Saturday, January 2, 2016

Wrestling in my head...

~"Speak out..you got to speak out against the madness..You got to speak your mind if you dare"~David Crosby


        





                           On Wednesday November 19th, 2008, I wrote my first ever blog post. It was in response to a show that Oprah.-Goddess of the daytime talk circuit(at the time)..did on the subject of autism.  I wasn't new to Autism-but I was new to how the world generally looked at people like my kids.  I had sat there and watched in absolute horror-her hour of tragedy..You know the kind of show...where there are a lot of close-ups of Oprah looking concerned..sometimes emotional (compassion close ups-because Oprah FEELS such strong FEELS-and she isn't afraid to show them..oh brave brave Oprah..sharing her serious sorrow deep feeling face with a billion people looking on...(I hope that the paycheck was worth it) using her quiet serious voice...There will be NO smiles when suffering is discussed...and oh was it ever discussed. Parents interviewed amongst piles of laundry...messy houses..wearing sweatpants and mourning the life they no longer had.  It was an hour long eulogy that Oprah spoon fed to her audience and they slurped it up along with the fine whine narrative.  Oprah said kids like mine were a tragedy-and thus in main stream media-it became so. I was pissed. I even wrote in and said "Hey!  look at my kids!  Look at my family!  You got this all wrong! I even invited her to my house-"meet them" I said,,"My kids are great! Their lives are wonderful!"...there was no response...I hadn't really expected one. But, like I said-I was pissed.  How dare this woman who had so much power-so much clout..so much sway..how dare she?  Thus-my blog was born...

  When I started up on this blogging adventure, I didn't know any other parents like me...didn't know any autistic adults..all that I knew were my kids-and being that they are pretty terrific..I thought that writing about them might do something...give a different perspective..show people that we were really just like any other family...we had our ups and downs-like any other family...and sometimes, we were even funny..I never expected to be read...and I was kind of thrilled when I was. It has been a great experience so far. I felt like I was making a difference..small as it may be...I was contributing to making the world a better place for people like my kids..I was DOING something. 

  Over the years, It seems as though I write less and less...well, actually-Ijust post less and less.(I'm always writing) It's just that  everything that  I write about kid wise-requires their approval, If they aren't comfortable-I am not going to post it. They are in the uncomfortable years.   Maybe some day...when they are older. And they are getting older..They continue to grow and thrive in their own ways..In one sense, we are coming to the end of parenthood,,and taking on more of a roll as mentors. Our house is very different from what it was eight years ago.  We no longer have a t.v. blasting 24/7..Thomas the tank engine is dead (hooray!) My Little Pony has found its way out of the house and has been replaced with writing and drawing...Oscar is becoming quite the swimmer,,,is about to join basketball,,,and wants to create a YouTube channel about growing up in this family.. Sam is spending his own time researching comparative religions for his comic book series... Our kids are looking outward and forward because we have guided them to...I mean, that's our job isn't it? To push them into making decisions and choices that have nothing to do with us. They are their own people.-and while we remain very tight as a family...they are finding their sense of self and purpose in their own right. It's scary..and beautiful at the same time. Parenting is very powerful...how easy it would have been to convince  them to stay still...to stay with us...to create an illusion of safety where they would be afraid to do anything away from us..it's a slippery slope...and so far we have managed it-until now...

  I think that every parent fears their kids going off on their own at one time or another for one reason or another.  In our case-it's autism.  Will they be accepted? Taken advantage of? Abused..neglected? Read the news-those are very real fears..At the same time-we have raised our kids to be true to themselves...to love who they are..to be responsible young adults in a world that doesn't always take responsibility for much of anything. It's a leap of faith-sending them out there...But it is the right leap.  They belong in the world..they deserve lives and adventures away from home. Our want for them to have this trumps the major anxiety that I have over them getting it.I am letting go-a breathe at a time....and then...this election process started..

