A Birthday Message To My Son

Mother and son 2

To my darling George,

As you go through life, you will hear many people saying that they don’t know what the meaning of life is. What is the purpose behind it all? Why are we on this earth and what are we supposed to accomplish?

Eleven years ago today, I found out the answer, and it is not something that can be put into words. It is something that can only be understood from looking into the eyes of your newborn child as you contemplate the enormous responsibility of creating a life.

Your birth – all 21 hours of it – was an anxious time for me. I had never done this before, and I really didn’t know what to expect. It took me several hours to recognize my labour pains for what they were. I suppose my frantic nesting activities that day should have been a clue. I was almost manic with activity as I flitted from one task to the next, vacuuming, doing laundry, reorganizing the fridge, cleaning windows – all while each pain radiating from the centre of my being brought you one step closer to me.

And then, that magical moment arrived. I lay spent on a hospital bed as your first cries filled the room. You were placed into my arms, and as I felt the warmth of your tiny little body, the thought struck me: “This is it. I’m a mom.”

That day feels like it was five minutes ago and a lifetime ago. Sometimes I look at you and think about how far you’ve come, how tall you are, how you are starting to make the mysterious transition from boy to man. And other times, when you come to me in need of comfort or a hug, when you try to curl your lanky self onto my lap, I look at you and see my baby.

Life with you has been an adventure. You have not followed the same path as most kids. There have been many times when we have had to stray from the beaten track and take the scenic route. The scenic route may take longer and have more obstacles, but it allows us to look at life from a different angle, and when we arrive at our destination, the sense of victory is like nothing else on earth.

I keep hearing about how challenging it is to be the mother of a child who is different. And yes, the challenges are real and cannot be denied. But the truth is that above everything else, being your mother is an honour and a privilege. You, along with your brother, represent what life is all about. Every day, you teach me something new about the things that are really important – love, determination, perseverance, togetherness, family.

You are my heart and soul.

Happy birthday, my son. I look forward to another year of discovery and adventure as you start your next rotation around the sun.

I love you forever,



Teen Series Part 5: Teenage Life

Over the last month or so, we have heard from three teenagers about how they think, what their dreams are, and what they want us “old” people to know about them. I am wrapping up the series the same way I started it: with South African teen Alex Zeeman. Today, she gives us a candid view of life as a teenager. Here are her words, uncut and unedited.

People think that the life of a teenager is easy, that we have no worries or, that we care not what the world thinks of us, that we’re unscathed by the world around us ……..

But the truth is that we, you, me and all the teens in the world feel, think and care what the world thinks of us.

Sure you get the rebels, people pleasers, the nerds, geeks and freaks, the jocks, athletes and bullies you get the popular and even little miss OR mister perfects …… people think that teen life is the PINICLE, the ABSOLUTE best stage in a humans life ……

But they forget, they forget what it was like to be mocked, bullied and ridiculed just because you had a higher IQ than those around you or what it was like to have no say in the way your life progressed or even what it was like to be everyone’s favorite, some may think that being popular is easy, sure for some it is, some thrive in the adoration of others …..

But to me, I personally think that “POPULARITY” is just too much hassle. Why you ask well, the answer is simple you always have to watch what you say you must walk this way, and wear that …… to be “PERFECT” to me means to basically be a robot, the way people look at you, talk to you and even interact with you dictates the way you look, act, speak, walk and even think ….. I mean teenage life is hard enough as it is why burden your-self with the added responsibility of being everybodys  favorite or by lashing out at people who just want to help you ….. There is too much in life that we have to worry about …. WHY ………

If every one tells us that we are kids, do we worry about what we’re going to be studying in 3, 4, 5 years we’re young but we act like were 40 ….. If we’re kids we should act like it we should have FUN, we should laugh and cry and do STUPID, STUPID things with our friends because the role of a child, of a teen is TO BE STUPID!!!!!

So if you want to be 20 when your 16 then act it, wear the shortest skirts you can find, sleep around with whomever looks at you the right way but DON’T get mad at the world when your decisions get you hurt, don’t lash out when you find yourself in a dark, dark hole with no escape because if you want to act older, then you should be able to face the problems, worries and stress of an older life ……..

Teens should be teens.

We are not children but neither are we adults so we either think like a child and so are usually categorized as such or we think like an adult and are categorized as such …… But we NEVER think as a teen you shouldn’t worry about the future ‘cause that’s what parents are for …. You shouldn’t worry about the past ‘because that’s what the dead are for ….. You shouldn’t even worry about the present ‘cause then you’ll never LIVE!!!!!

So think about what I wrote comment about it, and spread it ‘because it might not help you but maybe it’ll help someone else…….

Sincerely yours

(Photo credit: James Laurence Stewart. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)


Ramblings From The Heart

It is a lazy Sunday morning and I am trying to keep things low-key. My husband, who almost never drinks alcohol, was out with friends last night, and he has a bit of a hangover that he is sleeping off. My younger son is watching TV and my older son is playing on his computer beside me. I am sipping coffee and seeing if anything interesting has been happening on Facebook while I’ve been sleeping.

It’s pleasantly peaceful. I feel as if all of the pieces of my life are in harmony.

My older son abandons his computer game and comes to stand beside me. He is tall for his age, one of those long lanky kids whose pants never seem to be long enough. I regard this child of mine, this beautiful boy with autism who some higher power has deemed me worthy to parent.

