Thursday, January 15, 2015

burdens to blessings

We've lived in our new pad just shy of two weeks, and walking up to the front door already feels like home. We've been been busy discovering, fixing and decorating. Browsing new paint colors (I'm looking for a really good solid gray- do you know of one?)

This week I took the time to pay attention to the details. Like this tree here in our back yard.

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Isn't she a beaut?! I mean- I've seen it numerous times before, but in the chaos of the move and life I didn't stop to think: Holy cow. There is an actual tree with fruit on it in my very own back yard! Do you want a snack- here let me go get it from MY BACKYARD. 

I found myself looking at this tree and being amazed by it on Wednesday. A fruit tree in my backyard feels like vacation to this Missouri gal. What are they? I wondered referring to the bright yellow citrus hanging from the branches. I asked Michael. He wasn't sure. Grapefruit? He suggested. They smelled mostly like lemons and a tiny little bit like grapefruit. I asked people who came to our house- What do you think these are? Lemons seemed to be the consensus. Really big lemons. Wow! I had no idea they grew that huge. 

After numerous toilet overflows and strange gurgling noises coming from our Master bathroom (thankfully no more poo flying out of the shower drain) we have discovered we have a structural problem with our plumbing's mainline. That's code for- On Monday they are going to have to rip our master bathroom up. It will probably take all week to fix.

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Oh crap. Literally.

At the beginning of this week we had a plumber with an underground camera who confirm this bad news. When I found out, there was a moment I felt like I could go either way. FREAK OUT or decide to just truly not care about it. At all. Not in a- I need to talk myself out of freaking out- kind of way- but really not caring.

So what?

I thought about it. Really thought about it. Yes, it will be irritating- a construction crew in our bathroom Monday through at least Thursday of next week. Probably early in the morning. We are NOT morning people. We are pajamas as long as we can people. But they will be here all day-every day until it's fixed. No peeing in our toilet in the middle of the night. Actually having now to open my eyes and walk down the hall. No showering in our shower. People at our house constantly- you know in addition to behavior therapists. No rest in my room while Greyson watches TV with me and Parker naps. Of course I could name at least ten awful things about it right this very second. 

I remember with startling clarity how I felt a couple of weeks after Greyson was diagnosed with autism. Way before I had fully processed it --but after the initial horrific pain had gone away.

I felt strong.

I've made me through this, so I can handle anything now, I remember thinking. I felt strength laced with a resilience that easy or perfect never provided. Strength that had changed me forever. I felt a clarity for life I never knew was possible. Like I finally knew what was important in life. I won the golden ticket. I learned how blessed I was, not because of autism, but for all the gifts it opened my eyes too. For all the goodness it all brought into my life. I felt a bleeding compassion for people who were going through hard things. Pain and love are such close companions. I felt connected to something that beats as strong as a heart.

And as I have healed, I've lost some of that raw, gorgeous perspective.

But much of it is still here, I notice when I dig around, and for those things I am grateful. It helps me handle life. It reminds me what matters. Ripping up a bathroom doesn't matter. We have two full other bathrooms in our house- HOW AMAZING. That means that really- there is no problem. We are completely taken care of. Some people would kill for three bathrooms. 

I thought of other things we see as a burden that actually are clues of great riches. As a society I hear us complain about things that are actually quite amazing. 

I can't believe I have to go to the grocery store. 

How lucky are we to need food- and just be able to go buy it?! Almost whenever we want?!!!! Fresh fruit and vegetables and salty and sweet treats. It really is quite amazing. We ran out of bananas yesterday and I got to go to a store that sells bananas and just BUY MORE!!! I didn't have to first plant a tree or work a double to make money to buy bananas. I just went to the store, put them in my cart, and then swiped a little plastic card at the end and I got to keep those bananas to bring home. Abundance.

I love to complain about cleaning my house. Hold on- I OWN A HOUSE!!! Isn't that amazing? How proud I must be to clean it. Ummm, actually no. And I complain about those not one, not two, but THREE bathrooms I have to clean. Could you IMAGINE me having a conversation with a Mother in Africa. She is telling me about her fears for her child with AIDS, or the fact that they don't have running water, or she isn't sure where she will find the next meal for her children...

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And I will tell her, "I feel ya sister. I get really frustrated by the fact that I have to vacuum every damn day. I have dog hair on all my fancy hard wood floors. I have two dogs that constantly shed and two little kids and it gets so overwhelming!"

It's one of the reasons I will never complain about taking the boys to therapies. I'm so grateful that we have the option and resources available to us. I know many of you live in states and cities that don't. We are grateful. Taking them to schools and therapies does not get in the way of my life-  It is my life and it's what I am here to do. Thank you God for that awesome responsibility. I'm so glad you trusted me with these two little perfect monkeys.

We got a call today that Greyson can officially enroll for school in the Fresno Unified School District. The school we hoped he would get. The school for which we moved to this part of town. We got the call and I held my breath. As soon as I heard them say it, I was relieved, and then I was so gutterly sad. So, so sad. I love him so much that sometimes I miss him even when we are together. He is my constant companion.

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He makes a trip to Lowe's a blast. "I waaaaannnn tack-tor".

