Thursday, June 21, 2018

Time Surge 1986 - "The Emerald Lights"

                Octavia didn’t say a word, but Tempest noticed she wasn’t flying upward toward the platform but rather back to the elevator shaft where they entered this realm from the Tripskip Annex.  The other time warriors were already far behind in the fog for being trained as a warrior was nowhere near the same as being born as one.  The air was blasting through Tempests thin layered armor and her helmet was tight against her chin, rubbing it a bit raw right on the tip.  She was astonished at how easily Octavia was able to fly while holding her, then she noticed that she must’ve initiated her skirmishers while catching her because she had two thick black bands clinched on her wrists and two more on her ankles.  The skirmishers were attached to the apparatus that held Octavia in the air.  The wings were magnificently designed with prongs and spinning dials that made no sound but were in sync and creating a flight pattern that was mesmerizing.  The material that was in between the bone structure of the upper wing looked like thin animal skin but she wasn’t sure.  The cogwheel pumped up and down as she flapped each time stretching the skin cells thinner.  It was hard to tell how she was making them pump because she didn’t have them on the platform and Tempest had not noticed her using them before now.

            They approached the doorway that she and Octavia had left from and so they glided upward slightly to land smoothly.  Octavia put Tempest on her feet and instantly the skirmishes fell off and disappeared.

            “Get back to the Tripskip and find a gentleman by the name of Everett Palmer Fogg, he can be found in the Ironbark car.  He is a friend and is the best detective mind that I know.  If there is a mystery to solve on Celeruan Isle, we will need him!  You will be safe in the Ironbark car until I retrieve you.  I must appear loyal to Zebulon in the meantime, now make haste! I can tell you no more.” Octavia said briskly.

            The elevator shaft opened with no elevator inside. With a stare from Octavia’s crystal eyes, the opposite side of the shaft opened and Tempest could clearly view Waterman Annex just on the other side.  It was the hallway where they had entered the door.  First Octavia ran and jumped out and turned her head to see if Tempest was coming.  She didn’t notice how petrified and novice Tempest was, and possibly even forgetting that Tempest wasn’t raised a Lingermancer and had no concept of her speed.  Tempest took a deep breath and ran toward the open door and jumped through to where Octavia was standing.  She let Tempest pass and then shut the door behind leaving her alone in the Tripskip hallway with all the random doors.  She needed to find a gentleman named, oh she had already forgotten, and like that was super easy on a seven story vessel that’s about a thousand miles long, that you have also only been on once, she thought to herself.  She looked up and down the corridors and with so many passengers going hither and fro, she didn’t know who to ask.  Then she saw a map on one of the fluorescent walls.  She did remember the name Ironbark car and hoped she could find it on the map.

            “Your destination please?” said a voice from inside the life-sized map.

            Tempest squinted carefully and could see a digital face formed out of letters and shapes speaking to her.  Once it started speaking nothing was legible anymore so she decided to answer.

            “Iron….bark….car?” she muttered like a robot.

            “Right this way.” Said the voice.

            A door opened in the screen and at the top it read ‘Ironbark Car All Aboard’.  Tempest took a step and her leg entered the screen and as she continued to move she slowly vanished into the map.  On the other side she reappeared in what she knew to be the 1920’s.  She looked down at herself and her armor was gone and instead she was wearing a black tasseled dress and funny looking black heels with a buckle across the top of her foot.  She even had a small black coin purse clutched in her hands.  It wasn’t long before she noticed that everyone in the car had stopped for a moment to look at the new arrival and she so wished she could remember the gentlemen’s name at that moment.  Fortunately the passengers all went back to their normal activities of smoking, everyone seemed to be smoking.  Some people were reading in big leather chairs, others had tea and dessert sitting in front of them on tables with white table clothes and shiny silver spoons.  The waiters all had tuxedo’s on and many of the men had this tiny little pencil shaped mustaches just under each of their nostrils.  The ladies were tall and thin and very pale, until Tempest looked down at her own arm and saw that she too had fair skin, in fact she fit in almost too well.  After taking a few steps into the room a man appeared from her right, like he was part of the furniture.