  .Actually, it started with the attack on Paris...one of our kids caught a part of the news...she only heard the words...capitol city,,,shootings and Muslim...I was in the shower and was not aware of her panic...she ran to the phone to call Omar (who works in our state capitol) to see if he was safe...begging him to come home. She is twelve years old...and she like her brothers and sister are of mixed ethnicity...They are Arab...We have family across the world who are Muslim...my girl is anxious and afraid..and there is nothing that I can do to help it...not really.  Not when the "adults" either politicians...or people on the news..speak with such vitriol-such prejudice..such bigotry and hatred. That we as humanity- ALLOW this..is beyond me.  This isn't freedom of speech-it is freedom FROM responsibility.  We have tried to shield them as best as we can...but these things leak out....My child..my beautiful girl feels like her family is a target in her own country. How do I reconcile that while at the same time encourage them to go out in to the world because they have a lot to offer it? Good lord this parenting thing is tough...between raising kids, wrestling Oprah (verbally in my head) and some of the current candidates..I'm feeling rather lost...worn..while at the same time looking for answers. I had thought that maybe the world was changing in small increments...but now, I'm feeling back on square one.  How can I hope that things could ever get better for disabled people...i.e. acceptance and inclusion-services..if we can't even accept different ethnicities..religious beliefs,sexual orientation,skin color..or even responsibility for our words? It's times like this that I find myself desperately looking for a parent to give me the answers,,until I realize that I am the parent and I don't have any. My hope is that in another eight years, if I'm still alive...that maybe just maybe,,things will be better...and I'll be posting from my rocking chair..and my biggest worry will be if my kids will make it home for Christmas...No matter where I am-I know that I will always hope...and dream..speak out and wrestle with characters in my head...

To all my internet friends..Happiest of New years...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Work in progress...


~"Worry..Worry, Worry, Worry. 
Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone."~ Ray Lamontagne




            .

watching the dolphins at Fort Popham

  I have been having trouble writing.  It's not that I don't have anything to say-I do..I ALWAYS do..It is just that finding the words to explain all that has happened..IS happening..it's hard. Most things are great-some, not so much.. Life has gotten a tad bit...insane...intense...complicated. After many weeks of searching..interviewing..resume sharing..starts and stops I have finally become gainfully employed.  Well, maybe "finally" isn't quite the right word. I actually have been hired by a number of places.  Places that had "lots of work" in my area...only to find that after accepting various positions, and training for specific jobs...well, it went a lot like this..
  
Employer-We think you would be a wonderful asset to our company! 

Me-Great!

Employer-We'd like to have you come in for training as soon as possible!
Me-O.K.!


Off I would scamper..bright eyed and bushy tailed to be "trained"...or in other words-watch a video from 1985 on the correct way to interact with clients...i.e. if they ask you for a date-say no...Don't show up to a clients house drunk or scantily clad...and by all means-leave your children home. I'll admit-it made me laugh the first three times that I saw it...but after five?  I was starting to wonder..have people ever actually shown up at a clients door, drunk, wearing nothing but a a boa..with their kids in tow?."Mama's here for your therapy!"...*hic*
 I mean-there had to be a reason these videos were made.....and then I thought...well,maybe I just  wasn't aiming high enough in the job market?... and then I thought..well..maybe I should get more experience before I look for something  different..So, I'd accept the job, go to the training...

                              And then- few days later....

"Ring Ring"
Me-"Hello."
Employer-"Hi Kathleen!  We have a job for you!"
Me-"Great!...tell me about it.." (I'd eagerly have pen and paper at the ready)
Employer-"Well..it involves taking this boy to swimming lessons on Wednesdays.."
Me-"O.K great!...what else?" 
Employer-"That's all!"
Me-"So...I swim with him...?"
Employer-"Oh no! (chuckle) You don't have to do that!! you just pick him up from his house and take him to his lesson and then drive him home,,,"
Me-"that's.......it?"
Employer-"Yes..oh, and it's in (names town eighty miles from home)..I hope that's o.k....and we don't pay mileage...or for driving time....You do have insurance-right? Can you start this week?!!"...

