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Monday, August 27, 2018

Dating Advice for Young Adults

Every few months the subject of dating is something that my two young-adults who happen to be on the autism spectrum, get stuck on. One of them gets a little more stuck, a lot more often. Probably because he has been a lover of female attention before he could even speak the words to say so. His interests began in pre-school when he was speech-delayed. He would always sit near pretty girls. He would put his arm around them. He loved to give and receive hugs.

My youngest son developed more interest in relationships at a more appropriate age. However, his approach to relationships with the opposite sex is a lot more pragmatic.  Still dating is not an easy thing.

I don't know why they ask me for dating advice. They really don't listen to my answers. That doesn't stop them from asking me over and over again. It also doesn't stop my heart from breaking and wanting them to find love and happiness.

  • Why can't I find a girlfriend? 
  • What's wrong with me? 
  • Why does dating seem to come along easily for most people but not for me? 
  • Why is every girl I meet already taken? 
  • Why am I struggling? 
  • You have no idea how this feels! (Which is more of an accusation than a question). 
Well, I may have some idea how it feels. I had a few dry spells when I was in the dating world, you know, way back in ancient history. I actually had quite a bit of fun dating many of the wrong guys, but it was all apart of my human experience. In hindsight, there wasn't one heartbreak that I would change. Each of them taught me something about myself and about men in general.

One of the things I think that helped me the most was having males who were just friends. In my teen years, I had more male than female friends. Yep. I really used to be a teenager. I know things have changed in your age of technology, however, human nature is very much the same. You don't have to believe me now. You'll see someday.

Every relationship good or bad is something that you are destined to experience. We would all love to be able to control the experience. It would be great if the one we think we love, always loves us in return. That doesn't always happen.  It would be fantastic if we never had to go through the pain of heartache when someone ends the relationship before the other person is ready, but again it's a part of the journey.

If you can control love, you will be the first person on earth to do so. Good luck with the millions you will earn selling your secret.

Again, we have no control when it comes to love.

One of my boys is a strong believer in God, the other not so much. The youngest is still examining his faith.

For the terms of my believer, these are my answers (although I think they are appropriate for anyone).

  • Finding the relationships that you are meant to have, will NEVER be a struggle ~You will not have to knock the door down. There will be no need to call them constantly or text them over and over. You won't have to convince them that you're the one. They will come to you naturally and they will stay with you as long as they are meant to.  
  • The struggle comes in when you are trying to make something happen that God, (the universe, or fate) says, it is not meant for you. 
  • There is nothing wrong with you. ~What's wrong is that you are approaching every relationship and every person you meet as if they are meant for you when they're not. 
  • Dating seems to come along easily to others ~because you are on the outside looking in. Other people may have more relationships. That doesn't mean that they are quality relationships. They will undoubtedly also have more drama. More drama comes along with the relationships that are based on selfish desires (not God's plan or fate).  Maybe God doesn't want you to have all that drama. 
  • If the person you meet is already taken...they are not meant for you to be in a relationship at that moment.  Perhaps that person, even if they are the opposite sex, and beautiful, or handsome, crossed your path because you are meant to be friends. Maybe being a friend without selfish desires, will lead to something more. That new friend could possibly end up leading you to another destined relationship.  
  • You struggle more when your desires are selfish ~A relationship that comes your way without a struggle is meant to happen, even if it doesn't last forever. You are meant to learn something from that experience. That person was meant to be a part of your journey.
I believe this advice will serve you well, whether you are on the autism spectrum or not.  The language of love is universal. I'm no expert, but I've had a few relationships in my 53 years on this earth. The latest one has lasted nearly 25 years, so far.

I decided to write these answers down for my sons so that perhaps I won't have to repeat myself, nine-hundred-ninety-nine more times.

Here you go, kid! It's in writing.

Love,

Mom




Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Made it to the Mat


I come down the stairs this morning on my way to yoga when I notice the sink full of dishes. Blue was supposed to have cleaned them last night.

After having my supposedly, professional, surface-cleaning crew clean the kitchen yesterday, I can't tell you how happy I was when Blue decided to make homemade cookies last night at 10 p.m. (I call them surface cleaners because last week after they left, I changed a room around and ended up vacuuming up a ton of dust from places they apparently have never seen.

I look at Blue like he has three heads. He told me the dishes were clean last night. He appears to be sticking to his story despite the evidence. It's kind of like the current President of the United States, who expects us not to believe what we actually see with our own eyes and hear coming out of his mouth. 
"The dishes are clean," he insists. 

They are nowhere near clean. They are piled one on top of the other. There are remnants of cookie dough, sugar, and flour on everything, including the kitchen floor. 

"But I used hot soapy water," he says.

