seeking light

I’d had a post planned for this morning, but I got derailed on the way to it. I made the mistake of scrolling through my Facebook news feed, you see, and, well, things are kinda ugly out there. I have a lot of friends, on Facebook and otherwise, who don’t take kindly to racism and ableism and homophobia, and well, the list is long so let’s just go with “institutionalized bigotry,” shall we? And so they point it out when they see it, for which I am grateful, because we need to know where it is, especially when it’s hidden in the most insidious of places, in order to combat it. But it also makes for some tough reading at 5 o’clock in the morning.

So I clicked on my personal messages. Figured it had to be safe in there. Alas, it was a friend responding to the note I’d sent her, sharing my own outrage and sadness the other night at a baffling exchange on Diary’s Facebook page. I’d posted the following:


Since the girls are on vacation this week, we let Katie go out to dinner with a friend tonight. While Luau and I started to talk about what the rest of us would have for dinner, Brooke got agitated. “Wait! Wait!” she shouted, “We can’t do Grace without Katie.”


Editor’s note: Brooke also asked Luau to be the “dinner helper,” the words that she had available for “waiter,” which we were able to discern when she told him that dinner helpers stand while the rest of us eat. I may or may not have laughed my arse off.

{Image is a very smoldery photo of Gerard Butler, which technically has nothing to do with this post, but when I googled “waiter” to find a picture to use and didn’t find what I had in mind, I tried “butler” and this is what came up and then I stopped caring about finding a picture of a waiter. You’re welcome.}

On which someone inexplicably commented:

Wow, it’s not just Xmas, you say “grace” too. You sure turned yourself from a Jew to a Goy 100%!! Good for you Jess!! A true Jesus/Christian fan!! Be proud of turning your childrens’ back on your people, heritage, and family history. Not shameful at all – LOL. You can X me out now just like you did to your true self. Bye!!!

And to which I’d responded:

Wow, you seem to have decided that you know my story, which, based on your comment it’s clear that you don’t. I don’t feel the need to justify my family’s traditions, inclusive as they are of both my husband’s (Christian and Buddhist) and my (non-religious Jewish) heritages, nor to explain that our Grace is a beautiful and sacred moment in which our family says, at every meal, “Thank you for the food we are about to receive and the precious gift of each other.” I also don’t feel the need to tell you that grace is not only to be found at our table but in our hearts. In the way that we treat one another with compassion and charity, cherish each other, and respect one another and God. Last I checked, those also happened to be the tenets of Judaism, a religion that takes a lot more than righteous indignation online to practice. Incidentally, as soon as I hit enter on this comment, I will be banning you from the page due to a clear violation of my comment policy. God bless and may you find some grace of your own. 


Clearly, it was time to bid Facebook adieu for a while so I came back here and scrolled through the comments and pingbacks awaiting approval. Turns out that wasn’t the best place to hide. I deleted one comment conflating homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality (what is it with religious fanatics and this obsession with sex with kids and animals? Seriously, guys, you might want to ask yourself what’s going on there.) I took a deep breath and then moved on down the list.

Next was a comment on Blind asked if perhaps I wasn’t violating my own policy of No Tolerance For Intolerance by referring to the Westboro “Church” folks as $&!holes in the post.

This is what I wrote in response …

While the point is well taken, I have my limits. I try not to call people names or belittle others for their belief system. However, when your “belief system” leads you to harass military family members by picketing the funerals of their fallen soldiers and to parade around the country showing up where people are grieving their unthinkable losses with signs that say “God hates fags”, well, yeah, I’m going to call you an asshole.

Ed note: I was going to insert a photo of the Westboroers and their signs here, but when I googled them and came up with young children holding signs alongside their parents reading, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “Fag Love = 911,” well, I just didn’t have it in me. 

So I kept going. And I came upon a pingback that looked a little odd. (A pingback is notification that someone out there in Internet Land linked to my blog. It’s always fascinating to see the various contexts, perspectives, even languages, and well, it’s just interesting to see how people are using my stories and relating them to what they write.) So I clicked on the link. And this is what I found:

According to the Dig Dug kill screen, Freshly Riffed is where I make fun of the titles of Freshly Pressed blog posts. Also, oh god this game is existential hell.

Each title will be linked to the original author, and remember; All mockery is for mockery’s sake only.

And there was my post, Waiting Out the Demons, being mocked among the rest. There was my story of holding my little girl through the hell of anxiety and fear and sadness and the toxic soup of hormones and autism and trying desperately to protect her, to help her, to love her through it all as she wailed, wordless … and there it was … being mocked (for mockery’s sake only).

