Why Did You Leave Me?

Lil D hoody smiling

I picture it happening like this: He walks in the door, weary after traveling thousands of miles and sitting for hours on a plane, then driving nearly three hours more – across time zones and battling jet lag – and drops his bags and calls out to his son. The edges of the picture fade into a blur and the room goes silent as the focus turns with a sharp clarity onto Lil D, spinning his beads and pacing the length of the family room. It’s time for the big moment, the story-book reunion between fat … [Read more...]

An Eid without Lil D and Autism

Dilshad2

It was a pretty monumental end to Ramadan 2013 for our family, as we celebrated the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday here in Hyderabad, India, completing what was my first experience fasting and celebrating this Eid outside of the United States. My hands have mendhi (henna) on them, I ate more than my fair share of sheer khorma, and we met more family in one day on Eid than I ever have before. We managed to stuff the day with Eid prayers, Friday prayers, a stellar biryani lunch (natch) for any and all family … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday Lil D – Not so Lil Anymore

Daanish 13 birthday

It isn’t a celebration unless we eat biryani, and that our family did – in two different continents.I woke yesterday morning to the sound of bleating goats in the front yard. Normally it would’ve been the sing-song sounds of Lil D roaming the house, as he gets up pretty much as early on the weekend as he does on the weekday. But he is not here with me. He is far, far away, like a line out of a fairy tale.I am in India. He is at home in Virginia with my parents. And I am not with him on th … [Read more...]

It’s Not Just About You

Amal sheparding Lil D on the beach

The only thing predictable about autism and Lil D in our house is that it and he are unpredictable. You can say that about life in general. It’s not a unique characteristic owned by autism or my child in particular. And yet, it is unique to us in its manifestation.We met with Lil D’s speech and occupational therapists last week at school at my request to discuss some things we want to change/try with his assistive communication device (his iPad), as well as figuring out a plan to help deal wi … [Read more...]

We Keep Planting Seeds of Change

Five K_family

There are two stories to tell, unrelated, yet related to each other. A high and a low. Prayers answered and things gone horribly wrong, all in the span of 48 hours. Autism is a relentless, fickle and surprising master. But there is one greater master.The past two months around my home was a lead up to Memorial Day weekend and the Autism Society of Central Virginia 5k – an annual run/walk that is this organization’s biggest fundraiser. I’ve been involved with this organization for a few years … [Read more...]

For the Love of Their Grandchildren

Daanish spinning beads on flag (2)

What would a parent do for their child? Anything. How far do we go for them? As far as it takes. What do we give up? Whatever we need to. What do we change about ourselves? Everything. When you add special needs into the picture, then your ability to go the distance for your child becomes the stuff legends are made of. And, there are no thanks necessary – it’s just what you do.I have quit jobs, stayed up nights on end well beyond the baby and toddler years. I’ve driven thousands of miles to a … [Read more...]

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

miss-you

Growing up, I can only recall one time when my parents left us in the care of a babysitter. Part of it was where we grew up (in a small Midwestern town away where there wasn’t much by way of entertainment). Another part was just how my parents were – more of homebodies who just weren’t inclined to leave their children. They didn’t seem to have a lot of complaints or difficulties, even when I ask them now, when it came to our upbringing.Were we easier kids to parent than our own children are n … [Read more...]


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