Yeah, that’s right!  Things have been a bit crazy around here!  I have wanted to blog, but I didn’t.  Then I let myself feel guilty for not blogging, which brought my mood down, which led me to want to write, but not wanting to be a downer, henceforth, I did not write, which led to guilt (and run-on sentences) … vicious, stupid cycle! 😦

Anyway …  we made it through the end of the school year, field trips, concerts, swim/dance lessons, lack of therapists, constant schedule changes, etc. and into the summer, which means many things…

*I have gone back to work at a local produce farm for 4hrs each week.  It’s scheduled time out of the house, working hard, putting fresh, chemical-free produce into our frig on a weekly basis.  I enjoy it and the reminder that it brings me as to where our food comes from and how difficult it is to grow the food and grow it well.  Now if I could only keep our own garden weeded! 😉

*All of Christian’s new therapists are now fully trained! 🙂 Whew!  We might actually have a month where we make all of our required hours for the state! (80+hrs/month)  I feel, again, that our senior therapist has put together a good team who all seem to work well with Christian. (Thanks, BB!) [insert sigh of relief here!] I am thankful to God for bringing these new, wonderful people into Christian’s life (and for those who have been with us for awhile). 🙂

*Olivia is playing t-ball again this summer.  Her first practice/game was cancelled due to stormy weather.  She was disappointed, but now can’t wait for next week to roll around. 🙂  (Read about Christian’s adventures with softball here.)

*The kids have been out fishing with Brian at the nearby ponds a few times already.  Nothing like fresh fish sticks! 😉  (Read about our Father’s Day fishing adventure here.)  There is hope for many more successful fishing expeditions this summer! 🙂

*I’ve been attempting more home-baked goods lately: adding fish to our menu twice/week, homemade granola, crockpot yogurt, banana oatmeal cookies, rhubarb sauce, jam, etc.  Everything seems to taste that much better without the extra junk that is sometimes dumped into mass-produced foods. 🙂  Yum!

*The kids have been enjoying our fresh strawberries.  The berries have been slow going this year because of the cooler weather, but they are delicious and unlike most store-bought berries, are juicy and red ALL the way through! 🙂

*I have become an auntie twice in the last month(ish) to two beautiful nieces. 🙂  I love you, girls!

*I have also received a lesson in lawn tractor driving, so no longer have an excuse not to help keep the lawn under control.  (And I have learned from my mistakes!)

*Christian has fallen in love with Dr. Seuss books on his iPad.  He loves them all, but his favorite is “The Cat in the Hat.” 🙂  He has grown so fond of them that when I put the iPad to bed at night, Christian gets out the actual Dr. Seuss books and reads them instead.  (He has pretty much memorized “The Cat in the Hat” and also often walks about the house saying, “My father can read big words, too.  Like … Constantinople and Timbuktu.” from “Hop on Pop.” 🙂 ) Christian has also taken to dressing like the Cat, often wearing a tall hat and bow tie.  He’s SO cute! 🙂  (Although, yesterday afternoon he came running out of the bathroom wearing only the bow tie.  I was glad that I was the only one home at the time and enjoyed at good laugh 🙂 before I had to deal with the mess that was left behind. 😦 )

Christian as the Cat in the Hat (minus the bow tie)

Christian as the Cat in the Hat, minus his blue bow tie. 😉

*Christian totally misses school and the bus.  Daily.  Then he gets super mad at me when I can’t produce them.  😦  I’m praying that this phase passes soon!

*Christian is also still trying to get his top teeth to poke through his gums.  Painful for him.  Hard on the rest of us.  Sometimes aggression is involved.  Sometimes my food is declared “garbage” and quickly tossed in the trash after just being plated.  We are surviving on lots of deep breaths and silent prayers.  (And gum numb-er, stuff that is even more effective than orajel!)

*Pixar, Christian’s service dog, continues to do well with training at the Compassionate Paws training facility.  (Pixar will come home with us at the end of September!)  Vicki, the trainer, just started a blog about the goings on at the ranch.  You can check it out at http://compassionatepaws.blogspot.com

Yesterday, I couldn’t help this melancholy feeling that swept over me.  I tried to fight it, but it won.  I couldn’t shake its grasp until I turned into a blubbering fool with a half-hour worth of the “ugly cry.” 

Tears fell from within my soul.  So deep.  I haven’t cried that hard in a LONG time.  I don’t know if I’ve allowed myself to feel so deeply in a long time.  It was overdue and I had to just get it out.

Yesterday, I couldn’t exactly place where this pain was coming from.  I had a couple of ideas, but they don’t cut me like that

After giving it some thought today, I think I figured it out.

You see, I’ve been taking lots of research surveys about autism lately.  I have sat through IEP meetings.  I have answered countless questions about Christian and autism and our family and stress and etc in the last two months.  I have read countless blogs and internet articles.  Sometimes I feel tremendously guilty…

…these “Warrior Moms” are fighting autism and pulling their children away, recovering them, saying that they’re cured.  I think, “Wonderful!  Wow, those mothers (and fathers) are amazing!  What strength!  What courage!” …

…and then I look at myself.  I look at Christian.  I feel guilty because I don’t know that I want him “recovered.”  That I fully believe that there is a “cure” for him in the future.  Don’t get me wrong — I definitely want to give him the skills that he needs to navigate our world and society and to be able to do so independently.  But, he has SO many marvelous and unimaginable skills that I think would be lost if his autism was no more.

Does that make me a bad mom?  For not wishing his difficulties gone?  It sure would make my life, our family’s life, a whole lot easier, but we would be missing out on so much more…

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Towards the end of yesterday, I was letting my many stressors pile up on each other and I was feeling extremely overwhelmed.  The tears were hardly below the surface.  My patience was spent.  The guilt was lingering.  Tired was draining me by the minute.  Crazy didn’t feel too far away…

…and then Liv talked to Grandma (my mother-in-law) on the phone.  She is a most wonderful lady.  Grandma asked Liv if she’d like to come visit in the morning.  Without hesitation, Liv responded, “Yes!” 

Crazy backed off.

Crazy comes when it looks like there is no end to the stress.  And with our new sleeping arrangements going on, even the nighttime is stressful.  There is no break in the day (unless I get out to exercise).

This mama needed some respite.  At home. Not running errands.  Just being here.  In the quiet.  Knowing that everyone I love is being cared for by people I trust.  That stress can be alleviated (if even just for a couple hours).  Even though I was exhausted, I felt a calm sweep over my body, just knowing that I’d have a real break today.

And while I have SO much that I want and need to do around the house, my BIG plan is to nap.  In peace.  Setting the stress aside until I’m better rested, therefore better able to handle them.

THANK YOU, Grandma, for providing my mini-vacation today!  🙂

I’ve never fully admitted to this guilt before.  The guilt of the mother who held her child down while the nurses poked her son with five different needles.  The guilt of the mother who then saw her son slowly slip away over the next month.  The guilt of the mother who didn’t need to have the vaccinations administered on that particular day after that particular illness.  The guilt of the mother who didn’t want the inconvenience of driving back to the doctor’s office on a different day.  The guilt of the mother who didn’t listen to that “little voice,” but instead quieted it and covered it up with the doctor’s “Everything will be fine.”  The guilt that my son was never the same after that day.  The guilt that it was my choice.  The guilt that I didn’t make a different choice.  The guilt that things could have possibly been different.  Just guilt.  That I could have done something different to have prevented my son’s autism.

I’m hoping that this admission of this guilt will be the start of me forgiving myself.  For everything happens for a reason.  And I have learned so much (already) on this journey.