Que Tragedia!

Spanish for: Such Drama!

There was a day in the kingdom of the Little Prince that was a bit off. Just a bit. Ok, a little more than the usual.

Did not expect to feel crunch in my mouth 😒

The queen mom discovered eggshells in her omelet when eating her breakfast. She wore her flip flops for the first time in the spring season and her feet got very cold, so the rest of her body was also very cold-until she got home and rushed to her room and put on a pair of socks. Aahh!

While she began cooking dinner – this is not the palace of the rich and famous, this queen mom does her own cooking – she discovered a little cut on her thumb and it hurt like it was a deep wound. Gaahhh!

And it would not be a typical day in the kingdom if Little Prince were not obsessing over something, like, “when is the pool gonna be ready king father?” That’s not how the Little Prince asked, that’s how I imagine it in the fantasy version of our very real world.

At the end of the day, late at night when everyone else was sleeping, the queen mom sat by herself and reflected.

This is still a very happy kingdom, she concluded.

And with that, she retired to her chambers for the night.

The very happy end. 🤴

The Little Prince

There once was a little prince (not so little, he’s taller than me), who lived in a small castle. He had all the things he needed for his daily living plus a wonderful education right in the comfort of home. He communicated with his tutors via a strange device called a “chrome” book. They kept him busy with work and he could even talk to them through a magical window on the magical book.

He measured.

One day the tutors decided to seek some new ways to enhance the education of the little prince (they’re probably burnt out). This meant they would take Fridays off to go on their search for knowledge. The queen was then left to come up with a plan for the day off.

“An idle Friday morning for my little prince,” she thought in a bit of despair, “will only bring boredom and mischief. What must I do?”

She did not have to wear her thinking cap long for quickly enough an idea popped up into her mind. She knew how she would teach the mathematics, the science of physics and add an element of life skills to her little prince’s day off.

He mixed.

“We shall bake cookies!” she declared.

The little prince’s eyes widened like saucers at the thought of cookies, but he did not suspect his queen mom was making a school plan out of it. He was sometimes resistant to school.

On Friday morning, the little prince and his queen mom measured flour, sugar and salt. They counted one and a half cups of chocolate chips and cracked two eggs. They even learned when you mix the butter, sugar and eggs too quickly the laws of physics inevitably send some of the mixture flying out of the bowl and onto counter and wall, and even the hair.

He counted. And deducted. And added to his tummy.

After the baking was done, the little prince saw a mountain of cookies on a cooling rack. He did the final count, there were three dozen cookies and that’s 36 in all. He knew soon enough he would get a chance to complete his math and science day by deducting one from the stash and tasting it to make sure the experiment was a success. Indeed it was a successful home school day.

The end.

Through the Ages

Where there are no pauses.

I don’t know why one of the things that has always most fascinated me as far as movies’ special effects go is the illusion of suspended animation. The movie that most comes to mind is The Matrix. My favorite scenes are when Neo dodges bullets at the speed of slow motion and then almost to the point of suspended animation, you can hear the bullets whiz by.

I’m probably being a nerd, but I feel like the world has come to that almost but not quite point of suspended animation. Many things are on hold. Appointments which were scheduled months in advance have been canceled until further notice. We live a day at a time not knowing what to expect of tomorrow. Not that tomorrow is ever guaranteed, but we used to at least be able to plan ahead. Now, many of our plans are on suspended animation.

I am going to step into the world of faith now, so if this is not your thing, you can click away if you’d like. I would like to express myself to those of you out there who want and desire to have hope and faith. We are all in this together.

There is One who is not, has never been, and will never be in suspended animation.

Everything but Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit is on hold.

I trust in this time of uncertainty much is happening behind the scenes, much is being worked out in the heavenlies, and much is being resolved in our hearts and minds by the work of the One who loves our souls, Jesus. He loves us too much to leave us in a state of human suspended mess. His desire is always for the salvation of those who put their faith in Him.

So, I have failed big time so far in this season. I have been annoyed. I have been angry. I have been resentful that my plans and my agendas have been turned upside down and are suspended in mid-air. But the problem I have is I’m a bible reader. Inevitably I have looked in the mirror of those pages and have found myself to be looking pretty ugly lately.

God forgive me! I have cried. I have repented. I’m picking myself up and deciding to do better. I am finally beginning to learn how to dodge bullets of negativity and unproductive thoughts. Help me Lover of my soul!

If you are struggling, I encourage you to pause and think on these things. I am willing to have private chats with you, if you would like the company of one who understands all about being a dire mess! But there is hope on the God of Salvation. He never pauses, never goes into quarantine, never locks down His shop. He is always working.

Blessings!

