A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Mom solidarity’

Not alone

I know I am late in writing about the events that transpired around Issy Stapleton. Like another blogger posted, I have a lot of thoughts going around in my mind, and sometimes it’s hard to get them all sorted out and written down in a coherent manner. Also, I have three children who require a lot of my time and attention, so finding time to sit and write has been difficult.

Like so many other people who are in the autism blogging world, when I started to see Issy’s tragedy pop up in my Facebook newsfeed, I felt sick. I felt angered. I couldn’t believe that a mom could do…THAT. A mom whose blog I had read multiple times. A mom who I thought was so strong. A mom who seemed to want nothing but the best chance for her autistic daughter..and who fought tooth and nail for her daughter and services. Who, like so many of the rest of us, hit roadblocks and frustrations, but who persevered and tried to find another way. And then…and then…

It is devastating to think that anyone would think that murder is the only answer. Our kiddos, especially our special needs kiddos, trust us. They depend on us. To breach that trust and dependence by attempting to take their lives? It’s unconscionable. Murder is wrong. Period.

If you’re struggling with your kiddos needs and behaviors and the dang schools and the system and insurance…and you are feeling like you’re in the rabbit hole of despair…start clawing out. Please. Don’t give up. Don’t ever believe the dark whispers of depression. Depression lies. It isn’t totally hopeless. There is ALWAYS another way. You are NOT alone. Someone can help you…someone will have another idea. Another way.

Since I started blogging in late 2011, I have found SO MANY other parents (mostly on the Interwebz) who can sympathize with what I live on a day to day basis. None of us has exactly the same path…but ours are similar enough that I know that when I need it, I can rely on any one of them for support. Any one. They may not know all of my intimate details, but I can guarantee that they really don’t care. If they know that I’m struggling…they will stop to help me. I will do the same. You can always, ALWAYS, leave me a message or go to my Facebook page. I will be there for you.

No one else knows what we can do when we put our collective voices together. We need to start working together to make sure that we do not keep reading about tragedies like Issy’s again. Because one is just too many. Who’s in this with me???

A Walk in the Park

Yesterday I was feeling a bit overwhelmed as I rolled out of bed at 6:45. Tate’s therapist cancelled her morning session. I decided to do my workout that morning, before his other therapist came at noon. At 8:05, I had another text. The afternoon therapist was cancelling. What the *bleep* was I going to do with my three children ALL.DAY.LONG. A day without therapy. A day out of routine. A day without therapy, out of routine, and less than 2 weeks to go until school. It was a recipe for chaos, or well, more chaos than usual.

I took out my frustration as I followed Jillian Michaels on the TV. I had an audience of three. It was great. And by great, I mean, not. Jake would occasionally do one of the exercises and tell me how easy it was. Why are you sweating so much, Mom?! Tate kept trying to do planks right next to me..and each time, he cracked heads with me. Cole just tried to jump over me as I did plank moves. I was his human hurdle. Yeah.

As I cooled down after the workout, my phone rang. It was my friend, Em. I hadn’t heard from her in ages..and ironically, was thinking of checking in to see how they were doing. She asked if we had plans for the day. For once, we did not. She invited me and my chaos to join her and her chaos at a forest preserve not far from where we live. It was a gorgeous day, so I figured, why the heck not. At the very least, we could get some of our the boys’ energy out while at the park portion of the forest preserve.

Before the park, I had to stop at the boys’ elementary school. I had to reserve the school gym for Cub Scout Pack meetings for Hubz. We had to wait a while before I could talk to the admin. I was so proud of my boys. While they act like wild savages at home, they all sat down in the school office, grabbed some of the books, and began to read. Even Tate was reading a book. I thanked the Lord above for their amazeballs behavior during that half hour stint in the sticky, somewhat stale-smelling office.

After that excursion, we drove the half hour to the forest preserve. I am ashamed to admit that after living in this county for 13 years, I had never been to this particular location. We will definitely be going back. The boys had so much fun at the park, and there were so many more activities that they’ll enjoy–fishing, boating, walking trails, and a bike path. And it is fun that is NOT in front of the TV or computer.

Everyone had a buddy as we walked from the parking lot to the park. As we approached the park gate, Em and I unleashed our children in the park. It was very obvious which of the 7 children were special needs. Em’s oldest and her friend, as well as Cole, just went. They approached the various apparatus with gusto. They tried everything out that they knew they could handle. Jake, always filled with a little trepidation, tried things very slowly. The rock wall was almost a downfall for him–he was almost paralyzed with frustration, until I pointed out that he had scaled a much higher rock wall all the way to the top at Cub Scout camp. With that, he was up and over the wall. Tate and Em’s son were stimming. As Tate had to wait his turn, he flapped. Em’s son did a little stomp. Both were looking for sensory input from their siblings. Em’s middle daughter walked to and fro. She’s non-verbal and is starting to communicate with devices and gestures. She had to be prompted on the equipment. However, there was no mistaking the joy that each child felt. It’s just that, like with everything else in life, our kiddos were enjoying the park at their own pace.

