Category Archives: Mental Health

Renewed.

emotional.

I was told by a well known author that writing about the hard times is as important as highlighting the good times.

Thanks Neil Steinberg. He wrote an article about Jasan and me in the Chicago Sun-Times in February. http://chicago.suntimes.com/columnists/steinberg-autism-spins-kids-parents-2/ During the interview conversation, I was so pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had talking with Mr. Steinberg about his kids, his family and also about writing. I felt blessed that he recognized my blog/autism as something to write about. But, one of the major take-aways for me was the comment above. Write about the hard times too; people can relate.

So, here I go.

I had actually been depressed for many months. Even when that article was written about us, I was feeling frustrated with my life and trying to push the depression away. Jasan was (and still is) having a tough time at school; for example, getting notes home that he is completely destructive and throws furniture, hurts others, etc.

That’s hard to take.

Drowning.

Photo by: Stacy Pahl / Jasan & me in photo.

I was not taking care of myself at all. No time for just me. It has been that way due to life circumstances pretty much since he was born 6 1/2 years ago. That is a long time to be doing it on your own with barely any time to recharge. I am sure many of you special needs parents out there can completely relate to that, whether you have a partner or not. (Partners aren’t always helpful and can sometimes even add extra stress to the situation.)

I did a lot of self medicating, now that I look back…wine was my friend for sure. When Jasan was younger, I had a few friends that had the room for us to come over and spend the night which would mean time for me to socialize. But, because Jasan and I sleep together, I would keep the poor guy up until he was exhausted due to my selfishness of just wanting more time with my friends. It has been things like that, over this time period, I have done because of starvation for recharging time, or even just time to connect with other adults/friends.

I have missed countless outings that I see on Facebook that my circle of peeps have gone to do. I even started getting uninvited to things because they thought I would feel sad due to not being able to go. That hurt just the same. Pretty much, I felt that it was a lose-lose situation.

Photo by: Stacy Pahl / Jasan & me in photo.

Photo by: Stacy Pahl / Jasan & me in photo.

But here is the most important point- I was letting that be my perspective. For as many posts that I have written on this blog about CHANGING the perspective to the POSITIVE and seeing our children in a different light, here I am going down the “dammit, my life sucks; especially compared to everyone else” path. (And, as we all know, comparison is an evil thing to do to yourself, but easy to fall into.)

I have been on antidepressants on and off most of my life. I will admit, I am one of those unlucky people that had the chemical imbalance fairy hit me with her wand at birth. I have now found a new awareness about myself that actually I am dealing with bipolar disorder. That added a whole new layer to looking at my life and how I have always gone through these patterns of mostly depression, but also mild forms of mania where I feel I can take care of it all. I haven’t had a major crash down in a long time. Many years actually…I think age 27 or 28 may have been the last one. So, I have kept it together somehow for 10 years now. You can image how deep this episode fell. Add Jasan into the mix; I blew up at him multiple times because I couldn’t control my sadness and irritability (which isn’t the typical me AT ALL when it comes to him) and felt the worst guilt EVER in my existence on this earth.

I could not deal with that.

So, turning the corner, getting involved in some healthy group settings (and new meds for me) has finally paved my way to a new, better me. More understanding of how I am wired and how I can be aware of my mood swings. (Haha. Side note: this may turn any man that may have wanted to be in my life the other way now, but hey. Honesty is always the best policy, right? Take it or leave it.)

The reason I am sharing my very personal story with all of you is because what I have learned (even though I felt I already knew it) is that we have to find ways to take care of ourselves. ESPECIALLY because as special needs parents, we have tons of extra stress on our plate. It is scientifically proven that extra stress literally changes our DNA in a negative way. (That blew my mind.) We age quicker and die earlier.

No thanks. I’m not going to go that route.

I honesty believed I didn’t have the time, but I now learned that I do, even if in little ways. Also, I NEED TO ASK FOR HELP. That is hard to do sometimes.

