Category Archives: Relationships

Maybe It Is Me

Maybe it is me?…..

Over the last few posts I have been sharing snippets of what my former marriage was like.

I have also shared these are things I don’t readily share with friends and family anymore.

As I’ve started to dig into things, I’ve begun to analyze myself. I am and always have been my harshest critic. I have begun to wonder if my failed relationships aren’t so much about who I’m choosing but me.

Why do I choose these people?

Do I change them?

Am I hard to love?

I was really to start to buy into this mindset, then three things happened.

One of my infamous car conversations with my daughter G. Afterwards, I kept thinking it would break my heart if she ever thought some of the thoughts I think about myself sometimes.

I met with my therapist. Who honestly has been a buoy for me in this ocean of things that I’ve just started facing.

Lastly I thought about you all. What would I say to one of you if you shared that statement with me.

That you felt your failed relationships, the hurt were your doing.

I would come through whatever device you are reading this one and shout “absolutely not!”

So why on earth would I allow those thoughts for myself? I’m going to go out on a limb here, because somewhere along the way I thought I didn’t deserve more.

Somewhere along the way I got stuck.

I stopped believing.

Happy people can still have self doubt. Where I’m at in my world is trying incredibly hard to drown out that doubt. I am reclaiming hobbies I gave up.

Painting for one. I am listening to music I forgot about. I’m here to say Rage Against the Machine makes for a fantastic band to listen to when you have a case of the reds. Maybe don’t drive while listening to it, may cause speeding.

I am and this has been the hardest- asking for what I need. Then in turn feeling comfortable giving myself space when I feel hurt.  Or it doesn’t go the way I hoped.

I still pick myself apart. I still wonder. I still make incredibly huge mistakes. I am human. But I am learning to forgive myself. I am learning to not read into every little thing. That my friends WILL definitely be a blog for another day.

I am learning no, it’s not me. That’s the easy way out.  It’s a lot of things and while I hold a piece I’m not the whole puzzle.

Self blame, self doubt… while easy to do and will never completely go away, I’m learning to cut myself some slack.

As always my badass Mommas remember to do the same.

<3Caprise

Is It Too Soon For A Relationship?

After I got divorced the first thing I did was look for a relationship.  I thought that was what I should do.  I did not realize that I should have taken the time to learn about myself and what I needed.  I did not take the time to learn what I wanted.

There were so many things that I did not realize at the time.   I was recently divorce and thought that I knew what I wanted.  I went on an online dating site and met someone within months of being divorced.  At the time, I thought I wanted a serious relationship.  I mean, what else do you do after divorce but find someone else….

We dated for over a year and it was a roller coaster of emotions.   At the time, I thought this is what I should be doing. I got divorced and now I should meet someone else.  Our relationship started out great, but soon faded.  We each had kids and with our schedules it was hard to find time together. In addition, as we got more involved in our relationship I wanted our kids to spend time together.  I quickly learned how hard it was to date someone with kids when you both have different schedules.  Dating with kids is hard.  I was trying to make him into something he was not and I was also doing things that I did not want, just to make him happy.

Besides thinking that we should each spend time together, I also thought that our kids should spend time together.  They were all different ages and did not all want to spend time together.  I wanted us to do things together as a family.    When I did not have my kids, I would spend time with him and his kids. I would help him with running them to their activities or whatever they needed.  And I did not have any time to myself or learn about my own life after divorce.  I thought this is what I should be doing.

Our relationship was very toxic at the end.  We would fight, said unforgivable things, and make up so many times.  I was scared to be alone and didn’t know what I would do without him.  We ended up breaking up.  Our facebook status couldn’t keep up with all the changes, it was a daily status update.  I  soon realized that our relationship was so wrong.  I was trying to go from a marriage of 13 years to a serious relationship with someone else before knowing exactly what I wanted.

I did not know what I wanted in a partner or even my own life.  I have now had the time to learn about myself and what I love. I have time finally do the things that I love.  While we were dating, I would spend my time doing the things he loved.  I did not take time to do what I wanted.  I love to workout, hike, and be outside.

