Happy Birthday to Me: Lessons I Learned in my 30’s

Happy Birthday to Me: Lessons I Learned in my 30’s

Six Lit Birthday Candles

So, this is 40 and I could not be happier.  This time last year I feared turning 39, the age that would make me older than my mom at her passing. Subsequently, my dear husband and loved ones surprised me with a fantastic party.  Friends from all over sent well wishes and precious gifts with kindness.

I still have those days of guilt, like why did I get to live when my mom didn’t? Then, I feel extra guilty because that thought it is not fair to my girls. When I got hit with the tests that revealed that I needed a hysterectomy fast, I got very scared. I became wrapped up in getting my household ready while I was in great pain. I avoided my emotional pain through distractions that included making sure my husband knew our youngest’ therapy schedule, amongst other details.

Reflection

When I woke up in ICU after the surgery, I was filled with exhilaration. My giddiness made the staff think they gave me too much morphine.  At that time I did not know if my journey to good health would be on hold, or be okay. Some days it feels like I have lived 1000 lifetimes. If only I could go back to my 20s to teach myself then what I know now. But, would I have really been the same person today if I did?

Housekeeping

The biggest lesson I have learned in my 30’s is to rid my world of the toxic people and the Negative Nellies. I used to sweat when people would not ‘like’ me, or I would try lame attempts to be their friend. What I did not rationalize is why would I want them as friends? “Mean Girls” became Mean Moms. Life is too short to not surround myself with loved ones who see me in the good, and especially important the bad times.

Could Have/Should Have

I used to think that if I knew that I was going to be a new mom in my 30s I would have done things differently. I would have traveled more, saved more money and tried another shot at a career.  If I went through the other door, would I still of had my girls?

Do What I Love Now.

Doing what I love is the sanest and simplest way to be the best me. I began writing when my oldest was just a baby. In between naps, diapers and tantrums, writing became my vice. It did not matter if I was sleep deprived, I felt my creative self being fed constantly.  Writing has evolved to a part-time career that I can do from home.

The last lesson I learned this decade was to trust my instincts.  In my 20’s, I did not listen to my inner voice enough. This decade, I began to fine-tune my gut instinct enough to rely on it. When I steer from it, a roadblock appears. Go figure.

As I enter the Fab 40’s, I am showing more gratitude for today. It is the only one I have.

What have you liked/disliked about a certain age? Any lessons have I missed?

A Confession Letter: #autism

A Confession Letter: #autism

After her first week in public school, I felt the urge to write this letter.

Dear Teacher and Other Parents,

Do you see the mom standing off to the side from the other parents at school pick-up?

Chances are she just has nothing in common to say to you.

Read more of my letter here that was posted on BC Partners in Education.

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Grief is like Another Child

Grief is like Another Child

20130205-092247.jpgHearing the cars outside just highlights that I need to get to sleep. The moonlight peeks through the blinds in our bedroom. I need to sleep. I do not know when she will wake me up. My four-year-old has a horrible sleep track record. Most nights I take the midnight shifts to let my hubby be rested for work.

Today was one of the bad days in our world of autism. She did not sleep last night so the morning ABA session did not go well. She screamed to leave. When I took her to preschool, I did not expect it to go well. An hour later I had got the call from her aide that she was inconsolable. I went to get her early. For the rest of the afternoon and into the evening she wailed. I had no idea how to help her. She does not speak so it makes it even more heart breaking. I hate myself for saying how much Autism can suck.

At that moment I said it in my head, the tears rolled fast. I turned away from my husband to try not to wake him. I balled my fist into my mouth to muffle my sobs. It took several minutes for the tears to stop. It is like I lost someone I never knew. Only we do not have a funeral. Grieving about it gives power to the feeling that it is like another child. She is my daughter and I will do anything for her. Right now I accepted the grief so I can move forward and be the mom she needs in me.

I am Humbled and Honoured to be Nominated

I am Humbled and Honoured to be Nominated

Top BloggerA few weeks ago after nominations for Vancouver Mom Top Bloggers were sent out, I found out through the grapevine that a few loved ones had sent in my blog for consideration. Well, last week I was short-listed.