On top of that knowledge, I fully believe that our special and beautiful kids can sense our energy on a more sensitive level. That, in itself, can make a huge impact on them. If we are constantly on edge, what kind of effect is that going to have on them? It can’t be a good one. I also believe that kids can manifest sickness when we are “off” as parents. Yes, there are germs, but the holistic part to our existence can show up in illness.

Pain.

Sickness.

Sickness.

Sickness.

These images were taken at two different ER visits. I was in a bad place when this occurred. We are almost as one. He knows when I am not happy or struggling.

I need to be strong. I need to take care of me so I can take care of him. He needs me more than anyone in this life. I am so completely dedicated to being the best for him that I will do anything. Literally.

For me that means exercise, meditation, writing, photography, time with friends, movies, and music…to name a few. I need these components in my life. I will be a happier Heidi and a BETTER MOM.

I didn’t believe this was possible 8 months ago, but now I do. It’s just part of my lifestyle now. I want to also teach Jasan by example that he needs to do the same…take care of himself.

Happiness is back!

Happy!

Happy!

<3

 

 

 

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Truths & Direction.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the direction of this blog. At the beginning of this writing journey, Jasan was younger and honestly, life was easier. Posts were flowing out of me. I had more time that was non-scheduled; we spent more time together and photographing him was a daily occurrence. For those of you that follow us, it has been obvious that I don’t write as much. Why?
Well, I just don’t have time like I used to. Life has changed. We spend more time at school and work. And here is where the “truths” part comes in…
Behavior has become so difficult that it is hard to see the positive sometimes.
storm clouds
When I started Following Jasan, the goal was to help change the perspective on parenting kids with special needs. I still believe this whole-heartedly, but here I am, finding it hard to do this myself. How am I supposed to write when I am drowning over here?
In my last post, I mentioned finding my rose-colored glasses again, and throwing those babies back on. I did, but damn, they fall off a lot. That is the truth.
Dude.
I have to write this because I know I am not the only one. The most powerful moments for me lately are when I am able to connect with someone who GETS IT. I realized how much I need this, otherwise I feel EXTREMELY ALONE. So, I need to write about the hard times. I need to do this.
I am going to do my best to write more, photograph when I can (because I still feel that is a huge part of the way I tell my story) and hopefully help another parent here and there when they read and are able to exhale for a moment because they too can feel understood.
I still have the highest hopes for my son. He is extremely brilliant. At school, they tell me so. But, he is unreachable. He can’t focus. The times that he does are few and far between. Destructive actions are becoming a daily occurrence. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do anymore. He is getting bigger and stronger. Something has got to change.
He has so much potential. I KNOW he does. At home, when it is not a completely structured environment, he plays in his way. He is happy. I watch him and I know. He is able to block out the world and stay in his happy place. (Geez, I wish I could do that as easily as he can!)
But what happens when I need to go run an errand and he doesn’t want to? What if we are on a time schedule and I need to get to a doctor’s appointment but he WILL NOT get into the car? What if we go into a store but he won’t walk with me because he can’t stop focusing on the automatic doors? What if I just simply say “NO” to anything?
HELL. BREAKS. LOSE.
This is where I feel I have had patience for so many years, but now that he is older, stronger and has a will fiercer than ever, I have LOST MINE. I hate that feeling. It is a completely powerless and hopeless place. When I am running on fumes (because I don’t get the normal “me” time to recharge) it feels impossible to be the mom I want to be. My rose-colored glasses fall into the abyss. Somehow I am going to have to find the strength from somewhere to stand my ground. I feel at this point if I don’t, I am helping create a monster who will run anyone and everyone over.
I struggle with this. A lot. I know he is different from the norm. I want him to be himself and live freely to be exactly who he is, but society doesn’t. I know he has come here to be a teacher to me and others. He has changed me forever because of his autistic ways and I love him beyond any amount of words could tell you. But, when life and the “way the world works” comes into play, he doesn’t want to go with the flow. Here is the double-edged sword: I don’t want to live my life being a tyrant mother forcing him to do things, but I also don’t want to have to walk on eggshells around my own son when he is on edge so that he won’t hurt me or be destructive. How do we both be happy? How do we both flow and live in this society being who we both individually want to be? Do I have to feel like I constantly lose myself in this process? I have done that so many times because I just sacrifice for my child. I would give my life for him without question. I believe there has to be a way that we can live in harmony and be who we both want to be.
I have lots of beautiful and tender moments with him. I wake up and feel so blessed that he is with me. I love who he is. The behavior that I don’t love IS NOT WHO HE REALLY IS. The behavior issues come from the inability to communicate effectively. The sensory processing issues that deter him from being able to regulate his body. It is the will inside of him to NOT be CHANGED. Growing up, becoming more aware of his surroundings and taking in more information that he can’t always process all at once. All of these things are so huge. Sometimes I wish I could trade places with him so I could know what he is going through…
Through all of this, I am trying so very hard to remember my mantra:
EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS WORKING OUT FOR ME.
I love Jasan with such a fierceness that when times are painful, they feel unbearable. It is a love beyond any comparison. I hang on to this so tightly. I know that positivity always wins. We will get through this somehow. I am determined to thrive and I know he is too.
One of my favorite people, who I know GETS IT, took this photo of Jasan. It has to be one of my all time favorite images. It is a moment in time that completely has captured his HAPPY AMAZINGNESS.
This, my friends, is my JASAN.

