. With Love, From The Mother 'Hood: Iris

Friday, December 11, 2009


Light Iris by Georgia O'Keefe

"Engrossed is the bee of my mind/on the blue lotus feet of my Divine Mother"

-Paramhansa Yogananda, yoga master

Looking at my blog tonight I realized I only have one post for December. One friend recently asked, "Are you still blogging?", and the answer is yes, very much so! But, that may leave you wondering why I haven't posted much, and the answer is, I have been busy watching the unfolding of my life, promising myself I would slow down a little, much like the unfolding of a beautiful flower. Irises are my favorite. Calling to mind the Divine Feminine, tall statuesque stems topped with the soft curl of petals that evoke delicate strength, both revealing and protecting the inner most beauty. Irises have captivated me since I was a very young girl, anticipating the rebirth of the bed at the front of my childhood home every year, waiting for the beautiful full bloom, the petals gently folding back on themselves.

I can't help but feel that the intertwining of my girl self, having finally found her feet, and my woman self embracing that girl and helping her on her way is the key to the good place I am in, enjoying this new sensation of moving forward instead of remaining mired in the past. At the recent yoga class I attended the instructor shared an inspirational quote, picked randomly by me from a set of cards. If I am remembering correctly, mine read: "When you marry action with intention, miracles happen". So reflective of where I am in my life. I loved the class and enjoyed inner peace, finding balance while providing myself with some much needed "me" time. I was going to say "On a side note" before this next bit, but I feel all of this is part of the bigger something I am moving towards, and "side note" sounds inconsequential. The yoga instructor is a friend from high school whom I haven't seen in 20+ years; and through reconnecting with her (LOVE facebook!) I have discovered we share mutual friendships, some of which have been rekindled because of our interactions on facebook. I am amazed we never ran into each other, minus the time I now know I saw her at the mall, but was too chicken to ask if we knew each other. This, along with discovering other old friends from home also live here or have connections in the area has been a grounding force. We hale from a VERY small town - still trying to wrap my mind around anyone from home living here or having family here. (I guess it is just the place to be - Us kids from WLSV are cool like that.) I could go on and on about the connections - It is like my own personal version of six degrees to Kevin Bacon.

This has been a year of discovery for Marc and me as partners and parents. With our recent major milestone reached, helping Max to gain independence from his TSS, (TSS = Therapy Support Staff; a woman that attended school with him full time up until this year to address behavioral issues and implement his treatment plan) I have been thinking a lot about the progress he has made in regards to his autism and all that we have overcome. I said to Marc, "I really don't know how I got through some of it" - it was that bad. I often didn't leave our house because it was just too difficult to manage his behaviors; he screamed about everything you can imagine from the tag in the back of his shirt, fluorescent lights in stores, the smells of the chemicals used to treat new clothing, to left turns made while driving just to name a few - and sometimes he would just scream for no apparent reason. The "tantrums" that would result from his sensory processing disorder were a 100 on a scale of 1-10 (many children have coexisting disorders with autism; Max also has Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD; please see http://www.spdfoundation.net/aboutspd.html for more information).

He is my third, so for quite awhile, two years in fact, I convinced myself he was just "the hard one" and I had lucked out with my first two. Deep down in my mom heart I knew there was so much more wrong, but it was easy to remain in denial when every time I approached the pediatrician about his milestone delays I received answers like "he is a boy, wait and see" or well meaning friends, trying to ease my mind would say "Oh my child does that too, sometimes". If you are reading this and have any doubts about your child's development don't "wait and see", it is the worst thing you can do. I am confident that all of the early intervention Max received is a huge part of his success. http://www.firstsigns.org/ is a wonderful site for info and if you have a child that is school age and need guidance, Wrights Law, From Emotions to Advocacy is a wonderful, easy to understand book detailing special education law, your child's rights and how to effectively advocate for them within the complicated system of public education. I hope my determination to be an advocate for my own children allows me to reach other families as I go.

I remember the day the Early Intervention team arrived at our home like it was yesterday. I had invited them, but definitely did not want them there. I knew before they uttered their heart crushing results, that everything was about to change. As I look back on their findings I am amazed at how far Max has come. He was 28 months old, and the results ranged from the highest, 22 months for Expressive Language, 17 months for Cognitive Development, 16 months for Social/Emotional Development, 15 months for both Physical Development and Receptive Language to the lowest - a gut wrenching score of 11 months for Adaptive Development (self help skills such as feeding, dressing, etc). At this point all we had was the SPD diagnosis, and the Occupational Therapist that evaluated him said he was one of the most sensitive children she had seen; not only was he highly sensitive, but the number of things he reacted to was remarkable. I remember Marc saying to me as we lie in bed that night, holding hands "Maybe it isn't as bad as they think" and me, tears streaming down my face in the dark saying "It is a thousand times worse than I ever imagined." Max hadn't even exhibited his worst behaviors that day, in other words, they had seen him on a "good" day. It would take another 10 months to obtain an official diagnosis of autism. By that time the diagnosis was something I was seeking instead of denying. I think any parent that has gone through this will tell you, there is a grieving process your mind has to go through, and denial is a huge part of it, and unfortunately some become stranded there, the enormity of realizing something within your child is "broken" too much to bare.

Milestones that we took for granted with our first two took on a whole new meaning with Max. We have reached many, and I truly believe we are better people and parents because of this journey. I know we are fortunate that he has come so far and I know in my soul that despite all the heartache I am a better mom because of it. Within the last month I connected with another old friend from home, and we have so much more in common than our roots. She is someone with an amazing amount of grace and goodness, although I don't think she feels that right now. As we shared bits of our lives, that opening, folding back feeling was immense and it was another moment that brought my life into perspective, and as I watch my son unfolding before my eyes, blossoming and becoming more than I ever dared to hope for, I know I am on the right path.


  1. The idea of lives unfolding...Love it! Look forward to reading more in the New Year. - K

  2. what a great blog to start the New Year. You brought to mind a wonderful memory of gardening at the home you grew up in. I had forgotten about the patch of Iris' that magically appeared faithfully each Spring as the long Winter snows began to disappear. I didn't think in your youth that you really took time to notice the flowers, but gardening was always my place to go for a some peace and a little bit of my own world. The beauty of the flowers was an added gift of nature. You took me back there. Thank you, Mom


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