Monday, March 30, 2015

Simply Put

"Hey Teej?"

"Yeah Mom?"

"Since Autism Awareness Day is coming up, is there something you want people to know?"

"That autism is a part of you that makes you feel special."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Happy Delusion

I was waiting to pick up TJ at the high school today.  Spring is here - meaning the temps are above 35 - and everyone loses their mind.

The truck parade is back.  Pick up truck after pick up truck after pick up truck.  They wait together in the parking lot then parade in front of the school.  All that's missing are streamers.

Leggings as pants.  Everywhere.

One girl drove by me and she was putting on eye liner looking in her mirror with her foot on the brake as she started stopped started stopped started stopped.  No one was killed.  Yet.

Leggings as pants - did I say that one yet?

Souped up cars that wait until they get right in front of the school, then they rev their engines and peel out, top speed, all the way down the road.

I'm sorry but when we were in high school, we were so much cooler and SO much more subtle.

I'm sure of it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Curious Incident

A dear friend of mine went to NYC recently where he saw the Broadway show “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”.  It’s about a boy with autism who is trying to figure out who killed a neighbor’s dog.  He called me and said he thought of me the whole time, and had so many questions about my son TJ’s autism in comparison to the main character in the play’s autism.

Let’s reflect on that for a second…a Broadway show - that is sold out and has amazing reviews and has huge Tony Award buzz - is about a boy with autism.

And it is getting people talking.

And thinking.

And asking questions.  

And wanting to know more about autism.

Now my friend calling to talk about it, while wonderful, is not surprising.  Happy for me, but not surprising.

What surprises me, or, more appropriately, thrills me, is that hundreds (thousands?) of people have seen or are planning to see this show. 

Theatre goers are seeking an experience.  So many times I have seen a show that puts me smack-dab in the middle of the story, where I feel the sensory experience and emotions of the characters.  I often leave the theatre in tears, or laughing, or giddy, or hopeful, or devastated, or whatever those characters have just experienced.

And from what my friend told me, the show is very successful in giving the audience a feel for what this boy with autism feels, and how he lives.

Now if this amazing show can bring greater autism awareness to just one person, it is, in my mind, a huge success.  

Can you imagine the reality of the situation, and how many people this show is actually reaching???

It makes my heart race a little to know that so many are being touched by this experience every day.  That so many are learning a bit more about what autism is, and how if affects people.  

And if that autism awareness leads to autism acceptance, then that is improving the world that much more for my son, who will someday be on his own in this big old world to fend for himself.

I hope.  I hope.

In May, my sister and I are planning a NYC trip.  Where we plan to take in a show.

Guess which show is #1 on my list?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Oscar Speech

When my sister and I were little, we used to pretend we were on TV.  All the time.

So it should come as no surprise to any of you that I'm preparing my Oscar awards acceptance speech.

Premature?  Maybe.  But remember that 70s slogan "be prepared"?  I'm just getting my ducks in a row.

Some have said I should write a book.  I've sat down and tried, a few times.  It's not easy.  But the Oscar speech for when my non-book gets made into a movie?  Now THAT I can do.

Here's what I've got so far....

(flustered 'oh my gosh the view from up here' etc. for a couple of seconds)

First and foremost I want to thank all the people in blahblahblah organization who thought that my book would make a good screenplay (I know I'm reaching here, folks, just go with me).

To my family: my parents, step parents, brothers, in laws, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins, I love love love you.

I never, ever considered myself a writer.  My sister had been after me for a while to start writing, and one day I listened.  So thank you, Susan, for convincing me to give writing a try.  You are my partner in crime for all time.  I love you most.

When I was a kid I often felt like I didn't belong anywhere.  Until I found this summer program in 1983.  I walked in an outsider, and walked out to never feel like an outsider again.  This place gave me, me.  For the first time.  So thank you to Dinah, who was the head of this program, Stuie, who taught me that "Risk is good", and Ann and Arnie for creating an amazing environment.  You all gave me the place that gave me confidence for the first time and I've never looked back.

