Friday, September 6, 2013

different is beautiful

On Thursday mornings the boys do Behavior Therapy at the clinic. I really really needed Starbucks, and so I chanced stopping even though I knew that might mean I would risk running 5 minutes late. As I waited for my coffee in the drive thru I began to stress. I can't believe you stopped for coffee at the risk of cutting into Greyson and Parker's THERAPY, ME said to Me. Coffee Importance=Therapy Importance...Not quite equal even though I would DIE without coffee. 

And I drove away with my coffee and my thumping heart and that sick feeling that being late brings-- and I had a realization. I really don't care that they boys will be getting 5 minutes less of therapy. Big whoop. Actually for the first 15 minutes of each session the Teachers set up and review data anyway. I realized I really cared about how I looked being late. I immediately hear people judging me in my mind. What a terrible selfish Mom- she can't even show up on time to her son's autism therapy. Is that STARBUCKS I see in her cup holder?!! Did she SERIOUSLY stop to get coffee and that's why she is late?! 

I reminded myself that the mean voice I sometimes hear is actually ME. And that form of ME doesn't get a vote. And it made me aware of the fact that frequently things that stress me out are actually situations I create in my mind. Whoa. Reality check. 

Even something as little as "PULL"ing when the door says "PUSH" makes me feel so stupid. My head immediately whips left and then right to see who is watching me so I can attempt a witty, self-depreciating comment before bystanders secretly call me stupid. Guess what ME- no one cares about that- but ME. 

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And we actually made it to therapy 7 minutes late, because I took my time once I decided to be nice to nice Me who was mostly just doing the best she could.

Nice, kind, perfectly human- sometimes screws up real no attention to what you think mean ME is saying about Me. It's called self sabotage. Stop being so freaking good at it. 

One benefit of writing this blog is that it allows me to interact with a variety of amazing and unique individuals that I otherwise may not have had the opportunity with which to connect.
I've heard from Parents of children- as well as adult individuals living with Asperger's Syndrome. 

In 1944, an Austrian pediatrician named Hans Asperger described four young patients with similar social difficulties. Although their intelligence appeared normal, the children lacked nonverbal communication skills and failed to demonstrate empathy with their peers. They spoke like little adults. Their manner of speech was either disjointed or overly formal, and their all-absorbing interests in narrow topics dominated their conversations. The children also shared a tendency to be clumsy. This was the first documentation of what now is known as Asperger Syndrome which is an Autism Spectrum Disorder - ASD and is considered to be a "high functioning" form of Autism. 

People with Asperger Syndrome may share some of the following behaviors:

  • limited or inappropriate social interactions
  • robotic or repetitive speech
  • challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expression, etc.) 
  • tendency to discuss self rather than others
  • lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
  • obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
  • one-sided conversations

Each of these symptoms tends to vary widely among affected individuals. Not all individuals with Asperger syndrome display all of these behaviors. The challenges presented are also very often accompanied by unique gifts. Hans Asperger said, It seems that for success in science or art a dash of autism is essential. For success the necessary ingredients may be an ability to turn away from the everyday world, from the simple practical, an ability to rethink a subject with originality so as to create in new untrodden ways...

Autism. I feel like I can better see it now where it the grocery store, at parties, at the mall, even in certain instances in my past.. It's like I can see into another dimension I had no idea existed before. Even now, what before was just an uncomfortable conversation has changed. Now when I converse with a person I suspect to have Asperger's Syndrome, I realize it is only me that felt uncomfortable in these situations previously. It was me that wanted to switch from discussing one super-focused topic at great length. It was me that felt bored or restless. The individual seems to be at ease and in their element. Just knowing that they are not uncomfortable was extremely reassuring to me. Now I attempt to respect their comforts and boundaries. Lord knows they've had to adapt to our typical way over and over again.  

Almost every time I hear from individuals with Aspergers that read this blog they say until they were diagnosed they didn't know what they were doing "wrong" because people didn't want to talk to them. And I also hear from their Moms and Dads that say- I just HOPE they world accepts my child and sees them for all the beauty they hold inside. I hope they can make just one good Friend. Now THAT breaks my heart.  And although it breaks my heart a little, it also gives me hope for change all at the same time. And although I get that our social norms and restrictions and inclusions are quite the contrast- I don't think individuals with Aspergers are wrong. They are different. And with understanding often comes a beautiful embrace of different.  Different is often labeled wrong, but I think it's beautiful sometimes too. 