I  would put those things aside and not do them because I felt they were not that important.   I have now learned that those things are a priority to me and I put them first.

It took me a long time to be ok with not being with someone else, not spending every moment with a date or a boyfriend.  It’s so important to know what you want and what you like before rushing into a relationship.   I learned that it is important to not settle, just to be with someone.  And I am pretty sure I have learned over the last year what I do not want..haha.  I had to learn about what I truly valued in life and in a person that would be spending time with me and eventually my children.  I had to learn what I wanted from someone in a relationship and how serious of a relationship that I was looking for right now.

During my relationship, I thought I was ready for this.  I can now look back on it and I know that I  should have taken the time to learn about myself, what I want in a relationship, and what’s important to me

Snarky divorced gal

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

What’s In A Name?

I am always telling you guys that what you call a thing it becomes and often I will say change the way that you are framing something and change what you are calling it and that will give you a different experience.  Such as calling a historic event either a problem or a blessing.  Today I am pondering what it would mean for me to change my name…I have kept this pretty private…after 18 years of being single, I am getting married…

Yes, you read that correctly.

The kiddo is almost 19 and it is time now for me to start the next act —- my husband to be I have known for 20 years and someday soon I will share the whole Hallmark story in a blog post…for now I am going to stay focused on this name thing.

So…at first thought I was not changing my last name because of my work etc and that was totally OK with him and it still is.  Except now, I have been quietly pondering it all and I am wondering what it would be like to shed my former name and have the opportunity to become a different version of myself—which, honestly I am doing by getting married after being single for the last 18 years!

I am kind of thinking that I would have the opportunity to create myself in a different way, an opportunity to put the past to rest where it belongs…because the way I see it is every time I would sign or see my new name I would have to acknowledge to myself that there had been a shift…a BIG one…and that shift gives me the opportunity to be a better version of myself.

My current last name is my Mother’s maiden name—our family name and it means a lot to me, it always will—however it also represents a lot of history and experiences that were hard and sad and difficult—my childhood was rough, raising Antonio alone was rough and although there are a lot of triumphs and so much strength and grace there are also moments and pieces of time that I definitely wish that I had done differently.  Probably like all of you there are versions of myself that I am not fond of…with age comes the wisdom of seeing where you could have done it different…and although I have forgiven myself, it might be very interesting to start a new chapter with a new name.  When I was married before I added that last name at the end of my own, so never in my life have I just simply assumed a completely different name.

I was always so busy feeling like I had something to prove by keeping my name—showing everyone how independent I was.  Now I understand that my independence and abilities are not tied to a name—they are a part of who I am and always will be.

The new workbook came out last Tuesday and on last Sunday’s live we started talking about ‘changing the game’— I feel like for me changing the game for 2020 could encompass taking on a new name and with that getting better at being disciplined in the places where I am still lacking…you know the ones, I have shared them with you in blogs before.  The daily TO DO list, the workouts, being better about what I am eating, keeping my closet cleaner, really working with my manifestation list etc

I am pretty disciplined, however these places where I am lacking have been the same for the past 7 to 8 years—-in coaching you all to change the game it is time for me also to up the ante in changing my game.  I feel like by changing my name I have the opportunity to choose a better version of myself in every new moment and that could be a powerful thing.

I am still thinking through all this and I will keep you posted, in the meantime grab yourself a copy of the new workbook and tune in this Sunday to the FB live at 10am EST to start walking through the process collectively.

See you then.

XO, Noelle

Where To Begin

I am not sure where to begin, it’s hard to talk about something, rather write about something when it has been met with disbelief.

You read that correctly. The first time I told someone how my ex husband treated me, the person I shared it with looked at me and laughed, then said maybe he was just having a bad day.

After my divorce I tried again with a close friend and they told me to just get over it.

It wasn’t until I saw firsthand the reactions of people who really didn’t know me that well to how he treated me that I felt validated.

