A gift from the messengers

Looking at one of the paintings, for one moment I am able get my arms around the fullness of my own parenting experience. The terror and the peace. The peace and the terror. It’s there, in oil on board, just right there in four square feet, inviting me to react, to feel it, to stay with it. So I do.

I get by with a little help from my friends

Researchers at Brigham Young University recently released findings that for people raising young children with disabilities, certain types of social relationships are typically more harmful and others more helpful for parents.

Sitting in the Charnel Ground

Heads-up: This post contains some dark images, but I’m letting them out in the hopes of letting some sunlight in, shining some light onto what I’m sure many struggle with. The moment starts out mundanely enough. Standing in line for coffee at our local donut shop, I attempt to distract myself from the racks of …

A new perspective on sinking and swimming

Other people’s dreams can be so tedious, I know, but it can’t be helped. I’m at a support group with other parents of special needs kids; I can’t see the other participants (am invisible to them, too) because the room is all obstructed views. I ask if we can re-arrange the seats, but am told that …

Expanding the circle of “us”

You don’t know how it feels to be me.” Tom Petty Community is a wonderful thing, a place where we feel a deep sense of belonging, a place where we feel seen.  The special needs parenting community has been particularly healing for me. Connecting with people who understand my challenges, my fears and my anger releases or lightens …

Plate techtonics

I’m on shaky ground this week, dizzy and disoriented. I can’t find a linear thread here so I toss out all these puzzle pieces hoping to make a coherent picture in the end. — Last week I jealously listened to a couple of parents on a panel share their memories of receiving their children’s diagnosis …

Scene from a breakfast table

INT. AT A BREAKFAST TABLE – MID-MORNING The table is set for four although only two people sit at the table — an energetic seven-year-old DAUGHTER and a slightly groggy and disheveled woman, her MOTHER. At the two other place settings, a full but untouched bowl and a cup of obviously cold coffee sit opposite …

What’s in a number?

My son celebrates a birthday this month. It is a joyful occasion. Like all parents, I spend the days leading up to it planning surprises, buying and wrapping gifts, reflecting on how quickly the years are flying by. We are celebrating it not once (with cupcakes in bed on birthday morning), not twice (with a birthday …

Getting my story straight

Several years ago at a conference I listened to a woman tell about the extraordinary home she lived in India when she was younger. One side of the house, she said, butted up against a slum area; people lived amid squalor and poverty, picking through trash in order to survive. Exiting a door on the …

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 …