Saturday, January 8, 2011

Forward and back...and forward..

  ~"You move totally away from reality when you believe that there is a legitimate reason to suffer."~

Byron Katie

 Wow  It's  quiet and I don't know what to do with quiet it is almost loud..deafening.  The herd is off again ..back to school and as we have known it this past week and a half is over and I find myself sitting here..not quite fitting in my skin..I don't know what to do with this feeling.  It was a two pot of coffee morning..I haven't had to wake up at any scheduled to get up at my own to stay in my pajamas all to take each moment as each moment..and we are back on a timetable..where my hellos and goodbyes are scheduled..where packing backpacks and doing homework take precedence over random hugs and kisses. I am not sure that I like it.

     Christmas went off without a hitch.  Well...with the exception of the fifty million piece toy kitchen we forgot to put together until eleven p.m. Christmas eve...otherwise-it was perfect.The morning was pandemonium...but in a good way. Wrapping paper and boxes everywhere. Each of the kids has their own unique method of unwrapping.   Sammy is a slow- one present at a time kind of boy,  thoroughly looking over each gift before proceeding.  Oscar tears everything open at once-quickly taking it all in-he'll look things over in greater detail later. I could almost hear him mentally comparing what he got to what he asked for (This was the first year he actually had a list-with more than one item-and none of them were Thomas toys! Oh how I loathe that cheeky tank engine!). Lily and Zoe are like a couple of chickens..pecking and clucking over (sigh...and comparing) their gifts.  From time to time one of them would shriek  "MAMA!! PAPA!!! LOOK WHAT I GOT!!!"  It was heaven.

   The entire vacation was lovely.  I really wasn't sure what to expect. We made no plans-instead taking each day as it came..figuring out what to do a moment at a time instead having a planned itinerary.  Imagine that..a family that thrives on set schedules- just taking each day as it came...and enjoying it!  Even Oscar, the boy who lives for his routine!( although he did announce that he was ready to go back to school on Christmas afternoon).  He too found his rhythm-(I think that having a toy garbage truck that farts to play with helped).. It was lovely just being together-away from everything..our own little oasis.  I was surprised at how sad I was when it ended.  It wasn't too long ago when I would have been thrilled that they were back in school..excited for the predictability and routines-ecstatic even.  Looking back over the past, holidays were once so...hard . Even as few as five years ago...when Omar and myself were just coming off of too many years of sleep deprivation..when we had three kids in diapers..and any change or disruption of routine could cause freak outs of epic proportions.. Funny thing is-we were so busy being in the moment that we didn't really recognize it . Don't get me wrong!  I remember days when I thought I was going to break-shatter..that I had nothing left to give...Times where I wanted to quit...when I would call Omar at work and give him my two week notice...  I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though times were hard, we didn't dwell on them-instead, we muddled through...and although we have made lots of mistakes-our kids have blossomed.  Back then, I refused to look anywhere but  forward-and it is only now that I fully allow myself a glance back from time to time. If only to take measure of how far we have all come.

  This past week, I got into a wee bit of a discussion with someone about my writing style-more specifically why I write the way I do. They felt that my kids couldn't possibly  understand  humor seeing as that they are autistic..and that using humor both in the raising and in the writing of (our adventures) somehow lessened them.  SIGH...I understand that raising kids is hard.  Any kids. I understand that there are times when you need to vent..scream..write about frustration.  This is true for any parent of ANY child. ALL parents are tragic heroes from time to time(especially when potty training or teaching sex ed.)-it is the nature of the job. Parenting is hard. Disabilities are hard.  I get that-really. But my kids aren't disabilities-they just happen to have them. Big difference. So when I write about the funny things that someone has said or done-it is with the utmost respect. I choose to look at life as an adventure and no matter what my kids capabilities I teach them to as well.

   One day, they will all  read this blog (Sammy does now from time to time) and I want them to see it is a testimony to how wonderful I think they all are-to how blessed I think my life is..and... well..  because I was always too lazy to keep a "baby book".  If I don't celebrate how wonderful and unique my kids are-how can I expect the world to?    We really aren't that different from any other family.  Yes, we have our unique struggles and different ways of doing things. But like everyone else we put our pants on one leg at a time...well at least those of us who wear clothes...

  A week has passed since I started this post.  A week full of routines and schedules..I looked back and reread that first paragraph and laugh at my innocence.  It is nine in the morning and already I have stopped about thirty arguments, filled fifty or so snack requests, found lost socks and shoes, fixed the computer and answered the age old question of "what's for dinner?" at least twenty times. We had a lovely break-but it is back to business as usual. SIGH... I find myself  looking forward to next years holiday break...and most definitely  to school on Monday. I find myself looking forward.  Always forward.


Casdok said...

No more Thomas - yay - i remember that feeling!!
Your writing style is a tonic :)

mamafog said...

Glad you had a nice and Thomas-free holiday. And I'm glad to read your new post! I love your writing style. I agree that a blog can be like a baby book, I sure never kept that going.

I read about you in a book! Susan Senator's Autism Mom's Survival Guide. So awesome you and the boys got a mention!

Kim Wombles said...

hee, always forward, and always finding the humor! :-) Wonderful post and well worth the wait!

Stephanie said...

We're still at the point where breaks are enough of an upheaval that I enjoy the return to school. But, then again, I enjoy the feelings of "oasis" as well (we try not to plan extensive, week-long itineraries; as much as our boys need routine, those itineraries never work out). We're not quite where you're at, but we're getting there.

I would also like to say, I wholly appreciate your use of humor to tell your family's story. Sometimes I don't get it--humor isn't my strong suit--but even then I appreciate why you choose to. Your children and your family are not a tragedy; there's no reason for you to pretend that it is, because some people find the truth uncomfortable.