I have been given amazing opportunities because of my writing that have been priceless, and have had the privilege in meeting many fabulous people.

With readers like you I feel like I have achieved so much, and can’t wait to see where my proverbial pen takes me next.

If you would like to vote for me, click me on the link and vote for Motherless Moments.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Danielle

If you are in town and want to join in on the party on June 19th, register here.(link)  Use code 2013friend to save $5.00 off of a regular ticket. See you there!

Hard to say no: Why not having a Grandma is tough

Biting my lip, I say good-bye to my precocious 6 year-old daughter. I remind her to mind her manners, stay safe and have fun on the field trip. Her face is crumpled in a frown. She asks again if I can come for the day trip, two towns away. I remind her that I do not have someone to take care of her sister and drive her to therapy and school. I hug her and wish her a good day. She goes into class and starts chatting with her friends.

Her young sister is pulling my hand in the direction of the walk home. My heart hurts again for not being able to balance between my girls. I feel like my older one always gets the short end of my time.  Her sister’s therapy and preschool schedule keeps me busy.  I long to have an extra helper so I can devote my energy solely towards her.

The warm sun does nothing to heal my heart and soul. Life would be easier if they had a grandma near that could help out. It is not their fault.

I unlock the front door and let us in. My hand remains on the door. I say a silent message to her to have a good time. In a few short months her sister will be in the same school. I hope life can be better balanced. I am lucky to work at home so I can be there as much as I can.

My thoughts run wild as I prep the therapy room while my young one is anxiously waiting for her therapist. Yes, I can only be stretched so far. Sacrifices are made at the expense of another.  My only hope is that as they grow older they will not remember what I didn’t do, but that I was there every day being their cheerleader. Just like my mom, even from her wheelchair before she died.  I will have a special snack waiting for her after school.

In Your Face Autism

shopping cart

The blood is racing through my body to the point I think it is going to burst my veins. My hands grip the shopping cart handle as I whisk us away from the older man. I feel light, euphoric even.  Surreal does not even begin to describe it. For once, I said the right thing at the right time.

Minutes ago my four-year-old raced ahead of me in the grocery aisle. She accidently bumped an older gentleman’s basket. He was not hurt at all. I caught up to her as she raised her arms to indicate for me to pick her up. I scoop her into the cart. The man that she bumped came up beside me and grumbled that those kids should not be contained but punished for what she did.

Without taking a breath I looked at him and said, “ Did someone teach you to be an asshole or does it come naturally?”

Walking away, I am stunned at what I said. For years since my youngest was diagnosed, I bit my tongue when ignorant comments or unsolicited advice would be dropped in front of me. I am not trying to be on a soapbox and make everyone be aware of autism and it’s many gifts and challenges.  All I ask is that she be given the same respect as others expect her to give them.

I do not swear or call people bad names very often. I want to show my kids that mom does use her words. In this case, I do not regret standing up for my kid, who doesn’t know how do that for herself. Ironically, I did not see that man as we finish our shopping. I pack up the car and buckle her in. She gives me a big kiss and hug. Her direct eye contact is a new gift. Maybe she knew what happened just now and she is thanking me in her way. Never mess with a Mama Bear. In your face Autism.

What to Say and Not to an Autism Warrior Parent

What to Say and Not to an Autism Warrior Parent

I know I should have thicker skin when it comes to snide remarks. I know I should let it roll off my back. I know I shall expect it again. It makes my brain go into what people should say. They are:

5 things Not to Say to an Autism Parent

  1. Everything happens for a reason.
  2. At least the child is healthy.
  3. That must be tough.
  4. Can’t you control your kid? ( or the nasty glances.)
  5. I don’t know how you do it.
  6. This kid is born to you because you are strong and can handle it all.

5 things to say to an Autism Parent

  1. How are you?
  2. Can I babysit sometime?
  3. Your kid is wonderful/smart/delightful.
  4. The world is a better place with your kid in it.
  5. _______________________________________

I wish to put this on a laminated card to hand out when people approach me . I wonder what the fifth thing that should be on that list.

What would you say to a parent with a child on the spectrum that is positive?