            “What brings a young doe like you into these parts of the cosmos?  Felt you wanted to dabble in the arts of debauchery?  You see, I can be a guide for you as I tend to know most of the important people who board this vessel, no matter the likeness, they have to pass through me.”  He said as he walked her by the arm.

            In his right hand he had a cigar, and he swaggered a bit while he took each step, making is oversized suit buckle at the knees and giving the jacket the appearance it was about to fall off.

            “That’s very kind of you sir.  I actually am looking for a certain fella, maybe you can help?”  She spoke with a squeaky girlish voice.  Hoping to appear naive and vulnerable, she seductively adjusted his tie while she waited for his answer.  He swallowed a little and his mustache and lip curled up on one side.

            “And who would this lucky fella be?”  He replied.

            “A Mr. Everett Palmer Fogg.” She said and sat quietly staring him in the eye.

            The room went quiet again.  His curled up face went flat.  Tempest thought for a moment that she had said the most vulgar word in their world’s history.  Internally she regretted even trying to find this man because there were many walls and passengers and corridors between her and her blood circle echo.  She stood still and let her eyes scan the room.  Every black and white clothed person held their position looking in her direction, almost like they were from a silent movie that had been stuck on the film projector.  The only thing moving was the smoke.  As she continued to count heads she spied one head, a hat covered head looking in the other direction.  Curiosity got the best of her and she removed her hand from curly lipped man and walked straight to the bar where the hat man was standing.

            “Excuse me, I am looking for Everett Palmer Fogg?” she said as she tapped him on the shoulder.

            “Who sent you?” she heard a deep reserved voice reply.

            “Lady Octavia Featherstone.” Tempest answerer.

            He turned his head slowly and Tempest was surprised that he was a normal looking dude, pleasant face and sharp looking features.  He removed his hat to reveal slight greying just above his ears and a head full of swayed back hair.

            “Radical Fantastico!” he finally replied.

            Tempest laughed out of the relief and he chortled back and then the black and white mannequin people all went back to their socializing, smoking, dancing and tea or whiskey drinking.

Within the Veil

Within the Veil

A glimpse of tender suffering

A wasted choking breath

Come swiftly mighty stallion

Be my one and final rest

Lay in the night and whisper

How petals fall by choice

Oh hear the thunders Opus

Above the fallen ice

Fury takes a hold of the victim

Hollow soulless greeted stride

Alone it finds its prism

My foe my feast my bride

Where has the midnight loosened?

The grip within its belt

Tightened among the laces

The straps with velvet felt

Arise from ashes my rosebud

Take hold within the flask

Drink deeply Scarlett letters

And unveil your hidden mask

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Dreaming of Braxia - Sample from "The Emerald Lights"

