Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Irish in my heart

I’m fortunate as I grew up knowing and learning about my Irish heritage. I loved listening to the stories of my ancestors from my Gram and her sisters. Four of my Gram’s siblings came off the boat with their parents, for dreams of a better life. After the devastation of the Great Potato famine of 1845-1849 my Great Great Grandparents and their kin, survived and without them I wouldn’t be here today to tell this story.

Michael and Elizabeth left Scotland at the age of nineteen and traveled by ship to South Hampton, England. At the time, they had three daughters and a son in tow. With competition for jobs, financial security, and food being scarce with the population boom, they made their way to Canada and settled in British Columbia.

My Great Grandparents *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Great Grandfather Michael found work in the mines and was there for twenty-nine years. They hadn’t lived there in the community long when devastation ravaged the town with floods from 1848, to 1947, the mining disaster in May of 1908 that killed one hundred and three miners, and the Great Fire of August. 1 st of 1908 that destroyed the town.

My Great Grandma Elizabeth was pregnant with my Grandma Margaret and due to give birth that hot summer. There were ten lives lost and thousands of homes burnt to the ground. There was a lot of hardship and sadness that my ancestors had to encounter in the new land. I’m happy to report my Gram made it safely into the world as the hospital and the church were the few buildings that were left.

Time passed on with my Gram and her siblings growing up and their parents had added on to their family with four more daughters. More hardship would come to the family as the mine would be closed in order to investigate the fire of 1908. My Great Grandpa Michael had to find work elsewhere. All the daughters worked as well or helped look after the youngest children.

My Great aunts such lovely lasses. *image courtesy of my cousin*

That was the life back then, everyone had a strong work ethic and supported one another. I remember my sweet Gram Margaret telling me stories of her housekeeping days, collecting oranges at the train yard, and working as a caddy at the golf course. The sisters all went on to marry and have families of their own. They still remained close as they raised their children and visited each other when they were Grandparents.

My Gram and 3 of her 5 sisters *image courtesy of my cousin*

A tragic accident in 1917, took the life of the youngest family member Josephine and she died at the age of two, with severe burns to the chest and abdomen. Poor baby girl lighting up the world with her beauty and smile, and for her life to be snuffed out like a candle is so sad. Peter, the only son of nine children returned home from World War 1 and fell ill as well. He succumbed to cerebral meningitis at the age of twenty-six on March. 17th 1922.

He was to sing in the St. Patrick’s day concert that evening for the Knights of Columbus, and he sat up in bed and sang then died. The song that he sang was Danny Boy, a beautiful Irish melody that is dear to my heart to this day.

My Great uncle *image courtesy of my cousin*

After the youngest daughter and only son had passed just 5 years my Great Grandma Elizabeth became ill. My Grandparents were set to get married in the summer month of July and Elizabeth passed 9 days before the wedding. Instead of the church wedding that was planned they quietly got married in the priests rectory of the Holy Family Catholic Church.

My parents got married there as well and my middle sister followed suit and my husband and I proudly married there after. As a devout Irish Catholic family that attended mass every Sunday and invited the priest over for dinner after one of my Great aunts went into the sisterhood. She took the name Sister Michael and lived out her young life devoting herself in service to God.

She passed tragically in a car accident when I was a little girl and my Gram would tell me stories about her love of the family and of the church. There was always tears and hugs given when she spoke of her siblings that had passed on.

My Great aunt Elizabeth and her Father Michael *image courtesy of my cousin*

I celebrate my dearly departed loved ones memories and I carry on the namesake of my Great Grandma, my Great aunt, and my Mom. My Great Grandpa Michael lived on to see his daughters marry and meet his Grandchildren. My Mom had a special relationship with him and would speak of him with joy on her heart. He passed on well into his 80’s to be reunited with his lovely wife and daughters and son.

My Gram and my Mom *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Gram and Mom always said I had the gift of my Great uncle’s vocal talent. To this day when I sing the song of my ancestors homeland Oh Danny Boy I feel uplifted on their angel wings. St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in our family household as much as the joy of birthdays. Wishing you all Irish blessings and may the luck and love of the Irish be with you always. 💚☘️

An adapted version of this story originally appeared on The Wellness Universe titled Irish heritage.

