Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Friends


I've done it. I've told my friends my dirty little secret. I shared my blog. I wasn't going to share it with anyone but somehow it has become easier. They are my oldest friends in the world. If anyone "gets" me, they do.

Most of the time I don't give a rat's butt what people think of me. Like me, don't like me - eh. If you are stupid, I tell you. It might be subtle but you will know. If I like you, I tell you. Not so subtle but you will know. I am very black and white. My friends would say that about me. Here's what else I think they'd say:

She is crazy.
She is a great baker.
She shouts too much at her kids.
She is too hard on herself.
She loves large.
She has a big heart.
She hates being called Lizzie.
She is smart.
She is kind.
She can be mean.
She loves me.
She worries too much.
She thinks too much.
She bakes too much.
Well, they probably wouldn't say that as they do like my baking. But you never know.
She is creative.
She is negative.
She can be abrasive.
She can be witty.
She is funny.
She is my friend.

I have often wondered why my friends are my friends. It has always astounded me. I have never felt worthy. I have always been afraid that I will push them away or they will discover that I am not really worth hanging on to. My other dirty little secret. My friends were capable of crushing my heart. What a load to put on someone. What power I gave away.

As I age, I have taken some of the power back. I don't think they knew they had it but maybe they did and it's been their secret. I still love them. I still admire them. I still smile when I think of them. They are deep in my heart for always. But it doesn't crush me as it once did if they don't call. It doesn't hurt me as it once did if they go out without me. I used to take that all so personally and painfully. I felt like I wasn't worthy and they agreed. I don't think they ever knew or if they did, they kept it quiet. Just a part of being my friend - accepting my insecurities.

Friends that I have made as an adult - they don't have the same power and probably never will. I have made these friends when I was at a much better place in my life. They are based on different things and different needs. I can let people come and go now and accept it much easier. Change was never my friend.

I have grown so much as have my friends. We have grown up together. I visit them now and again as we were. I don't think I dwell in the past as some people do but I still like to hash out the old days sometimes. My friends were my escape. They are the only good memories that I have from growing up. They never shouted. Never hit. Never silenced me with a look. Never called me stupid. They accepted me as I was. I didn't have to worry as much around them. I could be free to be me.

My friends. They will never know what they have given me even if they do read this. My friends now have no idea what they have to measure up against.

If I love you, I will tell you. It might be subtle, but you will know.

The Child I Thought I Knew


I've discovered many things since having my kids. I've discovered I am not a patient person, which I sort of knew. Many around me knew alot sooner. I've discovered that I like to be silly. Many knew that too. I've discovered I'm more like my father than I had hoped to be. He is not someone that I have admired much as a person. Granted he's no longer here to defend himself but still. I've discovered that I need to be selfish and not get mad when my kids are. That I learned this evening.

I think sometimes we place undue expectation on our kids. I know I do. I expect too much of them sometimes and then get mad when I set them up to fail. I figure that I have set clear guidelines about behaviour. I have modeled good manners. I have shown how to be patient (believe it or not I can be when the need arises). I have displayed how to be tolerant, understanding and empathetic. I have educated my kids on how to be frugal, earth conscious and globally aware. Well as much as you can with 8 and 9 year olds.

What I've discovered about all of this is that it doesn't really matter right now. Kids are inherantly selfish. They take narcissism to a new level. And that makes me angry. Completely and unreasonably so. I spend my days working hard for other people. For my job, for my husband, for my Brownies, for my kid's school, for my friends, for everyone. I believe in giving the most you are capable of when you commit to something. I believe that it is important to help others and have a glad heart about it. What I cannot stand is selfishness. It drives me bendy. I've discovered that I need to be selfish or I will go bendy permanently. I've discovered that giving of myself all the time to others is heading me down the path to bendy. While I like to be flexible, bendy is not a state of being that I am willing to embrace.

I've discovered that I am beginning to resent not being selfish. I have given my children my body, my heart, my time and most of my mind. I have spent over 7 years fighting for my A child and then compensating with my B child. I have sacrificed jobs, furniture, trips, expensive clothes, and all manner of treats because I thought wanting those things was selfish. My children needed things more than I did. My children needed good memories in case I died young like my father. My children needed the solid foundation of love and support and happiness that was shaky in my youth. My children, my children, my children.

