This life, so far

I got let back into this diary over a month ago when TheDiaryMaster graciously let me be one of the later phase beta testers, but this is actually my first entry since then. The problem is: two small children who suck all my energy and time swiftly away from me. There is no more sinking down into a comfy chair across from a computer with time to kill, type typing out a gloriously indulgent entry. I’m too tired by the end of the day and typing with thumbs on a phone is far less appealing.
Like, right now? Got one kid atop my lap and I’m typing one handed to do this entry. Not exactly ideal.

However, I did just start to reread my diary from it’s very first page this afternoon and god, it feels good to relive that and it feels just… priceless to have all my activities and my thoughts and everything from way back when. I had the most enjoyable twenties and I’ve captured nearly five years of them in nearly daily entries. And some of my thirties too. I fucking love reliving that through rereading.

I’ve always really, really enjoyed my life, save for a few bits here and there. And to have a daily record of some of this life is so wonderful. It’d do me some good to record some of my days now since even though it’s monotonous as hell and exhausting like nothing else, what with an extremely lively, energetic, talkative, always on the go 4 yr old and a 6 year old with autism who brings near constant stress and craziness and deep, deep love, of course. But, yeah. They’re a handful. So it’s tough going in the day to day of it.

But how much they love us and need us and shine with pure joy over the littlest things? I’ll want to remember these days. The days of small little people forever wanting to crawl up into my lap just because sitting on mom is way better than sitting next to mom, days of faces lighting up and squeals of pure happiness upon seeing me after the school day when I pick them up and they come running or just simply when I wake up. Days of having small feet placed atop my legs when beside me on the couch, the need for constant contact just because they love you so much. Days of hysterical laughter just because you said something in a funny voice and days of still choosing their clothes and hairstyles because they trust you to and haven’t begun hating your fashion sense. And days of holding little hands in yours knowing you have the power to make them entirely happy so easily because the moon and sun still rises on you, as mom.

So there’s loads to complain about in the day to day but there’s So Much More to be grateful for and revel in as soon as you take a small step back and see the bigger picture of everything you have and how lucky you are to live in a gorgeous home that is filled with so much love its bursting at the seams. Extra hugs and kisses whenever you want and pleas to be held and to be read books to. And there’s all the afternoons of getting to hang out with girlfriends who’ve become such treasures to you, while all your kids play together while you half watch as you talk and laugh. It’s the shared looks with their dad when they say something cute or do something unexpectedly sweet. It’s watching your boy hug brand new people and shake hands with relatives he hardly knows and exclaim who he is upon meeting them, with perfect etiquette and sentence structure and a level of outgoing-ness that rivals my own and thanking the universe that his autism hasn’t robbed him of social skills in these ways even though it happens to so many others like him and thanking the universe again that he is the most affectionate kid, that he loves touching and being touched and makes eye contact like a pro, when so many others like him don’t. For all the problems and stress autism has wreaked in this family, it’s also only touched him in ways that don’t make me worry for his future with people, interpersonally. And in other important and meaningful ways, too.

Alrhough, I can tell I’m doing that thing where I gloss over stuff because this is social media and I’m trying to mention the good stuff and pass over the bad stuff with hardly a mention. Everything I said above is 100 percent true and I mean it all. But that’s not all there is. Because in all honesty, right now, Max is more worse than better. He’s more hard than easy, more stress than not. For a year or so now, his behavioral issues have become unbearable a lot of the time the defiance, the meanness to his sister, the inability to discipline him without it turning into a world war, to just live in peace with him mostly can’t be done. Sometimes he’s the sweetest, loveliest boy, but most of the time, he’s pushing, he’s antagonizing, he’s trying his best to annoy, to anger, to push boundaries as hard as he can. The only antidote to this right now is getting out of the house. If we or I can get him doing something he likes – play dates with friends, playgrounds, errands that are somewhat involved and interesting, etc – then he’s mostly good and sated. Not always, but mostly, and it’s fucking exhausting to always have to find stuff to do just to keep him from becoming Bad Max. Which is why weekends are their own particular brand of hell. Eric and I are tired from the long week and just want to be able to be at home for an hour or two in between activities that we must do so we don’t have to constantly battle the boy and the near constant stress he brings when we’re at home, a stress the likes of which I can’t explain here, it’s so relentless. It’s hard to explain how fucking hard it is, how demoralizing, how oppressive it is. No one gets it unless they, too, have an autistic kid with this particular brand of behavioral issues. Studies have shown that parents of special needs kids have stress levels similar to those of combat soldiers and that sounds ridiculous right? So over the top? But I get it. It’s the constant, relentless nature of it, of having to always be on guard, always keep on him to not constantly contradict and oppress his sister, or to keep him from hurting her when they fight or play, or the never ending repetitive behaviors usually designed to get a reaction, a not positive reaction. Or having to always tell him no and then fight to explain why not when he knows damn well why it was no in the first place, because he designed it that way to get the reaction.

