• COVID life,  family,  motherhood

    “So we beat on, boats against the current..”

    The day after the new year began we drove out to Buffalo River State Park, MN to go for a trail run as a family. Hoar frost had settled on the frozen blades of grass and naked tree branches. It was a breath-taking morning for a brand new year. A truly spectacular day. So far, the new year has been gentle. I feel like I’m reaching into it slowly, cautiously–just in case it bites my hand like 2020 did. After all, we were only eight days into last year’s new year when Iran and the US were flirting with the idea of WW3. I’m careful with this new introduction. I’ve…

  • autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  family,  high school,  milestones,  motherhood,  post high school

    18

    I’ve had little reminders in the last few months that we’ve been approaching a big milestone in J’s life. He has a little wispy moustache and patchy sideburns that need a shave oh-so-badly but at the same time still don’t quite warrant a strict daily shave routine. We get postcards in the mail from universities and colleges around the state of North Dakota addressed to J. We had J’s senior pictures taken a few weeks ago. We’ve also hired a lawyer to work on the paperwork for guardianship, rushed to get J’s non-driver’s license ID before he turns 18 (after 18, he has to show proof of residence with things…

  • autism,  COVID life,  family,  high school,  milestones,  motherhood,  travel

    We have been preparing 17 years for this

    One thing I’ve learned about this COVID-19 world we live in is that every small decision–decisions that you would never think twice about–you end up mulling over and over in your brain until it becomes a simmering stew of anxiety. In the beginning a lot of those decisions revolved around groceries. Toilet paper is gone, what should we be stocking up on that might be disappear off the shelves for the next 3 months? How often should we be going to the grocery store? Should we go every other week instead of every week? When should we go to the grocery store? Is it more crowded in the morning, afternoon,…

  • COVID life,  family

    To grieve behind a mask

    My father passed away Friday, April 10 2020. My faith has always sustained me through the hard times in my life. And I know it will sustain me through this moment in my life. But death and grief are inseparable companions and a pandemic brings a kind of grief I have never before experienced. My mother and I are the only members of our family living in the United States. My sister and her family live Saudi Arabia and my extended family lives in Canada and no one can leave their homes because the international borders are closed. I buy a ticket to Denver the night I find out my…

  • COVID life,  family

    My sister is flying solo because her family is separated by COVID-19

    What happens when life is happening and then COVID-19 decides to hijack everything? I think that’s a question we’re all trying to figure out. And we all have different pictures, different versions, of what “life” looks like. Teachers are scrambling to figure out how to adjust curriculum and adapt them to brand new formats. Parents are trying to figure out how to work from home and help facilitate their kids “home school” electronically (luckily, most of us Fargo parents have a little more time before we have to figure that out). Families are trying to figure out how to make sure their kids are being taken care of while they…

  • autism,  empathy,  exercise,  family,  mental health,  mindfulness,  motherhood

    Lessons from the long run

    When I was pregnant I was aware of every single little change in my body at every single stage of my pregnancy. I took prenatal vitamins. I read up on and kept track weekly of what was going on with my body and what was going on with the baby growing inside of me. I figured out really quickly what exact foods and smells would trigger nausea and vomiting. I knew exactly which foods would help a little with the nausea: limes and carrots (I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with J during my last semester in college and so I would carry bags of baby carrots to…

  • autism,  family,  mental health,  motherhood

    Looking Back, Looking Forward

    No matter how hard I try and how much I promise myself that I’m going to cut back and “just enjoy the holiday season,” it never happens. I’ve been an adult now (a parent now) for how many years, and I have yet to make that balance happen (and it seems to get more frenetic every year). In the last few weeks of December, I always feel like my life is completely out of control. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who gets like this. I think everyone gets a little like this, especially women. And I’m not trying to be a martyr or disparage men by…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  mental health,  motherhood,  siblings and autism,  teen years

    Trying to protect my kids’ sanity

    Eleven days of school. We’ve had eleven days of the 2019/2020 school year. It feels as if it’s been an eternity. J has struggled, struggled oh so much these past eleven days. We have tried, what feels like, a million different strategies to put his mind at peace over the fire drill. Nothing has worked. The anxiety for August’s monthly drill had been building since his first XC meet, (August 24) and last week the anticipation for the end of the calendar month built up so much that he ran out of the school with severe panic Wednesday. I sat with him the morning of the drill Thursday. Friday, after…

  • autism,  family,  motherhood,  travel

    The boy in Barcelona

    Across the street from Gaudi’s gingerbread church the boy in Barcelona sits sandwiched between his mother and older sister. His arms flail as he squints and stutters sounds of protest in a language I don’t recognize. Scandinavian, I think. Something Nordic or Germanic. White blonde hair and blue eyes. Tourists like me. Like most of us in the park. There’s almost nowhere to sit. Steve and I sit hip to hip next to another man who might be a local and might be a tourist. The Lonely Planet and Rick Steves books say that Barcelona (like Lisbon and Rome) is a hot spot for pickpockets and I’ve developed the habit…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  travel

    Knowing when enough is enough

    I can’t believe we’ve passed the Fourth of July hump. Once you’ve hit the Fourth of July, you have only a month and some change of summer left and then it’s back to school again. I can’t believe we’ve passed the Fourth of July hump because I still don’t have my summer act together. I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants, just trying to make sure everyone is where they need to be and all of the things that happen in the in-between time happen too. Like I said, I feel like I still don’t have that under control yet. But that will be another post…