Yeah, little known fact: Demons actually have ADHD, you just have to wait till they get distracted. “And soon, we will descend upon the hapless mortal and swallow his soul- OOOH LOOK A SQUIRREL.”

My post, trembling as it was with emotion and helplessness and fear, was a joke. And not even a funny one.

The truth is, I’m tired. I try hard to don my rhino skin every day, but sometimes it all gets through and it’s just too damned much. Not sure where to wrap this up, but I’ve got to get my butt to work, so I’ll end with a graphic that I made yesterday. The one that got me through the day and will get my through another and another still as we fight for compassion in a world that sometimes feels like its lost its way completely.


{text of graphic reads “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that. MLK Jr.}




59 thoughts on “seeking light

  1. Oh my God.
    I’m sick.
    I have a few choice words for all of this but it would violate everything in the book. I’m sorry you came on that.
    I’m just going to keep repeating Dr. King’s words in my head until I feel better too.

  2. I am both sorry and quite frankly upset and disgusted that you’re going through this. This is totally and absolutely unwarrented. I stand behind you completely and without question. And what’s more, I’m proud of you.

    Love you,

  3. Please don’t let the horrible people out there bring you down. Your posts and your hope have brought so much comfort to me since I discovered your posts on FB. I have three children. My oldest has both Asperger’s and ADD and my daughter has Asperger’s as well. Adjusting to the their diagnosis and the ways others view them and their (to them) “weird and bad behavior” has been a journey full of ups and downs. As hard as it is we just have to try to make it through each day’s hard moments and enjoy the beautiful ones. As hard as it can be sometimes for my children when they are dealing with ugliness from other people I still wouldn;t want to change them in any way. They are wonderful just the way there are….the hard part is helping the world see their differences as the glorious gift to be enjoyed and not feared.

    • I second this sentiment. This blog has meant so much to me, and I tell all my friends about it. You’re brave to do it. Please don’t stop! The huge number of us who support you has got to outweigh the idiots who don’t, surely? Here’s hoping.

  4. All i can say is that there is so much hate and evil and ugliness out there. But you continue to be a beacon of light and hope for all who are struggling alongside you.

  5. For every hater that responds, there are so many more moms out here that don’t respond. Maybe we mean to, but are too busy at the moment and then forget. Or, maybe we don’t feel that we have the words that make sense, so we don’t post a comment. You though, are a light that helps so many of us that are fumbling in the darkness. Thank you Jess for your light and the warmth that it provides for so many of us. Thank you and your family.

  6. This makes me angry for you. But, don’t give their hate any space in your mind or your heart. You see, thanks to you, there are tons of people like me who have been educated. Taught to see the differences, embrace the differences and celebrate the differences among us. I first stumbled on your blog years ago. I found myself in the dark abyss, raising a son who was different. Tons of appointments, therapists, isolation, tears, and of course the daily struggle to see the positive. And then finally, a diagnosis. I couldn’t deal at all, you know those first few days when you are thinking, “Stop the ride, I want to get off?”

    Well, then came you. And your Facebook posts, that a mutual friend commented on. How in the world did your wisdom come to me when I needed you most? I’m not sure. But, I want you to know how much light you have brought to ME. I’m a mom, also struggling to build a better world for both of my sons. A mom who still struggles daily, dreads the IEP meeting, whose son is making great progress, but still hopes for a world that embraces him. You see, you make me feel I’m not alone. So, I guess my point is, for every hateful, disgusting person who comments, there are people like me. People who thank God for you, for all you’ve done to bring light to their world by sharing your journey. Yup, forget those people.

  7. THIS encompasses you….THIS is what makes you so undeserving of what you are going through…THIS is why you inspire so many with so little hope, to dare…..hugs!

    “Dare to Be”

    When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

    When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

    When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

    When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

    When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

    When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

    When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

    When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

    When love hurts you, dare to love again.

    When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

    When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

    When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

    When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

    When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

    When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

    Dare to be the best you can –

    At all times, Dare to be!”
    ― Steve Mariboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

  8. Oh, Jess. What a completely crappy way to start the day. I couldn’t help but comment, as I hope many others do, in an effort to balm the burns that can wreck a weary soul. I know it takes heaps of positive to affect us the way even a little bit of negative can, so here’s my little heap: your blog is one I am always excited to see in my inbox. Your willingness to share the authentic struggles AND joys of being a parent are reassuring and enlightening. I love being able to celebrate your family’s small miracles. I know small miracles. Our daughter has Rett Syndrome. Thank you for your vulnerability. It’s only your willingness to be so publicly vulnerable that brings these stinging barbs. Today I will pray for you, for a grace that might be hard to find when such poison seems to be permeating, grace to fill you up when others’ words are trying to empty you, and someday, grace to spill over and silence those words, even if it only means they don’t beat a rhythm in your heart all day.