I've discovered that my kids have no idea what I have done for them. They don't instinctively know and appreciate what I have had to give up to have them. They tra la la in their own world and have no idea the nights I have spent panicking about paying bills, affording activities, being able to buy groceries. They don't intuitively pick up that Mom has given so much of herself that she may need a moment to recoup. All they think of is them. It is both true and necessary. I don't want them to grown up tiptoeing around me like I did my parents. Worrying, watching, watiting for the smack in the back of the head for some unknown infraction.

I've discovered that my A child is a gift. That he has taught me patience, tenacity, compassion, and endless love. Something I didn't think I had when he was born. Now I cry at the thought of him because of how much he has gone through and how much I desperately love him. I see that my A child is trying to find his way. He does not intentionally dawdle. He does not intentionally spill on the table. He does not intentionally try to drive me bendy. Well most days anyway.

I've discovered that my B child has strength and vulnerability. She is so sure that she is right all the time and she will fight to the end even when she knows she is wrong. She has taught me that girls are powerful, a force to be reckoned with. She has shown me what a mother and daughter can mean to each other when the parents aren't yelling all the time. She has shown me gifts about myself I didn't even know I had. She has shown me that it is ok to be vulnerable.

I've discovered myself in my kids. I see my oddities, my tastes, my strengths, my weaknesses. I see my gifts to them in the endless stories and cuddles and I love you always that they hear so much. I see myself as a child looking at the world just a little differently than most. I watch my daughter fight to the end and see myself having to show that I am right no matter what. I watch my son as he struggles to fit in and see myself on the fringe. I see them thinking outside themselves occasionally and know that is because they are growing up. I see the child I was and how fast I had to grow up.

I've discovered that I need to not mind so much that my kids are in a selfish phase. This means they are still kids. They have not be marked by tragedy and dysfunction. They have not had their hearts scarred so they feel guilty and unable to be selfish as adults. I don't mean selfish in a mean way but in the way that we should take care of ourselves as well. Say no once in a while without that pang of guilt. Maybe I am not such a bad parent after all.

I've also discovered something that is quite healing. I was a neat kid. I was unique and interesting. I was bright and talented and intelligent. I always wondered why I had friends - what did anyone see in me ? Now I see my kids and I know. I discover I was not the child I thought I knew, but better. Worthwhile knowing even.

Thank God for my selfish kids. May I go quietly in to the bendy night.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bora Bora


I have a friend. A very good friend it turns out. She has become my sista from another mista over time. She shared her happy place the other day. Apparently she visits Bora Bora when things are tough. I liked that idea so I've asked to join her on occasion. My friend - she has an A child as well. She is my sounding board. My cheering section. My shoulder when I need to lean. I hope I do the same for her. She has told me that I do.

My friend's A child is a bundle of sunshine. He is bright. He is funny. He is full of wonder. He has the most loving face you could ever want to see. He is caring. He is so much thanks to my friend. Her A child has different challenges than mine. She has had to fight harder. To love harder. To be harder to help her A child. She has taught me so much about my own A child. She helps me to see what I cannot sometimes. She helps me to see what a gift my A child is. What a wonder it is that he chose me to be his parent, that I have been allowed the gift of having him be all mine. She helps me to see past my resentment and to understand that it is ok. She helps me to feel good about myself again after not liking myself for so long.

I guess you could say she is my A friend. Amiable. Admirable. Appealing. Amazing. Amazonian. Articulate. Artistic. Ablaze. Amen. I like to think I am her B friend. I'll leave the adjectives to her.

I thank God routinely for my friends. They help me grow and learn and change. They help shape who I am and who my kids will become. I believe that God sends people in to our lives for a reason and that they are sent to help shape who we are. All I can say is - Thank God for that.