*Special thanks to my cousin Maureen for the use of her family pictures. The late night chats of our family’s story helped me feel closer to my Irish clan.*

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The birthday party

I was so excited when my son received an invitation to his new friends birthday party. Having a child with autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) birthday parties can be a double edge sword. Firstly, there’s the question of is he going to to be invited to any parties and secondly, do I stay for the party to assist him when he needs help?

The day arrived and I had done all the preparations with my son with a social story, drawing out a schedule, and keeping my visuals handy in case plans had changed. He was quite excited and I needed to drive around the block a couple of times till he can process his feelings.

We arrived at the birthday boys house and was met at the door by the parents. I explained I would stay for 30 minutes until my son felt comfortable then I would quietly leave. I knew I’d be the only parent there as by the age of 6 or 7 it’s a drop off and pick up event.

I haven’t been able to do that with my son in a neurotypical setting there’s a lot of variables to consider. Is the birthday fun going to be too overstimulating for him, will he understand that he can’t open the presents, and lastly will he understand when it’s time to leave.

I sat quietly on the couch making small talk with the parents and surveyed the yard where a nerf gun war was taking place. I had to firmly and directly tell my son the rules as he wasn’t interested in leaving the well stocked toy room. He eventually made it outside and joined in the fun that the other guests were having.

I didn’t want to be that type of parent helicoptering around my son son so I made myself as inconspicuous as possible. With the play getting more intense I could see my sons eyes glaze over and I knew it was time to switch to another activity. That didn’t work out so well so I joined in with playing a football game and hoping my son would want to play as well.

The distraction worked and we were happily tossing the ball back and forth when it was time to come in to have snacks and open presents. My son wasn’t interested in eating but I had begged him to have some carrots as it will fill his sensory seeking need once the game was cut short.

All the kids gathered around and off my son disappeared to a bedroom to have some quiet time. I followed behind him to let him know I was there to help him and the kids were watching the gift opening. He had no interest in me being there or seeing the presents. He asked me to leave and said “I’m fine Mom I got this.”

As I prepared to leave I gave the parents my contact info in case I was needed earlier before pickup. My sons words of I’m fine echoed in my ears as I drove away. I prayed he would be as I wasn’t even close to being okay with leaving him behind.

I spent some time with my older son and then it was time to pick up his brother. I had made sure that I gave him 10 minutes to prepare himself to leave as I followed him to get his shoes and goodie bag. I set the timer on my phone and stood at the door as he got ready to go. As I turned to thank the family for having him at the party he bolted!

Luckily it was within the house and I could get to him quickly. I knew he was having a hard time with transitioning from leaving the party so I remained calm. He professed how he didn’t want to go and I told him all the reasons why we had to leave. I was doing my best to allow him time to process and reached for his hand only to be shot in the throat with a nerf gun.

I was taken aback and started coughing as I unprepared for that impact to my vocal chords. Much to my dismay this whole scene of me chasing him to get the gun and get him out the door was witnessed by all the guests in attendance. I’ve come to a point where I’ve been judged for my parenting that I only care about my child not others opinions.

In that moment I wanted to save my son from any future scenes of chaos and I have pulled him along and carried him out the door. I learned from this experience as it was the only thing I could do in order to help my son. Now I make sure we have a game plan in place and keep the party time to no more than 2 hours.

If things go south as my son reacts to transitioning I have my phone as timer, a little white board so I can draw out the plan ahead of time, and another activity to do as soon as we leave. As I reflect back I know now I was caught up with my son fitting in with his classmates and be like all the other typical kids.

Neurodiversity allows for thinking outside the box and my son is all about doing that in his own way with his stellar imagination. I realized that my need for him to be comfortable at the party spoke volumes about my fear of the unknown.

Now I meet my son where he’s at and time has proven to be the best teacher as well as steadfast love. If I focus on the things he can’t do like stay at a birthday party without me, then how will I celebrate the successes he has that he’s achieved in his own.

I’m happy to say there’s been other birthday parties and he’s felt comfortable enough to ask me to stay or ask to leave if it’s too sensory overwhelming for him. He’s grown and changed so much since that first birthday party and I know no matter what obstacle he faces he’ll be fine, and he’s got this.

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by the Sensory Spectrum and the Mommy Evolution. Click on the link below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

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Green

I’m happy to link up with Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. Green is a symbolic colour in my family. We’re 1/3 Irish on my Mom’s side so you can imagine how important St. Patrick’s day was when I was growing up. We would say our prayers, honour St. Patrick and have my ancestors recipe of delicious Irish Mulligan stew.

