February 24, 2010

To Jake's Mom

There is a wise woman I know -- a Texas gal a bit to the South of me -- who has three kids, including a son, Jake, with autism.

She is one of the fabulously amazing moms I have met through the Internet. It was years ago, when I was seriously pregnant with my daughter and so worried about my son.

We have corresponded throughout the years -- sometimes sporadically, sometimes with great frequency.

Did I mention she is wise?

Years ago, when my son was about three, and my daughter just one, and I was in the midst of my "why my child/why my family" phase, she told me something that made me pause. She told me she had plenty of her own dark days due to autism. Lots of tears, lots of stress, lots of anger, etc., etc. But somewhere along the way she began to quit thinking in terms of the future and to live in the present.

She said she reached a point where she could pray and thank God "for Jake exactly as he is."

What powerful words.

What a simple concept.

And, yet, there I was -- my daughter still didn't sleep through the night; my husband worked horrible hours; my son was struggling,and biting.

And I was not there, not yet.

Oh, the guilt. What kind of mother couldn't listen to that statement and think, "Oh, yeah, I am thankful for my child, just as he is."

Well, my dear friend, your words stuck with me.

And I want you to know that I reached that point -- I reached it a while back, actually.

It is a wonderful feeling.

And as you would say, I, too, still throw my hands up at the unfairness of it all. My son has the purest heart, and no child should have to struggle as he does. I would do just about anything to hear him talk.

But he has taught me so many things.

That there is no such thing as a "small" accomplishment.

That the most important joys are the simple ones.

That you can love a person with your entire heart and soul without the exchange of a single word.

And, most of all, just as Jake has done for my friend, my son has taught me the most important lesson of my life ...

What it truly means to be a mother.

February 22, 2010

My Silent Internet Scream


I think I need to do it again:


OK, I needed to get that out of my system.
Now on to tomorrow.

February 19, 2010

A Toast

To the friends who lift you up in your darkest hours.

To the beautiful, amazing women who worry about your kids and what they are going through, and worry, too, about your broken heart.

To the gals who cheer you on to bigger and better things.

To the women who lift their glasses and toast to you ....

and to new beginnings.

February 16, 2010

A Wish to Build a Dream On

Someone asked me the other day, "Is there one dream for your life that you look forward to coming true?"

WOW. It stopped me in my tracks.

I started to think about how my dreams are now centered around my children. They are dreams for my children, and they have replaced the dreams I had for myself.

But is "replaced" really the word I am looking for?

Don't most mothers begin to dream for their children, instead of themselves, from the moment their babies are placed into their arms, if not the moment they first learn there is a life growing within?

Or is it just those of us who have seen our kids suffer -- really, really suffer -- who begin to replace all of our personal dreams with dreams for our children?

I sat dumbfounded for a few moments as I pondered the question. I was speechless, and those of you who know me also know that I rarely am speechless.

My dreams for my life have been shattered the past year. My dreams for my children have been shattered as well, at least to an extent, and not just because of my son's disability.

When is the last time I really thought about dreams?

So I thought.

And I answered the question.

And for the first time in a very long time I actually envisioned it -- a dream for myself.

I have a long road to go before I could ever get there.

And, without doubt, I want -- truly YEARN -- to be able to focus solely, or at least mostly, on my kids during these precious years.

But, I tell ya what: I can actually see it happening. This dream of mine, that I thought of, just yesterday, when I answered that question.

Some day.

February 6, 2010

Tomorrow I leave for San Antonio with a woman who has become as dear a friend to me as anyone I have ever known.

She is going to San An on a business trip. She invited me along because she knew I could use a break.

And I certainly can.

I am leaving my kids with my parents, who, too, could use a break. My mother is one of those people, those rarest of people, who never stops doing for others, no matter how tired or sad or worried she is. She just keeps on going, and she keeps all the hurt and the worry buried down deep.

My dad, on the other hand, wears his heart on his sleeve. He is the one who wants to make everything OK. He wants to fix every problem, to make everyone laugh, to make every sadness go away.

They have been suffering with me, right alongside me, for a very long time now.

They are hurt, just as I am. So deeply, incredibly hurt.

They LOVE my kids as if they were their own.

They would make any sacrifice -- and, wow, haven't they already sacrificed so much --in an effort to make my life better, and to help my son, who needs so much, and to help my daughter, who needs attention in her own way, even though she doesn't have all the problems that her brother must face.

I am their only child.

I think I knew, very early on in my life, just how important I was to them. I had this sense growing up, that if anything bad ever happened to me, that my parents' lives would be essentially over.

So, I never tested the waters...

I never drank a beer in high school, never lifted a cigarette to my lips, much less toyed with drugs.

I tried so very hard to please.

I just HATE that all of my problems are now impacting them in such a horrible way, in what should be a calm, happy period of their lives.

I will, never, ever be able to repay them for what they have done for me.

I will never, ever be able to tell them just how much they mean to me ... how thankful I am for their devotion, how sorry I am for their pain.

There are people in this world who demonstrate what it truly means to be a parent ... people who stand up when times get hard .... people who fight when life is painful, even if they aren't sure what the best course of action is.

I am so grateful, so very, very grateful, that I got two of those people for my parents.

A TRUE Fashion Nightmare

My four-year-old daughter can be so difficult to please when it comes to picking out clothes in the morning. These days she thinks she has to wear a skirt with EVERY outfit or it "isn't pretty." I sometimes feel the need to remind her teachers that SHE picks out her OWN clothes each day, so they don't think I am drunk at 7:30 in the morning. (If you could check out some of the socks she pairs up with the clothes, you'd understand my concern).

Last night, she woke up screaming, "NOOO! I don't want to wear those! And I don't want to wear that!"

I just had to laugh.

If only fixing life's problems were as simple as changing our clothes ....