  9. Oh Jess, usually your posts leave me speechless for an entirely different reason. I wish I could give you a hug to fill your soul back up with love and light and hope. Know that I am carrying you in my heart today, because I understand those days when the world feels too big and too dark. When you are a warrior on the right side of love, and you are, you are so much more vulnerable to the indecencies of our social climate. You are just one person with a beautiful truth to speak, but so were Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi, and Mother Theresa, and Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela…and so are all of us who walk a similar path and know a similar truth. Stay strong, kiddo. You’ve got just what you need on your side.

  10. Jess please find solace in the knowledge that even on a brutal site of mockery some who read and post a snitty response will find a glimmer of truth, a beacon of hope in the post. As those who mock loudest are usually the ones who are running from what they mock.

  11. Jess,
    Perhaps someone busy mocking came to your page from that link and learned something. That is what I choose to believe, that even mindless cruelty for kicks (mocking for mocking’s sake) can lead to something positive if people like you are out there sharing light and refusing to give into the darkness. Unplug and recharge – always take care of what you need but know you are making a difference. You do inspire people to be their better selves. You have inspired me.

  12. Jess,
    Please don’t give up, we need you. We need you to help us fight the dark and the ugly with truth and light and laughter. Know that we are surrounding you with love today and holding you up.

  13. I’m sorry you’re feeling surrounded by idiots and bigots and nastiness. Please know your blog and fb posts are something I and I am sure many others cherish. It is such a comfort to know you walk a similar path. Your words give me comfort and hope. And many of them are inspirational and brave and daring. Don’t let the morons get you down. They’re louder than everyone else, but I have to believe there are many more wonderful people doing good in the world, walking with and supporting you in all that you do.

  14. I have been sitting with this post for a while now and I am speechless and tearful. This is the kind of stuff that prevents people from reaching out, connecting, and supporting one another. When the bad and ugly come roaring at you, it takes such courage and steadfastness to keep up the good work. I am one among so many who look to your writing each day as a beacon of hope and light in a world that, for me, is so confusing and dark at times. There is such darkness out there, but where would we be without the light? You are so supported in all you do, Jess. Take a day to get recharged by your wonderful family and then please come back to the blog. You are such light. Thank you.

  15. The internet can be very mean and thoughtless place but always remember those of us who read your posts and share your joys and sorrows, as you share ours. I don’t comment much on your blog or FB page but I read everything you post and it helps me to know that my family isn’t the only one who struggles. Big hug to you.

  16. People who fill their lives with negativity often do so because they think it will protect them from the negativity others bring into the world. It’s a horrible defense mechanism.

    Because you have chosen to face the world with positivity, it leaves you open and defenseless against people like that. I admire you so much for your vulnerability. And I know how hard it is to keep up. I won’t tell you “Don’t let it get to you”… because the fact that it’s getting to you, that it affects you, speaks volumes about what kind of person you are. Just know that you’re not alone. *holds you in the light*

  17. This is why I’m afraid to even “come out” as a mom of autistic boys on my Facebook page. I can handle hate directed at me, but my kids? Forget it. I’m not strong enough for it. Your strength is inspirational. This blog is often the only one I trust, where balanced perspectives are found and love shines. This blog is full of respectful, valued discussion and is inclusive of all voices. You’ve become a leader to so many parents who want to change the world, and you’re our voice when we feel helpless, hopeless, lost. Maybe you didn’t intend it to be this way, but as you say, nothing happens by coincidence. You are doing exactly what you were made to do. Love and prayers to you and your family.

  18. Jess, you’re our Light. Some people choose to hang around the dark for whatever reason, or to see dark when it’s not there, or to stir up dark for their own amusement. I’m really sorry it all came together to hurt all at once.

    But there are 20,000 of us that think of you and your family with love and care every day (seriously, I read your stuff EVERY DAY and miss you when I don’t get a chance. Take a break from facebook, or find the post that made you feel warm and just focus on that one.

    And I like to think that Debby is right. Most won’t click on the jerk’s link, but if just one person clicks on it who NEEDS it, I’m thinking they’ll unfollow him and come to you. And that would be AWESOME.

    Many hugs to you!

  19. There is nothing I can say here except you are loved. You are loved, respected, honored and cherished. For your words. For your willingness to say them out loud. For your fight. For your fierceness. “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” You are loved. And to those who would intentionally seek to hurt you…to those who would take your vulnerable, so-honest-it-hurts words and turn them…I’m sorry you have to see their words. But know that for every person who means you harm, there are hundreds, thousands, millions who wish you and your family only love. You are loved. Your words are loved. Your family is loved.

