Thursday, January 22, 2015


Tomorrow, two of my wonderful children have birthdays. 

And I am incredibly sad.

Not just the usual nostalgic, my babies are growing up too fast kind of sad. But the kind of sad that comes from handing them over at 8am to school and their Dad. Meaning....I don't get to spend their birthday with them. This is a first, and it is one that I'm not particularly fond of. One could even say that I am being a bit pitiful about it. Because I am.

I want to celebrate. 

I want to celebrate with my big girl. My Diva is turning eight. EIGHT. Am I old enough to have an eight year old?! I don't think so. But what a girl I have. She is so smart, you guys. Scary smart. She has spent the past year growing taller and learning more about how to communicate and how to turn us all into her slaves. I really think she may achieve world domination. It's entirely possible. She is a constant surprise. One moment she will be full on Diva, with her hair flip and her side eye. But the next moment she is a little kitten, curling into my lap and leaning her forehead onto my lips for a kiss. She is giggles and beaded necklaces and painted fingernails and humming happiness. She is my girl.

I want to celebrate my little nugget, Vlad. My baby is turning three. His babyhood has been left in the dust. He can run and jump and he is almost the size of his big brother, which completely freaks me out. He is a man of very very few words, but always lets us know just how he feels and what he wants. Another freakishly smart child, I fear the day he assists big sister in world domination. I constantly feel like he is just sitting back and observing, figuring everything out until he's ready to make his move. Everything he does is decisive, planned. I think this year will be the year he really starts using proloquo and we find out just what's going on in there. I'm ready to hear his voice, whatever voice that may be. He is hopping and jumping and giggling and milk loving and tech savvy. He is (and always will be) my baby boy.

You know what else I want to celebrate? The day I became Mama. I didn't have a clue, not even a fraction of an idea, what that would feel like. Not until she was here. And I stared into those big solemn eyes and understood what love means. The day I realized I had no earthly idea what I was doing. The day I connected with and understood my own mother just a bit more, when I joined this wide network of wonderful women who have come before me. Mama. Mommy. Mother. What a wonderful word, what a wonderfully terrifying role. To be their Mama is an honor.

So. Even though I will want to be sad tomorrow, I will try to celebrate. We deserve that, don't we? To my Diva Girl and Vlad- Mama loves you. Always.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A New Anniversary

I can't believe it's been a year. A year ago I wrote this and I pretty much decided to completely change my life. I was naive and scared and I had no idea the roller coaster I was in for.

I have no regrets.

Change isn't easy. You don't just wake up one day and think "you know, I think I'll make my life harder today!" But starting over, for me, was first a realization. Then that realization grew and one day I did wake up and said "I'm ready." And now, looking back, I realize that I wasn't ready at all! There is no way to prepare yourself for a total life upheaval. There just isn't. You take the step and feel the air under your feet and hope beyond hope that you land softly.

So, I think the thing people want to know is how the kids and I are doing now.

Me? I still find myself in awe when I describe myself and my life. A year ago I didn't even have my own bank account. Now I just started a new job at one of my favorite places in the whole world (Starbucks. Of course.) I had to learn how to pay bills, along with how to shop at Home Depot and how to kill spiders. And I learned the pride that comes with seeing that paycheck and watching it provide for your needs. Sounds so simple, but it really isn't. Last year we had a Christmas tree with presents all around it. And every one of those presents was provided by some amazing people who love our family. This year, there will be one present for each kid. Those are the presents that I bought and picked with care, and I have to say that I am bursting with excitement over the upcoming Christmas morning. While I am beyond grateful for what we received last year, I am so very proud of our "pauper" Christmas. And I have no doubt my kids will smile just as much.

My new job is coming with two big advantages. One is that I will have insurance. I have not, in my adult life, had dental or vision insurance. When you have my faulty teeth and eyes, that is a major problem. I could weep with relief. The second advantage is that they will be paying for the completion of my degree. Yes, finally, I'm finishing that up! I've already got a semester under my belt and I'm loving it. Yes, the deadlines might kill me and finals gave me an ulcer, but I'm loving it, I promise!