Dreaming of Braxia

            She had been there before, not entirely sure how but the memory was there and it was fresh and real.  There were dogs barking in the distance and a few stragglers walked here and there in the shadows.  It was a melancholy night and the streets were shining with reflecting water and a smell heaved in the fog like moist coal.  She could hear noises in the street, some were small like a rat running to a gutter and others sounded like a pail of water being dumped from a high window.  She wasn’t positive but she thought she had emerged in a dream here before and that this was not a new experience.  Behind her there was a blank grey wall, with no real character other than a basic empty perception of being abandoned.  If she touched it, she had the distinct impression it would take her life, spirit, soul and she would be gone from this place in an instant.  Her eyes stung thinking about leaving because if she was correct this was the one place that was the perfect fit, the one place that was somehow right in ways she didn’t understand.  There were details she could imagine that reached her deepest desires, worries and fantasies.  Here she was once again and now she was afraid to move.  Taking a deep breath, she filled her lungs with the icy air and turned her face toward the road on her left.  There was a fountain in the square, it had water spurting from a horse’s mouth and the rider was a man wearing a captain’s hat as he pointed his sword toward the sky.  The sword was lit up in a sapphire blue and the handle had the word Gladius engraved on it.  The stone that comprised the horse and rider was a large milky marble cut from a single mass.  Water shaped like tiny droplets soared downward as time seemed to slow down.  She got caught in a magical thought as she reached in her pocket to pull out a cigarette.  She remembered she didn’t have anything to light it with so back in her pocket it went.
            Quietly, she slipped down the silent road into the mysterious and wondrous night.  She passed a street sign, she could’ve sworn it said ‘Goodbye Street’, but it all seemed blurry and distant.  Her ears were ringing a bit and her mouth was dry.  Her body felt sore and overworked and possibly a tiny bit damp.  The chilled air didn’t move but it choked her in its deathly stillness.  She continued to walk.  Each step hummed a song in her mind that gave her life purpose.  It was a song that drove her to love life and to hope for a time when it could all be laughter instead of trepidation.  She missed the days of gentle living but this life also offered mystery that a boring life could never give her.
            The night sky was getting lighter and the stars were starting to slowly disappear.  Silhouettes of buildings and homes started to form on the fuzzy horizon.  Her heart beat a little hurried because it was real, it was here and she was too!  This could be the most exciting time in a girl’s life, being able to explore a foreign land and have total independence.
           Morning perpetually felt like a mystery, like she was stepping out of a book.  The pages were full of color and life, her breath was heavier and deep inside her body was waiting to burst forth.  You rarely have to look at your real life and wonder if you are dreaming but in dreams you invariably wonder if you are dreaming.  That is how Tempest felt but she was usually afraid to wake up.  The sound of a train in the distance made the baby hairs on the back of her neck stand up as she dodged briefly behind a large oak tree.  She ran her exposed fingers across the trunk and the bumpy bark created imaginative walk ways under her finger tips as they ran over them, almost reading them and she thought she could tell their story.  She was exhaling loudly and felt a grim shadow engulfing her mind.  She had to think, try to recall exactly why she was here again.  It was somewhat like a dream but it was too certain, too absolute and she could feel the moisture on her fingers as they tightened and trembled.  Slowly the sounds of the Annex were coming alive.

            It became hard to breathe as her heart swelled, she fixed her leather corset as it was digging into her sweaty shoulder blades and pushing her swollen chest into her throat.  Her long fur skirt was revealing her muscular legs on both sides and exposing two brass Storm Brakkers, strapped on each leg.  Her boots wrapped her legs like snakes, but flat metal looking snakes that had nuts and bolts holding them together.  There were brass buckles and chains holding the boots in place.  The color of the metal changed with each step and the gears twisted and tightened or loosened as it needed to so it was consistently tight enough but not ever too tight.  The fur skirt was fascinating because it was almost alive and holding on to her hips as they shook with each step.  Her waist was small and formed just like her corset and she filled in the bust like liquid.  She had nothing on her arms but they were glistening in the new sunlight with dusted sparkles and a tiny taste of shimmering powder.  On each hand was a black fingerless glove, stitched on her hand to stay forever.  Her nails were short and silver, perfectly manicured and yet those fingers could inflict a lot of pain if provoked.  Tempest’s hair was orange and wiry, at least in this place it was, just to her shoulders and on top of her head sat a fascinator, just tilted a tad to the left, with a tasteful feather and a leather strap much like the material on her corset.  On her neck was something that was hard for others to understand but it was common among Transcendents.  Tightened like a cuff, was a thick black choker laden with gears and chains that served to keep Tempest’s status known to all, she was a warrior and this is what warriors wore.  She didn’t realize how completely exclusive she was.  She didn’t know how unique she was.  After all, she was a Transcendent.  For that reason she was created and chosen to use her blood circle to converge the Legion of Ages in order to find the Emerald Lights.