  20. Jess, I don’t have much time for composing thoughtful comments on your blog much these days, but know I am always reading and following. This hits me at the core. This person doesn’t know the first thing about you. To attack a sacred family tradition…it’s just a new level of wrong. You put yourself out there. You share the life of your family with all of us, knowing full well you will be subjected to this kind of crap. Yet you continue Bc you know how important your platform is. You know it needs to be said. I hope you know that the majority of us love and respect you in every sense of the words. Thank you for persevering and yelling from the mountain top that we need acceptance for all people of all neurologies and all sexual preferences. Not many people could handle the gun fire from those who are stuck in a very different way if thinking. Thank you for putting yourself (and your beautiful family) out there in order to make the world a little better and more accepting. For every person that spews hatred, I hope you know there are a dozen whose lives you have changed, and whose hearts, souls, and minds you have open to a different way of thinking. Xo

  21. Some people are just filled with poison and the anonymity of the internet allows them to spread their crap without facing any consequences. You and your family are amazing and help so many of us every day. Screw them and hit delete.

  22. butler? I thought that was Luau – looks plenty like him. YOU’RE welcome, you lucky girl…#countyourblessingswhenthebadstuffoverwhelmsyou

  23. O honey, I am just so sorry. That loving, sensitive soul of yours that helped you build all of this also leaves you extra vulnerable to those that seek to tear it down. It must be so tiring.
    Due to my very religious upbringing I often find Bible verses repeating in my mind as I think about various moments. As I read this today and thought of all the moments like these, where I find people being inexplicably hateful towards me or turning my own painful moments against me as my due for existing, the verse that always comes up for me is “forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do”
    Everyday you are showing people how we dig through the fear and the hate and the ignorance to reach the love and how much better that feels in the end. So many are so hungry to hear that message. But, some just aren’t ready for a whole lot of reasons.
    Thank you for all you do and all you endure to do what you do. It matters to so many. Love you.

  24. I love you. I love your family. Please let the light of love that so many have for you, your family, and your extended communities drive away the darkness as you have for us. You lend us Grace.

  25. I was trying desperately to find the right words that just might lift you up in the way you lift up so many others each and every day… but alas I just could not find any. There is so much hatred and ugliness in this world and while I try my best to wear my rose colored glasses, look at the glass as half full and give everyone the benefit of the doubt… it doesn’t always work. You have over 40,000 followers and so many more I am sure who just have not liked your page. Please know that what you do matters. Who you are matters. Just like you ask the world to see your child, my child and every other person for who they are… know that we, I, see you for who are and I love that person. Respecting people no matter what they believe, who they choose to love, what challenges or differences they may have… that matters! Keep doing what you are doing. Block out those who have closed their minds and their hearts and keep reaching out to those that haven’t. That is all you can do my friend! And above all… know that so many people see you, we hear you, we ache for you when you are feeling sad, discouraged and frustrated. And we are so proud of you for being able to keep getting up in the morning and deciding to trudge through it all with the smallest inkling of hope that you can make a difference. Cause you can, you do make a difference. And even more so you inspire people like me to want to try and make a difference! Yes, Jess we see you, we hear you and we are so proud and thankful for all you DO!!! (I guess I found some words after all!LOL Sorry so long!)

  26. I will never understand Internet trolls. Ever. I don’t unserstand bigotry, and intolerance, either. Empathy is a beautiful thing…some people should try it sometime. I love your work and find it inspiring… Just like MLK’s words. ((Hugs)) to you…

  27. There isn’t much that I can say, that hasn’t already been said in previous posts. Still, I want to tell you how sorry I am that people write such horrible things, how I can relate, how strong I think you are and how much I look up to you and wish I could make things just a bit easier for you. I hope that all the comments of supportive people here help shed a more clear light on the love surrounding you.

    Also, do you remember that I asked in Facebook if I could use a small fragment from one of your blogposts in my presentation? I included it, in big letters, on the first page of my presentation, with your name and url of your blog underneath it. I’ve had 2 presentations so far, both towards local government people. They seemed to take your words to heart. So if you ever wonder about what you do in this world: your strength is even felt here, in the Netherlands.

