Friday, October 28, 2011

Hard to me

Nosce te Ipsum.... Latin for "Know Thyself". The older I get, the more I live by this belief.

In my 40s, I have attempted to know myself. I acknowledge what I am good at; and what I am not good at. Try and do more of what I love; less of what I don't.

Recently I was asked to be on a "fundraising committee". I hate fundraising. I have always hated it. Without missing a beat I said "No. No fundraising for me." Know thyself.

I can't parallel park to save my life. I get the flop sweats when there are no other parking options & I am forced to jimmy into a spot, especially if anyone is watching me. I will unapologetically drive 6 blocks to find other parking spot. I don't care if I have to walk. Know thyself.

I get lost easily. So, GPS on, even around town.

I cry excessively at funerals. I bring a washcloth and not a tissue.

I'm chubby. I buy pants that fit.

I don't bake very well. I offer to bring the appetizer - never the dessert.


This is in contrast to my 30s, when my mantra was Fake Out Myself. "Sure I'll be on the fundraising committee.... Of course I will bring the dessert..... Give me a size 12 please...."

(This is also quite different from my 20s and my mantra of "Full of Thyself" but that's a whole 'nother blog.)

As an older mother, I am trying to instill this nugget of wisdom into my children so they don't have to wait until they need bifocals and Gaviscon before they know to play to their strengths. We all bring gifts into this world. Some are easier to identify than others. It's not to hard to spot the gifted athletes in Jr High gym class. It's a little harder to spot to the budding scientist or the natural born caretaker.

My little daughter is very soft-hearted and quite attached to me. She is starting to get invites for playdates and sleepovers. She isn't ready for a sleepover. She starts getting upset as soon as gets the invite... because she wants to go, but she knows she isn't ready to be away from home all night. "It's ok," I tell her, "you want to be with your mommy and daddy, that's who you are, that's how God made you. Someday you will be ready, but today you want to be home at night and that is perfectly ok." (and it more than ok with her father and I, as we aren't ready either!)

Recently, John has come to terms with the fact that he has autism. He is asking me lots of questions, hard questions. Sometimes, I don't have the answers. We were looking at old pictures and he saw a picture of himself at Chicago's Walk Now for Autism hosted by Autism Speaks. He was little & doesn't remember it. It opened the door to a big conversation about autism, what it means, why he has it and Molly doesn't, if it means he's stupid, etc. I wasn't ready for the conversation, but it arrived without an invitation and I had no choice but to have it right then and there.

Since then, we discuss it when it comes up and take it one day at a time. He processes it little by little. I hope he can make friends with it someday.

Truth is, I don't know why he has it. I don't know what the future holds. I don't know much, even though I am the mom and I am supposed to know everything.

I went to my son's Parent Teacher Conference today. Typically, a day I dread. However, today I was pleasantly surprised by reports that my son is excelling in all areas at school. In fact, his teacher tells me, he has really taken to writing and journaling. Record scratch Excuse me, come again? Getting my son to write has always been a huge challenge, but apparently in the last few weeks he is the second grade's answer to Ernest Hemingway. The counselor says he is choosing to express himself on paper, when his verbal communication fails him. This is a huge milestone for any child, especially one on the autism spectrum.

Before I left, the teacher shared a recent journal entry.

As I read it, in front of the gathered team, I felt the air get thick as I mostly unsuccessfully fought back the tears. Seeing his feelings on paper made them seem more real, somehow.

"That is why life is hard to me"

Not for me.

To me.

Indeed life is hard to all of us. Living amongst each other, sharing, learning, caring, earning, protecting, bargaining, grieving, obeying, co-cohabiting, leading, following... it's all hard. Marriage is hard, children are hard, money is hard, autism is hard. Life is hard.

At first, I wanted to be heartbroken. Who wants their 7 tear old to journal about how hard life has been to him? But then I reflected further. Life has been hard to John. Why should I be heartbroken that he is acknowledging the very truth of his life. Life has been hard, but joyful. Challenging, but rewarding. Painful, but full of laughter. He is merely owning the truth of his life. And succeeding in spite of it.

Nosce te Ipsum.

Know thyself.


  1. Stacia - I so love this blog and you letting us into your life this way. I miss you all terribly and it helps me feel close to you. We have so little control in what life doles out to us but we seem to keep going (and growing) in spite of it. Hugs and kisses. Love you, Janet

    p.s. - I called "Caddy Daddy" earlier to wish him Happy Birthday!

    p.p.s. - Don't know about this profile stuff so I guess I'll be anonymous...

  2. Stacia- Can you please share this letter of FB so I can share it??? I have sooo many Mom's as FB friends who have kids with autism and I know they would love to read it!! Love you!

  3. At the top right of this page is a box that says "Share this Blog on Facebook".. do you see it? :) If you click on that, you can post it directly to your Facebook wall for anyone to see!
    Let me know if you are successful and thanks for reading!!!!

  4. My inspiration - I love that John of yours! And as different as he may be I wish I could be like him someday. Life is hard to him but I wish just for an instance that I could see life the way that he does. What a better world this would be.

  5. That little boy is amazing! He has such profound insight. We could all learn from him. He makes my heart swell... - Stephanie Smith

  6. Stacia, you are such a great mom. I really enjoy reading your blogs. I love your realness. People always tell me, "You are so real." It's the only way I know how to be, and I see the same in you. That is a treasure. Your kids are so blessed to have you as their mom. I don't know why things have happened the way they have, but you have been blessed with just what you need for the kids you have been given charge of. You are doing great. I really admire you.

  7. As usual, another well written tear jerker! More people should "know thyself". Morgan had a friend that for years didn't want to sleepover...she would come to the birthday sleepovers and stay til 10 pm or midnight as the yrs went on, and then her mom would come pick her up, so she could sleep in her own bed...noone ever liked her less because of her choice.
    Also, being in retail forever... I wish all women would own up to what size they are and not what they dream to be!

  8. John is not of this world, clearly. Maybe he was your/our teacher in another life...remember: Children choose their parents before they ever show up here. He was wise to choose's the finite confines of our cocoons that present challenges that our hearts and minds can rise above. God bless him and you! xoxoxo Patty

  9. Thank you. You're just who I thought you'd become. [Imagine my surprise and pride.] 'Standing Ovation' !!!

  10. Ah-help! Why did I read this at work?! Now I'm crying but that is to be expected from most of your posts :)
    I loved this entry. The most important people in my life are not "the norm." A quote I like: "we are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutal weirdness and call it love." <3

  11. A mutual friend led me to your blog. I love this post and totally understand it. I have a kiddo with Aspergers and spend a lot of time as an advocate.
    I'm so glad this is a good year for you ALL!