Posted in autism

Brussel Sprouts and Bubble Baths

Tonights bubble bath ended in tears and screaming, a dripping wet and sobbing kid with a little quivering chin begging to get out. Bathes are usually a go to for fun and calming down but tonight it was like torture for him. Cold, he kept saying as I dried him off. His face was all crumpled, his eyes all red and sad inside. Theres something about drying him off after a bath that is one of my favorite mom duties but tonight he just collapsed into my arms, all bundled up in his towel and he just hung there on my shoulder. I carried him into his room, his legs dangling past my knee caps and he just sat quietly on the bed as I got his pjs. After trying on three different shirts he looked at me in the eyes and said ” I want up please” so of course I scooped up my 60 pound 7 year old and just held him. I felt the weight of his body in my arms but in a way where he just melted into me, even without saying anything I just knew how he was feeling. Life is different as a non-verbal child, you have to express yourself and needs in different ways. Tonight I read all the cues and we just sat there and he draped his arms around me, tucked his head into my neck and we just quietly sat, I told him it was all going to be ok.

Navigating this sudden upheaval in life is difficult enough as a grown adult who can express my feelings, process whats happening and have my own independence however, I can’g even imagine the struggles Brody is feeling. While we have these outlets and support systems, Brody just has me at the moment. We work on homeschooling and therapy, avoiding regression and curbing self injurious behaviors. Things that he used to love upset him, he spits out chicken nuggets and chocolate milk, humpty dumpty can never be drawn just right and bubbles just arent working out like he wants. I can see the frustration and anger winding him up like a top and watching him you can just tell that he cant express himself. His OCD has been worse, standing up markers in a line, the bathroom fans always on and the foam roller in the corner of the room. He manically draws on a stack of four reams of paper until he gets his drawings just right, every time he makes a mistake he bites his finger and hits his leg, throws away the paper and starts again. Sometimes I just stand and watch him and just feel like I dont know how to help, how to ease this frustration bubbling up in him. I try to put myself in his shoes, unable to communicate and say how hes feeling, having to play cherades through nonverbal cues to get me to understand. While I see and hear people complaining about thier child talking non stop, I wish more than anything he could vocalize whats wrong. I prompt him all day, ” use your words” I say to him, “I…want, what do you want?” I repeat throughout the day. His eyes always dart around the room and he avoids eye contact, he mumbles and his words are all muddled together. Hes trying, he works so hard and Im working hard. We are just doing the best we can.

I bought the laminator and the glue, the construction paper and flashcards. I dove into Pinterest and google, books and YouTube, just trying to get a grasp on what we were walking into. Carrying the weight of all the adult things while parenting a special needs child is catching up to me. What has only been a few months feels like so much longer, nothing could have prepared me for the many things I have felt and dealt with during this quarantine. Routines are non existant and I wonder what Brody thinks is going on. Where are his friends and therapists? The fish at the petstore? Jumping at bounce and splashing at the beach? I can’t even put myself inside his mind to understand how confusing this must be for someone who thrives on structure. While we have struggled at times, there have been many great memories made and progression in unexpected areas. Brody has drawn new things, learned to roller skate and even tried eating brussel sprouts. Together endless puzzles were put together, pizza was made, so much dancing to Baby Shark and oreos for breakfast. While this can be overwhelming at times, I am thankful the health and safety at home and the time we have spent together. I learned that while words are important they are not always needed, these tough times have only made us closer. At the end of the day, after 10 minutes of just sitting quietly, a little tickling and kiss and that little smile was back. I pull the blankets up, tuck him in and kiss him goodnight. His sweet face is peeking out from the blankets as I turn out the light and he says “Goodnight, sleep well. See you in the morning”. Seeing him curled up and sleepy reminds me of how thankful I am that tomorrow we get to wake up and do it all over again.

So here I sit, typing this post and using it as an outlet for my emotions and stress, a bandaid for my achy heart. This was just a peek into our lives and while our situation may be completely different, there are so many feelings and emotions we all share when we lay our heads down at night. The bottom line is that things may be overwhelming, the news is difficult to watch and there are so many unknowns ahead, being compassionate is so important. I ask that you try and remember that you don’t know everyone’s story and understand we are all doing our best to navigate these times. We will get through this, one day at a time.

