Different Patches Can Make A Beautiful Piece….

okay to be different

There is a quote by Dr. James Dobson that says, “Every child need not fit the same mold, nor should we force them to do so”.  I think that is such a profound statement.  I feel that too many time we as parents have set out dreams and goals for our children of what we would like them to become instead of finding out who they really are, and what they would like to be.  Dreams and goals are good, and it is our job as parents to help our children find out who they are, what they love, then help them foster their dreams and goals so they can achieve them, and in the process become the very best version of themselves that they can be.

I know growing up I felt like I could not measure up to what my parents wanted from me, and I could never do enough to gain their approval.  That can be devastating for a child.  As a parent we need to help our children grow into who they are supposed to be, and then love and embrace them for all their special and unique gifts and abilities. Let me tell you, our boys are so uniquely different, and as I always tell them, different is okay.  Our oldest son wants to go into Computer Science, our middle son (even though he scored over 1970 on his SAT’s) wants to be a mechanic, and our youngest wants to go into Criminal Justice.  I think his real motivation is so that he can give me a ticket for speeding! 😉

I feel like creating your family is like making a quilt.  Each patch of material that you use to put that quilt together is unique and different, and each square of material needs to be handled differently, but when it is finally all sewn together it makes a beautiful piece.  The greatest gift you can give to your child is to let them know how much you love them, and how proud of them you are.  It doesn’t matter how old they are, they still like to know that they have your approval.  Let your kids know today how very special they are, and how very blessed you are to have them in your life.  Children can be a lot of work, but they are truly a gift and a blessing (most of the time)!  😀

Written by Kim Carlisle

 

 

It’s Not Always What’s On The Outside That Counts

california-chrome-victor-espinoza-horse-racing-139th-preakness-stakes4I’m sure that most of you have heard about California Chrome and his chances to win the Triple Crown this week-end, and I am cheering for him and his jockey Victor Espinoza all the way. It has been 36 years since Affirmed was the last horse to win it. The even more interesting story is the one behind the scenes. I don’t know if you have noticed the DAP letters that are on California Chrome’s face mask, but it actually stands for “Dumb Ass Partners”.  Two ordinary guys actually paid $8,000 for a mare, and $2500.00 to sire her. So in this business where horses cost millions, California Chrome cost $10,500.00. Everyone laughed at them, and thought they had no clue what they were doing.

The second interesting fact is on the back of the jersey that Victor Espinoza wears is a donkey (for the “ass” part). Victor’s brother (who is also a jockey) said growing up Victor was always scared to ride on the horses, so he would ride the donkey on their goat farm in Mexico. Victor said that it was one “ornery” donkey, and kept bucking him off, but he kept getting back on. He didn’t give up, and here he is today ready to ride in the biggest race of his life. I think these two had a destiny together, because California Chrome’s  previous jockey rode him in two races and came in 6th both times. But ever since Victor Espinoza and California Chrome have been paired together, they have never lost a race.

As I was reading their story, it made me think about life. I think too many times we are too quick to judge how someone may look on the outside, instead of taking the time to get to know them for who they are on their inside.  I know that it is important to take pride in taking care of yourself, and do the best with what you have been given, but in this day and age it seems like we live in such a superficial society at times that we discount certain people that we feel just don’t “measure” up.  I know this has been true for our boys. Many times people have dismissed them for being a little “quirky” or “unique”, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. As I tell them, different is okay. It is what makes everyone special. So maybe take a minute out of your day, and talk to someone you maybe normally wouldn’t. You never know the impact you may have on their life.

I hope I don’t jinx the race this week, but here’s to the little guy coming out on top!! 🙂

Written by Kim Carlisle

#71….Is Shorter Better?

short girls

This is for all of those mothers who are on the “petite” side (myself included). Our size is not always given the value or notoriety that it deserves. Case in point….as I was out playing football with our guys, (I was playing center for Kyle who was playing quarterback), Kyle mouthed off to me by telling me to try to hike it at least above his knees. I fired back at him, that he should appreciate me just being out there, because I didn’t know of too many mothers who are willing to play football with their guys at age 50!! It’s a good thing I like that boy. 😉

Even though my guys tease me about being the shortest, and the oldest (if adding that part is really necessary), I am a very blessed mother on this Mother’s Day. We actually survived Nathan’s first year of college! Kyle brought home a couple of awards. One for lettering in football, and the best one was for his outstanding academic achievements while playing football. Then we come to Joel….

Joel received the “Going Above and Beyond” Award, for his leadership in class, and just going above and beyond what his teacher asked him or expected him to do. As I was sitting in the auditorium for his ceremony, his auto tech teacher came up to me and was telling me how much he enjoyed having Joel in his class. Then he went on to tell me of an episode they had in class….

You must remember that I live in a houseful of men, and my humor has become a little warped over time, so some of you may not find this as funny as I did. His teacher was telling me that one day in class they had finished up their work, so they were watching pranks on You Tube. He told me about this one where this guy would approach a number of girls naked, and just start talking to them. Of course it blurred out certain parts of the anatomy. He told me that the guys in class were most impressed, because they would never have the guts to do something like that. Then he told me all of a sudden the “blurred” spot became a little larger, and he immediately shut it down. He was relieved because he thought he had managed to turn it off before any of the guys had noticed.

