Blending in.

The kids and I have been watchng Doc Martin (BBC) religiously, two episodes per night over the past week.  We are addicted to this ornery ex-surgeon, now local GP for a sleepy Cornwall seaside town.  Anjali asks if we’re watching Mister Doctor (she can’t seem to remember the name of the show, but I love her twist.)

Nik loves it too, and will turn off his ipad if I have the show on.  The other night, we were on the couch, the three of us, watching Doc be his trademark rude self to some poor villager and Nik said, “He’s really rude and mean, isn’t he?”
Me: “Yeah, he certainly is!”
Nik, after a few moments, “Why is he so mean?”
Me: “He just doesn’t see the need to be nice.  He’s a very good doctor, and he thinks that is enough.  And that everyone should welcome him and tolerate his meanness.  I also don’t think he realizes he’s being mean.”
Nik: “Maybe he should go to a class where they can teach him to blend in better.”

And there, right there, I felt everything come full circle.

Remembering all the social skills classes, all the behavioral interventions, the years of working with this child, trying to show him how to read social cues, interact well with others…hearing this boy offer up a solution for what may have, but for the grace of god and all the therapists, been him one day… I hugged him close to my side, kissed the top of his head and said, “Yeah, I hope they help him do that soon.”


Nine years.

Nine years ago, a little miracle showed up in my life, forever changing me, teaching me these lessons: I have no control over people. I was humbled down to my knees, my arrogance stripped away, and then had my confidence built up again, as well as trust in my ability to be a ferocious parent. I learned to depend on others to help me with him. I learned that it truly takes a village to raise a child.

And he has thrived and grown and is loved and loves back. His joys are video games and reading and asking big concept questions. His goal in life is to spend the least amount of time working to make the most amount of money (really.)

He redefines “normal” on a daily basis.

And I am happy. And blessed to be his mother.

Happy Ninth birthday to my Little Tortoise.

Favorites. Anjali, Age 6.

Color: Pink
Friend: Hailey (from school)
Drink: Water
Food: Apple pie
Thing to do: Play with my friends
Thing at School: Play on the playground
Teacher: Ms. Dina
Season: Fall 
Animal: Pony
Toy: Julie (American Girl doll)
Restaurant: Selland’s
Movie Character: Rapunzel
Movie: Tangled
Ice cream: Chocolate
Game: Hide and seek
Vacation: Santa Cruz

Favorites. Nikhil, Age 8.

Color: Blue
Friend: Matthew (in his class)
Drink: Sprite
Food: Pizza
Thing to do: Play video games
Thing at School: Looking up Bug Bites on the internet (“Well, you gotta know your bug bites!”)
Teacher: Ms. Ryann
Season: Summer.  (“Because you don’t have to work.”)
Animal: Wolf (“There are so many choices to choose from!”)
Toy: Legos
Restaurant: Chicago Fire (pizza)
Movie Character: Batman
Movie: 007 Skyfall
Ice cream: Cookies and Cream
Game: Trampoline football (at Natalie’s house)
Vacation: Dallas.  “I’d like to go to Hawaii.”

Taking the next step.

One thing about hitting rock bottom, in a relationship or otherwise.

Choices become simple again.

I’m not saying that they become easy.  Just simple.

It is like learning how to walk all over again.

Take the next step.

And these are the steps I have taken since I said goodbye to 2012:

  • I realized that the new relationship I had forged with a man towards the end of 2012 was not giving me what I wanted, and so I ended it mid-January, quickly, and with very little emotional trauma.
  • Made a list of attributes and values important to me in a man.
  • I paid attention to people again, strangers, and realized again how much I loved people.
  • Realized that I didn’t in fact hate men.  I loved them.  Loved their quirkiness, their idiosyncrasies, their physicality, their humor, their strength, everything.
  • Dated some wonderful men and just as easily, let them go, since they didn’t have all the attributes I was looking for.  Easy to do when you make it about values.
  • Allowed the man I broke it off with in January back into my life, with expectations for the new relationship clearly defined.
  • Realized that he met all the attributes and values I had delineated earlier in the year.
  • Didn’t get scared.
  • Didn’t build castles in the sky.
  • Just as quickly realized that I had to live each day purposefully.
  • Which meant I had to choose, consciously and deliberately, to enjoy what I was experiencing in the moment, without fast-forwarding ahead in the relationship, anticipating the various scenarios I would normally spin in my head.
  • Which is really hard to do.  But oh, so fulfilling.

And when I live like this?  Taking the next step, consciously and deliberately, without thinking too far ahead?

I’m happy.

Right here and right now.

The Hare.

As I go back and read the post that started this blog, all those years ago, I realize that I am the Hare.  While this blog started out as a way to document my life as a parent of a child with autism, it has morphed over the years into a map of my emotional wanderings.  And I am just as much in need of the support and trust as my son is, if not more so.  Because while I was focused on him, following rabbit holes and dead ends, I lost my way.

And while I know that I will get to a finish line, being newly aware and conscious of my journey will help ensure that I get to the finish line I am aiming for.



I am a soul.

A soul that has a really hard time with learning the lessons it needs to learn this time around on earth.  Because this soul is stubborn.  And believes that it is right and all the signs, and portents, and situations that cross its path…they are wrong.  Everything is a battle.

Everything is suspect.

There’s something to be said for being a soul like this.  All the struggles, all the experiences, the influences…when they finally break through one of its many walls, the wall is obliterated.  Crushed.