And those are the labels that I find myself wearing. A part time employee, a full time student, and a full time mom. Because even when you share custody, the mom thing is always and forever. I am still getting used to the custody part. While I'm not yet officially a divorcee (which sounds like such a cool word, very misleading) we do have a parenting plan in place and I'm glad. The kids get great quality time with each of their parents and I think they are thriving. While this isn't what anyone plans and hopes for when they first have kids, it isn't as horrific as I'd once thought. My little loves have consistency and they have a Mom and Dad who love them. It isn't all sunshine and rainbows, but it never is. It never was. The progress that they have made in the past year is just astounding to me. A year ago I was worried about regressions and possible behavior problems and speech troubles and all the things that might happen. The road hasn't been bump free but these kids are rocking life right now. I'm so proud of the people they are and the people they are becoming.

There is also this big part of my life that you don't hear me talk much about but that doesn't make it any less. I love a woman. And she loves me. She has a little boy with autism and I love him too. I want everyone that reads this to know that just typing this tiny little paragraph makes me smile like you wouldn't believe.

I didn't know that life could be this beautiful and this hard and this rewarding. I'm so very glad I took the step. I know I'm one of the lucky ones. If you are thinking about changing your entire life, think hard. Because it is hard, in case I haven't mentioned that enough. But for me? Worth it. Oh so very worth it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More Than Just A Job

Today I clocked out from the job I have worked for the last seven months, for the last time.

It wasn't a fancy job. I was a simple sales associate/front desk lackey with part time hours. So, why am I emotional about leaving?

I will tell you the story from the beginning, as all proper stories need to be told. I had realized about a year ago that I needed to work. Outside of the house. I had just come out of the closet and began the process of ending my marriage. And it just hit me.... I have to get a job. Like, where I get hired and clock in and someone pays me a set amount. I hadn't done that since I called in to work the day I went into labor with Diva Girl, who is now seven. I'd worked retail and child care, never finished my degree, and wasn't exactly seeing much for myself in the job prospect department. But I put together a pitiful little resume and sent it out into the world. I went to interviews. I got rejected. I felt embarrassed. All the time, hearing someone else's words inside my head, wondering who on earth would hire me? 

And about 3 months in, I see an ad on craigslist. I call, I apply, I have a little flurry of hope and try to squelch it when they call me back. Much to my shame, I arrive late to the interview. Imagine my shock when they offer me the job! I totally played it cool though, and waited until I got home to do my awkward happy dance that involves lots of flailing limbs.

The first day I was so nervous I thought I might have to duck into the bathroom to hyperventilate for a bit. I have a pretty well documented problem with anxiety that manifests itself in a serious issue making phone calls. And what did my new job require? Oh, just answering the phones all day. And making phone calls all day. My therapist encouraged me to take the job in part to overcome this issue and there were times in that first week I questioned her credentials because it seemed like the stupidest idea ever. But, slowly, surely....I got used to it. It became just another little thing, no big deal. Something that was crippling just months prior! I can't tell you what that has done for me.

But the best thing about this job was the people. For one thing, I was getting out of the house and meeting grown ups! Real live grown ups! That was rather exciting in and of itself. But it became clear fairly quickly that I was working with some rather fabulous human beings. Within a few weeks, I was out at work, and felt completely comfortable. As time went on, these people held my hand through the ups and downs of the divorce process. The support that I got there was beyond what I could have possibly expected. And my boss? She'd been there and done that and had nothing but understanding and wisdom for me. I could not have asked for a better place to take my first steps.

And that's what this place was for me. It was a safe place to take those wobbly first steps into a new life. I remember holding that first paycheck in my hands and seeing that there was enough to pay the fee to file for divorce, with just $6 to spare. I cried. There was so much pride every time I got a check, every time I hit my sales goals, every time I made it through another shift. I had never experienced such independence in my adult life, making my own decisions and having my own money and feeling like I was doing my job well. It gave me some much needed confidence.