Posted in autism

I spy, with my little eyes.

What do you see, Brody?

What do you see when you wake up early every day, getting yourself ready for therapy? While the other kids play and celebrate being free of a classroom, enjoying their time how they want while you work so hard daily to learn life skills that come so naturally to most. You may see an exhausted mom behind the wheel driving you but I hope you see the admiration I feel for you. I hope what you don’t see is the pain in my eyes leaving you every day, how I want to be home with you and able to have the energy to do all the things you want to. I hope you don’t see the worry and the heartbreak, the stress and the overflowing of emotions I feel on a daily basis. What I hope you do see is a mom trying her hardest to be strong, who sacrifices and gladly puts you at the forefront of her mind. What I do want you to see is the way my face lights up when I see you, my open arms and the happiness I feel as soon as I’m around you. I know you’re always watching and I am trying my best to be the mother and role model you need.

What do you think? What do you think when hour therapist tells me she counted over 160 whines in just one day from you. Over 160 thoughts and things you wanted to say but couldn’t express, trapped inside of of your amazing mind. You squint and daze off, you can actually see the wheels turning in your brain that it actually sounds loud to me. I try to get in your mind, I feel like I know what you think most of the time but I always find myself wondering if it’s right or just wishful thinking. I know you see sounds and hear colors, smell and feel things most couldn’t imagine and I find myself always longing to know what you were thinking. Is your brain as tired yet in overdrive like mine? I see your mind racing along with your body then suddenly you’re asleep and your body is so still. Let your mind and body rest, I hope you are thinking about nothing at all and your mind is slowly wandering free.

What do you hear? We walk out the door and your hands are immediately over your ears… those birds are singing again. Do you hear the truth in my voice when I hug you goodbye and tell you I’ll miss you? When I tell you I love you and I hope you have a great day, I’ve never meant anything more. I know you hear me say you’re a good boy because you tell anyone who will listen and no one argues it. You’re the best boy. You are the best, even when you’re at your worst. Do you hear your whines and cries, the sharp inhale from your mom when you hit your head and head butt your knee out of frustration. I know you are overwhelmed and I hope through the frustration and exhaustion I feel at times, you hear the patience I try to practice and the last ounce of energy I put into trying to be there for you. Sitting on your bed and brushing your bangs to the side while you sleep, I tell you how you’re just the most brave and amazing person I’ve ever known. I tell you how everything I do is for you and us, how I’ll be glad to have you to care for no matter your age and needs. Someday we will have the life we have always dreamed and how we will make it through the hard times, no matter how hard. Please let the things I say sink in and be daily thoughts for you. I hope you hear me.

Looking at you, your legs are gangly, you are missing two bottom teeth, have a stylish haircut and the words are flowing more freely from you. It’s like I hardly recognize you with the changes in the past year yet your personality and individuality has only grown stronger. I look forward to the day we can talk about what you see, think and feel, I want to see into your amazing autistic mind but for now I am content with these simple unspoken moments.

Posted in autism

Go to the front of the class and get your gold star ⭐️

Ready for your report card? If you’re an average (below average in math, sorry teachers) student like I am then don’t be afraid, this is one you don’t have to worry about. If you’re an “A” student then it’s nothing new for you but always nice to see. Whichever type of student you are, you’re going to want to hang this on your fridge because this is one to brag about.

This post is a check in, an awareness post, appreciation post, an atta boy post. Almost five years I’ve known Brody is autistic. Times were so different then, peoples faces crumpled into a sad face when you told them, followed by a sorry or change of topic. People would whisper, not believe it, say he’s just behind or make comments about my pregnancy and how I raised him. Brody’s been bullied, pointed at, told to be quiet, stared at, had rude remarks made and just hurtful actions in general towards him. I’ll never forget the day two women in the dollar store told me they would beat Brody with a wooden spoon if he was their kid while he was crying and covering his ears to cope with sensory overload. The good news is Brody most likely won’t remember those moments and memories but I will never forget them. Now, this isn’t a sad post… keep reading. I’m here to tell you that times have changed and it’s for the better.

