How to Slow Time

slow time

He used to watch Thomas cartoons. Now he watches Jeopardy.

He used to read road signs. Now he guesses Wheel of Fortune puzzles.

He used to fall asleep on my chest. Now he reaches out one arm for a hug.

What do you do when you feel life is passing faster than you can handle? When the days are somehow escaping you?

*****

Last year I had a delightfully ambitious plan for May: grade my final papers quickly and write like heck until Henry was out of school. By the time Henry finished kindergarten, I would have thousands of words written!

The reality?

I volunteered to proctor end-of-grade tests. I volunteered on field day. I had lunch with friends. I took too long to grade my papers. I spent a weekend with a friend on the west coast. (Best decision of the month, by the way.) I blinked and May was over.

I know you have felt the same way at some point. Summer, fall, Advent, Lent… your child’s babyhood or maybe even his teen years… these are seasons we want to savor, but before we know it they are gone.

What do we do?

We awake to the moment. We live fully present.

But I see your eye roll. I hear you grumbling, Meredith, what does that MEAN?

In short, we’re intentional. We slow down.

*****

In an age when people use time-saving apps only to fill their calendars with more activity, how do we slow down?

If we do find our proper balance of activities, how do we then shift our mindset from run to walk, from devour to savor, from endure to enjoy?

You might try one of these ideas.

Leave white space. This year I looked carefully at my May calendar before it began. I did not overcommit. Can you leave some days – or some hours – white?

Pause. Set a timer for every hour (or whatever feels right to you) to take 10 deep breaths. Whisper a short prayer or phrase to center your mind and lessen your heart rate.

Stop multitasking. Countercultural, I know. Perhaps it’s necessary at times, but multitasking should be the exception to the norm. Have you ever driven your car to a destination without any memory of how you got there? Your mind was so busy you didn’t even notice the road! This is exactly how our days become blurs. Doing too many tasks at once is the best way I know to not be present.

Write it down. When your mind seems to be racing, stop and write it down. I keep paper or a small notebook in the kitchen, in my purse, and by my bed. The visual act of “emptying” your cluttered brain does wonders.

Seize unexpected opportunities. One evening last summer, Henry surprised me by joining me on the back porch.  We sat side-by-side on the back porch, listening to the rain and the neighbors’ chickens.  I didn’t hop up to start dinner or unload the dishwasher. I sat with him. And now it’s one of our favorite evening pastimes.

*****

This May I didn’t do everything perfectly. I made too many runs to the grocery store before our annual cookout. I didn’t shop for teacher gifts as early as I would have liked. But this time, I forgave myself these “transgressions” and moved on. No dwelling. No anxiety. No stress.

Practice imperfect progress.

As Erin Loechner says, “Chasing slow is still a chase.”

Try one of these ideas on for size. Wear it a bit, see how you like it. Doesn’t fit quite right for you? Try another. Find your own way to slow down time.

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New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

The Cost of Self Care

One of the most tricky, sensitive, and perhaps even controversial aspects of self care is expense. In a closed Facebook group for moms, a friend of mine recently confessed that she has a hard time spending money on herself and wondered how other moms felt about it. The comments ran the gamut, but I noticed every response recognized the necessity of self care, even if they weren’t yet comfortable with the notion or sure of how to budget for it.

I think maybe mamas wrestle with this question too much: Do I really need this?

When a woman has deprived herself of love and care for too long, the journey back to wholeness feels unnatural. She has convinced herself that a real woman needs nothing. This is a mistake.

Do you need a new sports car? Probably not. But what you do need is margin to breathe. You need to be filled up in order to pour out. You need to connect with God and remember both who HE is and who YOU are.  What helps you find this margin? What helps you connect with God? What is life-giving?

I have some of my most meaningful talks with God and best creative insights when I’m walking vigorously in nature, so I do this each day. Maybe you have a membership at Massage Envy so you can have 60 minutes of uninterrupted thinking as well as massage therapy every month. Maybe in this season, all you can do is wake up 10 minutes early to pray before the rest of the house is awake. Whatever the white space is for you, you need it. Take it.