There was one thing that confused me though could a certain colour of green denote danger? I was told if we were to wear Paddy green that it was bad luck. When you grow up with Irish ancestry a lot of superstitions are a part of life so I just didn’t question it.

I didn’t know what shade of green was paddy anyways so I chose not to wear until I was an adult. Then one day my Mom came to visit me and I was taking her shopping. I came out dressed in a new t-shirt I had bought recently and heard her exclaim “oh no you’re wearing paddy green!”

I went back to my bedroom and changed immediately. I know that may make some laugh as I was grown woman. But when my Mom starting making the sign of the cross and praying the Our Father I took this outburst seriously.

After we got to the food court I asked my Mom what was the superstition connected to that particular colour of green. She had told me my Great Grandparents immigration to Canada, tales of the Irish banshee that had a body of a dog and a face like a scary villain out of Grim’s stories. But really paddy green what was the fear of that?

She had explained that when someone in our family had worn the colour that a relative would die. At first I scoffed then I looked deep into her eyes and was ashamed because there was a belief and fear there.

Who was I to question the validity of a belief she held all throughout her life? After this insightful conversation we went back home and I made her a cup of tea and her favourite treat scones, like my Gram used to make. I cherish those memories and keep our Irish traditions alive with my own children.

My favourite thing about St. Patrick’s day is that there’s no expectations on this day. No need to get dressed up and go out to anyone’s for dinner, or get out of your pyjamas for that matter. The only thing you need to do is be happy, drink green beer, and sing Danny Boy.

In my family I make the green pancakes and potato patties like I would have as a child. And for one day out of the year I speak with an Irish accent. I’m putting those years of theatre training to good use. Also it makes my kids happy, and I love to hear their giggles when I break into song and kick up my heels in an Irish jig. I think the world could use a lot more happy traditions so I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s day and may the luck of the Irish be with you.

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Acting and other lies I tell myself

When I was a little girl I always wanted to be an actress. I remember late night movie watching with my Mom. We loved the classics of Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, and Marilyn Monroe. I felt happy and safe in that world of film. When I grew older and had opportunities to participate in school plays and Christmas concerts I jumped at the chance. 

 I memorized songs, dialogue, and full scripts for plays. Theatre had always been my first love and I joined a wonderful group and they quickly became my theatre family. I felt so loved and accepted there with my beloved Hope Pact. I sang with such confidence and determination. Then immersed myself into my character enjoying an Irish accent, and learning my lines, songs, while researching the history of my chosen role. 

Life has always been easier when I’m on my stage. I throw myself into the script and I don’t think of any outside influences. Now I still act but I’m in the background singing with a chorus or taking a secondary role. Where did the confidence go, why don’t I sing with grace and passion like I did before? 

Now I feel like I’m really acting avoiding the hurt I feel when someone has wronged me. I don’t lash out I don’t kick ass or take names like my personality would have me do before. I feel but I’m tending to hide the affects of those emotions more. I’ve always been a person who wore their heart on their sleeve. Which is still true but I act like I’m Teflon and things bounce right off of me. 

They don’t though, it’s just this one act play that has become my life of hiding those true thoughts and feelings. Does anyone care about all the tears I cry flooding my fragile ego until it sinks in an ocean of denial? This is my plight one I choose to accept and be proactive to change. Or continue on with acting and wearing those rose coloured glasses that impede my true vision.  The time to be real is now and stop acting like I’m wearing a titanium suit of armour. I will persevere I always do, find my voice again, sing with courage and conviction, and leave the actress on the stage where she belongs. 

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The Haircut

I see the long shaggy hair covering his eyes and he’s bent over trying to put his Batman in his Bat mobile. He’s getting so frustrated because he can’t see what he’s doing and this task is taking too long to figure out. I gently offer to help him and he runs away in anger and slams his door. He’s only four and already acting like a teenager. I pick up his toys, walk to his room and gather him in my arms. 

  
I wrap his blanket around him holding him tight in my Mama bear hug. Deep pressure soothes him and I rock until he stops crying. I brush the hair back from his eyes and I say the dreaded words “oh honey it’s time for a haircut.”

 Soon his body tenses and he’s ready for fight or flight. I rock him and tighten my hold till his fear ridden body is limp in my arms. 
The next day I tell my husband our son needs a haircut. He shakes his head and says “well I don’t want to do it.” Neither of us do it’s a two hour ordeal and the emotions overflow and we’re all stressed. We take turns holding our sweet boy who will turn into a howling banshee any moment. It’s my turn to perform the task of completing a decent haircut. 

