Tuesday, January 26, 2016

This...All Day Long

100% THIS!  <3

And that's all.  

Monday, January 11, 2016

I'm Still Learning

I've learned so much the past few weeks.

I've learned that lots of people on the internet get worked up and angry at the drop of a hat.

I've learned that no matter what you write, or your intentions behind it, everyone reads it through their own filter, coloring your words accordingly.

I've learned that complete strangers, who don't know me, feel very justified and comfortable making judgments of my life and character based on a snippet of information.

I've learned that responding to aggression is a waste of time, and even if I respond with calm reason, it can and will be misconstrued.

I've learned that I signed up for all of this when I agreed to publish my work.  I already knew that, but I got lots of reminders.

I've learned that the Block button is a beautiful tool.

I've learned that I could hear 1,000 positive messages, and I'll dwell on the 3 negative ones if I don't catch myself and stop myself from doing so.

I've learned how to do so.

I've learned that I'm already doing a really good job with my family and with my writing, with sharing but not oversharing, with respecting the dignity of my child and my family, and with writing in my own voice.

I've learned that this is a process, and that what my writing and sharing looks like changes as I go.

I've learned that I don't know everything, and that I am open to learning more.

I've learned that when I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.  I already knew that, too, but it's a good reminder.

I've learned that I'm tougher than I thought I was.

I've learned that I have really good people in my life.  I already knew that one, too, but I'm so happy to repeat it.

I've learned to stay out of a discussion if I can't be heard for whatever reason, or if that discussion is no longer constructive.  Even if I have something to add to defend my character.

I've learned when to walk away.  The "having the last word" thing is stupid.

I've learned that there are a lot of really wonderful people out there.  They are the ones who deserve my energy and attention.

I've learned a lot.  And I will keep learning every day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Deserve It

Greetings from the land of "We all are getting colds!"  'Tis the season.

I have had some ask me recently how I quit drinking.  Let's back up a teeny bit - no need to revisit the drama in depth.

I was a party girl.  Then I used tough times as an "I deserve this 3pm cocktail" excuse.  Then when it got to be too much, it was time to stop.

So I stopped.  I just stopped.

This was four + years ago.  And it was really hard.

Until it wasn't.

For me, the excuse of "I deserve this" was just so lame that even I recognized it.  My husband and kids didn't deserve to have me as absent and tuned out and tired as I was.  I didn't deserve the shame and guilt the next day.  Not to mention the hangovers.

This is what I deserve:

I deserve to be present with my family.  100%.

I deserve to feel comfortable and confident with my friends, and not worry about what they think of me (now I do!).

I deserve to be healthy and maintain a good weight.

I deserve to be able to wake up and jump right in to my day without a headache.

I deserve to feel proud of myself every day and feel proud that I am doing the best thing for myself, even if it's different from the norm.

I deserve to not feel the shame every day of knowing that I'm drinking too much.  And the shame of knowing that I embarrassed myself, again.  And the shame of knowing that the funny drunk Lauren routine was wearing thin.  Shame is a bitch and I don't miss it at all.  Let's face it - the "let's remind Lauren what she said last night" routine was getting old.

This isn't for everyone - you know if you drink too much or not.  We are aware.  I couldn't stop at 2 or 3 like my most people could - I certainly didn't need any more, but I deserved it, dammit.

Now I deserve so much more.  And I've got it.

So that's how I did it.  You're welcome.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

'Tis the Season

We've had a bumpy weekend.

I was out running errands today when I ran into a friend (I ran into a couple, happily!) who knows us since the boys were in elementary school - she was the Assistant Librarian at the boys' school.  So she has been with us through our entire journey with TJ since he started Kindergarten.

She asked how we were doing - yesterday I had posted about an autism meltdown that TJ had on Facebook and she had seen it.  The great part about what happened was that after the worst of the meltdown was over, TJ asked me to give him squeezes (deep pressure bear hugs that make him feel better).  It was the first time he had asked for those without my offering first.  Huge step for him!  We were so proud of him asking for what he needed to take care of himself.

Anyway, my friend mentioned that all the excitement of Christmas coming up must be a huge contributing factor to TJ's being on edge.

She's right - it is.

Imagine your typical kid the week before Christmas - how excited they are, and how magical everything feels.

Now imagine that times 10.  That's what it's like for TJ.  The highs are higher than normal, and the lows are lower.

Add to that his self-imposed guilt trip and fear of Santa's Naughty List when he yells uncontrollably or gets mad at me or his brother because his sensory system is on overload.  It takes some serious convincing that he is still on the Nice List.