Bora Bora - it's a nice place to visit thanks to my A friend.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Isn't it amazing the things we hold close ? The things we are not sure if we should share ? I learned a valuable lesson today about sharing and so share I did. I don't think I've ever told my husband my true feelings about our son's diagnosis. I have admitted being angry, etc. I have shared certain things. I don't think I've ever admitted about the extent of my disappointment of the dreams I felt I had lost. Very selfish of me, but my feelings none the less. I admitted that I was resentful. That I am ticked off that he won't get the chances I thought he should have. My husband's response - well then he wouldn't be the same kid would he ?

My husband doesn't worry as much. Most men don't I think. Thank God for that because women worry enough. We need someone to not worry although it can be nice to share the worry. He has his moments. His grey hair days. Overall, he is able to see the forest for the trees whereas as I stand around looking vainly for a sign pointing me in the right direction to get to the forest. I routinely lose sight of what I have and continue to mourn for what I might have lost. It takes up far too much room in my brain. Michael just sees Thomas. He sees his good boy who is helpful and kind. He sees the son who will learn from him what a good father should be. While I sometimes have my doubts as to the sureness of my sanity when I said Yes, I will marry you, it's moments like this that I thank God again that I did. My husband is one of the best father's you will ever see. He loves fiercely. He plays even more so. He takes his kids to the park, to the pool, to the beach, to go for sausages, to go for a bike ride, to go for a walk, to go wrestle on the bed and to his heart. He gives them cuddles and kisses and compliments. He gives them discipline and support and knowledge. My children will never have to question if their father loves them. It is in their skin. They will grow up and have so many happy memories to choose from they won't know where to begin. My children believe that babies choose their parents from Heaven. I guess they made a good choice.

Michael helps me to see the trees, the birds and the sky. He helps me climb down from the trees when I am clinging tightly to the top and can't look down. Occasionally he wants to throw the tree at me but takes his frustration out on a golf ball instead. He stands like a solid oak with a touch of bendy willow. Sometimes the trees are quiet and the forest lays still. It's those times we walk together hand in hand kicking up leaves and marvelling at the canopy above.

We both have an affinity for trees. Something about the way they are solid and true providing protection and shelter. We marvel at their size and their longevity. We are saddened when they are felled as though we had lost a friend. I wonder what a tree symbolizes ? Maybe that is something else we can share.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Will they see it ?

When I started this blog it was to vent myself. It was to try this blogging thing as way to journal. I used to journal back when pen and paper was an acceptable way to communicate. Imgine people's shock when you write them a letter that requires a stamp !

I did wonder if people would look. Now I wonder why they don't ? I sit on the fence wanting to be noticed and wanting to stay private. Some days I can tell my story to the world. Other days I want eveyone to leave my story alone. Today is a day where I want to be alone but I at least want someone to look.

I think one of the reasons that I worry so much about my A child is that I was one of those kids who never felt like they fit in. I always felt on the outside. I had friends. I belonged to clubs. I did sports. I always felt on the fringe. I couldn't always tell if people were joking. Sometimes I still can't. I didn't know how to take a compliment. I still don't. I always felt like I had to make myself seem bigger. Now I want to get smaller.

I see my son on the edge. It bothers me far more than him. He is happy just being. It doesn't bother him all that much when people don't want to play with him. He doesn't seem to notice when he is left on the fringe on purpose. He has his couple of friends and he is happy. I cry inside. I mourn for the popular boy I thought he would become. Funny about that - they were the people that I thought were idiots. Now I want my son to at least have the chance to be an idiot.

Aspergers robbed me of the son I thought I would have. It took my dreams and my hopes and my plans for his future and smashed them. He was going to be my golden child. The one who would get along with people and be smart and everything I wasn't. I put all that on him the day he was born. What a load for a little boy to carry. I resent the fact that my dreams don't mean anything anymore. That I have to change them to suit this syndrome, this stealer of dreams, this crusher of the heart.

He is loving, creative, smart, funny, weird, perplexing, challenging, cuddly, sensitive, empathetic, annoying and mine. He makes my heart cry and sing. When he succeeds I cry. When he stumbles I cry. My emotions for him are larger than I have ever thought possible.

