This morning, like the last 10 mornings, I sat in my big comfy reading chair I put in my new favorite spot. The chair’s new spot lets me look out my new french doors – 24 feet of windowed wonderfulness and because I can see both south and east I can watch the sun come up over the trees. It’s a great way to start my morning and today, as I looked at, and out, these windows I have waited 13 years to get, I thought about how in about an hour the contractor’s crew is going to be here to take them out. Continue reading
There is one common denominator in every DIY project I have ever done and that is the project has always been inspired by an idea, that comes to me in the form of an image that I can see in my imagination. This idea comes as a flash, sometimes when I am looking at the specific space and sometimes not. But what is consistent about these flashes is the image is clear and is consistent with my design sense and I am fed with the desire to make that image real. Unfortunately these flashes of inspirational images have yet to come to me with step by step directions. How to bring what I see in my head to life, well that has been the challenge, and the delight, of my DIY experience. Continue reading
The story of our current family room remodel begins with a giant fireplace.
It was a brick monstrosity.
It measured eight feet high.
Six feet wide.
Two feet deep.
It was so large the firebox held our 36″ TV…
It was the brick fireplace that ate our family room. Continue reading
When I started this blog almost two years ago I mostly wrote about my son Ted and about Asperger’s and about my experiences raising a son with Asperger’s. And then I started writing about other stuff. Like decorating. And DIY projects. For awhile I was frustrated by the course deviations I was taking. Even though the posts were fun to do, I felt they made my blog unfocused, that I was bouncing around and leaving my main subject area behind. Only recently, actually just today, as I’ve been writing this, have I come to realize how the path of this blog has mimicked the path of raising Teddy.
See, I started this blog because I wanted a blog. I wanted to know the experience of writing and maintaining a blog. I didn’t know where it would go, I just knew I wanted one. You can read here just how much this parallels my becoming a mother.
With the beauty of WordPress the set up was easy, but once I had it I was like, “Now what do I do?” So, following my instincts, and the advice of any writing instructor, I started with what I knew.
My goodness I sure know about being the mother of a kid with Asperger’s. Yeppers. You could call me a veteran, 18 years in the business. So for quite some time I wrote about Asperger’s and started, not with my son’s diagnosis, but two years later, when he began Kindergarten.
It’s my plan to one day revisit those early, prediagnosis years, but see, I often don’t go straight from point A to point B. Nope. I start at H and then let my mind take twisty turns. It sees a little path off the main road and says, “Oh, I wonder where that goes?” and I take it and eventually, after a little adventure, I get back on the main road, refreshed and ready to once again head towards where I ultimately need to go.
This blog has been like that. The main road has been Asperger’s and the story of how it has affected my life as the mother of a son with Asperger’s.
I think there is something to the mother’s story. A mother’s experiences. A mother’s reactions. A mother’s emotions. And that’s what I wanted to share here.
But then there are those detours I talked about. The deviations I have taken off the Asperger’s road.
All those posts that seem to have nothing to do with Asperger’s, I just realized how important they are to the story.
As it turns out, those little paths, those projects, helped save my life.
And they can save your life too.
Now having said that, I am pretty sure the maternal survival rate from having a child with ASD (with or without projects) is pretty damn high, but what I am talking about here is emotional survival. The remaining intact while raising kids (and yes, this applies to raising ALL kids because my so-called NT kid sure had her moments, some of which easily rivaled the most serious moments with Ted.)
So what in the world am I talking about here?
What I am talking about is finding stuff you like to do that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ASD AND SPECIAL NEEDS – not even close.
Especially today when you have what I didn’t and that is the internet. You can carry the internet with you and live your life All ASD All The Time and you know what, I just don’t think that is healthy for your long-term emotional health.
Having activities that I did for myself, by myself, that weren’t at all autism related is not selfish, they did not make me a bad mother. Wanting to get away from special needs, from autism did not mean I disliked autism. Absolutely not. That’s preposterous and don’t let anybody tell you differently. Because there was a time that I didn’t get away. It wasn’t until 2001, six years after diagnosis before I did much of anything for myself. Before that, pretty much the entirety of my days revolved around the problems we were having, reading books about those problems, having meetings about those problems, etc, etc, etc and let me tell you I ended up 20 pounds heavier and on Prozac because of it.
That’s why I started exercising. And working. And doing construction projects. And decorating. And later, flying airplanes. And that’s why I started writing about those activities on my blog as well as Asperger’s because along the way I learned those activities helped save me. They gave me outlets and a sense of my own accomplishment. They let me nurture me. And they let me get away.
Let me say that again. In bold for real emphasis because it was really an important point.
They let me get away.
So I implore each and every mother out there who is in the throes of raising a special needs child, make sure you find activities, away from your kids, away from the daily demands of your life that let you reconnect with you. It’s like being on an airplane and when reviewing emergency procedures the flight attendant reminds you to put on your oxygen mask first BEFORE you put on your child’s.
Ladies, you must take care of yourselves. You must get off the main road of parenting now and then. Have those adventures because you will find YOU as you wander those paths. And by finding you, you will find your sanity. And when fueled by a strong sense of self and sanity, the quality of your care for others, for your kids, and yes, for you, will rise exponentially.