Crossroads of Bitter Sweetness

I once learned to stop looking at the years and the seasons as one continual line but rather a circle. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall and back to Winter again. That one is easy to visualize, it is a cycle and we experience it every year. Funny how being raised on a tropical island I did not get that at all as the seasonal changes were very mild. Only because I have lived in the northern hemisphere long enough, I can see the circular motion of the seasons. What I did not get was how to look at life in a circular pattern. I think I’m getting it now. I feel like I have come to a crossroads which seems new and at the same time it is also familiar.

I once was simply a daughter. Now I am a daughter and a mother. It’s full circle and sometimes it bites. I am both looking at who I was in the past and who I am at the present time, all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly. It does not have to be neat. Just worthy of reflection. As a youth minister I once knew would say “I used to be where you are and one day you’ll be where I am.” That sounds like a life cycle to me. We used to laugh at him. I am not laughing anymore.

I reflected on these things on Mother’s Day. It was a cross between bitter and sweet because I looked at my youth and childhood with a sense of loss. And yet the sweet part is how much more I know today. The wisdom that life experiences afford you cannot be obtained in pure ignorance. You can’t cheat your way forward by buying it or getting a diploma in the finest of schools. You have to experience the cycle. And look back to see what you have attained, how far you have come, how often you fell and failed and got back up again. It’s hard earned wisdom and you cannot borrow it from someone else.

The bitter sweetness of life’s cycles is meant to be experienced. Even if it is bound to be bitter in your stomach, at least it is first sweet in your mouth. Still, it is a growing up and growing old benefit.

I took the day completely off yesterday. So, to all the mothers I know, Happy (belated) Mother’s Day!

Exhaust Yourself

It’s Worth It

When something involves a lot of work to the point of exhaustion, long hours of preparation, stretching of the mind to what else and how else you can go about making someone’s day special, the best reward is seeing the face full of expectation and the smiles and exhilaration.

I spent hours on a cake and on artwork to add some decor for a celebration only we would enjoy in our home, no guests, just us and our special birthday boy. My husband went out of his way and found some good creative gifts. At 1:30 a.m. I was tempted to just roll over with the rest of the gift wrap over me and just go to sleep on the floor. But I got up and dragged my body up the stairs to bed. That was painful.

No matter, my son’s face was lit. He enjoyed. He smiled. He inhaled his piece of cake (I wish he would not do that). He played a new game his sister sent him. And he is looking forward to enjoying all his other presents, outside in the warmer months I really hope we are going to get. Mission accomplished, not one sleepless minute wasted here.

I asked my son to help me color the bottom word. He hates coloring.

A sacrifice is not made so that you can receive a thank you, because then you have been rewarded here in the now. A sacrifice is made so that it reverberates through time and it is a layer upon which you will give a little more of you again and again each time, in the future, with more occasions to come. The stripping effect of your selfishness for the sake of selflessness will reap a harvest in due time, the fruit of which will probably not feed you but others. Happy birthday special boy! Sweet dreams…

Love on!

Waiting Room Creatures

In an interesting point in time, when the patience of the whole world is being tested, with a pandemic, quarantine, wear this and do that guidelines, I happened to bump into this journal entry from 2013 and it made me smile. I stand corrected.

I believe there is no better place on earth to test human patience, or lack thereof, than a waiting room. A certain day, which shall remain undocumented (in case the reader was there), between the hours of 9am and 2pm, I walked into 3 waiting rooms. It was only two waiting rooms, but I had to revisit one of them. I don’t mind. I welcome the opportunity to people watch.

No one I know spends time in a waiting room willingly. If that’s a hobby of yours, please contact me. I’d like to learn more about your interesting mind. For the most part, people show up to a waiting room already a bit annoyed. Businesses today have gone to great lengths fitting waiting rooms with certain conveniences, from padded seats to coffee to tv to free wifi. Heck, I take advantage and web surf, write or watch…people. I don’t really care for tv that much.

Not everyone stops to think or appreciate the amenities provided. Some people walk in wanting their thing done now and ASAP.  And what about the customer service rep? It takes a special breed to be a good one, a patient one. I know this because I was one once and no good at it. I greatly admire customer service reps. They are like frontline soldiers and should be awarded medals of honor.

On that certain undocumented day, at my auto service stop and first thing that morning, when I was all settled on my waiting room padded seat, this tough dude showed up demanding service quick and now. We will name him creature 2.

The service guy, creature 3, who is the nicest and most patient service guy I’ve ever met, calmly listened and said he’d do the best he could. Creature 2, in his red bandana, long beard and mismatched flannel pajama pants, made it clear he had no time to wait around and I think I even heard him say, I’ll be back, Terminator style. He called someone for a ride and they showed up in seconds. I dare not imagine their fate if they had not turned up that quickly.