  28. This absolutely breaks my heart! I just can’t wrap my head around how people can think and behave that way. Thank you for monitoring you’re blog so vigilantly, it must be exhausting. Please know that your blog and Facebook page are the only place I EVER am comfortable enough to say anything. (I’ve gotten venomous responses elsewhere and have been quite shaken by them). Also know that I wake up each morning awaiting your post and I can’t imagine that I’m alone in that. If I have to leave the house before you’ve posted, I can’t wait to get out of the car and find a peaceful place where I can absorb and think about what you’ve written. You give so many people so much inspiration and insight. That, and the story you are writing for your girls to one day read are what is important. Hate is always shocking to me, such a waste of energy! There are so,so many more of us that love you, your family, your message and everything you do! Leave the dark place, we’re here waiting for you in the light!

  29. I don’t even know how to respond to this. I am so angry for you, so sad for you. There are always bullies, there are always those internet trolls who yell and scream from their little safe zone behind the computer screen, much like the road raging man shouting profanities at the little old lady in front of him, because somehow that seems acceptable from inside your car…. But the kind of hatred that you’re talking about… I am just so sorry. I am so sorry that you are feeling hurt. Please know, as I know you must know, that there are so, so many of us who genuinely love the sensitive, compassionate, beautiful person you are, even if we have never even met you in “real life.” Go get yourself some dark chocolate and red wine. Hugs. xoxo

  30. Jess,

    I truly do not know where to start. I am Colombian, living in Bogotá, mother of a 4-year old NT daughter. I came to diary by accident and I have been following it daily for almost a year now. Since the day I read your first post I have been meaning to write a comment just to let you know how much I admire you and your family and how much I relate to the way you parent your daughters. I have learned huge lessons from reading you. Your posts have helped me become a better mom and a better person. So I guess what I am trying to say is that all the evil in the world does not even get a chance at lessening the light that shines from your family. Keep on, disregard those awful comments and know that you make a difference, not only for the people close by, not only for the autistic community, but for the world in general.

    Please, shine on….

    – Colombian fan

  31. The light you are seeking? It’s you.

    Please put the rhino suit back on (I don’t know what that means but I’ll go with it).

    We need you.

  32. Jess, I don’t have your gift of eloquence with my words, but don’t let the turkeys get you down. Some people are just jerks. A lot more of us are not. Keep seeing the light.

  33. Maybe it is a blessing to not be able to understand the evil in this world.

    Jess, I don’t always agree with you but I believe I know your heart. It is so very big. I am praying, right now, that God gives you peace. What you do here is clearly His work as it helps so many…including me.

    The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. He loves you dearly. I do believe I do, too!

  34. people can be so ignorant at times. Being thankful for the meals you are eating is giving your children an example to not only enjoy what is given to them, but to be thankful for it. As far as I know even the Old Testament is filled with grace, it is not a Christian word, it is a word that often, too many do not understand, they need to google the word and see exactly what it means. As for the picture of the ‘butler’, I do have this comment… next time, make it bigger…. I promise I will still read your words, but my day can always use a little more of him. Thank you for your words. Stand firm, behind all the stupidity, there are many who look forward to what you are writing and needing to see your words. DAF

  35. Jess, I’ve been following your blog for a while now and have read every one of your posts. I’m not a parent and don’t have anything to do with the autism community (though after reading your blog and some of the autistic bloggers I’ve discovered through you, I wonder whether I might be brushing against the spectrum myself). I just wanted to let you know, as have so many others, that your writing makes my world better. The light you shed on autism has helped me understand behaviours I see in others and has helped me to become more respectful of their challenges. The way you parent both your precious girls, especially the way you communicate with them, has inspired me, and I hope it will one day make me a better parent than I might have been otherwise. The way you advocate for the rights of, among others, LGBT and disabled people encourages me to believe in change. And your beautiful writing, your sense of humour and the photos you share of your wonderful family make my mornings brighter 🙂
    I’m sorry you have to deal with so much of the ugly stuff, but please know that for so many of us, you are the light. Thank you for filtering the comments on your pages to make this community safe for everyone. Thank you, too, for occasionally letting the haters through and taking them on. Thanks for sharing the ups and downs, and being willing to learn from your experiences in such a public way. And if you need to take the odd break from all this, everyone will understand, but please don’t leave us alone for too long!
    Sending love and best wishes to you and your family.

