Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guys, This One's (probably) Not For You

Driving home with the scent of Lila’s Rain filling the air. Such an emotional week. Such a fitting name for a coffee on a day when blue skies do their best to burn away the clouds, lighting and thunder in my head.

It all started with a routine exam, about as enthralling as a trip to the dentist. And it hasn’t yet ended. But in between, the focus on asking for me to provide "excellent" feedback on how the workers performed their jobs, as well as seeing a plaque regarding how they, indeed, have a high amount of excellent ratings was, and remains, the least of my concerns. I’d rather deal with a bad bedside manner than a cheery disposition providing an incorrect diagnosis. I’d rather see a plaque boasting lives saved by early and accurate detection.

But once the pictures came back, all that changed. Obligatory care and concern turned more genuine. And my sense of what tomorrow will be is now muddied and muffled. The sight of pink ribbons are sure to taunt me at every turn while I wait.

And I wait. I’m a GenXer. I’m “young”. Well, “young” for this sort of journey, so I’m told.

Next week will tell what path I will be placed on. The chances are good it will be back to life as usual. Writing. Creating. Increasing awareness and acceptance of Asperger's. Having less disdain for all the paperwork that comes with running your own business, no matter how small or “on the side” it may be. Relishing every meltdown my teen is sure to display.

I’ve said itbefore and I’ll say it again: not knowing is worse than knowing. The fear of the unknown often supersedes the fear you can touch.

And this may be nothing but something taking my mind off of everything for a few days. But with October around the bend, I felt some unknown compulsion to write this. I’m not a big “ribbons” person. I don’t choose to wear or display them. And I doubt that will change. But I am an advocate of taking care of yourself.

It’s almost October. Get checked.

And, as for me, until the next round of tests are performed then analyzed, it’s back to work.

edited: thanks to all who expressed care and concern! my test were fine, but I feel for the many women who went home with different results.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Change on My Mind

Change. I’m not quite sure if I like it. But there are times I definitely don’t.

Like yesterday.

When a bazillion cyber friends all decided they do not “like” the new changes on a certain social site with the big blue F.

Well, at least a handful of us old enough to have kids who wonder why we think this thing called “privacy” is such a big deal.

But there are other times when I welcome change. As summer fades to autumn’s warmth, I enjoy the colors and aromas that only this time of year can bring. And how many of us can confess that a new pair of shoes is always welcome! (It’s a girl thing. Even Kristina drools over the shoe aisle.)

This autumn, so much seems to be changing. Kristina continues to work on self-advocacy, and we can now envision the day when she no longer needs mom or dad at her side to help her. In fact, by the time high school draws to a close, there is the chance she may not need some of these meetings, at all. This is change we welcome.

Professionally, there are always changes to be had. My art business has now expanded to include a shop on Etsy. I am looking into possible speaking and other opportunities. And as Kristina is now older, I am contemplating whether or not to write that nextchapter.

But some things I never want to see change. Some things I crave to be forever constant. To hear my child’s laughter. To smell freshly brewed coffee each morning. Watching rust colored, golden leaves quietly tumbling to earth as pumpkins dot porches, homemade soup and fresh bread filling the kitchen. To feel the breeze that reminds me that sometimes a walk is all we need to put everything back in perspective.

And with so much change in the air, I feel I need a walk tonight.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Show Time!

Autumn is just around the corner here in the States, which means weekends filled with craft shows and arts festivals. I've always enjoyed them, but this year, I'll be on the other side of the table!

Am I nervous? Heck, I'm too busy to be nervous. Plus a cranky sewing machine has a good way of keeping my mind off of anything.

Except stifling words I really shouldn't be thinking.

Or using.

I'm looking forward to meeting new people as well as getting feedback on my pieces. Most of all, I'm excited to talk about my Hidden Heart Owls to those who've never "met" them. I'm still finding my way, looking for the best way to get their message out, and I may even name a few of them.

Not familiar? These little guys were created to subtly promote autism awareness. (And I've scattered them all over my online shops.) As much as the puzzle piece has taken over, some kids - like mine - aren't too fond of it. She doesn't like how it makes her feel as if something is "missing" that needs to be "found", or that something is "wrong" with her.

Plus, why can't advocacy and awareness ever be "cute" and "whimsical"?

I chose the owls as our personal "spokes-creatures" for many reasons. My Aspie loves animals, plain and simple. She, like almost every other Aspie you'll ever meet are incredibly brilliant people. And they also have lots to give, which is often overshadowed by so many things. If you look closely at the owls, you'll see they have a tiny heart or two, which stands just for that. And, take another moment and you'll notice they will never look directly at you. (Sure, not everyone with Asperger's lacks eye contact, but many, like my K, abhor it!)

Do you have a favorite image you gravitate towards when promoting Autism Asperger Awareness? Have you created your own? Feel free to share, and let us know why it's important to you!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Wonder How She Feels

I often wonder how she feels.

She knows about the book. She knows we love her more than anything. But she also knows that others are not so kind or open minded.

Aside from those who don’t get or don’t believe that Asperger’s is, there are those who devote exhausting amounts of time and money analyzing every single angle of it.

And I wonder how it makes her feel.

Some are fantastic, and I have the utmost respect for Dr. Tony Attwood, who not only has grand intellect, but also a heart for both the subject of Asperger’s and those who are on the autism spectrum, themselves. And meeting him is a grand honor I cherish, and knowing he’s read the book keeps me motivated at times.

But others seem to lack that spirit, and, oddly enough, act as those whom they claim to study – without emotion or connection, seeing kids like mine as nothing more than lab rats in the process.

And I don’t want her to read their thoughts. I want to shield her from them.

Because I know how I would feel if it was me.

Funny thing, those dedicated to analysis often look at everything but the heart and soul of the target.

My kid can read. My kid can cry. My kid can get angry.

No, this isn’t directed at anyone in particular. But it’s a reminder that when we all post this, that, and the other thing about Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism, let’s keep in mind to steer clear of talking about “them” as if "they" are subhuman. Finding a “fix” to behaviors that are simply different, not wrong or immoral. Dissecting their behaviors as if we are in a high school biology class, using blunt tools and a lack of respect for much of anything but getting a passing grade.

“They” are people, too. People with heart, and who deserve to have us look past their faces into their souls, for they are there.

And I know how she feels. She feels like a human. She IS human. She wants to be loved, respected, and have people she can honestly consider friends. She wants to be accepted for who she is.

And she is not a species under a microscope. She is not a “freak”. She has so much to offer her generation and ours, even. And she will do it.

She’s in skinny jeans, sitting in school, preparing herself for life on her own.

And, most importantly, she’s my daughter, and if I could choose to take away her Asperger’s, I wouldn’t. It is what makes her who she is.

And she would agree.

In fact, she’s told me that, herself.