Changes!

It’s been a bit of a busy time for me, of late!

Rights were released to me for the following: The Éire’s Viking Trilogy, An Unexpected Woman, and Justin’s Second Chance. They all have new covers!

new cover collage with label

They are being offered on several different platforms. More information can be found on my new home: www.sandilayne.com.

I know, it’s a stretch. 😉

The first book of the trilogy is now available as an eBook for only 99 cents, while the others can still be purchased for $4.99. An Unexpected Woman is now only $2.99.

Something that isn’t changing, though, is my commitment to watching, live-tweeting, and posting about History Channel’s awesome show VIKINGS. Lissa Bryan and I will continue to follow, comment, and go all nerdy fangirl as the show moves forward after the death of Ragnar Lo∂brok. The show’s creators have been sharing teasers and the cast has been tweeting about Season SIX! Filming has already started!

Second Vikings 5 banner

If you’re looking for our posts on this show, do a search here on my site for #VIKINGS here after clicking the menu icon on the top right corner. (As I’ve just reworked this WordPress site, this might change in the future as I see what might work better for the purpose; please be patient with me.)

I can still be found on Twitter at @sandyquill and on Tumblr at sandyquill.tumblr.com.

 

 

Autism and Middle School

Back to School ChalkboardHere in the House o’Layne, we are having a whopping one-week vacation (okay, maybe ten days) between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next.

Next week, my younger son will be in 7th Grade. Smack dab in the middle of middle school.

Autistic folks in middle school are like middle schoolers everywhere, taken on a case by case basis. I spent many years teaching Sunday School to middle schoolers, as well as substitute teaching at that level. These are people with whom I am familiar. Autism, though, does add its own edge to the experience.

Autism Concept.Since my son is going to a private school, he is not “mainstreamed” into a typical middle school culture. He is instead in class with young people much like himself, yet each as uniquely individual as can be. Popularity? Not an issue. Crushes? Oh, maybe, but with the huge differential in male-to-female population, it’s not surprising. The girls in his grade (there might be two) are not subject to the same attention as they might be in a “regular” public school. The boys don’t put one another down, there isn’t competition in athletics at this age (that I’m aware of, anyway), and it’s still very much each student for him/herself.

Still, I know my son and I know middle schoolers. These are kids who are dealing with hormones in their own ways, I’m sure. It’s just that a lot of the social insecurity that is often present at this age isn’t happening with these kids. Many of them are working hard just to maintain their behavior in class, perhaps, or stay focused during a lesson. Thankfully, there is no bullying, in his class. No social drama, either. As a mom, honestly, this is a relief.

According to my son, the hardest thing about middle school is that there is so much more work than there was before. The best thing is the free time, because he’s moved “beyond the whole recess thing.”

Middle School Boy Using a ComputerIs life ideal? No. He has a lot of concerns directly related to autism in addition to having concerns that any seventh-grade boy would have in dealing with authority, in self-acceptance, and even having mood swings. The trick is to recognize each turn for what it is and handle it appropriately.

I pray. A lot.

middle school boySo while most of the people I know are relaxing comfortably here at the beginning of summer, or wondering what to do with kids home all day every day, I am prepping for the next school year. There will be new challenges for my son as well as new triumphs. In another year, he might get to start in on woodworking.

That would be awesome. 🙂


 

All images in this post are from depositphotos.com and are used w/permission.

Autism – The Daily Challenge

April is Autism Awareness Month. I know this. I’m a wife. I’m an author. I’m the mom of sons. I’m the mom of a child with autism. An autistic child, if you will, for he was born on the spectrum as much as he was born with brown hair with a tendency to curl and the nose that marks him as part of my genetic line.

i love a child with autismAs the parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum, I am of course “aware” of autism on an hourly basis, day after day, and will be for the rest of my life. Just as the phrase “If you’ve seen one child with autism…you’ve seen ONE child with autism,” is true, so it is also true for those of us who parent autistic children. We have many commonalities – so many! It is why, when I meet people who have children on the spectrum, I want to know if they have a support system. If they know other parents of kids on the spectrum. There is nothing like being able to talk to someone who walks your path, or one similar to your own, to help you through challenging times.

But our paths don’t always start at the same places, and we each walk at our own pace, and that’s a good thing.