I know the news is overwhelming and so sad and morbid at times but let me try to make your heart a little warmer. It’s a new day and when I tell people that Brody is autistic people now smile and say things like “my friends kid has autism” or “oh! Like the show, The Good Doctor”. People also tell me how they saw a post on social media about autism, they send me articles from the news, tell me how they met someone with autism or other positive things along those lines. I wish you all could see the night and day difference in people’s reactions now and how much of a weight off my shoulders it is. I finally feel more confident going out in public, sending him to school or letting him go with other people besides me like his grandparents or nanny. The normalization and open arms to autism still floors me and makes me have faith in this world.

I want to say I see you friends and family. I see you donating to charities, bringing awareness into your classrooms, going to those birthday parties, riding miles on a bike for the cause and sharing articles. I see you commenting and liking my posts, I see you sharing my blog and being a cheerleader for us. I respect those who ask questions, who train and go to school to learn more, who reach out to me and others for advice or questions and who are just there with arms open. You’re all making a difference no matter how small you may see it. We see it. Brody sees it and it’s a ripple effect so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You guys get an A+ on this report card, here I am saying keep it up, your effort is noticed. From a moms perspective I will say that there is so much going on behind the scenes that you don’t see as you can imagine. Brody’s academy he attends is daily therapy year round, costing $350-$400 a day. Factor in aftercare which is $1,000 a month and the many things he needs and those numbers add up fast. Our world is filled with grants and paperwork, money flying all over in an effort to make it work and keep our sanity. While all your kids are going back to school and celebrating holidays, most of the time those things don’t get understood in our house. There’s not grasping of birthdays or Santa, losing teeth or class pictures for Kindergarten. We adapt and do things our own way and thats ok with us although it can be sad at times, it’s just part of our life. Just like how you’re here for us, we are there for you and rooting for the milestones and special moments happening in your lives as well. Our milestones just look a little different like saying “no thank you” rather then yelling, trying new foods and making good eye contact. The bottom line is everyone is somewhere different in the race and while it’s different for everyone, they are all worth celebrating.

There’s a lot on the plate of a single mom and some days it’s with the help and support of you guys that we get through. So please keep it up, ask how you can help, volunteer however you can, offer some kind words, reach out and just be there. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make a big difference in a family with special needs ( or just any parents, for that matter!). So to my amazing family, coworkers, friends who are near and far…. thank for helping us adapt to autism and loving us through it. We couldn’t do it without you. Here’s to an amazing school year for us all, lets spread this awareness to our kids as they enter it and be a living example of acceptance and understanding.

Posted in autism

Weathering the storm

I’m sitting on the front steps of my condo, sipping wine, listening to frogs and watching the heat lightening. I just got home from another night of work, another night spent away from Brody, trying to provide for us. I pulled into the parking lot, turned off the car and the fact that I moved here a year ago today just really came crashing down hard on me. I woke up today knowing it had been a year but I guess it hadn’t quite sunk in yet. Even as I sit here, surrounded by palm trees in the humid 75* weather it’s hard to wrap my mind around.

Two years ago I was taking small hops to get towards this huge leap. A year and a half ago left my abusive and just all around unhealthy marriage. I visited Florida in February to spend time with family, took a trip to clear my head and cheer me up. I knew when I was here that this is what my heart wanted and Brody’s did too. We found my condo and rented it in March. June first I filed for divorce, ending a marriage that had long been over. June 12th I took a step on that airplane, left everything and everyone I knew, thanked them for the love and memories and wiped my slate clean. Six boxes, two suitcases and two backpacks is all I took, Nearly every possession I owned I gave away or left behind. I feel like my mind took over, took control and got me through the storm because looking back I can’t believe I did it. My gut and heart knew what needed to happen and the strength just came busting through and consumed me. I don’t even recognize who I was a year ago, she seems like a completely different then who I am now.

