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Team Irene- the College Daughter

My Irene has lost so much weight. She’s healthy but I wonder if she’s eating? I have always said to others she eats about 5 different things and 3 of them are a variety of potatoes- chips, fries and baked; oh and mashed too. That is Autism. That is her Autism because Autism is different for everyone and it changes daily. She is doing amazing at UC Sant Cruz and I keep having to tell myself that and others when they ask because I don’t know anything different and I won’t know until it hits the fan- if it hits the fan. Shit that is. Until then I just practice acceptance and faith and know that I’m utterly powerless.

I know Irene is walking everywhere on campus because Irene can’t drive or even ride a bike, mostly out of fear and I’m ok with that. This is probably why she has slimmed down so much I tell myself. She has learned the bus system with the help of her IHS worker who is bringing on another worker so Irene gets more hours a week. She must need them if they are doing this – I have to trust them.

Her hygiene I will not talk about, but she has hair growing everywhere including under her arms and I know that is a thing now with girls so I encouraged her not to worry and to do what ever she wants- I will not define her. Many of her clothes just went straight to the trash and shopping had to be done. She was home for Thanksgiving and we are on the drive back now with her dad at the wheel so I have some time to reflect and jot down a few lines.

Irene is Autistic plus as many of you know, depressive, anxiety and ADHD as well. She is my gift. The gift born in the front seat of my car in my addiction. The gift I tried so hard to keep. The gift I walked away from and thank my God for bringing me back to when I got clean. It’s never too late.

Irene won’t say if she’s hungry, she’ll wait until she can find some chips or bread; she doesn’t want to bother anyone. I saw she ordered some gourmet cookies delivered to her room- I know that was probably very exciting for her. Her bank account is attached to mine so I always know what she’s buying. She has only made it into the Mc Donald’s in Santa Cruz once her whole time at school; this was her staple at home and still her treat.

I’m taking her back with snacks and enough hygiene to last her until summer. If I make sure she has everything she needs then she hopefully won’t run out. What Irene see’s as necessary to buy and what is not are different than the usual- she needs every airport neck pillow she sees- tampons not so important. I’m hoping these extra hours with her worker are utilized to the fullest and I have a list of items to discuss with them. I haven’t even seen her room yet but if it looks like it did a few weeks ago I’ll send her and her dad Mark out to Mc Donald’s so I can get it together while they’re gone. She panics when things are moved or when people are in her space. She stays secluded but gets out to do the things she wants when she wants- the things that interest her.

Irene makes it to her classes though. I hope she is turning in assignments and studying for finals- she is so smart. I had to map things out -everything in high school daily including homework and due dates- she’s on her own now. Things her IHS worker is supposed to be assisting her with- organization and dates. She lives in her own world doing what her mind wants to. I can’t explain Irene any better than that other than a beautiful brilliant gift and my daughter.

I have heard C’s get degrees and although she has always been an A+ honors student that came at a cost. Frustration, tears, meltdowns and stress along with her picking at her skin and pulling her hair out. Her bangs are growing back out and I don’t see any signs of hair pulling- although she is always wearing a hat. A mother knows her child. She is thriving and I have to keep supporting her. I’ve picked her classes – yes again, hopefully for the last time. She was upset with me. Irene didn’t understand classes have to be picked and no longer will she just get a schedule. I finally got the IHS worker to get her to a counselor and follow up with that to map out her years for success. Irene was 1 of 200 accepted into UC Santa Cruz’s Computer Science degree program in 2019! If you put it in front of her she will do it. She can do anything.

The Chicken Lady

Addict · Autism · Bloggess · Farmer · Life · Mother · Recovery

The Watering Can….

It is a Sunday and I am currently staring at a few different situations unfolding in my life while I sip on my coffee watching the  two dogs watch me from the yard, anxious to be released into the back forty where they can run wild and chase the chicken’s.  I make a pretty mean cup of coffee by the way with my little French press, however that is not the topic for the moment.  Actually it could be, I have so much that has been floating around in my head that I have wanted to put down on paper; I just haven’t had the time.  I have started a blog, I am a blogger or is it bloggess?  I do like the sound of bloggess.  For whatever reason, possibly my need and strive for perfection, I have not posted anything much as of yet due to the fact that I want to capture my previous writings and chronicle them in order.  That bit of perfectionism that has been creeping out is proving to cause a hindrance to my creative process since I have been writing for a few years now and only started to save those writings in a designated location last year.  So I have decided just to write,  write, write, and will probably write something later to describe why everything is written out-of-order.  As if someone will take the time to read my silly ramblings.

On to the watering can.  Imagine if you will a young girl obsessed with a watering can; and then just kick that up a notch.  Irene, my youngest child that I have had the privilege of raising is Autistic; what that means is she is just like you and I.  Only better.  Irene over the past few years has been collecting watering cans; it has only been recently that I have noticed.  I can see two in the back yard now as I type, one on my kitchen floor, I know she has at least two in her room and countless others under the sink and in the garage. Often times when we are at the store, whether it be a traditional store or a thrift, she gravitates to the watering cans.  I always note as she walks up to me holding yet another can, how many we have at home.  Sometimes I let her get the can and sometimes I don’t.

Autistic children often have some habits that make them unique, I am not sure if she will take this into adulthood.  A few of her others are she hums.  I have no idea what she hums and I do not even know if she is aware of it?  What I do know is that it is one of the sweetest sounds that I have ever heard and when she is humming; I know everything’s alright in her little world.  Irene glides too, all around the house.  I have hardwood floors and what it looks like is skating in slipper socks or actual slippers.  She has a new pair of slippers that she is already wearing out.  I am very surprised that the floors don’t possess a groove for her path or certain spots on my walls have not lost the glow from the paint where she touches softly to push-off and the walls show no signs of wear and tear.  She bounces like a pinball and that I am positive she has no clue of but that is my best description of that.

Moving forward I will put a shelf up for her cans in the garage and let her start her collection or at least display the collection she already has.  I will not dissuade her any longer at the register when it comes to a new can.  As I mentioned above, it is only recently that I even noticed all the cans throughout the years and how they have grown.  She likes to watch things grow and is constantly planting something somewhere.  Now if I could just get her to remember to water with those cans we might have a forest over here, we do not.

Encouragement is all I do here in my life, with all of my children.  I admit I may encourage this one a bit more.  I remember when she didn’t speak or look at me.  I remember when she screamed and cupped her ears at the sounds of just about any noise.  I remember when I was told she defecated on herself in class all the time and would run out escaping to various parts of the field without anyone even noticing she was gone.  I remember when they told me she would never be able to live alone, that they had centers for housing when she grew up and if we were lucky she might be able to hold a part-time job with assistance.  Irene has made great strides with years of encouragement, social skills classes and love.  She can do anything!

The Chicken Lady

Watering Can