The Psych Appt

"And just what is it that truly makes you afraid?" the psych asked me.

I took a minute to answer, thinking through all the irrational reasons I had to be afraid. Just what was the reason I am afraid? I couldn't put it into words, but as I tried, a lump formed in my throat. My mind became boggled, just like the game, with little letters scattered all around as I tried to make sense of them, tried to form them into something rational. Tried to find a reasonable answer to his question. I took a deep breath. And in that breath, my air caught in my throat and tears formed in my eyes. As my words made their way to my lips, in their place came a sob, complete with tears that fell like raindrops from the sky.

"I don't want to be a bad mom." My choked words shot out before I could stop them, jumbled with an aching pain in my heart. There, I had admitted it. I didn't want to fail at this most important job.

"And why would that make you a bad mom?" he continued, rising from his place on his chair to grab me a box of tissues.

I continued the blubbering, half-speaking, half-crying jag as I tried to form my thoughts into words. Sitting next to me, my husband sat back in his chair, looking away uncomfortably, unsure how to handle my outburst. Kaeden, playing on the floor, looked at me with fear in his eyes. And Jari, coloring a picture at the table, looked up at me, his eyes big with confusion, questioning the pain and fear my voice exposed. The room stood momentarily still. They were all waiting for a sign from me, a sign that I was okay.

"Because you are supposed to always be there for your kids. You have children to take care of them and love them and lead them through life." I couldn't stop the words from flowing. "You aren't supposed to have a child to just send him away when there are trials and things become stressful. You need to be there for them and share the bad times. That's what being a family is about. And if you can't handle the pressure, you are a bad mom."

"And what if giving your child a chance to learn and grow by asking for help is actually being a good mom? Would you consider yourself a good mom by helping your child to be his best, to learn to be the most successful, to give yourself room to breathe and energy to deal with him when he comes home in the weekend? Would you consider yourself a good mom if your son were released from the everyday stress in your home and returned home every weekend thrilled to be back home, happy to be with his family, but without the stress of having too many chores and too much stress to deal with every day? Is that what would make you a bad mom?"

As I looked at each of my family members seated around the table, watched the doctor note something on his charts, my heart was ripping in two. The lump in my throat was growing by the second and I wasn't sure how much longer I would be able to breathe. My air was coming out in gasps. "I just want to be a good mom to my boys." Tears continued making a runway down my cheeks. Maybe I could just fly away from the pain. "I don't want to be a bad mom."

And thus the reality continues. I want to be a good mom. But what makes me a good mom? I have lots to consider and too many choices to make. As I rode my bike home my tears mixed with the rain just beginning to fall, I thought for the first time that I need to do what is the best for my children and learn to look beyond what is painful for me. I need to make some difficult choices. Choices that will impact all our lives, and just maybe turn out to be what could be the very best choice for my child because "I just don't want to be a bad mom."


Thankful Thursday

Julie at Another Chance Ranch came up with the idea for Thankful Thursday. Go see her blog for all the participants...look in the comments section of her previous post! I agreed to host this week, but she is going to look into making a button to remind us of Thankful Thursday instead. That may work as well. She's also got the lowdown on what it's like to be on jury duty. Interesting stuff!
So, this week, what do I have to be thankful for? Well, this may sound kind of strange, but I am thankful for Freecycle (www.freecycle.org). You advertise stuff you have to give away or stuff you need, and people respond, giving more life to your little treasures and sparing the landfill of even more garbage. It's a really terrific program and worth looking into...you sign up just for your hometown and then the free stuff starts coming to your door! And your junk starts leaving the house! Here is their Mission statement: "Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community."
Since I have been a member, I have received games for my kids, wall dividers for my parents store, brand new clothes, and just today my parents got an entire case of donuts from a truck that had been in an accident! Yep, even free doughnuts!!!
So, I thought, for Thankful Thursday, why not share the wealth of this wonderful program? Everybody loves getting something for nothing, and even better, saving our land of the harmful toxins of too much junk. So, I am thankful for Freecycle, even though I am out of the country and can't take full advantage of what it offers (the Belgium freecycle to which I belong has members mostly too far away for us to take advantage of the sharing). But if you are in the US, have a look. Do your part to help save our earth. One of my favorite sayings: The best investment on earth, is earth!
Check it out: www.freecycle.org (worldwide)


Dinner Woes

I was serving up dinner. Plates laden down with homemade sloppy joes, oven roasted potatoes and corn from a can. Okay, not the very most health-conscious meal, but it was dinner and I had slaved over the hot stove creating this abundance for my little family. As with every night, Jari complained about dinner. "What is THAT?" he asked pointing to his sloppy joe. "Just eat it, you'll like it," I answered sitting down and rolling my eyes at the ritual of his drama. As he sat, he then eyed his plate again. "Okay, I will eat THAT (pointing to the sloppy joe) but I'm NOT gonna eat the popcorn!"


