Who Am I Hats


When I was younger, much younger, I was taken to an Amy Grant concert.  Yes, I said an Amy Grant concert (giggle).  In our house she was called Amy.  Just Amy.

Anyway, Amy sang a song about all the different roles (or hats) she has to wear in her life. Being a kid, I thought that was a clever little analogy of life.  Heh.

Guess it made me grow up knowing I would have to wear lots of hats. Mom hat, work hat, washing dishes hat, sister hat. You get the idea.

You know what I wasn’t expecting? All the different hats for how to make decisions. When I come home on Wednesday night, am I a tired professional, a rule setting caretaker, a caring mother, a depleted intovert, a hobbyist, a kitchenista, a house and yard tender, a health conscious exfoliator, an activist, a pet mommy?

The world will tell you that you can be all and totally rock it.  I knew within 24 hours of being a mom that I couldn’t wear all those hats. I thought that meant I was broken. I wasn’t good enough.  But I couldn’t say that. Then someone would know.

Believe it or not, when Nick Mom came on tv one night and had the stand up comedy with parents willing to get on tv and say all the things I had been thinking about the impossibility of Super Moms and talking about their own imperfections, I was ecstatic. My relief flew around me like little butterflies of light and color and happiness.

So I learned that one cannot master all hats. But what hats must be mastered and what hats are for later and what hats are “not all the time but right now in this minute yes”?  Sadly I can’t figure it out.  What if I get it wrong?  What if my kids grow up and come to me and say “if only you had just worn that hat more or on this day”?

All those “who am i” hats will affect every decision I make. What parts of me are me and what parts are ones I feel should be and what parts actually should be but aren’t yet?

I guess what it really comes down to is that I don’t trust myself to know what to do. I have been living with myself for over thirty years. I know I can be an idiot.  Fully aware.  I also cannot tolerate the thought of something being irreparably lost or damaged.  I am also not the “normal” girl. (Secret: pretty sure I don’t even know how to exfoliate.)

All this is why I need my own grade card, my own template.  One without exfoliation and one that has an autistic son included and that has an obsession with naps built in.  I need to do more of throwing stuff into the wind to fall where it may.  I need to stand my ground more and trust that sometimes just because someone else says I should have come to a different decision that it is okay to say “Nuh-uh!”

More hats in the wind: check

One day at a time: check

Exfoliating: eh. sorry hubby!

Giving “super mom” idealogy the heave-ho: check

Gonna sneak away and take a nap when my mom is “momentarily” watching the boys: check

Letting some toys break because my kids are throwing/stepping on them: check

(Blue Fish has this obsession with stepping on things. He sees it and he must step on it.  I am not sure he can control it!) =)

Figuring out life: A for effort, A for mental exertion, C for follow through so far. No extra credit will be turned in – I am too sleepy/cranky.


What’s For Dinner?

Ugh.  I can’t decide if its fate or irony that I would have a child whose autism diagnosis pretty much guarantees that he will be a picky eater. Even trained therapists can make no headway with Red Fish. The child is food stubborn.

Why is this fate or irony, you ask?  I HATE food.  When left to my own devices, I will either not eat or revert to a diet of goldfish, pieces of American cheese, and cereal.  Which is what my kids eat!

Some women fantasize about cooking healthier, meal planning for a month, cooking gourmet.  I fantasize about being someone who fantasizes about these things.  I will put together a plan to get the boys to eat better and then fold after a day of their self-imposed fasting. Why? How could I do this?  Because I totally relate to their plight.

I have been talking for weeks now that I am going to meal plan a week’s worth of meals and then…follow through!  In my purse right now is that week’s worth of meals.  Are they awesome? Are they elevated? Nope.  One night says spaghetti.  One night says chicken and rice. I picked two lunches that I will be alternating.

It is important to note that these meals are just for me and the hubs right now.  My boys either eat at school or at the grand-p’s during the week. So I call this Stage 1.