Jasan

Photo taken by: Janet Kay

I declare to the world that I LOVE HIM!!!!!! There is NOTHING that I wouldn’t do to help guide his life to be a complete success.
<3
 
 
 
 
 

Dating thoughts, Part 2.

Well, here I am…six months later after diving into Match.com and maybe a little Tinder here and there. It has been five years since I have been in a “with him everyday; part of each other’s reality” kind of relationship, and a lot has happened in life since then. For one thing I have become a COMPLETELY different person. For another, Jasan has grown up quite a bit and he communicates pretty well with me now. School is a full day occurrence; I work as close to full-time as I can since my work life pre-child…

I thought maybe it was time to be open to a romantic relationship.

I found out that it’s hard. Not that I thought it would be super easy. It is crazy how much over-thinking I was doing. What happened to the “fall madly in love blindly” feeling that you have when you are early twenties? Ha. I’m kidding when I say that, but it gets awfully  complicated when you factor age, single parent status and autism into the mix.

During first couple of dates I found myself with this weird feeling of having to explain my situation, which I hadn’t ever had to do before. I almost was embarrassed to do so. Not embarrassed of Jasan; that is not what I mean. Embarrassed that I live with my mom and stepdad because I need someone else in this world, besides me, to know my little guy inside and out. I don’t have any free time like normal adults do. I sleep with my son. He still needs me. (This is always debated; I don’t even want to go there. My mom gut says he needs it. I know him and I will know when it is time to start separating.) I only have one babysitter option for nights out (my mom: Aka, “Grammie”). She isn’t readily available, so that means I can go out one MAYBE two nights a month?

Should I keep going?

Hell, what was I thinking? Any guy that I would be talking to would think I’m not date-able. Any guy who likes to spend a lot of time together anyway. I LOVE spending quality time. That’s my deal. That is what makes me tick when it comes to romance…but I don’t have that option.

Frustration.

As time went on, I was focusing on everything about my life that sucks. I mean what really sucks. The last time I was in that funk was when I had come to know Jasan was autistic. I had to mourn. I compared. I worked with kids at the time. Oh man…I would cry on my way home from work so many times. But then, a light bulb went off.

THAT IS NOT SERVING ME OR MY SON. CHANGE THE PERSPECTIVE.

Back then, I really needed to do that to even survive. Depression would have overcome me and I would have been worthless otherwise. Here I was, left to do this alone (which I thought would be do-able…but throw autism into the mix? Damn. Didn’t have a plan for that.)

So, the positivity angel swooped my soul up and gave me a new pair of glasses to look through. Life changed. I cherished all the beautiful differences my son has that other kids did not and just accepted him for WHO HE IS. Challenges and all. A little while later I started taking photographs of his “oddities” which I loved. I gained some momentum and Hello! to this project. Following Jasan was born and I started budding creatively, which I had not done in many years. I started learning more about myself, which basically is what parenting is all about. (Ha. Not what you expect pre-kid, at least your first one anyway.)

