Best Article I’ve Come Across For Women

So I have been wanting to write something all week but just haven’t had the time. Right now I am on the coast having an Open House to try and sell my house that needs to be sold due to the divorce. This is my heart and soul place. It it where I come to rest and rediscover myself. It hurts that this beautiful place will no longer be mine sometime soon. However, at the same time I do know that everything is transitory in life and it is all just on loan to us anyway while we are here on earth. Therefore, I am grateful to have had stewardship of this little slice of heaven for the past eight years and will wish the new owners as much peace and joy as I have had owning it.

The other day I read an article that literally changed my life and how I see myself. It pretty much explains why I have behaved as I have during B’s affair. After reading it it has allowed to me see myself as optimistic rather than stupid…a nice thing after four years of BS. Still, just about everyday B says he will give up HER IF I promise never to divorce him. I tell him that I already had committed myself to our relationship but had not even though I was under the impression he did. They deserve each other and I deserve better…so much better.

Anyway, here is the link. I hope it helps someone else as much as it has helped me. Also you will find a few pics from my soul’s resting place.

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/06/the-unexpected-reason-wonderful-women-find-themselves-in-horrible-relationships/?fbclid=IwAR3eNJH0V8TQlnLvspz67AlNnvrni8uRLH69sXhNfcVdlHzYnCzKKKXtbLE

 

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It Has Been A Tough Week

This has been a tough week. Okay…not all of it. The Ritz was not tough. The massages were not tough. Seeing my friend for dinner…not tough. But when I arrived home…MEGA TOUGH.

So when I got home B was his usual distant self, which starts my anxiety climbing. Then yesterday I get a call from Paul’s work. He has collapsed. So I have been at the hospital almost non-stop since as they concentrate on his heart and ordered every test in the book. Except for today when I went to B’s house and continued to help him paint.

You will recall over a month ago he wrote on our mirror I choose you and sent Vietnam girl and goodbye letter. Of course he has done this before and has had a four year virtual affair with her (except for when the met up in in Singapore)

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Then last week he told me he was just going to sell this house he was working on so he wouldn’t not have a place to go and just be tempted to quit our marriage. The next day he came home and we talked about this possible job that he was going after in Texas and he wanted me to come. I told him that I could not come unless:

  1. We got divorced in CA first as Texas laws were not favorable to me
  2. Or that we draw up a contract stating that we would follow CA law should we divorce.

The next day B told me that he decided to keep his house. He decided that he would because “I don’t trust him” as evidenced by above statements regarding a move to Texas.

Fine. I continued to help paint his house because I am a nice woman, knowing all along that he was planning to move into it when it was done despite insisting that he was not and he only wanted to be with me.

So today, after spending time with Paul at the hospital, I swung by B’s house and he asked if I could help paint as the new carpet and floors are being laid starting Monday. Sure I said and went and painted the master bath. I already had painted his laundry room, part of his hallway, a bedroom and part of the living room. I think that is darn nice, don’t you/

As I was about to leave to told B about a conversation Paul and I had and that Paul was worried that B would be moving into his house instead of staying put with us. I told him that he should talk to Paul about it and that if he was planning to move he should just say so and not hurt our kids by going back and forth while sending them mixed signals.

“You are moving there, right? I asked.

“Yes, I am. I think we need a separation.”

“That is so great. You are doing exactly what I needed you to do for the divorce. Thank you.” And I want over and have him a big kiss and hug.

“Oh and I don’t think we need a separation I think we need a divorce.”

He just stood there with his mouth hanging open as I walked happily out the door.

And I feel great and these last weeks I have bought myself time as I gathered papers for the divorce. AND in the state of CA since I threw him out previously, I could have been responsible for half of his living expenses but now that the house is his and he could move in…that possibility is no longer a burden.

And while sad, I also feel a little lighter. My heart doesn’t hurt.

Tonight we actually sat down and starting dividing assets and it felt good.

Of course, B wanted me to know he had decided to move into his house because I wanted everything my way.

“Can you give me an example of what you mean?”

“Yes, I told you we needed to combine our money and our assets and you wouldn’t.”

True. Never will again either. Don’t want the Vietnam woman to ever be able to get her hands on that.

“And just because I am taking a 5 day hiking trip you felt entitled to take a longer trip of your own.”