To my NMH family, you let me spread my wings and try on different hats in a safe place where I was never judged, and always loved.  You all are home to me, after all these years, and always will be, no matter where we all go.

To my friend Caleb, who said "Just write."  It's quite simple, really, but I needed reminding.  Thank you for the reminder.

To my best friends, Katherine, Jill, Jennie, Amanda and Gina, thank you for calling me out when I do, say, or write something stupid and crappy.  And for so much more.  I love you guys.

To TJ, I thank you for showing the world what courage looks like.  Facing the world every day is a challenge for you, but no one would know it because you do it with such conviction and bravery.  You show everyone everyday that obstacles are only obstacles if you let them be.  You have made your autism a part of the amazing person you are.  You are not defined by it, but include it in that unique gift that you are, and that you give to everyone around you every day.  I love you.

To Peter, you have taught me what loyalty and unconditional love look like.  Growing up with a sibling with a disability is not easy, and instead of resenting it, you have made it a part of your sensitive, giving, loving nature.  You see the world differently because of the cards you have been dealt, and exude acceptance and love every day to everyone you meet.  You are remarkable.  It is my privilege to be your mom, and you make me proud every single second.  I love you.

And finally to Sean, my Dreamboat, my soft place to land, my home, my love.  Thank you for this wonderful crazy exhausting fantastic life we share.

Thank you.

Then some..."whoa, this is heavy!  haha..." as I walk away.

Or something like that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I have too much time on my hands

Right now the wind is blowing so hard that the fireplace is making horror movie sounds.

I'm serious.

Am I the only one who feels this way?  Like at my age, 45, I should definitely feel more like a grown up more of the time, right?  And less like I'm wearing a costume of a grown up?

Why is it that every now and then I feel like an imposter?  Like I'm not the grown up in this house at all?  Who am I kidding?

Alright - tiny bitch session over.  Time to put on my "it's just the wind" face and get the kids.

Great - I just heard a thump from upstairs.  I am so outta here.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Confession is Good for the Soul

I love my husband.

Sean is a hard worker and such a positive force in this world.  He is so organized (we're talking outlines of laptop, mouse, and keyboard on his desk at work organized - it's ok to laugh) that he even runs the finances for my mom, on top of running our finances and managing a department at work.

This is a man who deserves some fun.

Today Sean comes home from a week of snowboarding at Big Sky Montana.  He went with my sister's husband.  These two are like frick and frack.  The call each other "brother-from-another-mother".  Seriously.

They both work so hard, they deserve this week of play.

That's what I told myself, repeatedly, during this week.

This is the week where both our boys had their less-than-stellar moments.  Which led of my less-then-stellar moments.  Which led to multiple in-depth discussions working through our less-than-stellar moments, as we do with our child with autism, to promote further understanding of how and why people behave the way they do.

Have I mentioned that I love my husband?

We also had a team meeting with TJ's teachers.  These always stress me out (a fellow autism mom said maybe because of the trauma of that first diagnostic meeting where we were told that TJ has autism oh so long ago?  She is so onto something).  I don't like to go to these alone but will if I have to, of course.

So of course, I do not begrudge my husband his well deserved week of of snowboarding, which he LOVES to do.  LOVES.

So happy for him.  Really.

Sean comes home today.

Hallelujah.  I was thisclose to losing my biscuit.

There.  I said it.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Then and Now or Getting to Know my Sober Self

When I quit drinking I was embarrassed.  Humiliated.  In my mind, quitting was showing everyone that I had a huge weakness.

This was the beginning of a downward spiral.

I felt less than.  And since that's what I felt about myself, that's what I put out there.  I showed everyone that I was struggling and felt foreign - I didn't know how to treat me, and others followed my suit.  Not their fault - it was what I put out there and what I accepted.  