            It was in that moment as she surveyed her curves and gear it dawned on her that she was actually in someone else’s body, because it appeared she wasn’t a Transcendent at all, but rather a Lingermancer.  At least in this incredibly convincing illusion she was a Transcendent warrior and there was no denying it.  This body, this being, was a different race all together.  She was now intrigued at where this was all going so she continued on.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Moloka'i?

In my dreams I am still there, or I have returned...and often I can't contain the joy in my heart as I swim towards the shore.  The sensation of the pebble sand and the warm breeze brushing against my tanned skin is a memory that never left me.  Deep ingrained in my soul is a bronze and orange sun that sets against a sparkling ocean, full of life and mystery but what was out that horizon that never got touched?  The thunder of the waves as they landed on the wet sand was like a heartbeat that rang in my ears many years later.  That was my Hawaiian childhood.  The last place I remember being truly happy.  How many of us have a place in time they go back to in their dreams?  The place where the whole future seems like a fantasy just waiting for us to embrace set out and conquer that fear, to dance on the big stage of life, to live a life that brings us the deepest joy!

In my dreams I return to that beach, to that sunset, to that thunder rolling ocean.  I return to my 7 year old self.  I return to my innocence.  I return to Hawaii.

Recently my book club decided to read the novel Moloka'i by Alan Brennert.  My first question was, "Why would I want to read a sad book about people being banished from their homes to spend the remainder of their life losing limbs and suffering unimaginable depression?".  That is now the question of the year.  After reading just 3 pages of this masterpiece, I realized why it was so important, I discovered "Why 'Moloka'i'?' was a must read for this grown little blonde haired girl...a girl who grew up wearing Muumuu's and Lei's...a girl who danced the hula, ate poi (and sometimes seaweed unwillingly, thanks Chad!) and combed the shorse for Portagee man o' war.  I was young...and to some it may seem a little too long ago.  But not to me.  Those are the days I cling to when I want to give up hope.  Those are the days I cherish because there is something about Hawaii, there is something (in this case) about Moloka'i.  And this book brought many of those "unseen" things back into my heart and back into my mind.

A Hawaiian girl named Rachel (so close to my name) yet born in the late 1800's, is sent away from the only home she has ever known, separated from her entire family, to live in the secluded region of Kalaupapa, Moloka'i - to face her future with Leprosy!  Rachel's imagination was running wild, and she was na├»ve to what Leprosy meant and was certain that her death was minutes away.  Much to my relief, the book covers the 70+ year stretch of her life.  All the hopes and desires any girl would have, yet suffering physical and emotional scarring few of us can come close to understanding.  As the story develops you see a very real person who loves the land and who takes her surroundings in with the same fervor as I hope I do in my life.  Deep and thoughtful but also skeptical and untrusting - for many good reasons.  There wasn't one possible way I couldn't love this story as it painted a very accurate portrayal of island life and the simple pleasure of breathing that the Hawaiians have mastered.  Watching the ocean and all of God's creation in a paradise much like Eden - however set in a tragic historical reality called Leprosy.  I think the most beautiful element to the story for me was to see the heart of a child ebbing and flowing as each trial was surmounted.  I loved the realness I felt as she talked with her new "Ohana" and the dialogue was written so perfect you could hear it come out of your own mouth.  She also develops a close mother/child relationship with a nun that is set over her as a teacher and guardian.  And at one point this broken little lamb - one you would see as only a victim - saves the nun from a terrible mistake of suicide.  I didn't cry while I read the book - too stubborn...until the very end.  It was because I didn't want it to end.  I wanted to stay in Moloka'i...with Rachel.

I am haunted by this story in a way I can't quite put my finger on but I am eager to find out.  I know about 3 people in my personal life that need this book...and you might know who you are.  Although a fictional character, Rachel has given me...or should I say God has given me through the story of Rachel, a perspective to look that I hadn't thought of before.