The question that seems more pressing to me is: How much will it cost me to not do this?

If your life-giving activities cost money, it’s certainly not a bad idea to shop around. (Is the $200 massage more life-giving than the $50 massage?) I understand this, as a frugal girl myself. On the other hand, I have been rock bottom in a dry well of exhaustion, so I can tell you with certainly it is worth the cost.

It costs nothing to say, “Henry, Daddy can get your juice,” or “Daddy can give you a bath.”

It costs a few dollars to have coffee or tea in a cozy corner of a cafe.

It costs nothing to browse books in a shop or the library.

It costs nothing to ask a friend for help.

What brings you life? If it’s been so long that you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas.

Laughing at jokes
Watching documentaries
Reading fiction
Painting your fingernails
Relaxing in a hammock
Trail running
Volunteering for a nonprofit
Calling your grandparents
Writing letters
Cooking a beautiful meal
Planting a garden
Coloring with your kids
Sewing, painting, singing, playing an instrument, scrapbooking…

Make a list today of what brings you life. Then, go do one.

New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

7 things I learned this spring

1. Chairs matter.  I’ve always wanted to love our screened porch, but this year I actually do. In the last month I’ve spent more hours out there in our new chairs than all the hours of the last 4 years combined. (Well, maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s a lot.)

2. I’m really, truly done with paper calendars. In January I bought a Passion Planner and thought I would organize all my personal goals and work tasks in it this year. I haven’t. I’m still a Google calendar + paper notebook person. What I do love is the front matter of the Passion Planner, so I plan to continue using the goal planning concepts. (It’s a beautiful planner, if you’re a paper calendar person!)

3. I can’t quit pizza. I just can’t. For all my foodie interests, I will never say no to pizza. (Except I will always say no to bowling alley pizza.) It’s my favorite food group, amen.

4. I’m still finding my voice. If my blog is feeling is a bit awkward these days, it’s because I’m in a period of transition with my personal and work goals, and I’m struggggling to find the right tone in my writing. Thank you for continuing to walk with me in this journey. You are my people.

5. Hummingbirds chirp! I had no idea. Did you? I heard them as they were dancing around my petunias.

6. I shouldn’t be surprised when old scars hurt. What I once grieved can still sting for a flicker of a moment. It’s ok to feel the sting and move on. It doesn’t mean I’m not a good mother.

In the early days, every trip to the park and pick-up from the nursery is an opportunity to be reminded that your children don’t do paintings, get invited to parties, or ride scooters. The sheer volume of things to grieve for can seem overwhelming. But as time goes on, these punch-in-the-stomach moments do become less frequent and, in our experience, less potent.

-Andrew and Rachel Wilson, The Life We Never Expected

7. When self-care goes beyond my usual routine, it’s still a bit uncomfortable for me. I learned this lesson on more than one occasion this spring and wrote about one of them. 

Want to read what other writers and creatives have learned? Click here to read more on Emily P. Freeman’s site.

New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

When Self-Care is Uncomfortable

After all these years and all my preaching, it’s still hard for me to follow my own advice on one thing. Asking for help.

Last week I hurt my back and have been unable to bend, crouch, or twist my torso. I have to lift my left leg with my hands to just get into the car. It’s a super pretty picture. 

With a Memorial Day party on the horizon, I didn’t know how I would get the house clean in time. Keith suggested we ask our friends for the name of their cleaning lady.  I hemmed and hawed and tried to say I could do it, but in the end I admitted it would be nice to have help.

Here’s the thing.  We’ve previously discussed hiring someone a couple times a year just to do the things we hate, like scrubbing baseboards and dusting crown molding, door frames, and blinds. (I don’t know how often you do yours, but I promise you don’t want to know the last time I did mine.)

Every time, I changed my mind with an inner monologue something like this: Meredith, your body is able and you can do it for free. This is ridiculous. What you may not hear hidden underneath the self-talk is pride-fueled shame. Shame says I don’t need help.