My Wish For You, MY Boys!

******Slideshow removed due to music annoyance evry time I entered my blog! Though I love the song, I didn't want to hear it EVERY time!! Slideshow can be found at http://www.slide.com/r/xL7VI9uV2j8wsxx9Oa7t00BDbezyTD-q?previous_view=mscd_embedded_url&view=original

Here's a little something special for you, my favorite boys in the world. Take these words and live your life believing in yourself. I love you both with all my heart. Love, Mama
"My Wish"
I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile,
But more than anything, more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.
I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,And you always give more than you take.
But more than anything, yeah, and more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.This is my wish
I hope you know somebody loves you
May all your dreams stay big


Thankful Thursday-Moved to Friday

Yesterday, I just couldn't think straight to name all I have to be thankful for. This morning I woke refreshed and renewed with the help of my son having a good morning. After having so many difficulties with him the past week, today we seem to be on a turn-around. His medication has again been changed and we've been weaning him off the new, getting him back on the old. And though he was still much more flighty than before we started his medicine changes, he was much more calm and collected. So, I have hope. My thanks for today comes in the form of me. I am thankful that I am the mother to my son. I am thankful that I am willing to do all it takes to help him along in life. I am thankful I was entrusted to his care and that I have taken on that role with a passion. I am happy I have tools (the internet, friends, doctors, books, etc) to help me learn more and gain new insight into autism. I am thankful that I have a husband who supports me completely in this journey, and gives me respect even when our views on autism and how to handle our son varies so greatly. I am thankful for my little guy, who has to deal with the trauma of autism and just accept it as his life. I am thankful I have taught my children how to love and how to be accepting. I am thankful that I give my everything to be a good mom, and even though I sometimes feel like I am failing, I know that my children are nurtured, loved, well cared for, and growing up healthy and strong. I am thankful that this is my life. It takes so much work, so much energy, so much pain and care and giving of yourself to be a mom. But I do all of that and with the exception of our äutistic meltdowns, my kiddos are generally happy guys. I am thankful that I am their mom, and that I am a loving mom. I may not always do everything right, but I do my best. And I love my kids wholly and completely. And today, that's what I have to be thankful for. For being their mom, doing my best, and seeing the results of my efforts in their smiles and laughter. I am thankful!


I HATE Autism!

Kaeden. Always on my mind, that kiddo is. Today more so than normal. I can't get out of my head the explosive day he had yesterday, the past week of living hell with him. After 3 weeks of total peace and happiness. And I was so sure, so sure that we were in the clear. But then, we had to mess with his meds...try a new one, delete an old one, change doses...and it has been a trial. A trial for all of us, but most especially for my son who tells me daily that his head is all stuffed up and he can't make it stop hurting and it makes him mad. So mad, that I nearly (seriously, I went to grab the phone in my room but it wasn't in the cradle or I would have dialed) called the police for assistance, fearful my son would hurt himself or one of us. I despise autism. I wish I could be one of those people that just come to accept it as part of their life, and move on. I can't. I don't want it to win. I want to conquer what I see as the beast that tears our family apart, the beast that takes the goodness in my son and turns him into an uncontrollable monster, the beast that takes every shred of my patience and pushes me beyond its limits, the beast that I call autism. I hate it! I Hate IT! I HATE IT! But I love my son, oh how I love him. I wish there were a way to conquer the burden that autism fills his head with. The burden of the beast...the beast itself. Anything. I am so scared. Scared for his future. Scared for the fact that he NEEDS his medication, to the point that someone could die if he doesn't have it. Scared that I have tried everything...all the therapies and drugs and homeopathic stuff and diets and structure and...and it isn't enough. It just isn't enough. What more can I do? Where can I turn? Where will life take us, and for how long? I just want to pull him onto my lap, stroke his hair and promise him it will all be okay while planting kisses on his cheek...but what a lie that would be...it isn't all okay...and mama just doesn't know what to do to fix it. I want to run as far away as I can and hide in a cave where noone can ever find me...but that would be so cowardly, and I am too cowardly to do something so brave, so stupid, so pointless. And where would that then leave my son? Who would be there to love him and support him and accept him for who he is? But do I accept him? I want the autism gone. I hate it. But it is a aprt of him. So, do I accept him? I want to. I want to more than anything. I want to learn to live with this peacefully. But as of this moment, I haven't found that place, I haven't come to terms, I haven't been accepting. I still hate autism...hate it with every ounce of my being, hate it with a passion I only wish existed in any other area of my life. And for him, what I wouldn't give to make the pain go away, to make his head clear, his eyes happy, his soul at peace. What I wouldn't give.