I assemble my tools scizzors, buzzer, guards, comb, spray bottle, and a cloth. He will not wear a cape so we strip off his shirt and wrap a towel around him. I place his blanket in a clear plastic bag to protect it but so he’s still able to see it. Next I grab the iPad, thermos of water, and a bag of lollipops. 

I call my husband to help wrangle our son and it’s easier to catch a greased pig at a BBQ! He holds him tightly and I begin wetting down his hair. I’m being very careful to not spray his face at the same time singing his favourite song while his Dad finds him his favourite superheroes on YouTube. I begin to comb his hair and I cautiously snip his bangs. This is not an easy task as I venture close to his eyes. 

I comb his hair out a few more times and move to the sides. I gently approach his ears and I’m holding my breath while I cut around this delicate area. Next I move to the back of his head making sure to work quickly now as he starts to wiggle. I move over to other side and you can hear a pin drop as I cut around the other ear. The hair starts falling and covering his face and blanket in the plastic bag. 

I quickly blow it away and brush off his lap. He starts in with a low growl and I back off completely gently soothing him with my singing.  I carry on only to reach an impasse as he doesn’t want to sit any longer. I bribe him with a lollipop and ask his Daddy to hold him in his blanket bear hug. Instantly he’s soothed and I continue cutting. I’m not a hairstylist I have no professional experience whatsoever. Other than cutting his big brothers hair in the classic “page boy” style.

 I comb out his hair and continue cutting until he gets excited with the video and jerks his head and shoulders around. I narrowly miss stabbing him in the back of the neck! I tag team out with my husband and we trade spots. He plugs in the buzzers and I brush the hair away from our sons face and body. I prepare him for the buzzing sound and hold on to him tight because I know this is going to be a bumpy ride. 

His Dad works quickly and efficiently as I tighten my grip and sing louder overtop of the sound of the buzzers. He’s on my lap wiggling out of my arms and it’s like holding a bag of snakes! We’re almost in tears and we quickly wash his hands and face that are covered in hair. I pick up the hand mirror so he can survey our work and he starts to cry he wants all his hair back. A full sensory meltdown ensues while he can’t process what happened and why I can’t put the hair back. This is the invisible cloak that he wears as he tries to process all eight of his senses. 

I can only imagine what this has felt like for him. As much as we prepare him for haircut time it’s still unbearable. We let him run free and then I change him into his pyjamas while I make him a snack and give him something to drink. He sits at the table singing away between bites and I look at his happy face in awe. Just moments ago I imagined that the clippers felt like hot razors attacking his scalp as his body, brain, and central nervous system were in overload. He finishes up his snack, I wash his hands and face and hug him so tight while telling him how proud I am of him. 

He cuddles up with his Dad and watches a cartoon before storytime. I clean up the mess in the kitchen, sweeping, making lunches, and pour myself a stiff drink. I go downstairs and sit and sip while glancing up at my son and his Dad nestled together in the recliner. My husband says “thank you for being a brave boy for Mommy and Daddy.” 
His eyes well up with tears and he holds his Daddy’s face in his little hands and says “you hurt me Daddy.” I watch my husband’s face crumple and we look at each other and silently agree that this will be the last haircut he ever gets at home. This is our life with Sensory Processing Disorder. 

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

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Ten Things of Thankful-Feeling prayful

There are times in life when some things just don’t make any sense. Death for one isn’t something I can fathom. Whether a loved one is young or old, natural causes or sudden tragedies it tears at my empathic heart. My husband and I recently lost a friend this week. The sadness overtakes me as this special soul leaves behind a beautiful, caring wife and three amazing kids. I think about the last conversation we had, the laughter, the reminiscing, the hugs of let’s keep in touch. Just when I start to ride a grief wave another loss happens, and I’m threatened to be pulled under by the melancholy cloud of darkness. I don’t think I’m supposed to understand death I’ve lost too many people to count in the last ten years. I’m beginning to believe that I’m just supposed to survive the affects of death and keep learning and appreciating the life lessons I’m taught. I will now begin to attempt to find some thankfuls as part of Lizzi’s TTOT linkup and glean a silver lining in a dark cloud. 