Oh, the trip to escort my daughter to her swim camp across the country and then go visit for 2 days with my 83 year old father who I haven’t seen in two years…. You are right…I am definitely unreasonable. GEEZ.

And that’s when I told him that I knew that this was the eventual outcome a long time ago after reading an article that said that there were four outcomes from affairs but the one that no one ever recovered from is when the person who had the affair continues to blame the innocent party for their dastardly deeds. So because at one point in our marriage I yelled he had to go out and have an affair. End of story. It is my fault and always will be in his mind. But I KNOW it isn’t all my fault and you know it is not too. Frankly that is all that matters.  And while I know the next couple of weeks will be tough I know they will never be s tough as living with a man who has lied and cheated on me almost every day for the psst four years and did his best to make me feel like shit about myself. And while he came close to succeeding…he did not. For I have survived and I have grown. I no longer yell and have gotten closer to my children. They of course have suffered and it has brought Andre’s autism out further into the open.

But now I am finally ready. Scared but strong. Weak but oh so brave. I gave it my best and lost the war anyway but gained myself. So bring it on world. I am here and waiting. And this time I FUCKING WELL MEAN IT.

 

 

Finding Positive Ways Of Letting Go Of My Marriage

No one said it would be easy letting go of a 30+ year marriage. It isn’t. It is fucking hard. The most difficult thing I have ever done.

B was my best friend.  We had a fabulous history for most of our marriage. He was the father of my children. A talented lover (I WILL take credit for training him well in that department)

I miss the closeness we once shared.  Not hearing his voice is a painful reminder of all that has gone wrong over the past several years. Not hearing his soft breath at night and and meditating with him in the morning are things that I hate about the rabbit hole that my life has slid down into.

Yet, I am trying to find the good in life and since this weekend was my birthday, coupled with the fact there was no where for him to go; I came to my sacred spot while he stayed in my home with the kids.. (Seriously, there is no place for him to go…remember the huge fire in November it left 40,000 people displaced…there is nothing to rent and housing prices have increased 40% since the fire in our area)

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So for the past few days I have spent walking the cliffs to the tune of 3-5 miles every morning. It has been a great way to clear the mind and see the beauty that life has to offer once again. And as I walk I work on letting go of this marriage of mine.

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One of the things I have been doing is to say a prayer or affirmation. It goes like this and is from Angela Montano’s course, 21 Days of Prayer To Change Your Life, found on the Daily OM.

https://secure.dailyom.com/cgi-bin/courses/displaycourselesson.cgi?clid=13708&aff=0

“I am willing, to be willing, to let go. And so it is. Amen.”

When I first started walking this is what I began with. After six days it has morphed into this:

“I am willing to let go of B and any illusions that I can control the outcome of this situation. And so it is. Amen.”

I must have said this 500 times and I can feel it making a change for the good in my brain. Letting Go doesn’t feel so scary or painful now. It feels empowering and gives me a sense of hope and relief.

Another thing I have been doing is leaving pieces of my relationship behind as I walk which looks like this:

 

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It helps to leave a tangible reminder of my grief and at the same time know that I am giving that past life/love and that grief  away.

I have also been working on my art. Frankly, I am a terrible artist but my therapist says it doesn’t matter…just get the images out…so I have. It is amazing how putting the images to paper helps to reduce the intensity of the emotions.x7RN2U48RBuX9NbMb0zXVA

So this is what I have been up to and it has calmed my soul while taking me slowly to a place of acceptance. I want to leave this marriage as I came to it: optimistic, excited … full of compassion and love.  While it was not my choice to end the marriage it is my choice how I choose to act as it enters its final lap.  Above all, I am trying to choose love. I am working on forgiveness and finding meaning in what I had and what I am left with . I don’t always succeed but I am trying. Thinking bitter thoughts will only poison my own well and when this ends I want to be able to drink clear, refreshing, life-giving water not something stagnant and polluted with negativity.

So, from you my dear reader, I could use a few positive thoughts sent my way in order help me feel the good vibes when the going gets rough. And thanks for hanging there in with me as my life as I have known it changes into something not yet revealed.

It’s Over And The Cheater Is Gone

For the wonderful people who have followed my blog for so long….I apologize. After I moved and had the SECOND NEW START I decided not to blog because I wanted to only put positive vibes out and go into my marriage (AGAIN) whole hearted. I was afraid that if I blogged it would in a sense be returning to possible doubt that what I was doing was right for me.