Yesterday, Jari came home from school. We sat down together and got out the markers and his book, which we have been working on creating. He's written a story about his race car adventures, and we're going to have it published from the illustory company. He can't wait to see the finished product...and neither can mama. It will be a fun memento for him to share with his own children one day.

Anyway, as we got busy, he suddenly grabs a red pen and draws three big X's on my hand. "There, that's so you won't forget, mama!" Forget? Forget what, I wondered. But we neevr got the answer to that unasked question as he started telling me about the snowman he was drawing. And forget all about it I did.

Until this morning. On his little hand I noticed a red X. I told him to go wash his hands good before school. And then I remembered my 3 red X's. "Jari, what must we not forget today?" "The papers for the doctor have to be turned in today!" he replied.

Oh no! Search for the paper, and search for the shot records that have to be included...think I could find them? Of course not! But the paper was filled in, placed in his bookbag, and sent off to school. And I washed off my red X's, feeling like a first grader with my teacher requesting my duties be done. But I couldn't help but laugh...those red X's, just like little kisses from my son.



okay, so that may not look like much to you, but as I was doing a word verification today, those letters made me feel VERY self-conscious. VS (In Dutch, this is referred to as America, aka Verenigde Staten) and whor(e). So, I was typing out a comment on another blog and got pulled into this thought...it's calling my name! Where oh where did that come from? Why would I even begin to add up random letters and apply it to a feeling about me? And why on earth would I even consider myself a VS Whore? Maybe I need a shrink...


Bathtime Pleasures

I just went to check on Kaeden in the bath...wondering what he could be doing in there for so long...and I discovered his guilty pleasure. Yes, in his bath water was a half-soaked brick of ramen noodles floating in with his bubbles...and he was picking little pieces of the noodles off enjoying his 'breakfast'. Unbelievable. Sorry son, but it's time to get on outta there and dry off...or you will be turning into a limp noodle yourself!

The King and His Countrymen

On Thursday, Jari had the opportunity to meet the king. Yes, the king of Belgium (Albert II) was visiting our town, and Jari's school was going to welcome him. I was so excited for him. This is not something that happens on a regular basis; in fact, most people in their lifetime will never be in the presence of official royalty. But my little six-year-old had no idea of the significance of this happening. As he was leaving for school, I asked him if he wanted gel in his hair. "No" he replied. "But don't you want to look handsome for the king?" I asked him. He quickly stepped up on his stool, put in the required gel, and then asked me if he should put on something nice to wear. I let him go in his typical school clothes...nothing special!

I was extremely disappointed not to be going myself. The center of our town was being blocked off so that the townspeople could welcome the king and queen. I couldn't believe my fate as I woke up with a sick kid who would be staying home from school, and thus, I would be staying home as well. Darn! I just wanted to share that piece of Belgium culture with my fellow town-mates...but I couldn't. Our son would have to be the presence for our family.

When Jari returned home from school, I couldn't wait to hear all about his visit with the king. "So, did you see King Albert?" I asked. "Yes, I saw him! And I got to shake his hand." Jari told me. "YOU SHOOK THE HAND OF THE KING???"" I screeched out in excitement! "Yes, but he was old and bald and was wearing a blonde jacket. It was forbidden to get close to the king so I had to push myself up against the fence so I could shake his hand. And I had my Belgium flag to wave for him."

"So, was it fun?" I asked him? "Yeah, I liked it. But he didn't really look like a king." Jari told me. He was fascinated that the KING was wearing regular old clothes and not dressed in a crown and royal robe. Maybe his Playmobil castles, the movies we watch as a family (which are definitely not kid movies, but we do it anyway...my boys love Troy and Imperium Nero and Robinhood and...), and his favorite Age of Empires game give him an early-age view of a king. But now, he has a whole new perspective. He has met the king of the country in which he lives. He has had the opportunity to shake the hand of royalty. He has seen a king wearing a simple tan jacket, who is balding and a bit older. And though he is not Belgian, he has shared the excitement of Belgian natives as they stood waving their country flag, showing their patriotism to the king, the leader of their land. And my son was there in the midst of the excitement, sharing a moment he's likely to remember for the rest of his life.

