Thanksgiving my way

For the past few years, since I got divorced, I’ve been lucky enough to have Thanksgiving free to do whatever I want. I don’t host dinner, and my son goes to his dad’s to celebrate with that side of the family. And I make my own plans. Or rather, lack of plans.

My aunt called me a few days ago and asked if I had plans for Thanksgiving. I told her no, and she said they were having a small dinner, just my mom and the family. Now, my aunt means well, but what you have to understand is that she often only tells you half of what she’s thinking and expects you to infer the rest. So I figured implicit in her call was an invitation to dinner, but I really wasn’t sure. Until yesterday, when she texted me to confirm we were coming.

So today I got the rare opportunity to sleep in. (8:15!) I lounged around, drinking coffee and playing on the computer for a while, until it was time to take my son to his dad’s. Then I stopped in at Jewel to pick up a can of mushroom soup for the green bean casserole I was making. I also decided to splurge on scratch-off lottery tickets, since I hadn’t bought any in quite a while.

When I got home, I split the lottery tickets with my boyfriend, and wouldn’t you know it he had the winner. We came out $60 ahead, which is pretty good.

He helped me with the casserole, since I’ve never fried anything before, and I was a little wary to do the onions. (It turned out fantastic, by the way. You can find the recipe here:

I even had time to put on makeup, which I rarely find time for any more. I got dressed, and away we went. We got to my aunt’s right on time.

The food was delicious, we spent time with family (including little ones, which is how it always should be), and then we headed home early to spend the evening doing our own things. That’s Thanksgiving the way I like it.


Getting Started With Autism

My ten-year-old son was recently diagnosed with autism. This is not something I saw coming. He’s bright, creative, and funny–and while he’s had issues with anger, frustration, and social skills over the years, autism wasn’t in the realm of possibility in my mind. I’ve met kids with autism. I knew what autism is like, and my son just didn’t fit.

Then I read the report and saw how all the pieces fit together, and I realized I had a lot to learn. So I set out to find some resources to learn how to help him and get support for myself. And that’s where I kept hitting dead ends.

No support groups in my area. No social groups. Nothing within a practical distance that would work within our schedules. My son has a lot of support and resources at school, but I can’t find anything for me as a parent. If he had more severe challenges, I’m sure there would be other resources available to us, but I can’t even find a parents group in my county.

And so I subscribed to a magazine and ordered some books, hoping to glean some insight into the way his brain works and some tools for dealing with his meltdowns. I’m tired and I’m in new territory, and I just want to get through a day without my son losing it over his piano practice, or homework, or a video game not going his way.


Right now I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don’t just get it overnight; you have to work at it. It’s a daily struggle.

Jackee Harry

I have so much on my mind these days. I often think, “I need to start meditating again,” and I laugh. I am the opposite of being present. I am anxious, I am worried, I am tired. My mind is occupied with a ten-year-old son with high-functioning autism who pushes the envelope at every turn (“Can I watch one more episode of Adventure Time?” when I tell him to go to bed – “I’m still hungry; can I get another snack?”), who in addition to normal ten-year-old boy challenges has meltdowns when his piano lessons get frustrating.

My mind is on my dog who recently started having seizures, and although she appears to be improving with medication, she is still having seizures more often than the vet feels is within the “acceptable” range.” Yet tests aren’t telling us anything we need to know, and so I’m left to wonder how long it will be until her next episode, and whether she feels scared when it happens.

My mind is on my job and continual changes that are outside of my control. I feel lost and directionless; I don’t know if I contribute or where I should go next.

Finances are an eternal stressor, along with housework that’s never complete. I should be eating better, I should be exercising, I should be sleeping more.

Constant worry, anxiety, fear that I don’t measure up to my own high standards. Solitude, no one I can rely on to help me get the job done.

I’m searching for something to quiet this constant thunderstorm rumbling through my head.