I’m thankful that even though it’s been a difficult week my husband has been able to talk about his feelings. He attended his childhood friends funeral while I attended an appointment. He told me it was good to see old friends and there’s comfort in knowing how many turned out for the sad day and how loved our friend was. 

I’m thankful that I kept my head and my heart busy with baking, walks in the sunshine, and movie time cuddles. My oldest (Captain) went with his Dad and spent time with family. The youngest (Mad dog) stayed home with me and enjoyed having me all to himself. 

I’m thankful that my Mad dog is making great progress with his behavioural aid sessions. His fine motor skills are improving so next we will continue working on having him sit for longer periods at circle time. It’s a large part of preschool and kindergarten and I want to prepare him for when he attends his new school. I’m so proud of his accomplishments in the last six months. ❤️

I’m thankful that I had silly, sweet, text conversations with my Captain while he was traveling with his Dad. We chatted from everything about wrestling (he’s a John Cena and Shane McMahon fan), Donald Trump versus the world, and how he wants to surprise his brother with the best beef jerky on the planet. I sure love my son and his creative mind! ❤️

I’m thankful for healthy meals, daily exercise, and relaxing in my hot tub with my family. When I have these things in my life everything just flows better and I feel so happy and loved. My fitness journey is ongoing and I strive to grow stronger in mind and body everyday. 

I’m thankful for catching up on housework, the dreaded laundry monster, and enjoying some beautiful summer weather. My moods are really tied to how much vitamin D I’m getting so the sunshine’s my elixir in life. 

I’m thankful for earth day this week. My Mad dog and I went for a walk by the river with his behavioural aid. We skipped stones jumped from rock to rock and took in the beauty and appreciation of our home. I’m grateful for the fresh clean water, the plants and trees providing me with oxygen and the flowers blooming and letting me enjoy their fragrance and aromatherapy. 

I’m thankful for reading, writing, and accomplishing my work tasks. I still have a few things to catch up on but I’m crossing things off my list and that’s a win/win in my world. Organization has never been my strong suit but as I see my piles of clutter becoming less I feel more in control of the direction I’m taking. It’s the old adage “cluttered space equals a cluttered mind.”

I’m thankful that I was able to apply that mindfulness to eliminating my digital and online clutter as well. Now that I’ve deleted data, cleaned up email accounts, and uploaded pictures onto my computer my phone/office is running at the speed of light! It’s amazing what a good feeling of satisfaction that can generate. 

I’m thankful for late night cuddles when my son can’t sleep. Late night talks and tuck ins when they miss me when it’s time to go to sleep. I’m getting to a point now where they don’t need me as much, especially my Captain. It’s so rewarding to see them growing and discovering the world and still wanting me by their side to chat about life and it’s mysteries. 

I’m thankful we had a successful follow up appointment with my youngest son’s sleep specialist. Since his diagnosis of autism in February and asthma in March we’re solving more health mysteries. The asthma medication has improved his breathing and shrunk his tonsils so much she doesn’t think he needs surgery! Now I will push for the MRI and see what’s going on inside his brain in regards to where the sleep apnea is originating from. Central sleep apnea is a a very serious condition-whereas the brain isn’t communicating with the heart and lungs about getting sufficient oxygen intake. Knowing my son is safe, breathing and sleeping properly is an answer to my prayers. Thank you to all you sweet souls who have expressed concern, said prayers, and empathized with us on this long, sleep deprived journey. This is the best outcome and update I could ever hope and pray for! I’m so thankful to God for these blessings. 💖

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Ten Things of Thankful-feeling the love

I’ve been thinking lately about the things that make me hapy. I always count my family, friends, and my ability to see the light in a grey cloud. I lived costal for nearly three years and one thing it taught me was to appreciate the sunny days when they happened. This was supposed to be part of the TTOT linkup but a faulty phone app froze and I missed the deadline. I’m going to post it anyways because life’s too short to not be thankful for my blessings! 

I’m thankful for a enjoyable spring break with my kids. It rained a couple of days but the last four have been perfect. We went for walks by the river, played in the backyard, made crafts, relaxing in the hot tub, and today was a perfect day for a water gun fight. And also seeing a sunset like this tonight. 

 
I’m thankful for learning how to paper mâché with my son’s behavioural aid. Even my oldest got into the fun as well. I’m excited to reveal our project for you next week. 

I’m thankful for getting caught up on laundry and housework over the week. You can’t tell I did much now so I’ll be back to the grind tomorrow. 

