I don’t post much on social media these days. In part, because I’m trying to navigate the privacy of my 7yo, S, who is increasingly self-aware. In part, because there’s just not a lot of time for it these days (which is not entirely a bad thing). And, sadly, in part because when you are dealing with a neuroatypical brain (his and mine), it feels as though it’s acceptable to discuss the negatives, but there’s an arrogance associated with acknowledging the positive if it can come across as bragging.
That’s not fair to this struggling kid.
In the midst of assessments and seemingly endless IEP meetings, it’s good to be reminded that it’s not all negative. My kid’s brain is fascinating.
This morning, Facebook reminded me, in the form of a memory, of a pic taken at a preschooler class years ago. The kid was trying to spell Mommy at 3.5.
It’s not surprising that’s he’s struggling. It’s hard trying to figure out how to function in a society that claims to prize intelligence, but refuses to praise it if it falls outside of the norm.
I need to mommy boast for a moment. On Saturday we took the kids to Comic Con at the Santa Clara library, apparently to wear them out for days to come. S was starting to get “melty”, which is what I call it when he acts like he’s lost his bones. He becomes a puddle of human goo. BUT, there was a LEGO building contest! So, of course I signed him up.
He was super chill about not winning and waited in line to get a piece of candy for participating. When he walked over to me with his mini Twix bar I said, “OH YUM! You picked one of my favorites! Can I have it??? OM NOM NOM” He smiled his melt-the-coldest-heart smile, laughed and said, “you can have half and I’ll have half.”
OMG, I just about cried from mommy pride. All the challenges we have with this kiddo fade to the background when I remember how loving, sweet, compassionate, and caring he is. Who cares if you need five reminders to put on your PJs between the living room and bedroom, kiddo. You gave me a hug yesterday when I was frustrated and yelling. You’re gonna be just fine.
“It’s not a bad thing to be sensitive.”
She says as she steals a glance at the clock
I wonder if she’s ever stayed up all night clutching her gut,
birthing a fruit of terrible thought.
“It’s not a bad thing to be sensitive. It makes you more empathic.”
She’s talking faster now, trying to fit her conclusion in the two minutes we have left.
“You notice things other people don’t notice.”
Like that she’s trying to wrap up this appointment and move on.
“You can feel how other people are feeling and that’s a good thing.”
She emphasizes the words “good” and “thing” like that will make me believe it.
“But it also means you feel things more than most people and it can be hard not to get caught up in it.”
She shifts in her seat. I start to gather my purse. Together we rise.
I try to field questions about dates for our next appointment while I mentally sort out a way to ask her how I’ll make it until next week.
I want to tell her it’s not worth it. Reading people has no benefit for me.
I want more details about how it’s good. Will she help me start a superhero syndicate of empaths?
I want to know how to ignore the looks, the pursed lips, the sharp tones in a multitude of disapproving voices.
I want an end to nights of knees pulled to my racing chest, rocking back and forth to sooth the explosion brewing in my belly, breathing out the anxiety that just comes back.
I want her to tell me how to make it stop.
But she’s already turned towards the door. She’s giving me a farewell smile. She’s telling me it’s time to leave now, but she hasn’t said a word.
I know there’s more she’s saying.
It will come to me tonight when I lie down to worry.
Sometimes looking back on my free-writing cracks me up. Looking through an old document I thought I’d never open again, I noticed the following. Apparently, I decided to come up with a mantra to get me started on those days when anxiety has me frozen and distracted. Y’know, like every day. Now, after it’s been buried for who knows how long, I like it. Continue reading →
When I awoke last Thursday, I rolled over and grabbed my phone as I do every morning. I did the obligatory Facebook check and noticed that a friend had shared an article about Alan Rickman.
Oh hey, someone else who thinks he’s as awesome as I do, I thought.
What a minute. There’s only one reason people start sharing random articles about people who haven’t just released a blockbuster film, checked into rehab, been arrested, or made a sex tape. All of which I was nearly certain hadn’t happened.
I’m excited to announce that my first published piece came out recently in Brain, Child Magazine. I’m ecstatic! I have loved Brain, Child since I first discovered it and have dreamed of writing for them for almost as long. My inner critic told me it would be a difficult publication to break into because the writing is so beautiful and thought-provoking. But then it happened! Here it is!
“My mom admitted to me that she hates the color of my old bedroom, a peach like those circus peanut candies, with the air of confessing that she never liked a meal I’d proudly made her for years. I had just had my second baby and she had flown into town to help out. We were walking to the park for some much-needed outside time for my four-year-old. I looked over at her and studied her face, trying to reconcile this information with what I knew to be true. She and my dad had made me paint over my bedroom walls where I’d drawn a mural I loved, and it never felt like home after that.” Read more…