I tried to pretend like last night was like any other night.
Deep breath in. Exhale. Deep breath. Exhale.
No thinking. Stop thinking. I SAID NO MORE THINKING, CHRISSY. I felt like it was the night before I was giving birth and I knew that by today everything would change. Maybe for just a day and maybe for forever. I had no idea what it all was going to look like or what I was going to feel like. I squeezed my eyes shut tight and whispered, I can't believe I almost forgot to tell you, Thank you. It's me, God- Chrissy. And I don't need anything tonight. I just wanted to say thanks.
I didn't have butterflies in my stomach, they were actually fish and they were bucking and flipping over and splashing around violently. I tried to recall the last time I felt so anxious and so much adrenaline for something amazing. It's been a long time.
And after waking up numerous times throughout the night, I woke up to the real today. A day just like any other day but in an entirely different universe. I made my coffee first and then I snuggled back into bed with Greyson and Jack the dog and I finally allowed myself to open my computer.
And I was scared. So scared when I realized it was actually me being born.
For those of you that don't know, my family's story was featured at a big safe place in the sky called Momastery. Momastery is a blog and a person and a way of Life. Momastery is the place you go to learn that We can do hard things, Love wins, and We belong to each other. Glennon Melton is the Mom that gave birth to Momastery and I am gracious that she shined her bold and brave light of truth on me.
I was so nexcited. Nervous and excited. I read comment after comment about me, about my family and about our story. It was a little out of body. I couldn't sort out all of my feelings or feel them fast enough. Nervous and excited and happy and sick to my stomach and scared. Hands shaking scared.
Michael, the out of town for work husband started texting me like crazy- first thing this morning, giving me updates.
36 comments on Momastery!
1,500 likes on Facebook!
And he started emailing me other links he found on the Internet discussing my words... I opened the first one and started to read...and I started to cry. In my blog post on Momastery, I discussed my feelings about the realization that Greyson was autistic. I wrote, I had irrational thoughts. I remember thinking- I wish Greyson had cancer, then there would at least be the possibility that it could go away. And this comment had hurt some hearts that had been affected by cancer and they were angry. In no way would I ever make light of cancer. And they had a right to share their feelings - just like I had a right to share mine. But I'm not in the business of hurting feelings, so when I do, especially with purest of intentions, it makes me sad. I know just how lucky I am to have my babies in this world. After I dropped the boys off at therapy this morning I sat in my car thinking and honoring and loving those affected by cancer like crazy. And to those parents, I want to say, I am on your side. I don't know the pain of cancer, only the pain of pain. And if you lost your child to cancer, I am so sorry. You know a pain that no person should ever have to know.
Am I sorry I wrote the cancer comment? Not at all. It was exactly what I was feeling at that time in my life and I wanted to be able to take you to that dark place. Do you know that dark place? Where you have no idea how you will find the courage to get out of your bed and breath all day long? Where you only eat so you can nurse your 4-month-old but feel sick every time you do? And despite the fact that your sheets feel scary and suffocating and dirty they still feel safer than the world? A place where showers were something you used to do when life made sense? Where you sleep- not to rest but to escape your own mind? Where you are wearing the same big sweatshirt you've had on for days but don't give a shit? I was there. I want to be painfully authentic about my feelings. I do not want to censor myself because then my writing will lack authenticity. I don't know how to write fiction.
So for a few hours today I stepped away from the phone and computer and regrouped and refound my voice. I Mom'ed. I picked the boys up from Behavior therapy, which luckily, sometimes looks like fun.
For a little while today I felt like Parker here. Completely overwhelmed.
It's all good now.
Many kids on the spectrum are highly sensitive to touch. They either love or can't stand touching things with different textures. This wall helps work through that.
Today Parker ran up to me and wrapped his chubby little arms tightly around my neck and gave me a brilliant hug, he pulled back slightly and looked deep into my eyes, and for the first time in his life he gave me a kiss all own his own. I didn't even have to ask. Little light bulbs daily, Friends.
After we got home we had lunch. For a few weeks now Greyson has been using a picture exchange book. When Greyson can't express himself he gets so frustrated, but now thanks to this book, to a certain extent he has a voice.