And my biggest disappointment? Well, darn it all anyway, but I wasn't there to get a picture of my son shaking the kings hand. Pa-tooo-ey!


Thankful Thursday

Well, in the middle of the night last night as I cleaned up puke and more puke ALL over the house, I wasn't feeling very thankful. But this morning, well, I am Thankful for disinfectants!! I'm hoping Kaeden is the only one that is infected with this and my disinfectant does its job! Now, I can be thankful I have a washing machine and don't live in the 1800's when I would have had to do all the extra wash by hand. And I am thankful my son is lying on the couch watching cartoons, and he seems to be feeling a bit better than he was between 1 and 5 this morning. And I am thankful I have a portable DVD player and can snuggle back into my bed with him while he watches a movie and I can fall back to sleep and catch up on all those missed hours dealing with a sick kid. And, I am thankful that I am a SAHM, because I have the option to be here when my son needs me, and I can go back to bed for a nap, and don't have to worry about losing my salary, losing my job, or finding alternate childcare. That truly is something to be thankful for!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hoping your Valentine's Day is filled with LOVE! And not a sick kid like mine is...can you guess which one stayed home from his Valentine party at school today?? Yep, it's all in the eyes!

Now go on, let your favorite Valentine know just how much they mean to you!!! XOXO


Summing Up My Weekend

I couldn't say it any better. Just me and my boys, happy, content, relaxed. Life doesn't get any better than this!


Roman Name

Yesterday we spent the day at an open air museum. They had all kinds of activities for the kids to do, like grinding grain and then making cookies from your grain, throwing spears, making a knife, playing games from the middle ages, and learning the roman alphabet. It was a really perfect family day out and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. This morning at breakfast, the conversation turned to middle names. Kaeden asked what Jari's middle name was, and I told him that they do it a bit different here than we do in America. Jari's middle name combines both his grandparents names, but in latin...or it could also be seen as roman, adding the 'us' to the end of the male name. So, Jari's name is officially Jari Wilhelmus Theodorus ...what a mouthful! Erwin told Jari he has a name like the Romans (which he is VERY into these days). So, he said "Yeah, I am Jari WilhelmUS TheodorUS, from opa and grampa." Then he pipes up, "But it should be Jari BILLHELMUS Theodorus!" You see, he only knows my dad as grampa or Bill, not as his given name of William. I couldn't stop smiling. Quite a little smartie-pants I have on my hands!


Thankful Thursday

My mom and I had an interesting conversation on the phone a couple days back. She had read my blog as well as the comments and said, "You sure got a lot of comments on that post. Are they all your friends?" I struggled with the answer. Friends are, to me, people who care, give me their support, turn to me in times of need, and people I can have fun with. But I also hold my friends with high regard, and am not quick to call someone a friend. It takes a lot for me to trust someone enough to call them a friend and entrust them with my emotions and my secrets. So, do I consider my loyal readers my friends?

I have thought about this continually in the past few days. And I have come to the conclusion that, no, every commenter on my posts is not a friend. However, each has given me support. Some have turned to me for advice. Some I have shared an LOL with online. And the ones that I go to read their newest post and return a comment, well, I have come to know them, come to enjoy their words, that piece of their soul they are willing to share with me. I have been invited into their lives, their homes, their family. They are willing to share their most sacred treasures with me. And I with them. These blogs are merely our story. They tell bits and pieces of where we have been, from where we have come, and where we hope to go. And our readers, they come to know that very little piece of us that we choose to share every day. Is it the true us? In my case, it is. I offer my words depending on what is happening in my life at that moment. I write as a release for me and as a journal for my family. I do it because I enjoy it. But, I am willing to share it with the world, and there are a few people who return because I have in some way made an impact on them. It is those people that I have come to consider my friends.

So, are my commenters my friends? My conclusion is that yes, some of these people I consider my friends. Some I am still getting to know and are more acquaintances I regularly pass with a smile, and some are just people who I see on the street and nod a hello. But for today, I am thankful for my readers, for giving me support and for allowing me a look into your lives as well. For all the words of wisdom I have received from people I consider valuable additions to my world. I sincerely take what you say to me to heart. It makes me feel special that people take their time to share my journey of life, my reality. And for my friends, the real-life ones I have come to personally know, as well of those I am still getting to know and will one day meet, I am thankful for each of you. You bring a smile to my heart.

