I’ve been absent from this blog but with good reason. My son has grown so much this year – physically – yes! and the nutritionist and I couldn’t be more pleased! But emotionally – he’s matured so much. I give a lot of credit to his teachers and the staff at First Creek Middle School. Today, as I went to pick him up for his occupational therapy appointment, the teacher quietly slipped me into the room. CJ was at the front of the class leading the morning song. His voice was clear and lovely and on pitch and when he saw me, he smiled, but didn’t miss a word or a note or a gesture. The lyrics were something about I am the mountain and breathe breathe – and he understood the words and was singing them himself – not performing – more sharing. I couldn’t stop the tears so I smiled as big as I could so he knew I wasn’t sad. He’s seen me happy cry so it’s not unfamiliar to him. That was the first time he didn’t drop what he was doing and run to me when I came into the room…ever. In fact, they had to tell him twice that it was time to go with Mom. He came to me and gave me a hug, but he didn’t want to leave the classroom.
We had a quiet but fun ride to the CTU. He enjoys being big enough to ride in the front seat. The view is so much better. Sometimes he mentions something he sees – much like most people do… “truck” .. as we pass a truck on the side of the road that isn’t usually there. “BIRD” when a large hawk was flying overhead. If you didn’t know he had a diagnosis, you wouldn’t have noticed him at all at the CTU. He was that calm. He was engaged with his therapist and I finally felt like it was time for me to step out of the session for a few minutes when things were positive – wean him a little more to be secure without me next to him.
I asked the therapist if he minded if I sat in the lobby and let them have some time – he didn’t mind – I asked CJ and he was like – “GO Mommy. Yes!” so I sat in the lobby and played a game on my phone for 10 minutes. When they came out – the therapist told me he had an opening after school hours and asked if we would be interested. CJ smiled at me. That was the yes. He was acting up at the CTU before when we had 2 one-hour appointments back to back because he wanted to stay at school.
So – for the first time in 3 years, we don’t have regular scheduled daytime appointments anymore. For the first time in CJ’s lifetime, I can relax during the school day – I trust his school so much – And now – finally…
My days are mine – for me.
I’ve been preparing for this day. I’ve been decluttering and organizing – putting things in place – so when this day came, I wouldn’t feel totally lost. My boy is my baby – my youngest – my last – and the last child I choose to raise. I’ve spent most of my life being a caregiver and never really made a decision for me. The only currency I had to invest in myself was learning – so I watched and listened and read in my spare moments when I could do little else. It helped me stay awake and it helped me stay sane.
So a chapter closes and a new one opens. This blog will stay just like this for a little while longer. My plans for the next 3 months involve my new project, Pearl Manhattan Productions – Lots of things like releasing some music, a webshow with Momma Pearl (that’s me), and a few other things – and that’s all scheduled to upload starting in July. I’ve set aside November 2018 for writing the book Autism; Interrupted – Our Story. Look for my crowd-funding campaign for that Winter 2018.
So I’ve been busy but in a good way. Little speed bumps popped up to test me. The engine stopped on the car as I was driving CJ home from therapy a few weeks ago. Without thinking, I managed a left and two right turns and parked beautifully with no power steering or breaks! We took an UBER home – our first ride and had a nice time. I’m so thankful Christina at American Family talked me into adding Roadside Assistance to my car insurance policy – because that got me a free tow from Puyallup to Phil’s Auto Care. I knew about them from a friend who’s had the best service there. Phil fixed the car – and the money magically appeared to pay for it – almost before I asked. No crisis. A few other minor things have rolled by – and I’ve let them do just that – ROLL ON BY, CUZ I AIN’T GOT THE TIME.
I have learned one thing about success…success in life….success in health….success in those everyday bullcrap battles you have to fight. Know what it will look like when you win – when you succeed – when you GET THERE. Put that picture up on the wall somewhere. It looks like a mountain covered in snakes and spiders right now – but don’t worry about that. Just make a note – When I get “there”, I’ve won. Then you figure out the small steps it takes to get there. You’re not going to get there tomorrow. If you do, you need to set your “win” a little farther out – a week or so is fine. What can I do today to get “there” in X amount of time? See – you thought you’d never use that College Algebra, huh.
I can see where I will be in 5 years. I don’t know how to get there, but looking around me, I’ve spent my life preparing for this journey. Every journey starts with single step.
I’m taking my first ones now.
Don’t do as I say. Don’t do as I do. You do you.
– Momma Pearl Manhattan