Now when Greyson wants something- He just "asks".
Baby wants hot dog? Baby gets hot dog. Today's Momastery post has reinforced for me the importance of being able to express yourself. I don't know how I would be okay if I couldn't share my words and feelings and be heard and relate to other beautiful people. Being able to relate to others is one of the greatest gifts in the world. I want that gift for Greyson and Parker too. Seeing Greyson express himself with this book often brings me to tears.
Despite the fact that he is a wee-man today Parker insisted on sitting in a big boy chair.
Later this afternoon we had some more Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at home. I'll usually refer to it as just therapy or Behavior Therapy. One of the things Greyson is working on is sorting like items.
It helps him make sense of the world and organize his mind. His therapist will hand him an item and say- Greyson, put with Food (or clothes or drawing for this trial). Greyson is learning to sort items and I am learning to sort out my feelings. We are both always learning. It's one of my favorite hobbies in the world.
This evening the boys and I unwound at the pool during the bewitching hours. I said to heck with the no-naked-pool-time rule I've worked so hard to establish. Suddenly I realized that I wanted to join the boys in the water, but I didn't have a suit close by. I couldn't handle the double tantrum of bringing them inside with me to grab my suit and I couldn't leave them alone by the pool. So I went for it. There I was, with my tattered and comfortable, at least 2-years-old Victoria's secret black thong underwear (AND TRIED TO IGNORE THE FACT THAT THE TWO-STORY NEIGHBORS BEHIND US CAN SEE DIRECTLY INTO OUR POOL).
This new born baby got baptized.
In this picture I blurred my feet out and focused on the water because I have bunions. SEE!!! THIS TRUTH TELLING IS SO INTOXICATING!!!
Sometimes we have to strip down to truly be honest.
Today was outright amazing. And as this crazy and glorious day unwinds, I'm grateful for being born today. Yes, the lights are bright and I am unsure of this beautiful new world. My brand new skin is sensitive and splotchy and thin. It will toughen with time.
And I am so excited and grateful to share autism awareness and to continue to change the world two eyes at a time. In addition to the eleventy-zillion hits on Momastery, 10,748 people stopped by our blog today Friends! That's over 21,000 eyes!!! I can't stop smiling and reading your stories and comments and loving and relating. I am grateful.
What are you grateful for today? I want to know.
Find us on Facebook. Unlimited FREE WORDS and LOVE to all that stop by.
I am grateful to momastery for being the guidepost to your blog. I don't have children of my own - but I teach middle school and for the past three years I have been honored to work with several students with Super Powers. One of the greatest things I have ever heard about working with children with Autism is this: "If you know one child with autism, you know one child with autism." They are all so different, no two have the same super powers. Thank you for a peek into how their super powers look at home versus at school.ReplyDelete
I am one of your newest followers as I came over from Momastery because I was absolutely touched by your words and your story. I don't have any children with autism but I do have my own obstacles that I've faced in my mommy journey and I am not where I thought I would be right now at this time in my life. It didn't turn out like I had planned but I am absolutely where I am suppose to be. Greyson and Parker are beautiful and they are so blessed to have you just as you are to have them. I look forward to being blessed by your words because they are honest and real. Blessings to you and yours.ReplyDelete
Your children are beautiful. Thank you for putting yourself out there. I am a mother too trying to understand the needs of my littles. Someday I understand more then others. Your words are a calming voice at the end of a crazy day.ReplyDelete
Your children are beautiful. So are you!ReplyDelete
Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your beautiful boys with the world.ReplyDelete
I too am a new follower, I raised my 2 kids to make it to adulthood, my boy with tourettes and ocd- another hard life - scary because there no map to guide you with a super power kid, now his son my beautiful 3 year old grandboy has autistic super powers. I knew before others as my godson has autism. I knew it right away. He is just starting a few words here and there, I love that book you have with the pics of food on velcro I am so making one of those . I love him so much ! You keep fighting on and inspiring is all to just be enough :)ReplyDelete
My friend sent me the link to your Momastery blog post saying she thought I would like it. That was the understatement of the year - I loved it. It spoke to me. I have two boys, beautiful twins soon to be six years old who are both on the Spectrum. I will keep reading. Am in practical mode today - we are putting together a picture exchange book and system for Isak and I love the pictures with words featured above - can you tell me where you got those and where I might get/buy/download them? Thank you, Johanna