Now slightly injured, all those reasons flew out the window when we welcomed N and her crew into our house. As I showed them the cleaning supplies I whined, “I normally do this myself, but I hurt my back,” afraid they were judging me. 

They cleaned it top to bottom (probably better than I ever have) as I sat on my back porch. I sat there drinking my sparkling water, online shopping, and thinking this was pretty awesome but also uncomfortable. I sent my mother a text: I feel like a slavedriver. Truth be told, I felt a bit like I’d time traveled to the Antebellum South, like I should be drinking sweet tea while someone fanned me. This is just wrong, right? I wondered.

I snuck a few peeks. She’s cleaning my AC vents! Oh my gosh, is she standing on my counter to clean my light fixtures? After the wonderful cleaning goddess and her team left, I opened the fridge. “KEITH! She cleaned our refrigerator shelves!” This morning I walked into my closet. They lined up my shoes. They folded the jeans I had thrown on a chair. Then I went in the laundry room. It’s organized! In 3 hours, 4 ladies did even more than we expected.

Shame turned to gratitude as I realized it would have taken me a solid week to do all of this on my own. With an injury, it would probably take even longer.  (It took me an hour just to pick up Henry’s train creations so they could vacuum.) These ladies performed an invaluable service for us. Allowing them to care for my house was uncomfortable but necessary self-care.

*****

I’ve gotten pretty good at taking care of myself in the last few years. Asking for help shouldn’t be so unsettling.  But here’s the dirty secret: I still carry prejudice against activities that feel “rich.” I push back against materialistic lifestyles and spoiled attitudes. Taking a walk everyday doesn’t sound as indulgent as hiring a housekeeper. 

Let’s put it on the table: This is a weed in my own soul that needs pulling. Prejudice is prejudice. Pride is pride.

This simple thing, this act of allowing someone to clean my home, has me considering what might feel uncomfortable to others. If self-care sounds like a dirty word to you, why is that so?

What sorts of pride might you have?

What sorts of shame?

What sorts of excuses?

“I just don’t have time.” Is that true? Or do you feel busyness is a badge of honor?

“I don’t like manicures.” (That was my first excuse too.) No problem. What do you like to do?

“I have too many children at home.” Oh, boy. I bet that’s tough. Can you and a friend, spouse, or partner get creative with how to make this happen?  

“That’s for people like Oprah.” True, she has more resources, but self-care doesn’t have to be expensive.

“My mother and grandmother never took a moment for themselves.”  I hear you, but maybe they should have. How would their lives and their souls have been different?

*****

Like me, my friend Amy Hoogervorst gets all the reasons you (particularly you nurturing, busy mamas!) resist taking care of yourself. She created 31 Acts of Self Care for the Nooks and Crannies of Your Life just for folks like us. I hope you’ll check it out.  In the meantime, here a few suggestions from me:

  • Turn off and tune out whatever noises are keeping you from hearing your own heart.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Jot down what other people do to fill your cup. Then do that for yourself.

No two people are identical, not even identical twins, so your self-care routine doesn’t have to look like mine. But if you’ve been resistant to the idea, I hope you’ll consider how you can tend to your own mind, body, and soul. 

New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

How to Prepare for Vacation with Extended Family

With her long stretch of school-free days, summer often brings vacations and visits with extended family. I know some of you are planning those trips right now, with emotions ranging from anticipation and excitement to trepidation and anxiety.

Even the most supportive, encouraging, and peaceful families have their conflict and complications. If you have family members with special needs, you may feel those complications even more acutely. Misunderstanding, different parenting styles, insecurity, pride, and even ignorance can cause hurt feelings.

Because I know how you feel and because I’ve learned lessons the hard way, I’m sharing a few tips today. (Be sure to read to the end! Hint, hint.)

Prepare the child.

What does your child need before changes in her routine? Pictures? Social stories? Schedules? When Henry was 3 years old, we printed pictures of the many family members he would see at Thanksgiving, most of whom he sees only once or twice a year. We looked through them and named them several times just to establish some level of familiarity. Before our Disney vacation earlier this year, we showed him videos of the parks and pictures of our resort.

