Wednesday, March 16, 2016

hitting the wall and bouncing back

Every once in awhile, I am reminded that the Universe is so much bigger than me.

I am one tiny human, and the Universe actually is titanic, so comparatively speaking, I don't really understand how I can forget something SO obvious SO often. But I do. Again and again. And then I remember, again and again. I think the most tremendous and important lessons we learn in life have to be taught to us over and over and over again.

I am a slow learner when it comes to life. Perhaps that is life's very definition- a story in which we slowly learn. Is there a theme in your life that you just cant seem to get away from?

When my world, my problems, my thoughts are feeling HUGE and the world shrinks away, I am always brought back. Brought back by loud music, exercise, time with a friend, writing, time, the ocean, the setting sun or by listening to the stories we all carry in our heart and our arms and our words. Connecting through stories makes me feel better. Your stories. My friends stories. Our old widower neighbor, Tom's story. Today I was watching the kids in the drop off lane come and go at Grey's school. For twenty minutes Grey and I sat there watching each car go by. I was fascinated at how different and how the same each experience was, each car carrying its own amazing story. A love story. A story of loss and gain and perseverance and joy. I loved watching the little kids who were still young enough to yell out, "I love you!" without a shred of self conscience. Today I fell in love with those stories that I didn't even get to hear, but got to see. 

And just like that- today, I am back. I see my reflection in the mirror and recognize her again. She might have come back yesterday, I didn't really pay attention. Where have you been? I ask. I don't like it when you go away.

Saturday I hit the wall. Then I fell down smack on the floor. And melted into a puddle. Life has just been so so hard. And when life is so so hard, that means I am dealing with things I can not control. I don't mind hard things that I get to fix nearly as much. But it's hard to breath when there are hard things I can't fix. 

And I can handle anything physical. I am so mind over matter about that stuff. I can do hot yoga or run a marathon or have 18 inch steel rods placed on either side of my spine for scoliosis. I can give birth after my epidural wore off (thanks Doodle). My mind and my body work together to get through that kind of stuff.

But emotional stuff exhausts me like nothing else in the world. I can not mind over mind myself. My mind alone is too stubborn, too strong willed. There were times I would come home after an evening session of marriage counseling and just go to bed. I was so tired I couldn't speak or even think or watch TV. And the stresses from the past couple of weeks have been emotional. And based on things completely out of my control.


We've had some growing pains with Grey's school. Things I haven't been able to put into perspective or understand. I've had to communicate wants, needs and disenchantment much more than I'm used to. I'm not the type of person to send my meal back. I'll just eat it. But when my meal is replaced with stuff for my boys- well, then I have to send my meal back. And that aint easy for me. And the Universe is hell bent on teaching me this lesson. So I am trying. And struggling and learning and unlearning and trying.

Sometimes I just don't know where to find the energy to keep trying.

And as always, when things are hard or feel impossible- God also ALWAYS sends in the angels. People who get it, who live it, who want what I want because it's right- not because I want it. People who are helping to make things good. People with passion. I don't care about technical skill, fancy degrees or knowledge, at least not nearly as much as I care about character, passion and heart. You can't fake those things, and that is what I seek. And trust me- there are so many people who care about kids with character,passion and heart. In fact, that's why I never tell people- "You are the only one who will advocate for your child." Because that's just NOT RIGHT. And if you are the only one advocating for your child, well then you aren't getting services from the right people! Heck, I'll help you advocate for your child. Tell me what it is you need help with.

Ok, so that stuff,  plus Michael being gone for work and Grey getting sick- and me not being able to clone myself. I'd carry a fevering, pajama'ed Grey to the car so I could drop Doodle off at school and therapy. By the time I started the engine, they would both be screaming. And at home, Grey would cry for me to lie in the bed with him, but if I did that- Parker would take all the knives out on the knife holder on the kitchen counter, or somehow find medicine not locked up and somehow open the child proof lid, or be found by a neighbor, an entire block away, with no pants on, riding a bike, and carrying a toy saxophone. All true stories.

So by the weekend, well I was DONE. So done that I couldn't meet a friend for a drink or go for a walk or do anything but put on pajamas at 6:30pm on Friday. I wasn't feeling any better on Saturday. In the later afternoon I took Parker to the grocery store, and while pulling out of my spot, a woman who was in too much of a hurry to put her cart back, backed into me.

We exchanged insurance information. I held it together. I pretended to be sane. I drove home, walked in our house and immediately started squealing crying. Sobbing. Screaming. I CAN'T DO IT!!! "Do what?" Michael asks confused.

ALL OF IT. ALL OF IT. LIFE!!! You traveling! The boys! Are hard! Grey's School! HARD! Cooking! Cleaning!!! EVERYTHING. SO HARD. I cried so hard my eyes got puffy and I sat on the couch with the TV on while I stared at the wall for hours. I ate two HUGE rectangle pieces of grocery store sheet cake and a pint of ice cream. Seriously.

I had to remind myself, just keep putting one foot in front of the other...

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You will get there. Where ever the hell there is.

