how was your weekend?


‘how was your weekend?’ my friend asked.

‘a roller coaster ride really,’ was the only answer i had.


a long weekend

three days

a roller coaster ride

of good, bad, ugly and extraordinary

of Autism with a capital A

and Breakthroughs with capital Bs

of sensory seeking and hearts sinking and focus spinning everywhere but here

of old behaviors and visceral communication

of grunts and shrieks and stomping feet

of searching for cobwebs in corners and begging for escape from all the ‘fun’

of innocent comments that stung like hell

of our dear winnie – our favoritest of favorite waitresses (who knows brooke so well) saying that her niece is five, ‘just like brooke.’

my girl is seven.

of a seven year-old riding the toddler slide at the pool. and needing a prompt to take her turn each and every time as the three and four year-olds went zooming by.

of playdates – well, one really – long anticipated, then over in a flash. of a mother’s cringe when her girl spelled the little boy’s name out in play-doh and he was shocked – simply shocked – that she could spell his name. of the mother asking if he could spell the girl’s name and him answering, ‘B-R-O-O-K-E’ and the mother asking then why he would be surprised that she could spell his. of the mother trying to hide a flash of anger as he said, ‘but i’m just surprised that she could do that, you know …’ and his words trailed off. of the mother trying hard to lose what she knew was a defensive edge as she said, ‘she can spell the name of every one in the class.’

of moments that might never have been believed. of a trip to the pet supply store to pick up a new bowl for winston. of a girl dragging her mom by a single finger to the back of the store to go SEE A DOG – a HUGE DOG – that had just walked in with its owner. of a mother beaming as her little girl stood before the dog – a monster of an animal nearly twice her size – and asked, ‘may i please pet your dog?’ the mother understanding that they’ve just begun to see the gifts that winston has brought to her family.

of a big sister tired of answering ‘why? why, katie? why?’ to the little sister who has just discovered the word. of that big sister hearing her mom jovially saying to a friend (a new friend, as in ‘hey, want to compare IEPs?’ kinda friend) at the pool, ‘it’s like having a toddler around. we’re back-filling the ‘why’s.’ of the big sister saying, ‘mama, when do kids USUALLY ask ‘why’ all the time?’ of the mom answering, ‘around three, baby.’ of the silence that hung thickly in the air right after the big sister said, ‘but brooke is seven, mama’ and the mama saying, ‘yes, honey, she is.’

of a day at the zoo. a day in which a little girl, previously afraid of anything that could fly stood INSIDE an aviary with a stick full of birdseed in her hand yelling happily, ‘a bird landed on it!’ of a little girl who then smiled and waited patiently for another bird to come – and then another and another.

of a daze. of a tired mom collapsing in front of mindless television before bed.

of the whirlwind tour in her head – of the ups, the downs, the corners at breakneck speed.

of a friend asking, ‘how was your weekend?’

and of the one image that comes to mind.

her little girl.

holding a bird on a stick.



26 thoughts on “how was your weekend?

  1. I love this picture! Your blog definitely gave us as readers a literal sense of a whirlwind. I found a really cool quote this morning and sent it to another new cyber-world connection (and put it on my FB): “Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.” (by Ray Bradbury). You and your family were given no choice about the cliff brought about by autism. But I continue to be astounded at the strength of the wings you’re constructing — and to the degree that our words in comment boxes help, we want to be part of that too. pk

    • oh, honey – you are indeed, more than you’d ever imagine.

      and that quote brings to mind another of my all time favorites:

      “when you get to the end of all the light you know and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.”

      edward teller

  2. Easy, Bucky. I’ll be there next week. In the meantime, we’ll pause for my little public service announcement that says even thought the WHY thing is typical for 3 year olds, the development stuff is not sequential. Some things, as you know, are wildly ahead.

    I’m doing that Women, Food and God thing and this is what I’ve learned:

    I’ve thrown away my scales.

    Learned how to say “F**k ’em” when someone that says something that I don’t like.

    Taken good care of myself.

    See myself as a perfect expression of who I am. Me. No one else.

    I think it might be safe to say that this applies to our kids as well.

    Brooke, I think, is light years ahead of us. At least me.


    • ‘i’ve thrown away my scales’ ..

      love that, in the biggest sense.

      an old friend of mine used to say ‘joke em if they can’t take a fk’ – different, but, well, ok just different.