It took me a long time to figure out that what I put out is what would come back to me.  I put out uncertainty and insecurity, and that's exactly what came back to me.  I didn't know how to trust my new self because I didn't know her.

Now I do.  Now I know better.

Now I value who I am and what I do, and surround myself with those who agree.

I don't blame those who didn't agree at the end of my confusion.  They worked with what I gave them.  It took my going through that confusion, and losing those friendships, to get me where I am today.  

I feel badly for hurting anyone.  I wish I could have transformed my life with no carnage.  But I see now that this was impossible.  I didn't value myself then, and I do now.  I didn't treat myself well then, and I do now.  They had nothing else to work with besides what I gave them.  I hurt, they hurt.  It is over now and I am so much happier without that struggle.  I'm sure they are happier too.  I wish them all well and hope they wish me the same.  And if they don't, that's ok too.  That part is not mine; it is not up to me.  

The part that is up to me, is good.  Finally.

I'm good.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Random Lauren Theatre Part Deux

This time it was totally unintentional.

I lost my Fitbit.  

I am boarder line obsessed with it, so for me to suddenly realize in the middle of the Supermarket that it was not on my wrist was jarring.

I retraced my steps in the market.  No fitbit.  I finished my shopping and scoured the ground around the car - nothing.  Then the car itself.  Nope.

I drove to the gas station and looked around the pump I had just visited.  Then went inside to see if anyone turned in a lost fitbit.  Zero.

I drove home and looked everywhere.  My poor fitbit was no where to be found.

As it was time to go to my appointment at the chiropractor, I left the house (after searching the garage and car one last time).  I was getting so frustrated, and sad.  All these extra steps, wasted!  Argh!!!

So I get to the chiropractor, and as I'm walking in I think to myself "maybe I'll turn on the app and see what happens." So I do.

Fitbit says "looking.......synching......connected".

Wha....?  This means my Fitbit is somewhere nearby and is synching with the app on my phone.  

I walk, and see on the app that my steps are counting up.  I stop, they stop.  I walk, the number goes up.  I think I passed a few people with my obsessive start and go game, but I was so immersed in my own drama that I didn't even notice.

I get to the office and feel like I have to explain why I'm stripping off my coat and sweater, patting both down, and dumping the contents of my purse all over the place.  The lovely receptionist says "That's so weird", which it is, and my chiropractor's partner says "give me your phone and walk.  Let's see if the numbers go up."  I do.  They do.

Finally, the partner says "here, go into my wife's office and strip down.  I have to know how this ends."

I kinda have to know too, so in I go.

Long story short (too late), it was in my pants.  It was in my pants and I had no idea.

How many things can you say THAT about?!?!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Random Lauren Theatre

I'm bored.

This is dangerous.

Pre-kids, if I was bored, I'd dress in an unusual manner (well, unusual for me, anyway) and go shopping or something.  Somewhere public.  Then I'd engage in some Random Lauren Theatre.

Basically, I'd pretend to be someone else.  Loudly.  And I'd crack myself up at people's responses.  

Once I put a sign around my neck that read "Say 'Happy Birthday Bada' to the camera", and I walked around Boston with a video camera taping random people saying happy birthday to my then roommate.  That was awesome.

Or sometimes I would sit at a bar and play the Penis Game with friends.  We would try to fit the word "penis" into our conversation and each time it was said, it had to be louder than the previous time.  Basically it ended by yelling "Penis" in a bar.  Clearly I was in my early 20s.

Very mature of me. 

But now I'm an old and wise 45 and when I get bored I imagine going all Jersey on the shoppers of Burlington VT.  Loud accent and everything.

Except now I have teenagers.  They wouldn't have it, and I wouldn't want to mortify them.

At least I got my fun in before I was responsible for other human beings.  And who knows?  Maybe I can still sneak in some stealth Random Lauren Theatre here and there.

I did wear a red tutu and a tiara to the market on my last birthday and played it straight.....

It's good to know I still have it in me.  :)