HELP EMMA'S DREAM'S COME TRUE
I will start out this letter with thank you, because, indeed, that is where it will end as well. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to strengthen my resolve, to reinforce my purpose and boundaries. You are in part, in an odd sort of way, a catalyst to our success in healing our daughter.
Having said that, I chose to let you hurt me AGAIN today. Yep. I did. Though you will never know it, this has happened many times in the past 13, going on 14 years.
I really liked you. I wanted a deep meaningful relationship with you, one that would stand the test of time and life's trials.
I miss the pre child you. I really miss the pre-autism you. You remember her? The one that would speak directly to me? The one that was nice to me? Yea, that one. That's the one I miss.
But, but but, you say, in self righteous indignation.... you have changed too! You are right, I must confess. I used to participate in the world the way YOU thought I should... I wrote thanks you's and I kept obligations consistently. Ones I didn't really want to, but I thought I should , and you did too. I participated in many an activity for the sake of the relationship.... I believed I had to. And you were pleased. I was the person you wanted me to be, and I did what you wanted, and you were happy.
But then...... sick, sick, sick screaming in pain with no help from doctors baby happened. She took priority. I no longer cooperated, over and over again with your picture of how the world should be...... and then autism came, and more medical issues. My world not only became small, but I put limits on things to protect my girl, to protect and preserve that small, minuscule really , shred of energy I had left after caring for Emma. That small nugget that often times keeps me sane. BOY, were you unhappy. Really really unhappy. Angry. And it was ALL. MY. FAULT, or so you thought.
But I, who values kindness, who oh so badly wanted this relationship, kept reaching out. The picture in my mind is a puppy going back to be kicked again and again. Not physically, and less and less often as the years went by, but I kept going back. Because deep down that little girl inside me wanted you to like me.. to love me really. To understand how much I was doing for my girl. It didn't even matter after a bit if you agree with me, I just wanted you to respect me. That was not to be.
Today, in a small way, I reached out to you again. And again, I got kicked. It's subtle with you, passive aggressive for sure. You could deny it all and probably will. But I knew. And I let It hurt me to the core. Tears not far from the corners of my eyes, and years of hurt unfurled. I am not gonna lie, I cried. I cried for our walks, I cried for our fun times. I cried for what is not to be. I cried that to heal my daughter, I must now let you go.
But then..... I dried my tears and I set you... and me free. I don't want to see you anymore, and I still love you. I've learned over the past 13 years it really truly isn't about me. My pain today was ALLL about me. But what you do or don't do, isn't about me at all. It's about you. I believe that by not respecting, or even heaven forbid trying to understand my girl, you have missed out terribly. I did not.
I put ( and continue to put) in the time, effort and energy needed to heal my daughter. I got to feel the THRILL of her eating her very first sandwich at age 7. I got to cheer when she FINALLY at age 3 ran to meet her father at the door after work because she was finally excited to see him. I got see her stand in a crowd of kids before her cross country meet.... and know what absolutely pivotal moments these were. I get to revel, as I write now, in her giggling in her room with one of her best friends. These are extraordinary moments, and I know it.
I wish you the very, very best. Please know that. I see how unhappy you are, how you feel I and life in general have not cooperated with your plan. I hope find your way to peace and happiness. I really do wish that for you. I love you...... but now, FINALLY..... I love me more. I won't let anyone treat me the way you have in the past few years. I love you... but I don't need you to love me anymore. Ohhhhhhh, thank you! Thank you thank you, for today! For your reaction to my kindness. Because it helped me see just how much I don't need you to love me, and I will not be treated the way you treat me. I am sure our paths will cross, they are destined to in a small community. You can rest assured I will be kind to you, and I will still love you. But I will not allow you to treat me the way you have previously.
In closing, as in starting this letter, I want to express my deep gratitude. Because every time I let you hurt me... and you will never know just how many times that has been.... I decided to be stronger. I became more determined. I consciously chose my daughter and myself over the expectations of you and the world.
And I am blessed beyond measure for it.
So thank you.
Wishing you the very best, the most happiness.