Today I clocked out and am leaving my safe place. I know it is the best decision, and I'm excited about the new opportunity I have. But I will always be grateful to the place who gave me a chance and helped me on me feet. They don't know it, but they helped me find a piece of myself. It may have been just your everyday, run of the mill front desk job. But for me? It was so much more.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Belated Birthday

For those of you who didn't notice, I had a birthday this past weekend.

For those of you who did notice, I'm sure you're thinking This is a grown woman, when will she shut up about her birthday already? Soon, I promise you.

Last year I wrote a little diddy about what I wanted to do before I hit thirty. I have another year to go, but it's fun to look back and see the things on that list that I can cross off. But even more fun is to look back on the past year at all the things I've done that didn't make it on that list.

- I got a job. Like, a thing where I show up and someone pays me for doing things pretty decently. I hadn't had a job outside of the house since the day I went into labor with Diva Girl, and I was so nervous. Nervous no one would hire me, nervous I couldn't do the job if someone did hire me. But I found a great spot for myself with really wonderful co-workers and the most understanding boss in the entire universe. Not too shabby.

- I filed for divorce. Big, scary, grown up thing to do. Not a fun process to say the least. But it needed to happen.

- I figured out what I like. It turns out that for many years I've just sort of absorbed what other people liked and never took the time to figure myself out. And you know what? I'm pretty awesome and pretty lame at the same time. I LOVE pop music, winged eyeliner, rum and coke, high waist A-line dresses, and trying new places to eat. I still don't like driving.

- I've grown as a Mama. I used to always be afraid that I was a bad mother. I'm not anymore. I love my kids with all of my heart and have had to do a lot of hard things for them this year, including some of the things listed above. The time I do spend with them now is more precious to me. And maybe they were even a wee bit too dependent on their Mama. Watching them grow is a beautiful thing.

-I got meds. You guys, this is really one of those things that people don't talk about but I go there anyways. It turns out that crying a lot and being kind of mean and not wanting to do anything is not really me! That is Depression/Anxiety Mamasab. The real me is here! The real me still cries over ridiculous things, but not all day long, and she is actually this really motivated and humourous person who likes sunshine and rainbows and singing really loudly in the car. I feel like myself. Meds don't magically make your life better, but the right ones can enable you to handle your life better.

- I got my nose peirced. Wanted to do that since I was 15. Also, I did get that tattoo and I will get more as soon as humanly possible (in other words, I need mo money.)

-I made a bunch of new friends. Met a ton of new people. That isn't an easy thing for socially inept me, but I'm so glad I did it.

-I kept a handful of old friends. The people who have been through the tough stuff with me and are still around? You are priceless. Many people either dropped me or had to be kicked out of my life because they were downright destructive. But I fought for some friendships, and they are absolutely worth it.

- I went back to school. Third time is a charm, right? But seriously, this is my time. I'm still pretty sure I must be crazy to take this on right now, but playing it safe hasn't been in my vocabulary this year.

-I loved. And have been loved in return. And that is the best gift I could have given myself.

Next year is the big 3-0. I can't possibly top the major spoilage that happened this year, but I'm thinking I can't imagine anything better than a big party. Who's in?

Me smiling the big birthday grin I had all weekend

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Should Be

I should be doing schoolwork right now.

The kids are all in bed for the night. The house is quiet and the laundry is caught up on but all I can think of is all the things I should be doing. The dishes. The writing assignment. Sweeping.

There is always something to do. There are always expectations to live up to. The should be train of thought can, and often does, quickly derail into the should have.

I should have cooked dinner instead of driving through at McDonald's. I should have taken that kids to that free event on Sunday that I wimped out on. I should have gotten that picture schedule done last month, the kids would be doing better if I'd just done that. I should have finished that assignment before the due date. For that matter....I should have finished school the first time around. Or the second. And I should have come out of the closet ten years ago.


