• anxiety,  autism,  high school,  sensory processing,  teen years

    Is this normal?

    Last night we had lasagna for dinner and spaghetti and “meatballs.” I don’t usually make two dinners in one night but the Costco lasagna wasn’t vegetarian, so I warmed up some spaghetti and frozen “meatballs” for W and me. As the kids filled their plates, J grabbed the serving utensils and smiled as he reached for the pot, announcing: “Spaghetti AND lasagna!” “No,” I said. “The lasagna is for you and dad. The spaghetti is for me and W.” “No, I want both,” he snapped. “J,” I sighed. “The spaghetti is for me and W.” “Shut up. I want both.” “J, you can have as much lasagna as you want.”…

  • autism,  motherhood,  teen years

    Sarah Beck: amateur translator

    This summer I spent a lot of Sundays and a week-long church camp sitting next to a lovely teenager from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She’s smart, a little bit shy, loves music, and is an incredible artist. She moved to the United States in June as a French speaker knowing very little English. And so when the small handful of the true fluent French speakers in the congregation weren’t available to translate English church services into French for her, I would try my best to help her out. My French is decent enough for my own purposes (as in I can make my way around France okay and listen…

  • autism,  cross-country,  exercise,  high school

    Making the watch the boss

    It’s been 3 weeks since the end of J’s XC season and I’ve been trying to think of how we can get that spark back into running. I think if you’ve seen J running out on a golf course or around the track, you would probably agree with me. Running is so good for J. It’s good for him physically. It’s good for his mental health. Running is also great for building relationships. He loves the boys on his team. He’s grown really strong attachments to his coaches of the years. Running is so good for J. Since XC has been out, I’ve been trying to find the best routine…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  post high school,  post secondary autism

    Still so much to learn

    Steve and I attended J’s XC recognition last night. It’s hard to believe next year will be his last one. I feel like every week that passes takes us faster and faster to his graduation day. I have so many mixed feelings about that. J has built such a great network of supportive adults and friends who have all been so very important in his life. I know these adults and friends will always love and support J post graduation, but life goes on and his friends will find their own track as adults and the adults in his life will continue the roles they have in helping other kids…

  • autism,  milestones,  teen years

    Wolf Boy to Mr. Rogers

    As we head into the last week of October I think of how our life looks so much different now than the other Octobers of our past. Holidays are one of the few times of the year where I can really “see” J’s growth. Maybe it’s because holidays are well documented with pictures. Maybe it’s because holidays bring activities and rituals that are so different from the regular routine of life. I’m not sure. But as J dressed up as Mr. Rogers to go to a church dance this weekend and I look through all the old pictures of Halloween costumes, I realize life has truly gotten a lot easier.…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  siblings and autism

    The spark is missing

    I don’t know why, but J’s XC season this year has been really off. To be honest, I hadn’t been looking too closely at J’s times this season–J and W missed a meet for my cousin’s wedding, W’s meet in Valley City got cancelled because of weather. EDC got pushed back from last Saturday (because of the blizzard) to Tuesday of this week. The kid’s last meet of the season, AC/DC got cancelled because of the EDC shuffle. It was a weird season. I felt as parents we were kind of just living meet to meet, and suddenly we found ourselves at the end of the season. So when J…

  • autism,  cross-country,  Education,  motherhood,  post high school

    J is now 17

    It’s freaking me out a little bit, because that question I’ve gotten from so many people for years, YEARS (like when he was 5 with a freshly official autism diagnosis) of “what do you expect his life to be like as an adult” is just one year away. I’ve had the luxury (luxury? can that exist with an autism diagnosis?) of putting that question off for years because most days we’re just trying to figure out what the next few hours are going to look like. But October 5 has come and gone and here we are! Yes, I know that “adult” is a loaded word (when is one truly…

  • anxiety,  autism,  cross-country,  high school

    Fergus Falls and Easter Eggs

    Most people love to find “Easter eggs” in their favourite TV shows and movies (“…hidden references, inside jokes or clues placed in movies, television programmes and video games…secret love letters written by the show’s creators to their eagle-eyed fans…messages [that] aren’t usually obvious and sometimes it can take a die-hard fan to spot them.”). It’s sort of a Sherlock Holmes game we get to play as viewers. It’s a game to test how savvy or observant you are: Can you you see the one object in your movie that’s in all the other stories or movies in a series? (Like The Pizza Planet truck in almost every Pixar movie). And…

  • autism,  cross-country,  motherhood,  teen years

    Stories Between the Pictures

    I look at the calendar right now and I’m in denial that we’re in the last week of September. I still feel like I don’t have a handle on the kids’ new school year. We’ve had rough start. But we’ve had a lot of great moments too. So many times we go online and we scroll through Facebook and Instagram and look at all the highlight reels of everyone else’s life and forget that there’s a lot of action that goes on behind the scenes. If you look at a lot of the pictures in this post, you’ll see a lot of great and fun things that have happened to…

  • autism,  high school,  motherhood,  siblings and autism

    Friday afternoon

    Friday afternoon, while W and I were waiting for J to get out of XC practice, a reporter came up to our car with her microphone and camera. “Can I talk to you two about the incident at school this afternoon?” W leaned over to me and said, “What incident?” At around 4:15 that afternoon, I received an call from the kids’ principal, relaying that a teacher had suspected a student to have been under the influence of marijuana. Upon further investigation with this student, they discovered that the student was sober–however they also found the student had brought an unloaded gun to school. The school’s student resource officer was…