For me, finding out my son was autistic was a relief. Because as his mom, I knew there was something that wasn’t normative. Something that required attention, but I didn’t know what it was. My son didn’t have a period of normal development before exhibiting signs that he was autistic. There wasn’t a time when he called me, “Mama” as an infant or anything. No time when my face brought him especial joy. No time when he gazed intently into my eyes in that way babies do when they’re getting to know you. This was not part of our shared experience. For us, our bond was built on singing with the letter “L” as a primary sound. We danced for hours in the middle of the night, waltzing in a moonlit kitchen. I stayed up with him, hour after hour, for years while we lived through his sleeping problems. I became adept at finding new ways to count sheep in rhyme and song.

autism not-a-diseaseSo knowing that there was a name for this was a relief to me. Because a “label” means there are things one can do. People who have been where I was (and am) and have suggestions for how to interpret the world for my son and interpret him to the world.

I know that for many, the label of Autistic is a frightening thing. But for this mom? It was a blessing. It gave a name to the challenges I face all the time. It meant that I could be proactive, rather than reactive, more often. It meant that I could focus on positives and rejoice.

Some days, I face the challenges with the knowledge that I am as well-prepared for the day as I can be. That I have done all I can to guide my son into as much independence as he can achieve while seeing to it that he is bolstered as needed. My goal: to show him how to be a contributing member of society insofar as his dreams and abilities enable him. Some days, I think I am meeting this responsibility with honor and grace and intelligence.

Other days…not so much. I zig when I should have zagged. I treat as “normal” something that should have been heeded as “not normal”. I slack off.  I fail the challenge of the moment in some respect.

I’m human. I’m a parent. I am not perfect. I have learned to forgive myself.

My son will always have autism. I don’t want him to be anyone other than who he is. His challenge is to face each day, knowing it will be hard. Because it is. My challenge is to help him be strong enough, capable enough to meet his day. Sometimes, he needs me to be a warm blanket when it was a hard day. Sometimes, he needs a cheerleader to assure him that his imagination produces great ideas. Sometimes, he needs Iron Mom, who can stand firm against his outbursts of anger and resentment while getting him to see the need for growth and change – someone who is more stubborn than he is. Someone who is not hurt when he says hurtful things.

He’s a child. He’s not perfect. I forgive him everything.

So yes, it is Autism Awareness Month. And being aware of autism has enriched my life immeasurably. I take greater joy in smaller happenings. I relish the challenge of interpreting what I thought I knew into a new frame of reference. I look forward to seeing my son grow from where he is now to where he’ll be by, say, NEXT April. He’s an amazing person with a fantastic headspace.

I have great kids. 🙂 The challenge is to be the best mom I can be for each of them. And it’s a challenge I face daily, just like every other parent I know.

autismpossibilities

 

 

Holidays with the “Autism Family”

Stress.

Angry, Frustrated Woman --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Angry, Frustrated Woman — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

For many, “the holiday season” brings with it not only the expectations of seeing family and friends, of parties, of gifts and treats and a great deal of fantastic edibles, but a certain amount of pressure. Pressure to cook, to take care of gifts, to put on “company manners” in front of others at gatherings, and so on.  Perfectly normal, well-adjusted adults can find themselves pulling their hair, snapping at beloved family members, and wanting to just get everything over with, already.

For those who live with someone on the Autism Spectrum, there is the additional worry of how their neuro-diverse loved one is handling the sometimes-chaotic pace of the holidays. This compounds the stress of the family and of the person with autism. It can be enough for many families to opt out of the joys of the season as they attempt to avoid possible meltdowns and other adverse circumstances.

If you or someone you know is living with autism and stressing out about the holidays—relax and try some of these strategies for having a JOYFUL holiday season.

PREPARE THE GUESTS

Holiday-PartyIf you’re visiting or having folks come visit you—for an hour or a week!—make sure that they are aware of the limits of the autistic person or persons whom they will encounter while they visit. This will save you from having to experience any social discomfort and will serve to smooth the way for introductions and interactions. For example: “You’re so kind to want to get Emily a present! She really doesn’t do surprises well, though, so if you’ll tell me in advance what you are bringing, I can prepare her for it. Thank you!”

SOCIAL STORIES ARE AWESOME

Social-Story-ExSocial stories are used by many mental health professionals and social workers to prepare people for new experiences in advance.  For your holiday season, this might involve pictures of family members that will be seen around the Thanksgiving table, Grandma’s House, or a group of people participating in a religious observance. Discuss over and over what will happen at places or events, and how everyone is expected to behave.

These stories should also give alternatives, just in case!

HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN. OR TWO.

