Thursday, June 26, 2014

feels like home

Greyson and Parker's breath smells like home and Summer and honest and God. I put my face up close to theirs and just breathe them in. Even in the morning their breath to me is perfection. Like I've hoped for it and known it all my life.

Today was an easy kid day. So many good simple moments that allow me to remember how much I love to breathe them in. How much I love to feed Parker even though he can do it all by himself. There's just something about seeing him open his little baby bird mouth so I can put the food in that makes me pool out onto the floor with gratitude.

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I love that Parker is always game to follow along.

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I love that he always HAS to be carrying something. Like a notebook or a greeting card or an eye glass case or a dinosaur.

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He stood in the bushes and said "Raaaaahhhh"

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I love that he doesn't let his little size stop him from mighty things. 

Do you ever have a slippery moment when out of the blue air you suddenly feel completely like yourself- and only in doing so do you realize you must have been lost for some time? Or sometimes you catch a glimpse of your face in the mirror and suddenly you look familiar again. I felt that today. It felt like walking in my front door after a long and exhausting trip. It felt like home. Where was I? Why did I go there? How did I get back? I really like it here in this place where I remember who I am. I felt it today when I went for a walk with Grey in the stroller. For 15 years I ran, and suddenly one day last Summer I woke up in unbearable pain. I couldn't move my knee. And I discovered my right knee had severe bone on bone arthritis and poof- just like that- my running was over. I was so pissed I couldn't run that I couldn't fathom walking. It didn't even feel like exercise. It felt like 92 years old at the mall at 6am. 

So I've barely worked out. And finally the past week it's been so hot and windy and amazing out that I've been walking a few times. And it feels like home. Even when time moves forward and life changes we must pull our favorite old selves along. 

Today I saw another adult Special Needs group at Target. I was captivated because from what it looked like to me- these individuals had autism. It was subtle, eyes down and head phones on, which helps block the sounds of the outside world which can much too much for someone living with autism. One beautiful soul spoke, and her tone and cadence was robotic like- something also common for people with autism. I was behind the group leader at Starbucks and I had to talk to her. I suddenly turn into Captain Awkward. I didn't know what to say and not say. 

"Are you the leader of that group?" I finally spit out, nodding towards the people sitting at the table. She was so sweet and beautiful and kind. 
"Yes", she responded curious.  
"Do any of them have autism?" I ask, as if I am just taking a survey and it is a perfectly normal thing to ask a stranger. What a weirdo thing to say.

I heard crickets and the ladies smile turned into a confused one. 

"I mean. Well because, you see both of my boys here have autism and ahhh well. Uh yes. I'm just want to... I mean, I think that... (Shut up now). I just- this is great. " 

She finally alleviated my discomfort. "Yes, they do."

I wanted to ask her a million questions but she sort of had her hands full so we just had this really awkward 2 minute conversation. I kept talking more to fix the awkward and instead kept making more. "I write a blog about autism. Well, it's not about autism- I don't know what it's about really. I mean- I know what it's about because I'm the one who writes it, but it's about all kinds of things. I mean good things. I mean I hope it's good things- I know- I'll give you my blog address, I tell her, relieved to finally hear myself stop talking. 

"Oh, that's nice" - she said in a way I say when I actually don't think something is really that nice in fact. And then she left. 

I'm used to being on the receiving side of awkward. "Oh, your boys have autism? My cousins neighbor had autism but I didn't know him. He was really severe though. He couldn't talk."

Okay then. Ahhh, I probably won't mention that my boys can't talk either now.

"Your son has autism? I went to school with someone with Down syndrome. They were so sweet. Children with Down syndrome are just so cute and cuddly." (Suddenly I can't remember if we are talking about my boys or puppies.)

"Well, uh, great! That is... Nice. Yes, that's... very nice".

And I understand that people are just longing to connect and that's always a beautiful thing- even if it comes out awkward.  And it usually makes me laugh (or cringe and then laugh) when I think about it later.  So today it was me. On the giving side of awkward. And in addition to laughing at myself, I'm forgiving myself too. This whole Special Needs thing is still kind of new.