I don't want to live a life of should bes or should haves. Should is nothing but a burden. Just over a year ago, my life was ruled by should. I felt suffocated by it. At some point the should's of society and religion and family became the voice in my head. Sure, I bucked it sometimes, if it felt safe enough to do so. But there were many many times when I simply operated under the guidelines that I'd developed over the years of what a good wife/mother/christian/student/worker should do instead of what was best for myself or my kids or my sanity.

Don't get me wrong, we all have to live up to our responsibilities. The kids need fed and watered, the house needs cleaned, and if I want to graduate (finally) I need to do my school work. I'm not saying that I'm advocating abandoning your obligations. However, I'm done beating myself up over the little things I do or don't do. If I want to drink a white chocolate mocha that has as many calories as a full meal, and read a book that has nothing to do with schoolwork, I am not going to pay for it later in guilt. And I'm not going to beat myself up for the big things that are in my past. I can't change those things, no matter how much I wish I could. So laying in bed thinking about what I should have done won't do anything but make me sleepy the next morning.

There are things I can do, things I will do, things I flat out won't do. But maybe I'm kicking should out of my personal dictionary. And I'm going to sit here in the silence and do a bit of online window shopping and netflixing before going to be bed. Because I can. Guilt free.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blank, Not Boring

I've come and stared at this blog every day for a week. I click on "New post" and look at that big blank space. Then I walk away. Because filling that space as seemed both alluring and very, very scary.

Writing, for me, has been about vulnerability. Sharing a piece of yourself is nerve wracking. It's like saying Hello, here's my heart, please try not to stomp on it. Add in the extra layers of being in the middle of the divorce process and not feeling like I could really say anything about anything, and you've got the biggest case of writer's block that you ever did see.

So, what's an autism mom blogger to do when she doesn't feel like she can write about her kids? There is so much more to talk about, but I'm not quite sure what to do with it, how to begin the conversation. I always thought of this blog as an autism blog, but maybe it isn't. Maybe it's just a my life blog, and my life is full to the brim of many, many more things. I still get daily views on my coming out post, and I'm pretty sure there isn't just a bunch of autism moms coming over to peek at that.

I attended an event last week that featured one of my favorite writers and human beings on the face of the planet, Glennon Doyle Melton. She is the reason I keep coming back here and staring. And she is the reason I am actually writing today. Because she made me realize that I need it. I think everyone has a way to tell their story. Some people draw, some people take photographs, some people cook, some people film, some people tweet, some people dance, and some people do sporty things. It may not always look like story telling, but anything can be, really. I hear that there are even some people who are really good at verbally expressing how they feel. Weirdos. But this seems to be my way.

So. Hello. To old friends, and new. Welcome to a new chapter. Stick around, it's bound to be interesting. Because a lesbian mother of three children with autism, who works and is a full time student and is going through a divorce, can't possibly be boring.... right? I'm sure I'll find something to write about.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


His eyes are huge, framed by these long gorgeous lashes. And he looks up at me, face all innocence and voice like a little cartoon character. "It's ok buddy!"

He'd been bringing me the jug of milk and he'd lost his grip. The jug dropped to the ground and it made a loud thunk and I saw emotions flitting across his face in the flash of a second. First, surprise. Then for the briefest of moments, panic. And finally, by the time he looked at me, calm had kicked in. "It's ok buddy!"

He knew the words to say. He knew that his Mama would know it was a mistake. He comforted himself with the words he'd heard us say so may times. "It's ok buddy!"

And it was ok. No harm, no foul. I picked up the milk, poured him a glass, and his world was right again.

But I can't get that moment out of my mind. Today is a hard day. I'm in my head this morning, I'm worrying and overthinking and making mountains out of every problem. And just when I think that I want to curl into a ball and cry, his little voice pops into my head. "It's ok buddy!" And somehow, the words meant for him are now comforting me. I can just imagine him here, patting my back and giving me the kisses that my little Rascal is famous for. The picture, the memory of that little voice saying such simple words, brings a smile to my face.

Yup. It's ok buddy. Thanks.