LOVE is what gets you through Autism

There’s not much I like about Autism. 

Trying to understand why T does some of the things he does: where he goes when he disappears:how to help him when he gets really upset: how to make sure he isn’t aggressive with other kids: navigating the school system to try to get him support: the repetitive, obsessive behaviour: ….and let’s not forget the over stimulating, sensory sensitivity that often starts our day off ridonkulously early…

Original source:

I wouldn’t say that I have found the silver lining in why any of this has happened…we have accepted it and we are moving day at a time. Yes there are crap days where I feel depressed and sad and wish this wasn’t our fight but there are also some beautiful days…one which I think, if T DIDN’T have Autism, if he was just like any other boy, would he be doing what he just did?

That is exactly what I thought this morning as he woke up (at a reasonable time for once,not the 5 am since Daylight Savings) came into the living room and cuddled up close. And said what EVERY mom craves to hear from their child…

“Mom, I love you so much”

Original source:

You see, right now, T’s repetitive habit (because they change like the season) is to tell everyone that he loves them so much and he is going to “squish you like a bug” with his face all cute and squished up and then asks for a big, big hug.

I know this came from one of his daycare providers who he absolutely adores and who has a particular bond with T, and who says both of those things to him often.

I’ll take it! and so will my parents, my husband’s mom and every one of our friends who he has now said “I love you so much”.

Because he is a genuine, sweet little guy and when he says it to you….it is so very heartfelt and makes your heart skip a beat out of pure love right back to him.

So as much as at times, this journey can suck (as it does for all parents)…for this moment, I will happily enjoy this aspect of Autism.


Love and Autism

Get down? or Get back on track?: Depression nearly got me

Yesterday felt like the lowest of the low kind of days. I felt like it simply took EVERYTHING inside of me just to get out of keep going…to keep working towards getting T help in school…

All parts of me felt on the verge of hiding under the covers and simply going back to sleep, avoiding the challenges we have been facing for a simpler, quieter, easier kind of day.

Was I depressed? Absolutely. Is this depression…I don’t think so. But easily see how if I were to give in to that desire to stop ,it could easily be there in a heartbeat.

As a family, we’re exhausted…we’ve been working with the school board in trying to find a solution to support our son in school. It’s been incredibly draining and the amount of meetings/emails/conversations we have had about it has us living in survival mode to just get through each day. We are continuing to advocate for T and won’t stop… but its taking every piece of energy we have.

Add that to the fact that I have been injured over the summer, have hardly exercised and ballooned in weight because of it. I just hit a wall. I started seriously questioning whether I needed to consider going to see someone professionally by mid afternoon??

But then we had an Autism Meetup last night. A group we started to support Parents in the city of Toronto who want to look at different ways to manage through Autism, look to each other for support, get advice on different solutions and talk through the victories and challenges we have.

It helped. But this morning helped even more.

I decided I can’t let this get to me. I know we have to keep fighting and I need to keep energy high to take care of our life. I need to be there to support our kids as they begin the school year, my husband, who is writing the most well-articulated letters to anyone and everyone willing (or not willing) to listen and my business, that I need to keep going in order to maintain the flexible schedule we need to access therapies/resources for T throughout the day.

I decided to try to go for a run…and then someone woke up early and agreed to come for a run with me. T…agreeing to come along if he could run in his pajamas.

Sometimes we need a little reminder what we’re fighting for

We raced…full force…fast…as hard as we could…and I remembered why I started running in the first place.

Running helped me work through the diagnosis of ASD, helped me gear up for the fight and I realized that I REALLY need that element in my life to stay sane.

I might not be as fast as I was awhile back, but I’m back.

The Summer of New Adventures

I honestly don’t know if summer could get any better. We have had the amazing good fortune of having beautiful weather, incredible friends to hang out with, a cottage to escape to and now a very cool motor boat to start our next chapter in adventures at the lake.

It didn’t start out that way. There was a significant number of times at the start of this year where when we went for a ride , it took an incredible amount of time convincing T to even get in the boat. Then it took a lot to convince him to go faster than a put put pace. My husband and I started looking at each other with a “wow, seriously? Could this be the biggest waste of money we have invested in…ever”. We weren’t sure what to do to get him comfortable with the boat (after all, this is a little man who has an auditory sensitivity to loud noises and we’re asking him to sit in a motor boat for goodness sake!)