  36. So, so sorry for the things (people) you have to deal with someimes. Blows my mind what drives people to be so filled with hate and disrespect. Ah, it is the cloak of the internet. Hope you have a better day. Peace and hugs. 🙂

  37. I don’t know if you’ll read this but if you do I want you to know…. YOU ROCK JESS!! People are mean, vicious and downright ugly but I try to remind myself and my kids, when faced with trials such as this…. those people are just scared, sad little people who must have somewhere, at some time, been done a terrible terrible wrong in a horrific way. As Nelson Mandela said “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate….”. I tell myself and my kids, “all we can do is believe that sad truth about them or their experience, pray for them and move on with the belief that we are inherently a good person, with good intentions, not perfect, but beautifully flawed and trying our best to write our chapter on this life”. You inspire me every day with your written words. You are a lovely writer, funny lady, inspirational leader and most of all, one of the greatest mom’s I’ve ever had the pleasure to come across. Keep on keepin’ on. ;-)Jen

  38. Jess, someone much wiser than I once said “Those who mock are those whose nerve you have stomped on.” I don’t understand the phenomenon of belittling others in order to make ourselves feel better, but it sure runs rampant.

    You are guts and grit. You have created a place for us to connect. A place where we can feel and express and be vulnerable safely. There is no amount of criticism that I, and I feel I can speak for all of us here, could read that would make me feel differently about you and your family. How you respond with such grace is a lesson I need to desperately learn – you know, before I go postal over a preschool (PRESCHOOL) IEP. 😉

    Even though I don’t get to every post, I have comfort in knowing that Diary is always a place that I can be wrapped in understanding. You are appreciated, loved, and needed. By so many. Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate.

  39. I’ll comment so you’ll have the positives outweigh the negatives.

    I’m don’t hate on your generosity, what you give, I receive with love and gratitude.

    Thank you for writing and sharing.

  40. Oh Jess, I’m so sorry, it’s hard to understand why people are like this. Be encouraged there are more lovers out there than haters, and more people who need you than you will ever know.

    I love your page and your blog, its almost a year now since my son was diagnosed with ASD, you were one of the first people to catch me when i was falling and spinning out of control. Over the last year you have encouraged and educated me, and you have even inspired me to keep my own blog, maybe one day I will catch someone else who is falling the way you caught me.

    I am grateful for your writing and your honesty, for the balance you have found in your life and your ability to share it.

    This morning as I was leaving to go to work, and my little one didn’t get why mummy was going out and it wasn’t a school day, I sat and held him, he was shaking, I thought of you and Brooke, and I knew I wasn’t alone, there are other mums out there fighting tough fights.

    I don’t even know you but over this year you have become like a sister to me. I tell myself, if she can do it I can do it, and I find the strength to carry on.

    Thank you for not ever giving up

    Sarah x

  41. I am so sorry you had to experience such thoughtless and hurtful activity. The internet makes it far too easy for people to ‘speak’ (click) without thought. It is a credit to you as a person and a mother that you handle each with grace and clarity and can still quote peaceful words at the end of it.
    Hope your day got better! x

  42. Hi Jess! I just want to add my support here. Putting yourself and your life out there on the web is not easy (I have avoided Facebook for very long stretching not wanting to share the intimate details of my experience). You have an amazing amount of courage to do this every day. I still do not understand some of the web mentality of attacking people in a way you would never do if you stood face to face with them. How the whole world finds it acceptable to criticize, mock or belittle people through postings, comments, etc. Please know that you have parents out there who appreciate you and what you do! Take care!!

  43. Oh Jess, I am so sorry. I am filled with such outrage on what was said to you. So much outrage I cannot even put into words. The best I can come up with is “Haters gonna hate” but really that is NOT sufficient for the level of skewering these people subjected you to. Although I had to laugh about the line of “it takes more to practice Judaism than being self righteous online” which you so clearly nailed them for their idiocy in only the style I know you would be capable of…. you put them in their place. As for the others, well… Just think of it this way… .For every wonderful amazing comment that shows you how much you are helping people, what a wonderful influence you are on people’s lives, and just how NEEDED and meaningful your work is, there is a price to pay. Because as I’ve been told nothing in life comes without a price and nothing in life, unfortunately is easy. So your price is a few ignorant assholes for every wonderful meaningful comment you get. I know it’s a steep price to pay but I still think it’s a price that’s more than worth it. THANK YOU for the work you do.

  44. I was going to say how angry this makes me, and how it makes me feel hedgehog feelings about you and your family and your writing. By the way, hedgehog feelings mean: Imagine me as a hedgehog and you as like, a flower or something, and then like when I curl up in a hedgehog-ball I am holding the flower in my hedgehog-paws so that it is protected because I am hedgehog-curled all around it. Yes, I categorize my feelings as animals. I’m that cute.

    But by the time I’d looked down all these comments, I couldn’t be that angry anymore. How incredible is that? Look at what you do: Your worst days, your struggles, your sad words…turn into giant explosions of love. That quote you give at the end of your post? You literally just made that quote happen in real life. It may be hard to feel it, because sometimes hurting inside makes it so that loving things and happy words might as well be in another language you can’t really understand. Hopefully, though, in a few hours, or a day, or a few days, you can look at this and see that your patience and bravery and honesty manage to take all of the worst things this damn internet world can imagine and create love out of them.