  3. Diego has just started asking “why”….and it is “why” everything! Part of me is excited at the development, the other part is very tired of hearing “why”. These “holiday” weekends take a lot out of us…I know…Brooke is making progress and that is such a wonderful thing, later when you reflect on this weekend, let that be your saving grace. Hugs mama

  4. DOAM seriously, this 1 just about killed me. “Why”, because I am so emotional right now I can’t even stand myself and coupled with, this well sign me into some pysch ward for a little breather would ya please?
    How you convey these moments into such written form is truly a gift and I feel like I do nothing in return for this gift. You see we Irish are not suppose to always be taking, and it feels a little uncomfortable to just say thank-you without doing more. But thank-you and email hugs cause it sounds like you may have needed 1 or a 100 this weekend 🙂
    I will manage the customary GO Celtic’s even though….

    • You do do much more for me than you think.

      You’re here.

      You get it.

      That’s an awful lot in my book.

      Thank YOU

  5. I feel your pain. Some weekends, I’ve had it ‘up to here’ with Autism. Other days I marvel at the magnificient gift I have been given. Feels like an upside down backwards corkscrew coaster.

    But now, I have to go toss my scales ‘cuz I like that kinda thinkin!! (yes, too much Junie B. Jones this week, can ya tell?)

  6. I’ve definitely been there with the parental defensive edge. Still there, sometimes. And the whys – they came very late for us as well (9!), but it was such a turning point when they did. Get ready for Brooke to fly! xoxo

  7. I love, love, love that out of all that happened this weekend, your first thought is of Brooke with the birds. It can be so easy to dwell on the negativity in the world around us (because, let’s face it, without that outside world, we’d have nothing to compare to developmentally, no occurrences of others – kids and adults – criticizing and asking why our kids are the way they are), and I’m so glad to see you’re able to focus on the positive. Not always an easy task, m’dear.

  8. Trying to think of a new title for ‘holiday’ weekends like these! Scales and birthday numbers, and test scores – lots of numbers hollow of ‘real’ meaning…Jealous of the ‘whys’ – waiting for those and the who’s, what’s, where’s too!

  9. hope exhausted mama gets some respite, too. I love the image of standing near huge dogs and petting and birds on sticks…and so much more.
    love to all of you. xoxoxo

  10. A BEAUTIFUL picture. A memory to go with the rest of the ups and downs. it’s good that you take the time to write and remember. All children grow up fast!

  11. “holiday” That extra day just really seems the throw things off kilter doesn’t it? Makes me a tad worried for those times between school & summer school! Yikes, actually not just a tad!

    I love the way you constructed this post, it really does show the roller coaster that is our lives, all the time. The ups and downs, the expected and unexpected, it’s quite a ride!

    LOVE that picture.

  12. Wow, you sure did have a busy weekend, and you explained it very well in your blog. The writing style really fit what you were writing about.
    So many emotions – they overwhelm us sometimes, I know. I have different life experiences but I still get the so many different emotions thing.

  13. And isn’t her holding the bird the most perfect analogy? She’s learning to fly at a late stage, but still clearly needs her familiar comfort place. Others may think of her as a fledgling, but she has clearly spent her “Watching” time well…

    Our speech therapist once told us that the important thing isn’t the answers she can come up with, but the questions that she asks. Answers are flat; one-dimensional. Questions… questions open the world.

    Congratulations to all of you!

  14. beautifully conveyed – thank you for taking us along your whirlwind weekend. When I would be hurt when Noah was around others his age and I could see just how behind/different he is, I always tried to focus squarely on him & let the rest fall away. XO p.s. hope you get a nap 🙂

  15. Wow. So proud of Brooke for approaching the big dog. And I love her manners…asking permission before petting. Nice!

    And a hug for (((mom))).

  16. Oh girl, they don’t call ’em “LONG” weekends for nuttin! I share yor pain. Still waiting for the ” why” triumph… but I have faith that it will come a-knocking on my door one day soon.

  17. it’s only been in the last year, my guy’s 10th year on the planet, that dave and i have begun to really see and GET that he does get there, to those developmental milestones. just later. it’s all coming; it’s just delayed.

    so, the ‘whys?’ are late but look! they’re here! along with so many other things you’ve described!!!

    and yet, and still, i get it. i get the way it feels after a weekend like that, jammed with everything, the good, the hard, the celebratory, the heart-wrenching–there isn’t just one answer to the question, ‘how was your weekend?’.

    sending xxxx

  18. The constant whys wear me out, too. Especially because the whys are just to say something … not to find out information.

    Oh and sounds like we’ve been on the same thread lately about age and development. In light of drama’s advice (which I love) … f*** the age thing.


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