Sometimes, even when you’ve done the prep work of discussing the situation with family and friends as well as doing all you can to prepare your loved one on the spectrum, there will be a problem. A melt-down, maybe, or a refusal to participate. Stimming might take on a new dimension, perhaps. Something. It is always good to be prepared for such an eventuality.

walkingquietHave a special “package” on stand-by. A backpack, maybe, or a duffle bag, filled with comforting things for the unsettled mind. You would know best what should be in there. A blanket, a favorite pillow, a loved book, ear protectors, that sort of thing. Perhaps special snacks that are particular favorites.

At a new venue, find places that are quiet and out of the way of the holiday cheer. This might mean taking a walk outside, or cuddling on the far side of a bed in a guest room, or finding a place behind a building if you’re at an amusement park.

RELAX AS MUCH AS YOU CAN

Your stress is communicable and will contribute to the stress of anything new that is causing concern over the holidays. Try to relax and enjoy the wonder of a day, an event, and your family and friends. With plenty of notifications and familiarization, this might not be as hard as you might have expected.

🙂

Got tips?

If you have any tips you’d like to share for the benefit of others who are celebrating the holidays in or with “The Autism Family”—a phrase I heard years ago right after we first got our diagnosis in our family—please share it!

Have a Joyous Holiday Season!

peace_love_hope_christmas_holiday_autism_card-r0d7f6f39b9e8489d90cf5f8f4b51cab8_xvuak_8byvr_324

September 2013

Life in My House

Why, yes, my son is Autistic. 

So. My younger son has started in a new school this year. It’s a non-public school with a focus on children on the Autism Spectrum. It’s a fantastic school.

As per usual, MSG (Middle School Guy) has started the year well.  He is on two different medications during the day. At the end of last year, he was on the same medications, but he was much less happy.  Now, he is doing better in class and taking notes (middle school!) for social studies and so on. I’ve seen them. It’s very cool.

The past two years, since we have been in Maryland, his behavior has worsened around November. I have tried operating on the idea that he is dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Having spoken to one of his new school’s social workers about this, I am going to resume my sun lamp and Vitamin D treatments for him this year, but I’ll be starting them earlier than last year. I hope that this will help to keep him from spiraling down as the year slips away from us.

His growing pains have apparently lessened, as well, though he grew one full inch in three months’ time. I think the anxiety level he experienced at his former school made him call upon this pain as an excuse to get out of class every day. He hasn’t had to take any pain relievers at his new school at all during the day, though he continues to have his usual dose of Tylenol at night. His doctor has said this is fine, so we’re keeping with it.

We continue to worship at home, where I am able to teach from Scripture and focus on the needs of each of my family. This is working out well. We are currently working through the book of Galatians.

I will be posting a Holidays with the Autism Family offering next month. If you or someone you know is living with a family member on the autism spectrum, take a deep breath. The holidays are totally do-able.

Questions? Comments? Let me know! 🙂

Writing and Cooking

I realized why I enjoy cooking.

Not baking. I haven’t baked my own bread since we moved to Maryland, though I need to get back to that.

scallionsBut cooking. Cooking just works for me.  It helps me appreciate writing more.

When I cook, I have a challenge to myself to get everything (as close as I can, anyway) to be done as close to the same time as possible.  To time the garlic bread with the spaghetti sauce with the pasta with the salad and so on.  Additional challenges in this kind of thing include making a special sauce for my younger son, who has texture issues, and making sure the garlic knots and the garlic bread both come out evenly, so that all my guys get what they want to eat.

The ingredients are all over the place. I do all my preparations and open my spices and lay out any cooking tools and the pots and pans and so on… and then, I work. And I work hard. And I time the stirring of my pasta with the adding of the rosemary to the meat and so forth. For me, this is exhilarating.  Each aspect of the meal to be treated with respect, of course, and to be boiled, stirred, chopped, etc. as required. And then all the timers go off and everything comes out and ta-da! Dinner for four, served in the kitchen.  Everything is hot and tasty and we are all satisfied.

marked draftWhen I write, this is much the same. I love the ingredients that go into a story. I familiarize myself with the main ones before I begin writing. My lectures and seminars to my furniture might amuse people, but they work for me as I prepare my story for the flurry of creation.  And when I write, each plot line of the story has to be timed just so, so that they resolve themselves within a chapter or two of each other. Thus, the tension is equal throughout the book and my readers are kept engaged (I hope!) as they follow the story lines. And in the end, ta-da! Conflicts resolved, everyone has reached a place of stability of one sort or another, and sometimes, I even let them have a happily ever after.