The standout was he had taken our daughter to swim lessons, somehow there had been some confusion about the times. He called me from the place she had lessons (where I also worked) and started yelling at me. Mind you we weren’t together anymore. After he left my co-workers were so concerned they called me to make sure I was okay.

My ex husband never physically hurt me. But he got in my head. He pushed my buttons. He found the soft spots, my insecurities and used them against me whenever he could.

He still tries to.

People always ask why, how? If I knew, I think I would solve a lot of problems for people.

For me he wasn’t my typical bad boy. He appeared to be the safe choice.

Appearances are deceiving and so was he. He actually enjoys that. He thought it was funny people didn’t realize how cruel he could be.

I have said this before and I will say it again. It is easy to stand back and wonder how someone can let things happen to them. But when you’re in it and feel like it’s your fault, sometimes you stay.

My ex husband wasn’t always this guy. But I think he wasn’t always not this guy either. I am the complete opposite of almost everyone in his life and initially he made me feel like that’s what he loved about me.

Then he didn’t.

He didn’t like how I looked. My hobbies. My friends. He made it clear in his body language when we were out with mine to the point where I would find reasons not to spend time with my friends. To avoid how he behaved.

There were rules about how the house looked.

Money.

When I met him, I was working three jobs and two college degrees.

He was an unemployed college dropout.

I put him through college, help him get his first job.

When I left him he kept everything- he said since it was my decision to leave I didn’t deserve anything.

Two moments that felt like lightbulbs…

We had a very small house. Our bedroom closet was teeny. He kept his clothes on our bedroom and I kept mine in our daughter’s. I had a job interview so I had put an outfit in our bedroom closet and I was in the living room and I heard him getting upset. I walked in the bedroom and he thrown the outfit on the floor.  We had hardwood floors and a dog and a toddler so my outfit yup, gross.

The second was we were out to dinner with his friends and I told them what I did for a living and my hobbies and they started teasing me for being shallow and decided I was a glorified babysitter. Rather than defend me. He joined in.

When I tried to talk to my ex about how any of this made me feel he would say “I’m sorry you feel that way, but only you can make yourself feel a certain way. Not me”

This is probably feeling rambly because if I’m being honest it’s hard to put words years of being pulled apart by the person who is supposed to be your partner. It’s hard to put into words when people tell you it’s not a big deal.

But it was

It is

Marriage is supposed to be a partnership and ABSOLUTELY there will be disagreements. It is not sunshine and lollipops twenty four seven, but I think we all know the difference.

This was my proverbial dip in the pool of sharing about my experience with emotional abuse. It was hard to write this. For all the reasons, but maybe one surprising one- my ex is still my daughter’s Dad, and while he and I don’t work he’s not too shabby when it comes to her.

Mommas this is a slippery slope. But at the end of the day if we can grow and raise a human. I’d like to think we can get through pretty much anything.

<3 Caprise

Dating Over 40

Hello all,

Have you ever heard the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results…. Well that was my life up until three months ago.

I tried several dating websites/apps and always, always hoped for the best. As a joke I like to share with my friends and family, I’m a gluten for punishment.

A breakdown of events that led up to dates or lack of dates. I would pick a dating app and then go through the routine of setting up my profile. I would come up with my username, something cute of course, my profession, age, and a few words to describe what I’m looking for and a little more about myself. I would then proceed to look at the profiles of men that matched up with things in my profile. After a short time, I would receive a message from a man who would want to know more about me.

This is where it gets challenging, more often than not, most of the men I would message back and forth were not from where they said they lived. You guessed it, I was being cat-fished. A few if those men claimed to be in the military and they asked for money. I knew right away what was happening, so needless to say, they were blocked.

I wasn’t asking for much in a match, a man who had reliable transportation, stable housing, and stable income. A man who has his sh*t together. The last man I dated, from December of last year to February of this year, claimed to have his life together. That was further from the truth. He was not even divorced and while he was with me, he was already on to his next victim. I was heartbroken of course. More so because I gave him the benefit of the doubt, I trusted him.