I feel like I’m through most of it, starting to see the clouds lift and the shine coming through. The storm I went through left some damage though but it was worth it. It’s like a weight is lifted off my chest, I can breathe again. Parenting is harder in some ways yet easier now in a completely different way. I feel a stronger connection and feel extremely in tune with Brody like I’ve never felt before. I’ve gone on about me but let me tell you, I couldn’t have done it without him. Children with autism thrive on routine and typically have their set ways of what they like, being non verbal he had a hard time expressing feelings and wants too. Brody’s Life the past year hasn’t seen a shred of routine and he has just adapted with ease, almost like he just knows what’s going on. His vocabulary is amazing, he says full sentences now, is potty trained and is so much more independent then I ever imagined. I beat myself up sometimes because of our opposite schedules, my inability understand him and his needs fully, and not having a typical family life I had expected and planned. I hope he knows this isn’t what I wanted but how it has to be. Someday we will have what I envisioned but right now we have each-other and that’s what matters.

What’s keeps me going is the strength and happiness that just radiates out of him, this kid has no fear and just charges full speed ahead. I never knew my five year old son could be so Impactful in teaching me life lessons but here I am, learning from him and leaning on him every day. “I yuh yew, you’re my best friend in the whole world, you’re beautiful” spills from his mouth every day, it’s what I’ve told him his whole life and now he says it to me. His blue eyes, chubby cheeks, blonde hair and little hands always reaching for me keeps me going every day. So here’s to a year of our new lives down, we’re ready for a rainbow because that was one hell of a storm.

Posted in autism

Count momula

How many nights have I locked my doors, all three, making sure we are safe inside. One click, two click, thee. Picking up two plates and two cups, dumping milk and chicken nuggets…two more nuggets and some fries wasted. All I see is money down the drain. Three rows of 48 crayons are on my floor, nightly I transfer them back to their boxes like he likes. At least a dozen sheets of paper are scattered around with pigs, wolves and jars of tomato sauce precisely drawn. I find it hard to throw them away but I know there will be hundreds more to follow. The lights and fans go off, 9 switches. There was a rave in my house today, Brody’s fingerprints are all over the wall where he flips them on and off all day long. I go to his room and turn off the fish light he loves so much, put the book in his hand back for the 15th time. Finally the bedtime routine has caught on.

Two and half hours. That’s how long I’ve had of me time since he’s been asleep. You’d think me time would be relaxing but how can I relax when all I do is count in my head. I have two cartons of milk left, 3 days until my cell phone is due, four days until the weekend and countless nights of worry and stress. I do count my blessings, it isn’t all bad things. I have one mom, one Dad, two sisters and an uncle. I have a few people who have entered into my life and become family. I have a car, a condo and food to eat. I have more friends now then I ever have before. I have an incredible and special son who looks half like me. Life is hard and amazing at the same time.

I’m 1,2600 miles away from things that I love and where my heart broke. 1,359 miles away is my family I love and miss. 1,426 miles from the house that is my home, from the town that shaped me and started building me to be who I am now. It’s been 8 months since I moved and 13 months since I chose my own ending rather then going down the same wrong way Road. It’s been 7 years since I’ve been just me but it feels like forever. There’s no number for the meals I’ve made myself, the trips to the grocery store, diapers I’ve changed, loads of laundry done, times I’ve drank some wine just to help my heart go numb a little. How many times have I stared at this fan going around, struggling to close my eyes just to wake up and do this over again and resume the counting.

Silence is deafening was a saying that never rang true to me until I was alone. Tonight it’s so quiet it’s almost like there’s a ringing in my ears. I always think how many friends and family feel or have felt how I feel, how many people are laying in bed right now doing their own counting. When the counting gets too loud I try focus on keeping my eyes forward. To put one foot in front of the other and keep going, to not let it bog me down.

Yes I’m counting my balance in my bank account but I’m trying to remember that someday I’ll look back and not have to count. I’ll be able to remember how it was, how I made it work with some help and sacrifices. I’ll be understanding that others are fighting that battle and be compassionate and helpful when I can. I’m counting how many job postings and applications I’ve read over and the hours spent trying to find a job that fits. Someday I’ll have a career that makes me happy and helps support Brody and I. I’ll feel proud of where I’ve gotten and the steps I’ve taken to get there. I’m counting the hours spent inside, watching paw patrol, drawing bricks and a wolf, Blowing bubbles and cleaning up after a potty training boy. I’ll also count while I cherish the kisses, the words my nonverbal child spoke, the milestones hit and the bedtime stories and tuck-ins I give Brody, just like I remember from being a kid.

