Thursday, December 08, 2016

Writer?

She is definitely a deep thinker, my Willow.

She thinks the most interesting things sometimes, and she creates the most intricate stories.

She reads and imagines...sometimes adding to her own anxieties.

This past week, though, she has shown her creativity in her writing...something she is very good at doing.




I hope she continues to be the creative thinker that she is and I hope to encourage her to write.  

Very proud of my little (not so little) girl.  

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Moments



I open his door and he is laying on his bed, his small laptop open, looking at stuff...the tuxedo cat stretched out underneath him.  They are both comfortable in each other's company.  I withdraw...

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Downstairs, I hear music...ah, Christmas music...who turned that on?  She is on her new chair, underneath a blanket, reading the holiday books, listening to holiday music...

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Earlier, they played a video game together, they argued in the car, they listed five things they liked about each other...everyone separately and together appreciated a seasonal activity...

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All these moments this weekend and this season and the next season and the previous season...I love...I am happy for these children.  They make my heart full.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

December, December...

So, the Holiday Season is upon our family.

I have mixed emotions on this.

There have been times in recent memory that I have been a bit melancholy and out-right depressed around this time of year.

Last year, I was splendidly not depressed--but the time went by so quickly--I barely got all my x-mas music played!

This year--the election and the state of the world kinda adds to my anxiety levels.

Also the fact that Michael will be turning 18 years old this February--and the anxiety levels that that provides regarding worrying about college, driver's education, special needs issues, etc.  Oh, and the college class he will be taking with his curriculum this spring..the fact that he will be graduating with his public high school class, etc.  Yep...it will be a special, stressful year coming up!

Well, first up is Driver's Education...made the down payment--he will be taking 6 hour a day classes during Holiday break this year!  Then on the road it is for him.  He is a bit excited about it (has been asking to do it for about six months), but like a lot of things for him--he is quietly anxious about it.

The biggest thing we have learned regarding Michael is that he needs more life experiences--because he gets himself so anxious in anticipation that he can become frozen regarding these big steps.  I can see him starting to worry about the college class he is taking in the spring...and this is exacerbated by the fact that state law will emancipate him when he turns 18...which means the decisions on these big steps are his to make (with, hopefully, our guidance).  I think sometimes he worries we are just going to kick him out when he turns 18...which, even for a teen without special needs, is daunting.

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Meanwhile--the Holidays come whether we are ready or not!  I have a good deal of my shopping done already--and just when I think I am at a good place---realize there is someone I am forgetting or something else--like, oh, Holiday cards....that I still have to get!  But, by now, I know not to sweat the small things...right now, I know, wistfully, the best things about the Holidays are the times together and the memories we share.

So, while I am stressing about things coming up and what is next and what is needed for this and that....I am trying very hard to also enjoy the here and now.

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We had a very relaxing Thanksgiving weekend, hardly doing anything...eating lots of food and getting the Holiday decorations out.  This year we put the tree in a different spot.

We used our new Echo Dot to play some holiday music and it was so much fun!

Our newest ornament--for Star Trek's 50th anniversary!  It plays the original Star Trek theme and has Captain Kirk speaking (very tinny--but cool!)



I did not get a good picture of the tree yet...but will put it on here when I do!


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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Upon thoughts and thinking, healing and hoping...

I came on here to put down my thoughts about the election...

This morning we watched the SNL from last night, and it was very cathartic, especially the cold open.  I came online and saw my friend Mel had written a post...and she mentions it beautifully.

Please click HERE to read her post and see the cold open.

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I have a lot of thoughts about this election and its outcome.  Some is conflicting, most of it mixed with sadness.

Ashes

I had not realized how much I wanted a woman president.  How proud I was to share that wonderful milestone with my daughter.  The fact that not only the glass ceiling did not break, but a misogynist, whose agenda includes restricting women's rights won is a bit much.  I put my daughter to bed on election night, telling her I would wake her up when Hillary won...bitter ashes.

I feel saddened that there are people who are so angry at not being heard, that they would let someone "tell it like it is" and tell them what they want to hear, including scapegoating minorities for their issues...the fact that racism and sexism were not only part of the agenda, the discussion, but that despite that, they voted for him. 

I worry that progress that has been made, will be lost.  Not only for women's rights, but also for other minorities.

Betrayal

So, how did this happen?  Why did we not realize this would happen?  I feel betrayed by the Democratic party and the process.  I voted for Bernie in the primaries...and I am not one of those that feels like Hillary stole the nomination from him...I think that was purely political maneuvering and that she won the nomination.  However, she was the "establishment" choice.  I was so hoping she was going to pick Bernie or another woman to be her running mate.  Instead, she picked a safer, more traditional choice.  Even then, I slowly worked it through...I was fine with it, I figured, okay, so they are being the Democrats...being safe and taking the higher ground...figuring, like we all did, that he would pretty much cause self-inflicted harm. 

Which, he did....but, as he said...and he was right...it did not matter what he did.  The people who voted for him were angry, were disenfranchised and would not listen or care...because he spoke to them and for them in the language that they wanted to hear. 

This is the betrayal on all parts....no one is going to get what they really need or want--because no one was caring to listen...or at least understand...

This article made it pretty clear to me the why.  I still do not fully agree with this population--as they have ideas based on half-truths, sexism and bigotry.  But, it is good to understand why they are upset and how we should talk to them.

We are all betrayed and history tells us this is not going to be good.

Moving on

So.  I don't think I can easily forgive someone who voted for him.  I can listen to why they did.  I will try to understand that.  But, unless they accept and condemn the overt and implicit racism, sexism and general hatred that their candidate has supported, I cannot forgive.  I have friends and family who are scared.  Who are worried about what will happen.  History does not tell us this will end well.