Children with Aspergers often don't know why they have trouble making friends. But often times people with Aspergers DO want to be included. They DO want Friends.  They sometimes feel wrong and like the outcast. So just keep in mind when talking to that hyper-focused individual...When you think- Why are we still talking about computers horses/plants/a movie? In the past I've called it quirky or awkward, but now I just call it different. They don't always know why- but they feel our uncomfortable. And in that moment- do yourself a favor. Attempt to transform into their world. Just try it on for size. Everyone deserves to feel normal and right and included in Life.

I love to try on Grey's World. 

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It's so amazing to see the Universe through his fresh and focused eyes. He was mesmerized watching the lawn mower going back and forth and back and forth.

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He teaches me to notice things I've never looked twice at before.

I think we ALL long for meaningful connections, regardless of what we have or don't have. I think it's one of the most very important essences in life. Which leads me to share these words that feel like home to me, written by Oriah Dreamer


It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Happy Finally Freaking Friday.
Love. Me

Life with Greyson + Parker on Facebook


  1. Thank you so much for all of your posts. This one I really needed to hear. Now that my son is getting to the age where his super powers often make him stand out as different I feel like I being judged as a Mom more often, but in reality you are probably right. It is likely just ME worried about not being a good enough Mom. It's great to be reminded I should cut myself some slack and remember we are all just doing the best we can.

  2. The last 3 weeks we've been 5-10 mins late for Social Group because I had to stop and get my coffee...ooops! I felt the same guilt you did but also decided that missing 5 mins. of group isnt going to change my sons life. I too was judging myself, nobody else was. I think we need to give ourselves a break sometimes. We really are doing the best we can. (easier said than done i know!) K from Boston

  3. Beautiful post. I'm a Me Beater Upper as well. I'm getting better, but sometimes I think I'm the meanest person I know, always picking on myself. Thanks for reminding me that it's okay to Pull the Push door. I'm pretty good at that trick as well.

  4. I am a ME beater upper myself. The push vs pull of the door and then trying to come up with a quick self depricating joke, all ME. Running late bc I stop to do one quick errand or get ME a cup of coffee and then beating ME up all day over being late-worrying about how others see ME, SO ME! Praying with my every ounce of ME, that my Asberger-like son will have one good friend, ME. Thank you for opening my eyes today. The worry and angst that comes with being a mother of a Super Hero is like no other. You worry that they will have friends and be accepted. That hope is like no other. You are doing a wonderful job thanks for writing and letting us know we arent alone. XOXO Kristen @ One in 1 Hundred

  5. Lovely post - I have been reading your blog daily for months, love everything about it! I think I finally decided to comment today because you included my very favourite poem of all time, with my favourite line "I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself". I am inspired by you, thank you!

  6. There is a Starbucks right next door to my son's therapy office. I laughed when I read your post because my son's therapist is always late but I always arrive right on time so I don't look like "that mom". I actually crumble when one of the therapists cancels and I only have 1 hour rather than 2 because... really I rely on those kid free hours to debrief, find myself, breathe in the warm air of Starbucks.

  7. Love reading your words every day. I teach kindergarten and have a friend in my class with super powers! He's an excellent reader and very smart. Having 26 kids it's hard tonlisten to everything he has to say and give him the grabtifcation of a response each time. He's very verbal, repeats, and needs to know what's next. He's the sweetest kid, very willing to try but gets caught up on little things. I know your words will get mr through this school year. U r a great, wonderful, person and mother.

  8. Oh, Chrissy. This is the best post ever. Really. Everything you said... everything you imagined and put into words, shall be my mantra. Thank you for your gift of thought, of real feelings, and of your extraordinary insight. My life is changed tonight because of you. As a teacher, as a mother, as a friend to the world.

    Thank you.


  9. Isn't it funny how God had "different" plans for our life than we would have imagined, but being usual is boring and being different is beautiful. Your boys are beautiful, you are beautiful and this post is beautiful. Now if the world can realize that different is beautiful we'd be in business:)

  10. Thank you!!! I don't have children but I still beat myself up by trying to fit in to the world I experienced in life. Quirky & awkward describes me well. Obsessed a tad, but I think it is more about being comfortable in what is familiar. T
    Bless you & May you continue to be the wonderful person you are