But that swell is over, that wave knocked me off my board, and slammed salt water up my nose. But this week I got back up.  And that same life that was so awful last week, is suddenly manageable this one. Happiness =circumstance + perspective. Luckily this week my perspective (and some of my circumstances) are so much better.

If you are going through a hard time...

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I can handle today. Tomorrow, I can handle tomorrow. I haven't made it through a tomorrow I couldn't handle. I bet you haven't either.

Some scenes from the past couple days...

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Parker watching The Good Dinosaur

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My escape artist on his vehicle of choice.

And every once in awhile I feel like the Universe is so small. The perfect kind of small where everything is manageable. Today when I picked Parker up from school, I saw him zooming around on a bike. A real, actual bike- not like our dinky little tricycle at home. It was out of nowhere. Actually, out of days and days and weeks and years of trying and then nowhere. Seriously- years. Don't even get me started on how long it took to get him to wear a helmet. (ABA THERAPISTS- YOU ROCK!!! TEAM PARKER WE LOOOOOVE YOU!!!!) He's probably been working on this for two years. But he can do it LIKE A BOSS. And my heart is full.

And it was a two person bike so of course I had to get on the back. We rode like this for at least twenty minutes. He was pedaling ME. My mouth was wide open laughing and squealing the entire time. And I could cry because it was just THE GREATEST feelings all at once. Like heart healing and accomplishment and peace and God and mint chip ice cream with the chocolate shavings as chips and not big chunks. The sun was shining and a breeze was blowing and just like that- I knew everything I've been struggling with lately is going to be ok. The great thing about having a kid who learns differently- is that sometimes you are shocked by seeing something just so totally unexpected. Here's a video for you to watch. (Thank you so much for recording it Jordann!!! We love you.)

Magic. Perspective. So much good. It's crazy how much autism teaches me every single day. Character defining goodness I never would have known, had it not been for my boys.

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Thank you for the picture, Zoua!!!

I wish I could take a magic wand and take away autism, but since I can't- I will learn everything I can about life from it. I will absorb all the stories it wants to tell. I owe that to my boys and to everyone who has ever struggled with the pangs of different.

So much love,



  1. Thank you, Chrissy. Today's post was a gift for me. Your words, and the pictures that always bring a smile to my face (your boys are so beautiful, and you capture them so well), were just what I needed. Thank you for taking the time and energy to write -- and being so courageous in sharing your heart.

  2. I so enjoy your writing. You are such an inspiration.

  3. Thank you, thank you for this post. My mantra lately has been " keep moving gently forward" and lately that has been feeling like millimeters. Some days it is all so hard to endure- but that is what us mamas do best. You inspire me in roughest of days- thanks, Chrissy.

  4. I needed this today. My son is not on the spectrum but is definitely a quirky guy and struggles with depression. I have been stuck at I CAN'T DO IT...for a couple of days. Thank you for sharing your story. One foot in front of the other! Your boys are beautiful and I think you will end up finding that they will exceed so many expectations.

  5. Thank you for this! It pretty much made me feel like I'm not alone. Even though I'm sitting here sobbing, I realize there are other moms out there who sometimes want to just stop and say "I can't do this" or "why is this happening". But just like you did, you take a time out for yourself and realize our kids can't do this alone and they count on us! Thank you again for writing such an amazing blog! It gives me hope.

  6. Sometimes we forget that about a child that learns differently......that we have to learn differently as well. Once we remember that we get back on track and get through another day.

  7. I had my breakdown yesterday in the Vet's office. Our dog is sick. She is 11 and the reality is starting to settle in... that it may come soon to say good-bye to this furry family member. This was piled on top of a crazy few weeks of a vomiting dog; kid shuffling, husband traveling, job demands, and seriously treading water to get by. Our Vet who has been through it, was sweet and assured me that the craziness gets better in a different way and handed me the Kleenex box. She saw my rock bottom of "I can’t do this." Thank you for telling the raw reality that life is much of the time! It’s not all rainbows and butterflies :)

  8. I spell poorly but read well. So forgive my writing skills. If you notice a little cajun in this message it is from Louisiana upbrining and resident.

    Your kids are perfect, beautiful targets for your lens. Your words flow like the Missippi and faith seeems to cast a great cloud over all that you do.

    Life can throw you into outerspace. Kids can throw you into another planet. And troubles with either can throw you straight to GOD.

    I often wonder about humans that don't have the ability to write, read, or funds to even own or access a computer. They miss great parents like yourself and the stories and parenting skills that make you so amazing.

    God is part of my life but to be honest he probally runs right behind my wife , kids, and grandkids. Thant is hard to say especially with the possibility of eternal damnation. But is honest.

    I was reading a Joel Osteen book ,It's Your Time , when my daughter sent me your blog. I already knew you remotely from my girls visiting Doe Bay with you. You are living proff of his positive book and push for a Carpe Diem life.

    After reading you I truly admire your family and you for "making life".

    You, your children and husband are now part of my priority list, I do not know where I will fit you between my family and God but you will be on my short list.

    Pray big, think big, dream big and life will be BIG for you and your family.