Safe Passage, Revisited

I’ve made a new commitment to post regularly on this blog. 

It helps me to reflect on this whole “parenting a young man with autism” thing and to try to put into words what life is like around here. It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfectly phrased. It just needs to be written and posted.

I know this commitment will be hard to meet some weeks. When my son is having a rough time, I don’t feel much like writing. Or I suppose it’s more that I don’t feel much like sharing. 

But I’m hoping that even when it’s been “one of those weeks,” as it has, I’ll still find a way to keep this blog active. 

Today, it’s appropriate to focus on gratitude with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, and with that, I’m grateful that I wrote this post five years ago so I can cheat a little bit and re-post it. 

A lot has changed in five years (from 13 to 18, wow, yes, there are changes), but the feelings described in this post remain true. Five years on, it’s more important than ever that we have family, friends, teachers, and others who support my son in the ways they do.  Read More



Now, wait just a minute.

This can’t be right. 

OK, I’ve known this day was coming.

But, there must be some mistake.

Sure, I’ve been talking with lots of people in preparation for this day, arranging for things like “legal guardianship” and “transition” and “adult services.” Read More


Jiritsu [自立]. Independence. Self-reliance. Autonomy.

Standing in the small foyer of a restaurant in a rural area north of Nagasaki, Japan, I am trying not to cry. I am thousands of miles and many days away from my son, working hard to be a “real” person, a professional, to hold it together until I can get home. The little book in my hand threatens to crumble my resolve. Here, in a most unexpected place, my child speaks to me. cherryblossom When the opportunity arose to take this business trip to Japan, my little boy was nine years old, in the midst of a rough year at school and a full-time schedule of therapies designed to coax him out of silence and shore up his abilities to learn and do things on his own. How could I go? Twelve days? Overseas?

Yet, how could I not? My work as a researcher for an author writing a book about the atomic bombing of Nagasaki had been providing a part-time reprieve from my duties as a special needs mom, allowing me the precious gift of digging in to a project that was completely un-autism. The opportunity to accompany my boss to meet the survivors of the bombing, support her final interviews with them, and complete research at a few sites in this historic city? We had to make this happen. Besides, there is nothing like talking to people who lived through the horror of a nuclear bombing to put one’s own little problems into perspective.

Read More



January 2014 Update: Jiritsu, originally posted on Stay Quirky in 2013, has been revised and re-posted here.

Dec. 4, 2013 Update:  An adapted version of “Jiritsu” was published in Pentimento Magazine’s December 2013 issue!

Please go to Pentimento Magazine and subscribe – their premiere issue in July 2013 assembled a beautiful collection of essays and poems written by those living with disabilities or by their caregivers. I was immediately intrigued and eager to connect with this new venture, and I am thrilled that they chose “Jiritsu” for their second issue.

From Pentimento:

Through art, photography, essays, stories, and poetry, Pentimento Magazine will ask its readers to see beyond disabilities and physical challenges.  To see the ways in which we are all connected, and find in our pages a sense of the what the poet Emily Dickinson wrote:  ‘I felt it shelter to speak to you.’

I hope that you will support, read, submit to, and spread the word about Pentimento Magazine!