Eve

Oh ya, my youngest son, he thinks he’s so clever. Every year on Christmas Eve we open a present together in the morning to get the holidays rolling. Even as a teenager, my youngest son shakes, stalks, snoops and generally regresses into that gorgeous little pain in the ass toddler he once was.

While wrapping presents in my room, he makes 27 “necessary” trips through to the bathroom, in just as many minutes…hoping to get a glimpse of any gift left out. Over the last two weeks he’s been considering just what gift he would open. Upon disclosing his choice, I snickered. He was certain it was a vinyl album. I asked him why he thought that. Well, the dimensions, lack of bounce upon the shake, and the general size of the box certainly gave it away.

This morning, the youngest rolled us all out early to get the preliminary-holiday-one-gift-unwrapping STARTED! We waited for the eldest sons response to his choice ….it was a hit! The Men Without Hats Silver Collection – we’ve all been singing along to the “Safety Dance” – oh come on, you remember their 5 minutes of fame back in the ’80’s don’t you? I don’t know where he gets this stuff.

Now. Comes. The. Moment. He. Has. Prepared. For. All. Month. In one fail swoop the wrap, bows and sides of that box threw up its contents. Wait for it……wait……WOW~! It was a sweater. A nice, sensible sweater in black. Son deflates in northeast corner of home. Parents roar, brother laughs and heads down to serenade us with techno-pop hits no one remembers. Younger son is granted a do-over. Life is good.

Happy Holidays! ~ Wendy Frye

“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.” ~ Fred Rogers

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Resolve

Considering resolutions for the coming New Year has a lot more meaning, or so it seems. Stepping back, taking care of my now adult son on the Autism Spectrum, I’ve been given a golden opportunity. The opportunity to take back my life too – refine my own “how I wanna live” goals – and move forward into a new beginning. Oh sure, eat right, exercise, breathe, payoff bills, and all that rot remains tattooed to the list. But this go around, on a philosophical level, will be the changes it takes to live how I wanna LIVE.

This time, I resolve to……:

Love with all I have,
Respect myself,
Be creative,
Start a venture, and succeed,
Work smart,
Leave negativity behind (including negative people)
Volunteer,
Keep family a priority,
Forgive those people who have worked against me, mine or ours (seriously, even the ones who say they are a friend),
Stay positive,
Become a role model,
Expand my garden, literally and figuratively
Create abundance,
Reach out to others who need a hand,
Get to know my neighbors,
Dig up the old, wonderful relationships I had to leave behind early on dealing with Autism in my home (I miss some people!)
Be grateful for having enough,
Live without regrets.

This coming years resolutions doesn’t start with the new calendar, nope, it starts right now. With the holiday festivities starting today – what better time for a new beginning. Seriously, we all made it through the Mayan end of times, didn’t we? Yes, yes we did……

Cheers! ~ Wendy Frye

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Flip

These days, aging out of services for someone on the Autism Spectrum is a very real and unfortunate reality. My son, James, aged 18 and moderately affected, was able to vote in our presidential election this year. His father, my husband, and he went through the entire ballot and he made his own choices. We still laugh regarding his reaction that we were voting to legalize marijuana in our state. Flabbergasted! And sincerely ticked that it passed! It was awesome.

So, tell me, how is it that this capable young man, on the cusp of a tsunami of younger individuals affected by Autism, just how is it that he can be marginalized when he is capable of a higher education? He votes. That’s an adult privilege. He was required to enroll in the Civil Service upon graduation. Why can’t he be admitted to college classes at the local community college? Well, yes, it will take some accommodation and understanding, but the key here is that he is CAPABLE.

The amount of heart in this young man to get to this point, well, indescribable. We, as a family, would never want to meet a other family on this path, unfortunately – with 1 in 36ish boys now affected…..its becoming an autism freeway.

Visualize:

Take a notebook. Draw a picture in the corner on page one. Next, on page two, draw a slightly altered image – carry on the next, and next (you get it) to create a cartoon book. Using your imagination in the same manner, imagine our life in a little book:

Two people fall in love.
Get Married.
Have fertility issues.
Two surgeries later, pregnant.
A Boy!
Born beautiful, well and happy.
Gets shots (5 at once).
Cries.
Develops severe eczema.
Take doctors advice.
Gets 18 month shots.
Second pregnancy.
Another gorgeous boy!
First son looses ground.
Gets really sick.
Suffers hearing loss.
Regresses language.
Very unhappy.
Withdrawn.
Doctors are certain he’s fine.
Make us wait until he’s three for intervention.
Go to local non-profit before he’s three because we know something is wrong and desperately need him evaluated.
The volunteer SLP recommends us seeing a neurologist.
Declines treatment.
Oh no!
Brain scans fine.
MRI perfect.
Little boy is too sick to believe.
Low body tone.
Gorgeous eyes loosing focus.
First diagnosis, global developmental delay.
He’s over 3 now, no early interventions available.
Second diagnosis PDD-NOS.
Allergies RAGE.
Becoming totally submarined in his illness.
Go to experts at the state university.
Give blood for genetic testing.
Handed the Autism diagnosis.
No hope.
No cause.
No cure.
Told to get ready to institutionalize at 18.
Fuck off.
Go home.
Google Autism.
Grieve for 24 hours.
Get angry.
Get motivated.
Get moving.
Enroll in special preschool.
Only 6 students in the district.
Allergies continue to rage.
Allergic to everything.
Severe dietary restrictions.
Visit health food store.
Clerk alerts on vaccines.
Study.
Get violently ill.
He stops eating.
Food Clinic.
Behaviorist.
She visits once, wants to tether him to his chair.
He’s sick, not defiant.
Fire behaviorist.
Every day – study.
Every day – do something to improve his health.
Go to an integrative doctor.
Treat underlying health issues.
PT.
OT.
ST.
A therapy a day for 5 years.
Talks more.
Gets stronger.
Grows up.
Healthier.
Becomes very sassy!
A little happier (not easy being him).
We still hope.
We imagine.
Starts taking bus to school.
Lets himself into house and stays alone.
Calls me on the phone when he’s home!
Growing.
Makes honor roll.
Survives being bullied.
Survives being harassed, barely.
Makes a few friends.
Has amazing sense of offbeat humor.
Loves music.
Loves to fly and go on vacation.
Allergies abate enough to get a beloved dog.
Get another beloved pet.
Discovers talent.
Becomes published artist.
Passes standardized testing.
Graduates high school with achievement awards.
The crowd roars on graduation day.
Has hope.
Has dreams.
Has a family who loves him.
Turns 18.
Wants to continue education.
Its another challenge.
Can’t stay home alone.
He’s lonely.
Mom retires.
Family is happier.
Still ready for secondary education……..

Now an adult son.

Time to quit?

No.

Time to change things.

Time to change the paradigm for him and the legion of his peers coming up who have expectations for acceptance and a place in this word.

Time to throw out the notebook.

I will be a devoted parent until I cannot, and that will be the day I die. ~ Wendy Frye

“People need motivation to do anything. I don’t think human beings learn anything without desperation.” ~ Jim Carrey