Dr. Sadeghi writes in his book that our secular world has given up many of its rituals. Rituals, or traditions, within cultures connect people. In Blue Zones of Happiness, Dan Buettner writes that we need a connectedness to be happy. Ironically, in our growing world that is becoming more one, more secular, making our world smaller, we are becoming less connected. I know that I feel extremely disconnected, and lonely, in one of the most populated cities in our country, right in the thick of the concrete jungle. We rush from one thing to another, we sit in our cars, on an overpopulated freeway, alone. We don’t take part in the little things, the little rituals, that connect us, make us who we are, make us who we once were as a people, connect us to where we came from, and to eachother. I grew up in a home full of tradition, or even rituals. I know it’s one of the many things that I love about Denmark. In fact, Blue Zones of Happiness refers to Denmark as one of the happiest people. It is not necessarily ritual based on religion, but it’s ritual based on who they are as a people. In my home, we sat down for a home-cooked dinner every single night. It was not a chore, it was not taken for granted, it was not an exception, we loved to do that every single night. Not only does dinner give us physical nourishment which we take for granted these days, stuffing our faces on the run, but the process of sitting down to dinner, taking it slowly, connecting with the others at the table, sharing your day, your thoughts, concerns, triumphs, and your meal, gives our minds and souls nourishment. It connects us. It was a ritual. Maybe it was a tradition. The dinners associated with special occasions or holidays were certainly steeped in tradition, not for religion, but for connecting with one another, and with our family and ancestors that cherished those rituals and traditions before us, connecting us, rooting us. That meant so much to us that to this day I stubbornly refuse to give any of it up! Yoga has taught me that it is all in the process. In one of my early yoga classes, at rush hour in the morning, the teacher, along with many of the students, came in, rushed, out of breath, tense, rushing to throw a mat down, get it done, get out. Her first insight in that class was that we all rush to place after place throughout our day, we rush to the freeway, to sit for such unbearable time, then making us late to pick up our kids, or get to a meeting, at none of which are we truly present, we are looking at our watches and phones to make sure we can rush out of there to the next place. But our mat gave us our time to have a process, the process was our practice. Take in the process, not thinking of where it’s getting us later. Some of us in yoga may rush to try to achieve a challenging pose, but it is not about the pose. It is the practice that gets you to the pose. And sure enough, that day, while focusing on my process, I seemed to float into a pose almost effortlessly that had challenged me previously. I know that I rush and rush, to meetings, to kid things, to work, to work-out, and get irritable and late, and push my son along, get us out the door… oh wait, forgot to take the dog out, “Quick Lily, pee, fast!” (Poor dog!) I hate this about my daily life. When I go to Denmark, I ride a bike. This process, a little activity, fresh air, watching my son giggle on the bumps, is far more enjoyable than sitting in my car on a freeway. Granted, a bike in LA would NOT be enjoyable! In Denmark, we sit for dinner with family. In LA, I try to recreate my childhood ritual of sitting down to dinner, but cooking for one and a child is not as fun, and having a non-verbal child also tends to make the conversation a little challenging. But we try, for the sake of ritual, or tradition, and that makes me happy. I think that Danes, generally are better as taking in the process. The concept of fast-food, or eating in your car, is unheard of. After all, it’s far more challenging to eat on a bike! Meals, even coffee breaks, are a process, a chance to stop and be social, to connect. The society is much more connected to one another through their life as a whole. This being a theory in Blue Zones on their happiness. I could speak a lot more on this topic, but for now, back to my process… In Meditations from the Mat, today I read, “The master sticks to her tools,” Lao-Tzu. Also one I’ve read so many times before. Meaning, roughly, stick to your rituals and your process, these are your tools. In the case in this book, it being your yoga practice. It becomes such a ritual, a routine, a habit and second nature, that no matter the times, good, bad or middle-ground, you have your practice, your ritual; the master has her tools. If we make that practice a priority, you will find a way to do it no matter