Meal plan: check

Feasible meals: check

Simple grocery list: check

Setting good example for boys: check

Eating healthier than fast food: check

Knowing what’s for dinner: check

Feeling silly that this seems like an accomplishment and embarrassed to show the world that I have trouble feeding my family because of kid AND parent food issues: check

Admitting that I make this harder on  myself by feeling that way: check

Current grade for all things food: D

Learning to be ok with this, cut myself some slack for being a working mom, believing that I can do better, and deciding to do better – even if I don’t know exactly how yet.


They so did not eat this:


Switching Lanes

My Expensive New Lotion Didn't Get Used By Me

My expensive new lotion that Blue Fish decided he wanted to try out. =)  nothing was left when he was done. Said he was oxy-cleaning.


This first post is to let everyone know that I am changing the focus of my blog.  There will still be stuff in here about my boys, of course.  But the focus will not be so much about autism as it will be about me figuring out if I should be proud that I got the boys to eat a piece of cheese with their goldfish or if I should be disappointed in myself that I didn’t even break out the apple slices that I know they will run screaming from.  I am hoping I will manage to pull off some funny in all of this.  If this is not something you want to get updates about, I will understand if my follower count goes down.  Just want to be reals ya’ll…just want to be reals.




Lines Become Poems

A woodpecker pecking a tree
A salmon jumping rapids
A caterpillar changing
A child learning to write

One peck
One inch
One day
One line

By itself, it is so
And so far from the

But the results are
A home
A new generation
A butterfly
A poem

It begins with choosing
To start a journey
With a peck
An inch gained
A change
A line drawn

Time will pass
Headway lost
You will be vulnerable
Erasers used

But the results are
A home
A new generation
A butterfly
A poem

All of which
Are beautiful
Are needed
Are worth it


The Powerless Middle Class

In the workforce everyone knows that companies are held together by the nameless ones. The administrative assistants and accountants and IT. The people who don’t get their names on plaques or company letters. You know who your contact is to get something done or find out information.

The US is the same. This country is held together by the middle class. The people who go to work and follow the rules. We have enough to pay our bills and our taxes and upgrade our cars when we have kids. Our time is filled with work, school, kids, kids’s school, small vacations, and doctor appointments.

This is why we are and will continue to be completely screwed. We don’t have the time or the money to advocate for something better. We just take our licks, get up the next day, and go to work.

There is no time to devote to improving laws, cities, services, or political representation. We go to meetings, but don’t organize them. We do walks and fundraisers but don’t get on planning committees or create new organizations. Our taxes pay for the government but we have no say in how that government is run because instead of going to political functions, we are at work or caring for our kids.

Politicians say they are for the middle class and we pay their paychecks, but they are sponsored during elections and lobbied by the upperclass. They are voted for by the lower class.

The rule followers, the paycheck, the middle class…we don’t have the time, money, or energy to make a big splash…so we go quietly into the night.

We think our 30 minutes or $30 won’t make a difference, so we do nothing. I am actively trying to do something but no one wants my 30 minutes or my $30 because it isn’t $3M, so I am standing on the corner with $30 and half an hour and will walk away unanswered.

I am a middle class mom with an autistic child who wants to make changes. I do a walk for autism every year and the money I raise leaves my state and I never know what happens to it. But it is all I have to feel that I am fighting for my son. I don’t have the time or money to create a new foundation. So I take my licks and do my best.

We keep doing this. Taking our licks. Wanting more but starting with so little. We are the powerless who empower the rest of the country. We hold all the strings together so everything works, but meanwhile our lives and potential and families unravel.

If we each did a little. If we talked and organized so the little that we did worked towards a coherent bigger goal, that would be something. That would be getting our power back. Would it matter if you woke up tomorrow and decided to do that little something that seemed so inconsequential before? Will you ever know the answer to that question if you don’t try? Should the answer even matter? At least you won’t be going quietly into the night.