I was okay with not having a partner. I didn’t have time to focus on anything else but Jasan and me and figuring out life with autism. I dabbled in a long distance connection when he was younger, but in the end, we didn’t live in each other’s reality. That is not what I wanted. So, single was to be my status.

It took some getting used to, but after a while I didn’t miss it. I didn’t miss the male affection I was accustomed to receiving. In a weird way, I was thankful for this. I know being single and working on ME was something that I needed to do for a long time. It was something that life (circumstantially) forced me into, but it changed me none-the-less.

Fast forward to now, and here I am…back in the funk. I loathe the funk. It scares me, as someone who has dealt with depression since my childhood years. I realized though, it’s okay to want to do things. I miss out on a lot. DATING, soooooo many girlfriend hang outs, going to the movies, going out for drinks, doing anything adult, picking where I want to go to eat vs. where Jasan will eat, photography shoots with my friends, just taking time to learn stuff! Classes, whatever! Simple things like going to the store by myself. Shopping, being spontaneous, traveling, visiting my brother in Arizona… SO. MANY. THINGS. Even when we did finally get to go to Arizona this past Thanksgiving, I STILL MISSED OUT ON STUFF. Sometimes I just feel a big WTF.

But, here I am again. Time to change the perspective. During a really great discussion with my awesome boss, he suggested I listen to a specific podcast: an amazing story of one individual’s strength…and what stood out to me was: are you a VICTIM or a VICTOR?

I have lived the victim card now for some months. I am so done. I don’t like these glasses…I want my victor ones back.

I found them in an old drawer today. Cleaned em’ up and they are ready to wear.

I love my son more than ever. I am excited about our future. I am excited about the day we had today. We have some cool new things and are getting reorganized and that FEELS GOOD.

I am done focusing on LACK, because my life is full of beauty. It may not be your “typical” beauty, but it’s mine, it’s what surrounds me and I will cherish it.

This is a pretty vulnerable post. I wrote it for all the other parents who are held captive by their kid’s special needs. It’s great if you have a wonderful partner to help, but sometimes partners are no help either. Partner or no partner, it can feel EXTREMELY LONELY.

If you have felt this, it is possible to turn it around. Quit looking at what you hate and look at what you love.

The universe will deliver a very different experience to you. It has happened to me before and I know it will again. Try it.

snuggles

He is my favorite snuggle partner. I am helping him to learn how secure he is, because he can feel the love from his mama. That is life-giving to me. <3

Light.

If I am having a down kind of day, taking pictures of Jasan gets me into creative mode and helps elevate my mood. These photos are a result of one of those days…

window light

It was cold and sleety on this day. Jasan insisted on sliding this window open regardless of the weather. I let him do it figuring it was his way of experiencing the weather. He told me to make a CLOSED sign that would read, “Will return at 7:20 AM.” So, of course I obliged.

Closed

He has been pretending a lot lately, which is awesome. He uses his memory bank of experiences to pretend. I call it “literal pretending.” He wanted the closed sign because of the snow. He kept opening this window and telling the imaginary people outside to “Go the other way.” ha. Love it.

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And then, he voiced his annoyance with me. “Mama, no pictures.”

Darn. 😉

He is definitely growing up. He better get used to pictures though; that’s never going to stop.

Stop.

He is my light. <3

 

 

 

 

Waves of grieving.

This may be difficult to write.

I have to admit; I have definitely had a rough day. I am quite blessed to say that tough days where I let my emotions go down the negative path are few and far between. Today has been the exception to my positive streak. I am sure parents of special needs kids are here, where I am today, more often than not. Hence my decision to just sit and write.

I love my son more than I can even explain. I think that is why it feels so incredibly horrific when I have days like today. Days when I just give in to complete mental exhaustion. Why can’t I just have a day where I don’t feel like I am walking on eggshells? The mood swings can come out of nowhere and I some days feel like I am done with it. I am done with patience. I am done with overthinking. I am done with staying calm and looking at the bright side.

