August 31, 2011

I take my coffee VERY seriously

No lo toque nadie.

August 24, 2011


I chuckled at her expression.

"I told you I'd have to explain," I said.

On the prayer list I handed her were written two words: Caleb's Autism.

Only they weren't written under "Prayers." They were written under "Praises."


"I can't imagine what your life must be like," our Sunday School coordinator says. I confess I am a bit surprised by this statement: she's a mother of seven. I sorta figured if anyone understood, she would.

"Well," I mumble. "We have good days and bad days." I'm trying hard not to cry. Trying hard to be strong. The gray day mirrors the difficult news she just delievered: one of the Sunday school teachers doesn't want Caleb in her class because he won't sit down and color nicely with the rest of the boys and girls.

"Yeah, but your bad days must be really bad."

I nod. I'm confused, and I don't know what else to say, but I nod.

My life isn't all that bad, surely. Do we really engender that kind of pity from people? Caleb just isn't a sit-down-and-play-quietly kind of boy.


"What would you like to do today, Caleb?" I ask over Cocoa Pebbles and bananas.

"Hmmmm." He thinks about it, tapping one finger to his cheek in typical Caleb-fashion. "Go the airport and see Grammie and Grandpa's house?" He looks at me hopefully. I laugh.

"I wish we could. But not today, sweetie."

We play Chase instead. His favorite. I chase him, he chases me, and we usually end up on my bed playing hide-and-seek under the blankets. Or else he jumps on the bed, singing something about monkeys bumping their heads.

Singing is a new hobby for him.

On our way to Wendy's for dinner the other night, he started singing the theme song from Wonder Pets! Only he changed the words. I almost didn't notice.

"We're not too big, 'n we're not too tough, but when we work together, we get french fries! Yay, Mommy, Daddy, and Cabub!"

I laughed all the way to the drive-through.


After sitting on my table for four months, after a trip to California and back, after my mother sings its high praises, the magazine will be ignored no longer. I pick it up and start reading.

"Autism" is splashed across the cover. The causes, the treatments, the theories.

I don't really want to read it. Been putting it off (and off and off). But... something inside me insists. You need this. You need to face it.

The statistics in the article are staggering: 1 in 110 children is diagnosed with autism every year. And boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

I read stories about parents who are raising autistic children. And the more I read, the more I relate. Behavior issues, speech delays, sensory difficulties. I'm nodding my head as if the magazine can see me. This is my son, I realize, shocked. Everything they're describing in here? We've seen it. Lived it. To one degree or another.

My son's autistic.

I can't believe I'm even thinking it. But deep down, that statement rings true. And deeper still, very much to my surprise, I accept it.

I didn't even know I was fighting. Didn't catch the denial. But the reluctance, the hesitation, they have been there from the beginning. It feels good to be free of them.

The magazine does one other thing for me. It gives me perspective.


"So why is this listed under Praises?" my friend asks. She sips her coffee and waits.

I stare out the window at Starbucks, composing my answer. Why am I praising God for something that has routinely been under Prayers?

"Because I realized something this week. As hard as Caleb can be sometimes, as difficult as raising him is, things could be a lot worse. Some autistic children never talk, some of them are never able to function in normal society. Caleb's not that severe. Most likely, he won't have those problems. Our life could be vastly different, vastly more difficult. So I'm praising God that Caleb is who he is."

And I am. Truly. For the first time, I think I'm beginning to understand my son. And the more I do, the more thankful I am for this amazing, sweet, funny little boy who I get to wake up to each morning. We still have a long road ahead of us, but at least we are heading in the right direction. Step by step.

August 19, 2011

Making Hay

We made some hay today, friends. Yessiree.

We haven't had a lot of time for hay lately, even though there's been plenty of sun.

We were a little adventurous today. Instead of playing on the beach, we climbed rocks. Caleb risked life and limb forging trails across slippery cliffs above the ocean, and Mommy risked the same as she followed him in her definitely not-all-terrain sandles.

What can I say? Dangerous endeavors make for great mother-son bonding time. And today, we needed some of that.

Parts of the beach were fogged in when we arrived. But the sun took care of that.

About an hour later, Caleb looks around and says "Hey! Where'd all da froggy go?"

"The sun burned it away," I explain. He asks a lot of questions these days.

"Burned it away?" He ponders this as he goes back to the driftwood seesaw he's playing with.

Today was quiet. Restful. And dare I say it? Lazy.


Hard to believe that a mere month ago, this little boy was still in diapers. Now he sports Lightning McQueen and Perry the Platypus undies with great pride.

Thank you, Jesus! I never thought this day would come!


Potty-training is not for the faint-hearted. Or for those in a hurry. It's all about slow progress, small victories, and enormous amounts of candy. :) If you stop over to visit in the next week, look for the mason jars in my bathroom. You'll see what I mean.

And if you couldn't tell, I'm head-over-heels, over-the-moon excited to have my child out of diapers. Words cannot express.

We've done our best to make hay while the sun shines this summer.

In between surprise visits to Seattle for the Children's Hospital . . .

{Lake Washington, Seattle. Two weeks ago}

{A fun outing after a not-so-fun doctor's visit}

. . . and surprise weddings . . .

{Mr. and Mrs. James Smith}

{Helen's wedding last Friday}

. . . I guess you could say we've been busy. :) Making hay doesn't always mean sitting on a beach, though. Sometimes it means having surprise houseguests, who delight and bless you beyond what you could have ever expected. Sometimes it means adjusting your schedule as your husband begins to commute off-island for his job.

Lots been going on around here lately, friends. I'm sorry I've been away. I've missed the Inkwell, though I truly have needed the time.

How have y'all been? What stories have you lived this last month? Do tell, please. :)