In my dreams I return to that beach, to that sunset, to that thunder rolling ocean.  I return to my 7 year old self.  I return to my innocence.  I return to Hawaii.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

So you think you can dance??

Doctors orders were for me to "dance" with my children.  As a result of my 4 pregnancies (two of which I had the lovely condition I call GD - Gestational Diabetes), and my 60+ lb weight gain (thank you genetics), I am a pre-diabetic and need to get those nasty blood sugars under control.  Knowing I have 3 small children underfoot all day...and that they have the "A" word (Autism:) for my new readers), she suggested I "dance" with them.  "Ya know, just turn on some fun dance tunes and dance in the living room.  Everyone likes to dance and it will be good exercise and fun with the kids".

In actuality, this is how it went.

"Mommy is going to turn off Wubbzy since you've watched it half the morning, and we are going to dance," I said as I tripped over the carpet that had previously been rolled up in a bunch under the cupboard where the stereo sits.  "I want Wubbzy!!" chanting from the hallway.  I reached down to pry the broken cupboard open as it swung from one ragged hinge - the other hinge busted away from a shredded and gnarled piece of splintered wood.  The first radio station I come to is finishing a boring song so I close the door and wait a few seconds for the next to start.  Then some crazy-rap-90's-hip-hop-booming song starts playing and I try and roll with it...getting all dub-step and gangster...until I realized the kids are all screaming and asking for drinks and covering their ears.  So, I switch the station.  Nothing much better on the next go but I try dancing anyway.

Now the kids are into it but they only want to do "ring around the rosy"...and now they are mad because I'm not spinning them and they are fighting for my attention.  Next wonderful thing...Aidan wants chocolate-milk all of a sudden and starts climbing the gate.  "Come on, lets dance", I yell enthusiastically as I start my 40 something groove... "No...I want milk..."  Girls are now screaming and asking for different things...Kylie wants to spin...Kaelynn wants to run in circles...nobody wants to hold hands and now Aidan is on the floor squealing.  At this point, the song is actually irritating and I'm cheerfully saying "lets's fun...right??"  Now I'm dancing alone.  Everyone is either crying or upset...or wanting milk.  Well doctor...easier said than done.

**Shaking my head**  I will never get this figured out will I?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Finding compassion in places you never want to go...

There is no structure to this post...just a venting session.  Read at your own risk.

Recently on social media, I was made to feel that sharing my pain was just a burden to others and that they didn't really want to hear my "pain" or "hardship".  How can I put this?  Sorry if reality is too hard for others but I sort of can't avoid my reality!!  But, for the sake of saving friendships I decided to blog about my experiences instead.  Whoever wants to read can...and the others can ignore them.  Doesn't matter to me!

Here goes my blog...

I could hear the laughter of my children flowing down the hallway as my husband was being "monster Daddy".  I should have felt a sweet lightness in my heart and possibly a tear should've appeared in my eye to live in that rare moment.  I should've felt something wonderful.  Instead, my body was holding up a countertop as I drearily stared into the room that used to have a dining table but is now a mix-match of loose toys, some broken, most orphaned and lonely but all sitting atop a dingy rug with holes.  Oh, the unsettled living area is not why I stared off into space, nor was it the mess that was calling my name to clean it up.  No, my glossy eyes and numb emotions go deeper than that.  I believe its a protection that happens to mothers like me.  But is it really protection?  Why can't I enjoy the laughter coming from the next room? A thought like that can make the tension worse, can make the reality worse.  I can't enjoy much to be honest.  Most of my day is spent under attack and as a 24hr surveillance team of one.  My adrenal glands are working overtime!

