I Can’t Feel My Face

The first time I heard the song, I Can’t Feel My Face, I was with Cuy. We had his music on in the car and I said, “I don’t get it. Why can’t he feel his face when he’s with her?” To which Cuy replied, with all the patience a teen can muster when speaking to an absolute idiot, aka a mom who’s clearly too old to be listening to young people music, “Because he’s smiling at her.” Me: blank stare. Cuy, sighing, “When he’s with her, he smiles so much his face goes numb.” Me, light bulbs going off in my too-old-to-listen-to young-people-music-brain, “This is a great song!” Cuy: stares straight ahead at the road, shakes his head, says nothing.

I get it now though. I really do. It happened to me yesterday. Cuy’s car is a piece of junk. He bought it by himself (kudos to him, I know), with his money (more kudos, of course), from a particularly questionable used car place near school. It cost a pretty penny and now, after owning it less than a year, it needs to have the engine replaced, which will cost many many many more pretty pennies.

Nope. Not doing it. Not throwing good money after bad. The kid needs a car that’s safe. And just like I did for his older brother several years ago, yesterday, I went and bought him a good used car. But I didn’t tell him I was doing it. And throughout the entire process of test driving the car, completing the paperwork, and signing and initialing every single spot that needed to be signed and initialed, I smiled. And smiled. I smiled so much, my face went numb.

It was really numb when I shot this video (Bad video of really good car!), sent it to him, and was on the phone with him when he watched it. I only wish I had a recording of his “WHAT?” long pause……”OH MY GOD, MOM! THANK YOU!” response. I’m smiling right now, writing this. I’m even enjoying the numb feeling in my face and the knowledge that I’m going to die broke, but my kids will be safe. And that makes me smile even more.

I surprised him with this yesterday. I’m still smiling.


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Thought of the Day, 9.26.18

Self-care is critical. You can’t pour from an empty vessel.

Today’s thought of the day is a simple reminder to take care of yourself. I see you out there, managing kids, a successful career, and the house. I see you out there killing it, batting away obstacles like flies, shining as you cross the finish line – another goal achieved.

I love watching you.

I am so proud for you.

I pray for you, too. I pray you’ll remember to take care of yourself. I pray you won’t skip the gym, the Zumba class, the early morning walk, the massage.

No matter where you are in the pursuit of what you’re after, remember that self-care is not selfish. It’s necessary. So please,  do rest in whatever manner fuels you.

You can’t pour from an empty vessel.

For more thoughts of the day, please join me on YouTube for Flaws Are The New Black, and on Instagram

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Thought the of Day

Be present for your life.

Today’s thought of the day is simple but significant. Live In The Moment. I remind myself to do this almost constantly. Stay in the moment, Susan. Be present right now. Don’t let your to-do list or anxiety or unruly adult ADHD take your brain racing off to some imagined future place or worse, some place in the past. Life is short. Don’t miss it. Stay in the moment. Sometimes it’s tough. I could be having a conversation that’s bothering me, setting alarm bells off in my belly, and my mind wants to run away to the beach or go over my grocery list or whatever. But I need to pay attention to the alarm bells. They are, as my friend Marianne Clyde says, information, and I need that information. Whatever it is my gut is trying to tell me I need to hear. So being present isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. Don’t miss a minute of today, my friends. Live in this moment. It’s not coming around again.

For more thoughts, please join me on YouTube for Flaws Are The New Black, and on Instagram

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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Driver’s License

Like every other kid on the planet, I wanted my driver’s license. It didn’t matter that I was an absolutely terrible driver, the kind that clips corners, hits curbs, and knocks down street signs when making a right, and who has an uncanny ability to make a left onto a divided highway, end up on the wrong side of the road, and come face to face with oncoming traffic. None of it mattered. Not nervousness, nearsightedness, or my abysmal lack of skill was going to deter me. I wanted my license. And somehow I got it. Can you imagine how petrified my parents were?

When my eldest reached driving age however, it was a different story. He couldn’t navigate the high school driving class and I was too busy caring for my husband to call and demand accommodations. And since all my son has ever wanted is to fit in, he was happy I wasn’t on the phone or in the school office making a scene. Instead he dropped the class and we decided to wait until after his dad passed to deal with it.

It’s funny, when Casey was diagnosed we were told he’d never drive. And yet he was driving the farm truck with almost no instruction. He had incredible focus and never drove fast. If anything he drove too slowly and hey, what parent doesn’t pray for that?

When it finally came time to find him a driving school, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I called school after school and none were equipped to teach an ASD student. One man even said “Oh no, ma’am, we can’t be responsible for that!” My son is not a “that.” He’s a human being who deserves to learn to drive and pass that damn test no matter how long it takes him.

By some miracle we were contacted by the Department of Rehabilitative Services and Case was given the chance to learn to drive at the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville. And we thought we lived in the boonies. This place is no place. And it looks like a psych ward. Case was not happy. I pretended to be happy. Case refused to go. I dragged him there.

He stayed just long enough to get the basics. Then he escaped and showed up at the front door. I said, “How’d you get here?” And he pointed to his friend and replied, “He drove me.” Oh really? I then informed the friend that he would be finishing my kid’s training and getting him to pass the written test. Yes, I paid him, but I wanted to shoot them both.

Since you’ve probably seen my son in town, delivering pizza, you know he passed. What you don’t know is he passed the first time. He still drives a little slowly but he’s never turned into oncoming traffic like his mom has. Recently. Yeah, let’s not get into that.

Ah, sweet freedom. And they said it couldn’t be done!

So what’s the moral of the story?

One, young adults with ASD, don’t despair and parents, don’t give up hope. There are driving schools popping up all over the country that specialize in teaching kids with ALL KINDS of special needs.

Two, if you live in Virginia, Woodrow really does have a great driving program (despite it’s being ugly), staffed by talented, patient professionals, and it’s not your only option. There are other resources available to you. Yes, there are. I found them.  Too late for Case but just in time for you.

And three, don’t believe everything the professionals tell you. Just believe in your kid.










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