See, now this has turned into a venting session made up of exasperated complaints and probably a bit of over exaggeration because I’m at the tail end of a shitty day. And honestly, I kind of hate the direction it’s taken, the listing of his bad behaviors or attributes, but I’m not going to edit this because it’s real, it’s what we’re going through and I’m not going to dress it up for social media. I’m just not.
I also love him deeply and fiercely and I fight for him constantly. He’s on psychologist number three now and I think we’ve found the right one to help him (this is in addition to the other three therapists he’s his for other various areas). We are always changing our ways of reacting to him, disciplining him, praising him in hopes of helping the shitty behaviors bow out and to usher back in the seeet, sensitive, caring and generous boy he’s always been. We try. We are always trying.

Because he’s amazing both in spite of and because of the autism. He’s so damn smart. He taught himself to read at early age 5 by looking at and playing different music on iPads (thank you, Apple Music). It took him a few weeks, basically and it was astonishing to witness. He’s excelling at making progress in school both socially and academically. He is independently funny and actually gets subversive humor in a way I never expected a kid his age to. And he’s just so, so kind in ways I’m astonished by which actually probably makes dealing with him when he’s at his worse even harder because I know damn well what a truly good soul he is. So to watch him delight in pushing buttons, to actively try to suppress his sisters opinions and actions to an alarming degree… it’s hard.

And it’s also fucking hard to have a child whose brain works so differently than mine and I just want to understand him better, know his thoughts and what is overwhelming and over stimulating to him and understand, truly understand what is difficult for him in that differently-wired mind of his so that I can teach him life in a way that he understands and reach him when he’s melting down and know what is soothing and what is frustrating.
Anyway, right now is pretty damn hard and exhausting and infuriating. Autism can fuck right off. But I also know this will change. The behaviors that are so prevalent and so difficult right now will probably not be here this time next year.

And I also know, though sometimes I forget when I’m wallowing in self pity, that life is pretty fucking grand overall.
We live in this picture perfect, little throwback town that you just don’t see that often in Southern California. The people here are lovely and kind and the schools are so wonderful with involved, amazing teachers and it’s so safe here in so many ways. It’s safe to be a gay couple raising a kid here, even though we’ve got our share of conservatives also in town. It’s safe in that crime rarely happens and I see kids all the time out in the little main stretch of town where all the shops are unsupervised because everyone knows everyone and even if they didn’t, the kids who’ve hung out in town have done so for decade and it’s never been unsafe and the parks are well-kept and you can leave your bags on a bench and be at another end of the park entirely and really not have to worry about the bag and the valuables inside of it being taken.

And our house. The kind of house I always dreamed I’d live in once I had a family? Yeah, it’s better than that. It’s actually better than what I’d hoped for and it’s got so much space and it’s modern yet cozy and it’s got the most gorgeous backyard surrounded by trees and brush to the point that not only can you not see or be seen by neighbors but it actually feels like you’re in a mini arboretum out there.

My parents are way more than hands-on grandparents. They love the shit out of my kids, like crazy amounts. And they see them twice a week without fail, sometimes more and on one of those days I’m set free for 6 hours to do fuckall with my day. Whatever I want. I can go be a sloth in bed, binging series all day long or I can go to the movies for a double feature by myself or I can meet up with girlfriends for lunch and whatever we feel like and it saves my sanity like you wouldn’t believe. Fridays are my personal sabbaticals.
And we don’t really have to worry about money. And I get to stay home with my kids and raise them, which is so, so important to me. Though I know my views aren’t everyone’s views and that mine are not necessarily right and others are not necessarily wrong, it has always been, and so much more so now, important for me that a parent stays home with the kids till they’re in school. I just can’t bear the thought of having my babies in a place where they’re not loved all day.

Are day care places evil and uncaring? No! Not at all! I’m sure they’re wonderful in loads of different ways, and the caregivers are probably kind and lovely but they wouldn’t love my kids like I do and I guess for me, in the end, I want to be around my kids, I want to spend time with them and shape them and watch how they’re growing and be there for all the small moments. I want them to be loved every day, all damn day.

Within reason of course! I mean, I’m so not above having our awesome babysitter relieve me for a while here and there. And preschool rocks, let me tell you. That two hours of alone time where I can go to the gym or catch up on stuff? I treasure that time like you wouldn’t believe. And I got totally off track here. I just meant to point out that I am a lucky, lucky girl to be able to stay at home with my kids and raise them and be with them. Because it’s important to me. So I feel very grateful for it.

