Do You Remember 13?

Lil D through the window

Do you remember 13? Seventh grade or eight grade maybe? A mixture of hormones, uncertainty, a growing sense of self and figuring out how to fit in with the right friends without compromising your true self? And what is that true self? Is it growing out of what your parents taught you, or is it developing independently apart from the external influences in your life?Do you remember 13? Not wanting to hang around your family all the time, wanting to be out of the house more, but you aren’t old … [Read more...]

Words Matter in Autism Land and Beyond

words matter

One might call me a pushover – my husband often does, saying that I’d rather keep quiet and not ruffle any feathers, except when it comes to Lil D. And even with him, in forging relationships with his teachers, therapists, aides, caregivers, bus drivers and bus aides, babysitters and everyone else throughout the years, my approach has been to win them and teach them with kindness, firmness and openness.To try and be open-minded as to what they feel and know in their relationships with Lil D, … [Read more...]

To Have and to Hold

Lil D upon waking up

Last night after putting you to bed, after turning off the bedroom light and turning the closet light on and leaving the door ajar, after turning on your white noise machine, after uttering my usual nighttime prayer for you, after rubbing coconut oil on the lingering scars on your face and your consistently chapped lips, after covering you with your favorite heavy blanket and kissing your forehead, I left the room and shut the door.Throughout all this you said nary a word to me. You giggled, … [Read more...]

Br. Omar Suleiman Speaks About People with Special Needs and their Families

First I was tagged in the video. Then it was posted to my wall and sent to me via a private message from a friend. Then, every faith-based, especially Muslim-based special needs group I am a part of on Facebook posted this video posted to their respective walls. And though I'm not on Twitter hardly, I'm sure the link is being shared generously there. I'm talking about this video by Imam Omar Suleiman, director of the Islamic Learning Foundation and an instructor at Mishkah Univesity, Al Maghrib … [Read more...]

It was Everything

Lil D and his therapist in the pool.

On our sixth (fifth, or was it the seventh? Who knows? I’ve given up counting) snow day, when it was deemed too unsafe for busses to drive kids to school but I could drive and other desperate parents who needed to get to work or just get their kids out of the house could drive – I pulled my car out onto our unshoveled driveway and uttered a prayer out loud:Please God. Please. Please. Please. Please. Throw me a bone. Let him enjoy this. Let him have a good time. Let things go smoothly. Let it … [Read more...]

Deserving Respect

holding-on

So many things are different now.So many.And though I know that parenting is a journey, and we learn from our early selves and fine-tune our methods as the years progress, that we make many mistakes, and that sometimes mistakes need to be made for us to learn and grow – but that doesn’t lessen the guilt or heartache that I wish I had known then what I know better now.That as important as it is to teach Lil D how to do things he doesn’t very well want to do, or navigate situations he d … [Read more...]

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Lil D and his sister walking together.

Last night, after dinner, with my in-laws out visiting my sister-in-law and my husband upstairs putting our youngest to bed, I drew the curtains on the world and called Lil D to join me on the family room sofa. Amal was already there, nose buried in a Nancy Drew mystery. And Lil D came bounding up the stairs. Seeing me on the sofa, no phone in hand, no laptop open nearby – his face lit up.I could almost hear the thoughts in his head: Ahhhh Mamma. We’re going to chill now. No dis … [Read more...]


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