I left him with hot soapy water in the sink before I went to bed so that he wouldn't attempt to use cold water and no soap because no one was watching. 
"You didn't wash them thoroughly or there wouldn't still be food on them. And then you piled dirty dishes on top of ones that are supposed to be clean. Clean dishes that have been washed go in the drainer after being rinsed with hot water, so that they can dry. Cleaning the kitchen means clearing the sink ...entirely." 

From there, I start getting caught up in showing him how to do it correctly ...again. 

We're going back and forth when my mom chimes in, interrupting us. "You know Blue, your father is going to notice those cookie crumbs on the kitchen table when he comes down to have his coffee." 

Seriously mom? You have to interrupt us to mention crumbs when I'm already trying to get him to do dishes he doesn't want to do. You need to add your two-cents right at this moment?  Insert massive eye-roll here. Help me, Jesus. 

After all the years she has lived here, she still doesn't get that it's hard enough to discipline or correct him, but to have more than one person correcting him at the same time, is what can make him blow a gasket.

In autism, over the years I have found that everything is worse with an audience, especially with audience participation. 

I know that he needs money for the day. There will be a negotiation for how much because he has several stops to make. He has to take the train. He doesn't have a student pass for the summer. I don't want to discuss this in front of Mom. I ask him to meet me in the garage. This is how I have to live my life. Always the secret meetings behind closed doors. Always, explaining and compensating for the behavior of others. 

I am tired of giving him money. I am tired of negotiating over money. I am tired of micro-managing his spending. I am tired of justifying the money I have given him to his father who always blows a gasket and second-guesses me. 

Blue worked a five-week internship this summer through Texas Workforce/Vocational Rehabilitation's Earn and Learn program. He blew through that money faster than my head could spin. He still has one more check coming. Thank God! Not that it will last any significant amount of time. 

Half-heartedly, I pull out of the driveway and around the corner. I get to the stop sign at the end of the block. I make a u-turn back towards the house. I decide not to pull in front. I pull up on the side. I don't want anyone in my family to see me contemplating. I spend a lot of my time contemplating. It's a whole thing in my day. I should put it on my calendar.

Should I take him to the train station? 
It's going to cost at least ten dollars for him to get there. 
I could just take him and save that money.
Alan's always bitching about how much Uber money he spends. 
I really want my frappuccino before class. I haven't had one in three whole days. 
(I've been addicted to them this summer. They have been my guilty pleasure.)  
If I take him to the station I could go to the other Panera, grab my frappuccino and probably make it back to class on time. 
Nope! 
I'll be cutting it too close and I'll end up missing class.
f*#% that. 
I missed class last week. 
I need this today. 
Why am I sitting here negotiating my own self-care? 
You don't do that much for yourself, Karen. 
Remember last night at the grocery store? You felt like you were ready to jump out of your own skin, while Blue shopped with the speed of a turtle with only 3 legs. You wanted to run away and change your name? It was like you just couldn't do one more damn thing for another ungrateful human.  Like you need a vacation ...yesterday. And today, you're negotiating yoga time?  What is wrong with you? 
Fennis in Maui
Owner/Instructor
Flow Yoga, Cedar Park TX

Thirty minutes and one frappuccino later, I'm in some version of twisted root pose on my mat when Suzette the instructor, comes over to ask if she can help adjust me into the pose correctly.

"Would you like a blanket to prop your shoulder?" she asks in the softest, most kind, voice. 
Soothing yoga music is playing softly and my heart melts a little.
She props my shoulder onto the blanket. I want to cry real tears.

I'm here. 
It's so nice to have someone checking on ME, asking what I need. 

In this moment I am so thankful that I decided to walk away from the madness.
Well, I drove away, but I made it to Yin class.
I put myself first. 

The usual Yin class instructor who I really dig is in Hawaii on vacation. That may have had something to do with my hesitation.

I will not mention how I wish that I was there in Maui ...with her or instead of her.  I won't call her any ungodly names, out loud.  I love the beautiful pictures on Instagram of her doing yoga poses on the beach in front of the bluest ocean I've have not personally seen this summer. I certainly will not mention any envy over her sculpted, lean, yoga body, and the fact that she has carried children more recently than I have. Nope. Jealousy is not a part of my vocabulary. 

Before class, I thought maybe I wouldn't appreciate the practice as much as I do when Fennis teaches. I was wrong. Suzette was great.  

After savasana, she guided us to thank ourselves for making it to our mats this morning.

I am truly thankful. Today I chose me.  

Namaste. 

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By the way...I am happy to announce that my blog made the Top 30 Autism Parenting Blogs on Blog Feedspot for 2018.  Check out the hyperlink to see some of my homies who also made this list.