So here is the thing. Yes, I have wasted precious moments on a marriage that was essentially over the day B started communicating with our Vietnamese tour guide in April 2015 unbeknownst to me. And all those years he tried to make me small so he could make her big in his mind, where he made me feel less than, when I couldn’t figure out what was wrong; well they were not totally a waste, because I learned more about me and who I wanted to become. Yes, this was damaging to my self esteem, but with my therapists help, I have overcome what he tried to make me believe about myself so he could feel better about himself. But now, nakedly exposed, he doesn’t feel better about who he is for now he is forced to examine himself/ his actions and he is puzzled and embarrassed and in general feels like the shit he has been. He has to live with himself and it will be a struggle.

When I found out about the affair in January 2018, after he was fired for his job as president of his company, in part, I suspect, for sending naked pictures of him and his “true love” over company computers; I decided to continue to try to work things out because that was what I needed to do for me. For our family. We still have three children at home, two with autism, so ours is a challenging household at times. I also found out that he had sent her approx. $30,000 and that during his two years in therapy he never told his therapist about his affair. But I decided that it was best for all involved to give our relationship another shot.

And then when we were getting ready to move for his new job in July, at the end of June, I found out, due to his hysterics at 2 am in the morning, that he had unprotected sex with a hooker three days prior and HAD TO GO to the hospital right then to be sure he didn’t have AIDS. Yet, I still stayed; although I protected myself by putting the new house in my name only and by having 1/2 of the partnership distribution put in my own private account. I did this because he had talked in January about moving to Vietnam to be with IT and I wanted to be sure that I was in the position that I could take care of myself and the kids. (He also talked about having considered having two families one knowing nothing about the other…fortunately… I am not sister wife material.) WTF

So everything seemed to be going well. Every day he looked me in the eyes and told me he loved me…acted like it too. We had a ritual of sitting on the sofa together every morning while holding hands and he would thank God out loud for me and our wonderful relationship together. Our marriage felt new, on track and very loving. And all this worked until April 9 (Last month) when I went into his office and he started acting crazy. Off his rocker. Totally Nuts. He insisted we leave the office due to “thin walls” and took me to the conference room where he told me he wanted to quit his job. How would I feel about that and how would we manage? he asked. I told him we would figure it out and that “I would rather have you alive than dead due to stress.”

And then I went back into his office where I discovered why he was acting so crazy. This :QZPR4BfKQaaYBR%pcPhmqg

“What is this?”

“We got it when we were in Vietnam”

“No we didn’t. First of all I wouldn’t buy something like that and secondly every refrigerator magnet we have ever bought is on our refrigerator.”

“No, we got it in Vietnam.”

And all of a sudden my heart knew without a doubt and I said:

“I think it we are done. You need to move out.”

 

And there is was. Done. The door closed. Forever. That line had been crossed and there was no going back. EVER.

In the weeks that have followed, I have since discovered he has sent IT and her sister even more money. More gifts. And that he started to communicate with her when he went went to work at his new job in July. Which means that his relationship with her was never really over but the one with me was.

Later the day that I found all of this out, a friend sent me the following shots from her Facebook. Funny thing is I had not looked at her Facebook since May of last year because I truly believed in my heart his affair with her was done. Had I looked I would have realized that it was not.

Here she is holding the leprechan we bought for our grandchildren in Ireland on our 25th Anniversary celebration.

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Talking about “the groom” (my husband) on Facebook with others

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And celebrating her birthday with flowers, presents and a cake with a picture of my husband and her gracing the top of the cake in frosting with the words THANK YOU lovingly written across the top for him to see.

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He has moved out at my insistence. Our kids are doing the best that they can. We are trying to split assets without it getting ugly. Everyday, he tells me he loves me and wants to stay married. That this time he will go into it 100% committed to me and our relationship. (Excuse me….isn’t that what you promised before.)

I have a good lawyer and papers are being filed today. I should be divorced in about 6 months.

Yes… to many I have wasted time considering the inevitable happened. But my truth is this:

Too many people give up too quickly and then always wonder:

Was I too impulsive? Should I have keep trying?

And they have regrets. Unfinished business. And they can’t move on.

But I don’t. I know in my heart I gave it all I had. I tried my best. I grew from the experience. I became a better me. Further, we started with nothing and came together because we truly loved one another and my saving grace is that he will always have to wonder if his 20+ years younger girlfriend truly loves him or if it is his money she is really after. Karma is a bitch and I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.