Okay- two last things. I want to remind you that June is the month of giving around here. If you are willing and able, please give to ANY charity that speaks to your soul and makes your heart feel home. I want to spotlight a very special organization that Michael and I donated money to as part of our giving. It's called Surfer's Healing and something about hearing the Founder Izzy's voice also feels like coming home. It's not often you get to meet someone like him- someone who is so clearly doing the very work of his soul. Take two minutes to watch this video, and it will give you many more minutes than that back to your life in perspective. 

Izzy starts the video out by saying: 

In the struggles for finding your place in life... Do I just work or do I make the world a better place? I know exactly what I'm supposed to do... I'm supposed to be here on this planet to take out children with autism surfing. 

And every time I hear that part I cry. It's a brave and important sentiment.

Sometimes so much beauty can be born from love and pain. I'm inspired by his example.

They are a bare bones organization and would love any amount of money you can share. You can visit them HERE. One day I can't wait to tell you about OUR experience meeting Izzy and his special group and I can't wait. 

And lastly- If you are local- Come see us here Friday. Let's connect. If you aren't local- but still want to contribute even $5- we'll take it. HERE is our own personal Autism Speaks Tribute Page that you can donate directly to.

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That's it for now. Signing off.




  1. Sigh. I'm sitting here at 4am after a night of zero sleep and your words have once again comforted me. Yesterday we found out that our second son also, indeed, has autism. His is moderate (his older brother is mild) and it feels a little like a kick in the gut. It wasn't a shock, really, but a kick nonetheless. I was reminded of your words one post about it being ok to not love autism and, believe me, I'm there right now. I love my boys and I love the quirks and the happy flapping and the meowing and the absurd ability to copy packaging pictures with toys or food. But I don't love how difficult it will make things for them. And now, I'M just awkwardly blabbing. Lol. But, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for keeping me company at 4 am. Thank you for getting it. Thank you for sharing. Thank you.

    Onwards and upwards. Xo

    1. Thank you for your words. It's hard, all of it. Just handle 2 months at a time. That's it. I give you permission to not worry about the future right now. Do something nice for you too- okay? I mean it. A massage, a bubble bath a trip to Target alone. Big Hugs.

  2. Was finally able to give! We (my husband and I) gave $80 to our friend's adoption agency to help them bring home their baby.

    1. YAAAAAAAA emily. What a PERFECT place to give. Can't wait for you to tell me they brought home their baby!!!

  3. Amazing! I have never heard of that charity before, thank-you so much for sharing the video! Wow! I love when he says that doing these camps are 'the favorite days of his life' so sweet. You have inspired me on so many levels Kelly but one of them is speaking up. I am the worlds biggest introvert and now having a son with Autism, I am being his voice. I am speaking up for him all other kiddos and adults just like him. I put my insecurities aside, my feelings of awkardness and just speak :) Ok sorry got a little deep there, but keep doing what you are doing because you and your family are awesome!

    1. Chrissy I am so very sorry, I have no idea why I always type in Kelly instead of Chrissy! I am sorry, how rude of me. eek! :(

    2. are a necessary voice for your son....children need advocates and their parents are the most equipped even through your introverted tendencies. Press on!

    3. Valerie- I call my dog Jack- Grey all the time and vice versa. If I can't keep track of my children's names I do not expect anyone else to keep track of mine. love, Kelly ;-)

  4. Good Luck with the Lemonade Stand tomorrow. I will be there in spirit. In body, however, I am sending vibes from North Carolina.

    Love to you and yours,

  5. Beautiful video, big hearts, lasting memories! I wept. Wow. I had to send this to my good friend who runs a surf camp out of Santa Clarita. Since you are highlighting a month of giving in June, our family is going through pediatric cancer right now. We just donated $40 to Children's Hospital of Los Angeles where our 12 year old son is receiving treatment for osteosarcoma. I love reading here and thank you for sharing this amazing journey you are living. Your heart is big and your writing is good. Thank you.

    1. Much love and prayers to you, your entire family abnd your son. Please keep me posted on your son. XO

  6. Wow! Izzy is amazing.what a cool way for these kids to connect to something

  7. love every single word. every single word. I know that feeling all to well of being lost for a time--I think I'm there now. love you friend!