Hi, I'm a new follower by way of Momastery and wanted to thank you for being a truth teller. Through your words & pictures the world is getting a glimpse of what it is like to be a parent with Autism. I have a 4 year old son who is on the spectrum, and have had several friends approach me since reading your blog on Momastery with questions about my son. They never thought about how common tasks they do with their children every day require so much thought, planning, and are a struggle for children on the spectrum.ReplyDelete
The one thing I've found to be true and which you so vividly express is that while each child on the spectrum is vastly unique the feelings and emotions that the parents expereince are similar. We Can Do Hard Things :)
LOVE your blog and pictures! I have 2 sons. My oldest is 7 and on the spectrum. My youngest is 3 and NT. I can so relate to your stress, frustration, tears, exhilaration and JOY when it comes to raising a child on the spectrum. It's been a long, hard road, and it still is. Just when you overcome one mountain, there's an ever bigger one looming ahead of you! I choose to homeschool my oldest after dealing with the public school- which is better and worse at the same time. All of this is without a doubt the HARDEST thing I've ever had to do, but we can hard things, right? We don't know each other, but I feel like I know you. Thank you for sharing your stories and being brave. Most people we know (who don't have a child on the spectrum) just don't get it. It made my day to *meet* someone else who does. Thank you!! :) I'm a happy new reader in Georgia!ReplyDelete
What Oprah once was was to books, Glennon is now to blogs…I'm grateful that she shared your words with us so that now I can follow your brutiful story <3ReplyDelete
I'm glad to find your blog, and so appreciative of your honesty. It's so hard to lay yourself bare - but it must be amazing to get feedback from so many people touched by your words.ReplyDelete
Hi Chrissy, I read your beautiful and honest words on Glennon's blog and couldn't wait to check out your blog. You are an amazing writer and your devotion to your boys is inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story.ReplyDelete
Oh Friend! Look at you go <3 It's all happening and I couldn't be happier for you.ReplyDelete
When I read your Momastery piece & read the part about wishing your boy had cancer so it could be treated, I will admit I thought, Holy Cow! That could have some backlash. People don't say (write) that out loud. But ya know what, people do think that. You are so very brave to write something like that uncensored. We ALL think things that aren't maybe politically correct or even pretty. That makes us human. Thank you for sharing yourself and allowing us to be brave to do the same.
Keep doing your thing, sweet mama. You are a world changer. I'm happy to say I knew ya when ;)
Love & happiness, Jennifer
I loved what you wrote on Momastery. I loved your honesty about your successes, challenges, fears, etc. I've now bookmarked your blog and look forward to following it. Your commitment to your boys is fantastic. Stay strong!ReplyDelete
I am grateful for the truth tellers. I am grateful for the reminder that our words and actions, and our pain and happiness can all hurt people and relieve people simultaneously, and that it is worth it. I am grateful for your bravery in doing the hard and scary things and for the light your stories shine into our lives. Yes, the skin thickens..."If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" Rumi.ReplyDelete
I found your blog from Momastery as well and I love your honesty and heartfelt emotions. Your boys are beautiful and it is nice to learn about something I really have no knowledge or awareness about. I will keep reading and I know that your story will only find a place deeper and deeper in my heart. Thanks for sharing your story!ReplyDelete
I'm grateful for your honesty and that you're willing to share! And your photographs are so colorful and beautiful! Your family is beautiful! And I think you have a PUGGLE! I have two puggles :) Keep it up, you are an inspiration!!! xoxoReplyDelete
Loved your honesty on Momastery. Love your love for your boys. Keep on keepin' on, mama.ReplyDelete
I just read your post at Glennon's place today; it's Friday. I'm a 50 year old Mom with typical kids, but I'm not typical. I have a severe hearing loss which occurred in adulthood. I had the exact same thoughts as you and I said them also; if I had cancer, at least I would have the hope of being cured. I would like to say to you: Don't feel bad for one second what you said. You were not diminishing the fact that cancer is hard, just the fact that there are some known things to do that can kick its butt. With your challenge and mine, not so many, if any, known things to do that can kick autism's or hearing loss' butt. That's it,that's all you meant and I'm glad you realized it. I thank you for sharing your words and feelings because now I feel so motivated to live my best day today, right now, no matter what is said or done or not perfect. Oh, and by the way, your boys are gorgeous. They look so happy.ReplyDelete