I wonder what it would be like to have him come to the grocery store with me and just comply? Or go to a movie with me and sit through the whole thing? Or be able to play like other kids do and just go be free for awhile? Or be able to handle a simplistic no? Not even a NO to something big. A NO to the smallest thing and here we go.

Mama has to tiptoe so that there is no meltdown.

I. am. so. tired.

This feels like a different stage for me. The toddler days are over. Now he is a little boy. His mind is maturing and wow things are different. Interacting with kids are different. I see how other kids AVOID him sometimes.

OUCH that hurts. A lot.

I do realize these are MY feelings, not his. I need to always put that forefront in my mind, but man, is it hard. I have bawled my eyes out driving home from friends’ homes where I thought that he would never be pushed away by the kids. Well, I was wrong. Big time. I had a little guy say to me (a situation where a bunch of kids were present, and obviously the boy didn’t realize I was Jasan’s mom) “Oh, HE isn’t staying the night, is HE?” with that annoyed tone.

HEART. BROKEN.

I have to realize the situation as it is. Not everyone sees Jasan as I do. This is a new stage of grieving for me, the ideas of a little boy and the things we would do and how life would be without autism. This experience of having a child is my only one. Every stage is a learning experience, but now with autism involved. Completely different than what I imagined pregnant with a little munchkin in my womb.

But even as I sit here and write this, he is playing with water in the sink. He just said the cutest thing to me and it is words coming out of his growing up self. Adorable. Completely. I look at him and all of this bullshit washes away.

I have been practicing the mantra, “EVERYTHING ALWAYS WORKS OUT FOR ME.”

I guess I am going to add, “EVERYTHING ALWAYS WORKS OUT FOR JASAN, TOO…”

Tomorrow is a restart. No more negative. Positivity and LOVE always win and bring the best into my life experience.

So many thoughts on dating.

Honestly, I am not quite sure where to even begin this post. I have laid in bed a few nights in the past couple of weeks thinking about this topic. Of course, as I lay there in the dark as Jasan falls asleep next to me, my thoughts gather perfectly. At the end of the day when bed time rolls around for my little guy, the effort for me to stay awake after he drifts off to dreamland is usually just too much. And, alas, there goes my perfectly thought out blog post since it was all written in my mind at that moment. Now I sit here with some time to write and my mind scatters…

It has been SO long since I have been in a relationship. A “do life together in each other’s daily reality” kind of situation.  I am not by any means complaining about this fact. I haven’t missed it. Actually, I think it has been a very good thing for me (and for Jasan.) I can honestly say that I have had the most personal growth to date over the past year. I needed to be focused on me and how to be the best parent for Jasan. The thought of dating has not even entered my mind until recently.

The reason I am choosing to write about this here is because it is a completely different ball game when you have a child with special needs. I think dating as a single parent is challenging as it is. Bringing another person into a family situation; wow. A lot to consider. Possibly blending two separate families with children all coming together…lots of dynamics there.

Autism adds another level of complexity.

I really do not want to choose to look at this as a huge difficulty, but I do want to be realistic with my feelings. Because this is the beginning of my thought process on even starting to THINK about how it would all work, it feels overwhelming. I have moments where I feel excited about the dreamy picture in my mind of my ideal situation. As I work through this, that is where I want to choose to keep the majority of my thoughts. But, there are a few kinks to think through first.

I love my life. I love my son. I love my family. I have chosen to live with my mom and my stepfather, and we have since Jasan was one. He is almost 6. It started out to be for financial reasons because of the break up with his father, but as time has gone on challenges with autism have kept us here with family. It has been beyond necessary for someone else besides me to know Jasan through and through. The only way for that fully to be accomplished is to live with him.

Jasan 2015

My mom and I have a great relationship. We have pretty much partnered in raising Jasan because she is so helpful to me. When I say helpful, I do not mean babysitting when I want her to so that I can go out with girlfriends. I mean the day-to-day activities that she helps me with. For example, she knows our routines. On Jasan’s school mornings she takes it upon herself to wake at a certain time so that she starts breakfast for him. We live in the downstairs part of the home, so when we meander upstairs she is cooking away. This is extremely helpful for me. Mornings can be smooth as silk, or extremely difficult. On the days when we are running late due to transition meltdowns, I know it is vital to get food into his stomach or he won’t be able to handle anything at school…but we also have to get out to the bus on time! Not to mention, I need to get to work on time…it can be pretty tricky sometimes. Through it all, I need to stay as calm as possible to keep things moving along. To have her there as my backup picking up slack is huge. HUGE!