And things with Eric have never been better. That’s not a platitude either. It really has never been better. We’ve had our ups and downs. No relationship is one hundred pure happiness. And we’ve had some potentially marriage-dissolving ups and downs, but we didn’t let that happen and right now, we truly are stronger and better than we have ever been. I can say with confidence that I finally have the marriage I’ve always wanted.

And on top of that he’s a kick ass father and partner. Hell, he’d do MORE housework than me if he had more time at home. He does dishes and laundry and cat stuff and all sorts of shit around the house that I am so appreciative of. I mean, I do the bulk of it because I’m home and it comes with the territory but on the weekends, he’s so far ahead of the game that I hardly even clean a fork.
And he’s easily one of the best dads I know. Objectively speaking. Sure, he makes mistake. So do I. So does every parent. But aside from that he’s fucking in there. He loves them so hard and he is so fair to them and gives them all his affection and teaches them in the best, most subtle ways that I wish I could emulate. He takes them from me when I need breaks without me needing to tell him I need breaks. He knows what they eat, how they like it, he knows them inside and out, as well as I do. And he’s out there with me every day he’s home, in it with me, splitting the difficulties and splitting the work and the birthday parties and the park time and the get togethers. He’s splitting the bedtime routine (that lasts an hour, thank you Max who needs his bedtime routine elaborate and the exact same every night. Haha) and the everything else.

I’m sure I’m forgetting other things that make my life so damn worth living. I really, really have it good. Great family, great friends, perfect town, alone time and breaks, financial stability, wonderful weather and importantly, all of our health. Because I’ve got friends losing parents right now and kids losing beloved uncles and unnecessary death and unfortunate health problems here and there and thank god, we’re all doing well right now. In fact, we just caught a mole right in time that was on its way to killing its host had we discovered it only a short while later.
So now I’m rambling and I’m well aware that this has been one long, all over the place ramble but hey, that’s just my brain right now.

I’d like this to be a place where I can speak honestly, warts and all. Sure as fuck not going to over share on Facebook. And Instagram is for pretty pictures. So heres where I’ll drop the unedited, not pretty prose of it all.

I hope to be back soon. I hope to go read all of you that I still know here. In fact, if you do know me and we used to interact, please drop me a note so that I can come over and see you and read about what you’ve been up to. I miss this place and am damn happy it’s back.

Think I’m gonna just post this monstrosity without looking back over it, so forgive any wrong punctuation or oft repeated words and the like.

Till next time.

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January 28, 2018

Nice to see you! Hope you are back soon 🙂

January 28, 2018

I have several students from all parts of the spectrum in my classroom. I understand and appreciate what you and your family are going through.

January 29, 2018

sorry to sound like your mom but do you have to use that language so much???? 🙂

I also love your life……if you’re happy, Mom is happy. Can’t wait to grab those kids tomorrow and run away to Disneyland. love you.

January 29, 2018

@marieelena yes, I do have to use that fucking language! Haha. I’m reading myself back in 2000 and you noted me all the time back then. Circle of life! Ha. Please come take my children. Love you too.

February 2, 2018

As I said to your husband, it’s been a pleasure and privilege to get to catch up on your life. I’m glad to read that, all things considered, it’s going well.

March 6, 2018

@thebigu it is. It really is going fantastically well. We’re so lucky to have all we have. And it’s so lovely seeing a note from you, sir! I’ve missed this place and so happy you’re here if only for a smallish amount. x

February 6, 2018

Welcome back Daylight.

March 6, 2018

@racerx thanks, mister! Clearly I do not keep up well with this place and any sort of consistency but I’ll try. And hi! x

February 6, 2018

I’ve missed ya. It’s really nice to catch up.

March 6, 2018

@bridgetjonesing if anyone said, “name five diarists you’ve missed the most from OD”, you would absolutely be included in that. Missed you too, woman! Now all I have to do is check in here more often! xo

February 7, 2018

Great to see you again. Me, I can’t bring myself to go back and read my old entries. I wasn’t quite the happy camper you were in my 20’s and 30’s. Heh.

March 6, 2018

@cat I get it. I do. But I think I want to even read the hard, tough parts too, you know? Just to remember. I honestly feel like having such an extensive record of who we were, in depth like this, is a gift. Anyway, hi!! x

March 8, 2018

@daylight You’re right, it really IS a gift, and some day I’ll sit back and start reading my old life…. and HI back 😀

March 23, 2018

I’m sorry to hear about Max’s autism. I don’t know if you’d mentioned it in the past and I missed it, or if you’re just mentioning it now. That’s rough.