So as keyed up as TJ is, I have to be that much more calm and controlled.  An interesting position to be in, as that is not the natural state of affairs, to say the least.  But somehow, the more intensly he reacts, the calmer I respond.  

I surprise even myself.

Anyway, that's where we are at.  A quiet calm peaceful relaxed afternoon at home as we try to keep the peace and prevent more meltdowns.

I had a cute outfit picked out for a party we were supposed to attend, too.  Darn it.  I'll save it for another day. 

The shoes, however, I will wear now.  Good shoes always help things, dontcha think?

Monday, December 14, 2015


Ah the holidays!

I'm thrown off completely that it's 55 degrees outside instead of snowy, but whatever.

During this time of year I get awfully reflective.  Normally, in the past, I have focused on what I struggled with rather than with what went well.

Well guess what?

I can't really think of any huge struggles this year!!!

Is this possible?!?!  This is me we're talking about here....

But yes, it's not only possible, but it's TRUE!


In trying to figure out that magic formula of going with the flow and living a positive, healthy, happy life, I seemed to have stumbled across it.  Somehow.

Perhaps it was all the work I've done on myself the past few years?  I have come from a place of not liking my wimpy take-the-back-seat self, to being angry with myself about wasting time in negativity, to just, quite simply, being happy.

This is not to say that I haven't had any struggles this year - I have.  Everyone does.  But I have handled them in a more positive way than I ever have before.

I have let go of hurt.

I have let go of things I can't control.

I have focused on the amazing people in my life - there are a LOT of them!!!

I have enjoyed the small things.  And the big things!  And the small things that are big things to me and my family.

And all those things in between.

And I have found peace and joy and happiness and lots of love and laughter along the way.

So thank you friends, for sticking with me.  I am grateful for you every day.

Thank you family, for holding me up.  And challenging me.  And loving me all the time.

Thank you, Sean and TJ and Peter - you are my heartbeat.  You are my everything, every day.

And thank you all, for just....all of it.

Happy 2016!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

An Email From Peter

Peter sent me an email from school yesterday:

Mom, today in activity period, I was on a website for some research for my Spanish project. There was an ad for The Mighty. And I clicked on it and searched for your letter you wrote me that you posted last year. [http://themighty.com/2014/10/a-letter-to-my-son-about-his-big-brother-with-autism/]  It brought me to tears while reading it. And even now as I type this I'm tearing up. I just wanted to say thank you for that letter. It reminds me of how thankful I am for how I am today after that rough first years through birth to Kindergarten. When I read the line "I wish you had more playgrounds as a toddler" is what gets me every time. Whenever I say or read this, I tear up. I can't thank you enough for all you've done.

I love you

Be still my heart.

One of my biggest concerns in raising a child with autism is raising a little brother of a child with autism.  Does he get enough attention?  Is he missing out on anything that I can help with?  Is he happy?  Does he feel loved?

Well, this email from Peter not only warmed my heart and made me cry, but it showed me that he is doing just fine.

Last week, TJ, Peter and I all spoke to UVM School of Medecine's second year students for their disabilities awareness week.  We are so fortunate to do it every year.

The students asked TJ, "If you could tell us one thing about living with autism, what would it be?"

TJ answered, "That it is a gift."

I think you're right, TJ.  As hard as it can be, it is indeed a gift, in many ways.

For all of us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

An Epiphany from a Former Boozer

I've had an epiphany.

I'm a super-sensitive person.  Always have been.  I cry at the drop of a hat - happy and sad times.  It's annoying as hell.  It's one of those things about myself that has been the hardest to deal with.

I have realized that one of the hugest reasons that I drank so much was to stop feeling so much.  I feel everything very strongly.  Everything.  Stress, joy, insecurity, fun, happy and sad.  Drinking helped to quiet down and numb all those feelings that I was constantly experiencing.

Except when it didn't.  Sometimes I felt things even more strongly and reacted in a way that I wouldn't have, without the booze.

I embarrassed myself a lot.

But one of the best things about my quitting drinking is not only coping with all those strong feelings, but accepting them as a part of who I am.  Without apology.  Without regret.  Without shame.

So now what you get is 100% me, like it or not.  Take it or leave it, it is what it is.

And I must say, not only do I like myself more, but I respect myself more.  A hell of a lot more.

And if you don't respect me, I don't care.  For the first time in a long time, I have enough respect for myself to more than cover for those who have no respect for me.

How's that?  Not to shabby for little ole' me, right?

Also, I gotta say, no more hangovers kind of really rules supreme.  Those sucked.

And seltzer has come a long way.  Thank god.

I'm so deep!