what. It may not be yoga for everyone. I have many rituals, running, those sit-down dinners, and yoga. In choosing a practice, or yoga, or a ritual, making it a priority, we are building a shelter for our spiritual selves. Through those practices and rituals we connect. Through connecting we feel belonging, we feel rooted in where we came from, and where we are currently in our process, we are happy. If we have a horrible time in life, or if we have an amazing time happening, when we sit down to dinner, or sit down on our mat, or hit the streets to run, we connect by bringing those experiences to that practice and connecting, with ourselves for a moment, or with others. We remove ourselves from the events, or that process, to connect and reflect through another process, our practice. “Our practice is a shelter we build for our spiritual selves. It is the work we do to safeguard and support the possibility of spiritual growth. The winds of life constantly wear away at this shelter, but if we stick to our tools, the shelter will hold.” Added footnote, an hour later... On reflecting, I wonder about Charlie and those on the autism spectrum being so ritual based. My child and others with autism love routine and habit and ritual, it grounds them, it gives them contentment. You can see it happening as they perform their ritualistic little habits. Perhaps it makes them feel connected while they are often quite disconnected socially, or sensorily. Perhaps another ritual, another practice would help even more. Perhaps in understanding the connection that is created through ritual we may better understand those living with autism.
I was in my therapist’s office today and actually can’t believe some things. On my drive there, I decided to not listen to my usual music, which I am getting sick of anyway, and decided to start my new book on audio, by Dr. Habib Sedeghi, Clarity. It’s right in alignment with everything I am reading and doing right now, my emotional shift, my Year of Living Positively. So I really appreciate the forward, even though it’s by Gwyneth Paltrow, a mention of chakras, healing the inside, getting to the root of illness, not just applying a western band-aid, by addressing the cause of issues, which may very well be, emotional. And Dr. Sadeghi points out that he believes, all emotions, if not felt, dealt with, and processed, root themselves at the cellular level, possible causing great illness if not only minor physical symptoms. This, I truly believe. I have feared that while eating salmon and kale all day and getting the right exercise, I just may just get sick from stress or maybe even depression! So with this little introduction to my book, I go into my therapist. I tell her of my continued optimism for this year, growing strength, since I told her of my resolutions last week, and of the two dreams I could remember. They were actually monumental dreams, representing transformation and growth. I did a small little self-high-five and back-pat! My therapist continued in her usual manner, with funny old anecdotes, and pulled out the same book she always pulls out, Bion’s essays, the one she let me borrow for about a month that I never got to, almost a year ago! I remember vaguely that she briefly mentioned the author came at psycho-analysis and treating autism with a Buddhist approach, something that I must also have brushed off a year ago. I had just finished comparing her reasoning on accepting my emotions as a necessary tool for thinking and reasoning. Emotion, reason, judgment… I can never really remember the order or the complete explanation, I just gathered that emotions are a critical component for reasonable rational thinking and judgment, something that I was not raised to know! I compared this to the Buddhist story of Buddha sitting under the tree and inviting his worry to sit with him. He was so calm and content not because he ignored his worry, but because he invited it to sit next to him and get to know it. My therapist again pulled out her book by Bion and reminded me Bion was a Buddhist. Or was it the author writing on Bion? I'm not sure but I think she appreciated my comparison. This Buddhism and my therapist’s again-not-quite-grasped explanation of the emotional-reason-thought process led me to tell how Charlie this morning had used foresight for the first time ever (that I know of)!! As usual, we are rushing just to get out the door in one piece with all parts gathered, we are about to leave hastily, and Charlie says “Mom, headphones on!” WOW! Charlie had never reminded me or remembered himself, for all I know. He used foresight to know that he was going out, it will get loud, we can’t forget the headphones!! I praised him so much with love and his huge accomplishment noticed! So I get out of my therapist’s office and back into my car to continue with my audio book on the drive home and… Dr. Sadeghi credits his philosophy and entire practice to the 1960’s psychoanalyst, Wilfred Bion! Funny coincidence? Or God-Wink. 