I finally learned after several, several, failed attempts, to always listen to my gut and intuition. Going through the process of crying and moving on, my friends would listen and give me words of encouragement. “It happens when you’re not looking for it ” “It” being that magical feeling of being in love and having that love reciprocated. I would nod in agreement and then go into skeptic mode.

I like to think I’m a hopeless skeptic romantic.

Fast forward to June of this year, I reconnected with an old friend. We went to high school together and briefly dated in 2010. I’m not sure what the future holds, but one thing is for sure, he is the most honest, caring, thoughtful, and genuine man I have ever known. We have so much fun when we are together and more importantly, according to my gut feelings and intuition he is the real deal.

I am living proof that being tenacious works. Never ever giving up what you want when it comes to love. It is important to remember that the light at the end of the tunnel may be dim, but with supportive, encouraging friends that light eventually gets brighter. Dating is hard, especially when life is crazy and hectic, but to know you are enough and worth so much makes dating less stressful.

~Anne Smith

The Hardest Month….October

I dread October. As a person who loves warm weather I let my Fall loving friends believe it’s because I’m not a fan of the:

Weather

Pumpkin Spice

Fall/Halloween Decorations

There’s a bit of truth to that, but really it’s because October and this week actually marks when my divorce was final. I was the one that made the choice to leave my marriage, but it doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

I never dreamed of a big wedding. Or even being married. Being a Mom yes. Always, but I never believed someone would love me enough to be with me in a partnership. That I would get the dress and cake and honeymoon. I think my family was just as surprised as I was when it happened.

I was proposed to during a fight. Which could have been a cute story, except he later admitted he was trying to make me stop crying.

We had a destination wedding and rumor was- on the flight over my ex sister-in law tried to talk my ex husband out of it among other things. Our best man wore shorts.

So many flags. Those are the ones I’m ok sharing. But when something happens you never thought would, you hold on, you fight for it.

Even when maybe you shouldn’t.

If you read my blogs you already know why my marriage ended. Sometimes you marry the wrong person because at the time they seem like the right person. Even when everything and everyone says that’s not the case.

As I’ve mentioned before I come from parents who are still married. Both sets of grandparents married until someone passed. I saw partnerships and loving your best friend. So much love. Even now. I wanted that. I still do.

Mr. Rogers said “ there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to Love once you’ve heard their story.” Except my ex husband. He heard my story and wanted to change it and me. So rather than grow together- we grew apart.

I tried. Counseling. Time apart. Time together. More counseling. But when someone has excuses for everything, who can’t say they’re sorry, who meets your tears with anger.

You can stay.

Or you can go.

I had a little person and I needed to show her what I knew. A marriage can be an amazing, love filled partnership between two best friends.

My heart still hurts I don’t have that.

This week is hard for me.

Especially October 12th.

That’s the day.

I became a single Mom with a two and half year old. I went from a little house with a big yard we loved to an apartment with a deck. We made it work. We created traditions. Like celebrating Halloween at our local Y. G is twelve now and costume planning has already started.

October is a hard month. If I tell you it’s because of my distaste for Pumpkin Spice Lattes that’s true, but it’s more than that. Now you know.

But as I always tell you Mommas and will remind you and myself… we are magical, strong, and amazing. I mean we’re Moms!

 

<3 Caprise

Should I See A Counselor?

Going to a counselor was the best thing I did throughout my divorce. I had always kept my feelings and thoughts to myself for years. Growing up I was always shy.. I didn’t like groups of people and I hated speaking in front of people. I dreaded college classes that talked about our hobbies or what we liked to do. I was just never any good at talking about myself.  And I had poor self esteem and confidence throughout my younger years.

I had never really given much thought to going to a counselor.. I kinda thought counselors were for crazy people and they couldn’t help me with my problems.  And then that day, I walked into a counselor’s office and spilled everything about my life.  I struggled with my decision to get divorced for years.  In a matter of 60 minutes, I felt like a heavy weight had been taken off me.. I will never forget when she said “ it’s ok to say you do not love your husband”.  And that’s all I needed to hear… How could hearing that make everything that clear to me.  It was now so clear.  My life seemed clear. I was smiling.  I knew what my future was and I felt like I had the strength to get there.  It was just being able to openly talk to someone without any judgement and not feeling guilty for my decision.

