Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘love

Lily’s Ring

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My GrandparentsI want to tell you a story about my paternal grandmother, my Nannan.  She was petite with fiery red hair that she kept tamed under a headscarf whenever she left the house.  Nothing tamed her temper though.

One day she was riding on the bus after going into town to buy a hammer for my Grandad, when she became uncomfortably aware of a man sitting near her.  She decided to get off the bus a stop early, and just as the doors were closing, the man jumped off too.

She crossed the street, and the man did too, she tried to slow down to let him pass, but he dropped his pace accordingly.  Alarmed, but alert, she recalled the hammer in her handbag, and quick as a flash whacked him on the head with it, then ran home.

She told my Granddad of her encounter, and he said next time she rode the bus, he’d come with her.  The following week they got talking to another older couple on the bus, and my Granddad proudly stated that he was coming along for protection- not that his wife needed it.

Too right, responded the man, you can’t be too careful- only last week some mad woman hit me with a hammer!  He then lifted his hat to show a nasty lump on his head, as his wife tut-tutted about the lunatics around!

And when she later recounted that story, there was no mention of how she’d misread the man’s intent, or how perhaps she shouldn’t have been so quick to violence, she merely congratulated herself that she’d adequately covered up the hair that would immediately identify her as the aggressor.

Yesterday I was making rhubarb and strawberry crumble for my family, and my Nannan’s wedding ring (which I’ve been wearing since this happened) fell into the flour.  I was suddenly transported back thirty years, sitting in her kitchen watching as other hands wearing that ring made the pastry for her meat and potato pie.

That ring, that she wore every day of her married life, had never left England until it was given to me, after her death.  Though she lived the longest of my grandparents, she never got to see me graduate, or get married, or meet her great-grand-children.  She could never have imagined the places it would go.

She lived in the same place her whole life, and knew more about it than anyone else I’ve ever met.  She knew every superstition, and lived her life according to them, though she wasn’t very religious.  She had her own ways.  She even had her own language.  She called rides, from kiddie ones to roller-coasters “hurdy-gurdies.”  I’d never heard anybody call them that before, but let me tell you- every one of her great-grandchildren does!

My Nannan was called Lily, and we gave Pudding that for her middle name.  I’ve often wondered what she would have made of her first-born great-grandchild.  So many times I wished that she could have met her.

She wouldn’t have had much time for things like diagnoses and therapies.  They didn’t do things like that where she was from, another time, another place.  I don’t think anyone ever questioned the way that she lived so rigidly according to routine that we had to all return from a trip early because she had to get back for laundry day.

We always took for granted her incredible memory, and the sharpness of her brain that did a crossword a day to the very end.  She was a very unique and special lady.  I wish I could talk to her now, catch her up on all the things she has missed.  I hope that she is watching us ride the hurdy-gurdies.

Then I look at Pudding, and I think how right it was that she took her name.  How they have so much in common, that it feels like some of Pudding is Lily.  I could see my girl swinging that hammer if someone got too close to her.

One day, when it has made even more pastry, and navigated the world a little more, I’m going to give that ring to Pudding, and tell her all about how special its first owner was.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

June 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

M is for Mistakes

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I’d gone to collect Pudding from school one day, but she wasn’t in the classroom, nor could I see her in the playground.  Her teacher saw me, and gestured for me to come over.  Together we peeped round a corner down the side of the school where Pudding felt that nobody could see her.  She was sitting on a training bike (a bike without pedals- the rider propels along using their feet on the ground).

Actually, no, she wasn’t.  Given that the bikes at her school are designed for preschoolers, and Pudding is our five year-old floating around in the body of an eight year-old, she was awkwardly straddling above the seat.  But the fact that she was even touching a bike was a big deal.  After I wrote last year about our attempt to teach Pudding to ride a bike, we’d tried several more times, but with even less success.  When we moved, we bought her a training bike for her size, but it just confused her further.  Now she won’t sit on either of her bikes, and all my attempts at bribery rewarding have only resulted in meltdowns.

So it came as something of a surprise to see her trying at school.  But not that much of a surprise.  Remember I said that Pudding believed she was unobserved?  This was key, because if there is one thing Pudding hates more than not being able to do something, it is having others witness her mistakes.  Pudding doesn’t like mistakes.  If something can’t be done according to her idea of right, it is better not to attempt it.  Or at least, forbidding anybody else from seeing you make a mistake.

I can appreciate Pudding’s reticence.  Nobody likes making mistakes.  I don’t know if she has yet perceived that things come harder for her than others.  I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know that she will have to try and fail many, many times more than most to do things that come naturally to everyone else.  It makes perfect sense that she is more content sticking to the things that she has mastered- finding comfort in the repetition that has brought her success in some areas, and avoiding those things that are too challenging.

