High enough to see beyond horizons….

20140606-174432-63872514.jpgToday I went to the bank to get my passport out of the safe deposit box.  I figured it was probably time to renew it, even though we don’t have any specific international travel plans right at the moment.  As I rifled through the box looking for it, I came across the baby journals that I wrote for Alex and Hannah.  These are books I started long before they were born, when I first learned I was pregnant.  I continued to write in them until each kiddo was in preschool.  Alex’s journal is full; Hannah’s stops halfway through, but she is the second child and admittedly, I did kind of have my hands full by the time Hannah became a toddler.

Tucked into the front of Alex’s journal, I found a small note.  It’s a copy of a letter I sent to my best friend in San Francisco and although it isn’t dated, I believe I sent it in the summer of 2006.  My friend at that time was preparing for his yearly trek to Burning Man, “an annual art event and temporary community based on radical self expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.”  As part of the Burning Man community experience, each year they designed and constructed a beautiful non-denominational Temple where people could write and attach notes to loved ones, prayers, wishes, thoughts, hopes and dreams.  At the end of the week-long event, the Temple was burnt down, after which everyone would pack up and head home.  I had been wrestling with my guilt over Alex’s autism, trying to connect with my higher power and stay strong as Alex’s mother.  I wanted to send my tangle of emotions and resolve out into the universe, somehow point it all directly towards the heavens, and let it go.

My friend did me a great honor that year by carrying the note to the Temple on my behalf.  He taped it high on one of the walls and took pictures so I could see exactly where it was attached.  Then he videotaped the burn.  I watched and cried as my words rose in ashes straight up to the sky.  I made my promises to my son, and let go of what I couldn’t control.  And I felt something heal inside me.

Through all the challenges we have faced recently, and despite all the pleading prayers and focused intentions on which I’ve steadied myself, I had forgotten something important.  It is not my place to determine Alex’s life.  He is a child of the universe, and as such he is always cherished and protected and lifted up.  My job is simply to do the best I can to take care of him while he is here on earth, and to respect the life he was born into for reasons more important than right now, and a greater purpose which I in my basic human-ness may never fully understand.

Reading the prayer of my younger-mother self today was a timely reminder of all of this.  I am grateful to be able to share it with you:

 

20140606-174431-63871606.jpgDear Alex,

I love you and I am proud of you always.  I feel I was born to be your mother. 

You are bright and capable and you will make great contributions to the world.

I bring this prayer here because I want to let go of my guilt.  I know I did not cause your autism.  But when I see you struggle with your words and scream in frustration, I wish more than anything I could make it better, make it easy for you, take away your challenges.  Yet I know the easy path is not the one you’ve chosen, you chose this life for its lessons.

I pray for strength.  I pray for compassion.  I pray for hope. 

I know that we are stronger together and that God has blessed us with each other.  I promise I will never give up on you.  As these prayers go up to heaven, may we both be lifted high enough to see beyond horizons.

Love, Mommy

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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Please pray for Alex.

the best man

Our family needs your prayers.  We have just been told by Alex’s residential treatment staff that unless his aggressive behavior significantly decreases in the next two weeks, he will have to leave.  This may mean my baby– my heart– may be sent to another facility several states away.  I will do everything in my power to make sure he stays at his current placement and near us, his family, but I need your help.

Please, if you are part of any kind of prayer chain or community, add Alex’s name to the prayer list.  Pray that his high-intensity aggression vanishes, that he remains calm and safe at all times, especially with the residential and school staff.  Pray that a higher power will influence all the decision-makers in this case and will guide the hearts and minds and hands of those who care for Alex.

And please pray that Alex will know he is not alone and all the people who love him, clinicians and teachers included, will stick by him and advocate for his well-being.  Alex needs to know his situation will change for the better if he is safe, and that the people around him believe in him even though he struggles.  No other place has been better for Alex than where he is now and we still believe they can help Alex get to the point where he can come home.

If you feel so inclined, please share this message with as many people as you can.  My goal is to have at least 50,000 people sending out prayers and good thoughts by tomorrow.  Thank you, we are grateful for your help.

hannah and alex

Love After The Storm.

Dear Electricity,
While you were away I had a lot of time to think. And now that you’re back, well… the thing is… I love you.

It might sound hokey and you’re probably thinking, “You say that to all the forces of nature after an ice storm.” But baby, I’m serious.

I know I haven’t appreciated you for all the little things you do, like running my dishwasher and lighting my front porch– and the night lights! man how I love those little things….

But I promise to pay more attention to you, and to be more grateful and not overwork you or curse at you if you run up my credit cards at PECO buying new currents or transistors or whatever you girls are into these days…

Hey wait, come back, that was a bad joke, sweetie, don’t be mad.

Anyhow, I know we’ve been on and off for a while. But I’m ready to take our relationship to a whole new level…I want you to stay. Permanently. Please tell me you’ll stay.

Love,
Cathy

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I’m back. Have you missed me? C’mon, be honest….

hannah and mom

I’ve been gone for far too long and I’m sure there are folks out there wondering if our family has fallen off the face of the earth.  If you’re miffed I’ve been missing, by all means let me know.  Because sometimes this autism mama blogger needs someone to light a fire under her butt.  Might as well be you.

dancing on the beach

Truth be told, the past year has been a wonderful, crazy, rollercoaster of life events and I expect 2014 to be equally as amazing.  I am excited to tell you all about it!  I’ve done a lot of dancing.  My outlook and my family have expanded in wild, new ways and this year I know I’ll have an abundance of cool opportunities to take my writing and my passion for life to a whole new level.

So please check in, say hi, stay tuned and keep coming back.  I’ll be here.  Promise.

me and Hannah 2