Half hour later, tough guy, I’m sorry creature 2, came back and no one was at the front desk. He paced like a caged animal. Oh boy, I thought, someone come out from the back room soon please! In an effort to tame the wild beast, I offered a smile and said something to the fact the guy just went to the back and how I was sure he’d be back soon. He huffed and headed toward the “employees only” door.

In the nick of time, nice service guy-he’s too nice to call him “creature”- came back through the door and tough guy creature 2, wasting no time, asked if his car was done. Seriously? Again, he went through his list of reasons why he had no time to waste because he had things to do. Then he looked at me, at the precise moment I was stuffing my face with a bagel.

I could read his mind, unlike this broad who’s camping out here with her digital device, bag of food, comfortably sitting, shoes off, who clearly has nothing better to do.

Ooh! I imagined myself giving him a piece of my mind, let me tell you something mister! I am the mother of three school age children, with plenty of chores waiting to be accomplished at home and errands pending all over town. I secretly smiled at my imagination and the fact this tough dude was unknowingly giving me writing material.

It’s not that I have more patience than everyone else when it comes to waiting rooms. I’ve had my days when I’m not all that thrilled to be in one. But for the most part, I just purpose in my mind to go with the flow and whenever possible plan ahead, packing what I need in case there’s a long wait.

I wish everyone a long and prosperous life in every waiting room on earth! Peace out!

Journal entry 1/30/14

NEXT!

Often, I ask myself the question, can it get more challenging than this? And then life has a way of answering with a resounding yes! Seriously, I need to stop asking.

As many of you out there know, life with special needs is challenging for both the person with special needs and those of us who do life with them. The thing is we grow into a challenging scenario, get the hang of it, get cruising and get comfortable.

And then, bang! A monkey wrench gets slammed into the mix out of nowhere, without warning. The ground rumbles under your feet. Pieces fly all around you. You run for cover, but you still get hit and knocked over by debris. And then you feel the torrential rains of tears all over you, yours and those of your special-needs person.

That’s what this lockdown felt like when it hit our comfy every-day life. All righty then, I tell myself, wipe off the tears (my son’s and mine), get up and brush off the dust. Then, let’s roll up our sleeves and proceed with the clean-up. And then adjust. You will, as usual, survive-I tell myself and I tell my son.

In the blink of an eye, while at the same time progressively, an official announcement after another, and life is not what we used to know anymore. Unexpectedly, I went from just simple mom to mom/teacher/para/psychologist/school principal/lunch lady/janitor/security/librarian/counselor/advisor. I haven’t had to do parking lot attendance or bus driving. Big yay on both of those!

We are getting the hang of things again, so I fear. Nope. I will not ask that question (tight lips). I will just stand by the door and let it hit me in the face when it suddenly slams into it. At least I’ll be expecting some kinda hurt. Maybe just maybe it will be a more manageable kind of bruising. And for the record, I still love my son and our life together.

GONE NAKED!

Every morning I wake up my 6 year old son and ask him to get dressed for school and, understandably, he doesn’t to get out of bed. I leave him to get dressed on his own, because he needs to be encouraged to be independent, but I always have to come back 5-10 minutes later to find him still in bed or completely naked in front of the mirror. Up until recently it annoyed me because I expect him to move with the clock. School routine is only a little stressful when you have to get 3 kids dressed and fed for school. Not only does my son take his sweet time getting dressed in the morning, he takes his underwear off along with his pajamas! Why? I ask myself. After 3 years of getting to know my six year old on a “different” light, autism, I’ve learned to stop and question not him but myself, and that on a rhetorical fashion, as to the whys of his behavior. Many times I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that his actions and choices make sense from his perspective. So, when I aim to understand him, his choices and behaviors make sense to me as well.

Getting back to my son’s morning routine, this is not about understanding why he does what he does, this is about something I learned from my little streaker. Sometimes I walk into his room and explain to him he does not need to change his underwear, only his pajamas. The other day, I approached my son’s room, ready to push him along as usual, and there he was, naked, in front of his bedroom window looking at the woods. Suddenly, a thought hit me: if every morning I stripped myself of yesterday’s burdens and clothed myself anew, I’d have a fresh new start every time. “The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end. They are fresh every morning; Your faithfulness is abundant!” I found this little piece of treasure in Lamentations 3:22-23. Imagine a morning ritual of clothing ourselves in (or receiving) His never ceasing loyal kindness and His endless compassions! But we first must rid ourselves of the old sweaty pajamas and even the underwear! Whether it was a bad day at work, an embarrassing moment at the store, a failed grade in school, an argument with a loved one, it makes no difference. Shake it all off and start over for His “faithfulness is abundant!” He gives us a new start every single day. It is foolish and useless to try to take on that new start and put it on over our sweaty pajamas and underwear. May you have a nice new start each day stripping yourself of yesterday and putting on God’s never ending kindness and compassions!

journal entry 11/19/2012

Golden Words, Spoken Treasure

“I want to go to bed. I’m tired,” my six year old said as we tucked him in for the night. “The sky is dark,” looking out the window. “Come sleep with me,” he invited me to his bed and I happily complied. I lied next to him and closed my eyes. Of course, he had no intention of going to sleep while I was next to him. He made all kinds of noises, turns, flips and giggles. I knew I should leave but I didn’t want to. I was enjoying the gift of his speech.

