high school

  • 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


    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,  high school,  track

    The Comfort of Normal

    This Thursday was J’s first track meet of the year. It was blustery and cold. And absolutely wonderful. It was the closest I’ve felt to “normal” since March 2020. Even more “normal” than the XC meets of 2020. J rode the bus to the meet. Hung out at camp, ran his 1600, ordered from the concession stand. I know we’re not normal yet. We’re nowhere close to normal. We’ve got vaccines and we’re getting close, but it also feels like we’re on the cusp of the fourth wave. I know that at any moment things can change again. I know there’s still a risk someone in our family could come…

  • anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  family,  high school,  motherhood

    The world has to stop spinning first

    Sometimes I get a glimpse into what I think it might be like to experience the world like J. Not often, but sometimes. About a week and a half ago I had one of those times. I was on the couch with Steve sitting with a 386-page draft of my novel in my lap, discussing with Steve some of the problems I was having with it. I had 4 chapters that needed substantial revision near the tail end of the novel and I had spent the entire day untangling them, trying to figure out where to start again. 386 pages is a lot of story to be managing in your…

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  • autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  high school,  motherhood

    XC Recognition 2020

    It’s tradition that after every XC season coaches, athletes, and parents come together to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the athletes who have worked so hard all season long. Of course, because this year is what it is, the recognition program didn’t quite happen the way it has in the past. Because COVID numbers are so high (number one in the United States!) Fargo Public School guidelines limited the awards program this season to just athletes. When Steve and I got the news, we figured that something like that would be the case. We were happy and grateful that J would still be able to have a recognition program,…

  • autism,  COVID life,  high school,  motherhood

    Always Let Steve Take Care of AP Bio

    How can 2 weeks feel like 2 months? I think it’s the emotions. The decision fatigue. Back and forth schedules. Restricted socialization. The feeling of being mostly homebound. Maybe it’s all the things that have been happening in our house lately? I turned 40 two weeks ago. We got our family pictures taken last Saturday. I had minor surgery on my foot on Wednesday. We survived our second week of virtual school (with both kids attending a handful of classes on campus for choir, orchestra, weights, bio labs, and special ed classes those two weeks) and then hopped back into hybrid for a hot minute (before the teacher development days…

  • autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  high school,  middle school,  teen years

    J won XC

    J ran his last XC race of his life on Friday, and I’m feeling all the feelings. I started this blog a few months before J started his XC career. It’s not a blog about J and XC, but running has become an enormous part of J’s life since he started XC back in 2015, and so there’s a lot of XC in this blog. Over the last hour or so, I’ve been scrolling through all of the XC posts, getting teary-eyed while at the the same time astounded at what has happened in the last six years. I feel like this brief summary doesn’t come even close to the…

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


    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…