No Denying it, being a parent of a kid on the spectrum is hard. Put Cancer on top of that, and well, its' harder. That cancer, out of remission and spreading for the third time...Non-verbal child who needs care 24/7 and well, that's what nightmares are made of in the autism world. Right now this is Melanie's world. Her Thinking Mom's Revolution name is "Booty Kicker" and I am sure that what she is doing right now... giving cancer a run for it's money. Please join us in supporting her family in their time of need. We know Melanie has so much faith, love and healing energy behind her. Please say a prayer for her and her family now too, see her happy and healthy and caring for her amazing son. We are all cheering you on Melanie sending you love and light and healing!!
IF you would like to donate to the fundraising Campaign to support Mel and her family please DONATE HERE:
Today is a big day in the Stanley household: The beginning of the end. The big let go. Farewell dear friends. Emma reorganized her Barbie kingdom and decided to sell about 30 dolls. When she told me.. I almost cried. You see, Barbies aren't just playthings in our house. They are part of Emma's autism... they are one of her “Isms” or repetitive behaviors. She has probably 80 or so Barbies, and tons of accessories, campers, plain ones fancy ones you name it, she's got it.
These Barbies have seen a lot of action in their day, and a lot of changes in Emma. I remember the days of strictly controlled play: Hours of Emma saying,”Mama, put the Barbie over there and have her say 'Mama I need dinner' ”. This would go on for hours, with the strictest control of play by Emma. The mere THOUGHT of parting with even one would lead to meltdown of epic proportions. Man, She's come a long way baby.... now she and her playmates play together with complete freedom to invent and chose what each will do with their characters! AND SHE IS READY TO LET SOME OF THE BARBIES GO GO!!!! I am so proud of her, and at the same time, it's like saying good-bye to a good friend. Friend you say? Yes friend.
One of the most valuable things I learned to do in Emma's program was to LOVE WHAT IS. I can passionately want something more or different, but I love what is right now. And yes, that can include poop smearing, masturbating and other “offensive: behaviors”. I love Emma's Barbies. I loved playing with them. I loved being ordered around. I loved every word she said to me and every moment she included me in play. Aren't Barbies wonderful? I think so.
In loving Emma's isms, I get the honor of really knowing my child, meeting her exactly where she is and seeing what she values, seeing how she is taking care of herself, in the best way she knows how. In addition, I get to experience and enjoy her childhood. I don't see this as much in other methods for treating autism. I love embracing Emma's isms, and I love watching her let go.
Barbies for sale.............
I wrote this blog a few weeks ago, but for some reason, I couldn't upload it to Facebook. This week has shown me why that might have been. This week I watched my daughter almost get hit by a car. She is fine, not a scratch, but the call was close enough. Today, another brush with possible death. We bought some organic, all natural lip balm. I read the label TWICE. Emma put some on her lips... and my Mommy gut screamed," CHECK AGAIN"!!!! Indeed, there hidden in plain sight was Lecithin, a form of egg. Immediately I pulled over, gabbed the nearest cloth, and wiped her lips like there was no tomorrow. We were only a block from home, and we went and vinagered her lips. She has a strong, serious egg allergy that could kill her. Sigh, All's well that ends well, but it got me thinking about this blog I never posted. If something had happened, would I regret all that I have done for Emma, all that I have sacrificed? I know I wouldn't. Ever. regret. this. journey. EVER. SO read on, and see why I give Emma's recovery "All" of me.
I drove an hour one way yesterday to deliver some papers to a doctor we are seeing on Friday… I had to drive it up because I had made some cool graphs and charts of Emma’s progress over the past three years in the Son-Rise program, and they were color coded so they couldn’t be faxed. Yeah, I know, there was probably some cool way to scan and email them, but I didn’t know how.
Yeah, that is pretty much me. Color coded, spiffy graph….. ALL OF ME. That’s what I give Emma. All of me. Now, that doesn’t mean that’s ALL of me, I have lots of parts of me that don’t do graphs, would rather forget healthy food , biomedical treatments, food allergies, and the whole Autism thing. I do things for myself, and have pieces of my life that aren’t related to Emma. I find that balancing and healthy. But when I do something for Emma in assisting with her recovery, I give it all of me, and I love that.
