Something Good- Day 255-257

I came home very hungry on Friday, so we decided to eat out rather than cook something. We went to three different restaurants that all had long lines. While driving through the parking lot, we noticed that Jack-in-the-box had no line and decided to go there instead. I felt better after eating and we stopped at the grocery store to get some necessities before heading home. We spent the rest of the night trying to figure out financial aid for my sister, but we finally got everything done.

Saturday morning I scrolled through Facebook while eating breakfast and saw a posting for free furniture. I quickly changed and drove over. I was able to get a couple chairs for our basement and some cabinets. By noon, we had turned the cabinets into a makeshift play kitchen. Then, we took a quick trip to donate plasma and check out the thrift store. We found a stove for $0.50, which worked perfectly for the new kitchen we had made. We spent the rest of the night at my friend’s house for dinner and a movie.

Today, we went to church and had lunch there with friends. Afterwards, we updated the kitchen with pictures, a makeshift sink, and organized the supplies in the drawers. It looked great when we were all done, and the kids loved it!

Something Good- Day 197-198

It has been nice having my sister’s family over to visit for the last couple days. My fridge started acting up yesterday, which caused some problems. Luckily, they were able to move everything to our basement fridge and salvage most of the food. It can be hard to not have things as clean as I’m used to, but it is also nice to have children to come home to. That is one of the things I miss most about living with my brother. I miss my nieces and nephews running to greet me when I got home. It is nice to have that again even if only for a short time.

Something Good- Day 191-192

We are not supposed to give out treats at my work for sanitary purposes at the moment, but a little boy came into the branch with his mom and really wanted a lollipop. I figured since it was to protect people from germs, it would be okay if I handed it to the mom without touching it. I used a clean paper towel to pick up the candy by the wrapper and handed it to the mom. Maybe I broke policy for a moment, but I made a child happy. I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in the rules that we forget why they are there. It was nice for things to be somewhat normal for a moment.

Yesterday we went shopping and got an oil change. The oil change was long overdue, and I bought a couple emergency items for my car. It was nice to feel more secure driving, knowing that I can handle an unexpected car issue when it happens. I also got a few other items that I am excited about but will need to sell some things to make up for them.

Something Good- Day 47

I really like drawing. I do not get the opportunity to draw very often because I have a lot of other things going on in my life, but I always draw for my nephew when I come to visit. It is one of my favorite things to do with him. He is really into Pokemon right now, so I drew him some Pokemon today. 20200216_224415

 

My Story- Autism

It is difficult to tell my story with autism because I’m not exactly sure what autism means for me or how much of my life it has affected. I felt like a pretty normal kid until third grade. I had a good group of friends that I would spend time with at recess or during lunch. I was in speech therapy because I had a hard time saying the letter “R”. I didn’t feel like therapy made me any different than anyone else though. I went with a few other students and we played games. It just felt like a break from class for a while.

In second grade, I started hanging out with a certain boy in my class. Typical, elementary school crushes, we would sit on the swings at recess and talk. I hardly spent any time with my group of friends because I would be with my seven-year-old crush. The next year, he moved away and I assumed that I could go back to my group of friends and nothing would have changed. Of course, I was wrong. A lot changes in a year. My friends had new friends, a new leader of the group, and new things they liked to do to pass the time.

I no longer felt like I fit in, and set off on my own to find other friends. The thing is, I had no idea how to make friends, how to talk to people, how to recognize facial expressions or know if someone liked me and wanted me around. My first group of friends evolved around the sister of my brother’s best friend. She had been to my house before and so it was natural to gravitate towards her at school. When I left her and that group of friends, I had no leads. I had no one to gravitate to, and not being able to say the letter “R” made it difficult to avoid teasing or misunderstanding.

It’s a pretty simple story and seems to have little to do with autism, which is exactly why it took until seventh grade to receive a diagnosis. People said I was shy; they blamed it on my speech impediment; they said I was lazy or that school was just hard. I don’t even think my family understood. How could I explain something so simple and yet so difficult? In my seven year old vocabulary and social skills, how could I explain that I was still the same person, that nothing had changed about me; it was the situation that changed and I didn’t know how to handle it.

Once I was diagnosed, nothing really changed. I had some accommodations for school work and we focused more on social skills in my speech therapy sessions. It was still incredibly difficult, but I just kept going. That was all I could really do, all I can really do.

Now that I  know more about autism, I am beginning to explore what it means. I’m beginning to explore the differences in social reading, emotional reciprocity, and giving of social cues. I’m not good at it, but I am pretty good at faking it. I guess and then search for clues that I was right or wrong and make a course correction. I think we are all like that. We all don’t fully understand each other, no matter how well we can read social cues. For me, it’s just been more of an emotional and psychological journey.

What I am learning more about and learning to embrace more is the “restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior”- the sensory side of autism, the special interests, stereotyped movements. In my intellectual, black-and-white mindset, it’s not easy to accept these sides of autism. My mind tells me they are wrong, abnormal, different, unacceptable, unforgivable, unlovable. I’m just starting to get past those thoughts, but it’s difficult. It’s difficult to rewrite years of observation, experimentation, and self-experienced research. But that journey is a story for a different day.

My Birthday/ Being an Aunt

I had a much different post planned for today, but something unexpected happened… My newest niece was born yesterday… on my birthday. I guess sometimes you have your plans and then God has better plans.

Anyway, in honor of my birthday, I have revamped my blog and I’ve decided that I’m going to start posting twice a week and see how that goes. So you can expect posts every Wednesday afternoon in addition to my usual Saturday morning posts.

Because my niece was born yesterday, I’ve decided to write about how great it is to be an aunt. For me, it’s the greatest thing in the world. I’m not a mom yet so I can’t compare it to that, but compared to the rest of life, it is pretty amazing.

I don’t know if this has anything to do with autism or not, but I really love children. I love children a lot more than I like adults. Adults don’t make sense to me. They do things that I can’t understand and say things that don’t make sense and are in general far more annoying than children.

Some people wonder how I could not get annoyed with children, but I think it’s because they’re teachable. Adults are often stuck in their ways and have to be right or prove their point. Children aren’t afraid of being wrong. They’re not afraid to be crazy and make mistakes and have fun and just be themselves.

Also, it is so much easier to forgive a child for making a mistake than it is an adult. Even if adults don’t know any better, it’s hard to shake the feeling that they should know better. On the other hand, even if a child makes the same mistake over and over, you can still often convince yourself that they don’t know any better.

I just love the innocence and love and simplicity that children have. I love that they don’t feel the need to be someone else. And I love the way they laugh like it doesn’t matter what anyone says about it. I love their freedom. I hope that we can all seek to cultivate that freedom in children so that they won’t lose it as adults. We all need to be a little more free in our lives.

When I’m with a child, I feel more free. I don’t feel different or abnormal or flawed. I feel accepted and valued and loved. This is why I love being an aunt.

My nieces and nephews give me the feeling of being whole.