There are many examples I could give that show how helpful “Grammie” is. But, Grammie and Grampie (my stepdad Matt, who works many hours) also have their own busy lives. The three of us are the ones on this earth that know Jasan best. Because he has grown up living with his grandparents, they are hugely influential in his life. What a blessing this is! I feel it is extremely imperative that he has someone besides just me who “gets” him.

Jasan

I have my couple evenings a month where I have things scheduled that I am involved in. If I am out late, which is not often, my mom is the only other person that can put Jasan to bed. Parents that can just call any babysitter so that they can go out for an evening don’t even begin to realize how fabulous they have it. That does not exist in my world. So, with the little bit that I have explained, where the heck does going out on dates fit in to this situation? She sacrifices a lot for me. Unless she had no life of her own and only lived to hang out with her grandson, it’s going to be slightly challenging.

The dynamic between Jasan and me takes most of my energy. As he gets older life has gotten more interesting, but also more difficult. At this point in my life I know what I want. I know that I have the power to choosy when it comes to what and who I let into our lives. Would it be easier to not create more emotional (possible) drama for myself? Maybe. But, I do believe that as time goes on we expand. We have desires and dreams that grow our thoughts. If we don’t keep up with them, that is when life begins to lose its luster. My hunch is that this is part of my expansion. This is why these visions of a partner in my life are coming to me. I need to be open and willing to roll with it.

I know there is a man out there that will love, accept and understand Jasan as if he were his own (and be crazy in love with me as well.) I believe this. I have all the patience in the world and I know that he will show up in my reality somehow when the universe beautifully sets it up to be so. If I choose to start opening up my mind to this idea of relationship with all of this worry and fret, he will not come. If I let my walls come down and trust that everything will work out, guess what?

It will. <3

I had planned to do a lot more writing about details on the difficulties. I kinda like how this post took a turn for the positively hopeful! I think I’ll stay here.

us

lol

be YOU tiful

me.

Grateful.

Wow. What a year this has been so far! So many wonderful things have happened in our lives that I’m overflowing with gratitude…not just today, but on a regular basis.

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Look at that face! Every single morning I love beyond words that I get to wake up and he is right next to me. He is so joyful and happy most of the time, and I love how we play off of each other.

Autism is a part of our lives, and you know what? I am thankful it is. He chose to come into the world this way and I love every bit of him.

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Our world is filled with sound effects, singing and lots of talking. I waited a long time for him to speak his mind, so I say, “BRING IT ON! TALK MY EARS OFF!” His unbelievable ability to mimic sounds still blows my mind everyday, and his love of music just fills me up. I was praying that he would be musically gifted when I was pregnant with him because I know how much that gift is important to me personally. When he sings, my heart sings. <3

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I am thankful for laughter. He is not the type of kid that laughs a lot. He is happy 95% of the time, but he isn’t always laughing (like I tend to do! HA.) When he does laugh, oh my. BEST SOUND IN THE WORLD.

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We are blessed with such incredible family. I cannot even count how many times they have gone out on a limb for us. I could not say “thank you” enough to express the gratitude I have for them…

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Friends. For the first time in my life I feel as if ALL the people surrounding me fill me up. There aren’t any relationships in my life that drag me down or exhaust me. This makes me realize how much I have grown emotionally. Life feels amazing. I feel really, really good. The people in my life accept my son for who he is (and me too!) I know Jasan can feel this too.

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The opportunities that have come my way have given me a whole new outlook on life. Creating this blog, sharing my heart and my perspective through our story has opened up a new chapter for me.

Being able to actually exhibit my work was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I cannot wait to do it again! I have a passion for images and telling the story; the story of how our kids are so perfect just the way they are.

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Thanksgiving can be every day. It’s all in how we choose to see life.