Your child might need to be reminded that Aunt Sally speaks very loudly or that Uncle Sam smells funny. Talk through coping skills as well as what to say (and what not to say!) in those situations. If your child receives any kind of therapy, enlisting the help of the therapists is also a terrific idea.

You also need to bring along anything that helps your child cope with unfamiliar surroundings. Only you know what these are, but they might include toys, blankets, pillows, or books. 

Prepare the extended family.

Each year around the holidays I see form letters floating around the internet. These letters are examples of how to email your family and prepare them ahead of time for whatever they may experience with your child who has special needs. Why not do the same before a summer vacation? Clear expectations from the outset are never a bad idea.

Your email need not be exhaustive, but you can briefly inform them of your family’s needs (physical, emotional, or otherwise) and ask them for their patience and grace. For example, your child may have an early bedtime due to sleeping difficulties or disorders. A gentle heads-up would be appreciated at best and a reminder at worst.

This is not the place to be petty or make trivial requests. This is a serious email, letter, or phone call to help everyone understand what your family needs to function.  

Remember, we cannot control outcomes or other people’s perspectives, but we can take responsibility for our own actions and rest in the knowledge we have done our best to be accommodating and gracious.

Prepare your heart.

There is absolutely no way you can prepare for every possibility, every contingency, or every attitude. What you can do is prepare your own heart.

How? For me it first means a lot of prayer. I pray over my family and over myself. I pray for each of us to listen with open hearts, to serve one another with love, and to give each other grace. 

Then, I get back to basics. Who am I? Who does God say I am? Scripture tells me in Christ I can do all things. I don’t have to be a slave to the desires of my flesh. So, if something unfortunate does happen, I don’t have to succumb to the need to be right, to be justified, or to be applauded. No, in Christ I can overcome these temptations.

I’ve found prayer to be the most important, most beneficial step of all, even more than the logistical, tangible preparations. Everything may be just perfect during your vacation or visit, but if not, you can still pause and say,  “God’s grace is enough for me and for us in this moment.” And then? Just watch how true that is.

In A Family Shaped by Grace, Gary Morland advises “pondering the following words” before family gatherings: Ephesians 4:29, Philippians 2:14-15, James 3:16-18. I would wholeheartedly agree. Annnnnnnnnd….. I want to send a copy of A Family Shaped by Grace to one lucky reader as soon as it’s available!

——-> GIVEWAWAY TIME! <——-

To help you make the very most of your summer, I’m sending TWO FREE GIFTS to one lucky reader.

In The Ultimate Guide to Summer I walk you through 5 reflection activities that help you:

– Discover your family truths

– Identify your have-to schedule

– Determine your priorities

– Plan the fun

– Create and gather resources

Plus, you’ll also receive fresh family activity suggestions and even austism-friendly travel destinations!

I will also pre-order A Family Shaped by Grace for you! I had the pleasure of reading the entire book, and I promise there are takeaways for every possible family situation — even the ones that may seem perfect.  I agree with these words from the publisher:

“In this life-giving book, Morland shares his journey of discovering the timeless tools of family peace that will help you . . .

  • break unhealthy relationship patterns
  • save your family relationships
  • learn how to generously offer grace to the people who matter most in your life
This book will transform your family culture and your family legacy–starting with yourself.”
 
So, how about it? Ready to enter? You have two options:
 
1. Comment here and tell me anything. You can tell me why you want to enter the contest, your favorite thing about summer, your crazy middle name – whatever.
OR
2. Comment on FB or IG and do the same!
 
Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, May 22.  Good luck!

 

I received an advance copy of this book as part of the AFSG launch team. The contest is not sponsored by Gary Morland or his publisher, Revell. I have not been compensated for reviews.
 
New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

For all the new moms (and moms of the newly diagnosed)

On April 5, 2014, I stood beside two dear friends about to become mommies, and I wondered, “What do they need to know about motherhood?” I was almost 5 years into the journey and considered what I could tell them that might be helpful.

Nothing.