Having that person that you could be completely honest with about your feelings and not feel judged was empowering. If would have not been completely open with her, then I would probably be still contemplating my decision.  It takes strength and courage to lay everything out there and not know what you are going to get in return.

I continued to see her weekly through my divorce process and after.  I still see her occasionally to check in. If I am feeling lost or struggling with something in my life, then I still see her to work through it. And every time it helps.

Without going to a counselor, I would probably still be struggling with many areas of my life. Yes, your friends and family are great to vent to about your problems and struggles.

But a couple things to think about relying on your friends… sometimes your friends can’t help you make the decisions. They can give you their perspective.  And some friends can’t give you the honest answer you need.

Many times friends can’t give you the tools to follow thru on the decision.  And sometimes we are just not as honest with our friends as a counselor.  I know I wasn’t… And lastly no one wants to be the friend that always has problems…

If you are struggling with your life, marriage, divorce, relationship, then go talk to a counselor.  People waste so much time in life contemplating decisions and trying to work past struggles on their own.  I just feel that why waste time.. why waste more time in life struggling by yourself when a counselor can help you get through it.

No one should feel guilty or ashamed of needing extra support in their life.  No one is perfect and we all face difficulties.  If it makes you stronger, happier, and more content, then keep doing it!

Snarkydivorcedgal

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

Love Can Hurt But It Also Heals

Love can hurt, but it can also heal.

If you read my last post – The ups and downs of this single mom’s weekend– you read about the “relationship” I was in that ended abruptly. I won’t lie, I was pretty upset and had a hard time for a couple weeks trying to understand how someone could treat another person that way with complete disregard. If that weren’t enough, a few weeks after that, I found out that the two of them got engaged. More emotions again.

But through all this, I’ve learned that I have grown. When I had problems in the past with my ex-husband, I kept everything to myself, I didn’t take care of myself and I tried to work through everything on my own. This time around, I made sure to surround myself with positive and supportive people. I have made the time to do dinners or happy hour or lunch with amazing people in my life who know me, who support me and who lift me up and encourage me.

I also had a couple of really cool opportunities during this time. I am a part of a women’s networking group at work and during one of our leadership meetings, we visited Thistle Farms. If you haven’t heard of Thistle Farms, they are a great organization that gives women who survived trafficking, prostitution and addiction a place to live, a meaningful job and a support system. We visited on a Wednesday morning when they hold their weekly circle time. Anyone is invited to participate, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. Everyone goes around the room and introduces themselves and the women who are part of the program take this time to tell pieces of their story and why they are grateful for Thistle Farms. I can’t even explain to you what a moving time this was and to sit in the circle with these women was so inspiring. You could feel the love in the room that day and I walked away with a new perspective – love heals (it’s one of Thistle Farms’ mottos).

A couple of weeks after the Thistle Farms visit, my company got a group together to walk in the Pride parade in our city. We probably had 100 people from our company wearing matching shirts and waiting for the rain to pass so we could start the parade. This was the first year my daughters could attend and leading up to parade day, I sat my youngest daughter down to talk about what we would be doing and why. I told her that the Pride parade was all about love and showing love for others. As we walked down the main street downtown, I took some time to really look around and see all the people who were standing on the building rooftops and lining the streets. There were people of all ages, races, ethnicity and genders – all coming together in the name of love. The experience was amazing, and I can’t wait for us to do it again next year!

These two experiences could not have come at a better time and I knew that I was meant to be in both of those places to help me heal my heart.

But love isn’t just about loving and being loved by others, it’s also about loving yourself. During this time, I have been doing my best to workout to keep me healthy, eat right and listen to my body. If my body tells me I should take a two-hour nap on a Saturday afternoon, then I listen. The work, the chores and the errands will still be there. I even made an appointment to visit my counselor to talk things out. I have realized that if I don’t take care of myself during this difficult time, then I won’t be able to function properly …. and I need that to get myself into a better place.

As hard as the last month or two have been, it’s also been a time of growth for me. Love can be a great thing, but it can also hurt. But, if you are open to the possibilities and allow it, love can also heal you. The love and support of my family and friends, participating in these great opportunities to show love for others and taking care of myself are all ways to help heal a broken heart and spirit. It made me see that love is everywhere around me; maybe I was just focused on looking in the wrong place.

~Laxmi

 

 

Someday Maybe

Someday….maybe?

This past weekend two of my friends got married.

A month ago another friend got engaged.

Tonight I got a call inviting me to a Bachelorette party.

While I’m at the point in my life where most of my circle is where they’re at in their lives. Not everyone is.

Which is normal. Except when you’ve told everyone you are never getting married again. Which wouldn’t be so bad except… I’m beginning to realize I really wouldn’t mind getting married again.

Which maybe I should rephrase isn’t bad, except sometimes it feels like it is. I have been so independent for so long it feels a bit counterintuitive to want to be married again.

But maybe because I’m older and not necessarily wiser I would like to be able to have another chance. That was incredibly hard to type. That was even hard to share.

It is almost ten years later and I feel like I failed. I come from a home where my parents are still married. They fought and fight for each other. They are partners.

They are friends.

That’s my blueprint.

That’s what I wanted.

That’s what I know.

That’s what I still want.

There is also a deep, dark piece of me that worries time isn’t on my side.

I mean I am almost two years on the other side of fifty.

But I also know so many people that found their person well into their second act.

I guess my point in this and it’s a biggie, is it’s ok to still want all the things.

It’s ok.

Whatever that maybe. I joke sometimes that maybe I’ll just do what Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have done. I don’t know. I just know I need to stop giving up on things because something didn’t work or it may not happen. And this is for everything in my world. Getting married again, well, that is just an easy analogy.

It could someday maybe and that’s so much better than never.

Here’s to your someday maybes Mommas.

<3Caprise

Who We Are And How We Got Here

This is who we are and this is how we got here..

My eldest son, James will be 19 in December. He is on the Autism spectrum (High Functioning). When we had James diagnosed at the University of Washington Autism Center almost 9 years ago one of the things the neuropsychologist told my partner and I was the best thing we could have done for James leading up to his late diagnosis was to treat him “normally”. What this meant is that James had chores and household responsibilities appropriate for his age and was held responsible when his behavior needed correcting even when we knew something was different about the way James was seeing the world and digesting experiences.

I went home after that visit and cried for two days. I couldn’t even look at my son square in the eyes. See what the doctor at the UW thought was great about how we had parented James up to the point of diagnosis, was exactly what had me riddled with guilt. Guilt for every nag and fuss and sarcastic response or impatient look or tuned out tangent. I felt embarrassed for every time I pushed him to be involved in an organized sport or sit through a loud movie or make eye contact with a stranger. And the more I read up on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) the worse I felt.

And then one day I got over it. I think it was during a conversation with my sister where she pointed out that I hadn’t been even close to being abusive or bad to James. I had been loving and firm, just like our father had been with us. And I knew I was doing my absolute best so on that day I decided that I was going to use my own parental compass and parent my kids exactly the way that I wanted to. Always attempting to lead with love.

For the most part, for the last 18 almost 19 years James has been nearly angelic. When my friends were having issues with their adolescent sons I was boasting about the cake walk I was on with James. The biggest challenge I had was securing supportive services for him through school. And the funniest part about that is I would work my butt off to secure a service and James would work even harder to prove he didn’t need it or very little of it.