Once it learns its lesson, the lesson sticks.  Because the soul is still stubborn.  And now it clings on to its hard won truth.

2012 was the year of my despair.  I was faced with the unmistakable fact that my husband had filed for divorce one month shy of our 15 year anniversary, and that the door was slowly closing, leaving me on the other side.  After so many years together with him, it was hard to accept that it was over, and that while he would always be in my life as my kids’ father, he would not be in my life as my partner.

And that was hard to accept.  Because no matter what we had gone through the past few years, and it had been a lot, I couldn’t fathom life without him.  Because I didn’t believe in divorce.  Even though I laid out ultimatums towards the end, in the deepest part of my soul, I hoped that he would call my bluff, tell me he was truly sorry for all that he’d done, and become the husband I wanted him to be.

But the part I was forgetting was that I was equally to blame.  I was his Judge, Jury, and Executioner.  Towards the end, he had no hope of ever being right in my eyes.  I was righteous in my belief that he was wrong.  And who could withstand that storm?  Not him.

We are both deeply flawed people.  Deeply flawed.  It is easy for me to see the things in him that need improvement.  It wasn’t so easy to turn the mirror back to me to see my culpability in the fifteen slow years leading up to this moment.

While I believe that we are responsible for our own decisions and choices, I also believe that the energy and feedback from the person you are with plays a large role in who you decide you are going to be.

And we were poison for each other.  We knew it, both of us, but we kept trying to make it work.  And then finally accepted that it just couldn’t be.

But once that acceptance has been reached, therein lies freedom.  The strings that tied us to each other are still unravelling, but emotionally, mentally, physically?  We are free of each other.

Free to learn who we each are, on our own, individually, again.  A friend gently held a mirror up to me one day, when I was railing about Pete’s seeming inability to be a good father.  He said, “I wonder if he feels unable to be a good father because you have made it so hard for him to measure up.  Because you are doing it all, and there is no room for him.  And so he just doesn’t try.”

I looked in that mirror and hated what I saw.  At first I jumped to deny my friend’s insight.  But later that night, I sat with myself and looked for the first time at who I had become.  A bitter, torn, righteous, avenging and disillusioned woman.  I broke down finally, in tears that had no anger, no self-pity, nothing but compassion.

Compassion for the woman I saw, and for the man who had once loved her.

And finally, I was able to let it all go.  Just like that.  The anger towards Pete, the self-pity, the misery, the martyrdom…everything.  Gone.

And what was left was a distilled purity of thought: I had helped bring two beautiful souls into this world.  And it was my responsibility to help nurture those souls towards their life purpose.  And I could do it, with help from the other person who helped bring those two souls into this world.  But in order to allow him to participate, I had to let him in.

With Compassion.

Finally, I realized why my soul had to go through this.  Through wisdom and compassion (discernment, insight) comes enlightenment.  And while the understanding is fragile, it has come.

My soul is stubborn.

Once it learns a lesson, it holds on.

Hey baby…missed me?

Because I missed you.

I missed my world of internet-only friends. Didn’t realize just how much you all supported me through my years of early parenting two unique children. Didn’t realize it was a nagging ache until I saw a comment notification pop up the other day. And the pleasure I felt in reviewing the posts from years ago made me decide then and there that I would take up The Little Tortoise again, and let you all back into my life.

A lot has happened. Trite, but true. And I will share it all.

I promise.



Anticipatory review: The Forever Marriage

I don’t know if any one has ever written a review of a book they haven’t read (or admitted to it!), but I have to say, I am looking forward to reading Ann Bauer’s The Forever Marriage.

In reading the author’s journey towards getting the book published (see her blog post), I was struck by how much the protagonist, Carmen, sounded like me: manipulative, secretive, mean, uncaring… these are all ways I have been over the years.  Not easy to admit, as I commented on Ann’s post:

“I read your post and said to myself, “That Carmen sounds just like me.” I have done and felt so many things in my life that have been purely selfish and mean and manipulative. I haven’t voiced them to anyone for fear of people looking at me in horror, and some things I can’t even think about for fear of thinking myself a monster. But we all go through that (I hope) and anyone who says otherwise is deluding themselves. The fact that your novel has received praise from older women sort of proves that, in my opinion, because it takes age and wisdom (not necessarily correlated) to be that honest with yourself. It may be a hard book to read, but I look forward to it. If only to receive validation and hope.”

 How many of us can come to terms with that? It is an overwhelming concept; we don’t want to admit that we have not made the right choices through our lives. But here we are, the product of all those choices. And we either face it and proceed or ignore it and flail through the rest of the years we have on earth.
In one of those pathways lies the fleeting chance for living the rest of your life purposefully.

How to write like a seven year old

Nik: “Mom, I want to write an article about how to give your mom a massage by walking on her back.”
Me: “Okay?”
Nik: “And I want to send it to a magazine so that they can put it in there so people can read it.”
Me: “…….”
Nik: “Do you think I could write articles like that when I grow up?  Because I think I could do that, and it would be a way I could make money?  I think I could do that?”
Me: “That’s a great idea, Nik.  Why don’t you write that article when we get back home from school tonight?  I think you write very well now, and will get even better the more you write.”
Nik: “Yeah, I think I want to write articles for magazines.  Because I don’t think it will be that hard to do.  And I think I could do it.”

I love the fact that he is thinking so hard about what he wants to do when he grows up.

But starting now.