Talking about ourselves isn’t easy, is it?
“Yeah, right,” you must be saying. “You have a blog. You must love talking about yourself.”
Not so much. I like telling stories. I like thinking deeply about things that I’m passionate about or that touch my heart. Writing is therapy.
As a mom, those things are usually my kids. One neuro-typical and one neuro-diverse, which is easiest way of saying he experiences epilepsy, I/DD and autism spectrum disorder. It’s hard most days to pin down which child challenges me most. But love is big, and I have enough for both. Just not always enough for myself. Or my husband, who is as close to perfect as a man can be. (#lucky)
I didn’t choose my partner for money or fame, but love. And thankfully I did, because we need a lot of it in our house. Did I mention he’s also the most patient person I’ve ever met? I need a lot of that, too. Buckets of it.
Parenting is hard, and parenting a teenager on the autism spectrum adds an extra layer — of stress, of worry and also joy when they say or do something unexpected and wonderful.
Aidan was 8 when he asked me his first question: “What’s a pioneer?” We live in Oregon, and he was visiting the Old Aurora Colony on a field trip. We moved here in 2011 from Missouri and have made it a home we never want to leave. Mountains, valleys, coast, Pinot Noir that makes the rest of the world a little jealous … so much to love.
The “me” of today isn’t the “me” of a few years ago. Or 15 years ago. Or 30.* Today’s me has been around 47 years. I’ve been hurt, and loved, and excited and devastated. I have learned to live in the moment, look for the joy, do my best, love people where they are and be OK with being me.
To figure out that last part, I have learned to enjoy, or at least be OK with, sharing my story and hearing others’ stories so that we can lift each other up, create change or just feel less alone.
Why? Aidan. He disrupted my “story,” took me outside the way things were “supposed to be” by making me a mother — a mother of a “different” kind of child.
As anyone who has faced a significant diagnosis knows, you are changed by the experience. It’s changed me. And I try every day to make it for the better. If I can help someone else, maybe you(!), then all the better.
* Me, a solid Gen-Xer, dressed like I was about 30 years ago, working my professional gig and repping my alma mater, the University of Missouri School of Journalism. MIZ …