    Dark things turn into light, create more light, grow light, just because you’re the one sharing them. Check that out. Beautiful.

  45. People can be such @SS#OLES. I’m sorry you had to deal with “the trolls”. You have a great community that loves and appreciates all that you on all levels. Don’t worry about them, just continue to do what you do. 🙂

  46. I feel awful that you have to read such awful and ignorant responses to what you write. I can’t imagine the toll that it takes on you emotionally when you have so many other things in your life that are so much more important. Please know that there are soo many more people that are grateful for you and for the things that you write, than are there people who have nothing better to do than to give you a hard time. I am one of the many who look forward to hearing what you have to say every day. My son was diagnosed 9 months ago with ASD. Things were pretty dark for me until I found your blog and facebook page. You have changed my way of thinking and have given me hope, and you continue to do that everyday. And by the way, the Demons blog post had me crying because I can relate. I just re-read it the other night. It was beautifully written and it’s so true. I’d do anything for my boy, and I wish so bad that somehow I could take away what he goes through. Please keep your head high and remember that there are 44,000 plus people who are listening to you because you help us all so much. We don’t feel alone because of you; you give us hope. Thank you, Jess.

  47. Bless you for the battles you undertake daily, not only for your own family, but in support of the beliefs and lives and experiences of so many others who find voice in your words and your courage. You are stronger than you ever shall know, and we are all grateful.

  48. I’ve got your back Jess. Most of us here have your back. You are truly a good human being, a wonderful example. You have everybody’s well being in mind. You’re courageous to do what you do and you help soooo many. Some people have only s*** in their heads. Not much good coming out of that…

  49. The love that you have for your family, the love that you share with all of us through your words, it burns bright, sending sparks of hope and recognition and celebration spiraling into the darkness. One by one, we have found your words and gathered around them, warmed and comforted by the company here and by the dazzling love you have for your family. You shared with us an incredibly intimate moment between you and Brooke, one in which she struggled mightily just to try to feel okay again, and one in which you used every ounce of mama-intuition, experience, patience and determination that you have in trying to help her feel better. And then some anonymous person comes along and casually mocks her pain, and yours, in order to prove himself clever. I feel in my own gut the wordless howl of pain and rage that comes with defending our young from those who would hurt them. There will always be those who slink by in the dark, looking for a chance to strike out with minimal risk to themselves. But because you have shared your Diary with us, there are so many more who have come to join the circle of faces warmed by joy and who have learned from you how to consistently and gently question even their own best intentions. The good you have done for me has directly benefited my own family and no snarky hyena can change that. Much love to you and yours.

  50. Please know that your light has changed my family’s life. Reading your story has made me a better mom, a better advocate, and more open to learning from everyone around me. I’m grateful to you beyond words. And I look forward to reading your blog every evening after my little guy goes to sleep. Thank you. And please take heart: you are making a huge difference in the world.

  51. If your posts irritated those folks it’s because they know you are right.
    Easy to see through their seventh grade behavior.
    Their words tell me everything about them and nothing about you.

    Sorry that you happened upon such garbage.

  52. I’ve been a long time reader and have always been encouraged reading your posts. Your love and respect for people is obvious through your words! As an autism therapist I’m so glad this blog is out there. Thank you for keeping this up despite all the criticisms! (And thanks for the picture of Gerard Butler. That can always make a day better).