All of me means I don’t stop at half way. I look where I “don’t want” to. I face my fears, my anger, my joys. I celebrate Emma’s triumphs…. her milestones in her recovery. I let go…. Again and again and again. There is no scared ground. There is no where I will not go, nothing I would not do, if I felt it beneficial for Emma. I’ll go without. I’ll face any criticism. I’ll be as different as I feel I want to be. I'll stand alone.
I love her completely, fully, without limits. I love her with ALL OF ME, I don’t let my fear hold me back for the most amazing relationship EVER with my little girl. I don’t need to know the outcome of our story… the end is not nearly so important to me as the journey.
It isn’t always easy, and often, very often I chose to feel lonely in this journey. But that’s just another opportunity… to grow and to change.
I love my life. Even the parts I would change if I could.
Giving Emma my ALL is my honor. I am grateful everyday for her.
Jumping Over the Puddle
The last three or four weeks have been rough. The whirlwind that summer is here in Maine, and some fun and antics with our neighbors here in the condo complex: people moving out and moving in, and other things that happen sometimes as a part of life. Emma hasn’t exactly dealt well. We had a few monster of all meltdowns, sleeping troubles and general bad attitudes that I chose to let drive me crazy.
In the end however, it was just a good case of Jumping over the puddle. What’s that you ask? Do you remember, when you were little and out stomping around in the rain, or after a rainstorm and you find a great big puddle to jump over? You back up to get a good running start, and you leap over the puddle and soar through the air…. So fun!
This happens with kids on the spectrum. They "back up" and then take a leap forward. The only problem is I don't always see that that is what is happening…. until she soars over the puddle.
That’s just what happened this past weekend at the Fall Regional Taekwondo tournament in Cape Cod, MA… thus the sobbing mother beside ring # 2! Emma has been doing a great job with these tournaments, with a fair amount of support from me, but this tournament was different. From the beginning, Emma wanted to be on her own. She wanted to walk by herself to see the vendor tables. She wanted to hang out with her Taekwondo school mate… alone. This is good. Previously she has been my Velcro child. Something was up…. I was beginning to smell a puddle ahead.
Well, what happened when she competed was nothing short of amazing. The students lined up and are lead to their ring by one of the judges. When they got to the ring, a young, smiley judge bent down and started talking to the girls in the ring.. rapid firing questions: “What your name? How old are you? Are you going to make some friends today?” Well. To my delight, Emma jumped right in, looked the women right in the eyes, and answered her questions, one after another, like any other kid!!! She competed with flare, and then, when receiving her trophies, she shook hands and MADE EYE CONTACT with each of the 4 judges in her ring. Fantastic! So connected, so there, so natural, so comfortable. So typical… so like every other girl in her ring!!
No one there knew we have had eye contact goals for her for the past ummmm, 7 years. No one knew how hard she and we have worked. No one knew what we have been through to get to these moments. I lost it. Tears of joy streamed down my face. A woman asked me if I was ok, and I just said I was so, so proud of my girl.
I knew in that instant she was jumping over the puddle… and boy, was she jumping high and far.
Many thanks to all who have and continue to support Emma and her dreams.... I wish each of you could have been there to see her soar... you are the wind beneath her ( and our) wings, and we will always be deeply grateful.
Way to go Emma, Way to go!
It's 9:45pm,My daughter is currently as I write in her room, crying, hopefully herself to sleep, but seriously, I have no idea. My heart hurts, my head hurts, I have been sick for days, and did I mention we have to be at OT at 8am tomorrow morning?
Sleep. It seems easy enough to those of your who haven’t lived it. And a hate to be particular, but those of your with infants and toddlers not sleeping, I am sorry, you have NO idea.. doing it at year 2 is so not the same beast as doing it a 8, or 10, or 25. Just trust me on this one.