Unlike the other moms with children our children’s ages, Em and I were on the playground the entire time. We were observing, we were coaching, we were hyper-alert.To say that the park wasn’t stressful would be a lie. But it was enjoyable. Quite enjoyable. Watching the smiles, hearing the squeals of joy, seeing the kids all interact. That was completely worth it.

After about 2 hours Tate was done. D.O.N.E., done. So was Em’s son. We chuckled at the fact that our sons were on the same wavelength–as always. Tate was able to tell me with words that he was finished and wanted to go home. Em’s son started to melt a bit…but was able to tell her “all done”. Both of us knew how huge these occurrences were for each other’s child. We said our goodbyes over the whining and pleading boys, and promised to carve out a coffee date once the kiddos were back in school.

So, even though there were some tough parts about going to the park, it was surprisingly easier than I had expected…because I was there with someone who lives this. Who didn’t need an explanation. Who doesn’t feel sorry for me or my kids. Who just totally gets when something goes from absolute fun to meltdown city in the blink of an eye. And there’s a lot of comfort in that. Yesterday was a walk in the park…kind of. And we did enjoy it.

I get it

This past Saturday our family ventured out to a local AMC theater for the sensory-friendly showing of Despicable Me 2. We even brought Hubz’s parents along for the ride. Originally, Hubz’s parents had offered to take the boys by themselves, but Tate can be a wildcard, so we decided that we should all go. It was a very enjoyable morning.

Tate has done the movie thing enough now to know the routine. We go through the big doors, buy our tickets by the glass, get popcorn and find a good seat. Tate was beyond thrilled that the movie was being shown in one of the big theaters. He chose seats front and center, right off of an aisle. 

He played with my phone and munched on his popcorn as we waited for the show to start. As we sat and waiting for those 5 minutes, we noticed a boy walking around the theater. He would go down a few steps, or walk across the walk way and rhythmically pat his tummy. Step step step….pat pat pat. Step step step….pat pat pat. There was a very definite pattern to it. He wasn’t bothering anyone, aside from the few times he got a *little* too close to Tate’s popcorn, and Tate shooed him away. His mom apologized as she chased after him the one time. I shook my head as if to say, “no worries”. I smiled. I get it.

After the movie, which got double thumbs up from our boys, we all went to Red Robin. We were seated in a corner booth, and Tate arranged himself so he could have a view of every ceiling fan in the joint. He also had to have the end seat. It’s his thing. 

We asked for some fries to tide us over as we waited for our meal. The waitress brought them out with our drinks. We have found that if we get Tate a little sample of what’s to come, he’s content and much less likely to get overwhelmed by anxiety about when food will arrive. 

As Tate, Jake & Cole inhaled the fries, a mom and her two children were seated at the booth next to ours (behind Tate). They had been there for possibly 5 minutes when Cole announced that he had to use the facilities. As my four guys headed out of the booth, the little boy in the booth next to ours was flipping his knife. Just.like.Tate.

My mother-in-law leaned over with a smile. That looks familiar, doesn’t it? Yes, yes it does. 

I applaud the mother in that booth. She ventured out to a restaurant by herself with her two kids. It was clear that she was overwhelmed. I know that look. It is a big deal to do that by one’s self. I get it

The little boy was fidgeting and moving all over his seat. He was annoying his older sister. She started to whine. Knowing that her son needed a movement break, and knowing that she needed a few moments collect herself, she asked her daughter to walk the little boy over to the arcade games and entrance, where there was a tv in the floor. As her kids were preoccupied, she pulled out her phone and was clearly trying to catch up on email or Facebook or the Interwebz. She caught me looking at her. She got no judgement. She got no stink eyes. She got a smile and a nod. I get it.

My boys came back and we got our food. It was a blur of action for the next 10 minutes. And then…we were done. Cole was sitting under the table. Jake was playing with his french fries and asking if he could get new Beyblades (his go-to conversation when he’s bored and unsure of what to say). Tate was playing with Hubz’s phone and was starting to stim vocally. 

We got the waitress’s attention and started to clear out. As we were finishing up, I was able to sneak a peak at our booth neighbors. Their food had arrived. The little girl was using her mom’s pen and was trying to do some of the puzzles on the kids’ menu as she ate her hamburger. The mom was pouring the lemonade from the Red Robin cup into his sippy cup. As she tightened the lid, her son flipped his corn dog the same way as he had been flipping the knife. He was playing a game on his mom’s phone. As she got a moment of peace as she nibbled a fry. She looked relieved to have that one moment. That split second of quiet in an otherwise chaotic day. I smiled in her direction because, well, I get it.

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