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 …

You get me…you really, really get me

I just came home from two days of special needs parent training. It was the kind of weekend that makes my life seem almost glamorous—free hotel with a glorious night of uninterrupted sleep, food flowing all day with no dishwasher to load afterward, a cozy bar with a fireplace…oh, yeah, and the chance to learn a …

Dear School Photographer

Today is one of those perennial childhood milestones -- School Picture Day. Along with a check for $24 and a form selecting Package D with a “Scenic Background” upgrade, my child brought in the following note to his school photographer (and before you flip out, let me assure you he can't read): Dear Photographer, My …

Perfection is the enemy of done

It’s been nearly a year since my three meager posts. The blog that started in a rush of eagerness to ponder, reflect and explore sputtered and stalled. What happened? Enemy, thy name is Perfection. I don’t consider myself a perfectionist. I’m certainly not detail oriented, as many of my former managers and my dear spouse …

“Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

"This too shall pass." "Hang in there." Such advice is given usually at the moment we least want to hear it, when we'd rather just punch the messenger right in the nose. But the message is wise and true. Just keep going. No feeling is final. With each breath and with each step, it turns into something else.

My love/hate relationship with Mamma Bear

Whenever I have an aversion to use a word or phrase that everyone else seems to love, I've started to realize it's worth exploring. This week, a phrase that seems to be beloved in our special needs community has been caused me to wince several times. And that phrase is: Mamma Bear. I know that probably …