The Game of Life

This morning the boys and I were playing the Game of Life. It's something they have just recently discovered after realizing that their favorite Kid Life game was also available as an adult version in our game cupboard. We set it all up and began going the rounds. I came upon the birth of twins and the boys thought it was really funny. Kaeden asked me "So, do you want a boy and girl, or would you rather just keep me and Jari?!" I jokingly said there was no way I'd pick both of them again as my kids so they better give me two girls. They refused and I ended up with one boy and one girl. But, as Kaeden was putting my kids in my car, next to each other on the seat, he suddenly changed his mind. "I think one better sit in the back so they won't fight!!" and my 'daughter' took up residence in the back, behind her brother! It hit me so funny, realizing they know just what's going on and how to fix the problem, relating it to our own family life. I wish it was so simple to fix probelms in real life. But nonetheless, we'll just keep doing our best.

So, The Game of Life. Is it really just a game or is it real life in miniature? And what's the difference between real life and the game, besides the fact that you can't HEAR my son and daughter screaming "HE TOUCHED MEEEEEEE!!" " No, HE POKED MEEEEEE FIIIIRRRSSSSSTTTT!" WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!


What DO I Do Now?

I am getting ready to head to bed. It's nearly 2:30 in the morning and I was just shutting down my trusty computer friend when I noticed an email. The name staring back at me from my inbox was that of my sister-in-law. The one I have not spoken to in over a year and a half, the last time being a war on the Wyoming plains. This is my brother's wife. My niece and nephew's mother. Someone I not so very long ago considered my friend. And yet, during said war, some of the absolute most hurtful things were said and done which have allowed me to live in pain and sadness for the past year-and-a-half. Longer if you count the visits prior to said war. I was asked for forgiveness. Forgiveness. What does that mean, exactly? How, after so much time has passed convincing yourself that you can be okay without bitter people in your life, can one short email awaken nausea in the pit of your stomach? I am shaking. I am cold. I feel a sharpening pain behind my eyelids. My heart is doing some frantic double-beat which I don't understand. Forgiveness? How can I forgive when it is so much easier to despise? How can I forgive when I can't begin to forget the buckets of shed tears, the days of sitting before the porcelain throne, the hardness my heart has become? And yet, in the deepest me part of my soul, I want to forgive, I want to accept, I want to start again and find peace within myself. But how? Where do I begin? Can I ever truly forgive, or will I always find fault, be angry for the years that have been stolen from me, for the horrific words hurled my way and making me question everything that means the very most to me in the world, for words that stripped my children of their dignity and innocence. I am heading to bed. But you can bet that it will be another sleepless night stemming from the great war on the Wyoming plains. A sleepless night judging myself and my character and wondering if I can come to comprehend what forgiveness truly means.



Have you ever tried to play Bingo in a language in which all the numbers are spoken backwards? Well, that's where I will be tonight, doing my motherly duties during my son's annual Bingo Fundraiser. One year I actually won a grill. I was so nervous poking my hand in the air and calling out KENO! I was sure I had checked off a wrong number...such as 68 (in English) is 8 and 60. 42 is 2 and 40. 79 is 9 and 70. You get the idea...it gets very confusing and easy to make a mistake. I hope Kaeden wins tonight.. He is so geared up to bring home a prize. He's got his tickets in his pocket counting down the minutes until we can go. His face is etched in such concentration during the game and when he gets close you can nearly taste the tension in the air. I would be SO happy if he won!! And tonight, I'll have an outing with my first-born...he'll ask for money for drink tokens, I'll give it to him. During the break he will buy the traditional apricot appleflap, and we'll pick out 5 envelopes filled with numbers in hopes of winning a prize. And my son's face will shine in excitement even as mine is clenched in nervous wrinkles trying to find 8 and 50 (ahkt en vy-f-teeg) before the next number is called!


Here he is, my lil Dinosaur all ready for Carnaval. He's not a big one for face painting so I was thrilled when he agreed to let me paint him up at lunch today...and the results? Well, he's a very cute dinosaur...but don't tell him I told ya so!!!
Carnaval is a celebration much like Mardi Gras in America. And there are lots of parades and celebrations in which the kids enjoy dressing up and being wild and getting time off school...and many adults binge drink and get wild, so basically, we're just setting our kids up for later on...or something?! Anyway, I always enjoy getting to be someone else for a day, and now I have Halloween adn Carnaval in which I can do so and fit right in. I can be anyone or anything and no one bats an eye...and I have a reason to celebrate with such little beasts as this one shown! Life is quite what you make of it...and in this case, we'll just call it magical!