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Monthly Archives: December 2012

This year I resolve to….

As the old year dies and the new one is preparing to be born, countless of us ready ourselves for a sort of rebirth of our own…the dreaded NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION.  The very words bring dread into our hearts.  To make a resolution, we have to analyze ourselves, look at the negatives in our lives and determine which of our inadequacies we are willing to tackle.  It is exhausting.  Once we have determined our fatal flaw, we resolve to CHANGE it.  And we set about it with GUSTO!  This year will be different!  This year, I will SUCCEED!  Won’t I?

A recent study showed that only 75% of us make it a WEEK with our new resolution.  SEVEN DAYS?!?!?  Seriously?!?

By the end of January, gyms are empty, weight-loss classes have more empty seats than attendees, cabinets are once again filled with chocolate, and we all feel insanely guilty that once again we have failed.  We are failures.  How depressing.

Every year we go through the same process.  Over.  And over.  And over.  Repeatedly failing.  sigh

I know, by now you are asking yourself if I am making a New Year’s Resolution for 2013.  Actually, yes I am.

It’s a little different.  A little outside of the box.

Ready for it?

I hereby resolve that in 2013 I will be happy.

That’s it.  To be happy.  It’s a resolution that has an impact on every aspect of my life and one I am pretty sure I will be able to keep for longer than a week.

It really is deceptively simple.

Unhappy about being out of shape (again?!?)?  All I have to do is remind myself that being at the gym, and doing something about it makes me HAPPY.

Unhappy about a job situation?  I need to figure out what will make me HAPPY and then give myself the permission to do it – either in my current situation or in another one.

Unhappy about a relationship?  Well, then – what WILL make me happy?  Because certainly sitting around telling myself how UNHAPPY I am isn’t working.

Unhappy about the pile of crap by the door? Even putting one piece of it where it belongs will give me a feeling of happiness.

Chocolate makes me happy.  So, it gets to stay.  Especially sea salt dark chocolate.  However, eating a LOT of it at one sitting makes me UNHAPPY, so – moderation.

And if occasionally sitting in bed for the whole day reading will make me happy, then by God, I WILL and not feel one iota of guilt about it!

And above all, I will not – no…I MUST NOT, allow anyone to do anything that will cause me to make myself feel unhappy.  That doesn’t mean I have to make them unhappy in order to bring myself happiness.  That wouldn’t be fair of me.  Besides, guilt makes me unhappy.  Very unhappy.

“Does this make me happy?” will become my new mantra.  No matter where I am, or what I am doing.  Is this making me happy?  No?  Then STOP DOING IT!

It almost sounds too easy.   I think it will be more challenging than I expect.  There will be times when in order to ensure my happiness, I will cause discomfort or even anger in those around me.  And THAT causes me to feel unhappy.  But, but acquiescing  causes me to feel even more unhappy.  There will be times I will have to stick to my guns and persevere.  Which is much easier said than done.

And there will be times when even acknowledging my unhappiness will be uncomfortable.  I remember at the end of my marriage looking at my dear ex-husband and saying, “Don’t we deserve to be happy?” It was a heart-wrenching question.  And we had to admit that yes, we were unhappy – and even more importantly, yes…we deserved happiness.  Not that the happiness would be immediate.  We just knew that what we were doing wasn’t bringing happiness, to anyone, and by doing something else we would be on a path to happiness.

Yes, the path to happiness can be a winding one, but it is a path none-the-less.

So, here’s to 2013.  May it be a year of happiness.  For everyone.

Dear 2012: I think we need to break up.

Dear 2012,

I am not sure what it is that I am looking for in a calendar year, but I do know it wasn’t you.  So, because of this, I am afraid we must end our relationship with each other.  I wish I could say that I am sad to see you go. But, I’m not.

I understand you must be going through a very difficult time.  It must be hard to know you have an expiration date.  You only have a short 365 days (or in this case, 366 days) to make an impact on my life.  You wanted every moment to count.  But, I am afraid I need more than what you have to offer me.  So, after this 366 days together, I find I must say good-bye to you.

It’s not you.  It’s me.

You and I had a very mercurial relationship.  You were filled with soaring highs and crushing lows.  You were like a roller coaster.  In one instance you were THRILLING and I couldn’t get enough of you – and in the next you plunged me into the depths, bringing bile into my mouth as I willed the nausea to stop.  At times I was begging for the ride to go HIGHER and FASTER and at others I was begging to get off.  But, just like on a roller coaster, I was strapped into you, my dear 2012, until the ride was over.  There was no getting off early.  No matter how much I begged.