Hey, it happens!

If you’re a writer and you don’t spend some time cooking on a regular basis, I would challenge you to do so.  Pay attention to the textures of your ingredients and their smells and tastes.  Appreciate the sudden power of diced scallions and the way cinnamon captures air pockets in a pot of water.  Inhale the steam after you take the lid off of a pot of steamed basmati rice.  Immerse yourself in the experience of cooking. You might even wish to take notes.  The beauty of a scene is sometimes in the small details that make it real for a reader.

Baking is fun and it is a challenge as well, but it doesn’t, for me, providing the soul-savory experience that cooking a meal does. Maybe it’s the scallions. 🙂

With Cereal

A quick update on Life from Where I’m Sitting.

Since my laptop went all Gray Screen on me, I’m social-media-fail with everyone still. Hoping to get back to a regular presence sometime next month.

Buying a new computer, you ask? 

No…

But…

Middle School Guy (son the younger, previously known as Cartoon Ranger, Builder, MSG, etc.) finally has a school placement for middle school. After much stress, a non-public school has been found for him! He’s relieved, as you can imagine. Not knowing what would be happening come August was wearing on him and on the rest of us. So I am thankful that he’s got a place. It’s a nice school, not far from here, and looks like it should be a good fit.  He’ll be starting in just a couple of weeks, since they’re on a schedule that does that. This will allow me hours of uninterrupted desktop computer time.

Which will allow me to be more flexible in my online life AND, of course, writing a book. Or two.

Two, you ask?

Well, probably.

32033613oetratipd8It is common for a working writer to have a few plates spinning. For example, the year 2012 saw me getting a contract for Éire’s Captive Moon as well as An Unexpected Woman, both completed works, while I wrote Éire’s Viking. And edited Éire’s Captive Moon. 2013 had ECM publish in January, editing for AUW, publishing AUW, as well as getting a contract for and editing Éire’s Viking. Now that the editing is just about done for EV, I am focusing my attentions on the historical work in progress, Éire’s Devil King as well as doing preliminary research for a future contemporary Christian romance. Additionally, I am considering reworking a formerly self-published novel to reissue. Updating is hard work, let me tell you.

And, too, there is the little matter of In the Name of Duty – an historical romance novel that is now in its third massive iteration. Someday, I want to finish it. I think that “someday” might be sooner rather than later. I first put pen to paper on the original version (Amberly’s Heir) in 1997. It’s had a long and inglorious history with me. BUT! I really do think that, 22K words into the latest edition, I might be on to something. 🙂

In publishing, a writer often finds themselves planning years in advance. For example, when I got the contract for ECM, I was already thinking of a 2015 publication date for the final book of the trilogy.  Writing and editing and promotional work takes time, so it’s really hard to do more than two books a year unless you have help on a few fronts. Like childcare, maybe, or an assistant to handle social media outlets, or someone to clean the house… Yeah.  Anyway, all of this means that while I’m thinking of these future projects, I’m thinking of writing schedules, editing schedules, and where all of them fit in with my sons’ educational plans and family vacation timelines.

I am also thinking, once MSG is back to school full time, that I am going to start another Bible study/devotional routine for posting on a blog. The last time I did this, I wrote these studies that I have since posted here on my site. It’s been a while. 😉 What I’m thinking is to post them on a different blog, when I get started again. I’ll link y’all up when that happens.

Upcoming:

I’ll be in Austin, Texas in October. That’s three months from now, I know, but a girl has to plan ahead.  The occasion is the Texas Book Festival. I think they’re revamping their website just now, but I’ll be posting more on it as the time approaches.

 

Your Turn:

Got any plans for the summer or fall? Projects with the family? Writing deadlines?  News you’d like to share? Let us know! 

First World Problems

Well. For those of you who don’t know, I am currently operating under a technological handicap, of sorts. At least, for me.

My laptop died. It wasn’t an old one, but it had been having technical issues for over a year and I wasn’t entirely surprised. Thankfully, I backed up my work the week before and had printed out my current WIP (Work in Progress) to its furthest point before the Gray Screen of Doom took over.

Of course, that it happened NOW has been difficult.

My younger son is in a time of transition, having just finished Elementary School and not yet having a Middle School placement. This makes things anxious for him.

We had a family vacation/reunion in West Virginia, and I couldn’t take my work with me. Yes, I had to write LONGHAND. I reminded myself that Little Women and Pride and Prejudice were written longhand, so I could do it. But I’m not used to it!