You know, it’s like watching someone try to open door with a key that’s not working. You think, here, let me try, I know I can make that door open! Everyone has “the fix” for sleeping issues. Everyone wants to help and thinks they can. Just like the people watching the person trying to open the door. It looks so easy! I’ve opened many doors before, surely I can crack this one. I mean seriously, how hard could it be to get one child to sleep?
Really, Really challenging, let me tell you. And you know what else? No one wants to hear about it after about the first year or two. I remember taking Emma to the doctor at age, oh four or so. Not my regular doctor, one of the million specialists we saw. The guy had the nerve to look at me and tell me that children who chronically don’t sleep have neurological and other damage from it. OH, now that I know THAT, I’ll make her sleep…. Because four years of sleeplessness was FUN, and that’s why I brought it up to you, because I think it’s great and wouldn’t want to stop it. Thanks for the info, now I know. Idiot.
We try to be as compassionate as we can, but some nights, like tonight, I just lose it. It’s not just about sleep for my child. It's about sleep for ME. Here is tonight’s scenario: Too much screen time during the day: I was sick and my Son-rise person didn’t show and and and...
Then she forgot to poop tonight. Yes you heard that right: she forgot. Because pooping isn’t something that happens for Emma because she feels it, It happens because it’s night time, and we have trained her to poop each night, no matter what. So her stomach hurt, despite the oils we rub on, the hot water bottle she uses, and the diet she is on and and and….
She couldn’t tell us it hurt, because she doesn’t feel the pain right away, her body just speeds up and gets crazy. So she did crazy for awhile, and then I got pissed off, and THEN she tells me her stomach hurt, which I virtually ignored. Did I mention I am sick? Then ten minutes later, she declares she forgot to poop. She poops, then goes back to bed crying. By now I am crying too.
And we will wake up tomorrow and go about our day: OT, the Doctor and then home. She’ll be exhausted. SO will I. In a deep heart and sould weary tired way. Good, and you spectators say, she’ll sleep tomorrow night, as sure as the sun will go down. Maybe, but maybe not. See, spectrum kids don’t react like others, and she maybe exhausted, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she will sleep.
It’s almost 11pm now. Just a second ago, Emma asked me how to spell “with”. I told her go to sleep. I wish this story ad a happy ending. I wish I had the answer. But I don’t.
It's 11:10 now, and she is still not asleep. Deep, long sigh.
I love my daughter more than words can say, but sometimes, that’s not enough to help her. I have to be ok with that, I am doing the best I can, and somehow that must be just perfect.
Good night everyone.
Emma looks completely “typical” and often acts typical as well ( yeah, whatever THAT means). It is difficult for many to understand and see why she is even on the autism spectrum. Until recently, It was hard for me to explain. I would begin to explain a situation we face, and another parent would enviably say,” But my kid does that too!” And I would be left feeling like I hadn’t gotten my point across, and many a person I just know are out there thinking I am a loon, and there is nothing going on for Emma.
Oh how I wish that were true. I’ve actually prayed that prayer: Lord, just let me be wrong, be a paranoid parent, a Helicopter Mom as they are called. Why? Because that’s an easy fix: I just mea-copa and admit my wrong doing, change, and we’re done. Sweet!
But it doesn’t work that way, because autism is real, and it affects now 1 in every 100 children in our country, and a staggering one in every 58 boys. Holy cow! When are we going to wake up and listen? Well, that won’t happen until we can SEE Autism. Here are some things that might help you to see, in case you need a hand:
Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means it can be severe or mild, or anywhere in between. On the mild end, a child /adult might appear in public quite typical, unless you can see the supports put in place to enable him/her to be so typical for the hour (s) you see them. For Emma this is a barrage of supports: from extensive dietary support, to environmental supports, medical supports, orthopedic supports, to sensory supports to behavioral supports to sleep supports. It’s all there. If we slack on one aspect, her functioning goes south.