What I'm going through now is nothing new to what I've been facing for the last 5+ years.   3 kids with ASD.  Why am I saying it again?  Well, because I have to keep reminding myself that this is why life is so unbearable and sad most of the time.  I read an article that said roughly, "mothers of special needs kids have the same symptoms as soldiers suffering from PTSD".  I will never try and take the credit of something so honorable as a soldier, so please don't misunderstand.  I'm just drawing the association that most times I feel like a surge of anxiety, fear, sadness, visions of danger, grieving, anger and total brain meltdown flow through me multiple times a day.  I know other mothers that share the same emotional roller-coaster and we all agree, it makes us less available to take care of our very needy kids.  We are stripped of our decision making process because we always have to factor in the inevitable, crazy and absurd!!  I blog about these emotions because I can't understand them.  I raised a child already, with the same list of rules that you raise your kids.  You teach them to obey and how to be polite.  Stay where Mommy and Daddy told you to or we won't go "______" (fill in the blank).  Be nice to your sister or no "______" (fill in the blank).  Life had conditions and consequences.  Sure, kids disobey and don't follow the rules.  But as time goes on they start to learn and start obeying more and more frequently.  So why is this so hard for our kids to do???

I want to cry as I type this because this scenario isn't at all what is going on in our ASD home and it's like a foreign land.  There is no "obeying or following directions" and no teaching "respect" (no matter how hard we try), there is no "if you do this, then you can have this"....again, we try...but we are ignored. How do we carry on like this day to day for YEARS??? I'm baffled.  There is no answer.  Yet we still try and in the meanwhile I feel like a complete train wreck.  My back feels broken.  My feet feel broken.  My heart feels broken.  If my husband were writing he would say the same about himself.  So here we are 2 people leaning on each other to get through a lifetime of uncertainty. Wow.  Marital bliss.


I hear others moms talking about their struggles.  How to juggle ballet with soccer practice?  How can they get home in time to fix dinner?  I am not trying to dismiss that other people have stress.  I am just looking for some common ground in my new life.  I wish I worried about things that other people worried about so I could relate.  I have to think about the strangest most random things regarding our kids and it is exhausting!  For example: when we are trying make a decision about family vacation, we can't simply pick a place, save the money, buy our tickets and travel clothes etc.  We literally have to think about: how can our kids cope, will they throw up, will they escape the location, what could happen if they did, will they get over the noise, will the crowds be too much, can they wait in line, what if they hit or punch someone there, will they stay in a stroller, can my body handle the constant lifting or fight when they have a melt down, do we need to bring an extra person, will it be a waste of money, will they sleep at night, can they get out of the hotel room, is there a balcony, can they lock themselves in the bathroom, will they eat the food, will they sit in a dining room, can we manage diaper changes on kids too big for the diaper changing station, how will other people treat us??

Just plain planning becomes daunting.  Most of the time we give up.  We stop planning.  Yes, we do have successful outings but it is NEVER leisurely.  It is constant running and struggling.  I am not kidding.  We recently took a 2 week family "staycation" and did have successful trips to local amusement parks, the beach, the fair etc.  Again I have to say, the craziness has become our new reality.  We felt it was successful because we "survived" and we had a few laughs.  Others might observe and say, "what an absolute nightmare, I would never do that!".  Funny how your perspective changes.  We see every outing as an opportunity for them to succeed in a social or community setting.  When they succeed it builds their confidence.  The only way for them to feel success is if we make it back to the car without any major meltdowns and very little yelling...and it order to do that we have to limit the length of time we are out.  We've got it down to a science!

A few months ago, our friend and pastor at our church gave us this book.  The author is a Japanese boy with autism that is non-verbal but able to communicate with an alphabet system and eventually was able to answer questions about how it feels to have Autism.  It was earth-shattering stuff for us to read because we were able to finally hear our children's voices.  Not to say they don't talk or communicate because they do...but this book talks about feelings.  We don't get to hear how our children feel...but this book helps us do that.  We realized very quickly that they are trapped in a mind that does what it doesn't want to do, that acts on impulse (no matter the consequence) and they wish they could control themselves but they can't.  It gives me a compassion towards my children when they are lashing out and bashing things in their anger.  I feel their pain.  But I'm also their mother and I want to guide and direct but it looks so different than the methods I had used with my older son.  This compassion has come from a place I didn't want to go...I couldn't have gained it if I never traveled down this road called Autism.

