FewProudQuirky

The Few. The Proud.

My non-verbal, autistic teenager received a U.S. Marine Corps recruitment letter in the mail last week.

I didn’t see that one coming.

Sometimes I forget what other boys his age are doing. Most of the time, we’re too busy living this life to think about how others live. I’m in that zone of special needs parenting, focused on my only child, his interests and his needs. By design and habit, we’re fairly isolated from the “norm.”

I don’t usually have the time or energy to compare my son to other teenagers (or even to my own memories of life at 16). Those traditional adolescent rites of passage—first driving lessons (and driving mishaps), proms, graduations, college applications—those aren’t his thing, and most days, I’m OK with that. Read More

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For What It’s Worth

So here it is February, and this is my first post of 2016.

That pretty much sums up life in this house lately.

Things have been so erratic and unpredictable around here, it’s hard to be an effective parent, much less write about it with any semblance of order or theme. Every day seems to bounce in a different direction than originally projected. When sleep is disturbed and his anxiety is high, I expect the worst; yet he laughs on through. Then, a day begins well enough for me to envision smooth sailing; yet by evening we’ve crashed and burned.

I’m finding it more and more difficult to write as a parent-blogger. I don’t write fast enough to keep up with the variations. I might start a post in the morning, and before it’s polished, the mood, the atmosphere, the energy has changed and whatever I thought I was going to say no longer feels authentic.

But this volatility is all authentic. This is what it feels like to parent this kid right now.

I have another draft almost ready to go, it’s just a short little nothing piece. An exercise to get back in the habit of writing, which I’ve been trying to do since the New Year began. But the winds shifted before that draft was ready to post, and now it may have to wait. Or join the others in the virtual scrap heap. It just doesn’t feel true at the moment.Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_2 Read More

Candles

’tis the Season :) This is one of my favorite memories of our quirky Christmases…

Stay Quirky, my friends

I dust off the Advent wreath

Hoping to share a childhood tradition

A clumsy attempt to compensate

For lost Sunday mornings.

I have to call my mother

Which color candles are correct?

To infuse our secular celebration

With a smidge of deeper meaning.

It’s the first Sunday; a purple candle is lit

In anticipation of the coming holiday

A crumpled missive as my guide

I try to set the scene.

I tell a story of Wise Men

And a star in the East

My son, enthralled by the tall thin tapers,

Even appears to be listening.

But the candles on the table

Evoke a learned response

My earnest lesson disrupted

By a tradition more familiar.

My child smiles

In anticipation of cake

Sings, “Happy Birthday to Christmas,”

And blows the candle out.

***

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Road Trippin’

There were so many times when it could’ve gone bad.

Ten days on the road, hundreds of miles, five different hotels. A myriad of changes to routine.

I was braced for complications. My boy has had a rough time lately – stressed at school, agitated at home, anxiety placing him (and us) on a hair-trigger. We weren’t sure if our planned fall break road trip would relieve his stress or add to it. I was cautiously pessimistic. I knew we could have some problems if my kid’s current volatile mood didn’t lighten, especially being away from the safety of home. We wouldn’t know until we hit the road.

The first day, after a late start and a five hour drive, we got to our hotel after sundown. All day, we’d promised the kid – drive first, then swimming. As we checked in, we learned that the pool closed early. Crap. Read More