEFINITELY the right time. i went rushing through there to pick up towels and socks... and OH NO! my left leg went through! all the way up to my hip. i have a few nice bruises to show for it. a moment of panic ensued when my leg was dangling down into the black, spidery unknown. i hoisted myself out, crawled a fraction of an inch. and the pain set in. oh, i yelled. and cried. i think noah probably didn't even look up from his game in the living room. geez. anyway, i have a new floor. now i am waiting on my water heater to be re-installed and the water turned back on, so we can be clean people again. i thought it was bad yesterday when it occured to me that the smell in the bathroom was reminiscent of the port-a-potties at Lieber Beach in the 90s. then i thought it was super bad this morning when i realized i had gotten used to the smell. no no no. not good. must get the water back on and flush and BLEACH!

on this MOTHER'S DAY, i don't have a plan for today. it's already almost one o'clock. where has the day gone already? i think maybe we'll visit the cemetery. or not. mom and mamaw aren't really there. i always feel them though when i'm out in the sunshine. and when i drive. i talk to them both. sometimes i can feel mom in the car, so i'll find some Reba or Janis and turn it up. i long for the old days... maybe mamaw would take us all to Gray's. yum. strawberry pie. ... maybe i'll take my television- and game-crazed children outside, and they will LIKE it. or else.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

the voice that told me so





have you ever heard that inner voice? the one that practically shouts at you, telling you what the hell you should be doing? like, JUST DO THIS! RIGHT NOW! YOU HAVE TO! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO!!! FOR GOODNESS SAKE, GET UP AND DO IT! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? maybe it's not even an inner voice at all. maybe it's a cosmic energy aligning you with the planets and stars... you know. whatever. ;)

well, i have heard this voice twice lately. once it shouted out saying, "Blog! And don't just blog about the random stuff (although I highly encourage that.) Blog about YOUR experiences with Autism." then, a second time, it cried out, " Get-togethers! Get all the people you know together who have kids who are on the Autism Spectrum, and By God, meet up! At the park! At your house! It will be nice!"

it's funny how this voice uses capital letters in text. yet i do not. ;)

so i am going to do these two things because i have learned in my thirty-six years not to ignore the "voice." it really does know what is best for me.


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shiny hair :)

DENMAN Grooming Brush with 100% Natural Boar Bristle (Google Affiliate Ad)

i have crazy hair. i have my entire life. it is super curly with some wavy spots here and there. it doesn't matter what product i put in it, how i wash it, i cannot brush through tangles. blow-drying and straightening are two other nightmares i attempt. aww, i am not complaining. it's my hair. heck, i get compliments on it a lot. but it IS hard work dealing with it. i truly wish i had a stylist here in my home to do my hair every morning and provide complementary touch-ups throughout the day. that would be amazing. :)

i finally found a brush that will smooth my hair out. it is a miracle. it tames it and actually makes it shiny.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

do not use my face as a stepping stone

if you don't already know this UNDENIABLE fact: i have cats. i collect them. nah. i stopped picking them up 9 years ago. that was the last one, when i was pregnant with Emma. there were four. sadly, we had to put one down last month and now her ashes are buried in my backyard. i promised the kids we'd plant some flowers there in that spot. we should do that. soon.

...so now there are three. i have a love/hate relationship with my aging cats. they are soft and purr-y. that part is nice.

they all sleep with me. well, with me AND Noah. you see, getting Noah to fall asleep is a process. we have a method: i contort myself into this pretzel-like configuration that suits him. he kicks my boobs while trying to settle into a comfortable nest, and i mumble answers to math problems and make up words for him to rhyme. Noah falls asleep with mE usually. and i fall asleep too. and i am too exhausted, weary, sleep-deprived--i cannot wake up and carry him to bed. i don't even get a shower until 4 a.m. when my bladder wakes me up. by then, what is the point in carrying him to bed? hell, it's almost daylight.