I told him that even though Joel didn’t say anything, I bet he noticed because he usually doesn’t miss a thing.  I asked Joel about the “prank” they had watched in class. He told me that they started watching it, but his teacher had to turn it off because the guy’s “soldier was standing at attention, and trying to salute”! I am chagrined to admit hearing gales of  laughter coming from my direction.  Since there are exceptions to every rule, that is one occasion where “shorter” probably is not better.

I may not have super model long legs, or be able to reach things off the top shelf, but I always tell my guys that great things can come in small packages. Never underestimate the “little” things, because sometimes they can surprise you and accomplish big things.   Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there, no matter size, shape, or age.  You never know what an impact you will have on your kids if you hang in there, and stay plugged in with them.  🙂

 

Written by Kim Carlisle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

#70….How Not To Talk To Your Teens About Sex

SexyI am aware as a parent that I am continually being presented with a number of opportunities to embarrass my children as they are growing up, and if I am being totally honest with myself, I must admit to being guilty of that offense now and again.  I remember when the doctor placed that tiny baby in my arms, it suddenly dawned on me that I was now responsible for the monumental task of raising them.  I knew the one thing I was most nervous about was that I would make that “one” critical mistake (even though I was not quite sure what that mistake might be), and I would be responsible for ruining their childhood, and scarring them for life.

I felt that if I proceeded with extreme caution, I just might be able to succeed in obtaining my goal of helping them become confident, secure individuals, and maybe even manage to keep them out of therapy!  I remember when I left the hospital for the first time cradling that little bundle of joy, and being so excited to finally get him home!  I couldn’t be more elated (part of that elation could be attributed to the “happy” drugs in my system that had not quite worn off).

Then came that first night when we were on our own, and that tiny bundle (which you hadn’t realized had such a powerful set of lungs), wouldn’t stop crying. You didn’t remember him displaying that talent while you were at the Hospital (where the nurses were on hand to help you decipher baby “code”), so there I was frantically rifling through all the mountain of paperwork and literature trying to discover what the problem was.

That is the point where you make that monumental discovery that the nurses had neglected to put in the owner’s manual. You know the one where you go through the alphabetical index and look up the page number on how to deal with each situation that arises with that new gadget you have just brought home, and how to fix it?!  Then finally in a state of panic you are able to reach the hospital trying to notify them about their oversight, when you find out that there isn’t a handbook, and you are suddenly on your own.

If you are going to “mess” up any of your children, you would hedge your bets on it being your first, due to sheer lack of ineptness.  You figure the first child you can just chalk up to basically an experiment for you to decide on what you should and should not do, and you pray that you will not traumatize them too badly while figuring things out. I thought we were actually not doing too badly, since we hadn’t been handed any pink slips notifying us that our services as parents would no longer be required due to a “ruined” childhood, and some scarring. Then came the incident where our youngest son told me that he had been “scarred for life”, and that his childhood was ruined (for the first time), because he was mooned by his oldest brother (post #59).

One of our favorite shows is, ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’. I don’t know if you have ever seen that show, but it always makes me laugh so hard I need to take frequent bathroom breaks (due to having children). I really can’t set this clip up accurately for you to understand, so I had to put it on for you to see. Then I can explain the circumstances that led to our youngest son’s childhood being “scarred”, and ruined for a second time.

 

After the mention about the length and time consumption that it takes the turtles to mate, Joel said, “Well, just look at it this way….it’s basically like grandma and grandpa having sex”.  That was when Kyle said that he was going to have nightmares, and wouldn’t be able to overcome this second trauma, and would be permanently “scarred” for life!  I am hoping at some point he will be able to make a full recovery.

On the bright side, I can say that so far it has actually not been me (yet), that has ruined any one of our children’s life.  Since they are all almost raised, and I think we are on the home-stretch, I am almost euphemistic that I may even avoid an appearance on Dr. Phil! 😉

Written by Kim Carlisle

 

 

#69….How To Land A “Hot” Chick….Or Not

courage2I don’t know how these conversations get started, or why they always seem to take place in the kitchen. Nevertheless, I must say that I take great comfort in the fact that in this day and age, our teenage sons actually WILL condescend to now and again grace us with their repartee!  On the other hand, as I contemplate the situation more fully, it does seem rather suspicious that A: Mom cooking dinner + B: Ravenous teen guys = C: Quality conversation (or at least a captive audience that pretends to pay attention).

As I was cooking said dinner, Rob was talking to Joel and Kyle about girls and dating. As most of you know kids on the autism spectrum are extremely shy, and it is difficult for them to initiate a conversation (especially with the opposite sex). Rob was reminding them how hard it was for our oldest son to talk to the girls in High School, but since he has entered College things have started to turn around for him.  Rob was sharing with them some of the things Nathan was doing in order to help him feel more comfortable around girls.

