• 18+,  autism,  family,  life skills,  motherhood,  post high school,  siblings and autism

    Two of Us

    We’re still here, and I know it’s been a while. The last two months have been long. We’ve had a wicked winter. I think it’s been the coldest since we’ve moved here–almost 14 years ago. Between January and February, we’ve had 5 snow days and one late start. The stomach flu ran its course through our family in mid-February, starting with Steve, and hitting every single member of our family every 48 hours like clockwork. Then, after a short reprieve, Steve, W, and I came down with a head cold that lasted for a week and a half. We took all the COVID tests. Nope, no COVID. And then there’s…

  • 18+,  autism,  COVID life,  family,  motherhood,  siblings and autism

    Determined as the Universe

    2021 sure put up a fight before disappearing into history. In fact it was downright argumentative. Pugnacious. Scrappy. It felt like we were battling the 10 plagues of Egypt trying to get my mom home after she came to visit over Christmas. Bitter cold and blizzard winds cancelled my mom’s flight out on December 27. The soonest we could rebook her Denver flight was for New Year’s Eve. The day before her rescheduled flight–out of nowhere–wildfires on the outskirts of Denver ravaged nearby Louisville and Superior with 115 mph winds and an oncoming winter storm. We watched American and United cancel flight after flight to destinations all over the US…

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  • 18+,  autism,  empathy,  middle school,  motherhood,  strategies

    How to help

    In early July, just a day or two after we had gotten back to Fargo from a visit with my mom, J and I were at the 4-way stop on the corner of 25th Ave N and 10th Street N when a car suddenly rear-ended us–twice. Then, just as I looked up in the rearview mirror, the silver sedan gunned it in reverse about half a block. I got out of the car (which probably wasn’t the smartest idea) and started motioning and yelling at the driver to pull over so we could exchange information. I knew in my gut she wasn’t coming back, so I memorized the crap out…

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

    With all the people

    Saturday was the Fargo Marathon. For weeks I had gone back and forth whether or not I should sign up J for the 10K. J’s been wanting to do the 10K forever, well, at least since the Fargo Marathon events were cancelled in 2020. Speaking of the 2020 Fargo Marathon… If you were around reading this blog last year at this time, you’ll remember that I was struggling to decide if I was going to go ahead and run my first marathon scheduled for late August of last year. I had been training since January, and was supposed to run it in May 2020. Then, of course, it was cancelled,…

  • autism,  COVID life,  mental health,  motherhood,  post high school

    Little paper trails

    I began my personal paper trail a few months shy of 16 years old. I got my first passport in June of 1996, and on August 5 of that year (I still have the original immigration visa stamp in that passport) my mom, sister, and I moved to the States to join my dad in Nebraska where he had started his new job a few months earlier. I remember sitting in the Coutts/Sweetgrass Border Patrol Building which straddles the border of Alberta and Montana where Customs officers scoured over the paperwork my mom had filled out for me and my sister. The room was small. Wood paneling. There was a…

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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…

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  • autism,  COVID life,  motherhood

    Why I’m thankful for autism (repost)

    I’ve had some thoughts about the last few weeks that I’ll hopefully for next time. But in light of American Thanksgiving and how it will look so different for all of us this year, I thought I’d flip back to three years ago about when I wrote about being thankful for autism. I thought it was an especially good reminder for this year, since for many of us this year has been really rough and it’s hard to feel gratitude when life is rough. I saw someone post on social media a few days ago about grief and gratitude being sister emotions, and I feel really strongly about that. I…

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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,…