😉 Also mentioned by Dr. Sadeghi, the Lao Tsu teachings of the vessel, which in all honesty after reading and studying the I Ching for how many years, I never did quite get! “Be an empty vessel.” What?! “An empty vessel is beneficial in what it is, and useful in what it is not.” Again, what!? The vessel is a container, to contain and hold what it needs and let go of what is not, useful to be empty and able to be filled. So in writing this, I find that I need to work on this one still, I did understand it at the time. Clearly, it needs to be processed some more by my western mind. I’m hoping Clarity will give me some clarity! Haha! The other key thing that may be so monumental to me is the word Love. After hearing this, and thinking I got it all this time, and even by others that I don’t think “got it,” it was suddenly a light bulb moment there in my car in Beverly Hills. I thought that I have “loved myself,” I truly like who I am. I thought that when people say you have to be good in yourself, I always answer, but why can’t I also have someone?! I have had a Love tattoo with infinity sign saved on my computer and as my desktop-wallpaper for years. I mean years. I saved it to my vision board as a symbol of what I wanted. I wanted the love of my life, then we would go get cute tattoos, or at least I would go get the cute tattoo because I had found my Love. I was ignoring the infinity symbol. It was just cute. Last night, I was also looking at Buddhist symbols and saw the infinity, thinking, but I have an infinity necklace I actually made, didn’t make a connection, so what?! As I’m listening to Dr. Sadeghi’s introduction to his book, his why, he says his lab partner talked to him after his cancer diagnosis and said the Love is within him, the Love to cure his cancer. It was Dr. Sadeghi’s life-changing moment, and perhaps mine. This time, I got it. Within a split-second, Dr. Sedeghi said it was also a split-second change for him, I knew that I had the Love I wanted within me. I don’t need someone else to fill it in me. I have it myself. I’d still like to find someone else to love, but because I have so much love. I can fill my own vessel, and someone else’s. And in the split-second, I suddenly did not feel so lonely! For the first moment in years! I also immediately thought of the love tattoo I’ve been staring at for years! Dr. Sadeghi wrote the word Love on the inside of his thumb everyday to remind him, and I have literally wanted it tattooed to my wrist, not to remind me of my own love but of a love from someone else… but I had it backwards! Epiphany! A reminder from another reading: expect what you have been asking for, but it may not be given in the form you asked for, or be how you envisioned it or what you thought it was. But you will get what you ask for. This was not what I was envisioning, but why not get the tattoo?!
I tend to read more than one book at a time. Perhaps I get bored easily. Perhaps it says something about my ability to focus. Anyway… I’m reading Meditations from the Mat. In my defense, it is more of a daily chapter type book, a verse or page per day, so I need another book. Today, I read a bit where a man was always thinking “What’s in it for me? What do I get out of this?” And the suggestion was a slight shift to “What can I give” How can I be of service?” I don’t think I suffer from this issue, but it’s still nice to reflect on situations, “How many I offer something?” While inquiring about yoga teacher training recently at the yoga expo, I heard it said, “Think of it as an investment in your future.” But as I read my meditations, should it not be, “But how can I be of help? Could I be an investment in the future of others?!” I am a single mom of a twelve-year-old boy with severe autism. We have been living with autism, an incredibly-unknown disorder, for almost eleven years. From the beginning of my son’s diagnosis, I took everything head-on, knocked on every door, read every book, attended every learning opportunity with the mindset of open-heart, open-mind, love and acceptance. It is an incredible journey, learning and managing a child’s disability. During this time, I grew a passion for two things, running and yoga. One got out my anger, stress, sadness, ego, broken beliefs, broken dreams, while (literally) running from our situation if only for twenty minutes. The other picked up those pieces, made me whole again, gave me peace, gave me strength, made me connect, made me breathe, made me understand there is always a process, and gave me a reasoning beyond what we were living with. I found my time on the mat changed my life as much as