Rob was explaining to Joel and Kyle that all you have to do when you see a girl is to just smile at her, or ask her how her day is going, give her a compliment, etc.  They just needed a little courage and confidence in themselves.  When Rob had finished imparting his sage advice to the guys, Joel piped up to say, “Considering all the luck you had with the ladies when you were growing up, isn’t it a freakin’ miracle that we even exist”?!!

I am chagrined to admit that I did giggle (just a little). I am not quite sure if Joel was referring to our extremely disastrous dates (see post #1 & #2), or that Rob was lucky he was able to land me. No two people could have any worse dates than we did, but fortunately I saw beyond that, and realized what a wonderful husband and father he would be. And oh yeah, Rob did get lucky and landed one hot chick! 😀

 

Written by Kim Carlisle

 

 

#68….When HAZMAT Suits Become Essential!

IMG_0843  Believe it or not, I think spring may finally be here! I guess it may be time to crawl out from under my self-imposed rock, and get myself in gear. This winter has been so long and cold, which has been brutal on my fibromyalgia. My guys have really stepped up, picked up the slack for me, and I am eternally grateful.  As I am looking around the house though, I realize some spring cleaning is in order.

Since I was not sure where to start, I chose to tackle the bathrooms first. It soon became quite apparent that my guys and I have quite different notions as to what the term “cleaning” exactly means. As you know there are three guys sharing those bathrooms, and since it quite honestly frightens me to venture into certain parts of their domain (I’m not sure what goes on in there, nor do I want to know) they usually clean their own bathrooms. I just open the door now and again to throw in a new air-freshener (which is a necessity in there), and make sure they are keeping them presentable.

As I stood there surveying the scene, I realized that #1: I have not been opening their doors as often (while hibernating), and #2: This would be a major undertaking. I suited up in a Hazmat suit, surgical gloves, and got up the courage to go on in. As I was scrubbing things down, the questions that kept entering my head were….do they really just not notice that they are not shooting straight, or do they just not care?!

Since I know my guys are always helping me out around the house, I am going to go with I just don’t think they really notice. After basing my assumption on that notion, when I had finished, I made it a point to let Joel and Kyle know (in case they didn’t notice),that I had cleaned their bathrooms for them.

I must say I was most duly rewarded when I heard Kyle tell his dad that, “didn’t he have the best mother in the world”? I even scored a hug from him that he initiated himself!!! You have to understand that since Kyle is on the autism spectrum, and also has sensory integration disorder, and add to that he is a teen-age young man, he doesn’t really care for hugs much. He and I have negotiated a deal, that since I am his mother, I am allowed one hug a day (of course not in public….that would just ruin his reputation).

So that self-initiated hug from Kyle, (plus don’t forget the unexpected compliment thrown in for good measure), was it worth all the scrubbing and gagging?

It was pure money!!  🙂

 

Written by: Kim Carlisle

#67….Is The Grass Really Greener On The Other Side?

FoCharlie Brownr those of you who are wondering where I have been, or if I am still alive and kicking?  Well, I will answer your question.  I have been evaluated by a highly skilled professional (my doctor), and have been given to understand according to his professional opinion, that he did detect a faint pulse, which leads me to the conclusion that my husband will have to put up with me a bit longer.

As most of you are aware, I have fibromyalgia.  It has been extremely bad lately, because we have had such a cold winter.  I’m sure those of you who have rheumatoid arthritis or any kind of joint pain can re-late.  The pain gets so bad that I go into what I call survival mode.  I only attend to those things that are absolutely essential.  The rest I just have to let go, and not beat myself up about it because I can’t manage to get it done.

I am so grateful for my supportive husband and family.  I know that it is hard on them sometimes, but they hang in there with me, and I feel extremely blessed.  A lot of marriages don’t survive when they are dealing with a chronic condition, as I have come to find out.

While at the doctor, I became engaged in a conversation with a woman about this very topic of how hard it is sometimes for families not to get frustrated with the circumstances, and be able to give you that support when one is dealing with a chronic condition.  She told me that at one point her husband couldn’t take it anymore, and decided he was going to leave her.  He went on-line and ordered a Vietnamese bride for $5,000.00.  Come to find out the “woman” he ordered, turned out to be a man.  I am embarrassed to say that I couldn’t hold in the giggles, which seemed to be contagious, because she started laughing too.  Everyone in the waiting room was looking at us, but hey you know what they say…. laughter is the best medicine!

I was most intrigued to find out what happened after that, so I just had to ask.  She told me that her husband tried to recover his $5,000.00 (to no avail), learned his lesson, decided that the grass was NOT greener on the other side, and came home.  She then told me she posted it on Facebook so everyone would know what he did.  Ouch!

I told her that she should share with him the 80% – 20% rule that Tyler Perry talks about.  He says that one may only have 80% of their needs met in their marriage, so when they see someone else come along, one may be tempted to think they look a little better.  Some people may even leave their spouse for that person, only to discover they have just entered into a relationship that only fulfills 20% of their needs.  So they gave up the 80% for the 20%, and by then they realize too late how much they really threw away.

Is life perfect?  No… There are always going to be struggles and things to overcome.  If you find in your relationship that you have a true connection, don’t throw it away on a short term 20% deal!

Written by Kim Carlisle