The loudest counting in my head is my age. I’m 29. 12 years ago I graduated high school, 8 years ago was college, almost five ago I added mom to my list. I still have so many years to add onto my age, so many not counted yet. I have no idea what those years hold but hopefully I can add on more children, a husband, more friends and family and many amazing adventures with Brody. This is what I dream about when I close my eyes, it’s what fuels me to open my eyes for the 10,340th time.

Posted in autism

As I am…

Life knew what it was doing when it sent Brody to me. It was teaching me a lesson I just couldn’t see.

Autism came in with one foul swoop, forcing me to dump all my cards and regroup.

This came in and turned our world on its axis, what I didn’t know was that this was my practice.

Patience and kindness, understanding and love, I hope we are making our family proud up above.

His story inspires others, he’s teaching lessons just by being, he’s got a team of cheerleaders who can’t believe what they are seeing.

The progress he’s made and the changes occurring, you can see in his eyes that his minds constantly stirring.

He’s fearless and different, unapologetically unique, the next thing he will conquer is learning to speak.

When his feet hit the sand and he swims like an otter, he finds peace in his mind when he’s in the saltwater.

As the sun sets, all I can see is his silhouette, I’m snapping mental pictures, thankful for the time we have left.

Different not less, is what they all say, Bonita beach is where Brodys autism washes away.

I have no idea what our future has in store, what I do know is I was meant to be his mother for sure.

He’s the non verbal one, yet he leaves me without words, growing each day is something we’re always working towards.

So thank you to life for sending me this blue eyes baby, I think in the end he’s the one who really saved me.

Posted in autism

I’m trying but I’m tired…

I’m laying next to you in my big bed. You have a cold and you’re sniffling, you’re watching paw patrol for the millionth time on your kindle and dozing off. We just wrestled while I had to hold you down to give you medicine, you cried and spit it all up and I feel like a mean mom. I hate seeing you upset but while you’re the non verbal one, I wish you could read my mind like I can read yours.

I wish you knew the daily thoughts I have about your future, that everything I say and do is for you. I always wonder if I’ll be a soccer mom one day, if you’ll be singing in a Christmas concert at school like my friends kids are. I think further down the road, if you’ll go on to go to college or have a career, if you’ll live on your own, if you’ll meet someone special someday and create a family. I wonder how being a single mom will influence you and how you grow up, I worry it will hurt you somehow. I try so hard to be both roles for you but I’m only one person. My minds tired, Brody.

I wish sometimes you can could see how much of my mind you consume but glad you don’t see the other part of my mind. This year has brought some internal battles for me, I’ve had to be out of my comfort zone a lot. I’ve had to fake being strong for you and force a smile, I’ve hidden when I cried. I’m trying to heal my heart while being there for you, trying to see not just your future but mine. No one teaches you how to parent when you’re feeling broken, I just wake up and try each morning and chip away at it. You’re not a burden but my biggest blessing, Brody. You’re my consistent when most other things aren’t.

My body’s tired Brody. I pick up millions of crayons a day, Reese’s wrappers are shredded all over the house. My hands are sore from filling out your paperwork, my eyes are strained from emailing and constant researching on my tiny phone. I swear my left eye is going to twitch until the day I die, the bags under my eyes are getting darker every day. My body runs on coffee and creamer, I get sleep thanks to melatonin now. You’re 42 lbs and can’t walk far, I’m always carrying you on my hip, having to use both arms to support you. My body aches and cracks like I’ve never heard before and I feel older then I am. Potty training is the bane of my existence, the laundry I’ve been doing is solely supporting the power company. I drive you to doctors appointments, soon school and therapy, swim lessons, the store for bubbles and crayons. My body doesn’t stop but when it does, it still feels like it’s moving. If it’s not moving a million miles a minute, my mind is. All of this but I still bring you to see Santa and goats at the farm. We go to the beach and watch sunsets, I take photos of you even though I’ll never forget those memories. We swing at the playground while kids say you’re too big for the “baby swings”, they don’t know you can’t support yourself on the big swings. You spin in circles in front of the playground while the other kids play around you. They try to ask your name and get upset and ask me why you don’t talk. I tell them you don’t know how yet, “We are learning” I tell them. This makes my heart hurt too.

