• 18+,  autism,  milestones,  post high school

    Fledglings

    I thought watching J’s friends go off to college would be the hardest part of the new school year. I’m not saying watching J’s friends spread their wings isn’t hard–it definitely is. Watching J’s emotional ups and downs the half hour before J and C ran their last run together before C went out to college definitely pulled on this momma’s heart strings a bit. J will ask every once in a while when it’s his turn for college and then tells me he wants to go too. When I ask him what his plans are for going to college, J responds a little sadly and very truthfully, “I don’t…

  • autism,  high school,  learning strategies,  milestones,  modifications,  motherhood,  teen years

    “Here at the end of all things”

    Two weeks ago, J graduated high school. It still feels pretty surreal–amplified by a pretty surreal year and a half. I’m so grateful that you’ve been here with us on this journey as we find ourselves “here at the end of all things.” I can still remember sitting Dr. Hoffman’s office in Overland Park, Kansas thirteen years ago. We were just two months from moving to Fargo. J had already undergone 2 rigorous assessments (one at the Child and Family services clinic at KU in Lawrence Kansas, one at the KU med center in Kansas City), and although we knew and agreed with J’s autism diagnosis from the two prior…

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  • autism,  high school,  milestones,  teen years,  track

    How it started…how it’s going

    I keep reminding myself that J’s running career hasn’t ended, it’s just his high school XC and track career that have ended. J may have ran his last high school race a few weeks ago, but he’s still got a lifetime’s worth of races to run. As I look back on J’s last six years, I would have to say that XC and track have been some of the most impactful experiences in J’s social, emotional, and physical growth. I truly believe that everyone is born to run. But for some people the running journey is harder than others. J really had to work at his running journey. J struggles…

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  • autism,  COVID life,  high school,  milestones,  teen years

    The Good-byes Are Starting

    I’m trying not to think about it too much, but the fact of the matter is, we’re getting closer to the end of high school. I’m packing up all of the feelings I’m having about it in little boxes in my brain. Not the healthiest choice, I know, but for now, it’s working for me. I’ve talked about autism and milestones before, and how that’s a tricky business for moms and dads of children with autism. I’ll touch on that again in a few weeks, I’m sure. But for now, I’m just trying to be present with what we’re experiencing right now. Our first good-bye was J’s final choir concert…

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  • autism,  COVID life,  high school,  milestones,  teen years

    Prom

    I know the world looks very different for all of us right now–city to city, state to state, country to country–we are all going through our different COVID-19 pandemic experiences. In North Dakota, we’ve had our share of pandemic ups and downs. We’ve had really scary numbers (back in the late fall). We’ve had cancellations of important high school events (Prom 2020, Homecoming 2021). But we’ve also had some good things too. My kids go to a school where the student body and staff cooperate with mask-wearing. Since March we’ve been very lucky to have a smooth vaccine rollout with plenty of stock available for anyone who wants it. Somehow…

  • 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,…

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  • 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,  milestones,  teen years

    Macaroni and Cheese. Ramen. Spaghettios. Repeat.

    Mondays through Thursdays this summer, I’d come home at 12:20 pm to find an empty pot of Macaroni and Cheese, Ramen, or Spaghettios in the middle of the kitchen table, the bowl next to it encrusted in remnants of Parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese, of course, is a mandatory condiment for every lunch. This summer’s insane schedule has required J to do things I don’t normally ask of him. Here’s an example of what just Mondays looked like (I wrote up a daily schedule for our moms to help everyone be where they needed to be, when they needed to be there when Steve and I were in Europe). 8:20 am:…

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  • autism,  high school,  milestones,  teen years

    The Cat Job

    I wasn’t sure how kitties and autism would work, but J and dogs has been working since 2014, so when my friend Sarah (who is also a talented writer!) was looking for someone to cat sit while she went out of town for a few days, I asked her if she would be okay with J taking the job. J has never had a job before and the only person J has ever had to take care of is himself (he can make a mean bowl of spaghettios, soupy Kraft mac n’ cheese, and a salty bowl of ramen topped with about a cup of parmesan cheese—we cycle through a…