Archive for October, 2011

This week, I began guest blogging for Momnificent!, an outstanding site and business run by Family Success Specialist and Life Coach, Lori Radun. I’ll be posting about life as a special-needs parent on Lori’s blog once a month for now, and I’ll share links here.

Here’s an excerpt of this week’s post. Follow the link at the end to read the rest at Momnificent.com!

I Am Alice

When my son Will, my baby, my first-born, was diagnosed with autism at 22 months, I felt as if the ground had opened up and swallowed us whole. I felt we’d been shoved, head first, into this bottomless abyss and were in a slow-motion free fall that might never end. And then, on the other hand, I wasn’t sure I wanted it to end, wasn’t sure I wanted to know where rock bottom actually was, because surely this moment, this panic, this grief had to be rock bottom. Surely it couldn’t be worse. But in the days and weeks that followed, I found that it could be worse, and still we were in a free fall.

In those first months, pregnant with my daughter and reeling from Will’s diagnosis, floating from doctor’s offices to therapy centers to support groups, I watched the world move around me like Alice flying downward through the rabbit hole. How did we get here? Where IS here? How did I not know this whole alternate existence was right beneath my feet? When and how will we go home? Only Alice wasn’t 8 months pregnant with a two-year-old on her hip and she careened downward to Wonderland. And there was no chance I was going to suddenly wake up.

Eventually, and I really couldn’t tell you how long it took, I stopped falling. I started to find level ground. I gained my footing in this strange new landscape that had suddenly become my life. I realized I wasn’t actually in an abyss, hadn’t fallen down the rabbit hole, and actually could wake up from this nightmare to some degree. True, I couldn’t change the fact that Will has autism, but I could change one thing: how I responded to the situation.


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The first time I ever spent my very own hard-earned money for something special, I was eight. Having pretty much never paid for anything in my life, I’d saved up quite a few dimes from my weekly 20-cent allowance (earned through such thoroughly backbreaking activities as feeding the dog and setting the dinner table). I spent an evening counting the disgorged contents of my yellow ceramic ducky bank, stacking until I had 17 neat little towers of ten dimes apiece. I was feeling fairly full of myself for having saved such a fortune, quite adult and responsible, and then I begged, badgered, and bugged my mom until she agreed to take me to Toys ‘R Us.

When we finally arrived at that Nirvana of Plastic Kids’ Stuff, I rushed to the Barbie section where I found her: a “Loving You” Barbie Doll. She was the most magnificent Barbie I’d ever seen. Lavishly shod in the equivalent of 6-inch white Stripper Heels, Barbie wore a puff-sleeved, heart-dotted, ankle-length white chiffon gown with a breath-defyingly tight red velvet bodice. She was bedecked in gigantic fake ruby earrings and a matching ring that was, in reality, a plastic red dot on a stick that went through a hole in her hand and got lost in my brown shag carpet within the week. She was a living Valentine with Barbie’s trademark blonde hair in an I-Dream-of-Jeannie ponytail. She was gorgeous and perfect and completely inappropriate for playtime. I absolutely had to have that doll. (more…)

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