Autism is a MEDICAL condition. Yes, really. Our children as sick, physically sick. They suffer from extensive gastrointestinal, neurological, immune and allergic and seizure related conditions, just to name a few. These conditions affect their ability to feel the world the way other do. Process food the way we do, live the way we do. They often need to protect themselves from things that don’t bother others: sounds, sights, smells. They are often constantly in a state of flight or fight.
Autism is a relational disorder. It affects these children’s ability to relate to other people in a typical way. Could you have a nice calm conversation with someone in a dark alley just after a mugging attempt on you? Could you focus enough to learn some “bizarre” facts or behaviors someone else seems to think you need, but in your mind might lead to you being mugged again? I doubt it. Many of our children live in this constant state, and the things we ask of them not only don’t make sense to them, they feel downright dangerous.
Often times many of the behavioral aspects of autism are related to rigidity and control. Because of the way their bodiesand minds have been affected by this illness, most children on the spectrum are rigid and controlling. It’s not just like your two year old who says “NO!” and refuses to do something. It’s like that on steroids, about almost everything. And conventional methods don’t break through the rigidity. It’s not about who can hold out longest, as is with most kids. Holding out longer only creates a larger barrier to connection with others, THE hallmark deficit in autism. Holding out, in the traditional sense, makes overall functioning for these kids harder. It’s a relational disorder, remember?
Autism is relentless. Families dealing with Autism are often sleep deprived. I know we are. Children and adults on the spectrum don’t generally sleep all that well. Parents of children on the spectrum are constantly on high or even hyper alert: Their children wander away, they get into things, they require constant supervision, and they hurt themselves. They projectile vomit and spew diarrhea across multiple rooms in the house. Or they don’t stool for days and become impacted (that’s when stool has to be medically removed from the intestine). It’s not pretty. There are no holidays, there are no weekends, and there are no days off. Even with respite care or programming, we’re constantly “on duty”.
Autism is financially uh, “challenging”. I almost laughed a few years ago when my husband, practically in tears, looks up from his hands and says,” I SHOULD be able to provide for you and Emma.” He’s a gardener for goodness sake! There are families where the parents are doctors and lawyers and successful stockbrokers or business people, and guess, what? Many of them are broke too. We’ve spent more healing Emma than an Ivy League education would cost us…without financial aid. There are so many services and effective medical treatments out there that are not covered by ANY funding source. Especially not private insurance. On the contrary to popular belief, we don’t just run out willy-nilly and buy the latest snake oil being sold. Our days and nights are filled with research, doctors, networking, and more research, to figure out where to put each precious, hard earned dollar and how to make it stretch. There are treatments I know would help Emma that I have waited on, for YEARS, till I knew more, had more resources, felt they were more appropriate, and that they were the best use of our resources. There are many waiting in the wings now. I won’t try them all; just the ones I think have to greatest chance of success.
You can recover a Child/ Adult with Autism! I want to shout this one from the rooftops! No, you didn’t miss read this. IT’S TRUE. You can recover from Autism. Not everyone does. We don’t know why that is yet, but neither do we know why some people recover from Cancer, and others do not. The important thing is to TRY. Typical western medicine has no answers for us: they believe autism is not curable, or even recoverable, and therefore give us no hope, few treatments other than psychotropic drugs that make those very real underlying medical conditions worse. But parents of kids on the spectrum have found the hope. We have searched it out relentlessly, and the proof is in the pudding. There is a growing number, thousands strong now, of families that can say they are done with autism. It’s a thing of the past for them. These children are now young adults, and ironically many of them are in college, captains of their sports teams, brilliant actors or actresses, or singers. They are active in their schools and communities. They have jobs and earn money. Yes really, and no I am not kidding. It’s because their parents refused to give up, refused to lose hope and fought a system hell bent on keeping our kids down. But they couldn’t.
I’ll say it again: Autism is expensive: Even if full recovery isn’t achieved, every part of this condition we make better, the less dependent on others our children will be. Translation: the less money YOU will have to pay to care for adults with autism. And pay you will. There is a large “cohort” of teenagers with autism coming into early adulthood soon. Most of them will need fulltime care for the duration of their lives. We have virtually no programs in place to meet this demand. One person was heard saying it’s a freight train barreling head on into our social service system. I’m thinking Tsunami myself. Maybe when that Tsunami hits we’ll begin to see.