I’m thankful that my kids had a great experience at their dentist. The staff was friendly, professional and polite. Watching soccer on the flat screen was a big hit with both my boys and led to some interesting conversations. The office having IPads in the kids room was also a big hit with my kids. I was so impressed with how the staff addressed my concerns regarding my youngest son’s autism and comfort level. I’m so happy we found an office that’s close to all our other professional services. 

  
I’m thankful for relaxing, watching movies, learning Minecraft techniques, and baking with my son’s who are full of energy. We had a great time and I got a break this weekend from being there entertainment director. 

I’m thankful for sunny days, visiting with the neighbours, and digging in the dirt. It’s so exciting to see that spring has finally sprung    Now I’m anxious to get out and garden as soon as the morning frost disappears. Mother Nature has a sense of humour to be desired. 

 I’m thankful for coming to the blog to tell you what makes me happy and gives me a thankful heart. 

I’m thankful for you my dear readers and making it to 600 of you lovely followers. I’m grateful you like to pop by and read what I’m musing about. 

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I’m thankful for finding a local special needs community. A few faces I recognized from moving here and I look forward to making new friends for myself and my family. Special needs parenting can be lonely and isolating so to find others like our family is a blessing indeed. 

I’m thankful for having wonderful friends who invite me out to have fun, chat, and remind me that I’m not alone in life. Even my friends who are farther away who check in with a text, message, and a phone call just to see how I am. 

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Monday Musings A-Z challenge-Compassion


I was raised to have a compassionate heart. My Mom was a big believer in showing compassion instead of anger. She didn’t have an evil bone in her body and she believed that people judged others by what they saw in themselves. I still carry this belief and honour her memory by teaching my children the same. Some have called me naive because of this truth I hold to dearly. That’s one’s opinion but not my truth.
It will still baffle me as an adult when some members of society don’t show compassion. I see it in daily life when someone driving cuts off another car. I see it in a long lineup when someone throws their money at a cashier. I observe it in a restaurant when dining out with my family when my son becomes disruptive at the table.

The reason is he has autism, and he doesn’t sit still for long. Ten patrons can turn into twenty and he becomes visually overstimulated to his environment. He also “stims” when his body is seeking sensory input to regulate his central nervous system. He does this by jumping, rocking or dancing on the spot. I see the looks, overhear the whispers and take him outside to shake his wiggles out. I don’t attempt to try to shush him out of embarrassment because it can escalate matters quickly when he feels he’s not being understood.

This is why we eat at one restaurant in our town. The food’s amazing and we’ve become wonderful friends with the owners during our time here. They know my family and they know of my son’s autism. If things are loud and crowded in their establishment my husband will go in and order us take out. If we make a plan to phone ahead we put in our order so that it arrives when we walk in the door. I’ve been at this game changing strategy  for awhile now as he had a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder first at the age of 3.

I had to prepare him for the world as it can be too loud, bright, and busy. I don’t feel that anyone owes my son any special favours all I would ask for is compassion. I recently shared on a Autism page of my son’s diagnosis. It was World Autism Awareness day and I felt brave sharing something so personal to our family. I made the mistake of not wearing my armour in sharing my son’s story. I had briefly discussed the judgements that we’ve received and even a personal attack on my parenting him through a sensory meltdown.

What I forgot in that moment of courage was that anything put out there on the Internet can be judged. That came to pass and I was stunned by the commenters lack of compassion. I thought to myself I don’t know this person’s story and yet she believes that she knows mine in one paragraph. I stayed in my #Mommitment mind, I may be judged on my words but I know my spirit. I didn’t reply and I was blessed that the admins of the page deleted the comment and left my story up.

It was liked and shared a few times and I felt relief that I wouldn’t be having to face that hurt again. It was such a strange feeling to be put on the spot like that from another parent. I will admit there’s a lot I still need to learn and not everyone wants to Light it up blue for autism awareness. Not all organizations are everyone’s cup of tea but I learn something from each of these groups and I gain support, understanding, compassion and that virtual hug of not feeling so alone. I just learned today from a amazing blogger friend  that autism by definiton means “to be alone.” This brought tears to my eyes and made me realize I never want that to happen to my sweet son.

My son has autism, but I don’t believe it defines him as a person. His precious giggle when playing hide and seek with his brother. His beautiful smile when he tells me he loves me with a sound, words, or a kiss. These things define him and when the world has gotten to loud and crowded for him and he reacts to his environment by melting down; he’s not being a brat, this is not a temper tantrum, all I ask is for a little compassion and understanding. It helps the eye of the society storm feel a little less scary to navigate.