anything else, and over eleven years, I have experienced profound change in my life. Over the last year I founded a non-profit, Aut2bFit™, connecting children with autism and their families with the athletic and fitness communities, pairing kids with athlete mentors, getting them out of simulated environments, therapy rooms, and social-skills classes, and into fun activities where the same motor-planning skills, social skills, and so many other abilities can be grown organically, all while having fun family time. I started this project out of my passion for my physical endeavors and my immeasurable love for my child! It was a thought that seemed to come out of nowhere, took shape and grew as if meant to be. I personally have had life-changing results from yoga, beyond the physical. Yoga has changed my stress level, changed my outlook on dreary days, changed my approach to life with a disabled child. There have been moments in class when I feel an epiphany, this would help my son, or the child he has therapy with. In yoga, we stop to take note of all of our senses; sensory issues are one of the key issues plaguing autism. I have decreased anxiety, by stopping and breathing, a practice I have taught my son over a couple of years. My son has had occupational and physical therapy for years, to help with the physical disabilities often associated with autism, and yet I catch him trying to copy my downward dog in the morning! Haha! I have a heart-feeling, the same feeling I had when starting the organization, that there is a bigger purpose here and I would like to be part of it. I feel yoga should be given to kids with special needs, specifically autism, and even more so, their parents. I cherish the moment at the beginning of class when the teacher shares an insight or intention! It always speaks to me. I feel that yoga speaks to me, and I could speak to our kids with autism, be its translator. I'm throwing around these ideas, of adding to my own practice, and giving it to others. We’ll see where this goes. I’ve planted the seeds of my ideas now, I wonder what will bloom.
Happy New Year, everyone! It's 2018! Before Christmas I was talking to my Godmother. She has been through so much in her life, it’s almost unbelievable, and yet remains the happiest, most positive person I know. She always asks how I am and I am sure that through the last couple of years she has heard the positivity, or even happiness, dwindle in my voice. I was quite honest two years ago when my father passed away. I had already lost my faith, not my faith in God, but faith that life was fair or good. When you see children suffer, or watch your own child struggle with issues that were no fault of his own, it’s unbearable. When you watch your father die from a painful, ugly death and leave that child without his best friend, you can become angry at God. It was too much for me to bear. The pastor that helped my family assured me that it was ok for me to give God the silent treatment for a time. But my Godmother gave me a speaking to at Christmas, “it’s time to get your faith back.” She mentioned this book that had recently had an impact on her and she had already passed it on to several friends, When God Winks at You. I have been so angry at life that I haven’t had my eyes open to the “God Winks.” My Godmother told me a story that happened recently. She wanted to visit a Monet exhibit at a museum in downtown Detroit. She is older, she hasn’t been getting out too much, and certainly not to downtown Detroit from her nice suburb. She got lost. So she pulled into a gas statioin, looked at a map (no phone gps here), and ended up asking the woman at the next pump for assistance. The woman ended being so friendly, giving directions and then finally offering to drive to the museum in front of her, ensuring my Godmother would arrive there safely. My Godmother was so touched and asked her name. The woman replied, “I’m Faith.” That evening that I had been on the phone with my Godmother, I went to a holiday party at my ex-husband’s house. That in itself is a pretty big and really positive. We have come a long way since our ugly divorce ten years ago and I was really quite happy he invited me, all the while feeling maybe slightly uncomfortable. “Oh, so you’re the ex-wife.” “Um yeah.” Gulp. I am friendly with most of the people while they may not necessarily be any of my friends. I had a lovely time but I was trying to avoid conversation with one woman. I wasn’t trying to avoid her because I don’t like her, just because I always felt it impossible to get out of a long drawn out conversation with her about most of which I completely disagree, from diets to treatments for kids with autism. I find it very difficult to nod and smile to too much I strongly disagree with. So I avoid it. Anyway, after an enjoyable