So now as I step away from this 31+ year marriage I have no doubts. Time has given me perspective and the ability to step away somewhat gracefully.  I know that this is the right thing for me and I am in a place of acceptance with little bitterness.  I believe that had I stepped away sooner, I would not have been in this place of acceptance that I find myself in now. And now I have regained my sense of self… myself…I have…and I like what I have found… during this “maybe divorce” of the past four years. I feel complete, satisfied, and most days I am ready to move on. And I welcome with wonder and an open heart all that awaits me in the future. Because anything is better than living lies spoken with such sincerity by a master liar.

This is where I am at. You must listen … and now Fia

 

 

 

 

 

AH-HA MOMENTS

Last week I bought this sign for my kitchen.

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Today, that sign played out in my life as an all-too-rare “Ah-Ha Moment” and for that I am grateful.

It all started with a beautiful sunrise this morning which morphed into a cool afternoon devoid of rain. I decided to take a hike on one of the numerous trails that surround my home. It was a beautiful fall-like day with crisp-clean air, sweet dew laden grassy smells and wildlife galore.

 

After visiting “The Point” my son, Paul, and I started back up the trail. As we turned the corner near the visitors center where a few houses sit back of the path; I heard a Swoosh- followed by a rather loud SPLAT. Looking up I saw two 10-year-old boys lobbing lemons in my direction.

My first reaction was, “those little assholes. Why haven’t their parents taught them better.” That was obviously not the thoughts of the 70+ yo ladies who were heading up the path while I was going down.

“What was that?” the woman asked.

“Lemons,” I answered.

The woman looked over at the young lads and exclaimed loudly, “LEMONS!!!! I JUST LOVE LEMONS!!! CAN YOU THROW SOME MORE MY WAY?”

The boys looked at one another with a total look of surprise on their faces. Then they smiled and gently tossed more of the yellow fruit to the two old ladies who picked them up from the ground with the delight of 10 yo girls playing baseball on a summer’s afternoon.

AH-HA MOMENT…the sign…when life gives you lemons make something sweet…or funny… lighthearted and enjoyable. Why, I wondered, do I use the lemons life throws my way to leave a sour taste in my mouth instead of finding the sweet that is embedded in the moment? Why go to negative first instead of finding and embracing the positive? Why not ask, “Can you throw some more my way?” and be pleased to have them land at your feet?  Yes, I could definitely infuse many parts of my life with more sweet and less sour.

I thought about this as I walked home…tired but enlightened. And later, as I was munching on some of the best lemon bars I have ever made, I was grateful to realize that making something sweet was much more satisfying than being an old sourpuss.

 

…AND THAT’S OKAY…WORDS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

If you are like me, being non-judgmental towards yourself has probably been next to impossible for most of your life. If you are like me, I suspect you were often unable to rid yourself of those pesky “transgressions” that go unnoticed by others but somehow managed to become a spotlight on your “perceived” flaws…all 1,137 of them!

In the past, it didn’t seem to matter how full my day was, somehow I would find that the one thing I didn’t accomplish and it would rise to the top of my “why I am such a loser” list.. and once discovered…I would hang it out on the line for the world to see and judge. Unfortunately, for many of us, we fail to be kind and cut ourselves just a little slack.

So that’s why, when I saw this idea online, I swooned. Finally, a way out of my self-imposed “SHOULD’S” and onto a more carefree way of thinking.

It is my hope that you benefit from this wonderful phrase as much as I have. It might even be my next tattoo.

Empathy and Tattoos

 

and that's okay

Resisting Your Impulses

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Throughout my life I have gone through periods of impulsivity. During my teenage years impulsivity reined supreme as I cast off my life as a teenage daughter and tried on a new set of clothes as a 15-year-old “adult” making her own way through the world alone. Sure,  it all turned out okay in the end… BUT… was it the really the best way to go about things? Did impulsiveness help me to embrace myself and my talents, love myself more, while not inflicting unnecessary pain upon my soul as I journeyed? I suspect not. As the years have gone by, I have come to believe that there was a kinder gentler way of leading me towards myself and I suspect I would have found it sooner had I had been less impulsive.