anyway, they sleep with us. after fourteen years of cat fur up my nose, i'm used to it. really. nearly oblivious. i even welcome cat breath. it is comforting. BUT i swear, PEANUT, if you use my face as a stepping stone to get to MY precious, comfy pillow, i am going to throw you. because she will. half asleep, i cover my face with my down comforter, silently willing her to make it smoothly from my shoulder to said pillow. or PEANUT, if you jump up when i'm on the bed, then hook your cat talons into my side or shoulder blade, and use me to hang on and climb up, it is not going to be pretty.

i tolerate them. they tolerate us. there is so much love!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

faith

i weighed the pros and cons. seriously have weighed them. lord. several panic attacks later because i have no idea who is going to watch my kids for the 572nd weekend in a row... i just did it. put my notice in. one more weekend, and i am done. finito. oh, i am going to miss my client's daughter unbelievably; i enjoyed our Fridays immensely. but i have this ongoing list in my head. a list that is not lines of excuses, but viable reasons. like, my 1999 car can breathe a sigh of relief at not having to travel 240 miles a week. all that gas money... all that money for sitters. sitters who come into my home and leave me dirty dishes, dirty towels, unfed cats, popcorn in my sofa, and my precious shrimp--gone, baby, gone. i have had a paycheck. sure. but what's left of it after i pay all these necessary fees just to get to my job? well, i will tell you, there isn't much.

so i have prepared myself here to live on a dream for a minute. and faith, of some sort, since i am not religious. but i do have a sense of Spirituality that gets me through.

so now my busy brain (it hurts, there is so much happening in my head) is zip-zapping currents, shouting out orders, things to be done. mow the lawn! get that recycling organized and go drop it off! sort through clothes! size them! label them! you should have a yard sale sometime soon! did you buy price stickers?! get back online and apply for another Freelance writing job! you will get one!! you will! don't doubt! keep getting the word out that you can babysit! oh, yeah. work on your next book!
... and so on.

Faith in...


myself.

and others.

i have.

i believe a door will open.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

essay, "truck stops make me sad"

there is an occasional weekend morning when i'll pull into the Love's truck stop on the way to work, if i choose to go that way. last weekend i eased my Subaru into a space near the door, and the sadness hit me. ohhhhh. now i remember WHY i feel like this. i've traveled across our country several times, been on lots of trips, been in many truck stops. every time, i get that little tickle in the back of my brain, a tug at my heart, a slight sinking in my gut. it's not just the weary travelers, the tile, the poor lighting, the fact that there are SHOWERS so close to where i have to go poop, SHOWERS with strangers in them just a door down, that at night there are "lot lizards" cab hopping, or even that i've known what that term "lot lizards" means since i was little. no. it's another term i learned when i was six. when i asked about the pretty horses that were given to me, with their bridals and saddles, "________, did you get these at your work?" because "_________" worked at a truck stop. yes, that's where they came from. "how did you get them?" i naively asked, not truly understanding the value of a dollar yet. the reply was simply 'five finger discount.' i went to a more reliable source. "_______, what does 'five finger discount' mean??!!" what?!!! oh, the look on ________'s face, the screaming i heard next. i figured it out. i was so disappointed. and incredibly sad.

when i was entering high school, i had a boyfriend. a boyfriend i would never wish upon anyone. a boy/man who was so incredibly messed up thanks to his bizarre parents. a boy/man who had no respect for women. a coward. a bully. and the truck stop parking lot was just one of several places where i learned to be quiet and not cry so much or i would be hurt. or did that even matter? i was hurt anyway.

after coming to terms with these life events, yes, i can still set foot in a truck stop. i do have to get gas or diet pepsi from time to time, you know. i just didn't think of these things for so long...

i can say now that i am a strong woman. not a naive girl or a scared one. and i take comfort in the fact that my children won't have to get an answer like that when they ask about a gift they receive. and i can raise my daughter to be strong and to never let herself get in a situation like that, she will know she has choices and she will respect herself, and she has a mother who will rescue her, always. i can raise my son to have the upmost respect for women. i can teach them both what LOVE really is.

Monday, January 28, 2013

belly

belly, round
beautiful
milky white
traces of blue and purple stretched
from here to there
scars glow in the full moon's light
downy soft fuzz,
almost not there beneath my touch
swollen breasts
erect nipples
warmth radiates
your scent
sends me
over
dizzying
me.