Really, nothing. If I could go back to 2009 I would want someone to say this to me:

You think you know what love is. You’ve heard it a million times, how amazing is a mother’s love. Your head knows this, but I promise you – your heart doesn’t know it yet. The inexplicable force of it will take your breath, and you will know, beyond any doubt, only God could create a love like this.

You can read every book ever printed, but God gave you the most important tool: your instincts. Much of parenting relies on it. (Eve didn’t have a book, you know.) At any given moment you will need it. In the quick-as-a-flash decisions and the methodical, laborious decisions. In the day and in the night. In your home and in the grocery store. Yes, even in the oh-Lord-just-let-me-sink-into-the-earth embarrassing moments.

Everyone will tell you how to raise your baby. They’ll say let him cry it out and don’t let him cry it out. They’ll say feed him baby food and don’t feed him baby food. You know what? There’s definitely a need for support and encouragement within safe, trusted community. And there’s a place for making educated decisions. Just remember that you will have an instinct no one else has, and you must trust it. You must.

No one else will hold that screaming baby at 2am. No one else will listen to his cries and know exactly what each one means.  No one else will rock him for hours on end or watch his chest rise up and down as he falls asleep. No one else will read every expression, every gesture and know when something’s not right. No one else will know what makes him giggle and then guffaw in that beautiful baby way.

It’s you, Mommy.

Your husband is gonna be amazing, wonderful, blow-your-mind-awesome. He will know your baby inside and out, too. But he’s not Mommy. God gave him incredible gifts and you’ll be thankful for them. But he doesn’t have Mommy Instinct.

So, read all you want. Prepare all you want. Some of it will be helpful, some of it won’t. But nothing anyone can tell you is greater than what you already have.

New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

How to enjoy, not just endure, your summer

My childhood summers were blissful. We spent hours splashing in the pool, playing kickball in the neighbor’s backyard, riding our bikes, and playing hide and seek at dusk. We planned epic zip lines and designed treehouses worthy of a future HGTV show. We dreamed of the days we could drive ourselves to the Dairy Queen. We played Clue and Monopoly when it rained. If I sound nostalgic, it’s because I am.

A few years ago I began to dread summer. I began to see that my son’s childhood summers would not be exactly like mine. And while that is ok, it can also be hard. I want to pick strawberries. He wants to play computer games. I want to take long walks in the woods. He wants to watch movies.

Can you relate?

Summer can be a long string of days we simply endure. It can be an emotional mess of forcing our own agenda, arguing with our kids, and battling guilt. But, it doesn’t have to be.

Have you ever found yourself counting the days until school starts? Have you desired easy-breezy days and faced the reality of struggle and tension?

If so, I’d love to help. I don’t promise utopia, but I do promise a plan to help you set realistic expectations. I promise if you stick to your plan, you will experience more joy and fewer disappointments. Sound good to you?

What if I told you I could walk you through a 5-step guide to help even the most jaded and exhausted parents plan a meaningful, fun, and peaceful summer?

What if told you it would cost less than a sweet tea at McDonald’s?

Get The Ultimate Guide to Summer for $0.99Grab your guide here

Re-claim June, July, and August as you:

– Discover your family truths

– Identify your have-to schedule

– Determine your priorities

– Plan the fun

– Create and gather resources

Plus, you’ll receive 2 Bonus resources. And if you’re an autism mom, I have special features just for you!

Together, let’s make this summer awesome!

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New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

Shades of autism

Try to imagine every possible shade of purple. Lilac, periwinkle, eggplant, indigo, plum, heliotrope, lavender, orchid, mauve. Imagine every hue in the Crayola box and ones you’ve never seen.

In my mind autism is the color purple, and every person is a different shade. Henry is royal purple. His friend at school is violet. My friend at church is fuchsia. This spectrum is precisely what makes autism difficult to define, understand, and diagnose, but just like the Crayola box, it is also what makes autism breathtakingly beautiful.

Much of what makes Henry unique, quirky, and hilarious is also what makes him autistic. His enthusiastic passion for trains and his budding fascination with NBC Nightly News. His insistence on listening to the same songs over and over again. His extraordinary memory and spontaneous recall of events. His forthright conversations and unabashed honesty. These are all part of his unique shade.