During the past three years,  the “almost divorce” period, I found that impulsivity tried to rear its ugly head once again. Repeatedly.  My thoughts became dominated by:

  1. The things I should do
  2. How I SHOULD react
  3. What I needed to do to not look foolish to myself and others
  4. The steps I needed to take in order to “feel better” again (can you really in this type of situation?) and take back my life from a husband in the midst of a full-blown mid-life crisis.

Yet, ultimately what I discovered was that impulsivity did not allow me to “feel better” again. In fact, it produced the opposite effect. It created both physical and mental chaos. Slowly I came to comprehend that by acting impulsively instead of mindfully, I inflicted deep wounds upon my soul. Over time, I realized if I did not “rope it and rein it in” my suffering would increase exponentially, and God knows, I didn’t need anymore of that!

When I think back to the number of times I almost walked out or threw B out over the past three years…well, it was almost a daily occurrence. But thankfully, during these times I would hear my therapist reminding me (over and over again) how now was the time for mindfulness, discovery and curiosity. It was not a time for impulsivity.  She showed me how “sitting with things” and “seeing what comes naturally” instead of forcing things allowed me to examine my fears and act in ways that I am now extremely thankful for. This is true especially in regards to learning how to let fear pass through me without acting impulsively because of those real/or imagined doubts and anxieties that were hiding in my mental closet.

While I am still working diligently on seeing impulsivity for what it is and reacting appropriately; I have discovered that there is great power and joy in just letting sudden impulses pass by me without acting on them. By observing and not reacting to impulses, I don’t stop the flow of what I need to know from occurring naturally without the roadblocks that impulsivity puts in the way. I can truly say that I have found a greater sense of peace by not bending to fleeting/momentary “desires” or “fears” which I have discovered are actually often only transitory thoughts.  Dismissing impulsivity gives me the ability to postpone the immediate gratification of “action” and instead look ahead to find those things that fulfills me more or improve my life in ways I never dreamed possible had I given into the impulse.

In nine days it will be the one year anniversary of finding out about the affair. I am grateful that I have not let impulsivity direct these past 365 days.  For if it had I would be in a far different place than I am now and while things are not perfect they are much better than I imagined that they would ever have been just one short year ago.

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The Year In Pictures

So another year is coming to an end. Frankly, it has been the worst year of my life. So much change and pain…The coming to light of my husband’s three year affair, the “almost” divorce, the loss of a job, a big move and how that impacts autistic kids, selling our house, the development of PTSD due to B’s affair, the big fire and evacuation…anyone of these are considered top stressors but they arrived on my doorstep all within the year of 2018… resulting in the death of one life and the re-birth of another.  Yet, there are now rays of light shining throughout my life because with truth instead of deception (B’s) comes the ability to re-build, allows for understanding and growth. Our six kids are happy and healthy as are our grandkids and really… you can’t ask for more than that!

So as crappy as this year has been, in ways, it has been one of great personal development for me and for that I am thankful. I am making a conscious effort not to induce further suffering…mine or contributing to others. With age comes…well, heck…I have no idea what comes…except wrinkles. Hard to believe that sometime within the next three years I will be 60. Where has the time gone?

Up until now, I have never shared a picture of myself as I have always felt the need to protect my family from the gritty-ness and pain of this blog. But with the filters available today, I decided to post one picture of myself because, well, it doesn’t look like me!

May everyone have a glorious 2019. May we each find peace, joy and love in our everyday lives as well as the time to contemplate whatever it is that needs to be “looked” at. And like a good egg, may we gently break open to get to the yolk of our lives! Amen!

After The Affair

I was talking with my therapist today. It was exhausting. Almost 60 years of life to look at…some of it not pretty but a lot of it brilliantly played and enjoyed.

After the three years of B’s affair and the “almost” demise of my marriage it has been difficult at times to believe that B has changed and that our life together is stronger too.  The doubts that plague me have swirled fast and furious especially in the first six months after the storm.  The calm surety I have been searching for has been more elusive and more difficult to trust when I see it. Sometimes it appears to me that my life is only an illusion and I am always checking to make sure what I see is real. That process is exhausting and life-robbing. It is not life affirming nor is it increasing my sense of stability.