<3

Thank you to each and every one of you that take the time to read this blog and share in our journey.

 

Time.

Today I learned of a friend’s passing. He was very young and leaves behind a beautiful wife and two amazing autistic children. My heart feels completely saddened for this family. A husband and a father is now gone. Dynamics have changed…so unexpectedly.

We have all heard the phrases, “Live life like it’s your last day on earth.” “Life is too short.”

But do you? Really?

Those statements really hit you when an accident happens, and it seems unreal. Say what you want to say to your loved ones. Make time..

Quality time to spend with friends and family.

Love a little more. Hug a little tighter. Make connections. Keep in touch. Just simply BE happy. Realize and be grateful for the blessings in life.

We don’t know when our last moments will be.

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<3

In honor of Bill Maglares. You are in heaven now watching over your family. They will always have their own personal angel…

A little about mama.

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Photographer: Amber Benson

It has been way too long since my last blog post. When this happens, I realize that I have become slightly derailed emotionally. When I am on a good path of staying focused on the positive and doing what is best for Jasan and me, these posts flow right out of me. Ideas come and immediately I want to write. I love that feeling, and it is proof that this project is supposed to be happening.

A lot of good has come from sharing my series on Jasan. Before making the decision to even call these photographs a series, I prayed about it. I was also quiet and let myself be open to feel a yes or a no. I discussed it with a couple of very close friends to get their opinions, and the overwhelming “yes!” was seeming apparent from all directions. The more I started to share little bits and pieces of our life together as mother & son, the more personal the words became.

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Photographer: George Allen

What I am most loving about this blog is that it really all revolves around my emotional awareness and health. It’s all a part of my journey of going inward, becoming more emotionally aware and realizing how it’s forming a new version of me. Of course this directly affects my parenting. I could not be more thankful for this process and how it is really strengthening my relationship with my son and everyone around me.

My mother (who is a huge inspirational influence on me) gave me a little notecard to read about a week ago. When I started thinking about this post, I realized how well this fits together. This is what it says:

The child is thinking on the day it enters your environment.

And so beliefs are easily transmitted from adults to children…

The child is vibrationally receiving your fears and your beliefs even without your spoken word.

So give thought only to that which you want, and your child will receive from you only the vibration of those wanted thoughts.

Read that a few times and think about how PROFOUND that is.

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Now, it is not always easy to have positive thoughts 24-7. We aren’t perfect humans, and life happens. Focusing on the positive takes practice. Lots of practice. And AWARENESS. Being aware of your thoughts is huge. We all have a power that many of us don’t utilize. We all have the CHOICE to pick and choose our thoughts which will then in turn determine what vibrational energy we create.

Because Jasan and I are a little twosome, our relationship is EXTREMELY close. I do not have a partner yet in my life journey, and I do not have any other children that I need to pour energy into. Just Jasan. Therefore, we are almost like one at times. <3 On the flip side, he feels EVERYTHING that’s going on with me. If my head isn’t right, he knows. Even in his 4 year old world.

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Because Jasan is autistic, I think his level of awareness is heightened. He is so in tune with me it’s kinda crazy awesome. When I let my mind soak this in, I feel an ever greater need to continue my journey to emotional health for his sake, as well as mine. The stronger I become, the better it is for both of us. I think being able to look inside of me has quieted my thoughts enough to become more grateful of what is around me. All of these photos that I take of Jasan reflect just that. Being in the moment. Instead of being busy in my mind with all of the junk that I used to choose to focus on, I CAN be in the moment. After learning more about who I am and why I used to make the unhealthy choices that I did, thought patterns can be made new. Old behaviors can melt away (with a little practice of course…) but it’s all in my mind. It’s MY CHOICE and MY WORK. It doesn’t just happen.

We can all make it happen. For us as individuals, and AS PARENTS for OUR CHILDREN. They deserve it. Our healthy attitude. Our positive vibration. They feel all of it.

Just for fun, I went through some pre-autism series photos. (a.k.a. Mama & Jasan selfies…mostly. ha)

Thought I would share some with you!

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Oh how I love him! <3