Knowing Henry is autistic makes the past more beautiful, too. We now view every adorable toddler moment, from the flat-out funny to the oddly confounding, through the “a-ha!” goggles of autism.  

How he tugged out my ponytail and took off my glasses every single time … because that’s not what Mommy was supposed to look like.

How he pulled a different shirt from my dresser and thrust it toward me … because what I was wearing wasn’t soft enough for cuddling.

How he could repeat words all day long and even spell some of them …  but couldn’t form a sentence.

How he loved Elmo … but rejected the costume in horror when Keith brought it home for Halloween.

How he looked in my eyes every day, how his smile lit up his whole face … but he never asked me to play.

The realizations bring me peace. The awareness falls softly, settling on my tired shoulders, relaxing the tension of all the questions knotted there.  The confusion is gone, and though life will always bring us new questions, we meet them with knowledge and grace.

I could fill pages with all I’ve learned about this disorder, yet what I think I know about autism is often turned upside down. The infamous struggle with eye contact, for example, seems nonexistent as Henry touches my face, looks deeply into my eyes, and laughs at our shared joke.

Autism is a range of abilities and disabilities, a spectrum of wonder. Each shade is luminescent, although I think I have a favorite. It’s royal purple.

New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

What I Want My Friends with Neurotypical Kids to Know

To my friends with neurotypical kids:

I love spending time with you. I’m grateful for every conversation, every drive, every meal. We share laughs and stories and secrets, and I take none of it for granted.

I am also keenly aware of the ways in which I don’t quite fit in.

When you’re proud of your kids’ accomplishments in sports or music or dance, I can smile and cheer along with you, but I can’t relate. My son’s interests are far different.

When you’re complaining about packing lunchboxes, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I dream of creating fun lunches, but my son will not eat them.

When you’re enjoying your child’s birthday party, I am trying my best to enjoy it too, but you might catch a worrisome expression on my face. I’m watching my son like a hawk, holding my breath, hoping nothing stimulates a meltdown.

When you invite us to [fill in the blank] and we decline without a clear reason, I’m not being vague to be rude. I’m either sparing you details or protecting my child’s dignity. Sometimes I’m doing both.

I want you to know that for every detail I share, I’m holding back 100 more.

I want you to know that I’m not a worrier, but I’m always aware of your eyes and wondering what thoughts lie behind them.

I want you to know I never belittle your parenting struggles, but sometimes I resent the fact I can’t tell you mine.

I want you to know I love you and your children, yet being around you sometimes makes me feel alone.

So, why are we friends?

You and I still have so much in common.

As much as I need friends in my life who understand autism parenting, I also need friends who don’t. I need friends who don’t talk about special needs on our dinner dates. I need friends who see all of me, not just parenting me. I need friends who share my interests, humor, and faith. I need friends who push me to excellence and also allow me to make mistakes. In short, I need you to remind me who I was, who I am, and who I am becoming.

If you ever think, “She looks put together; she must be ok,” know that most of the time I am, but sometimes I am not. I can’t always tell you what I’m going through, even though I would like to.  

I need you. You need me. We’re friends because our Creator designed us for fellowship and community, and somehow you and I found each other and clicked. I love you, even though I don’t always fit. Thanks for being my friend anyway.

New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

Brave Enough to Help

The sounds of happy children waft toward me as I walk into the children’s museum to pick up my 5-year-old son after a class field trip. I find him with the other students in the lobby, listening to their teacher read a story as they wait for the parents to arrive. Henry’s voice tears through the sweet atmosphere as he spots me, screams and melts down in front of his classmates.

Earlier, the entire class had ridden the city bus to the museum, and Henry wants to return in the same manner. No amount of consoling is going to fix this. Somehow, his teachers and I failed to prepare him adequately for this part of the day. A spotlight seems to be on the two of us as he continues to melt down. I feel the stares sear into my back.

Click here to continue reading on one of my new favorite online spaces, Kindred Mom.

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New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.