• 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…

  • 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,  cross-country,  mental health,  motherhood

    This week I cried over running shoes

    Wednesday night, hours after J told me that he was going to handle the first day of school (only after I assured him that it would be a stupid idea for his principals to have a fire drill on the first day of school), I sat in bed and cried over his running shoes. “His pronation is worse in those shoes,” I bawled to Steve, “he’s had them only four days and he looks like he’s going to sprain his ankles he’s wobbling so much in them. I know if we don’t get his shoes fixed right now, he’s going to get injured, and he’ll only be able to run…

  • 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:…

  • 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…

  • 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…