Thursday, March 29, 2007


Periodically ‘ya’ll’ comment/post on how bad it is, or how junior isn’t making progress. I’ve been more than enthused that many of the readers have jumped in to help by providing some uplifting comments and thoughts.

Makes me feel that writing this blog is worthwhile – for all of us.

I also visit a number of blogs – focus on each is different, but for the most part they are written by moms or dads dealing with autism and the ‘collateral damage’ that comes with the child (or in some cases, in the plural!).

My gosh, I’m often impressed with the efforts many of you make to best integrate and/or educate your children with the world around them. I sit in an office for 8-10 hours a day, but most of you do all of these things AND BLOG! I’d be wiped out. I just blog about it – ya’ll are doing it and blogging about it. Impressive.

That said, one thing seems to be consistently missing from the conversation, me thinks – what are you guys doing for ‘you’?

I’m a chubby guy, but I’ve always been active… and I get up before the crack of dawn, so I go to the gym and am at the doors when they unlock them. When Demetrius was first diagnosed I pounded the weights pretty hard. It really didn’t do anything for me in terms of dealing with the pain/anger/disappointment/mild depression. In fact, looking back, I’m not too sure it didn’t make me angrier.

Then we got Buddy, I started taking him for long runs and I found that I could ran harder, faster, longer when I was worked up about the boy. I also started shedding weight. I felt better physically and mentally. I was then running and it wasn’t about him…it had become ‘about me’.

All this kind of ‘well-being’ mumbo-jumbo is well documented. But honestly, it is working for me. I’m running 10-Ks and find I’m just in a better place to deal with the autism, the stress, and the other responsibilities in life beyond the boy.

I’m at that place in life where this is the best I can do, so I embrace this time. It’s me, the dog, my headphones and the road. I can think about things. I can not think if I want to. I can daydream. I can imagine what it would be like watching Demetrius play soccer as a regular kid, with me being a regular dad (well, the second part of that is debatable)…or I can try to sort out my ‘facts’ from ‘feelings’ approaching an IEP or pediatric appointment.

I’m not running to race, nor am I running away from anything – I just feel better about me, my life, and where it is all going.

Truthfully, my boss was prodding me to start a blog, but it was after a long run on Friday morning last April that I decided I needed to do it. I’m here, you are reading this, because I started running. I’m glad we’ve met!

My wife, Kim, has her art. She’s an amazing artist, I only wish she would just head down into her studio (aka, extra room in the basement) more often and just get lost in painting or printing.

Outside of the cyber world, I know many of our ‘autism’ families here in Atlanta could do to get out more and find something that is ‘theirs’ that would take their mind off of their worries/concerns.

I hope many of you are doing so also, but I also get posting about being tired, or at the end of your ropes – and many of these postings come through at 3am, or so…

All I’m saying is that whether it is heading on a Sunday to Starbucks to buy a book and a latte or get out in the backyard and garden some…whatever it is….make some time to do something you love, or at least like. Find your time, and then find your switch. Try to turn it off. Or turn the glare down if you can’t turn it off.

Make time for you. Because then the time you give your child will be more positive and powerful.

I could definitely do a PBS special, don’tcha think?

Posted by Jerry in 15:16:00

4 Responses to “YOU”

  1. a mommy says:

    This is important, very sound advice. And dads are hands-down better at this than moms. And I definitely suck at it. My husband took a job in D.C. recently, and now I’m here by myself — end of any “me” activities. I was walking/jogging at 5:00 am myself (that is the only time that wasn’t already taken) – but now there is nobody snoring at home with the kiddos if the fire alarm goes off, so that’s out. My mom takes the kids occasionally when I want to do something in particular, but I can’t go to that well too often.

    It looks as though we’ll have to move to the D.C. area during the summer. I think perhaps I can manage to arrange some “me” activities again at that point, but need to basically tough it out until then. I definitely am not as good a mommy with no me time or outside activities — just having to drag three kids along on every grocery store run takes its toll! And working moms have a super hard time, because any time you take gets taken from somebody else. But I keep fantasizing: when we move, I’m just going to work part time. And there will be jogging, maybe yoga, a new pottery class, maybe some watercolor, gardening . . . AHHHHHH. Sometime soon.

  2. Meg says:

    Hear hear…. I am a quilter and it has taken me nearly 4 years to get back to it. The benefits to my mental status, and general well being are priceless. My hubby is so fabulous to work with me in covering the kids while I take an hour or 2 to just focus.

    I believe you can’t take care of uthers unless you take care of yourself….it is really true.

  3. Aimee says:

    Too true. As a working mother of three boys on the spectrum, it is downright near impossible to find any ‘me’ time in the day, week, or sometimes month. When it can be fit in, it is soooo precious to be able to take a deep breath, look around, and be able to say, “I CAN do this… I AM doing this!”

    When my husband switched jobs back in late September, suddenly I found myself in a situation similar to that written by Mommy; Michael was working later hours and traveling…sometimes gone for upwards of a week at a time. The boys had me and only me…and I lost me somewhere in the shuffle. Driving kids to school, going to work all day, and then juggling their varying after-school activities…I was grateful when 9pm came and I could finally sit in a quiet house! (Of course, that just meant I could finally start grading papers, making lessons, throwing in some laundry, folding some laundry, feeding the dogs, and-blessedly–hit the bed at midnight or so to turn around and do it all again at 6a!) Still, it DID make me realize a couple of things: (1) Michael is a hands-on dad and definitely missed when he’s not home (2) I’m a better mommy than I gave myself credit for and the boys and I are thriving on the together time! So, all’s not lost…just me. ;0

  4. Laura says:

    I love, love, love this post. I’m going to bookmark it and read it over and over, and email it to my husband to read, too. I’m a new reader here, but I always LOVE finding other parents of autistic kids who I can actually relate to. So, hello. And I love your blog.