Keep looking forward. It's worth looking to! :)

Floortime Lite Mama said...

i love your writing - never change
I think your kids will totally know how adored they are and how much they make you happy
We were the same with our break
Devastated when it was over

autismand said...

I'm jealous - I have to do a daily schedule for BB in the holidays and he expects them a week in advance (yes, we're that dependent on predictability!) which taxes the ingenuity somewhat! Having said that, I love holidays too. I'd love them even more if I had a farting garbage truck...

Angela said...

so much to say...first off I have missed you and the's been a while.

I understand how you miss the break, this year was the first time I enjoyed the craziness of holiday..usualyly I freak because I am such a routine person, but something made it interesting and fun this year.

I need your humor, please never stop. I think some people for get that just because we have a disability does not mean that has to define who we are. I love using humor and laughing at situations because life has to much bad stuff to dwell on it. Your kids have great humor too, it just may not be your "typical" humor.

love and hugs

Laura said...

I missed you too! So glad you're back. I'll never understand these people who criticize us for writing about our families, and sharing the enjoyable funny times. They wouldn't say that to us if we weren't "special needs" families.

For the record, I'm an Aspie and I laugh HARD at your writing (when appropriate). We can, and DO appreciate humor. My son, actually studies it, and while it may take him a minute or two to get the joke, when he gets it, he laughs.

Don't change a single thing about the way you write. Your kids will read it and know how much you loved and ENJOYED them. That's important.

Jean said...

I love your posts. I'm so glad you write.
I especially love your line about your kids not being disabilities, but only happening to have them. Hear hear!

kathleen said...

@Casdok-thanks! :)
@ Mamafog-thanks-yeah..sigh..the baby book thing..I never even bought one! :) Susan was lovely to talk to-AND so gracious to mention my blog!
@ Kwombles-thanks :) and thanks for having my back!
@Stephanie-thanks. Yes, that feeling of oasis is wonderful! Yes, you are all getting there-and I enjoy reading about your journey as well. So many commonalities and so many differences..Our kids are unique and different and simply wonderful human beings-no tragedy there :)
@K-floortime-I admire your writing so much-so that is a huge compliment...thank you.
@bbsmum-hahahaha-Been there-I understand! God help you when you have to change it-right? "Stinky the Garbage truck" has become one of Oscars most prized possessions..all things "fart" are his joy right now. ;0
@Angela-Hi!! I'll be over to your blog to check in with you soon! I think how we look at things is a choice. I think that humor and joy have done more for my kids than anything else.
@Laura-Hi!! It was a very good break. Yeah, I don't understand the reasoning behind equating "special" with tragedy..thanks for the lovely compliment..I often laugh when I am writing-but always worry if I am the only one who thinks its funny. Yes, acceptance and total joy and unconditional love are THE MOST important things for them to know about me..:)

Clay said...

I always thought your writing style and humor was similar to Erma Bombeck. Don't know if you're familiar with her, but it really worked for her.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I love the description of the different styles of unpacking :) And I think your blog is a great celebration of your kids, please don't change it!

Jen said...

I love your writing style, when I see you have posted I run to get a cup of coffee so that I can sit down and savour the reading of it as some fantastic, quality 'me-time'. As far as I am concerned your writing, humour included, absolutely radiates your love for your children which makes it a very different kind of humour than the 'haha' kind.

School is back here tomorrow and with all the snow days we had before Christmas it feels like we have been at home together for a looooong time. I will miss the lazy pyjama days but I can see in my boys that it is time for them to get back to routines. Firstborn is looking forward to getting away from the screaming (HRH had a meltdowny day ALL day Friday) and HRH is starting an ABA preschool *bites nails*.

This will leave me with one child at home, wow, I find that a bit unusual and having them all out and deafening silence must take a bit of getting used to.

Jen xx

kathleen said...

@ jean-thanks..I just can't fathom why it is so hard for people to understand that...

@Clay-Erma Bombeck is my hero!! I always loved how she wrote about her life-so that is one of the best compliments ever-thanks!

@ bluesky-thanks

@Jen-thanks so much...It is so weird when you are home alone...when my youngest gets on the bus..I find myslef walking around a little confused as to what to do (I mean besides laundry and cleaning up) it is very odd...I have a feeling your HRH is going to thrive and surprise you...

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg said...

As others have said, don't change your writing style for anyone or anything! I am Autistic, and I am very sensitive to people putting down Autistics (see my latest post), and I've never felt put down by anything you've written, or felt that you've demeaned your kids.

And yes, lots of us Autistics have a great sense of humor. People who make generalizations about Autistic people are just relying on stereotypes. We're as different from one another as non-Autistics are.

kathleen said...

Hi is stereotyping! And from a mothers perspective-odd. I have four kids..they are all unique individuals..they have likes dislikes passions..they are kids. Some just happen to have autism..or be autistic..or..I figure that when they are older I will ask them how they want to put it..Sammy says "I have autism" I guess I'll go with his way of thinking...:)

Daniel "Captain" Kirk said...

Beautiful post. GL prefers saying he has autism. He says, "Autistic makes me feel like the Boogieman." He also finds joy and humor in every instance of flatulence. At one point, we needed to help him develop his respiratory control. We tried everything--whistles, BloPens, balloons, you name it. He either wouldn't try, or lost interest too quickly to do much good. What finally worked? We bought him a Whoopie Cushion!

kathleen said...

@Papa bear-thanks :) The joy of flatulence! Wouldn't that make a great book title? ;0 Whoopie cushion idea was BRILLIANT! I love when I hear about things that work-especially when they are things that are geared towards the specific likes of the specific child! wonderful :)