Tuesday, July 12, 2022

the search for silver linings

I can see his head," she announced. "Your baby has blond hair". 

He was real, and her words made it so. I think her name was Donna... the woman staring intently at my vagina. She wasn't a complete stranger, we met briefly earlier in the day when she did rounds as the 'On Call' Physician for the OBGYN Womans Practice in which I was a patient.

I arrived at the hospital around 7am, 12 hours prior, and now I was finally in the final stages of labor. Jessica the Labor and Delivery Nurse was counting the ten second push duration with each of my contractions.

My hospital grippy socked feet were planted on the foot holsters and numb, due to an overzealous epidural that at first didn’t take. One foot would occasionally flop haphazardly off, while I would grin sheepishly, nudging Michael. Hey, my foot fell off again. Can you fix it? It was the weekend, the sky cradled its full moon. It all was unreal...a dream. I somehow still quite couldn't believe there was an actual baby inside of me. No one talked about that part. The bizarreness of it all. Or maybe just no one else found it bizarre. I found it straight out of a sci fi or zombie apocalypse movie. A human growing another small human. ( I was growing a penis. How is that even possible?! ) And oh yes, when the small human is done growing, it flies out of your vagina. 

I feel this way often in new stages of life. Like I am some alien life form confused trying to process it all. It seems like everyone else can at least pretend like they know what the hell they are doing. I can't even pretend. I need extra processing time.

I look back on old blog posts, written as I processed many moments in autism land. Everything was different compared to my view of others. Aching sadness usually turned into silver linings. It felt normal. I don't need our life to be normal- but I do need it to feel like our normal. 

Now the boys are older and I feel the familiar pang of transition. Greyson is 13, and Parker is 11, and their opportunities to interact with typically developing kids their own age are scarce. Over the past few years our Universe has shrank. Relationships have changed, as they often do. The more isolated we are, the more I forget how different we are in direct comparison. 

Sometimes life feels like a party that we are just not invited to. 

It’s easy to throw a bunch of 5 year olds into the mix, playing at the playground, balancing their tricky emotions- mainly tired or hungry, eating snacks and blowing bubbles.We went to a July 4th party at my dear friends house and I was deep in my head when a little after we arrived.

When I saw the Grand Canyon divide, it took my breath away. I watched Greyson and Parker sit alone by the pool minutes after we arrived. (Should I go out there and help them interact? Do they want that? Do I want to do that? What should I do?) My suddenly one track mind wanted desperately to just sit and process these feelings, and I had to remind myself- live in this moment with your friends. You don't need to be therapist- just be Mom. 

It's an honor watching my friends kids grow up. The boys are getting deeper voices and bigger man-like bodies. The girls seem to have skipped the insanely awkward stage that I excelled in at their age. 

These kids move together like the tide. They go to school together and hang out together. I sit on the sidelines and watch, unable to contribute to conversations about baseball and high school and that life that sounds like a foreign language. Those kids graduated from Yo Gabba Gabba over a decade ago. This is development, I realize, and although my boys are developing constantly too, it looks completely different. Their future isn't as solidly defined. 

I sort through these feelings… is this sadness or just the need for feelings that need acknowledgment? Do you want this for them or for you? Do you want this at all? What is this ache? I don’t envy the big talks and fears other parents must have- drugs, and social media and sex, and high school… but it can feel so lonely being 'other' looking in.

Greyson and Parker don’t know how, or maybe even want to be like those other kids, but I know they want to flow with their own tide of friends who do what they do, who love what they love, who see the world as they do. I think we all long to be seen. To be truly seen. I wish desperately I could buy it for them, no price tag would deter me, I’d find a way. 

So many of us experience our own ache of other. We just don't talk about it alot. I don't know why- maybe we don't want to interrupt Status Quo or make the Majority think we are criticizing or resenting them. Single people in a room of marrieds, kidless someone in a room full of parents, someone dealing with an illness or disability, a tough family, a life problem or situation… people who are on the less traveled road. We all have our quiet moments of processing the loss of something it seems like everyone else has. The answers often come with time and aren’t necessarily ones we would choose for ourselves or our people. There is where our ability to be great comes into play- 

Will I accept the answers I can’t change? 

Will I examine these feelings without judgement or guilt so I can process and move on? 

Will I search for silver linings? 

As I look at these pictures I remember, yes- this is exactly right- the life we are living. I sit and take deep breaths and finally can regard my big feelings without judgement. Acceptance in, bad feelings out. Whoosh. Yes, yes, yes, to all of it. I will search for the silver linings. I can’t imagine it any other way. But sometimes it takes me a minute to get there. 


  1. With each new phase in life I feel that ache for a moment but then remember the now and not the what if’s. The older our kiddos get it’s hard not to compare at times but your boys have come a long way, I’ve followed you for years and love how you embrace their unique way of seeing things.

  2. beautifully said
    feeling this so deeply
    thank you for sharing your true feelings and what many of us feel but can’t express quiet so beautifully

  3. wow. So good. Thank you for giving a glimpse of your "normal". And for this: we don`t need our lives to be normal, but to be our "normal". Yes. And the silver linings. Yes. And acceptance.Yes. And yes.