I get it, because parenting is harder for me than I ever expected.  When I look around at others, they seem to have it all figured out, while I’m still learning.  But then, I’ve also learned that there isn’t a right and wrong way to do things.  Sometimes the mistakes I make with one child are the exact right thing to do with my other one.  At times, it is the timing that is wrong, and I only find out when I try, and make a mistake.  Maybe another time I’ll try and be successful.

Like Pudding, I’m going to try and fail many, many more times at doing something that comes naturally to most other people.  Mistakes and Motherhood are synonymous, so I’m making every effort to show my kids that I make mistakes too, very often, and they help me to learn.  They also help me to laugh at myself for thinking something this complicated could ever be easy, or this easy could be so complicated.  I don’t mind having witnesses for that.

So M is for Mistakes, and Motherhood.  Both are as natural as riding a bike- it just takes some of us a little more practice than others.  I could still use a helmet and knee-pads on some days though.

 

This post is the letter ‘M’ in my A-Z series.  You can read the rest by clicking >>here<<.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Wordless Wednesday 22 Feb 12

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Image

Well, my camera is still broken, so I delved into the archives to find one from this time last year.  I managed to catch a moment of sweetness seconds before Cubby started screaming at the proximity of his sister.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Wordless Wednesday 15 Feb 12

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My boys.

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February 15, 2012 at 8:03 pm

L is for Love

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I told you she loved me- I just had to wait!

I know a lot of parents worry that an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis might mean their child will never know love.  All those challenges our children experience seem to thwart love and romance.  The communication challenges, both spoken and non-verbal.  The sensory challenge of being caressed.  Gazing adoringly into a loved one’s eyes.  They are barriers, for sure.

But I know my kid, and I know how she likes to hurdle her barriers, in her own way, at her own pace.

And I know love.  Love likes nothing more than overcoming the seemingly insurmountable.  Just ask the quirky English woman who met the odd American mere weeks before he left the country.  We had our problems of distance and communication challenges.  Rather than breaking us, it helped us to learn a different way of communicating, of being open and honest and prioritizing each other no matter how far apart we had to be.  Whatever directed us together, be it fate or pheromones, Love knew we’d find those lessons useful.

I don’t doubt Pudding loves me.  I know it though I’ve only had one spontaneous kiss on my cheek in five years.  I know it though she has voiced those words only a handful of times.  I know it when she makes me a Valentine’s Day Card, but I’m not allowed to touch it.  I know it when she’d can’t stand to be touched, and when being held isn’t close enough for her.  I feel her love.  I know her love.  Just like I knew the moment I saw her that no distance could ever break that bond.

When she was diagnosed, I learned that there would be challenges, but love won’t be an obstacle for her.  It will find her, if she wants it to.  All it will take is for somebody to see the magic of my girl, and if they are the luckiest human on the planet, she’ll see the magic in them too.  Love won’t weaken in the face of those challenges, it will teach her lessons she can’t learn any other way.  Just like it did for her parents.  I’m sure of it.

You know how I’m so sure?

When she showed me the Valentine’s Card that I may not touch, we were at her school, and her crush walked by.  I mentioned that she could have made a card for him.  Before Pudding even responded, Jimmy* spun around and agreed with me!

Somebody already sees the magic in Pudding, though he is going to have to wait a couple of decades to get past her daddy.  She’ll have plenty to learn about love during that time.  Like whether the barrier is Asperger’s or the Atlantic, she can overcome anything that comes her way, and Love will be with her always.

This is the long overdue L installment of my A-Z series.  If you think I’m a little hypocritical for writing a love post on Valentine’s Day, just remember that my only constancy is how fickle I am, but I really do love you every day of the year!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Harvest

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Harvest Time

Today, on the very last day of the year, my first tomato was ready to be plucked.

From her enigmatic smile, I'd say she likes it.

You may remember my plans to plant a sensory garden, with the hope that Pudding would become involved, and perhaps develop an interest in gardening herself.  Well, she wasn’t so interested, but I enjoyed my efforts anyway.  We’ve been eating the herbs I’ve grown over the last few months, and finally one of those tomatoes is ready.  I even got Pudding to try it, which is an achievement in itself.  I have a feeling that this coming year will be full of all kinds of growth.

I hope that 2012 is a year you get to enjoy the fruits of you labour- as messy and mushy as that may be at times.

This has been an incredible year, and I thank you for sharing it with us.

Happy New Year to you, with love from all our family.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

December 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm

A Thank You Prayer

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National Day of Prayer

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Dear God (I get that you go by different names to different people, but allow me the familiarity, or at least forgive me for it?),

It is Thanksgiving, so I want to offer up some thanks, as well as ask for a few things.  I think that is how this prayer thing goes.  It has been a long time….but then, you know that already, right?  Yeah you do.

