Beginning to exhale 

Blogging about your children is an issue that has been a topic of much debate.
There is the camp that say that it’s ok and that it’s no one else’s business what you write because they’re YOUR children therefore your right, and then there’s the camp that is almost venomous in their opinions and attack any parent who chooses to write anything at all.
This second (and polar opposite) group often refer to the the afore-mentioned group as abusive and attention seeking while the first group see the second as do-gooders and the ‘parent police’ .

I’m somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

I think that writing about your children is definitely a personal decision that needs to be discussed with your kids and it’s certainly not a right. I think that any writing needs to be respectful of the children and mindful of any possible future effects on these children. I also think that the children need to give their permission before anything is shared. And in the past- I have not done that.
I hold onto a lot of regret over that one.
We need to remember that one day they will be grown and there is such a thing as cached information and that it’s possible for anything that we share now to potentially have a profound impact on our kid’s futures.
I feel that it some ways I have crossed the line between wanting to protect my kids and the never ending pursuit of finding my tribe, the other parents out there who can nod in agreement and say ‘me too’.

I have read back on posts I wrote 5 years ago and cringed. Not because of what I wrote- but how I wrote it. Of how I let my own emotions and hurts override the maternal instinct to protect my kids and how I described situations that could now be seen as detrimental to my children.

A lot of the things that I have written when my kids were much younger were NOT written to garner attention or extract sympathy from readers, but simply to try to find other people ‘out there’ who get it.

Other parents who know firsthand what the emotions are that you can’t always necessarily describe and the parents who will stand beside you as you continually push impossible elephants up increasingly higher mountains.
But blogging can also be a place where triumphs are shared and troubles are halved because talking about those things that you’re struggling with can become less daunting and overwhelming when you have another parent offering up advice or ideas that you may not have thought of yourself.

But at some point over the years I learned to shut up and say nothing. I learned that a lot of people judge and a lot of people already have their opinion formed and that there’s nothing you could say or do that will sway them or convince them to see something they’re not willing to see. It’s not always malicious but sometimes it unfortunately is.

So in a way I allowed my heart to toughen up a LOT. I formed a protective barrier around it because I got tired of people walking out on me, and I got tired of other people (even other autism parents) judging me or gossiping about me because they couldn’t or wouldn’t understand what we have been going through or why I would write about it.

Fast forward to last Friday when I met with our new family case worker.
I spent 6 years trying to secure this for our family and I’d almost given up. Six long years of emotional blogging to try to release some pent up grief and to try to dig us out.

On Friday, I sat quietly around a large boardroom table that had a case worker, a senior case worker, a family referral officer and her senior manager sitting there taking notes and assessing ways that they could help our family.

Our family that is in crisis.
Our family who is held together by sheer determination on my part and by the grace of God.

The case worker had a thick file in front of them full of information that had led to us being here where we are right now.

It contained detailed reports from professionals in the medical as well as educational fields. Reports that would make most mother’s hearts rip apart and most families to go through similar emotional breakdown.
And during this meeting, I was required to let it all out.

I was required to describe everything with absolutely no details spared, with no ‘t’ left uncrossed, no ‘i’ left without a dot and no pages left unturned.
Because this was what was needed to enable the workers to put plans into place to help out family to find our equilibrium again.

The first thing that the social worker said to me was that I needed to be helped first.
Because a mother who has no outlet and no relief will not be able to function well enough to be the best mother that her children need. Especially when it’s such a difficult situation that you’re all in.
She knew from past communication from me that writing was what leveled me out and what I use as my therapy.

She knew that I have been avoiding writing for fear of backlash because of the nature of the events surrounding both of my boys and she advised me to keep the details I had shared with her off my blog and that I instead use her as my safe place to discuss these things.
But she doesn’t want me to stop writing altogether.

She wants me to continue writing the fictional novel I started years ago and publish the one that I completed already.
But I haven’t decided yet what to do with that. Because a part of me doesn’t want to share what was written from such a deep and personal place.
Part of me wants to keep the novel sacred because it was written semi auto-biographically and a lot of it mirrors what I was going on in my own heart and mind at the time.
So for now I’m going to sit tight.

But the good news is that for the first time in a very long time – I am finally able to exhale.

And that is worth far more than all the gold in the world.

Um yes, that’s MY son :)

 This afternoon my kids have made me laugh on so many occasions that I could almost write an entire post just by writing them all down here.

But I won’t. I have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of them were really only funny to me. You know – mother’s love and all that!

But I will say that my joy and delight in them lately has all been about choice. VERY much so.  This afternoon as I sat on the computer on a Skype call to a close friend in the UK – the boys were tearing around the house screaming and laughing like maniacs.


I turned around in my seat and bellowed at them “You boys are so bloody noisy, you can be heard in England at the moment!”

My friend and I giggled and Harley gave me a puzzled look. Maybe he thought I was serious?

Anyway, I’d better get this post back on track because there are a number of different tangents this could take if I don’t pull back on the reigns now! I want to write about the parent/teacher interviews that we had last night.

Mr Patient was going to go alone but I didn’t trust him to ask the right questions in the end we decided to go together and take the kids with us.

Well….it seemed like a good idea at the time! 🙂

First we headed over to middle school to meet Ella’s teacher.

We waited for our turn and Harley threw himself on the floor in absolute disgust because he was bored and didn’t make a secret of it which I thought was rather funny but Mr Patient wasn’t impressed!
Ella’s teacher is lovely and she got a fantastic term 2 report . One line in her report said : Ella is very accepting, I never hear any negative comments or actions from her…

THIS made me beam with pride because she lives in a household that is very different to those of her peers and it has obviously taught her to be more tolerant.

We explained to him that she lives with a lot of “action” (I think that’s what we called it) and that if she sometimes appears a bit distant or vague – it’s probably because she is dealing with a lot after hours. He smiled and said that students with “action” at home tend to mature quicker out of necessity and I know that this is definitely the case for Ella. She’s my right hand and my helper a lot of the time and I often have to remind myself that she’s only 11 and realise that the boys are not her responsibility.

He asked us how she is coping “socially” which I thought was an odd question for a male teacher to ask but then it clicked that maybe it’s been mentioned to him that I suspect that Ella is a bit spectrummy herself. I’m not sure but if this IS the case, – I’m thrilled! I answered by telling him that the 3 girls that she has recently bonded with have been an absolute God-send for us and that we haven’t experienced any of the bullying from previous years.

All in all – we didn’t need to stay and chat with him for long because Ella got a glowing report and we couldn’t be more proud of her 🙂

Next we walked down to junior school to see Harley’s teacher and the entire interview was absolutely hilarious. She told us little happenings from the classroom which made us both roll our eyes because we could picture them all-too-well! Apparently he’s the little class clown. NO surprises there!  Only I don’t think he actually intends to be funny. He just is!

One of the funniest things she told us was about the day that Harley wrote out a story and handed it in and she was unable to read it so she asked him if he could read it to her. She said he looked at it and then back at her and said: ” I can’t read THIS – whoever wrote this is a TERRIBLE writer,How do you expect me to read it?”

When she told him that it was in fact his story, he shook his head and said “I really need to learn to write better don’t I!”

Yep….that’s my boy! Cute as a button but he makes me CRAZY!!!!!

At least things are settling down here now – only 2 more school days until the kids are on holidays for 3 weeks.

Now….where did I put that Valium?