Saturday, August 12, 2023

"Confessions from Underwater"

Dear Reader, 

It's been a minute since I posted something new on this blog. I want to update you on what we have been up to,  and fill you in on my plans for the future.

Last week, Kendal came home for a visit for the first time since he moved to L.A. We have traveled to see him several times.  Between the pandemic and his sporadic work schedule, it was harder for him to travel. 

Kendal, Me & Cole 

2021 was a rough year all around, because of Cole's mental health,  adding Kendal back into the mix would have been spontaneous combustion. I have driven myself into the ground for these boys for many years. Now, I know my limits. Even though it's hard, I have learned I must have boundaries. If I didn't press the brakes, I would be completely broken by now.

2022 was the year for Kendal's crisis. Managing him from a distance was hell for me. I traveled back an forth to Los Angeles as often as I could. What used to be an enjoyable thing (going home and seeing my friends and family) became a bit of a nightmare. Both in L.A. and from Texas, I worked to pull resources together to help him get support.  When I was at the end of my rope, I sent his father out there to help. He was shaken when he got home after seeing what a bad place Kendal was in mentally. Alan's visit pushed me into action to go back to L.A. and put a fire under the Los Angeles Regional Center to put together a plan of support. I may or may not have had to consult Disability Rights California to make things happen. 

2023 has also been challenging for Kendal, but at least I knew that he was safe and has a caseworker who works with him several days a week.  He lives close enough to my brother and sister for additional support. He also has an angel of a friend who loves and supports him. 

He has grown in many ways but still has a long road ahead to realize his big dreams. I must say, I admire his resilience. Since he left home, he has been brave enough to move to two different cities (San Antonio and L.A.).  He learned to navigate both cities on his own. All while I questioned my decision to keep him in L.A. Every.Single.Day.  I cried myself to sleep many nights. Figuring out the line between supporting and rescuing is not an easy task for any mother.

Kendal & Alan, 8/23

Kendal is doing better now, thank God! It's still quite the job to make sure that he continues getting help from government resources like Social Security Disability. It seems their job is to make things difficult so that you will just give up. That's not an option for me. I constantly fight the thought of what happens to him when I die. This is why I try to teach him survival for when that day comes. I live for the day, he can become self-sufficient and not have to depend on beurocracy. 

While he was in Austin, we drove up to Dallas so he could meet his nephew, Cayden and see  his brother Adrian and Jasmine's new home.

Here at our house, he still wakes up at the crack of dawn. I do not. This time, he didn’t wake me up stomping down the stairs and slamming cabinets shut in the kitchen. He made his coffee quietly and sometimes left the house before I woke up.  He was not disruptive at all! I’ll take this as a small win and will welcome him home more often. He and Cole spent one on one time together and it was beautiful. 

He took the iniative to get together with several of his friends while he was here, including his favorite school administrator, Denise Geiger. She has worked with him since he was in 8th grade. He was one of her most demanding students, and now, they are friends. Denise has first hand knowledge of how difficult Kendal can be. She has to hold boundaries as well. Ultimately, she loves, cares and does not give up on him. He obviously feels the same about her. 

Kendal & Denise 

Cole is 24 now. He doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. He is the exact opposite of his two brothers. 

Seeing him smile makes my heart ♥️ happy because we don’t see it often. In fact, in this past couple of years, he completely lost his smile even though he was making a lot of progress in his life.

He is now working as a certified Mental Health Peer Specialist in Travis County. This can mean working with a challenging population of clients dealing with mental illness and/or recovery. 

I am highly impressed with his self-awareness. He knew something was off with his ability to feel emotions and ability to focus. He researched and figured out what he needed, and went to his doctor with a plan for change. He asked for my support to back him up in his meeting with her. This is progress because he usually likes to do things on his own. I am glad that he trusted me. He has figured out when he needs support and when he doesn't. 

THIS smile is worth a million dollars. Meet Uncle Cole and his nephew Cayden. Cayden makes all of us smile. Notice  Cayden’s hand on Cole’s face. Sweet!

Writing and Growing 

I'm taking a new direction with writing. I'm inching my way toward publishing a memoir. In December of 2022,  I won the New Voices Showcase  for the University of Texas, Austin, Hogg Foundation, and in April of 2023, I was published again by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. The response to these two essays, and the fact that I was paid, gave a much needed boost to my confidence. I am now a part of the "Writers Circle" for the foundation. 

In July of this year, 2023,  I launched a subscription newsletter, "Confessions from Underwater," on SUBSTACK.  This is my pet project right now.  If you support me by subscribing, you will never miss a post because it will come directly to your email inbox. Signing up for a paid subscription ($5.00 per month) will help support my ongoing writing.  

Paid subscribers will have access to special perks such as subscriber-only posts, private community chats, and first access to excerpts from the memoir. You will be a part of thecore audience to give me feedback and help shape the memoir.  You also have the option to subscribe for free which still helps me build my audience. 

I've been writing here on this blog at no cost to my loyal readers since 2009. It was my therapy and survival mechanism while raising my sons through their teen years and transition into adulthood. Every second of writing here was well-spent. It helped me grow.  It helped me stay sane. It was my community service to other parents of autistic children and made so many of you feel less alone in the world.  This Blog and the support community are among my life's greatest accomplishments. 

My goal is to grow my readership audience and have more control over distribution and marketing for my writing. I can no longer rely on the algorithms of social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram to market my writing. 

If you would to see me publish a book with a traditional publisher or by self-publishing, I need to have the ability to reach out to you directly. Publishers want to know that you can sell books before they give you a book deal. Self-publishing is also a significant investment of time and resources. It's good to know the potential success of a book before you spend years writing it. The more extensive my email list, subscribers, and followers on Social Media, the better chance of successful publication. 

I am forever grateful for my loyal readers for supporting me all of these years. However you decide to support me in the future will help me continue to grow. 

It turns out, you are never finished raising and supporting your kids who are on the spectrum, even when they become adults. The financial impact is lifelong. 

I also continue to be the primary caregiver for my mother. Time that could be spent working to earn a salary is dedicated to helping manage the lives of three adults. I appreciate however you can support my endeavors. 

With so much love, 


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