Saw your post on Momastery...I don't know where Glennon finds her guest writers, but I've loved reading every one of their posts. Yours brought me back to my own dark place, when were discovered one of our triplet boys had cerebral palsy, and would never speak or move on his own. I also wished for some kind of illness or disease that could be cured...it must be the mommy thing. We need to think we can fix it so everybody is OK. After time, money, therapy...I, too was able to see the absolute beauty in his world and in ours. We discovered a world of people willing to care, help, and love. I realized my son was put on this earth to help us see the beauty, and I'm so grateful my whole family did see it and appreciate it. My beautiful son passed away last year, at the age of 18. I am left to breathe in and breathe out, and never for one second forget the light he shined on this glorious world. Thank you for sharing your journey. Your sons are so incredibly lucky to have you, and you them.ReplyDelete
Thank you for telling your story. It at once filled me with hope and joy and broke my heart to read. Our youngest child, our only son, was diagnosed on the spectrum last month. He is three and beautiful and smart and glorious. And for the last month I finally have had a (heartbreaking)answer for why raising and caring for our sweet boy has been so hard. So many kinds of hard that I never knew existed, that had me doubting everything about myself as a mom, even though we'd raised two exceptional daughters and knew that we weren't completely incapable. I had so much fear and anxiety and misunderstanding in my heart. Too many questions and not enough answers. Now, even though the diagnosis is still so new and hard, it feels so good to have a plan. We are grateful that if one of our kids had to have autism, that it was the youngest. Eleven years ago when our oldest was born there weren't nearly the number of resources that are available now - and now his speech and ABA are covered on our insurance plan? Grateful beyond words. We couldn't have done that for our oldest.ReplyDelete
I sent your Momastery post to my husband, explaining to him that the part that made me push my laptop away and sob was: "I refuse to waste my entire life on sad because of stupid autism.The best thing I can do for my boys is to give them the gift of a happy me. A really and truly authentically happy me."
I had been coming to this conclusion myself, and also realizing that it's okay to mourn and grieve, and also realizing that I felt more positive having less fear and more empowering therapy at our hands. The thing I was most scared of in the universe happened and I still loved my children desperately, still thought my husband the best man on the planet, still basked in the love in his gaze on me, and suddenly had a team of really amazing people ready to help my child and our family. And yet your words still caused everything in me to scream out YES and NO in one long, complicated crying jag, which left me feeling worn out but determined. Yes. I can do this and I can do this WELL. And I WILL.
My husband identified with your comment about cancer; my girlfriend's daughter was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago and we've been walking that journey with them, praying nonstop for her. It's been a very hard road. Of course we do not know what it's like for our own child to have cancer, and we wish that no one did, but we have witnessed their journey and her current remission with great praises and joy - and my husband said that last month he had mentally compared our two situations for a half second and wondered which was easier. Cancer? Autism? And really, in the end, it doesn't matter much because they are both heartbreakingly hard. I'm sorry that people were hurt by that comment and I hate to think of other parents in pain for their children - yet i also understand you feeling it and needing to tell that part of the story. when we are in the Pit or backed against a wall our thoughts are not all sugar and spice. My husband and I get it. I think I half wish we didn't, but we do. Or maybe I'm glad we get it - but wish it wasn't from personal experience. :) If only we could've learned that lesson from watching instead of walking... :)
and so we keep gathering and wishing and hoping and praying, and in between all of those things we make therapy appointments and we read books and forums and try new activities and try to hold each gaze a little longer, and we cherish every new word that comes out of his mouth because each one has been so. hard. fought. Thanks for being another momma voice I can listen to and learn from on my own journey with my boy. Hugs to you, Chrissy. Keep writing.
