What goes down must come up

I flopped into my therapist’s leather couch last week and asked, “So…what should I cry about this week?” It’s become our little joke that these sessions follow a template that always ends in tears. Like a fencing champion who deftly maneuvers and makes contact with their opponent’s chest, each week she skillfully reveals some tender …

Pushing my physical body to its limit

I am not a naturally athletic person. Lest you get the impression from the post’s title that I am one of those people with a vexing bottomless well of physical energy, aptitude or endurance, I must assure you that I am a clutz. I was a good student in my youth. I felt secure and …

School pictures arrive!

A couple of weeks ago I shared my letter to the school photographer at my children’s public school and revealed the complex feelings I have when strangers photograph my son with special needs. Well, the pictures arrived today — and they look fantastic! There’s a big smile, bright eyes, a little signature hand clapping at …

Durga Tool #2: Empty space, as symbolized by trash bags

Here’s the second in what will certainly be a belabored series on tools that inspire me as a special needs parent to live with joy, courage and compassion, as inspired by the Hindi goddess Durga. As the Big Brother Big Sister Donation truck drove off with several enormous bags of my stuff yesterday, I realized …

Spending a day on the island of Sodor

At the parenting workshop I attended several weeks ago, we were asked identify our special needs child’s hobbies and interests. I’m sad to say that I was really at a loss on how to answer that question. Had the subject been my typically developing six-year-old daughter, a host of answers would have sprung to mind. …

Durga Tool #1: Time spent in Nature, as symbolized by my thermos

As promised in yesterday’s post, I would love to share some the contents of my Durga toolbox that help me as a parent of a child with special needs stay joyful, courageous and compassionate on my path through life. To recognize the value of my first tool, you must understand that I live in one of …

The cicada goes quiet

Less than an hour ago, I stood on the sidewalk waving good-bye to my little guy as his bus pulled away from our curb. He’s on his way to his new out-of-district special education school. He started yesterday, settling in so easily as to almost hurt my feelings, but today was the first day of …

The upside of being labeled

Yesterday we spent the day with what I affectionately refer to as our “tribe” – a group of families who all have a child with the same genetic syndrome as our son. We hung out, had lunch, chased kids, talked shop, gossiped about doctors, shared resources, marveled at similarities and empathized about shared challenges. Although …

What a difference a year makes

I’ve had an active, entertaining weekend. Yesterday I attended a Special Needs conference hosted by a statewide consortium of agencies that serve families and children with special needs; this morning I joined 6,000 festive folks to run 5K through our town. Because both events occurred on the same weekend last year as well, I found …

Getting unstuck

Certain emotions — like fear, anger and sadness — are a little sticky for me. Among the skills that helps one get through life (like being able to jumpstart a car and make good martini) “processing painful emotions” isn’t one I’ve mastered. It’s not that I don’t feel those emotions, but I don’t always seem …