It’s been my experience that finding support for non ASD presenting kids is hard. And let’s be clear, finding services for non neurotypical people is a monster effort and should be way easier than it is. But I feel like diagnosing and finding support for a non verbal child with classic ASD signs and symptoms is more straightforward than diagnosing and supporting a child that presents as neurotypical but does really quirky and sometimes dangerous stuff off and on. Most of my challenge around getting supportive services after our diagnosis was that at around age 13 James asked that we stop participating in the local Autism Awareness campaigns and walks and to stop advertising that we were an ASD family to our neighbors and on social media. I agreed but I found that after a while I felt closeted and shut off from other ASD parents and resources. The only support I had was on Facebook and the groups I joined never seemed to have parents or ASD members having similar experiences as us.

The other part of the challenge is that my son’s high functioning autism (HF ASD) has what we in my family call Cloudy Days. Meaning, we can go months without any significant spikes in characteristics commonly found with people on the spectrum and then one day I will notice that James is pacing (that’s how he stems) or he is having a hard time articulating his thoughts. When these “cloudy days” happen usually there is something that has lead up to it: over indulgence in processed foods, being overwhelmed at school, having a bad day at work, not feeling well or friend issues. I used to be able to anticipate these days because I was more in touch with what was happening at school or with friends but since James has started having more and more experiences that don’t include me, I am usually blindsided when his autism has spikes.

James is hyper aware of the stigmas that come with people’s lack of understanding of Autism as a spectrum and is sensitive to being treated like any other young person. So, I’ve tried to help him in any way I could. In some ways it has been a blessing that I was a very young woman when I had him. We share many of the same taste in music and pop culture and it’s not a stretch for me to understand his perspective on many things. Between my daughter (James’ younger sister) and I, we’ve become his social queue and societal support. My daughter specifically was great about breaking things down for James. And as he got older and learned behaviors became more automatic, James became a terrific social support to her too. They have a very special bond. In fact as I write this blog entry they are in the dining room cracking up over some YouTube video that they’re watching.

But over time, as it happens in every household with children, James has gotten older and includes me less and less in his decisions and requires more and more freedom. Freedom in his decision making and freedom physically from home.

You should know, I grew up in and around Los Angeles county in California. I’ve been around shaky situations and sketchy characters my entire life. I got a very normal 80’s baby city kid upbringing. But as a parent, I work really hard to raise my kids in cities with low crime rates and good schools. My kids have had very little exposure to all the danger that awaits them in the world. So the idea of my somewhat naïve 18 year old navigating around the city with his friends shook/shakes me to my core.

I’ve always been really honest with James about my concerns. And he is been great about navigating his new freedom with care. But like a boomerang coming back to it’s owner it appears that some of the heartache I dished my parents is coming back to haunt me.

Recently, I’ve been forced to wake up and think about the “support” I’ve been giving James up to this point.

  • Was I helping him when I agreed to lesson my involvement with the local Autism resource groups?
  • Was I helping him by not forcing him to socialize with other people on the spectrum?
  • Have I been a helper to him by being in every nook and cranny of his life, so much so that he may have had to keep secrets to have privacy?
  • Have I been the best mother to him without the tools of other ASD parents who have traveled this road before me?
  • Have I given him too much control over how we will live as an ASD family?

I’ve lost a lot of sleep and consumed many a cocktail mulling over these questions in the last few weeks. I’ve searched the internet and reached out to support groups in other states and none of what I find seems to speak to where I am or the questions I have. James is capable of taking care of himself. But do I believe I’ll need to provide a moderate amount of support for possibly longer than most parents of newly launched young adults? Yes. I believe he’ll get to any place he wants to be in his timing. But I can’t help but feel like someone out there has launched a teen with HF ASD into adulthood and being able to pick their brain for a while would help me so much.

I’m going to start a new blog series on my page documenting this journey of launching James into adulthood. Maybe someone that is parenting a younger child similar to my James will find these entries and they’ll help them. Or maybe I’ll just write these entries to get all the concern running through my head out and on paper so I can sleep at night. I don’t know. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.

*Life Thief is a “real life” lifestyle blogger with a sassy mouth and real woman and mother sensibilities.

You can find her other blog posts at: https://thestolenlifechronicles.wordpress.com/