I will be there for support.  I will fight for the rights of the oppressed.  I will make sure my voice is heard. 

I will try to listen to others and try to reach out...and hope that perhaps, this will become a way that we will learn to be stronger together...

UPDATE:

Here is a post from another fellow blogger.  She posted links on ways to help others.  Please click HERE.

Also, here is a helpful article about how to get involved.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

She's with me

I could say that I am voting for Hillary Clinton because I am a liberal Democrat.   

I could say that I am voting for Hillary Clinton because I voted for Bernie Sanders, and now she is the Democratic party nominee.

I could say that I am voting for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, but I have had reservations because Hillary doesn’t fit into my ideal first woman President.   

All these statements are true and reflect the conflict I have had in choosing to vote for Secretary Clinton.   
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I am a reader and a researcher by nature.  Whenever there is a question in my life, whenever I have had doubts about how to deal with a subject, I have spent a good deal of time learning about every aspect of the issue.   

When Hillary Clinton became the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, I knew that the reservations I felt needed to be researched out so that I did not have any doubts regarding my choice.  I wanted to sort through the facts and the fictions.  

What was so different about this research, for me, was that I thought I knew Ms. Clinton.  I had voted for Bill Clinton, I had watched Hillary struggle to be heard about health care.  I remembered the start of the bi-partisan attacks and the real and imagined scandals.  I remembered the First Lady, vaguely knew the Senator, and thought I knew the Secretary of State.   

As time had gone on, I had only seen Hillary Clinton in my periphery.  I knew that the Right had continued their attacks on her and her husband, but I really did not notice what she was doing, how she was trying to enact changes in ways that she has been doing since she started in public service.  

Discovery is one of the most extraordinarily profound by-products of research.  In going back to research Hillary Clinton anew, I realized that somehow, in a way, she was looking out for my singular and personal interests for a long time. 

One of Hillary Clinton's first jobs out of law school was with the Children’s Defense Fund in the state I now live, Massachusetts, and one of her first tasks was going door-to-door to figure out why so many children were missing school. She found that many parents were not sending their children to school because schools did not accommodate disabilities. The evidence she gathered was presented to Congress, and it helped build the case for the passage of the law that ensures all children with disabilities have access to school. As First Lady, she brought awareness and fought for funding for autism, including supporting the bipartisan Children’s Health Act of 2000, which focused on autism research. In the Senate, she introduced the bipartisan Expanding the Promise for Individuals with Autism. 

We first knew there was something not quite right when our son started Kindergarten.  You know it isn't good if, after three weeks, the Kindergarten teacher wants a parent/teacher conference.  They were worried about his safety, mainly.  He would get up during class and start to wander.  At one point, he left the classroom and went out to inspect the workings of the elevator.   "How do you motivate him?" "Does he exhibit outbursts at home?"  "Perhaps he should have behavioral therapy?"   
By the time he was in third grade, we had the first of many diagnoses.  He had ADHD and Social Pragmatics issues.   
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“Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school,” Hillary Clinton said during her speech at the Democratic National Convention. “But how do you make an idea like that real? You do it step-by-step, year-by-year… sometimes even door-by-door.” 
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My son has been through behavioral therapy, social skills groups, neurological tests of all shapes and sizes, Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) and 504s.  My son went through the public school system, but through the special education system and with the help of laws and programs that Hillary Clinton helped to put in place, he was able to continue to not only be educated, but also stay in classrooms with his friends and peers.   

By the end of Middle School, we had a diagnosis that fit all the behaviors and issues.  My son has High Functioning Aspergers, now know as High Functioning Autism. 
  
A teenager's hormones and autism do not always mix that well together.  He had a really tough time transitioning to High School.  The number of calls from the school about tantrums and outbursts, altercations with other students and just disruptive behavior as a whole increased to a nerve-wreaking level. 

During this whole process, we had been our son's advocates, being there for the countless meetings at school regarding how to help our son achieve his goals.  Finally, my son hurting like he had never before, we had an outside advocate come in to help us to navigate the process of having him out-placed to a private school which assists children with autism and similar disabilities. 
    
Through the Special Education Department in Massachusetts, we were able to have our son go to a wonderful program, where he has thrived.  He is now a senior in High School, looking forward to graduating and going to college.   

We have gotten through a lot tough times, we are stronger and better for it.  However, the challenges facing my son are now going to be even more complex, as we look to having him be able to live on his own, interact with people in the larger society, hold down a job, and essentially be as independent as he can be, given the obstacles he still needs to overcome. 

Hillary Clinton is also trying to look towards the future of autistic and other disabled individuals.   
Amongst her policy and statement issues on health care and education programs, she has proposed an Autism Plan that focuses on support programs for autistic people, including improving employment opportunities and housing availability.  This article from the Guardian from January 2016, points out that: 

"Her plan focuses on necessary and sorely needed support programs for autistic people: improving employment opportunities and housing availability, significantly limiting the use of physical restraints, guaranteeing access to assistive communication technology for people who are nonverbal or have difficulty with spoken language and a specific call to do research on adult autism prevalence and needs. These issues are of vital importance to autistic people and our loved ones. No other major US presidential candidate has made these issues a part of his or her political platform."   

So, in the end, the major reason I am voting for Hillary Clinton is because I am a Special Needs mother.  I see a kindred spirit in this strong woman, who has fought for disabled people, giving them and their families voices.  She is strong because she has had to fight through tough times, trying to get her voice heard.  Secretary Clinton researches the heck out of an issue, and tries to find solutions  My son has a place in her world.  The time and energy she has spent over the years working for disabilities and autism in particular, has made me not only want to vote for her, but respect her.




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