Unfortunately, 2012 you will be remembered for your lows.  Although, I must say, the highs were some of the most amazing experiences in my life.  Ones I will not soon forget.  Ones filled with love and joy and happiness and breath-taking adventures.  You just didn’t finish well.  And it doesn’t matter how brilliant you are in the middle, it’s how you finish that really matters.

So, 2012, know you made a profound impact on my life.  But, I am ready to see what else there is out there for me.  I’m not saying 2013 will be any better.   I have to give it a chance.  I owe it to myself.

Farewell, 2012.

Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

My Heart Bleeds

The Monkey Daddy sent me a message to call him.  Monkey #1 needed to talk to me.  Ok.  He probably left something at my house that he needs for school tomorrow.  So I call.  Monkey #1 answers the phone.

“He had Asperger’s!” he sobbed into the phone.

“Baby, who did?”

“The shooter!  He had Asperger’s!”

Ah.  He is talking about the horrific shooting at the Connecticut elementary school.

“Sweetie, where did you hear about this?  I’ve heard rumors, but nothing definite.”  I am trying to placate him, miles away from him.  Knowing what he really needs is a therapeutic hug.

“It was on 60 Minutes!  A friend of his mother kept saying he had Asperger’s!” he wailed.

“Oh, honey, even if it is true, there is no way you could do something like that.”

“But, I hit (Monkey #2) when I am mad!…

I am turning into a monster!”

It was then that my heart shattered into a million pieces.

It was then that I wished that I could hold him in that way that only I can and smooth his hair and gently squeeze him to prompt him to breathe and sing “BINGO” to him and whisper that he could never ever ever be a monster.

My sweet son, who just so happens to have Asperger’s, is now terrified that he too has the capability to walk into a school and kill 20 children and 6 adults – not to mention his mother –  before taking his own life.  That he will become a monster capable of such a thing.

The magnitude of it all is just too much for me to comprehend.  And it makes me want to cry.

As both a parent and an elementary school teacher, the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School has rocked me to the core.  I think of those parents, having to face a life without those beautiful faces.  I think of the teachers who sacrificed themselves to protect their students.  I think of the survivors who have to live with the memories of that experience.  I just cannot imagine.

And now, I worry that in light of the revelation that this poor, tortured, bright, awkward young man – a young man so intelligent he started college in his mid-teens – may indeed have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ignorant people will begin to be paranoid about ALL that are on the Spectrum.  “Watch out!  That autistic kid is going to go all nuts and shoot up the place!”  Those of us who love someone on the Spectrum, already have to deal with many misunderstandings.  My own family tells me that what Monkey #1 really needs is some effective discipline.  Surely THAT would control his outbursts.  I have witnessed the glares of people in stores and restaurants as he is experiencing some major sensory overload and is on the verge of a meltdown – or is in full-blown Asperger’s mode.

I just want to scream at them and say, “He isn’t BAD!  He’s Autistic!!!!!!”

The shootings are tragic enough.  Let’s not make things worse.

As I talked to Monkey #1, I quickly searched the internet for any information I could find that would give him enough data to sooth his soul.  I happened upon an article from the LA Times, siting SEVERAL autism specialists from some very note-worthy institutions.  I started reading it to him.  Trying to console him in the only way I could.  With facts.  Facts he understands.  Facts he can wrap his swirling head around.  Facts that would help him to realize there is nothing about him that could cause him to act in such a manner.

What finally reached the terror within was this paraphrased statement: while someone with autism may lash out, they do so during an outburst.  It is impulsive.  They do not premeditate a violent action.  I could hear his breathing begin to calm.   I asked him, “When you hurt (Monkey #2), do you sit around for days planning what you are going to do to him?”

“No,” he replied.  “It’s usually because I am mad at him and I hit him one time.”

“So, you don’t think about the ways you are going to hurt him and how many times you are going to hit him?”

“No, it just comes to me.”

“Then, baby, there’s the difference.  You aren’t a monster. You are a sweet, wonderful, amazing child.  And I love you very, very much.”

While that exchange was one of the most heart-breaking things I have ever experience, I am very very thankful that I was able to have that conversation with my sweet little monkey.  There are 27 sets of parents in Connecticut tonight who aren’t as lucky.

And my heart bleeds for them.