The Pain of Autism

Many people, more knowledgeable than I for sure, have posted profound essays about autism.  Many books have been written about the subject as well.  I have a read a few blogs and essays, but now I find myself researching in earnest due to a friendship that has blossomed.  Once the friendship cemented and started to grow, I found myself fascinated by my friend’s oldest child.  He, as you probably guessed, has autism.  Or maybe autism has him.  I’m still deciding how I “should” think (according to the experts.)

Some get offended if I say “an autistic child” because they feel that I stress the autism when the child matters more.  They prefer the use of “a child with autism.”  Other experts preach that parents shouldn’t wish for their autistic child to not have autism as it would change the specialness of said child.  I’ve reached the point where I throw the bull crap flag at that view.  I, for one, would like to know who that sweet child would be without the influence of autism.  It would be such a gift for that child to be able to tell me what he is wishing for, thinking, feeling.  I consider autism a disease, not a special quality.

I’ve been a problem solver all of my life, and this situation isn’t any different.  It’s actually one of the most important puzzles I’ve ever seen.  The maddening part is that I have no idea how to figure it out.  That does not mean, however, that I will simply shrug and walk away.  I’ve seen my friend cry too many tears to stand by and do nothing.

After falling in love with my friend’s littles, I have discovered a cold, hard truth: autism is painful.  It hurts a parent’s heart to watch the wall build up, all the while removing a child from the rest of the family.  Autism shreds a parent’s heart piece by piece.  Anyone who loves the child is affected.

With the current diagnosis rate of 1 out of every 68 children, maybe we all need to do some studying!



The Faces of Laziness

Our pets spend a lot of time lounging around the house.  I have to admit that I spend as much time as possible doing the same, but these little furkids have me beat.

Lil Devil is a master at taking up desk space.

Lil Devil is a master at taking up desk space.

Jinx holds down the couch while she keeps an eye on me.

Jinx holds down the couch while she keeps an eye on me.

Purrful can take up a lot of space.

Purrful can take up a lot of space.

4H Fair

Bela decided to try her hand at a new category of exhibits this year—Heritage. I like the category because it’s something she knows well—her family and traditions. She put together a family grouping with photo albums and a book about Melungeons. In the category Other Cultural Exhibit, she made a small display about Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Nobody else has done exhibits like these. I was proud to see that both of her projects were chosen to go to the state fair this month in Grand Island! Those fancy purple ribbons make the tables look so much nicer!

Day of the Dead table

Day of the Dead table

Family grouping

Family grouping

A Little “Off”

Chance and Boxita

Chance and Boxita

If you live in a multiple-pet (or kid) household, you know there’s a lot to do. You also know that some things just don’t get done sometimes. Is there fur in the floor? Probably. Is a cat stalking me? Usually. Does someone want attention? Definitely. Do all the pets feel well? Not sure. And that is an important issue to me.

My two little “barkleys” have been together for a couple of years (at least). They mostly coexist happily. The last two or three days, however, I have noticed that my little girl, Boxi (pronounce it “bosh-ee), is not acting just right. I can’t say what exactly is “off,” but it feels like something is. She snapped at Chance for walking around her on the bed. Bela broke up the squabble since I was in the shower, but Boxi was doing some trash talking.

She has been wandering around the living room instead of finding her favorite comfy spot to nap. Boxi usually loves napping on the bed with me, but lately she has been under the dresser. I could understand that in the case of a strong, loud storm, but not when it’s quiet time. Maybe I worry too much. After all, she’s not barfing or anything. I will definitely keep en eye on her. I’m hoping she’ll snap out of her “funk” soon.

Gay Adoption?

I have thought a lot about the children languishing in foster care or group homes because there are not enough families willing or able to adopt. It makes me so sad. There are many older children waiting for a family that may never come. Every child deserves to be part of a loving family, but many couples want a baby. Older children and children with special needs are not as “adoptable.”

There are various opinions, I know, about the “appropriateness” of allowing gay couples to adopt. There is the same question (sometimes) about single parents, interracial couples, etc. You get the idea. It seems there are as many opinions as people. Some may fear that gay couples will raise gay children. Let me ask you this: how many heterosexual couples have raised gay children? How many homosexual parents have raised straight kids? It goes both ways. Another concern I have heard is that homosexual couples might be child molesters. Gay does not equal pedophile. How many straight people are sexual predators?

I have a few gay friends. I know they would make awesome parents. I also know some heterosexuals who would not make awesome parents! Families are created in a multitude of ways, but it’s really love that serves as the glue that keeps families together. I know many people will disagree with me on this, and that’s fine. A loving home is preferable to a temporary, and often damaging, solution. Why allow children to linger in the system for years when a family—yes, even a gay couple—is willing to love and treasure some of those children? Open your mind, put aside religion and politics and ask yourself: what is in the best interests of the children?


Swapping toys....

Swapping toys….

The kids were both crying when it was time for us to leave. They swapped stuffed toys for a tangible reminder of the visit. The longer we stayed, the harder it was to think about heading back to Nebraska. We spent part of the day packing the car. There were tubs of books and pictures that had to be crammed in the car. Luckily, Mom knows how to pack! Dad helped a bit as well.

I tried to take a nap, but it was hard to get any sleep. After an hour and a half, I gave up. We had originally planned to leave around 11 p. m., but since I was up and alert, we pulled out around 8 instead. I knew the drive home would be brutal. Bela and I amused ourselves playing Banana! and Punch Bug! again. If you happened to be driving a yellow car and saw strange people pointing at you, it was probably us!

I will treasure all the memories we brought back with us. Every picture reminds me of something or someone special. There was mention made of us returning in the summer…….not too sure about that yet!


Thanks, Judy, for taking this one!  C. J., Bela, me and Lisa

Thanks, Judy, for taking this one! C. J., Bela, me and Lisa

Seeing Aunt Ottie was nice!  It had been YEARS!

Seeing Aunt Ottie was nice! It had been YEARS!

I was tired of driving, so Judy took over.

Alone or Lonely? Huge Difference!

Writing Challenge

Writing Challenge

Today’s writing challenge question: Do you enjoy being alone? What do you do when you’re by yourself?

I love easy questions. I enjoy and savor solitude. I can usually be found with my nose in a book if I have spare time.

Many people confuse being alone with being lonely. I know the difference. It’s possible to feel lonely in a crowded room. It’s about the connections between people. If I am not emotionally connected to the people in the crowded room, I could feel lonely. (Admittedly, I rarely put myself in the position of being in crowds since I prefer being at home.)

I think I’m lucky because I enjoy my time alone. My own company is just fine with me. With pets in the home, it’s never lonely anyway. I consider them family members. Some people never learn that being alone is preferable to keeping bad company.

Juggling Chainsaws

I feel like I’m juggling chain saws lately. Let me explain. I have a full-time job as a Spanish teacher with a history class thrown in for fun (and it has been a blast so far!). On the weekends, I do laundry at the local nursing home. If you’re counting, that’s two chain saws in the air. I am also studying for my Master’s (in Spanish, of course) and taking six credits (two classes) each semester. I’m counting each class as a chain saw, so that’s four, right? Did I mention I have two lovely daughters? Only one is still at home, so she counts as my fifth. I also have a house full of furry kids, so let’s figure them all as one more. (They are darlings, and they are considered family.) Since I’m a volunteer firefighter, I am glad things have not been very flammable lately. I do, however, have meetings to attend.

Right now I feel that all the chain saws are in the air—but it is a precarious situation. I have the sinking suspicion that one is about to drop to the ground. Let’s just hope it doesn’t whack off something important when it does.