evening, she finds me! Agh! We exchange “how are you’s,” and then she starts a long drawn-out story about her husband being in prison, a very confusing story of FBI agents raiding their house, losing everything they own, avoiding the nasty people who have framed them, all the while her teenage daughter is actually a singing phenom, something I have never ever witnessed. I was shocked at all of it, and really drawn into this conversation, including music clips she’s playing me in the middle of True Crime-like stories! Then she suddenly mentions her Ashram! Wait… what?! Ok, I’ve always wanted to go to an ashram! Now more stories of her guru, her bigger than life experiences and her ashram! Wow! Ok, so maybe I really am interested in her now, as unusual as she is. I felt it was a sign. This woman continued to talk about how her guru helped her recently. She had been so upset and angry about her husband being arrested, the people who framed him, losing her home, her talented daughter going through so much that her chances for living her life dream are waning, all of which I really understood and felt for… she was so angry with life that she kept seeing the numbers “666,” in license plates, phone numbers, street signs, etc., everywhere she looked, proving to her that the devil truly had a presence in her life. Her guru sat her down and explained that she was so busy believing that, that it was making itself known to her, thus creating proof in her mind, that evil was there. That’s a horrible cycle. The guru suggested that she find a few numbers that represented to her love and light. This woman took that advice, and sure enough, she started seeing those numbers everywhere. She found that when she shifted her focus to the love and light, that is what she found. You find what you are looking for! This thought process completely resonated with me! Despite taking relatively positive actions and living with positive intention, I have been so busy being angry at circumstances, just like this woman, that I was subconciously looking for proof to make reason for my anger, all while pretending to myself that it wasn’t really in a negative state. I really needed to shift my focus, now! This conversation in itself, only hours after my conversation with my Godmother about “Faith,” was my first God Wink! I knew this for sure! I did need to think about this more for a week or so. But the very next day, I ordered the book, When God Winks at You, and called my Godmother to thank her for the enlightening conversation. Over Christmas, and then over a trip for New Year’s, I slowly started to contemplate what will be my new thought process. I dislike the idea of New Years Resolutions, but the timing couldn’t be helped. What better time to start a new outlook on life, a new year? With my new books on my trip, a bit of a change in scenery to kick start it, I started 2018 with my intention to Positive Self. 2018: My Year of Living Positively.
I don't usually like to talk too much about my personal life beyond living with autism but I've been divorced almost eight years now. That's quite a while. I feel like I spent my entire thirties alone as a single mom. I have tried dating, with not much success, and exactly one year ago tonight, after a horrible experience on lovely Valentine's Day, I swore off trying to find a nice guy in LA. On one hand it was completely liberating and a huge relief. It takes a lot of time and effort to do the dating scene, whether it's online, creating a profile, searching and weeding through the masses, or just making an effort to be out more, and not in professional scenes, but in public social scenes. It's a lot of pressure to feel the need to find someone, to feel you are only one half of whole. I have never understood that expression, "my other half," as if you are not a whole person without someone else. I feel pretty whole myself. On the other hand, have I done myself any favors? Have a secluded myself or worse, closed myself off to any opportunities? Maybe. After last Valentine's, I wrote a little comment on my Facebook page...
It's a sad situation when I feel the need to add this to my online dating profile... "... I heard recently a man's biggest fear of online dating is meeting a woman fatter than her photos and a woman's biggest fear is being murdered! Haha! But seriously... if you are a closet-drug-user (keep a narcotics dealer on speed dial), an alcoholic-in-denial (if you've been kicked out of a bar in the last month for drunk and disorderly conduct this may be an indicator), if you've ever left your ex with stitches after a quarrel, if you're racist or bigoted, make fun of the disabled, or if you're an out-of-work actor, please move on to the next profile. I'm afraid these are too much for me to take on, especially in combination!"And then...