All I can say, is that my dear husband gets the most brilliant solution award for this one. I don’t think I give him near enough props for how patient and creative he gets in working with T on challenges/resistance he faces but I am truly impressed with how he handled this one. He made sure T felt like he was in complete control. He talked through what the experience of being on a boat would feel like and then ultimately T would give a thumbs up or thumbs down depending if he felt things were getting a bit fast or not.

It took awhile as T got comfortable and once he was there, we started working on him to think about the 3 person tube we have to go on the back. Same situation, talk it through, start slow, he controls his comfort zone…That started in June and now he loves it when dad goes fast. This is so reflective on what its like every day with #Autism. If you prepare them, talk through what to expect and help them plan for the day. If you don’t give them that framework to understand, more times that not, it’s a disaster.

Just keep talking….

Next up, waterskiing…:)

Simple details can help make the world of difference in prepping a child with ASD

We LIT IT UP……Blue for Autism Awareness


Autism Support
Light it up Blue on April 2, 2012

As I came home last night and approached our house, the shining blue spotlights clearly made a statement. I love that we chose to do this as a way of showing our support for World Autism Awareness Day. It demonstrated part of our commitment in raising awareness for Autism but in my mind, also made me keenly aware of how different we are from our neighbours. As they went on with their nightly activities, I came home…poured a drink…cuddled into my husband and had a good cry.

I was so overwhelmed by yesterday.

Throughout the day, I felt incredibly proud of how people in the world were coming together on one singular day to raise as much awareness as possible. It seemed every store I had stopped into recently- Toys R Us, Home Depot- there was a message about raising awareness. The Autism Speaks website had an incredible amount of shots of structures around the world Lighting It Up Blue in support. Amazing.

I found myself reading a ton of blogs, following a number of streams on Twitter, posted on Facebook, and received messages of support via email, direct message and posts on my walls from friends who generously reached out to make their statement about Autism.

My heart hurt with how many people wrote honestly and with raw truth on what it feels to be a parent with a child with special needs. The one that hit the nail on the head was 7 Things You Don’t Know About a Special Needs Parent. I appreciated so much what Maria Lin wrote in terms of the feelings you have as a parent in this situation.

When I was online after first hearing the diagnosis, I wish I had seen this. Instead I went through months of guilty feelings trying to get past that life will be different now but not really knowing how to move on. (Thus the running)

I feel like the cog in the awareness wheel is finally starting to move a little bit. That people are more and more aware of Autism (and an increasing number of kids are getting diagnosed with some form of ASD) but they still don’t really understand it. No one really does.

Now I find part of me is filled with an unruly amount of impatience. I want to do something. I want to fix something. I want to see change.

I keep thinking we need to look at things just a little bit better understand Autism and how it works, we could come up with stronger answers on how to help them manage through the key challenges they have in daily life. I used the example to my husband of one of those 3D puzzles you have in the paper. Looking at it, its just a series of spots..but if you let your eyes relax, suddenly you see an entire picture that wasn’t there a second ago.

I am trying to relax… my eyes…just a little bit more.

Autism Diagnosis – 1 year later…It gets better

We’ve officially just passed our first year with an ASD diagnosis.

It’s sometimes hard to believe that it was only a year ago that we first got sucker-punched with the announcement that our 4 yr old son (at the time) was on the spectrum. This year became a test of everything. A test of our patience, a test on our marriage, a test on our ability to learn, to cope, to support, to stay positive, and ultimately to keep laughing.

For those of you new to a diagnosis, here is a snapshot of what might happen within the first year of discovering your child has Autism. (NB: I’m being brutally honest here in hopes to pass on a realistic viewpoint and let you know that you are not alone)

First 2-3 months: Feels like you’re in a foggy haze. I have seen people react many different ways to a diagnosis. Self-pity, frustration, anger, heartbreak. As much as I tried to be positive, there were still moments I felt like I wanted to scream. I couldn’t comprehend why us, didn’t think he was really that far off from regular kids to be defined as Autistic, embarrassed by how often when someone asked me about it I couldn’t hold it together. There will be many tears, often from frustration as you fumble through trying to figure out what you are supposed to do (especially when it comes to finding support and school). You might feel useless, overwhelmed, sad, disappointed and still completely (if not more so) madly in love with your child.

A dear friend gave us a copy of The first 100 Days by Autism Speaks. It helped. Although my husband and I are both Do’ers- I’m an event planner and he’s a project manager and we didn’t get the sit back and process mode, instead stupidly tried to project manage the Autism right out of our little guy.