Hi Chrissy... I, too, saw your post on Momestary and have been lurking here on your blog ever since. It is beautiful. Your boys are beautiful and so are you. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with the world and for being open and real. It is such a refreshing approach and I commend you for being so brave. Blessings to you and your family. xoReplyDelete
I found you through Momastery yesterday and immediately spent at least 3 hours (at work!) reading through your blog. I love your words and your pictures. I did flinch a little when you mentioned "cancer" but I knew what you meant. I thank you for being honest. It is so refreshing to read honest words. I have definitely added you to my "must read" list :)ReplyDelete
P.S. Your boys are beautiful! Love all of the pictures
Curious if you think the printed pictures or digital photos on iPad might work better for your kids. I've read bunches about how great iPads are (like this article: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/14/tech/gaming-gadgets/ipad-autism) but then wonder if it's just a more flexible version of what you're already using. This author argues that the technology is great, but only if used properly: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2013/03/ipads-are-not-a-miracle-for-children-with-autism/ReplyDelete
I found you through Momastery and I just wanted to say: Have a great weekend. Thank you for telling the truth. I like truth tellers and I like that Glennon has started this revolution of sorts where we all remember that we all have struggles...autism, cancer, physical disabilities, etc. The greatest lesson I think in this life is to learn that there are so many different ways that people are struggling, but EVERYONE is struggling with something...and we are we to judge one struggle worse than another? Certainly we always think our own struggle is worse than some and not as bad as others. All this is to say: I am sad that you got sad about those folks who misinterpreted your cancer statement. Shame on them for blaming your words for their feelings. You continue to sing your truth, because in telling our truths there is healing for everyone. -jill pReplyDelete
Thank you for your beautiful post and for being brave. I clicked over to your blog after reading your post on Momastery and I am so glad I did! You've been an open tab on my computer since the early hours, but I just now got around to reading. I have an honest question: How did you get out of that dark place? What you wrote about being in the place, all of it....the sheets, the no showers, the same damn sweatshirt and the courage it takes to get out of bed and breathe......I am there now. I have been there for a while....for too long. HOW DO YOU GET OUT?! Don't get me wrong, I know I am blessed. I'm Mom to 3 amazing boys ages 18 months to 8 years. AMAZING boys that I love heaps and heaps, but somewhere along the journey life got hard, confusing, suffocating and I don't know how to get out of this dark place. What did you do?ReplyDelete
I am so glad you wrote me. YOU ARE SO BRAVE. What a great question. It was so hard. I forgot how hard it was until you just asked. I mourned for days- maybe weeks? and then was just physically sick of being so depressed. My whole world was in black and white. Food tasted horrible. Nothing made me laugh. Nothing made sense. I started to act as if I were ok. I mean really and truly acted "as if". I got up and showered or at least put on some sort of makeup and brushed my hair. I put the sweatshirt in the laundry bin. I made myself go walking every day- even if it was for 5 minutes. I attempted to call people back instead of being so scared of my phone. I only talked to people who I felt like I could be weak and with- people who I knew could be good listeners. I stopped google'ing. I listened to music with all my soul. Slowly the color came back into my world.Delete
Thank you for sharing your story and insight. I like that~ the whole starting to "act" as if everything is ok ~for the sake of my own soul might be the kicker for me ~ rather than dwelling on the challenging circumstances and spiraling into a dark and overwhelming spot. I KNOW it will be ok. But sometimes prayer doesn't feel like enough to get me through something....even the little day to day bits of mothering. Reading your blog has been very real and very inspiring in a "from one momma to another" kind of way. We share some similar life situations...husbands who travel being a big one! My husband has always travelled throughout our 10 year marriage. It has become painfully clear to me that sometimes things in life that work well for many seasons can suddenly shift and not only stop working well, but don't really work at all. I have found it can become excruciatingly hard and lonely and not at all what I thought. Thank you, thank you. I love your writing, keep at it, girl! ~Kelly P.S. I got my exercise in today....small steps....and feeling grateful for it.Delete