My heart hurts because others don’t understand you, and it hurts more because I don’t either. I see you slip into Autism land, which may seem awful to some but you’d know what I meant if you saw what I did. A little boy in a pile of blankets and pillows he has stripped off the beds, all on top of him with his head poking out. His eyes are open but no ones home, it’s like Brody’s left and watching him is difficult because his disability kind of reaches out and slaps me. I’m then faced with the fact I don’t know so much about my son, even doctors and therapists don’t. Guilt doesn’t creep in often but when it does it’s consuming. I always wonder if I did something wrong, if it’s my fault you have autism. It’s times like that I can actually feel my heart hurting, the worst pain of all.

I am tired Brody, and I’m sure deep down you know. You are so smart it stops me in my tracks sometimes, you know and understand way more then any of us realize. If you see that I hope you know that it won’t always be like this. Some of the things will get harder, some will get easier, some are just a phase we will work through together. Christmas and holidays seem to be extra hard on me, I try hard not to compare our situation to others. You aren’t writing a list to Santa, you don’t know what Christmas is, I don’t have extra money to buy you gifts this year. But you know what? This year you sat on Santa’s lap and you said his name while looking him in the eyes. You know how to unwrap gifts this year from amazing friends and family who love and care about you, who are your biggest fans and our amazing support system. You’ll go to sleep in your own awesome new bed, in your brand new room in our own condo. You’ll wake up to our cute tree that you helped me decorate and see the cookies Santa ate that you helped me decorate. All of these things I couldn’t say last year but I can today. And that, that’s enough to get me through because although a day in our life is more work then some, it’s worth it in the end. So here’s to a year of progress and another day of trying our hardest to be better. Every days goal is moving forward from where we were yesterday, no matter how small the step. Moms tired Brody, but I look forward to every day with you.

Posted in Uncategorized

Gut punch and a broken heart.

I’m watching Good Morning America as I type this, not even sure if I can eat breakfast because I’m so sick to my stomach. I’m watching a sheriff giving a press conference, barely holding it together and trying to hold back tears. I know I’ve already cried multiple times watching videos this morning as I’m sure you all have too. Brody had just crawled into my bed and was cuddled up with me and watching cartoons when I found out the news. I just looked at him and thought of all the people who wouldn’t be able to have this again and the parents who raised these people, doing the same as I was, only to have their child ripped from them so senselessly.

I just went through an evacuation for the hurricane and remember my 22 hours of traveling to Georgia alone. Brody was in the car and behaved the whole time, he only cried once the whole trip. It was almost like he just knew I needed him to behave, that he was making an effort in such a stressful situation to make it a little easier on me. When you have that long on the road it makes you do some soul searching and really evaluate your life and where you’re going. My life, path and goals were all in my mind and I was pretty honest with myself and acknowledged both good and bad. It was a very humbling experience that was needed, it was just what I needed in a way.

During my Internal conversation on highway 75 what I kept going back to was that baby in the backseat. I was raised saying I love you every time you hang up the phone. I’ve learned through my 29 years that the little moments are just as important as the big ones. Just last night when Brody was fresh out of the bath, all wrapped up in a big towel I was overcome with feelings of gratefulness. I took a photo because I thought to myself how happy I felt at that moment and how I wanted to remember that smiling face.

I feel that through my time as a mother, people tell me a lot how they love watching Brody and I and the relationship we share. I think that honestly a big part of our bond is the time we take and the small moments we share. I live in the moment, even if it’s him drawing while I drink my morning coffee. I put so much value in every minute spent with him and try to teach him as much as possible. While autism makes my parenting a little different, acceptance and love will always be at the center of what I want to teach him. I know it’s a hopeless feeling not being able to help the victims in Vegas and the other heartbreaking events going on lately but you can do something to help. You can raise great children, you can love unconditionally, you can take that risk of doing what you have always wanted to do and do it in the victims honor. You can wake up every morning when your feet hit the ground with the mindset that you want to make the world a better place, no matter the scale you do it on. Live with a purpose, love people unconditionally and tell people how much they matter. It’s times like this that we all need to rally together and make a conscious effort to do better, to be more.