100 Days of Autism Diagnosis

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest


The next 4-8 months: Once we finally got to the realization that indeed our son was Autistic, that this was going to be a lifelong venture and we needed to start adjusting the how to’s in managing his success, we (or should I say I more so than my husband) had a really difficult time informing people of T’s ASD diagnosis. It felt often that people were a bit stunned and didn’t know what to say..choosing to say something like “well, he doesn’t seem Autistic to me” (hated that)..or gave us that dreaded pity look (hated that more). Then there are those friends who say something brilliant and just help you get through. Best examples of peeps we love and their originality that helped so much..

J- Simply said “ he’ll be an engineer” That matter of ASD would help guide his career path to a place where other socially awkward folks might hang out..that there was a pre-existing destination that would be completely accepting of the way he functions

G- Who sent a lovely email with “I don’t know what to say” (love her honesty) and that she was there..on call…standing by if we needed her.

T- Who let me just bawl and agreed it sucked and let me rant to her more than once and asked me how I felt…that rarely happened and I would rarely talk to anyone how I was feeling but T and I are that kind of veritable friend soul mate..who can call you out, ask you tough questions and you love them for it

W-Who is one of the most generous hearts I know and also has had a ton of experience in Autism given that she has family who are as well. She was the greatest listener and advice giver ever. Having a ton of wonderful matter of fact conversations that helped me better understand what Autism is all about.


In this time period, we also felt the massive and crushing experience of “working” with the school system to get T some help. It blows my mind how often we heard “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”…and they’re right. Chris and I are both very much sit in the camp of you get more bees with honey but this is one example I can truly say, YOU GOTTA FIGHT! FOR YOUR RIGHT…to have your children supported in school. Many parents who went before me with the an ASD diagnosis, kept telling me to advocate for my son. I truly didn’t know what that meant until dealing with his education. It felt like a battle from the word go.. and we have to say we are incredibly fortunate to have a principal we feel supports us and lucked out with an EA who T and another boy share. The key issue..budget. There is 4X as many Autism diagnosis than in 2002 in our province and yet they have not changed the budget significantly to manage how many kids are needing help.This is something I plan to go on a crusade about once we get our lives in order.


Another key change we did was coordinate help. We went to the Triple P parenting class offered by the Geneva Centre for Autism, which I highly recommend for a number of reasons. 1) You get to talk to other parents who are having similar struggles at home 2) The videos might be a bit hokey but they give you great foundations to work with not only your special needs children but parenting in general 3) You start developing a series of strategies for managing through the day to day to keep your spirits high and your energy focused on the positive. We also worked with an Occupational Therapist to look at ways to help him manage (we discovered he is a deep sensory kid and that a really big squeeze hug will help often when he gets overwhelmed). It also explained a lot why he doesn’t like certain textures..(right now jeans are on the outs) as the OT explained for him, its more like sandpaper than comfort..and why he gets really excitable in loud scenarios (his hearing is super sensitive as well) One of our worst moments was in the midst of a fire alarm. A situation I will never forget. The most valuable we are finding is working with a Speech Pathologist. She has made incredible strides with T in making eye contact when he is talking, taking time to think through what he is saying and learning how to be quiet and not talk..something I didn’t realize how important until we started using this as a technique at home. When he is really excited, we put our finger to our lips (for quiet), gesture for him to focus on what we are pointing at and wait quietly while he accomplishes the task. I tell you, getting dressed went from hellish to happy simply by using that strategy.

8-12 months: I think it wasn’t until then that I was actually able to get out the words Special Needs without cringing at the response I was about to get from people. We still get the pity look but I now realize that its simply because they don’t understand. Who I did feel totally got it was all the teachers in my life. One, an old friend from high school, Jamie M simply asked was kind of savant quality had and talked about the 5 kids he has in his class (this makes total sense as he is an absolute ham and would completely “GET” an Autistic sense of humour). The other, my cousin, shared a beautiful poem with us about truly understanding Autism in the form of the Night Before Christmas. It made me cry but also  made me realize how she and many others are part of that quiet strength we have in our corner. Friends and family are what you need to help you get through sometimes. Talking is good.


