Month: December 2014

Find Happy Things. Clutch Them.

I watched It’s a Wonderful Life late last night, by myself. Dutch brought me a couple of See’s chocolates, which I ate on the couch, wrapped in the thick afghan my mother-in-law crocheted for me. It hit the reset button on my Christmas spirit. I’ve been lowly as we cope with Jack’s unpredictable aggression, no school, and cold snowy weather.…

Let’s Quote Robert Frost

I had two separate conversations at church today where, after responding honestly to the question of how my family is doing, I realized my neighbors got more than they bargained for. The answer was raw. I don’t like lying, though. Fred and Kristen listened to me without judgment or pity, which means a lot. Jack has cabin fever because it’s…

Just Weird. Not Bad

So Christmas was weird again this year. Jack was so volatile and unpredictable, we had to change our plans. I lowered my expectations. It helped. I expected an entire Christmas day inside while it snowed outside, without any structure or routine, without respite, with high levels of excitement, with sensory overload, with many many tired people (including Dutch and me)…

Blue Christmas

Last December, Jack picked up two large cups of hot chocolate from the cup holders in the front of the van and threw them across the car. For the past year, I’ve been cleaning hot chocolate from every surface and crevice. Even when I’ve been over an area multiple times, it seems that new bits are coated in dried cocoa…

Tidings of Comfort

My son, Jack, is ten and has Macrocephaly Cutis Marmorata Telangiectasia Congenita Syndrome. He also has autism. Jack is a special soul, a gift to our family. Raising him is also the greatest challenge I have ever faced. I have three other boys, too. And eighteen months ago, we learned that my third son Charlie, who was then five, is…

Lemons :: Lemonade

Jack shredded the seats of our dining chairs. It happened the way people fall asleep or in love, you know—slowly, and then all at once. He worked on them for years every time he sat down for a plate of frozen Dino nuggets or a bowl of Cap’n Crunch. Eventually they started to look haggard. Holes appeared in the woven…

Charlie Says

We call him Charlie. And Chachi. And Chully. He’s the third boy, and he makes life much more interesting. Sweeter, too. Here are a few Charlie-isms, recently noted. *A few weeks ago, in the ER, as the respiratory therapists treated his croup. It was said in a squeaky little voice: “Don’t wrap me up like a bandage.” *Today, sitting on…

Be the Change

I read a quote this week that said (and I summarize) that if you want to improve your marriage, think about what it would be like to be married to you. Find those things about yourself that you wouldn’t like living with and change them. So I puzzled it out as I took care of four children with the stomach…

A Flashlight Set Upon a Hill Cannot be Hid

Every time the Trans Siberian Orchestra comes on the radio with that frenzied, pounding version of Carol of the Bells, I think of flashlights. Like Ron Burgundy, around here flashlights are kind of a big deal. The boys on the spectrum can’t get enough of running around the house with them, shining them in people’s eyes. The three-year-old agrees, except…

Jacky and the Tree(s)

The Saga of the Christmas Tree continues, to no one’s surprise. Jack has tried twice to tip over the new, fresh-cut tree. He hasn’t been successful thanks to Dutch’s sweet engineering skills. This eye bolt anchored to a beam in the ceiling and some loops of wire have proven an effective antidote to the tree-tipping. There is still a fair…