In his sweet, lyrical voice and odd way of speaking, he says, “Go give Mommy a hug.”

I hold out my arms and he clambers into my lap – something that I am going to treasure while he is still just not-too-big to do so. He wraps his arms around my neck, kisses me lightly on my hair, and rests his head on my shoulder. Although neither of us is saying a word, the communication between us is profound and special. Our world of two feels complete.

I am intensely aware of the weight of responsibility. As I hold my child in my arms, I feel as if I am holding his future. Everything I do counts: every word, every gesture, every action. All of the mistakes I make – and in parenting, there are bound to be some – can cause some erosion, some little breakdown somewhere in my child’s character. But all of the things I do right can build him up. I visualize this moment that I am sharing with him right now. I imagine it adding another layer to his confidence and sense of emotional well-being.

Although this beautiful moment will soon be over – already, I am starting to sense my son getting ready to move on to the next part of his day – its effects will last forever.

Sometimes, as I think about the immense role that I have in creating positive, productive and happy lives for my children, a part of me – the part ruled by self-doubt – asks, “Can I really do this? Am I worthy of having such responsibility for two human beings?”

And at moments like this, as my son gets off my lap and goes off in pursuit of some adventure that only he knows about, I can hear the Universe whisper back to me.

“Yes, you can do this. And yes, you are worthy.”

(Photo credit: Kirsten Doyle)


Let Go Of The Guilt For Mothers Day

I am participating in the 2012 Wordcount Blogathon, which means one post every day for the month of May.

I have a tendency to take on too much. In this regard I am very much like most moms. Whether it’s genetic wiring or just a normal part of motherhood, trying to do everything for everybody is just what we do.

From time to time, we get challenged on this by well-meaning people who say things like, “You have so much on your plate. You really need to learn how to say no.”

Yeah, like that’s going to happen. We can’t possibly say no, because, you know, we’re doing it for the children. All of the late nights, and the hours spent doing laundry, and the long commutes to full-time jobs – we do it all for the children.

While this is perfectly legitimate most of the time, there are times when we use the “for the children” line simply because we cannot process the idea that it’s OK to actually do something for ourselves once in a while.

For instance, when people ask me why I run, I tell them that it’s for my son, to raise funds for autism. It is true that this is what got me back into running after a long break, and it is also true that it helps a great deal with my motivation. But let’s be honest – there are other ways to raise funds for autism that don’t involve entire Sunday mornings spent running instead of with my family. When it comes down to it, I run because it makes me happy , but I’m darned if I’ll actually say that out loud.

My husband has this computer game that he plays most evenings. It’s one of those war games where tanks blow up other tanks – a guy game that I, as a woman, don’t really get. He says he plays this game to unwind and release some stress, and I completely understand that. He works hard and he does have a lot of stress to deal with. It’s perfectly reasonable that he would need an outlet. But when I play my computer games at the end of a long, stressful day, it is under the cloak of intense guilt. I feel that the time I’m spending actually enjoying myself should instead be spent doing something for somebody else.

I know I’m not alone in this. I ran an informal poll on my social media feeds asking fellow moms for their views. Here’s some of what they had to say:

Kerry says that she feels guilty when she does things for herself or buys herself anything. “Can’t get a hair cut, the child needs one first. Can’t buy a new pair of shoes. Too much guilt!”

Tammy had a one-word answer to the question of whether she feels the guilt: “YYYYEEESSSSSSSS”

Hollie poignantly said she doesn’t feel the guilt, “because it’s very rare that I do anything for myself.” This is in a similar vein to Ruth, who says that she doesn’t feel guilty as such, but she’s simply lost the hang of doing things for herself.

Sara, a single mom of special needs kids who really needs a break, reports that she recently considered canceling a vacation so she could buy a car seat for her child, who doesn’t even need it yet. And Nicole said that the few times she doesn’t feel guilty, she starts to feel guilty about not feeling guilty!

I wonder why that is, just why we moms are able to turn guilt into even more of an art form than the Catholics. I mean, we are fully prepared to acknowledge when other people, like our husbands, deserve a break. Why can’t we do the same for ourselves?

If we got just a little bit better at slowing down once in a while, and unashamedly doing stuff we enjoy simply because we enjoy it, maybe we would feel less overwhelmed.

I have great admiration for the moms who strike more of a balance, the moms who take a stand for themselves and say, “You know what? I deserve this and I’m going to enjoy it without feeling guilty about it!”

Fellow mom Marci says she used to feel the guilt, but not anymore. “I found that doing *me* made me calmer and more available to my cherubs!!! Best thing I could’ve done for the family.”

Marci is one of several moms who have managed to make peace with the idea that they are as important as the people they take care of. As Jacquie says, ” If I don’t take care of ME, who’s going to take care of THEM?”

Randi agrees. “I realize that if I don’t take care of me, I’m going to be grumpy and not a good mom.”

Today is Mothers Day in most parts of the world. It is a day when, if we’re lucky, our families take the time to let us know they appreciate us. Why don’t we do that for ourselves as well, and for each other? Let’s give ourselves a much-deserved pat on the back and acknowledge all that we do.

And let’s make a decision to take care of ourselves and spoil ourselves once in a while, without feeling guilty, not just today but always.

Because we deserve it.

Happy Mothers Day.

(Photo credit: This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)