Speaking of talking, the one thing I can’t stress enough is to keep the dialogue open with your spouse. As I was initially researching Autism, I came across a stat that 80% of marriages with special needs end in divorce. It freaked the crap out of me. So a key thing we concentrated on was keeping our relationship strong to be able to stay strong as a family. We set up and maintained date nights, met at the kitchen table for wine, tears and conversation, banded together to fight the school system. We are (what I would say) one of the strongest “teams” around and even then we faltered on occasion- getting frustrated at each other because of being frustrated with the system or bottling up the heartache we had that life wasn’t going to be ordinary in certain ways. That T might or might not do well in team sports, social situations, school..but talking about it and sharing our struggles made sure that neither of us felt alone in this journey. Check out Our Son Destined for a Team for our perspective on sports.

One Year Later

Life is moving forward and we are seeing some great progress in T’s development.I was starting to feel like he was really behind in the way he interacted with kids but he is starting to integrate a ton better and we are working on social situations. In speaking with his support team at daycare/school, turns out he has lots of friends and in that beautiful way that kids are, when he starts getting upset, they somehow have figured out strategies to keep him relaxed throughout the day. (They gave us a great example of T starting to get agitated and one little girl coming over and handing him a train to hold onto…seriously, I turned into a mushy mess in the middle of the meeting).

To anyone out there who might have recently received an ASD diagnosis, it will get better. You will learn to adjust to the changes in your life and the grieving period will start to subside. You might be surprised by how much of a protector, fighter, lover, or comedian you will become. It will likely change you somehow. If it does, be sure to figure out what you need to get through. For me, its been exercise and laughter and an invaluable support system behind us.

Make yourself strong. Mentally, Physically, Spiritually…so that you can help your kids have the best adventure of their life.

Source: via Christine on Pinterest

To Oui or Not to Oui?

That’s OUR question..

We talk often about our victories and challenges with our autistic son but we haven’t written a lot on our daughter, N. N is a gregarious, lively, effervescent little 4 year old. She might occasionally be accused of being a bit of a drama queen but her endearing kindness and generosity of heart is something we are so incredibly proud of, we surrender to the “fancy pants” nature of her dramatics and just let her be.

She is too smart for her own good. We have been told more than once that she’s a chatty cathy at school, more so because she’s bored with the curriculum than disrespecting authority. She is extraordinarily creative and is constantly creating her own songs, painting pictures, telling us about the gang of imaginary friends and what they are doing “hanging out” in her room.

All this to say that we are now at one of our first mega cross roads in making a parenting decision that could significantly affect N’s school career and either put her on a path of great success and adventure or have her starting the list of “things my parents did to make me turn out this way”. The decision?

French Immersion.

I know…this is truly not the most agonizing decision a parent needs to make but there are a lot of little pieces to the puzzle that are effecting our decision on this. In part, the decision is being swayed by the fact that N has an autistic brother… very close in age that (over the past year) has really grown into a reliance on each other that I’m not 100% sure we want to change anytime soon.

The Pros

  1. Establishing learning of a new language which could greatly assist in career decisions, travel, and so much more
  2. Learning french at a young age would potentially set her up to be capable of learning other languages easier as she grows up
  3. This could provide her the challenge she needs to keep her engaged and enjoying school
  4. This could be something that is hers…and hers alone. I often worry about her getting her fair attention from us. We are so very cognizant these days of making sure SHE gets big props when she accomplishes something, gets alone time with each parent and even gets disciplined in the same way we treat T.
The Cons
  1. N (as young as she is) has taken on a maternal protection of T at school and helps guide him when they are at daycare together or when they come home having done the same curriculum. Conversely, T adores N and protects her if ANYONE gets upset with her. Their connection as brother and sister at this age is fierce and they truly play and interact almost as if they are twins than 18 mths apart. It’s beautiful and I’m not sure how drastically it would affect both of them if we made this choice.
  2. As much as she is bright, I have heard some terrible stories of how much kids struggle in learning regular subjects in a different language, so much so that if they choose to leave the french program, they are years behind other kids and occasionally have trouble catching up
  3. The daycare and school we have the both of them at right now are amazing and we worked hard with them in the development of assistance for T, not to mention the wonderful friends that N has at the school where she would have none at the new school. This would mean two drop-offs, two pick-ups, twice the school activities

There you have it. My quick synopsis of where we are struggling and time is running out. I ran into another mom the other day and she indicated that they are close to a waiting list at the French Immersion and we had better get a move on. She also indicated that the school is darker, dingier and the staff don’t seem to be AS interested in working with parents on their kids success. Fabulous!