Thank you for making me a mama.  I did think it was a little before I was ready, but in your omniscience (see, we have that in common!) you knew that the exhaustion I feel wouldn’t be any less as I got older.

Thank you for my girl.  Thank you for making her so…Pudding.  I’ve never met anyone so much like themself in my life.  I know you know what I mean by that.  There is no artifice, no pretense, just who she is.  But better than that- she likes who she is, at least at almost five she does.  Can you keep it that way when she is 15 and 50 too?  Can you make sure no one ever puts a cloud over her sunshine?  I know there has to be rain, but let her shine through it.  Let her see the rainbows, hell  let her make them.

Thank you for giving her language.  For being able to say no when she really means it.  It is a gift, I know, and I hope it is one she’ll always make use of.  I know we got very lucky when it comes to communication, so I don’t mind if it is a little jumbled right now.  I like that you made it so she becomes clearer when she is feeling very adamant about something (like requesting key lime pie), so I know that when I’m not around she’ll be able to put her point across.  Now God, could you just make sure everyone listens to her?  Can you make sure I do, at least?  I’ll try my best, but you know how we mortals are.

Thank you for those two times she asked why questions.  I treasure them.  Is she keeping the rest until I have better answers for her?

I very much appreciate it that you made her so loving, and she freely gives me kisses and hugs whenever she feels like it.  Now- and this is an awkward ask, God- can you have her do that for other people who love her very much, but not so much that she hugs random people in the street?  I know, big ask.

If you can’t do that, can you make it so those other people who love her don’t feel snubbed when she doesn’t feel like showing affection on their terms.  Let them know the reasons why, make them more patient, and less hurt.  Oh, and if you have any of that patience and hurt-balm going spare, put some aside for me.  I could always use more of that.  Yeah, I know you know.

Thank you for my boy.  Thank you for making him enough like his sister that they have things in common, and different enough that he is his own little man.  Thank you for making him like sports.  I know his Daddy appreciates that (not to say he wouldn’t have liked him to enjoy musical theatre either, if that comes up further down the line).  Thank you for making him impish and cheeky and naughty, and all those other things that both delight and exasperate all of us.  You did a good job with him too.

Thank you for my husband too.  If Pudding continues to like boys as much as she does now, can you send her one just like him?  Not one who looks like him, to be clear, that would just be creepy.  But send her someone who’ll stick around through hard times, and take her to places she never imagined.  Someone who loves her as she is.  If that is what she wants, of course.  If she doesn’t, let her know that that is okay too.  Oh, and she’ll be at least 25, right?  I can already tell I’m going to find it hard to let my babies go.  You-willing, I’ll do it when I have to, when they’re ready.

Thank you for special interests, for all of them, for every one of us.  In your infinite wisdom, can you please make sure Pudding never likes those Bratz dolls, or anything similar?  Oh, and that goes for Cubby too.  If he continues to like sports the way he does, can you make me a little more interested?  Autism mother I can be, or at least try to be, a soccer mom type is just not me.  Well, you made me this way, I suppose.

Can you make sure his pretty face never gets hurt?  And Pudding’s too.  And don’t let her realize how beautiful she is until she is ready for that kind of power.  And keep me from ever underestimating her like I did in that last sentence.

This is getting to be more asks than thank yous.  Sorry for that, God, is this the way we all are with you?   I wonder if it makes you mad and want to torment us?

While we’re talking….peanuts.  Peanuts!  Thank you God for allowing it to be my son and not my daughter who swallowed those two bites of peanut butter sandwich at school this week.  Thank you for making him okay, thank you so much.  But peanuts?  What is with that?!  A very allergic child, with an impulsive nature and difficulty communicating….I don’t know the mysterious ways in which you’re moving there.  I suppose I could use my ask to just keep her safe from anaphylaxis, but can’t you just uncreate (I know, not a word, but you could make it so) peanuts?  Sure, they’re delicious (heavenly, you might say) in chocolate, but is it worth all that risk?  I say it is not.

Thank you for our life as it is.  It isn’t the life I thought it would be, but again, you did well.  Better than I would have, that is for sure.  If it isn’t too greedy, God, can you make life a little better for those who are struggling?  I know, we have to do our bit down here, but sometimes it is hard to understand how things have to be so difficult for so many.  I suppose I’m not as omniscient as I thought I was.  But you knew that.  I’ll tell Spectrummy Daddy though, he’ll be pleased to hear it.

One last thing God: if you can’t make these things happen, and you can’t make me understand why, can you do one thing?  Can you make it so I never, ever die.  Or at least, I die a minute after I’m no longer needed.  I’d be okay with you sending me down there if you could just do that for me.

Thank you.  Thank you for, well, everything.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

November 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm