Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Do you care if we get our holiday fricking pictures taken Monday right before sunset? I ask Michael with a scoul. 

Uh...sure? He says. Although it didn't really sound like a question, he adds. 

I guess I wasn't really asking him if he wanted to go because I don't want to go. But I need to know I at least tried.

The thing is, last year's not one, but TWO- trying to get the perfect Christmas card photos were an absolute bust. Even the candids were a moving, messy, blurry mess. On purpose photos are impossible in our family. When Greyson would look at the camera- Parker wouldn't. 

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And vice versa. Every single time. We tried lying down. Bust. 

They wouldn't sit. 

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So then we followed them around- hoping if they called the shots their faces would remain happy. Then they wouldn't stand in the same frame. If we held them- one of them would buck to get down, screaming and unhappy. Bribery, candy, bubbles and bells didn't work. The kids hated it. I hated it. Michael hated it. Michael and I got into a fight after he threw Parker into the air to get a smile, and hit Parker's head on an awning. We both went home a sweaty mess. 400 pictures, all a bust.

This time I will try drugging. Me, not them. Fingers crossed. I'll let you know how it goes.

Most People don't fall into autism teaching. Once I become aware- I realized there are many powerful jobs that most people just don't fall into. They are usually rugged, demanding, powerful, hard as hell jobs. Oncology. Victims right advocates. Counselors. Super Power Teachers.  Many people are following an inner voice...some trying to right a wrong- within themselves or in the universe. Everyone has a story. A beautiful, painful, unique, awesome story. I think Teachers that work with kids with Super Powers have Super Powers of their own.

I vaguely remember the first time he flapped. Greyson. He was in awe over a candy table at a birthday party. It was awesome. I thought it was a sweet little Greyson thing to do. He starts out slow, a little flutter. And the more amazement he feels, the more he takes flight. Jumping and flapping is his own interpretive dance.

And it started to occur more often. Different things would set him off. Wheels. Steam from the rice cooker. Water beading down the shower door. Construction sites. On occasion moments of frustration during Speech Therapy or Behavior Therapy, but mostly places that set his soul wild. The Manager in his Behavior therapy program made note of this occurrence during a home visit. 

When did he start flapping his arms like that? she asked concerned. 

And soon I realized it was a Spectrum thing, not a Greyson thing. They made verbal corrections at the first hint of the slightest flap.

Greyson- Hands down. Quiet hands

And if he was sitting, Greyson, hands on knees. 

Quiet hands? I don't understand. Hands can't make noises. And I would hear it over and over again. Clearly flapping was something to be avoided, as important as keeping Greyson out of traffic and recognizing when we called his name.

Greyson, HANDS DOWN! I would declare, modeling his instructors. His flapping was like an announcement to the world. I am austic. I didn't want him to label himself that way. But the truth was I probably didn't want him to label me that way too. I didn't want you to see my perfect and precious boy and have your first thought be autism. I wanted it to be Greyson. 

And one day I realized, all that matters is what I think, what I see. Seeing his goodness first-- must start with me.

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And after time, I began to accept what was. My boy is a swirl of many things, part of which is hand flapping. My boy communicates with his eyes and his hands. 

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His sweet little still dimpled baby hands. They talk to me. They tell me amazing things. they tell me beautiful things. They tell me funny things. Instead of silencing them- I now celebrate them.

This morning I had Physical Therapy at 7am. That's practically midnight. At 6am I hit snooze. My bed was warm and cozy and the dogs were snoring and happy. Getting up to go do exercise was unbearable. Outside was pitch black out and cold. I don't know how you morning birds do it. You can have all the worms. 

After therapy I was proud and relieved. As I drove home I was blown away by the bustle and activity. The sky was glorious art, cleared by the recent rain. 

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Tears and rain leave everything a little clearer. The boys still had about 20 minutes before therapy. I needed them to see what I could see. I ran in the front door to find Doodle watching TV.

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Parker, Mommy is home! He didn't turn or flinch. He didn't know I was there. Inches from his face, and he still didn't know. Sometimes I feel like a ghost. I double check my reflection in the mirror to make sure I still exist. Sometimes autism takes them somewhere far away. 

He was so sweet and adorable and squishy- and I broke into his World and scooped him up. Grey didn't want to come with me- so Doodle and I bolted. 

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My little cow out to pasture.

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Yes, this is exactly what I needed to see. Parker and the big strong mountains and foothills. Something about the Ocean and the Mountains reminds me that we are so small and our problems are so manageable.

I hope these words reminds you of that too. So glad you are here with me.





  1. Those pjs are the best! I wish you could follow my little boy around with a camera all day - you capture the most beautiful and expressive photos of your son's precious faces. <3

  2. I am enjoying reading you and seeing all those gorgeous, beautiful photos of your handsome sons! I remember when I felt like I wasn't there, when I wasn't noticed by my little guy---but that will change with time, I promise.

  3. Wanted to share that when mine are watching T.V. it is like I am not there, like I didn't say anything out loud when I just asked a question. It's not just an autism thing when the T.V. is on.
    I think almost anything in nature can help us feel better. The other day I was looking at a tangle of plants and weeds and noted how messy nature can be yet we see overall beauty. I should look at life that way, I thought to myself and then promptly forgot about that thought until your post reminded me. Thanks once again Chrissy.

  4. Hi Friend. My son is a flapper. Not a happy flapper but a mad flapper. His hands start going when he gets upset. Two years ago his daycare photo caught him in full flap.That's when the spectrum talk started. We are still trying to figure it all out, with OT and specialists. I just want him to be the best version of him he can be - whatever that looks like. I know you want the same for your minions.
    Last year our christmas card was a collage. We did not get family photos so we (I) chose some snapshots thoughout the year and put them on a card with Merry Christmas & sent em out! Just a thought...
    We love Blues Clues too! Steve, Joe...we love em both!
    Happy Frank Day! Love & happiness to you, sweet Momma <3 Jen

    1. I'm glad you mentioned photo collage - I was thinking that might be a solution too. The hardest thing would be choosing what photos to include from all the amazing ones to pick from.