Susan's Blog

Friday, July 25, 2008

Just As They Are

Nat baked cornbread for us last night. All I had to do was get out the ingredients and the measuring stuff (actually, he can probably do that, too. How could I not know that? He knows where everything is!). It was, of course, delicious. I kept thinking, “It’s the last time… for a while…” and then pushing that out of my mind to keep moving forward, forward. Lick the bowl, slam the oven door, set the timer.

But I ain’t no shark. Moving forward is alien to me. I am one big circle, all round and coming back to the beginning.

In the beginning, I had this baby.
And now, I have this young man.

It happened in the blink of an eye. Listen to me, I know. All I’m saying is, please, please, just try, try to enjoy them. Just as they are. JUST AS THEY ARE, you hear me? Try not to live their childhood in a blur of therapies, strategies, school placements, meetings, vaccine-hating, hand-wringing, neuron-mourning, diets, chores, appointments, grudges, and cursing fate. Try to just be, in their presence, in the present, with God’s present.

You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.


I have been, thanks to the sage advice of you and other autism mommies who have walked this path before me.

Every painful transition in my life has brought me to a better place in my life. Getting there was usually painful, unfortunately, but I grew from the pain and came out better for it on the other side. I know you know all this, but I thought it might help to hear it yet again from someone else.

I have a lovely poem hung in my autistic son’s room entitled “Childhood Doesn’t Wait” (google) to remind me to cherish these young years when he still fits in my lap and still says “mama hold you?” You blink, and they grow. It still amazes me how time really does fly when it comes to your children.

Deep breaths, Susan. There will be more Natty cornbread. This is not the end, just the beginning of something else, something that will be painful to go through but will leave you all better off when you come out on the other side.

— added by ASDmomNC on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 8:32 am

Thank you for the reminder b/c I just did the “but there’s only 5 weeks left to teach them….” in my journal a couple of days ago. Then had to do the “but they go to school, you shouldn’t have to do it all yourself” thought.

Yes, it’s very easy to get lost in the teaching and the therapies. The professionals don’t help either, they mean well but do the “you should do this more, that more”… whatever happened to just hanging out at the beach like we did as kids???

Will add more beach and less worry over the next 5 wks.


— added by farmwifetwo on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 8:39 am

Yes. I agree completely.

— added by Jan B on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 9:02 am

Most parents do enjoy their kids while still advocating for them on many fronts. Parents who are proactive are not vaccine hating and grudge holding as you seem to indicate. I find them to be very thorough and their children tend to end up doing very well thanks to their persistance.

— added by Anonymous on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 10:47 am

That’s great to hear!

— added by Susan Senator on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 11:04 am

Maybe in the not too distant future, Nat will invite you and Ned to dinner at his place. There is still a world of opportunity ahead. You are expanding his horizons, and that’s the biggest gift you can give him. Hooty hoo. You done good, girl. Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 11:40 am

You’re all moving forward. And that’s for the best.

Hugs, platitudes and all that 🙂

— added by Someone Said on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 11:57 am

susan, i can’t tell you how much this means .. i tried .. here ..

i’d be honored if you’d take a moment to read it

thank you. truly. thank you.

— added by jesswilson on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 12:36 pm

One needs to consider the cartoon in the NY Times showing a young adult in cap and gown sitting in a baby carriage.

There is nothing sadder than a young adult who should have moved on still living with Mom and Dad. Worse, and more typical today than ever is the college grad who returns living at home in the name of saving money; yet they have new cars, cell phones, etc. Where is the pride in that?

I echo the sentiment of your son inviting his family to HIS house for dinner. Think of the empowerment which then becomes more than a word. You will be invited for Nat’s delicious corn bread!!!

— added by Anonymous on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 1:39 pm

As my eldest is 26, I have an ever present reminder of my own [although not whilst the girls are both away at camp come to think of it!]
Very best wishes

— added by Maddy on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Your words are so true. This afternoon was shopping for back to school supplies for my three elementary school aged children. There was endless discussion over which backpack, lunchbox and notebook to buy. The total came to $161.00. I immediately thought “thank goodness one day I won’t have to do this.” And then I read your blog today and was reminded how much fun our shopping trip was and how it is the mundane things like back to school shopping that I will miss when I no longer have it. So thanks for helping me keep my priorities straight, it is hard to do sometimes when he get overwhelmed with everyday problems.

— added by Sharon L. on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Susan, I so relate to you and look up to you as a mom who wants the best for all of her family and does not spend all of her energy fighting Autism. I feel that you are walking ahead of me and showing me a glimpse of the future. My son is 8 and reading this makes me just want to hold him in my lap and hug him. Thank you so much for letting us share your journey. You are role model. God Bless.

— added by Randi on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 11:32 pm

So true, and so lovely, Susan. I AM a shark (hence the name of the blog) but it doesn’t mean that I don’t like to idle and tread water and watch and admire,too.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful family with all of us.

— added by Drama Mama on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Thank you. I really needed to hear that tonight.

— added by KAL on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 11:51 pm

Drama Mama! I just have sharks on the brain, because it is summer…

— added by Susan Senator on Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 4:32 am

I actually came back and read this twice, because it was EXACTLY what I need to hear. Lately, I have been obsessing about my child’s development (she’ll never drive, she’ll never marry, she’ll never…). Thanks for sharing this.


— added by Anonymous on Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 8:19 pm

After reading Tolle’s latest book, I try to live in the moment often, and I especially try to do it with my boy. I was holding him only yesterday and now he’s almost 10 and almost as tall as me. Your post was lovely and so true. My wise and sage father in law said today “Remember, he’s a kid first!”. Wow, 84 years can do a lot for a guy.

— added by Bonnie on Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 9:21 pm

I hear you and I thank for this reminder.

— added by rhemashope on Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Oh, thank you for these amazing words; this desperately needed reminder. Sometimes it seems I’m wishing time away, waiting for life to get easier. When we get through this … or that … and then, the next thing you know…

This is what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it.

— added by pixiemama on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 5:14 pm