I was speaking with someone today who mentioned another child with a more accepted medical condition in need of a medical device to help them. The family was looking into people/ foundations that could help them. The child had tried this therapy, had improved, and then had worsened when the therapy was not available. Sounds familiar. This child got sores on their legs and arms, and their eyes started bleeding or some such. Yikes. All hands on deck, this kid needs help! Yes, she/he does.
And so does my daughter. She doesn’t have blood coming out of her eyes, but she needs your help. Will you see her, and the millions of children like her, who need your support, understanding love, prayers and most of all your ability to think outside the box, and HELP, and believe? We can find out what’s behind this epidemic (those of us, both doctors and parents here in the trenches actually have a pretty good idea) that is stealing our future, but we have to be willing to look. At ourselves, public policy, “healthcare” as we know it in this country, Parental Rights, and our basic freedoms to choose. Please open your eyes and really see autism. Find a parent fighting for their child or loved one, and you find a portal in. A place, if you stop and take some time, that can help you SEE autism.
OK, we’re running a Son-Rise program, right? So aren’t we always “supposed” to be happy, excited, and ready to reach for our dreams? No, not really. It’s always what I strive for, that feeling called happiness, and I do know I make it myself. That having been said, I continue to learn that sometimes, a good cry is just what I want for myself, and it helps clear the air, and sets me back on my feet.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if you can do this parent of a kid with autism thing and remain happy every minute of everyday, you go for it! More power to ya! I mean that, and I do believe it is possible.
But for the rest of us, I’d like to plant an idea in your head: what if we all just felt our feelings? Stop avoiding them, stop running from them? Personally, I fight them. I think I HAVE to be strong, happy, brave, and have my act together , in order to be the best I can be for Emma..( how's that for a belief?) Guess what? I don’t have to do anything, and I definitely get frustrated, lonely, discouraged, and sad. Oh, I forgot angry… That’s a good one. I get angry sometimes too. Ok, a lot of times.
So I have been fighting these feelings a lot lately, and yesterday, I just gave in, and I cried: Hard, all day. Like my heart was breaking forever. And maybe, for an instant (but not forever) it was.
My life is not what I dreamed it would be. I have a child that is challenged by multiple medical and development issues. My marriage, though strong, is stressed: by years of back breaking work, unimaginable financial challenges, lack of time together, lack of support and understanding, a medical system that can’t ( or doesn’t want) to deal with what is happening to Emma. Witnessing the pain Emma is often in. Nope, can’t say this is what I had in mind when I daydreamed about marriage and family!
So yesterday was the perfect day to deal with some of the feelings I have been running from. To mourn what I don’t have, to be angry and sad and frustrated. To flip a fair number of people “The bird”, if only in my mind. And so I did. Copious tears, loud wails at times, a lot of anger. I can’t say it had a pretty ending last night.. I was still exhausted and angry and sad when I went to sleep. But I put it out there, I FELT it all.
When I woke up this morning, well, nothing appeared to have changed. My husband didn’t change, my child didn’t change, our financial situation didn’t change, and there was no great outpouring of support from the peanut gallery.
But I had changed. Since I had let go of all those feelings, ( it takes a lot of energy to hold all that in) I could again see why I am choosing to do what I do.How unimaginably gratetful I am to have what I have. I went into the playroom this morning for the first time in weeks… and had a blast. I thought up fundraising ideas, and I took care of household chores. I feel the HOPE again. I feel really, truly happy. I am sure I’ll have another day when I let loose again, and honestly, I hope you do too. It may not look like it did for me, but I hope you’ll give yourself permission to let it out. To feel what you feel. Because I find that’s how I can get back on track: Back to my dreams, Back to Emma’s Dreams, Back to HOPE.