As I wrap this up, I have 2 therapists in the other room working with my older daughter and I suddenly hear screaming so I come to see what had happened and the youngest had bit her really hard in the chest (over a toy).  I gave kisses to the older, a little swat on the younger and made her say sorry.  I keep hearing this will get better.  I can only hope.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We don't need a break FROM our children with Autism, we need a break WITH our children with Autism.

I'm a little hesitant to write this post as I'm aware that any opinion on parenting styles varies so much from family to family and even situations within the same topic can reflect very different realities.  I will be using generalization about raising Autistic kids, so please bare that in mind as you read.

Going against popular belief and the multiple comments I get from loved ones and even strangers, I proclaim with fervor, "We don't NEED a break from our children".  When I've spent an afternoon complaining to a friend about the "goings on" in our household, I can see why their conclusion is, "you need a break from the kids" or "do you have respite care, so you can get away?".  At the risk of sounding double-minded, YES we need those kinds of breaks too but that is not the primary resolution to our troubled minds.  If you have the time and the heart to follow along, let me take you on a journey into the deeper life of a family that has Autism in the center of their world.

If you have children of your own, then you know that they are the center of your universe (besides the obvious disclaimer that God is actually the center and your spouse is your life partner, so lets establish that right away).  That aside, your own children are who you live for, what you work for, who you would die get the point.  When life throws a situation of physical or psychological disability your way, that doesn't change your strong animal instinct to protect and nurture your child and to give them the best life possible.  However, society limits your ability because of their capacity to understand and your own child may limit your chances of succeeding in the quality of life you wish to achieve.  In the end, you don't go anywhere and the thought of exposing your family and heart to ridicule in a community outing becomes daunting at best.  I have been there.  I know.  I have crumbled in total silence in front of strangers that could offer nothing but a cold stare.  All the pain of my children's screams echoing in my heart because its not just my privacy and my ego that is on display but their undeserved anxiety and internal torment.  Do I sound melodramatic?  If I do, you need erase your preconceived and discriminatory mindset and really listen to what I'm saying.

Despite popular belief that these children don't actually understand that they are different, and that they don't care about the trouble they are causing, or because they are spinning in a corner, they don't want to be with people or have friends, I say the opposite is true.  They DO know they are different.  They DO know they are drawing attention when they scream.  They DO want friends.  It is when their compulsive actions happen that they lose the ability to do what is right and therefore causing social discomfort resulting in withdrawal and outbursts.  And the saddest part is, they know it...and they sense other people are equally aware.  They have normal, if not high, IQ's and they have over developed senses so they can hear, see and observe more intensely than we can possibly imagine.

Now apply this new thought process to how a child interacts with the people in their family.  Parents, siblings, Grandparents take on a new role of companion and friendship.  Relationships outside of this sphere are difficult if not impossible.  These are the relationships that will strive to understand their minds and will cheer them on with all accomplishment's or failures great and small.  These people will read books about Autism.  They will talk to other families with Autism in order to gain greater understanding.  They will advocate for their children in business and personal settings.  These people will fight for their children's happiness and will protect them at all cost.  In their life, there may not be anyone else to lean on in the future.  They are at risk for abuse, neglect, isolation, despair and being shut out from society.  I can see that many of these young ones have the potential to grow up and never overcome the behavior issues and the violent tendencies that could lead them into a life of medication and psychological supervision.