As I come upon 11 months of “knowing” about the affair I do feel hope and real joy again. The anguish and pain are slowly diminishing. Parts of me have been re-born and parts re-shaped into a better part of my whole. I have grown, explored and examined parts of my life that I saved until “LATER.” Yet, conveniently, LATER never came… until the affair… when I was forced to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild myself and my marriage. And now, believe it or not, at times I am even thankful for B’s affair because it has allowed both of us to evolve and create something different within ourselves and within our relationship. We are rebuilding on something that resembles bedrock and our foundation is no longer sinking in quicksand.

Another tidbit. For years I have not dreamed. Not once. EVER. But in the last month I have had three vivid dreams about B and “the other woman.” All involved water. In the last one, right before I woke up, an image of a goddess came to me and she held her hand out and said, ” Stop looking, It will come to you if needed.” The imagine was vivid, profound and unlike anything I have ever expeirenced before.

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My therapist tells me this is a good thing. That my psyche is clearing things out and washing them away.

I have also been busy creating my therapist provoked artwork. A recent picture is of a bird’s nest filled with various objects along with the words: LEARN, REST and FAITH interwoven into it. She says these are important words for me to concentrate on.

“What is faith?” she asks.

ANSWER

“It is the essence of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Can you see the wind? No? But you can see or hear the evidence of it in the sound of the wind chime or the rustling of the leaves. So REST in the hope that you have for your marriage and have FAITH in the evidence that you are seeing that things are changing for the better. Believe your goddess who is telling you to stop looking for trouble. and to believe that you can LEARN from your past, REST in the comfort of now, and have  FAITH in your future.

AND THEN SHE SAYS

“What if you get the stability you have been searching for your entire life? Will you see it and embrace it or will you run from it?”

GOOD QUESTION…AND FOR NOW…I DON’T HAVE AN ANSWER.

I would like to think that I have matured suffienctly to embrace all that has come and will come my way. Yet, at other times, I am just not sure. Sometimes I still want to just slide down the rabbit hole into another time and place.

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Yet, no matter what I choose I know that I am strong enough and wise enough to handle it because I have lived through the worst year of my life and not just survived but thrived!

 

Autism and College

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We have worked hard for this moment.  All of us. When your child has autism the old adage is really true…it does takes a village.

Our family has spent years going to therapists, doing nightly neuro-therapy, hippo therapy, social skills classes, ABA therapy, special autism programs and attending IEP’s galore.

And then one day it happens…it all pays off.

Today, Andre received his first acceptance letter into college. Frankly, it feels like a miracle. All the sacrifice. All the sleepless nights. All the arguments about taking pride in what you do. All the school calls about his behaviors and going there, not to bring him home, but to force him to clean up the school yard if he wouldn’t cooperate and listen to the teacher. No rewarding bad behavior here!

Admittedly, there were days we weren’t sure if we would make it….all of us…parents, kid, and teachers. For Andre, an uncovered classroom window meant watching the birds instead of listening to instructions. His life consisted of figit boxes, weighted vests, and mechanical pencils of a particular type or he could not concentrate in order to do his work. Autism combined with ADD makes sitting still incredibly hard, listening very difficult, and organizing darn near impossible. His narrow list of interests and the thought he shouldn’t have to learn what he didn’t deem important made his teachers want to pull their hair out. But still he persevered and so did they.

Four years ago he received Boy Scouts highest award…The Medal of Honor…for saving an  elderly ladies life. Last year he became an Eagle Scout and immediately stopped going. Most of the time he stays in his room drawing characters for the novels he has been writing for the past several years. And not because I am his mom, but because it is the truth, his books are really good.

I don’t know if Andre will go off to school come fall. He might delay leaving home for another year so that he can finish his Associates Degree that he started working on in high school and allow himself the time to mature another year. Sometimes I think he might be ready. Lots of time…not…especially when I realized he has not showered for a week, brushed his teeth for days, changed his underwear since he last showered or remembered to take his medicines since I last reminded him. Frankly, he is several years behind his peers maturity-wise so he has some catching up to do but then again sometimes the birds that soar are the ones that are kicked out of the nest missing a few feathers.

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As I look back over the years the times of despair were many. The worry was great. The uncertainty was sometimes crippling. Sleep was lacking. But Autism didn’t defeat us then and it won’t in the future. The village has got this but more and more it’s up to Andre now. And you know what…he can do it. For autism no longer defines Andre… he defines it. With a little help and understanding my son will reach his full potential. It may be a life that is different from what I envision or what I would want for myself but it will have meaning for him, purpose and joy. And that is what really matters anyway.