Raising our 12 year old son, Jim, who is severely autistic and non-verbal, is no small feat.
In fact it literally “takes a village.”
Throw in an amazing husband, an adorable 5 year old son, 2 daughters who are 13 and 8 years old and visit part-time, two dogs, 10 incredible therapists and a BCBA-D (also known as our behavior changing ninja/supervisor/purveyor of outstanding services) and yes, the circus has officially come to town.
Some days it’s so crazy we could literally sell tickets and popcorn. I mean the clowns are out, the trapeze artists are flying, the safety nets and crash pads are in place, lights are flashing, the elephants are parading around and the clean- up crew is at it.
We may not be the greatest show on earth, but it is in fact the hardest show on earth – and it requires two ring leaders to ensure that the show goes on every day.
I am constantly being told that I should either write a book or start a blog, as the events that transpire here regularly are usually too unbelievable to imagine. We find ourselves saying out loud on a daily basis, “You just can’t make it up!” There are lots of families who experience situations and events similar to ours. What we are told sets us apart many times, is that some how in all of the chaos and the sadness we find a way to laugh. Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper but we have come to believe that laughter truly is the best medicine.
It’s not all fun and games let me assure you. There’s been plenty of blood (literally), sweat and tears. There have been divorces, the merging of two families, battles with alcoholism, the trips to the ER, ventilators, holes in the walls, horrific self-injurious behavior and aggression, over 30,000 hours of therapy as far as we can figure – without pulling out a calculator and a doodle pad, car rides that can feel like you’re white knuckle racing in the Jimmy 500, and a house that sometimes seems like one big bathroom – because your child uses your flooring like your dog uses your back yard. We have had to nearly replace every square foot of rug in our home with laminate flooring to make cleaning disasters easier. Unfortunately this may put Stanley Steamer out of business. I’m confident that every time I called them balloons and confetti dropped from the ceiling.
And yet, we look for the humor in the situations when we have a moment to breathe and after we’ve finished putting out the fires. Because if we didn’t laugh we would surely cry.
My husband and I moved our circus to Bluffton, South Carolina 7 months ago to start a new life. Jim had spent 10 years at a prestigious school for children with autism in New Jersey. After years of little progress there, a new found life of sobriety and the need to give Jim the happiest life we could offer him, we decided to head to the low-country to start a homebound program for him and begin the healing process.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, people you can relate to, a way to put problems in perspective, or just some comic relief, you’ve come to the right place. We welcome you to follow us on our journey as we embrace learning to live life on life’s terms.