I think after dating a bit, I should write a book for men... "What NOT To Do on Your 1st Dates with a Girl." 1. Don't look as though you just rolled out of bed, wear a t-shirt inside-out with un-matching sweat pants that look dirty, and old baseball cap (later is ok, but not yet!) And wash your hair. Especially when she's dressed up. 2. Say "Online dating is just like a catalog of women... you fit 9 out of my 10 criteria!" 3. Date the girl's friend right after that. 4. Get kicked out of a bar for being drunk... or get wasted drunk in the first place! 5. Talk about your "psycho-ex's" mental instability 6. Go on for hours about your recently deceased wife, "You look just like her... She was a photographer too... she was blond... her name started with K... do you do yoga, she did yoga..." ...To be continued...And another...
Continued... more on posting your online dating profile… on’t know a good facial expression, watch the movie Zoolander. 3. When a girl states a certain age range, and you’ve surpassed it by at least 10 years, be sure to ignore that, by all means, and persist! Keep sending emails! Tons of them! Insisting she has no idea what’s she’s talking about, she has no idea what she’s missing, etc.! Or ignore the fact completely, even though she put it in all caps and stated deep life-experience reasons. Show her that her opinion is merely silly consequence! 4. "Your Latest Read" should always be something shorter than a 3 paragraph article in a magazine, preferably Men’s Health, or better yet, Maxim. 5. If it’s St. Patty’s Day, be SURE to send a pic of you dressed as a Leprechaun, chugging a gallon of green beer… and holding a weapon! (It’s still hot!) 6. If you can’t figure out the Leprechaun outfit, the go-to “dick-pic” is ALWAYS sure to please!!! ...and, more on that dating book I'll write... 7. When you are texting 2 girls at once, telling them each how special they are, know that they, in fact, may know each other and compare text messages!! (Soon I'm going to have to start naming names!) Haha!Well... anyway... Recently I've begun talking to another single parent friend about venturing back out into dating. He was married for nineteen years, so his decision to get back out there is quite significant. He has been fairly brave, had a short relationship since, and just asked someone new out. Good for him! I'll just go back to work over here on my photos... gosh, I have a lot to do! Was that the oven-timer going off? I actually successful managed to change the subject of that conversation and we started talking about photography again, our shared passion. I told him about the interior design I just shot the other day. It was so cool! He asked what I was using for "post" (processing the photos in the computer after shooting). "What version of Lightroom are you in?" "4," I replied. I could hear the confusion in his voice. I guess this version is way-outdated! "I like 4. And besides, I have everything set up just the way I like it. I have my workflow down, I have all my library and presets just the way I want them. If I upgrade, it might screw everything up and it will be so much more work and nothing will be like I'm used to." * Silence for a minute on the phone * "Kris, is this a metaphor for your life?" "What?!" "You're not taking a chance and seeing what's new because you are so comfortable with the current system and afraid of what might happen with a new version. You're not upgrading your life." "Ha!" That was so funny... and really right on... I had to laugh. Mind you, he might be the man who is now upgrading constantly and virtually ditching last month's model on Craig's List for this month's hotter shinier model that does more tricks! Well, after a little laugh, I had to think this was pretty poetic. Is there any truth to this? Should I venture back out into the scary world of dating in LA? Aaagghhh! The thought's enough to bury anyone in their Lightroom, isn't it?! And the more serious question, do I dare upgrade my Lightroom 4 and Photoshop 5?! ... to be continued Happy Valentine's Everyone! 1. Be sure to post only photos of you flexing, shirtless, in various scenarios: in front of your (big name) sports car, on a mountain top doing -, in a waterfall, in the woods, in the dark, straddling a motorcycle flexing those tri’s, and of course, holding a gun or some other weapon, but have one hand “casually” pulling your short shorts down at the waist (weapons are hot!) 2. For your profile picture, if you d
It's a cloudy gloomy day this Saturday in SoCal, the Pineapple Express or something I heard, so it's a mellow day around here. We aren't outside running around (because really, we get chilled below 65! lol!) and Charlie seems to be enjoying the down-time playing in his over-toy-stuffed room. I was working on my computer, still working on my new website (ugghh!), and I knew I had a note around here somewhere that ended up bugging me until I had to take apart every "organized" pile on my desk! I have a little notebook/journal I keep with little mementos, notes from a few people, a few snapshots not on my computer, and random notes with a password or something I might need at some random time. I opened it and was completely consumed by the little pieces of paper I had saved, although I have been sitting eighteen inches from this notebook every day. What caught my eye now seems like my lesson for this weekend. I have a picture that my ex-husband snapped in the first minutes we came home from the hospital after Charlie was born nine and half years ago. And with it is a piece of journal paper with words, or actually values, that I remember writing one night in bed while I was pregnant. I was up in the middle of the night, as happens while you are pregnant, imagining my future little bundle. I sat there in bed and wrote down a list of values I dreamt for my child.