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A-Z challenge Brave

I recently started the blog linkup challenge of all the letters of the alphabet. I started writing them and left them in a draft status. For the next few days I’ll be publishing them and I’m thinking I’m either brave or crazy for doing so.

Word prompts always get my writing creativity flowing and I tend to write whatever pops into my head. Sometimes that’s refreshing and other times it leaves me feeling vulnerable. I recently shared that my son was diagnosed with autism on World Autism Awareness day. I considered writing about it with the beginning A of the alphabet but I chickened out and I wrote about acting instead. It’s a very personal part of my family life to discuss but this is what it feels like to be brave in print.
We started out on this journey two years ago when I was aware of my son’s developmental challenges. He took his first steps early at ten months when we had just moved into a hotel. My husband had just got a job transfer to a new town while we were attempting to sell our house in the previous one. By the time our youngest son was twelve months he was running and had a small list of foods he would eat.
He also wouldn’t sleep for long periods of the night even after cutting out his first nap of the day. I was living on caffeine and Carnation instant breakfast shakes. He was on the move constantly and I would take him to his brother’s school to attend a play group, and there I noticed he wasn’t behaving typically like other children in his age group. I watched as he grabbed toys and played beside me while I participated in craft time and play dough making. He wouldn’t touch any of it nor interact with other children.
He would also have a difficult time with crowds if the classroom was too busy. I chalked it up to tiredness and I’d take him back to our room for nap time. The vacuum would scare him and he didn’t like surprises or things he couldn’t predict. I had always referred to him as my sensitive boy when he was born as he was quiet but could get his feathers ruffled quickly. It got to be exhausting keeping him calm, well fed, and happy as he was easily sensory overloaded.
He was tactile hypersensitive and never liked to touch his finger food, play dough or the rice table. I had at this time become good friends with the facilitator of the playgroup and I asked for her guidance. My son had turned two by this time and had finally started sleeping through the night as we had moved into a rental house when he was eighteen months old. It was an adjustment for our family but one I welcomed after living in a hotel for seven long months! The staff was incredible to us and thought of us like family. They made the long days of dark clouds and rain bearable.
I feel brave for having gone through that experience and yet I had this feeling that my son needed more interventions. With the help of my friend the children’s facilitator she referred me to a child development agency. Then came the next few months of evaluations and questionnaires regarding my son’s development. He was approaching the age of three and still was behind in his gross, fine motor skills, as well as speech delayed.
Those assessments led us to a developmental Pediatrician that diagnosed my son with Sensory Processing Disorder in particular Sensory Modulation Disorder. This is when the central nervous system is seeking out sensory input to deliver that message to the brain and the rest of the body. My son had no fear, he’d climb a six foot bookshelf and jump on to the couch below! He’d also empty every book out of that shelf and dump out toy boxes. I would be in tears trying to put my house back together daily.
In that time I did a lot of reading staying up late burning the midnight oil with learning everything I could about SPD.

My husband had gotten another job transfer out of the province and I was doing my best being a solo parent. The nights were long as my son had begun snoring which isn’t your normal behaviour of a toddler. We saw an ENT that diagnosed him with a sleep disorder but said he was unable to do anything about it.
It was a struggle for the next three months but I persevered found us a house, got us packed up and moved into another hotel while waiting to take possession of our new home. I hardly slept and luckily my son was still napping so I’d catch up on sleep with him.

My oldest son was also suffering with some anxiety and I had to keep reassuring him constantly that he would make friends and enjoy his new school. I got him involved in a summer camp and started moving and unpacking all our belongings.
The next few months I spent my every waking minute making our house a home. The school year started and with that brought some more anxiety in the form of my oldest son getting bullied. I had to deal with this issue for the next three months. The office administration got to know me well as I was always requesting a meeting.