Life will always happen and unfortunately horrific events are inevitable. I want to live my life to the fullest, love hard and leave a legacy that carries on through my child. I’m going to keep hugging, kissing and loving unconditionally until I find a way to help more then just spreading love. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of these victims, you have a whole country holding you in their hearts. Don’t let hate and violence win guys, lets pick each-other up and keep and keep moving forward together.

Posted in autism

Blinking cursor

*I wrote this three days ago and couldn’t bring myself to hit publish. Thank you to a friend who encouraged me to just hit the button and put it out there*

I just poured brody a glass of milk. When I shut the door, there was my goal list for the month of August. One thing just reaches out and slaps me every day and that is to write a blog post. I’ve honestly been not only avoiding this but dreading it because I still don’t even know what to say. I’m writing this out of obligation to myself and to maybe get the ball rolling for me. Even as I type this I’m fighting every urge to exit out, I can feel my throat forming a lump even thinking about writing this.

I’ve always been honest in my posts and openly discussed things as if I was talking to a person. I know my posts have reached a wide audience, some people I know and some I don’t. I hope that whoever you are you can see that this is just trying to keep it straight forward and as a real talk which you may need. My life is 100% different then it was 8 months ago. I’m in the middle of a divorce and, although I’ve felt like one for a long time, I’m officially a single parent. I went through my phone tonight and deleted 7,000 photos, rewatched videos and felt some things all over again. Sometimes it takes some Time and space to realize that you were just kind of existing, just getting through each day which in itself seems like a miracle sometimes. I was treading water and don’t know how I even kept my head above water sometimes. I remember feeling a weight on my chest every morning I woke up, making me want to never get out of bed.

I’m through the majority of the emotional pain now, slowly I feel some peace coming back into my life. I’ve begun to break things down, step back and really process things and also take a look at myself. Looking back at things I realized I had truly numbed myself, there were things I can’t believe I allowed to happen. I was not the person I wanted to be and made my fair share of Mistakes and I wasn’t loving where I was in life. What I’m not proud of is how long I let myself stay in such a toxic relationship, knowing it would end in divorce. I wasn’t ready I guess and life just kinda swept me up and pushed things that way until I had no choice. I just didn’t want to wake up one more day being the person I was or being with that person I was married to. In the final stage I think my body just took over my mind and got me through what needed to be done. At the end of the day I realized this isn’t what I wanted my son to see as acceptable, to see that this is what marriage is like or what love was. I also couldn’t be the mother I wanted to be while dealing with these issues and that made me

Disappointed in myself the most.

It’s really funny honestly, when Brody was diagnosed with autism I had so many people reach out wanting to know more or for advice. I had acquaintances reaching out, asking if I would speak to their friends who had kids who may be on the spectrum. I had people I didn’t know adding me on Facebook or messaging me on here and it amazed me how my posts and experiences could help others. I find myself in that situation again but instead about divorce or ending a relationship. I’ve had several conversations with people going through relationship problems and I think somehow we are comforted knowing we aren’t the only one going through it. Of course I would never wish this on anyone but feeling alone is just an awful feeling so knowing you’re not the only one at least takes that feeling away. It’s also amazed me watching people sort of shift and find their path in life after divorce, growing a backbone they always wanted. Nothing is better then seeing someone growing as a person and seeing the seeds they are planting to set themselves up for a good future. That’s what I’m working on now and it’s an unfamiliar but exciting phase for me.

I’ll end this sort of aimless post by saying that this blog got me through some tough days. I had times where I really needed my partner as an ear to listen, a support system or just to not feel so alone and you know what? That didn’t happen unfortunately. The divorce statistics are off the charts for marriages with a child on the spectrum and I hate adding to that number. I’m trying not to think of it as a failed marriage, just as a really hard lesson in many ways, a wakeup call. There were of course some good times but with those came the bad. All of it was worth it to have brody next to me right now, drawing away. I saw a quote that said being a mother while my heart was breaking was the hardest thing I ever had to do and that felt like a punch to the stomach. 8 months into this and I’m feeling empowered somehow, I feel strong being a single parent and seeing Brody’s progress shooting through the roof with speech specifically. Through all the low days I somehow kept faith that I would someday be truly happy and loved and land exactly where I wanted to be. I’ve seen some great relationships even within my family that give me hope and I’m thankful for that. I’ll close this post by saying sometimes you have to feel uncomfortable and pain to get where you need to be but someday you’ll be there and it will be worth it. You’re not alone and although your mind may be foggy with everything going on, keep your end goal focused. One step at a time, don’t be afraid to admit when you need help and just take that step. Being on the other side now I can tell you, you’ll thank yourself later when you can finally breathe again.

