Griffin’s New Look And Accomplishment

Today was a big day for Griffin, he got contacts!

I wasn’t sure how much time he would need to get used to wearing contacts. But as usual Griffin surprised me with his quick learning and eagerness to learn a new skill.

The staff was amazed at how quickly he mastered putting the contacts in and taking them out. “This normally takes hours for people!” they commented.

We love to go on nature walks and hikes and being able to wear contacts is going to make these activities so much more enjoyable for him.

I Feel…..

Being a parent no matter who your child is will make you feel exhausted, angry, sad, anxious, incompetent and so much more.

I’ve found that being a parent to a child with special needs makes me feel that I have to be careful with who I share these feelings with. Even with close family and friends I feel like I have to add “but he’s amazing and I wouldn’t change him for the world” and that’s true.

There just seems to be this added pressure to keep any perceived negative feelings hidden. I worry that others will think I’m blaming Griffin and his diagnosis but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

And to those sweet souls that say “don’t worry what others think” I say “I love you, however I’m a mom and for Griffin to get the acceptance and opportunities he deserves what others think is important.

So in an attempt to live more honestly and to encourage others who are parenting a child with special needs and to all caregivers who care for children and adults that have special needs or health challenges, I want to remind you that all of our feelings are valid and that we are allowed to feel those perceived “negative” emotions. These emotions don’t mean we are horrible people, it means we are just like everyone else.

So here goes:

I feel exhausted because the meltdowns can be intense.

I feel exhausted because I’m always trying to prepare for the “what if’s?” and worrying that others will be unkind and not understand Griffin and our situation.

I feel angry that I can’t change the world and make life easier for Griffin. That even though the world has come along way with knowing about autism, we still have along way to go.

I feel sad because in the beginning of our road to discovering Griffin’s diagnosis of Aspergers, we had many traumatic moments. From seeing him placed in a closet in kindergarten to knowing there was something going on but not being able to get a diagnosis and then once we did not having the proper support and resources.

I feel sad because Griffin has to work so much harder at things than most of us do. But it makes it all the more meaningful when he does get it.

I feel anxious for Griffin’s future. I know he’s going to do amazing things but just like any other parent I worry.

I feel incompetent because well, I’m a mom who just wants to know I’m doing the best by Griffin. Griffin keeps me on my toes!

And while I’m on a roll:

I’d also like to add that Griffin makes me feel exhausted, angry, sad, anxious and incompetent just because he’s a teenager 😉

But more than anything I feel tremendous love and gratitude that I get to be Griffin’s mom and yes, I feel exhausted too!

To all of you, please know you’re not alone. Keep up the great work! xo

Whatever You Do, Don’t Turn Off Your Heat!

The last week or so has been extra crazy.

I thought I’d share some of the details so you could either
A) Laugh B) Thank God your week wasn’t like ours C) Realize you’re not alone in having a crazy week D) Be glad you don’t rent your home

My birthday happened to fall on Easter this year (yep I’m an official fool) and because of this we decided to go away for the weekend.

We also decided to turn off the heat while we were away, more on that in a minute.

Everything was going great until the day before my birthday. We decided to go to the local zoo and while we were walking I fell, I fell hard. How hard did you fall, Missy? So hard that my pants split at the knee. Tom was walking ahead of me but heard me and actually thought I was dancing, not sure what that says about my dancing.

Griffin did great on the trip. In the past despite loving to travel, the excitement would often bring out challenging behaviors in Griffin. There would be increased hyperness and overall sassiness but we keep trying because the world needs more Griffin!

Then our landlord texts us Easter morning that a painter was going to be coming by this week.

Tom had been trying for the longest time to get details from our landlord about when the painting would start. He explained that because Griffin is homeschooled and receives therapy at home we would need time to prepare. Our landlord never acknowledged this and just texted one word, Monday in response to a text Tom sent asking once again what was going and when the painting would start.

Before we knew it, it was time to head home.

Once inside we see them. Our beautiful beta fish. The most expensive fish we’ve ever bought, well I should say Tom ever bought. You see when Tom went with Griffin to buy them he didn’t notice a price on any of them. So instead of asking he just went to the register and paid $50 for all three them! He didn’t have the heart to not buy them because Griffin had already started to bond with them. I was shocked by the price and that Tom didn’t ask but honestly I thought it was very sweet that he still bought them for Griffin.

So back to what we saw.

We saw $50, I mean three fish floating in the water. We realized right away that they had froze due to our decision to turn off the heat while we were gone. What the hell were we thinking? We live in Chicago for God’s sake!

Griffin immediately starts to wail. Just weeks before he had become worried that the fish would die and had started to be more engaged with them and even taking care of cleaning out their tanks when they needed it. Every morning you could hear him talking to them, it was very sweet.

Tom in his awesomeness got our portable heater and places the fish near it. Not close enough to cook them, geez that would be all we needed!

Miraculously one of the fish began to move! And after just a few days he’s back to normal. Although we may have to get him therapy at some point.

Griffin continued to be upset and insisted we go and get two more fish right away. That wasn’t going to happen and after about an hour of him yelling and crying he was able to process what had happened better. We told him that we would go get new fish the next day, not $50 worth but he could pick ones that at least resembled the old fish.

One of the things I’ve learned since being Griffin’s mom is to embrace whatever the day brings and trust that it will bring something to be grateful for and to laugh about.

This weekend showed us that as a family we’re pretty strong and sometimes we make not so smart choices 😉

We got to see how far Griffin has come, his turn around was amazing.

I also learned that I’m trendy without even trying. I have at least three pairs of jeans with holes in them and all I had to do was dance 🙂