So I am appealing to you, the reader, to let me know your thoughts on whether we should move ahead or stay status quo?

Our Autistic son destined for a team?

I sit here. Watching my guy skirting around the ice, wobbling, “hockey ready” (our translation: keeping the stick aka:weapon on the ground) and holding my breath till he gets off the ice.

T is loving hockey. Like loves it in a way that he will put down the mouse, step away from the computer, go get dressed, stop doing whatever he is doing to happily head to hockey and get his skates on. You can tell he feels part of a team and embraces the notion of having friends at hockey that he loves to see.

We thought because of his enthusiasm, this might not be as bad as we expected..and that he would come out of this Hockey Skills program with the possibility of playing for an actual team…the verdict is still out..

There are good weeks (many of them in fact) as I watch, amazed, as he gets up and falls down, gets up and falls down, tries and retries to get the puck in the net, over and over again with an incredible amount of determination to keep going.

Then there are bad weeks. The kind of weeks were he is all over the place, skating off in numerous directions, nearly pelting his fellow players with his stick, not listening to the coaches, and seeing them get frustrated over his lack of focus.

They know he is Autistic and has trouble with broad or multiple instructions but you can tell with certain instructors, this is simply 1 of a dozen classes they are teaching this week and taking the time to chunk things down is way too much energy. I don’t blame them…most of them are young guys just making cash to do other things and working with a special needs kid is not necessarily something on their agenda. I’m not sure that at their age, I would have been any different.

So we watch, hardly breathing…keeping count of the good moments to compensate for the not so good ones…reassuring ourselves that he’s not the only one lying on the ice, getting into it with another player, or taking off because he simply does not want to listen anymore.

A couple of examples of our not so great moments..

1) The moment I had to run down to the ice to reinforce that your hockey stick should not actually be held like a tomahawk and attempting to show a friend that he was being mean by responding like a tomahawk was not the solution (he was like THIS close to schmuckin this poor kid in the helmet)

2) Having to watch a repeated antagonist (let’s call him a poop disturber) who constantly jars/jabs/hooks kids (especially T)  and then complains to the coach that one of the kids retaliated and pushed him back. Let’s just say I have already pegged this guy as one of the mean guys on Glee who throw slushies in everyone’s face to make up for their own inadequacy.

and a few great moments…

1) Watching the little guy head towards the goal…focused, driven, bound to score…and then he missed…and missed..and missed…but the fact that he would try, miss and go grab the puck to reposition in front of the net until he actually scored was phenomenal and a proud triumph for our whole family.

2) The time where he walked away from that antagonist…just asked him to leave him alone and simply skated away ??? #epicwin

I’m not sure if T will ever actually be a part of a hockey team (if he does ends up participating, for sure he will be a bruiser Defenseman…making sure NOBODY got near his goal) but for now…we have hope. Hope that this is an experience that he can continue to be a part of, not hurt anyone in the process, enjoy and take tremendous pride in what he accomplishes. That’s all we care about. Nothing more.

Well…and I hope if he makes the big leagues that he plays for the JETS 🙂 They are my hometown team after all ..:)

Be the Change

You must be the change you see in the world- Mahatma Gandhi

I was inspired by change when attending the #140confONT a couple of weeks ago in Kitchener. The concept was of the 140 Conference was developed by Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver) to create opportunities for people to come together and share how social media in some way has changed their lives. The stories we heard at the 1st Canadian conference were profound and more than once throughout the day I found myself choking back tears as people bravely stood up on stage, recounting some of the lowest, most challenging, most amazing moments of their lives. Many people had different perspectives on the conference, some loved the connections they made, the networking opportunity, the stories. What it left me the most with was how much change was the integral part of so many of those stories. How sometimes it is entirely up to you and you alone to take a leap and make something happen. What you find out more often than not, is that as much as you think you are alone in that leap, you have people there to support you.

Even perfect strangers.

Or they start off that way. Then simply, quietly, from just starting a conversation, you find kinship in a sea of social media. And suddenly, these conversations very easily and very quickly can turn into tremendous friendships in real life.  They become your motivators, your cheerleaders to change/do/create/jump…simply by their strength of character, personality and words.

Those words can impact you tremendously.These speakers from the #140confONT spoke words that got to me, right in the heart and have created a sense of needing to push forward, to make things happen, to follow my heart in things I want to accomplish.

