Monday, April 19, 2010

Life: Messy but Good

When you were younger, around seven and eight I think, I pushed you in a tire swing for hours on end. You adored the swing, that and moving little cars about in the mud. It seemed the ground in your favorite area was always muddy because you liked to turn on the water hose. You liked to spray me, all of us, with water. We laughed. I changed clothes a lot. Because I thought that all of the time I needed to be perfect. Me, the house, your brother and sisters, you, your dad, we all needed to be perfect. What a vicious cycle of self-deceit. I'm sorry. You were perfect and I didn't even know it then. I didn't celebrate your differences. I mourned the things you would never do and the silent chasm between us. Now I understand more about you than then. I enjoy listening to your every word. The words a lot of folks don't hear, which come from your eyes, your movements, your touch. Loved our picnic yesterday, but I must say, we should work on sharing. I was really thirsty. But thanks for the stolen sip of water. Next time we're back to chicken or burgers. Those steak burritos are way messy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Best

Even if the best I can hope for seems small to the whole world, it's worth the world to me. I'm talking about Caleb's genuine smile and the way he marches when really happy. Last Sunday, we shared a picnic in the wind. How he enjoyed that wind! Later, in his room, his smile faded and he headed for the dayroom couch. It's a comfort zone for him, and where he goes to relax. He tucks his face into the crook of his arm and this means, Leave Me Alone. But I was still there, still wanting to do a puzzle and color with him, to read aloud. I wanted more than two hours of his time. I sat on a rug next to the couch and opened his photo album. As I pointed out familiar pictures, as he sometimes likes, he became agitated, seemingly with my presence. To give him some space and myself a moment to think, I moved to his room. He usually says, "Tell Mama goodbye" and gives me a hug when he's ready to end our time together, but he hadn't done that. Maybe he forgot the words? So I asked him if it was time for me to go. He looked up briefly and said "Yeah" then reburied his face in his arm. Sadness washed over me and the fun of the afternoon vanished. I gave him a hug and turned to go. But once outside, I noticed I'd left the photo album and his sheets, which needed washing. About three minutes had elapsed when the automatic door opened, allowing me back in. There was my Caleb, marching, smiling, and laughing. This was the best. Worth all the world to me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Eat Good Food!

Some Good Foods for people suffering from G.I. ailments, ADD, ADHD, and/or Autism:

Apple wedges or celery sticks topped with natural peanut butter and raisins - Fun, healthy and filling; protein and vitamins

Oranges - energizing; good vitamin C

Gluten-free stuff you can get frozen or make yourself - bread, breadsticks, chicken nuggets, muffins - GLUTEN FREE!

Berries - energizing; cleansing

Bananas - calming; nourishing

Almond milk - delicious to make fruit smoothies!

Fresh greens - dark leafy lettuce, turnip or mustard greens

Beets - Buy fresh and put in a juicer with a lemon, some grapes, apples, carrots and greens. Cleanses your system and you feel great!

Eggs - really a bit of a miracle in a shell

Nuts, dark chocolate, green tea - magnesium, antioxidants, Taste!

Cold water fish - Brain food

Friday, February 12, 2010

She's Back

Alright, now it's time to own up. I came home from the job in Brenham. I've all sorts of reasons for only working there for two months. The closest thing I can figure to the deepest truth is this: lack of what it takes to be that close to him and feel I'm not helping.

I've never felt my heart break anywhere near in comparison to the day I heard my dear friend Toby say "autism," in reference to Caleb, and then I opened a dictionary and understood that it fit--until my time spent at Brenham State Supported Living Center as a nurse for The Cottages.

It was like being dropped into a war zone to retrieve those held captive - like a Rambo movie - and utterly failing. But you know what? Every day of my life, I feel I have failed my child.

I am not sharing these thoughts with the world for sympathy, the last thing parents of challenged individuals need, but understanding maybe, mostly for all of the families out there also in this battle. We all love our babies. We hurt for our babies, even when they are twenty-five. And we do need prayer.

Our children also need the love of people other than their parents. They like receiving cards and letters, too.

Brenham State Supported Living Center
4001 Highway 36 South
Brenham, TX 77833-9611

This is the general address. If you want to send a "Hello" to Caleb Jones, simply use the above address and put "for Caleb Jones" on the envelope. I will take it from there. For more information go to brenham state schools/brenham.html

God will bless you for being a friend to the friendless.