Posted in autism

Anxiety and autism.

I dont like admitting my weaknesses or when I need help. I try to put on a front, carry on and go about my business because things still need to be done. Being a mom is a full time job, its responsibilities never end and that, I dont mind. I had been trucking along, dealing with things along the way the last few months as they came but this week things got to be too much for me. I was in the bathroom, getting ready for work, trying to get things together while Brody was yanking on my arm and crying, dogs barking in the background and so many other things on my mind. I suddenly felt like wave came crashing down on me, I felt my whole body feel sick all of a sudden. I had to stop getting ready because I felt lightheaded, my chest suddenly felt tight and I felt like I was in the middle of a whirlwind. I started crying and just didnt know how to make myself feel better. I have never had an anxiety attack before but that day everything caught up to me and bulldozed me over. I never want to feel that way again, It was paralyzing and I felt like I had been in a car wreck afterwards. I am not used to anxiety, I had seen the signs of it slowly creeping into my day to day life and acknowledged that it was unhealthy but just didnt have the understanding of how to change it. So many things swirling in my mind, deadlines to meet, stress, Brodys health, thoughts of the future… the list goes on and on but it was too late, my head was underwater.

Why am I writing about this? Because kids and adults with autism tend to have severe anxiety and are unable to communicate how they feel. I can see moments of Brodys anxiety come through sometimes, often when he is touching his fingers together one at a time, “nesting” in blankets, pillows and anything he can pile up and several other instances. Being a parent of a child who has autism is very challenging and has so many times of difficulty but its hard to accept that because its something out of his control. He is an amazing person, so sweet and smart but so in his own mind and withdrawn sometimes. I feel guilt for feeling anxiety over my sons behavior (due to his anxiety and autism), it is hard to properly sort through these feelings. As an adult and parent,  I’m supposed to be the one who knows what to do, how to handle things and how to help. Like I have said in the past, thats one of the challenges I have with autism is not knowing answers or solutions to the daily challenges we face. How can I help my son through his anxiety when I cant even manage my own? I know there should be no guilt and there is no easy solution but I sure wish there was.

After I collected myself from my anxiety attack I started driving to work which is a 30 minute trip on the highway and just lost myself in thought. I felt awful thinking about how the anxiety I have been feeling are similar to what Brody feels yet he cannot verbalize any of his thoughts. He has to cope with so many things internally and somehow decompress on his own, finding ways to overcome his anxiety. It amazes me the things that goes on in his mind and how many things he is thinking about on a daily basis. Sometimes when you’re sitting with him you can see him off in another world, he looks all around and is in a sort of trance for a few minutes then snaps back to whatever he is doing. His autism is a challenge at times but I am so inspired and proud of him for overcoming these obstacles and difficulties and trying to find ways to go about his day, coping with his anxiety.

This type of situation is one of the parts of parenthood that aren’t talked about as much, can be uncomfortable to talk about and also can be embarrassing to admit. I try to keep it extremely real and raw on my blog and opening up about this has not been my favorite topic but a necessary one. A lot of times I post about the amazing things going on in our lives, updates on progress and just the other things happening but behind the scenes we are dealing with so many other feelings. Its okay to have low times, they come along with the highs and thats O.K. Life forces you to learn lessons when you need to learn them, not when its convenient and I just got a big dose of it. I think it will help me better understand and sympathize with Brody and others and also listen to myself when I see my mentality start to shift. I know that I am not alone and that so many people suffer from anxiety, not just those with autism, and that is can be so crippling and something that pours into many aspects of your life. I’m sorry for any that experience these feelings, I wish I could give you all a hug. If anything, I hope this post makes you not feel alone. One day at a time, deep breathes and carry on. Sleep and ice cream helps too 😉