@tjzmommy recounted her heartbreaking loss of her son and how it motivated her to work towards fundraising and creating incredible rooms in the children’s ward of the hospital that Zack stayed in

@MattScobel talked about his dozens of ideas he had had in the past that never went anywhere and coming up with the idea of taking used Macs to Africa by creating @ProjectMacAfrica. The change, this time, he simply did it..and made it happen.

@karmicevolution bravely retold the story of finding out the day that she was homeless that day that she came home with her newborn baby. The entire audience was crying along with her as she recounted everything she needed to do to take care of her child and how through social media she met tons of people who gave her the support she needed when she needed it most

Almost everyone at the conference were tremendous motivators in connecting that Change is Good. That You, yourself needs to be the catalyst for change if you want something to be different in your life, but you need to take action. What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? (Spencer Johnson-Who Moved My Cheese?)

I have always believed that I was destined for something different in my life. Part of something unexpected but have been afraid of failure along the way. The truth is, I want a few things to be different in my life and so I’m coming along to a world of no fear. Working towards thinking and maintaining positive energy towards of a world of possibilities.  I have goals…lofty goals.. but I figure by putting these down in writing, it will only help motivate me further to focus on what I have to do to put these ideas into action. So here goes:

* Change the perspective of Autism and look at new ways to teach children that helps them connect on their plane of learning vs trying to fit them in the box that is currently school and its curriculum

* Be part of something new in Africa that recognizes the challenges they face in education and creating education & learning opportunities that works for them

* Create an awareness and appreciation for what the men & women of our Canadian Forces do for our country

* Once I am done a half marathon, working towards a full (did I really just put that one in writing?)

Will keep you posted on the outcome. In the meantime, no fear.


Looking at the Bright Side

I didn’t want to write last week because I had hit an incredible downward spiral of sadness. I couldn’t even figure out WHAT exactly it was that was making me SO depressed…I just kept launching into teary, almost can’t breathe convulsions…an ache in my throat and in my heart so vivid that I started wondering if I was manifesting some crazy physical ailment from keeping everything inside.

You see, my intent with this blog was to help people stay positive in coming to terms with a child who has special needs. When I was searching the blogs initially, I felt like there were two kinds of bloggers…those who gave the raw straight up goods (which was causing complete anxiety  on my part) and those who kept focusing on how beautiful, bright shiny star and loved their children were…(I would kind of hope everyone feels that way but I think it was the stay SUPER positive coping mechanism)

I have seen a number of parents through various “resource” meetings we have gone to, either angry, confused, sad, or frustrated. I haven’t seen that super positive but then again we are all at the beginning of this.

The truth of the matter is, I have been through challenges in my life… and fought through them. But this experience of discovering my child has Autism, is something that caught me off guard, threw me for a loop, kicked my ass and no matter how much “fight” I have in me..obliterated all the positive for awhile. But I’m back…hiking up the hill on this journey focusing on What’s next vs. the Why..

So what caused me to totally lose it last week? Completely… confusing my husband as to why his usual bubbling wife kept falling to pieces in a heap on the floor?

I haven’t been talking to anyone about this. I didn’t know how to bring it up…

I WANTED to talk about it with my friends but didn’t want to become that friend who only ever talks about one particular piece of their life and trying to explain all the ups & downs we have gone through already…I felt ashamed to admit that I was having a hard time dealing with the term “Special Needs” (given I grew up in an environment where both my parents worked in a sector of government that supported “Mental Retardation”.)…and those Special needs kids were very different than my son. I felt like a number of my family members just didn’t want to accept it, and I don’t think I did either for awhile…

And then a beautiful friend sent me this out of the blue..

I just wanted to say that I hope you realize that you don’t have to be brave all the time. That you don’t have to put a smile onto all the shit that has happened. I know you have to deal with it and I know you will, but I hope you know that I am here for you and if you’ll let me, I will be that person that listens to all of it, all the tears and the rage and the anger. Anytime. Always. You know there is no judgment here, that is the thing I hold onto most sacredly in our friendship. I know you have to move forward, but those moments of letting it all out are part of saving your sanity and I want you to know that I totally understand. And I’m totally here. 

It was exactly what I needed to hear. Someone there to listen, no judgement, and accepting of all the stuff I needed to say. If you are overwhelmed and on this giant learning curve, remember to keep talking. It will get you past the tough and keep you focused on the positives all those great bloggers were writing about.