Wake up, Wake up, Its the First of the Month!

It’s the first day of the last month of the year. Am I the only one who doesn’t know where the time has gone?! It seems like just yesterday that 2017 began, and in a few weeks, we’ll be ringing in a new year. I must say, although I haven’t reached every goal of mine, I’ve made great strides. For one, I’m writing blog posts. I admit, I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be, but I’ve come a long way.

Reflecting on this past year, I’ve realized that I let fear of failure stop me from taking chances. It took me half the year to muster up the courage to tell anyone that I had a blog. Aside from the few people who viewed my blog online, no one in my personal life knew that I had an online outlet. When I did tell a close friend, she was so excited for me – more so than me! I thought about that today, and how warm I felt, as she beamed about my little blog post. I had been afraid to share a part of me with a friend who had always cheered for me – I felt silly for waiting so long to tell her, and for letting my fears prevail over my life.

This morning, as I waited for Reine’s school bus to arrive, I couldn’t help but listen to a conversation between two of my neighbors. The first neighbor is a middle-aged blind man, equip with a service dog, and a sight cane. He waits outside every morning for his access-a-ride to take him to appointments and programs. Sometimes, he misses the braille in the elevator, and I help him find the button for his floor. He’s seems nice enough, but he has never said much to me. The other man is a very adventurous father of two, who takes his sons canoeing every weekend (weather permitted of course). He is very pleasant, like the warmth of the sun on snowy days. We exchange pleasantries everyday. These two men are very different people, but from what I gathered they are genuine friends.

As I stood, and held Reine in my arms, I took note of the adventurous one’s morning greeting to his friend. His words were as pleasant as his demeanor. He looked the blind man in his face with such sincerity, that I couldn’t help but look in awe. I thought to myself, although this man could not see, he must feel the genuineness of this friendship. The warmness, the love, he must hear it, in his friends voice. While I changed my focus to Reine’s arriving school bus, the two men spoke candidly, grasping hands, and exhanging smiles. I walked out of hearing distance, handed Reine to her bus matron, and waved her goodbye. As I turned and headed up the walkway toward the lobby door, I heard the blind man explain that he was off to his music group, and that he was having a performance soon. Before he could finish his thought, his friend excitedly told him to slide a flier under his door, because he wants to come and support. I smiled and walked past them. As they continued their chatter, and I headed back to my safehold of a home, I felt grateful to have experienced friendships as pure, and genuine as the blind man and the adventurous one.

It takes true courage to let someone into your life, and trust them enough to share your thoughts and ideas. It takes even more courage to live in a world you cannot see. My blind neighbor, who doesn’t speak much, service dog in tow, waits patiently for his ride every morning, to go out and live! On the first day, of the last month of the year, I was reminded that trust and friendship can remedy any faintheartedness. So, with that notion, I am creating a new goal for myself. I will do more of what scares me, because to conquer fear is to live a complete life!

 

Advertisements

Feelings best explained on a Tuesday

I had a job interview two weeks ago for a job, I’m overqualified for. And a second interview for the same job last week. I thought things were looking up. I was obviously qualified for the job. I was impressive on paper and in person. Even my references told me, they thought I got the job. ( Yes they called my references) I really wanted this job.

It’s now a week later. 7 days have passed. I have sent two emails inquiring on my hiring status. I’m feeling suicidal. Yesterday, I sent a final email (because I decided if they really wanted me they’d reach out). It went like this: “Hey, this is Danielle. It’s Monday, and I am eager to know whether you and blahhh have decided to move onto the next phase of hiring.” I wrote that in a very cheerful tone, but I guess you could interpret it as being passive aggressive. Who knows?!

It’s Tuesday, and I’m writing this post reflecting on my two interviews. The first interview was amazing. I really hit it out the park. They wanted to see me again, for a second chit chat and to fingerprint me. We spoke salary, benefits, vacation and sick days. It wasn’t the best, but I could make due with the offer. I just wanted a job that got me out the house. My anxiety is stifling me. Why haven’t they called me yet? They told me that I would hear from them whether I got the job or not.

Last night I told myself to forget about this job. In truth, when I sent in my resume, I didn’t expect to hear back. My work experience, degree and skills don’t really mirror the candidate they were looking for. But they called me anyway, so that must have meant something, right?! I’m feeling suicidal. For the second interview, which wasn’t really an interview, more of a chat, instead of getting fingerprints done, I was told that would be the very last step, but that things were looking good and I’d hear from them soon. Who says that with no intention of hiring a person? Am I missing something?! Has the job market changed that much since the last time I had a job, that I can’t figure out whether I got the job or not?!

All I was looking for was a low energy job with set hours to help me balance my life, and keep my anxiety at bay. Instead, I embarked on something that not only stirred up my anxious feelings, but thoughts and doubts I had tucked away long ago. So long, I forgot they existed. They’re back, and they’re haunting me, but I refuse, refuse, refuse to let them win.

Vacation Mode or Being Lazy?

vlog of vacation day 1

I’ve been back from a much needed vacation for about three weeks now, and I still feel very tired. (I’m not sick, I promise). I have been sleeping my days away, and wishing I was still in the tropics.

If you ask my mother, she would say I’m just being lazy, but I’m not convinced. In truth, I just don’t have anything going on that warms my blood. For the past umpteen years, I’d normally be in school, but seeing that I recently graduated, that’s not the case this year. It feel kinda weird actually, not doing anything.

I’d have multiple things going on, but I feel so stagnant now that I’m finished with school. I’ve got no papers to write, no scripts or tv segments to create, no fieldwork to be done, literally nothing.

(Aside from the fact that I am a single mom to an autistic toddler, who requires a lot of attention, love and care, that I DO PROVIDE, I don’t have much else to do). For some the task of being a mom is more than a handful, and while it is a lot of work for me as well, I still feel like I’m missing some sort of action. I’ve become so accustomed to juggling multiple tasks at a time, that I don’t know what to do with this little bit of free time I have.