Treasure the milestones.

A parent typically waits about 2 to 3 years to hear and enjoy the silliness of a child’s beginning stages of speech and then it quickly develops into full nonstop diarrhea of the mouth, as my sister used to call it.

I had waited six years to hear full sentences such as these. While I waited, both my autistic son and I endured much frustration. His frustration because he wanted to be understood and could not express it, and mine because, although I learned to understand his unspoken language, I knew he had to learn to use his words, so I pushed him. And he would cry and I would cry, but I would have to keep pushing.

Every new day counts.

We were not at the end of the road. We had not reached the end of this journey; and even still today we’re not there yet, I know. But that day I could hardly contain the joy bubbling up inside of me every time I heard him expressing his feelings, his needs, his motives and even his sense of humor. It gave me a satisfaction and a peace that he was going to be all right after all. And it still fuels me up with hope and helps me get up the next day to face another challenging but promising day. I treasure his words and I look forward to hearing many more.

journal entry 8/19/12

Puzzle Maniacs

A few of months ago, during Christmas time, someone in the family had this great gift idea: puzzles. Little did we know this simple detail was gonna turn my husband and I and then my sister and her family into puzzle maniacs.

Since, every family member is in danger of being the recipient of a puzzle or two for their birthday or any occasion. My brother doesn’t want one. Bahahahaha!

When a puzzle is completed our fingers get weirdly tingly. “We need another puzzle” is a phrase that pops out of our mouths almost involuntary. 🙊

Years of parenting autism has taught us not every activity we want to plunge into is necessarily autism friendly, but we have also learned we need to consider all family members’ interests and just help our special needs child cope with it, somehow.

Now a teenager, our son has a lot more patience and tolerance with us. We also try to include him even when he doesn’t show interest.

During our initial stages of puzzle mania syndrome, I tried several times to attract my son to the puzzle activity. It didn’t interest him one bit. Only one kind of puzzle ever got his attention a little, Star Wars. He is a big fan.

So I began to find pieces with obvious patterns and leave them on the outside of the edge close to the area where they belonged. I would then ask my son to help me with those pieces because I didn’t know where they went. He would put those pieces in and then leave.

Ok, that was something, but I didn’t want to be pushy so I gave him space.

My husband and I tease each other a lot. So we played this possessive game with our puzzles. “That’s my puzzle.” “Help me with my puzzle.” “I’m not helping you with your puzzle. You’re on your own pal.” “Don’t put pieces on my puzzle without me knowing.” We’ve had a lot of fun with that.

The last puzzle was my husband’s birthday gift from my sister and family (I told you, we’ve all turned into enablers). It sat unopened for some time because we were recovering from puzzle fatigue. One day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I opened his puzzle and began to assemble it. I know, I’m horrible.

He jumped right in at one point and between the two of us we got it mostly done.

The other morning, I sat on the couch with my cup of tea, and looked at the coffee table where we have assembled at least six different puzzles since the holidays. The puzzle was completed!

I messaged my husband, “I see you finished your puzzle.”

He replied, “are you teasing me? There were two pieces that I couldn’t fit last night. They would not fit in either one of the two open spots.”

Then he accused me, “you are messing with me. You finished it!”

I could not believe what puzzle mania had done to him! The nerve of him! Then it dawned on me.

So I again messaged him, “I believe I know who fit those last two pieces you failed to put in.” Yes I had to jab at him. It’s fun. Although we both kept doubting each other. Is he pulling my leg? I thought to myself.

Well, we asked our son and he confirmed he done it! And we were both so pleasantly surprised that our son decided to put those pieces in.

Puzzle mania has given us yet another fun memory and another sign of our son’s progress in his thought process. It is interesting, puzzle pieces have long been used as a symbol of autism. And this is exactly how his mind works. He is constantly putting pieces together in his quiet thought process. Sometimes we forget that’s how he works. And then he surprises us when he makes unexpected comments, writes some random thought on his white board, or completes an uncompleted puzzle on the coffee table.

And life continues to be sweet. ❤