To a reader, this is all about "someone else's kids".  To a parent, this is all about "the child that is in the center of my universe".  When I think of my own children being adults and how it will look to be 60+ years old and having to work through social and emotional outbursts with a 20+ year old, I can't comprehend it.  And here is where my topic comes full circle.  How do parents bond with their children at a young age when socialization with autism creates such a gigantic barrier?  How can parents learn how to deeply stay connected to a child who isolates themselves and will only script in a corner with a book or other obsession?  And then how do we translate that into the teen years and into adulthood?  How?  HOW!? 

When my husband and I married 6 short years ago, we gave our lives completely over to God and His Will for our lives.  We said, "use us for Your Glory, no matter the cost".  We didn't know what the cost would be.  We still don't really know what He is up to and I'm not saying our children were the cost but we would be blind to not realize that somewhere in our life of autism is a bigger picture of God's grace.  We have asked ourselves, "how can God use this pain?".  We have literally spent hours and hours talking through situations we find ourselves in.  We overwhelmingly find God in the conversations we have with people who are in our life ONLY because of autism.  To be honest, none of the people that God has led to our house would be here if our kids were neurologically healthy.  None of them!  And THAT, is where we see God.  So where do we go from here?  We don't have the answer completely but I piece it together with other ideas that we have witnessed in our community and that is the fact that families with autism need help.  In my short experience in this field, I can say the mothers have nowhere to turn.  And, what happens most of the time is they turn from the family and run to outlets of one kind or another (pampering, girls night out, shopping, and in some cases unhealthy self focus that leads to division).  Not to say they are all bad outlets, or to say they don't love their families.  I think the opposite is true.  I say, they love their families deeply but it becomes empty if you lose the reciprocal connection with the ones that struggle socially.  If you have one nuero-typical child and a child with Autism, you see the black and white contrast of connection.

Is the point I'm trying to make becoming any clearer?  Parents need time and opportunites to connect with their autistic kiddos in an environment that makes them successful.  Not trips to the store!  Not running errands or going to birthday parties!  The kids will fail.  They will feel worse.  And the parents will stop trying.

This past 3-day weekend, we dedicated most of the time to taking our children on "child-centered" activities.  We went to Santa Cruz and let them go on rides for a few hours.  We took them to Chuck-E-Cheese and church and to the park.  It was a whirlwind of fun, very exhausting and very expensive.  We obviously can't do that every weekend.  But, what I will emphasize is what my husband said at the end of it.  He said, "this was the best weekend we have had with the kids EVER!"  For 2 years we have had respite care come to help watch kids for date nights and other "us" time.  It's necessary of course but it also takes us away from the kids.  Now listen carefully to what I'm about to say.  If ALL of the time we are with the kids is stressful because of busy therapy schedules and school buses and in between is only errand and grocery shopping, then where does the bonding time come in?  If we don't plan specific bonding time, our children nor ourselves will survive the long haul.  We believe that  real help comes in the form of coming along side families and taking the burden on with them.  Sacrificing a gentle easy time at the beach and instead offer to come to an outing to the beach with a family so you can be an extra set of hands and eyes.  What this does is it creates a sense of belonging to the child (which is vital!) and also the family will feel loved and supported and maybe what is more important is they will feel safe.  When we tackle big events like an amusement park or San Francisco without extra help, we fail...big time!  It is a terrible experience for everyone and we come home wishing we had never gone.

I challenge anyone reading this, if you know a family or ARE a family that longs for bonding, that wants their baby boy or teen girl to bond with them like they never have, please consider creating time WITH your child in an environment where they will succeed.  I know first hand the heartache that comes from forcing a regular life on kiddos that have a hard time with "regular".  Take breaks WITH your kids.  Let them be free of schedules and forced trips to Target.  And when you get a sitter...don't always take off and leave them but instead bring the sitter with you.  Make it a family event.  Play in the sprinklers, bury your feet in the sand, feed farm animals, plant some flowers.  It might just change your life and better yet, it may change theirs.

Time Surge 1986 - "The Emerald Lights"

                Octavia didn’t say a word, but Tempest noticed she wasn’t flying upward toward the platform but rather back to the eleva...