Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hooray for the Good Days!

My last post was a downer, so it's time for an upper.  So to speak.

Today was a day of TJ successes.  Little ones, but big to us.

First thing this morning, when I had just gotten home from dropping TJ off at school, the phone rang.  "Mom," TJ said, "Dad gave me the wrong snack!"

Now this has resulted in meltdowns and ruined days before, so I braced myself.

"Oh no buddy!  Can you eat it anyway?"

"No way.  It's Cheezits."

His normal snack is cheddar Goldfish.  Totally different shape. 

"Ok T, I'll grab some Goldfish and be right there.  I'll come to the office, ok?"

"Ok - bye mom."

When I got to the office with Goldfish in hand, I waited a few minutes.  When TJ came in, he was fully dressed in his Gym clothes.

He has the knobbiest knees ever, by the way.  Like baby horse legs.

But the best part about it?  He was all smiles.

"Thanks mom!" He said as he grabbed his snack bag.  Then he smiled again, turned, and left.

It took me a minute to realize that that was it.  No tears.  No harsh words.  No signs of stress.  

No meltdowns.

I was so happy I almost skipped back to the car.  Not really, because I'm 45 and that would have looked really stupid.  Plus, I most likely would have found a way to completely wipe out on the ice.

Anyway, it was a success.

We would have 2 more successes later in the day, too.  TJ cooked his own dinner while I was at Zumba.  Then we had a verbal exchange that sounded downright typical of any 14 year old and his mom.

It was a good day.  A very good day.

Hooray for the good days!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

When it Rains, it POURS!

I used to study theatre.  Some may call me dramatic.

I'm going to wait a sec while you all pick yourselves up off the floor that you just fell down on in bewilderment.

Everybody up?  Ok.

I see this flair for the dramatic in both my boys, and most of the time it cracks me up and I love it.  But when things are gloomy in the Jordan house, they are put-up-a-quarantine-sign-and-stay-away-for-the-love-of-god gloomy.

See what I mean about dramatic?

Anyway, our youngest is 13.  I suppose 13 is the age where kids test their limits and try to get away with what they can get away with.  Not that I did, mind you.  From what I can recall, I was an angel.  But I digress.

When we realize something needs to be addressed with TJ and Peter, they tend to get loud.  They should be lawyers, they defend themselves so vigorously.  TJ immediately yells when addressed with an issue, and Peter stays out of it.  But when Peter is involved in an issue, and voices are raised, TJ is a percolator that we can see the pressure building and building, slowly, as the voices and tension build outside of and within him.

We try to keep voices calm - Sean and I speak calmly, as calmly as we can, and ask Peter to do the same.  Sometimes this is hard for all of us (ok, for Peter and me) and voices are raised regardless.

We try to physically remove TJ from the area of discussion.  We ask him to go to his room, explaining he is not in any trouble at all.  That this issue is none of his business, and we need to talk to Peter alone.

But it doesn't really help.

Regardless of the issue at hand, TJ will start to swear under his breath (if he's in his room, it's yelled loud and clear).  And it's always, always, anti-Peter.

So here is our struggle:  how do you speak calmly to one boy, who is upset, while trying to keep the other boy, with sensory issues, calm, quiet, and out of his brother's business?

Sadly there is no answer.  Sometimes TJ can calm himself down.  Sometimes he has to go into full blown crisis mode to get over it.  It's different every time, and just when I think TJ has made progress with this situation and is remaining calm, he will blow up out of nowhere.

It's tough.  I love these kids so, so much, and I don't want either of them to suffer.  When they do, it hurts me through and through.

But isn't this true in a "typical" family (not that any family is "typical", I suppose, but I mean one without autism)?  Kids and parents alike have to learn how to negotiate through the tough times.  Ours just may be a little tougher, or last a little longer, or get a little louder.

Or maybe not.  Who knows?

All I know is that we all have made it this far, and TJ has learned and grown so much.  We hold on to the hope that he will learn and grow through these bumps as well.

After summer downpours, one thing I love to do with my boys is run outside and look for the rainbow.  More often than not, we find one.  We know just where to look.

Our storm(s) will pass.  We will find that evasive rainbow, by god.

I'm sure of it.

(and when I'm not sure of it, someone remind me, willya?  Great, thanks.)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dear 18 Year Old Lauren

I was helping a friend yesterday with some fund raising work for our high school.  I went to boarding school for my last 2 years, and for many reasons it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Looking through my old yearbook, I was taken back to those glory days.  All those young faces with big futures ahead of us, eyes filled with joy and wonder, feeling invincible.

Well, 18 year old Lauren, I got some news for ya.

You won't always be able to eat the way you eat now.  So so sad, but true.  And tater tots with ketchup and mayo are gross, although fun at 2am in your tipsy state.  But don't make a habit of it.  The tater tots I mean.  We all know what happened with the booze (4th year sober!  Woohoo!).

Some of these friends, who you rely on and call family, will not be constant fixtures in your life.  Again, so sad but true.  But later, thanks to technology, you will be able to reconnect with them and grab glances into their lives, as they will into yours, and you will feel such a happy contentedness seeing where their lives have taken them.  And those old jokes you share today?  Still funny when you're 45.  In my humble opinion.

Some of these friends you have today, 18 year old Lauren, will remain a constant in your life.  And you will count these friends as family, even when you're an old lady of 45.

Did I mention I'm 45?

You will meet the love of your life, I promise.  You will kiss lots of frogs.  But it will all be worth it.

No offense, frogs.

You will fulfill your dream and become a mom.  You will love like you never knew you could.  You will be thrown some curve balls, so stand strong.  You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for, which is good 'cause you're going to need every ounce.  Don't want to spoil it for ya.  But even with the bumps, your children and husband will be that light that shines behind your eyes.  Every day.

You will get fat.  Weight Watchers, honey.  It works.

You and your sister will be tested A LOT!  But together you can get through anything.  Oh, and her husband will love your husband and they will take week long ski trips together and they will be the brother that the other never had.   Sometimes it's cute and sometimes it's annoying, but that's probably what they say about you and your sister, so get over it.

Some 80s fashion will come back, but leggings as pants are only something you should do at your age, 18 year old Lauren.  Just sayin'.

Take chances.  You will surprise yourself at what you can do that you never thought you could do.

Do NOT take chances with leggings as pants.  Other stuff, yes, like parasailing or Zumba.  Or writing.

Your hair looks best when it's down.  True for you now, true in the future.  Don't kid yourself.

Well, 18 year old Lauren, that's it for now.  There's more, of course, but I don't want to spoil it for you.  You will have an amazing time figuring it out for yourself.

Love, 45 year old Lauren