Finally that worked out as I got some school counselling and his teacher to help out.
Meanwhile I was attempting to socialize my youngest son as his vocabulary was starting to increase. We met a sweet friend and we attended a play group. It was very busy, loud, and crowded and my son didn’t do well at all. Nap time was a Godsend as the environment left me feeling sensory overwhelmed as well. After that, we attended play dates with our new friend and her family. It was special to have picnics at the park and birthday party fun.
When my son turned four we started to think about preschool as he was almost fully potty trained. It had taken awhile but we worked all summer towards his accomplishment. We did all the assessments with a speech, physical, and occupational therapist who found out he was Globally Developmentally Delayed. Meaning he had a severe delay in one or more of his developmental skills.
We worked hard to obtain funding and now he attends a wonderful preschool and has funding for a therapy team. He just turned five and will be transitioning to Kindergraten in the fall. With knowing he has autism there’s been a push in the right direction to get him the funding and behavioural aid support he needs. My son has a lot of challenges in life but ones he’s always faced head on with his tenacity and strength. I see a future full of success, determination, and substantial support. He’s our family’s blessing and the sky’s limitless for him and what he will achieve.

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Ten things of thankful-missing my Mom

I’ve been writing all day, furiously scribbling and typing out my feelings. Today is a day I dread more than ever the anniversary of my Mom’s death. I cry, write, read stories we wrote together, and listen to her favourite Elvis music. Two weeks ago I shared my list of thankfuls for my dear Dad. Today I will share about my Mom. She was my gift and I will love and miss her till my last breath. I’m proud to share my memories and thankfulness on the TTOT linkup with Lizzi and her ever faithful thankful family.  

 I’m so thankful that my Mom decided to have me her sixth child and third daughter. She was older yet I think she knew that I was meant to be. I was sickly when I was born so I’m thankful I got to spend that extra week in the hospital bonding with her. She would tell me stories of how I would look up at her as she fed me with this baby face and bright blue eyes of wonder. 

I’m thankful that she taught me the magic of books and how to read. My life has been full of all the adventures I’ve taken myself on with my love of words and wonderful memories. I loved when she would read to me and change the inflection of her voice and turn a story book into an interactive experience. 

I’m thankful for her beautiful smile even when she was tired as I wasn’t much of a sleeper as a child. She would read to me and T ell me stories she’s made up on the spot. She was so loving, kind, caring and an amazing story teller. She loved her children and Grandchildren with all her being. She was proud to show off pictures that graced her walls and upright piano. As beautiful as she was she just glowed when she held a child on her lap. 

I’m thankful for her brilliance. She wanted to be a teacher but she didn’t want to leave her parents to go away to study. She was very close to them as their only child. So instead she worked around town, met my Dad and fell in love. First came marriage, and many baby carriages and she had herself a full family to teach. 

  
I’m thankful for her gift of laughter. She could always find the humour in something. She would look for the silver lining and say this too shall pass sadness doesn’t always last. She had a beautiful laugh that would rise up from her toes and she’d slap her knee in emphasis. She taught me how to impersonate characters on tv and in the movies. I would get her into a fit of giggles when I’d do my Tim Conway impression from the Carol Burnett show. 

I’m thankful for all the times she let me stay up late watching old black and white movies with her. We’d have tea and treats and is watch the classics with her like Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, and every Elvis movie we could find. She had quite a collection of his movies that I’m proud to covet today. Our favourite was always his first Love me Tender and I sing it for her when I’m lonely for her presence. 

I’m thankful for my memories of singing and doing the dishes with her. She even made a mundane task like that fun. We would sing all the Irish classics and she’d dance a jig  around the kitchen. My heart would leap out of my chest as I joined her twirling around until I was dizzy with love and enthusiasm. 

I’m thankful for her talent of writing. She was so gifted with her thoughts and expressions and we collaborated on many stories together while in school and after I graduated. She would also make up silly poems and limericks and keep me in stitches with how funny she could be in real life and on paper. 

  
I’m thankful she taught me to be brave and follow my dreams. It’s because of her guidance that I started writing and sharing my heart here on the page. She guides me still and I write for her always in my mind and spirit. 

I’m thankful she was my biggest cheerleader and my sounding board. I could and did tell her anything. She knew I could see and feel things about people and never made me feel like I was weird. With  being empathic in a very sensory overloaded world was a gift and cross to bear that we both shared. She was my guiding light, truth seeker, lover of people, compassionate, kind, and had the strongest love and faith in God. She gave her heart to those who were deserving. And a piece of her intelligent mind to those who were not. 

I’m thankful I’m a Mom myself and I still wonder in situations what would she do or say. There will never be a day I won’t wish for her presence in my life. I have my memories and pictures, but most of all I can look in the mirror and see her there. As well as glowing  with love and pure divine light in my children. Love you always and forever Mama. ❤️

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