  I was readily becoming the best trained unemployed person in the world. 

  Until finally...I landed where I (hesitatingly) think that I belong..at least for now. I am working in an elementary school program for kids with developmental delays..autism..etc..kind of the same old same old(for me)..but wonderfully different-and with pay! It is an incredible place-filled with equally incredible people. In the eight weeks that I have been there, I have yet to hear an unkind word spoken against anyone by anyone at work..How wonderful is that? No drama..at least none of the ridiculous sort. The job is challenging, at times intense..but the people are dedicated and so supportive.  The kids are respected and loved. Everything is done with the utmost respect and care for them-for their needs. It's wonderful. I love that I am a part of it and I am doing my best to blend in...but..me being me...*sigh* I talk a lot..ask a lot questions..use a lot of words to say the simplest ideas..and the thing of it is..while I'm doing this..I am AWARE that I am doing this..and I just can't stop! In my head I"m telling myself "Just shut up! For the love of all things holy-Be Quiet!""..and yet...I simply... can not.  Alas...at fifty one, I am still a work in progress. 

  One of the great things about being gainfully employed is that it keeps me off-line.  Although I do miss many of my blogger friends..Have you been on Facebook lately? Yuck! Good lord what a mess...Oh if only those people expressing their RIGHT to "Freedom of speech" equally and as vehemently defended the idea of taking RESPONSIBILITY for their rights-and for what they say...it could be a different place...So..unless I have an interesting article or pictures to share or see or read...I'm going to stay away. The negativity was affecting me.  I find that I'm happier and better off without it-as are my kids. (I continue to be thankful that none of them are interested in having an account)

  It has been a little bit difficult trying to find my balance between working and being a Mama, . My youngest is struggling the most-and I, *sigh* am feeling guilty for that. There is  enormous anxiety.. she just plain misses having me around . I struggle with the idea of working with children-when my own need me. We are taking it a day at a time, Christmas break is coming up..and I am looking forward to just being there.Hanging out all day in our pajamas, and enjoying each others company.  Or at least that's my fantasy...because I know that within hours of our break starting...the girls will start fighting...the t.v. will be blaring...laundry will need doing..as well as cooking..cleaning...grocery shopping....I'm starting to think that my next real break will be when I am in a nursing home...where I will probably have difficulty because I will talk too much..and the staff will get annoyed...and I will continue trying to be a work in progress...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Unexpected potato

~"Since we can not change reality, let us change the eyes that see reality."~Nikos Kazantzakis







                        "How was your first day bud?"..."Great! I had a potato!"..."You...had a potato?" "Yeah it was good."  Well..THAT certainly wasn't what I had expected to hear. but it was wonderful..no, more than wonderful..it was all that I needed to hear and then some.  My boy, he is taking off..moving forward..and he likes it. 

  After a summer of absolutely no expectations..  June, July, August were lovely....we..swam, fished, camped- did what we felt like doing-when we felt like doing it. It was calm- wonderful. September felt like a shock....  We went from relaxed and easy to absolute chaos in less than a week.   Lots of change going on.. split second decisions being made.

 Lily started at a new school this year. Sixth grade had been rough for her.  Socially, emotionally..it was all too much. She was just eleven years old, and was suddenly sharing a building with kids in their late teens.  My joyful girl had lost her zest..her joy. She was bored and anxious..sad and very very lonely.Luckily, we were able to get her in to a charter school. At the end of august, we went as a family to her orientation. This was a big deal-we wanted to support her. We visited the school, met the teachers, listened to the head of school explain how they did school. We were impressed....and so was Sam. "I think that I would like it here." "Really? (I tried not to sound too excited-change is hard for him..I didn't want to scare him off.)" "Yes, it seems more creative than my school.".."Well..it is very different  ...if you'd like, I will put your name on the waiting list..?" "o.k.".."Are you SURE??"
"Yes, yes I am.."..Except he wasn't..

  The school does have a waiting list. I placed Sam on it thinking that maybe he would be able to get in next year-only to find out that they had an opening now.   "Hey Sam!  Great news!  The school has a space for you!" 

The following is a transcript of the next forty eight hours

 "..Oh..uuhhh...now?" "Yes!  you can start next week!".."..Oh..uhhh..I don't know..." "What do you mean?"  "I'm not sure.."But you like the new school! You were impressed about how creative it is!" "I am..it's just..maybe I should try one more year here."  "Why?"..."I don't know.."   Wash, Rinse, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.....

 I admit-I did try and strongly  coerce convince him...but in the end-we had to leave the decision up to him.  It had to be his choice.  My fear was that he was sticking with what he knew because it felt safer.  But at the same time-we knew he wasn't happy .  This is where living in a tiny town gets tricky. Our schools are small. Sam is different. So he is treated that way. He is well liked-but he isn't well known..He was a special ed kid in grade school...thus his reputation was sealed. He couldn't just be a regular kid. His accomplishments, his academics..basketball...everything that he did or does-whether it be making the honor roll, scoring a basket or even GASP! going for his learners permit to drive..it is all viewed through special ed lenses.  I'm not complaining..I'm not. Our tiny town has embraced him.. It is just that the label that got him help-has wound up hindering him as well.  In a town this small-he'll never be able to shake it.   It has been incredibly frustrating-more so for my boy than for anyone else. Sam is a regular young man..he has ideas, and dreams, feelings-goals that have nothing to do with his diagnosis. He deserves the opportunity to fail or succeed without his diagnosis being a constant part of the equation.

  I was so disappointed when he told me that he had decided that he wanted to stay at his old school. *sigh*  So, on the first day..as he was gathering up his back pack and lunch to go wait for the bus, Lily with a look of absolute horror exclaimed (rather loudly).."You really want to stay here??!!! Are you crazy?!"   I guess that was the voice Sam needed to hear.. because he dropped his back pack, kicked off his shoes and said.."I've made up my mind-I'm going to the new school." (hallelujah!)  "Are you sure?" I asked...trying not to let my voice quiver with excitement.."Yes."...and that was that..

  He has been going for three weeks now and the transformation has been amazing. Sam, is naturally a loner-he enjoys his own company...but, for the first time in eleven years-he isn't alone. He has a group of friends, he sword fights at lunch..he is part of a design team..He WANTS to join some clubs..He-all of him- is valued...but more importantly-he sees that he is valued-for who he is-on his own merit. That is everything...well, that and...

                                                           He ate a potato! 

 You have to understand-For the past seven years, Sam has eaten the same exact thing for lunch. Every single day. Nothing different.  Food is a delicate topic with all of my kids..textures-smells...shapes..it all matters to them.  While Sam has gotten much better at trying different foods...it can still be a bit of an issue... So for him to happily get off of the bus-(on his first day at a new school)..and the first thing out of his mouth is about a new food that he ate-and liked?  It feels like hitting the jack pot. 

  I worry so much about this parenting thing..Sometimes it feels(and I am sure that I am not alone in this) like I make more mistakes than anything else.  But this time...my son started at a brand new school-by choice, he's made real friends-AND he ate a potato. It that isn't success-I don't know what is..  


  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Jump and spark

~"She needs wide open spaces.  Room to make her big mistakes."~ Susan Gibson




       
     Summer has started-almost like every other summer.  The kids are all home..I'm not working at the moment (partially by choice and partially because I haven't found the right opportunity-yet) so..we are spending much of time just hanging out together. I usually start the summer off with some kind of game plan..a whole list of ideas of things we are going to do,,,but never seem to get around to doing. So, this year..there is no list. I'm just letting the days happen..as they happen..The herd is getting older..and I have realized that they don't need me to schedule their time so much anymore..They can entertain themselves, feed themselves,groom themselves...they can find their own socks..shoes...snacks!  And I-I am learning to be able to insist let them. .

 "Mama..I'm hungry.."  "Go eat."..."Mama? I'm bored!" "I'm not.  Find something to do." "There's NOTHING to do.".."Well..I'm cleaning the garage..so you are more than welcome to help me." "Ewww..No!"  "O.K then..I'll be in the garage if you change your mind."."But.." "See ya!",,,

  It is liberating-this letting go. and scary..and anxiety causing and..... In two short years, Sam will be done with school! After which, he hopes to attend a program in California...over three thousand miles from home..Part of me is thrilled for him-he found his passion..his dream..his niche! Another part of me is anxious and worried and stressed,,can he do this? Will he be o,k,? The worry section of my brain envisions him wandering the streets of California wearing only one shoe (because he can't find the other one) snack-less and alone. I don't let him know about this worry of mine. I choose instead to focus on the positive..at least while anyone is around. Because for as much as he has grown,,as much as he has become independent-he still relies on my judgement.  It would be far too easy for me to convince him( and myself) that he really would be so much happier staying here-..at home..where it's familiar. Far too easy. I can not let my anxiety keep him from living his life.So, I push him..I push them all...*sigh* even though most of the time-I'd rather be pulling.

  I have spent the last week or so cleaning out my garage. I have boxes in there that have not been unpacked in years..One of them contained my mothers scrap books. My mother has been gone for over half my life,  I was twenty three when she died. I may have glanced at these books once or twice during various moves,,but I never really looked at them. 

  My mother was very reserved..proper..a devout Irish Catholic. She had a wonderful sense of humor-if you could get her to let go-which is something that I worked hard at!  I mean-there were six of us kids-and if you wanted her undivided attention-you needed to work it. She never really spoke about her past..Sure, there were stories here and there..about growing up..skipping school to see Frank Sinatra..sneaking lipstick. We knew that she had modeled briefly-but she never said much about it...so, we never really asked.  and even if we did ask a question about her childhood or modeling or really anything from her past- she would always say "It was so long ago-I forget." *sigh*  Kids tend to believe what their parents tell them. 

  To say that I was shocked by her scrapbooks would be an understatement. It turns out that my mother was a very different person than she had ever led us to believe, There are pages upon pages of photos and articles..of this vibrant beautiful young woman... Modeling in N.Y. fashion houses..her move to California at nineteen..society pages..theater stubs..an article that writes about her being the "mistress of ceremonies" (for some event )where she "entertained the crowd with jokes and song"!   My mother entertained a crowd??!!  Who the hell was this woman? !! This was NOT the choir singing, crossword doing, bible reading reserved very proper woman that I grew up with. 

I don't know what happened to her..what changed her...  I know that she loved my father..(I found such joyful pictures of them together) I know that she loved her children. But somewhere along the line-she lost her spark..her zest-her spontaneity...and it leaked on to us. We were raised (particularly the girls) to be ever so strong-never to be weak-weakness was a fault-sensitivity a sin.To be overly cautious...that trying new things would most probably end in failure...While I do appreciate her making me strong..and I am exceedingly strong..I wish she had given us permission to be weak...to occasionally break instead of bend. It is (I think) a luxury that I will never be able to have-whether I want it or not-I just wasn't built that way.

 I try and be as honest as I can with my kids.  I don't hide much of my past from them.  Although, there are some things they don't know because they have not lived enough to understand them-yet. Also because I don't want to hear-"Well YOU did it.!" I want them to know that I have failed and succeeded..that I tried and sometimes things worked and sometimes they didn't. I am so afraid of holding them back..of letting my fears get the better of them..So I sometimes, have to suck it up as I push them forward. I want them to jump as high and as far as they want...it doesn't matter how they land- as long as they keep jumping,

  My mom has been gone for twenty eight years, There are times (especially since I had kids) that I miss her deeply-and times when I don't think of her at all. Her past-her sadness- will always be a mystery to me. I find myself mourning a person that I never knew, I very much wish that she could have met Omar and her grandchildren. I think they would have given her such joy..and maybe..even possibly a little spark....

  Motherhood..being a mother...it's a powerful position.  Even now, twenty eight years later, my mom still has an impact on my life. She left us these scrapbooks..perhaps as a cautionary tale..or maybe just an explanation..I don't know.  But I will take them and use them..to show my kids that their grandmother was quite the jumper in her day..and I will remember that no matter how anxious..no matter how worried I am about growing these kids-about letting them go..I have encouraged them to jump..hopefully, they will always remember that I jumped with them....

  

  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

wordless..




I am sorry-but I can not find the words to blog this week.  I am instead reposting "I am my children's mother"  It was something I wrote back in 2012 in response to another tragedy.

This week, nine people were shot dead in South Carolina-Simply because of the color of their skin. This was an act of terrorism.( No matter what many presidential hopefuls and media "analysts" are implying.) Racism is an ugly cancer in this country. Ignoring it, does not make it go away.  I am heartsick. This is the world that I am raising my children in.  We as humanity need to face this head on-look at it-acknowledge it-and fix it.

~"It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life."~ 
    Joseph Campbell
 


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Down to the wire...really.


~"I was the first woman to burn my bra - it took the fire department four days to put it out"~ Dolly Parton















  So..school is almost done for the year..almost...just one more half day and we will be off for twelve glorious weeks..or until September second..I don't feel like doing the math..Actually, I don't feel like doing much of anything...The past few weeks have been an intense flurry of finishing up projects, assignments..applications..interviews...That I'm thinking that I might take the next week or twelve off and do absolutely nothing...aside from get a new job...

  You may remember- a few posts back, I wrote about my re-entry in to the working world, Yes-I became a customer service representative for our local purveyor of inexpensive goods for home and health...In other words, I was a dollar store cashier...in other-other words..I took peoples money, made change,,,and learned more about personal hygiene products than anyone should ever have to learn. You would be astounded by the vast amount of hemorrhoid and hemorrhoid related products! ( I think that I now know what is wrong with the world.) It all just became too much, So, I put down the suppositories..handed in my name tag..and began earnestly searching the "help wanteds".. I had been happy doing the job that I did-it served its purpose.  I made some extra cash, the kids got used to me working..it was just time to move on. I have a couple of possibilities..I'm hoping that they pan out...

  Until then..I'm helping the kids finish up all that they need to- so that we can start Summer off free and clear. It's been tough though..Some of my kids aren't exactly organized..Oh, believe me-I try. But four kids and four hundred thousand bits and pieces of paper and projects...*sigh* by the end of the school year..I'm kind of done...I admit-I've quit checking backpacks back in April...maybe March..I'm just ready for it to be over already. I may have slacked off a bit..o.k.-more than a bit..but I hang in there until the end,,,Like today..

  My girl-she had an issue with another student..This is a LONG going issue,,and this morning, it came to a head.  I had to go in to school and deal with it. She had emailed me from class-she was terribly upset..she needed me RIGHT NOW..so I went..RIGHT THEN.  I didn't take as much time..put much effort in to my appearance- as I probably should have...But it was an emergency!  I threw on an outfit and left..

  I got to the school-in record time. I found my girl and we went in to the office to speak with the principal. He's a very nice man.We have had a number of conversations this year-he really cares about the kids-and he's funny. But, I had to play the parent role..you know, act like a grown up and all that...This was not a casual meeting-it was professional..

He invited us in to his office...and as we were taking our seats..I felt a sudden SNAP! followed by a very sharp pain-like a dagger- shooting hot fire in to my upper right...girl part. Sharp- screaming pain!  Was it a heart attack..was I hit in by a sniper? No. It was the under-wire of my very old (but beloved) bra. It had had burst through the fabric and was proceeding to skewer my right breast like it was a chicken fixing to be BBQ 'd. Digging in with every single breath that I took-and there was nothing that I could do about it! I mean-I was being a "concerned parent" and concerned parents don't whimper in a meeting or cry out in pain.  We are stoic-serious-proper!.We listen and discuss..problem solve and mediate, We are the epitome of calm and reason. Concerned parents just DO NOT- under any circumstance- grab their boobs in the principals office.  It just isn't done.  