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These two are my little buddies. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember who I am when they aren't around.

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He makes me slow down and enjoy the ride. We sat on this swing for at least 20 minutes. Why not? We had absolutely no where else to be.

I am scared. I'm not ready to let him go after our awful school experience a couple of years ago- but the truth is I'll never be ready to let him go. I'm certain my umbilical cord was never cut with him-  only stretched. I remind myself that he needs this. He needs us to try it out. He's 5 1/2 and he's ready. He needs me to be hopeful for him. He needs me to let him fly. So I will stand back and watch him soar. This may even be a big fat blessing. 

I thought about it and realized I'm was doing it again--turning a blessing into a burden. I took a moment to have a chat with God: Please God- Let my problems always steer me to my blessings. Let me focus on the right part.

And you know what? I cut open one of those huge lemons last night. 

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Turns out it's a pomelo (one of the largest citrus fruits, resembling a grapefruit but not as bitter). It was sweet and delicious. I realized it's the theme to this whole post. 

When life gives you pomelos, don't turn them into lemons. 

Much Love,


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  1. Thank You, Chrissy; making me laugh and cry. And Congratulations Mr. Greyson! It's been a little over a year for us, Thank You for holding my virtual hand through it all ! Enjoy your beautiful pomelos! Xoxo, Mary

  2. "Taking them to schools and therapies does not get in the way of my life- It is my life and it's what I am here to do. Thank you God for that awesome responsibility. I'm so glad you trusted me with these two little perfect monkeys." - This. This is such truth and speaks volumes to my heart. Thank you for sharing this thought. It's so true. Parenting (whether special needs or not) is such an awesome responsibility and all the to do's that come with that responsibility are not taking up space in my life. .. they are my life. Love this.

  3. I don't even know what to say...this was amazing. Every word. Probably one of my favorite posts to date.
    And congrats to Greyson!! He is going to do GREAT!


  4. Strong! That is my word for this year! It focuses me on so many things I want to be. Strong body, mind, heart, marriage, faith. I used to hate the word. It seemed like people's pat answer to you when something went bad - Oh, you're strong you can handle it. Hate that! So now, if I don't know how to handle it, I am not strong? I have started writing the word on the inside of my left wrist. It is something I can look at when things are getting off track, ie. my son is pushing my patience. For me, strong is my resolve and commitment to be who & what I
    want and to stop making excuses.
    You, my friend, are such an example of wanting to be better and trying and always working at it - seeing life from new angles and seeing the beauty in them all. Thank you.
    Love & happiness to you, sweet momma. xoxo Miracle

  5. Congratulations on getting the school call. I know how tough that wait can be. I hope school is amazing for Greyson!
    To encourage you that moving for a school can be worth it ... We scoured our school choices and found what we thought was the best fit for our son but he can only go there for kindergarten. Was it worth it, this potentially perfect school if he then had to deal with change just one year later, a kid who hates change and has trouble leaving the house everyday no matter where we are going??
    Why yes, yes it was. It wasn't just a first year school experience that won't make him hate school forever, it wasn't just good, it was "wonderful" (his word), amazing, nothing short of miraculous. He started kindergarten 4 days before his 6th birthday, the oldest kid in the class. He went from the social skills of a 2 yr old to that of maybe an almost 5 yr old in a matter of weeks (3 yrs of preschool had done nothing for his lack of social skills). He had friends for the first time ever. He let other kids and staff touch him without screaming or growling. He takes compliments sometimes now instead of turning away or trying to hide himself. When greeted he often says hello and goodbye back now instead of never responding. He knows tidbits about the lives of his classmates and teachers instead of having little to no interest in them. It's like the whole world opened up to him all of the sudden. I cried tears of joy the day I picked him up from recess and several boys bear hugged him goodby and he let them. Then he said to mas we walked to the car in a voice filled with wonder, "I think they like my. They're my friends."
    Living proof that the perfect-fit school really can make a difference! We are so sad he can only be there one year, but so happy we gave him this amazing start to life in the scary outside world.
    As hard as change is for two very anxious kids we are learning that changing to have them in the right school can have huge payoffs and not doing it can have just as huge consequences. On yet another quest to find that right school for our daughter now.

  6. My prayers for you and Greyson as you start this school journey.....Cheryl

  7. Sorry about the bathroom- house construction can be very irritating. Your photos of the boys are priceless.

  8. I am so in awe of your words. Thank you for sharing and opening your hear to us. I'm working on changing my lemons as we speak. Blessings to you!

  9. Try Martha Stewart Cement Grey. We have used it and about 5 different people have loved it and used it in their homes. Also, your boys are so so so so beautiful. Much love.

  10. It does get better.. the pain from learning that your child has autism. It has been 6 years but I can still remember the day, the moment I felt the pain when I heard that he showed "red flags". It still feels surreal but you learn how to conquer it, manage it and eventually heal from it. All I can say is .. the boys will get better. Good Luck on the new school. I pray that he will have great teachers that will love him and help him learn and be the best he can be.

  11. I recommend Sherwin Williams - Crushed Ice SW7647

  12. I enjoy your writing so much. If you wrote a book, I would be first in line. Blessings from Arkansas.