And I am without the bookmarks and other sundries (including my keychain and its attendant passwords) which has made reconnecting with all y’all a bit squiffy. And this at a time when I am participating in blog tours and cover reveals for other authors as well as a blog tour of my own.

Did I mention I’m trying to write a novel? lol

ANYWAY. Please forgive me and my out-of-touch-ness. I’m timesharing the house’s desktop computer with Son the Younger, aka MSG (Medium-Sized Guy), and I have a harder time keeping on top of things.

Thanks for listening. Reading. Yes.

To reward you, here are some pictures from West Virginia:

David and Dan on boat

My sons on a Paddleboat Cruise on the Kanawha River, Charleston, WV

Tourists

I call this Synchronized Photography.

NewRiver Bridge 1

Bridge over the New River Gorge. One of the ten highest/longest in the Western Hemisphere. I think.

JoeSantheatre

My son David, the Spousal Unit and I – waiting for an outdoor theatre production of The Hatfields and McCoys to begin.

Yes, the man has attitude. Remember, he married me.

Alas, many of the rest of the images contain actual faces of actual people, some of whom are not my non-minor-children, so I shall refrain from posting them publicly.

Wait, there’s more!

My Kindle was knelt on by MSG, quite accidentally, so it is now non-functional. Our older flatscreen TV just perished yesterday, right in the middle of a BluRay viewing of Toy Story 3. AND! My wedding ring lost its solitaire and so for the first time in more than 20 years, I am ringless.

Like I said, First World Problems.

How about you?

Need a place to share YOUR first world problems that doesn’t have a 140-character limit? 

Leave ’em here. 🙂 Share!

Liebster Award

Ich danke Ihnen.

I was gratified and surprised to be selected for a Liebster Award from author and musician Olivia Slocumhttp://theclaymoreandsurcoat.com See that URL? How can one resist a claymore and surcoat? Click on over, say hello, check out her work, and bring chocolate. 🙂

I don’t think I’ve responded to one of these before – honestly, it’s been a weird year – but I’m going to give it the good ol’ college try. Because I have vague memories of college…

liebster2For those I’ve nominated for this award, listed below, this is the gig:

  • Go say hello to Olivia and comment on her blog! 🙂
  • List eleven unknown facts about yourself.
  • Answer the eleven questions I’ve got below for y’all.
  • Choose your own eleven nominees (or as many as you can find!) and send them YOUR post with YOUR questions…

And the cycle continues!

So, “liebster” means “dearest” in German (my brother is a scholar and speaks the language fluently), so I’ll try to think of nice things for my FACTS.

I am unsure if anything is really unknown about me, since I’ve been dashing to and fro throughout ether-space since the last millennium, but one can try, yes?

  1. My given name is actually Sandi. It’s on my birth certificate spelled just that way.
  2. When I was born, my hair was carrot red and curly. I have no idea why it changed but I’ve always been rather sad that it did.
  3. I like salted dark chocolate. Lindt makes a good bar just like that.
  4. Having been trapped in an elevator (my own fault) at a young age gave me claustrophobia, I think. Except in elevators. I don’t get it.
  5. I do things with an eight-count. Like a dancer or cheerleader. Up and down stairs, brushing my teeth, sweeping… Just about everything.
  6. I once was a choreographer. Not professionally, but yeah. It’s something no one would guess by looking at me.
  7. I threw furniture as a Sunday School teacher. In my defense, the lesson was on Jesus in the Temple courtyard doing likewise. It was fun.
  8. Every book I’ve written has at least one thing in it that only a handful of people will “get” when they read it. Private, inside jokes or memories.
  9. Special K Red Berries is my current favorite cereal.
  10. I bought myself a 25th Anniversary Cabbage Patch doll. I looked and looked until I found one with coloring similar to my own children. 🙂
  11. I find teaching from Scripture is the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done.

Meh. I guess I’m not good with finding “nice” things, eh?