  53. Dear Jess,
    I am sitting here at 3.24 am , outside under my fairy lights sipping a cold coffee from too many hours ago, listening to love songs and crickets in the australian summer . I had one of those days , you know , the ones where the car that you just last week spent the last of your money fixing , blows up in the middle of a highway in peak traffic and you have to get your twin baby sons , who happen to be seriously sick for the first time with chickenpox , out and stand on the side of busy busy road as it gets dark , holding them both trying to comfort them as they scream in distress. . Yeah .That day.
    And after I finally got them home settled and asleep , fed and loved my teenage son and his girlfriend , and organised a tow truck I cant afford for the morning , and i sat with a coffee and a ciggaret in my quiet place to try and get my joy back somehow. Its a friday night here , and as i sat scrolling facebook for inspiration and humor , instead those foolish , self indulgent , unproductive thoughts began to creep in , ” your bones are rusting because you dont dance anymore ” ..”its another night of lonley , and of fighting this fight that is life , all by myself ”
    Thoughts you know better than to nuture these days , so i scrolled over the politics , and the awful news from around the globe , and the pictures of neglected puppies , looking for something to believe in for a moment , searching for that little glimpse of light.. I found it there as i often do , in a photograph of brookes beautiful face which drew me to look , as it always does , for the story behind todays smile.
    That was six hours ago . I have wondered for some time about Brooke when she was very little , how she developed as a bub and toddler ( my twin boys just turned one ) and the process of her diagnosis. I didn’t ask because I knew you must have addressed these things earlier and also that your insanely busy and didn’t need the bother. I had looked before but tonight I stumbled upon your FAQS page .. I clicked and read almost every link. And inevitably I would get to the end of each blog and follow the relevant links , and theirs and well I have only gotten up once to change and feed the bubs , my feet and my coffee have both been cold for a long time now , i desperately need both hot coffee and socks and a trip to the bathroom but ive been to busy to move tonight.
    I have been doing some of my most important work tonight , ive been learning. Ive been filling my mind with your words. Your perfectly formed sentenses overflowing with feeling , words that when you say them remove the ocean of distance , the six degrees of seperation between your end of the screen and mine and let me so generously get right up close with your heart.
    I know how hard it is sometimes after something particularly painful or extrordinarilly beautiful happens , to take that experience and make the time , go to the effort of recounting it all into words, giving it a second life , the readers renaissance. Sometimes , true , it is effortless , easy , a pleasure or a compulsion to write. But sometimes it’s hard. And its always time consuming.
    This long , overtired introduction is leading up to something , I promise , I only hope its made sense thus far and that you will forgive the total lack of grammar or proofreading. Its to late for that. Its almost dawn here and I have maybe an hour left before i am too busy and these are words that I can’t leave
    unsaid .

    I need to Thank you Jess. And I need you to hear it , properly . The adjectives all seem so insufficent when i try and turn thoughts and feelings to words..

    Thank you for the blog. Thank you for the time you take every day to bother sharing it all with us out here. Thank you for the huge amount of time you put into allowing us to share your joy and delight and learn , learn so much , everyday , from your mindblowing insights , from your immeasurable love and from your brave and humble truths. You have taught me more about parenting and what it means to be doing that right , than anyone bar my own kids. I’m serious Jess.. I cant imagine looking up to another person any more than i do you. You are inspiring on a whole new level.
    You have got to be one of the best mums on the planet. I dont have a mum , and have been pretty much winging this parenting thing , making it up as i go along and pretty much always certain im getting it wrong.
    But you , you See your girls , you dont just listen to them , you also listen for what is not being said , you hear the words behind and between the words , the stuff that is impossible to articulate , the really important stuff.
    You don’t just notice the little things , you celebrate and delight in them. You nuture greatness in your girls by giving them the profound gift of recognition, validation , worth. You prepare them for the inevitable magic in their futures by bestowing on them the most precious awareness of the truly magnificent beauty that each posess.
    You teach them to be humble too , by being you , by never hesitating to apologise to admit and even more rare to try and correct a mistake when its made.
    You teach them that they not only can but are changing the world, because you are showing them it is not only possible but a part of their makeup and their legacy to do so. You! are their mumma.
    Do you know what a mindblowing human you are lady ??
    You take the time to buy ribbon to shred , you organise meetings at bookstores with authors who change your baby girls lifes !! Do you know your that author for me. ??
    I have worked with and around books and words as much as anyone can , ( sales rep for penguin a long long time ago in a far away land ) i have admired and met alot of writers , some have even shaped the course of my future and changed the way i look at life. But you. You my sweet are something else entirely . You are miraculous too me. Firstly because of how you feel and secondly because of your unique ability to convey those feelings into words.
    My main purpose in life is my three sons. I am pretty sure i have fucked nearly everything else up entirely in the messy and fumbling process of living , loving , slowly growing up . But im a good mum. I try to take the time to laugh with my boys , to make sure to tell them everytime my heart swells with pride and awe when i look at or think of them .
    I sing to them and kiss them too often . i love them , out loud , with all that ive got.

    You are teaching me , teaching us , how to do our most important job ( loving our people ) even better. Thank you so much jess for everything.
    The sun is coming up now and i have the feeling that ive written you a misspelled and rambling fan letter that conveys only the iceberg tips of my intent and feelings.
    If i re read this at all i will have to edit and start again , more than once , and thats time i dont have. There are cheeks to be kissed. Breakfasts to be made. A seriously overdue trip to the kettle and to the bathroom to be made.
    So one last time now. #thankyouthankyou #youramazing #lifechangingamazing #yourgirlswillchangetheworld #youalreadyhave
    With all my love and gratitude.
    Lilly xxxx

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