He has had to fight so hard. Doctors appointments for itchy skin that weeped, wheezy lungs that ache, eyes that refused to meet mine, foods that made him rash, rashes that made him itch, a brain that refuses to conform, ears that might not have worked, words that were hard to say: a mother that refuses to back down. He has put up with so much and is full of sunshine. Is he full of sunshine becuase of his pain or because that is just they way he was born ? Probably both.

I often wonder if I could have prevented all of this. Was it something I did or didn't do ? I didn't smoke, drink or do drugs. I took my vitamins, got my prenatal care, ate well. Aren't you supposed to have a healthy baby when you do the right thing ?


As I sit and write I am jealous becuase my friend started a blog and someone already read it. I don't get jealous very often at all but when I do it's over the silliest things. Does it really matter if someone reads my words ? No. and Yes.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Well one can't leave out the other child can one ? The sibilng of The A Child - the B child if you will. My 8 year old ball of fire, slayer of dragons, keeper of the flame, kicker of the butt.

My daughter gives me hope that there are women out there who can kick butt. She is feisty, smart, daring, caring, loving, strong, stubborn and she takes up my heart as well. My poor husband is left with the dreggs but he got the good stuff first so he can suck it up. They take up his heart as well.

I will give my daugther all the guidance that I needed but never got. She will be given what she needs to be comfortable in her own skin. She will be given what she needs so she feels no guilt or shame in saying NO. She will grow up knowing that she is loved no matter what. She will know that her father and mother love her and support her even when she makes mistakes. She will be allowed to fail and make it her own.

I always say my daughter will either take over the world or kick the crap out of whomever is in charge. I believe that. I believe that my children were born to change the world.

As the sibling of an A child, she knows what challenges people can go through. She knows that kids can be mean. She knows that life is not always fair. She has learned how to compromise. She has learned that you stick up for your brother even when he is a goof and ticks you off. She has learned that her brother will stick up for her even when she is a goof and ticks him off.

She writes her brother letters telling him how much she loves him. She finds him during school to make sure he is ok. To get a hug if she needs it but no one is watching. She sends him little pictures she has drawn of her best brother and best friend. She also beats the heck out of him on a regular basis. She loves him fiercely.

My daughter. She is someone that I hope to be. She has the world at her feet and I hope I can be a positive part of the journey.

The B Child - what a wonderful thing for an A child to have.

The A Child Begins

Well.. to blog or not to blog ? What does blog stand for anyway ? Are we just a bunch of malcontents looking for a place to share or intelligent people with a story to tell ? Probably a bit of both.

What takes up most of my heart and thoughts is my son. He has been in my heart and on my mind since the day he was born. Most kids are I would hope. Thomas ... well, he takes up a lot of space. My son is what some would call challlenging but only in a health sense. I thank God very often that we are not dealing with something that is a bigger fight but none the less, it has been an angst ridden nine years. I often feel guilty that I cannot take more pleasure in his successes. I am usually waiting for the but... We haven't had any buts for a while but school starts soon and the buts will start coming. They always do.

My son started life with allergies that became life threatening, asthma, and severe eczema. Apparenlty the worst case of eczema that Sick Kids Hospital had ever seen. This nightmare went on for 3 1/2 years. During that time he was also identified as being on the spectrum for autism. We've also since discovered that he has ADD. Now you see why he is The A Child - other than eczema but it's also known as atopic dermatitis so that fits too.

I begin this blog not only to vent my frustrations, to sort out my feelings and fears, to pour out how much I love this boy before my heart bursts and to see who else is out there that feels this way but to also try to let it go. I want to let the feelings of anger and disappointment go. I want to love my son and be proud of him without feeling resentful that he has to work so hard. Without resenting that I have had to work so hard to get him to a place where he can be proud of himself.

If you are out there and you have an A child, glad to meet you. I know we are all at different points in our lives. Some know it gets better. Some don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some have driven through the tunnel and want to keep on driving until they can't see the light anymore.

I am slowly coming to the realization that I have a fantastic kid. That he is the light in my tunnel. And that my journey through the tunnel will have been made better for having the privelege of being his mother. It's the days that I want to drive in to the tunnel wall that I hope get easier to bear.

Many thanks.