Eleven questions from Olivia:

  1. What’s your favorite vacation destination and why?  Someplace quiet and uncrowded. The desert would be ideal. I miss it.
  2. What’s your favorite book? I don’t have A favorite. I have a bunch of favorites. Timeline by Michael Crichton. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. And about 100 more. lol
  3. What do you like on pizza? Mozzarella, spinach, and mushrooms. 
  4. Do you have a favorite song? No…but I tend to exercise to 80’s pop. 🙂
  5. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?  10% to God. 10% for play. Then work on house modifications, college funds, etc.
  6. What was your favorite pet? I have had two desert tortoises, both of whom were acquired before they were illegal to own. They were my favorite pets.
  7. If you had a time machine, where would you go? Nowhere. I’d rather let my brain imagine the past and I’d be wary of visiting the future.
  8. Do you wish I would stop asking so many questions? Sometimes, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
  9. If you found a magic lamp and were given three wishes, what would they be?  Contentment for those I love. A house that was powered by air, wind, and water. To be forever at my ideal weight. 😉
  10. How many cups of coffee do you drink in one day? One. In the morning within the first half hour from waking up or I get a headache. I am an addict.
  11. Where do you see yourself in ten years? I’ll be closing in on sixty years of age by then, so I hope I am still writing, smiling, and at a keyboard. Somewhere. 🙂

My questions for my nominees:

  1. What huge plot twist would you love to insert into any major movie?
  2. Apple juice or orange juice?  
  3. Favorite literary villain?
  4. What class in high school OR college did you most try to get out of?
  5. What class in high school OR college did you wish you could repeat because it was that interesting?
  6. Tennis shoes or sneakers?
  7. What movie do you find yourself quoting most often? Why?
  8. And lastly, When you are mentioned by someone as being most influential in their life, why will that someone mention you?

And my nominees for the LIEBSTER AWARD are….

  1. Janine at http://thewritesavage.wordpress.com
  2. Sare at http://sareliz.com
  3. Kim Rendfeld at http://kimrendfeld.wordpress.com
  4. Jennifer and Melissa at http://fightforyourwrite.com
  5. Warren at http://warrencbennett.wordpress.com
  6. Kristina at http://standardofgrace.net
  7. L. Palmer at http://lpalmerchronicles.com
  8. Jack at http://jackflacco.com

Yes, I have eight. This means, Nominees, that you can have EIGHT, TOO.

That’s why I have only eight questions. 🙂  Hey, it’s Summer Vacation. 🙂

June – A Ramble

This is a ramble. That means there’s not a lot of focus, here, but rather a walk under some trees while I ramble about what’s in my head today. There may be no rhyme or reason, but it’s out here. 

When I was a little girl, I waited eagerly for the magical month of JUNE. It meant the end of the school year, to me.  I loved school, understand, but by June? I was ready for a break.

Now that I’m all grown up and everything, June still means Summer Vacation, but from the mom’s point of view? Not all that much of a vacation, you know? I will have my time much more spoken for than it is the rest of the year, since being a MOM is the top priority of the workaday hours.  (Being a wife is of course the other TOP priority, but Spousal Unit is out of the house before dawn, so though he is in my head, he’s not part of the daily routine.)

Son the Younger is finishing up elementary school this June.  The kids in the fifth grade are all hearing about Middle School all the time and it is possible my son is the only student who doesn’t know where he’ll be attending come August.  That’s right – there is as yet no placement for him.

As a Special Needs student (he’s autistic, for those who are new to my blog) he requires a certain set of circumstances in which to learn optimally. The usual things don’t work for him. Even within our vast school district, it has been determined that there is no school which will serve for him, to do the best for him and still maintain a good learning environment for others. The motivators most people respond to have no effect on him; the positive and negative reinforcements mean very little. We don’t know why.

So here we are, days away from the end of the year, and my son (who does not do well with unknowns) is having to operate with a huge UNKNOWN over his head. It’s stressful. It’s stressful for me, too, since I cannot help prepare him for something about which I am ignorant.

Still, it’s June. Summer Vacation is just around the corner. Ceremonies, meetings, paperwork. Family vacation, swimming pool construction. A novel to write. A novel in editing. My calendar has many colors for many different deadlines and appointments already lining up for us.

When I was a child I wanted to be an adult – like so many other children, right? I couldn’t wait to grow up and not have to be a KID anymore.  Son the Younger is always wanting to be “twenty-two.” For him, that is the watermark year. The one that means adulthood. Freedom from mandatory school, maybe. The ability to try to be independent, to live away from Mom and Dad, perhaps.

I think growing up means taking ownership of your circumstances. Accepting they are the way they are and enjoying them, rather than wishing them away.  So I walk into June and Summer Vacation knowing that my days will be busier, my hour-to-hour obligations increasing. There will be a need to demonstrate patience as we wait to see where Son the Younger might be placed for school next year OR if we will take that job on ourselves.

If that happens, these next two weeks before the end of school might be the most restful time I’ll have for years. I suppose I better plan on enjoying them.  @}——–