  I sat very still for the duration of that meeting.
We actually resolved the issue for the moment.
I believe that I am a candidate for saint-hood-or, the concerned parent of the year award.  

  There is only one half day of school left. I plan on being appropriately dressed for it..I am  going bra shopping tomorrow. I will not be buying any with under-wires...just in case. I can not wait for this school year to be over.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Not waiting for Mozart...

~"Fear is the lock and laughter the key to your heart.. and I love you."~Stephen Stills






         
   "Mama...my bag is packed.  where is the red sleeping bag?" "It's in the wash-it smells like dog..like lots of dog...lots and lots of smelly old dogs...so..maybe you had better take the blue one..." "O.K."...and with that...my boy left for his week at leadership camp. No anxiety-no worry..he packed and went. Weird thing is-I wasn't anxious either...Not like when Sam went on this trip two years ago..No, back then.. I spent the week doing laundry...loads and loads of laundry.If it wasn't nailed down it was in the washer..I was the queen of the spin cycle-the princess of Tide. It was the only way to keep my anxiety in check...But with Oscar? I didn't seem to have any...

  Honestly?  It isn't so much that I worry about Oscar..He's a great kid. He's funny..kind.. decent-AND he puts his laundry away..without being told! What more could a mother ask for? It's the world that worries me..  Oscar stims (A lot)  he takes his time processing things...his language is stilted..his motor skills are weak..and to anyone who doesn't know him-he probably seems odd..maybe even scary..I'd like to say-that's on them-which really-it is. But the world doesn't work that way..

 Today someone apologized to me because I have autistic kids. " Oh!..I'm sorry!."..Huh? Why in the world would someone say that to me? The topic of autism came up-and I made a simple statement. "I have autistic kids"  It wasn't like I fell to the ground sobbing or anything.I didn't gulp or stutter on the word "autistic".There was nothing on my manner that suggested I was in any way-shape or form...distraught. Nothing-and yet they apologized. 

 This is not the first time that this has happened. You'd be amazed (or maybe not) by what some people think is acceptable to say. I can't count the number of times people have either apologized, asked if my kids were adopted..or-sent me articles and meme's about such and such a person who was placed in an institution-because-there was NO HOPE..and then their mother, father, aunt, uncle, reiki practitioner..gave them a book on physics and BOOM! now they work at NASA or Microsoft. Good lord!  What is it about autism..or really, any disability that makes people so damn uncomfortable? More importantly though..why do people think that they have the right to apologize for my children?   I wish that it would stop. 

 My kids are regular kids.They do regular kid things...like anyone else, they have hopes and dreams.They are not brilliant mathematicians, physicists,or computer geniuses, They make messes..they clog the toilets..occasionally they clean their rooms.  They don't see themselves as tragic..they don't view their lives as hard..because their lives have always been the way that they are-and they do things the way that they do them because that is what they know.To them-it's regular..it's life..it's their normal. Do they struggle? Yes. But Omar and I do our best to help them sort it all out, to navigate.I do wish it were easier for them.  But I'm certainly not desperately waiting for them to magically morph into the next Bill Gates, Mozart ,Tesla,Temple Grandin,,,or my personal favorite (I actually got a picture meme with this on it) Adolph Hitler(holy crap!)  Like any parent-I just want them to grow into responsible adults with full happy lives. Although if they do happen to make a lot of money...

 ( I am not negating the fact that their are families whose struggles are incredibly difficult. Disability is a sin in our culture. It sometimes feels like the bigger the disability-the less support that there is. That is what we should be apologizing for.)