The Freedom of Choice is a People Thing

If our situation in life is not what we want, most of the time we can do something about it. We can change jobs, change houses, change relationships, change our diet, change our attitudes. It is a freedom of mankind.
One of the fringe benefits of our customizable lives is the ability to decide if we want a pet. These pets bring something into our lives that can be of minimal impact or can be instrumental to our wellbeing.
Our pets do not have the freedom of mankind to draw upon. They cannot decide to change their jobs, houses, relationships, diets, or attitudes. Most of the time they have phenomenal attitudes and if there are any behavioral issues, it is the result of being treated poorly.
Every dog, cat, horse, guinea pig, goldfish, and bearded lizard that is born into the pet world is completely dependent on the decisions of its owner. They have no power. No say in any decisions.
That is why I am so glad that we have organizations that look out for these animals. Organizations that get laws passed to protect them so that abused animals can be removed from their environment.
People in bad situations, ones where they are degraded or not appreciated will say they feel like they are being treated like a dog, like an animal.
No person should ever feel like that. And if that is worth saying, it is also worth saying that no animal should feel that way either.
I am supporting my local humane society this month to show my appreciation for what they do. Will you do the same with me? Every dog collar, every can of kitten formula, every dollar is more than doing nothing.
Do you have a different cause that is important to you or have you made a Humane Society donation recently? I would love to hear what other people are doing in this world of ours.
To check out the Humane Society where I live go to Humane Society of Pulaski County. They do really great work.


The Devil Delights in Derailing the Details

Things very rarely go as I expect them to.  I find this fact to be very upsetting.  It can and will completely shoot my day from ok-ish straight down into the fiery depths of hell.

Even something small.  Something miniscule.  Something that should have gone exactly as I had planned it was so tiny.  But it doesn’t.  And I say, “What the $*#*?!  How did that even go wrong?!”

It is like those people who are floating down a river in inner tubes.  Some people just lay there and somehow manage to stay in the middle of the river.  I am one of those people who is constantly working to stay in the middle of the river.  As soon as I start to relax, I start drifting to the side (where the snakes and scary shadows are!).  So I am constantly working, not relaxing, and not having a particularly good time.

Screw it.  What comes will come.  Maybe I just need to get out of the river the next time I hit the side.  It’s a stupid river anyway.

And I am not going to be upset about that thing that went wrong today when it couldn’t possible have gotten messed up.


Ok, I was hoping that right after I said that it would be true.  Deep breaths.

One dollar at the grocery store, one dog toy, one smile at a stranger.  Those are the things I should be deciding upon, the things I should be acting on.  I do not need to exert effort trying to fix something that I have no control over.  Something done, even if it is not what I had planned to do, is better than nothing done.

Thanks for listening.  It helped a lot to get that out.


Just Because Its Legal to Kill a Cat Doesn’t Make It Right

I worked at a vet clinic for two weeks a long time ago. While I was there, a cat was brought in to be put asleep. Her kidneys kept failing and she was suffering.
I was the one to hold her when it happened. I remember the injection was bright pink. I remember what it felt like for her to slip away. To be alive one minute and then to be gone a few seconds later. I wanted to yell, “Wait! Take it back!”
Experiencing death from within the shelter of your arms means you carry a piece of that death with you forever.
So you can imagine why I am so grateful for places like the Humane Society. It is one thing to stop the suffering of an aging cat. That was hard. But to do so to a healthy animal because they have no one able or willing to give them a home…it shouldn’t have to happen like that.
Animal shelters with a no-kill policy will always have my moral support. This month I am going to take it a little further and hopefully will have a good turn-out for my donation drive.
Social change begins with one person taking one step.

The Price of a Dollar

Where I live, we have grocery stores called Kroger. I like going to Kroger much more than a superstore.
If you are like our family, money is tight. You stand in the checkout line and cringe as the items are rung up.
Our Kroger has barcode cards at the registers for Food Bank donations. Just grab it and have it scanned at checkout – can’t get any easier or more convenient to give the gift of food.
But I rarely did it until Tyler asked me about them one day. I explained them and he wanted one. He was like, duh?!
My husband would fight the urge to think it a scam, I would fight the urge to consider it a penalty shot on my total cost goal. There are a thousand reasons to check out without picking up one of those barcodes. It is only good for a dollar anyway, right?
The thing is, as much as it is more inspiring to hear about a millionaire funding a soup kitchen or you being able to pull up to a food pantry with a car full of name brand goodness, that only goes so far, only happens sporadically. A movement of an entire community committing to giving a dollar once a month is a real long-term change.
$12. That’s all. Some days it will be nothing and others like Mt. Everest. Change the world, change yourself.