Found your blog through Momestery and I have loved reading it over the last few days. Your writing is beautiful and real and so honest. Thank you. Don't stop.ReplyDelete
I found a link to your blog the other day from another blog on being gluten-free,. Wow - I haven't been able to stop reading since. You truly amaze me. I have one daughter who is grown (well 24, so sort of grown) and she is what you would call typical. Although right now with her purple colored hair I'd wonder about that :^) Your blog has so much emotion - I've laughed, cried, felt so sad and yet so lucky and sometimes just truly in awe of you and your family. Your boys are so beautiful and special gifts from God and you are that special someone he picked to be their Mom. Not sure I could do what you do - after all I freak out about hair color choices. Keep up the outstanding job you do and I sure hope you don't mind if I continue to read about your journey. I promise you this - I will be so much more aware of families with special powers and will strive not to be that clerk in Target or the person behind you beeping the horn. Thank you for what you do and please don't stop.ReplyDelete
I too just found your blog through momastery and I echo all of the positive and encouraging comments you receive (and deserve). You are an amazing mother and an amazing writer. I will follow your story for as long as you write. I am thankful to you and Glennon both for having the courage to live out loud with such honesty. Your insight and perspective provide clarity in a world that gets pretty cloudy. You are an inspiration to me and I am certain to many more. Keep writing, the lives you are about to touch have only just begun.ReplyDelete
I found your blog through Momastery. I can relate to everything you are saying. Reading your blog was so uplifting. It reinforces that I am not alone in how I think and gives me the courage to be me. Please, keep writing and sharing your stories. I will be a loyal follower!ReplyDelete
I found your blog through Momastery also. I was blown away by it. And most of all, by your comments here about why you aren't apologizing for wishing, for a moment, that your son had cancer. I think it's amazing that you are able claim those feelings that you are less than proud of. They don't diminish anyone else's pain.ReplyDelete
I love your voice in this blog. I am humbled by your love and devotion to your boys.
Hi Chrissy- For some reason, the spirit put your name on my heart and I logged on here to read more of your blog. You are a beautiful writer and photographer. Your boys are beautiful and I admire your raw honesty in sharing your journey with the world. My name is Monica I am one of the cancer mommas who responded to your original post with a post of my own...You then posted a comment (6/20/13) on my blog. I just wanted to say that I hope you saw my response to your comment (whew! That's a mouthful!) I am so grateful that you took the time to comment to me personally. Really. In the world of the anonymous internet, it would be so easy to hide and say nothing. I am so grateful that you reached out. I just wanted to let you know that I reached out as well.ReplyDelete
I am not sure what other types of reactions you may have gotten...I just wanted to own my own. I totally get the irrational nature of a mother's thoughts when her babies are in crisis. I have been there. And, I totally appreciate and admire your crusade for awareness. That is what us childhood cancer momcologists/advocates are striving for, too.
Thanks for sharing. I am sending positive light to you and your boys, always.
Hi Chrissy - I came across your blog from Kelle's blog (I think). I've been back-reading and forward-reading and loving your words and beautiful photos. Had to comment after reading this post as my jaw nearly hit the floor (well, my lap, actually coz I'm sitting reading this at work). Long story made short: I turned 40 this year and came to the realisation that I'm going to have to somehow SOMEhow work on being okay with not having kids, not becoming a mom. Some time in the last year, I also used cancer in the only way I could describe how I felt/feel. I said that I would rather have cancer because either I'd get treatment (and all the awfulness that goes with that) and get better, or I'd get treatment and die... but with childlessness (when not by choice), there's no end... it just goes on and on. I so get what you said. I didn't say it aloud to anyone except my husband and my mom. They knew I didn't mean it as a hurtful thing to anyone affected by cancer, as I hope anyone who reads this comment does. Keep your light shining, girl xReplyDelete
I love you, Julie. You are liquid awesome. And without understanding your specifics, I understand YOU. Just like I can FEEL you understand me. XOXODelete