The other day, I had the distinct honor of believing for a time that someone very dear to me was considering taking their own life…. again. You see my mother took her own life in March of 1996, Just 6 months before Chris and I were married. People said I would never get over it, that I would always feel devastated, to some extent, by this event. I believed otherwise. How I dealt with that event clearly sent my life in a whole new direction that enabled me to understand that happiness (as well as sadness, misery etc.) is a choice. Something I can create for myself, no matter what is going on around me.
The pursuit of happiness is actually not a pursuit, it’s a choice. In any given instance, each one of us can choose how we feel: happy, sad, angry, excited etc. Actually it is not only that we can, we do this constantly. Feelings don’t just appear… they are made. We make them by calling our beliefs into action. Someone lies to us, we make up that they don’t love us and we decide to be unhappy. Our home is destroyed, yet our family is not, and we decide that family is more important than a house… and we choose happiness. It goes on an on and we do it all the time! The question then becomes how aware of this skill are we, and how much do we want to use it?
Most of us have been systematically taught that feelings are not something that we make, but something that happens to us. I know I was raised that way. Were you? It’s ok, my parents were terrific and they did the best they could, after all, it’s what they were taught!
It’s by the grace of God that I have had the privilege to learn that I have a choice about what I feel, before my daughter was born. It’s been an invaluable learning for me in dealing with her special needs. I like to say I am good at choosing happiness, and maybe that belief in itself makes it so. But I can tell you, as can the people closest to me, that I sometimes don’t choose to feel happy, and sometimes choose to feel downright miserable. But note the language, "I choose to feel….".
Is it really possible to be too obsessed with practicing the use of your “happiness muscles”…. your ability to choose happiness no matter what? To consistently seek out experiences that help you to refine these skills? I don’t think so.
Is it ok to risk it all to “perfect” (whatever that means) the art of choosing happiness for myself?
YES! YES! YES!
What is my or anyone’s quality of life if we are not happy? We can kid ourselves and think that a new car, boat, relationship, job, or opportunity will make us happy. But then our ability to be happy lies outside of us… outside of our control. No thank you! I’ve got this one covered, and I don’t want to depend on you, or the circumstances of my life for my happiness. It’s way too important.
So I am just I am going to say it…. I am a happiness choosing maniac…..I will and do risk a great deal to deepen my abilities in this area of my life, and thanks to my wonderful friend from the other day, and my decision about their actions, I am ready to shout it out from the rooftops! Happiness is THAT important to me. I believe it has transformed me, and can transform our entire world. I’d love it if you’d join me!
I had another amazing adventure at the Autism Treatment Center of America last week. I spent the week in the company of about thirty of the most amazing parents I have ever met, and learned so ,so, much!
I learned that taking Emma’s learning to the next level can actually be more fun for her and I , and not so much like adding a “ have to” onto to her fun activity.
I learned (again) that “good” is the death of “great”.
I learned that making daily tasks fun doesn’t have to be more work, it can actually be less.
I learned that letting go means being fine, even great with everything thing that could happen. And I do mean everything.
I learned that building, requesting an initiating are three different bears, and how to extremely effectively do all three in the playroom.
I learned how to effectively use green lights to move Emma’s learning to the next level.
I was given tons of resources for building games and activities build especially for Emma, to address her particular challenges, and how to help others do that as well.
I gained strength to continue this journey, for myself and for Emma.
I gained the knowledge that contact with specific people can help me, and others I will avoid at all costs.
I learned that I am only alone in this journey if I chose to see it that way, that there are two groups of amazing parents out there rooting for me and cheering me on. These parents love Chris, Emma and I and understand the challenges we face.
I learned that each day is another opportunity to love what is happening, stay present and enjoy the ride.
Weeeeeee! Both hands up as I ride this rollercoaster!
A big heartfelt thank you to all who helped me get to New Frontiers….. Another life changing week…. Another opportunity to help Emma!
Ellen is a counselor, educator and Biomedical and Son-Rise mom extraordinaire. She has many years of experience in public, private, "typical " and special needs educational settings, as well as extensive training as an Option Process® Mentor Counselor through The Option Institute in Sheffield, Massachusetts, sister organization of the Autism Treatment Center of America
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