I went on vacation for the first time in 10 YEARS because I finally had the time to! I even filmed it! It was exhilarating, and it was definitely needed! I woke up at the crack of dawn while on vacation, with enough energy to last me till the wee hours of the next morning, but as soon as I got back to the States, I’ve just become so sluggish and tired! Jet-lag shouldn’t last so long right?!

Am I being lazy? Do I need another getaway?

For autism awareness day…

Reine baked a cake! She really did. And I let her, mess and all.

This morning, I woke up saying this was gonna be her day to do whatever. The weather was quite nice and I was feeling extra patient. I told myself, it was due time for her to make a royal mess.

She had been repeating the pat a cake song for the past couple days, so I decided, why not have her mix a cake. A 3 year old baking would surely cause a mess. I was using the oven to make dinner anyway, so there was nothing stopping us.

Reine sat in the kitchen around her activities table, watching her usual videos and eating pepperoni off her pizza. She was focused, one hand was controlling her tablet, and the other was separating pepperoni from cheese. It was a sight to see. I called her name a couple times before finally getting her attention, and then I asked her if she wanted to make a cake. She gladly replied, “make cake, make cake.”

I already had the ingredients and utensils ready, and she got right to it. I moved her tablet to the side, and placed a large dutchpot in front of her and handed her a large spoon. I poured some of the cake flour into the pot and she began to stir as she sang pat a cake. She held the spoon very tightly, being careful not to let it go. She sang and she stirred, as I added water, eggs, oil, and more cake flour. She wasn’t making a mess, so I decided to join in the stirring. I got a wisk and stirred real fast, so the cake mixture would fly out of the pot. When Reine realized what I was doing, she joined in, and the mess began!😄

I helped her get cake batter all over her hands, and, she didn’t fuss about it. She was having so much fun that the slimy texture of the cake on her hands didn’t really bother her.

I told her to taste the cake, and she put the spoon to her mouth and pretended to eat. The fact that she did something different today was very rewarding for me. She was able to grasp a spoon and use it effectively, she got messy and didn’t seem to be in a panic about, and she attempted to try cake batter – a texture of food I haven’t been able to get her to eat.

(I began writing this post after 11 last night, thinking It’d be complete before midnight. Clearly that’s not the case, but nevertheless, this is my log for autism awareness day.)

I am not someone who keeps up with days and events, but it was nice to see persons posting statuses about awareness for autism. Children and adults with autism need all the love and support from their families and communities now more than ever. With government threats to cut programs and services, we must make sure to do our part to ensure that does not happen. With so much more research about the condition, and so many more children being diagnosed, now is the time to offer more services to families.

💙💙💙💙💙

Thank you sesame street

My daughter, Reine, loves sesame street. I can always count on Elmo to brighten her spirits. He’s red, he giggles, and Reine loves anything red that makes her giggle. When she’s out and she sees Elmo, she’s got to have it. From bandaid packets, to tissues, to backpacks. On an outing to the mall, we went into JCPenny to buy something for our cousin. At the time Reine was a little over two years old. She didn’t speak at all, but when she saw Elmo, she made sure I knew thats what she wanted. At the register, there was a display of tissues with all sorts of characters on them.You name it, it was there. Reine spotted Elmo and proceeded to get the packs of tissue with Elmo on it. I tried to ignore her, but she fussed. I was used to this behavior with her. I knew if I just let her have it, she’d calm down, but I was trying this new approach, where I don’t buy her whatever she picks up, because honestly, I was trying to prove to everyone else that I didn’t spoil my child. (My attempt didn’t work at all)

Reine began to scream, with tears streaming down her face, and that did it for me. I caved. I picked her up off the floor, and handed one of the tissue packs to the cashier, and asked him to ring it up quickly so I could give it back to my daughter. He laughed, and asked me if she was really crying for tissue. He couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe him. Before becoming defensive, I thought maybe he didn’t know other toddlers. After he gave me the tissue with Elmos face on it, and continued with my transaction, his attempt to make conversation, made me very uncomfortable and quite angry. He said verbatim, “normal kids cry over toys, not tissue.” I didn’t even bother engaging. I got my things and left.

As none of you know, nor did the cashier, my now three year old daughter is autistic. She’s beautiful, smart, and very particular. She likes small objects that she can hold in her hand for long periods of time. She loves french fries with lots of ketchup. She also likes pizza, especially when its got pepperoni and lots of sauce. She loves singing. She knows every nursery rhyme known to man. She wakes up singing, and goes to bed singing. Its literally non-stop. There’s always a tune in her head.

As I’ve said before she loves sesame street, and after what I saw last night, I might love sesame street more than Reine does. I sat with her as she watched her usual videos on her tablet last night. As this was such a routine for us, I tuned out for a moment but I quickly noticed that she kept replaying a Sesame Street clip. I always make it a point to at least try to understand why she rewatches the same videos, so I waited for her to replay the video. When she did, I immediately felt butterflies in my stomach. Elmo’s friend, Julia had autism. I watched my daughter replay the video over and over, and all I could do was smile. She kept rewatching the 2 minute clip, as did I because I was so happy. Here was an accurate portrayal of a child with a special need, such as autism. Julia was happy, full of life, and wanted to do things in a very Julia way. Reine does things in a very Reine way.

I found it rather serendipitous that my daughter found the video. I felt like her watching the video with me there, was her way of telling me that the world was becoming more aware, and understanding of children like herself that are on the spectrum. There’s an autistic child on Sesame Street! Thats a big deal, and this anecdote is me saying thank you to Sesame Street for doing their part in representing children like my daughter and being so inclusive.