LOVE KINDNESS EMPATHY SINCERITY PASSION RESPONSIBILITY CONSEQUENCE PRIORITY HONESTY LOYALTY FAITH MORALITY
I know, a few aren't so much values, but I was pregnant, it was the middle of the night, haha! The years that followed the moment I wrote that note, or that moment when we brought our newborn baby boy home from the hospital, were none that any pregnant woman imagines when she's happily expecting or none that any parent can stand to think as a possibility when you are walking into your home with your new baby for the first time. The years that followed brought Autism into our immediate awareness and as part of our lives for ever more.
With a diagnosis of Autism comes a range of emotions, of feelings, of consequences, of change and growth, for yourself and your child, for many years, and I imagine for years ahead of me still. One of the most intense and heartbreaking times comes in the first year when you realize the dreams you dreamt are not what you will have. And then the subsequent guilt over whether or not that is actually sad and the torment of realizing you will dream new dreams. You will still have your child. Your child. You still have immeasurable love for your child, perhaps more, it's just not as you dreamt parenting would be. But as my mother pointed out when I came home from the hospital with a boy to a pink room and pink lace baby clothing (yep, that's a story for another time, Charlie has been full of surprises from the get-go!), it's still the same baby that was growing in your stomach. He's just different than you thought. But that's on you, he has no idea what you were expecting, he knows he's truly "him."
With a child with Autism, over many years, we begin to lose count of the number of "no's" and "can'ts" and "won'ts" we will hear. From doctors saying he "won't" do this or that, or teachers saying "he can't do this," or even friends and family giving us painful "no's," he's not included, I think one of the blessings in disguise is that we learn to celebrate the "yeses!" We celebrate them with extreme joy and over-exuberant enthusiasm!! My child ate a new food?! You better believe I'm throwing a party with that new food as the centerpiece!! My child addressed me as "Mom" and not with a squeal? Woo-hoo!! Tears of joy followed by a silly happy dance and uncontrollable giggling for twenty minutes! Our small achievements are HUGE!
What struck me in this note that I found, was the fact that these values were my dreams for my child. Sure, I had dreams of him having tons of friends, going to the prom, graduation from high school and maybe 'SC, marriage of his own, kids of his own; but these values were the important things to me. I wrote them down and kept them! And, after everything we've been through in all these years, after Autism has transformed our lives, our homes, our dreams, these dreams, my dreams for my then unborn child remain, and in fact, came true! That thought gives me tears of joy. I feel a happy dance brewing!
My Charlie, with full-on "severe" Autism, has all of these values on my dream list! He has more love than anyone I know, and receives more love than anyone I know. He is the kindest soul there is, anyone who meets him agrees. I have a graphic that I have posted sharing Charlie's empathy, he caresses the cheeks of anyone crying or upset. I think if there is one thing you know from a person with Autism, it's sincerity, there are no deceptions, they are straight forward. The same can be said for the rest of the values, consequence, loyalty, morality. Charlie has them in abundance.
My lesson shared today for any parents with Autism is this... What did you dream for your child? I mean beyond the prom, the graduations, the future grandkids... what kind of person did you hope your child would be? Has Autism really taken that away! I would have to bet, No! Our lives will forever be changed, forever be the unexpected. But today, I am celebrating. I am celebrating the small, but HUGE dreams come true!! Charlie is a dream come true!
** happy dance ensues**