September 29, 2010

Old Man on Campus

That's what he calls himself, instead of BMOC, "big man on campus." Now he's the old guy!

Some dear friends from our post high school days, Merle and Mary, are students as well, so I guess they'll have their own silvery-haired peer group! In the 1970s this was practically unheard of. Now it's not quite so strange. Perhaps one day we will even be the majority. Of course, that probably won't be till we're over the next hill! Will the administration have to confiscate our canes as dangerous weapons before we enter a classroom? Will the school have to provide wider doorways for our scooters, and hearing aid jacks at each seat?

Mary gave a good warning, that we older students have to be careful to not appear overly "parental" at first (not her exact words), but to stay in the background quietly. I took that to heart a few terms ago, but I found that once some of the 20-something students got to know me a little bit they often appreciated a mom with a listening ear. But perhaps being in class with a dad figure might be more uncomfortable to some. Of course, he could just present himself as the wise scholarly grandpa instead!

September 22, 2010

Hearing Heart Blog: Austic Girl Finds Her Voice

Hearing Heart Blog: Austic Girl Finds Her Voice

Austic Girl Finds Her Voice

I have a niece who has a young son with autism. For a short time he was in my care, and though I am an experienced foster parent I had no tools for dealing with the little guy's special needs. I could look into his bright eyes and see the shining lovely child that he was slowly change as dark clouds seemed to pass through his head. His face showed his torment in just a matter of seconds. In his rage toys and other objects would be flung across the room. It was heartbreaking to not be able to understand his distress, much less know how to help him.

That's how the teenager in this video affected me. Her mental capacity was questioned until she turned 11 years old, when she started "speaking" through a computer! I used to tell my foster children that they needed to write down their experiences so that people would understand how it feels to be in foster care. Listen to what this girl has to say about living in her autism.

Click on the title of this post to see it. If the link I posted does not work, go to Kim Komando's Web site at and search for the title Mute Autistic Girl Finds Her Voice.


September 15, 2010

Nap Boys

Mama Carlie laid her sleeping 2-year-old on the floor piled with comforters on a sleeping bag for a nap at Grandma's house. So angelic-looking in his faded denim overalls and curly head. Then she left.

Big brother isn't so angelic just now. He doesn't realize that I am far more suspicious than mama and I know he's not following her protocol. I peeked under the door for the second time to discover that he had rolled little brother all the way under the bunk bed frame (still sleeping) and was trying to wake him.

I quietly opened the door and gave him a scowl face. I don't know how bad I appeared, but I didn't have my glasses on. At my direction he scooted back over to his pillow and gave me his best "angelic" smile.

Children are an inconvenience, an annoyance, and robbers of my fun. They don't fit in an adult's mold, an adult's world, an adult's plans. They are who they are, and I need them terribly. The reality is that I am the one who doesn't fit. I'm the one who needs reminding that I live because of love. Thank you, God, for interrupting my meaningless pursuits to bring me back to love. Thank you so much!


September 8, 2010

A Glutton for Words

Since Labor Day this Monday I have heard or spoken approximately 848,255,309 words. I am normally a woman of few words and I like to keep things simple, but for now that has changed.

We spent Labor Day "fellowshipin'" with longtime church friends playing silly games with marshmallows, rowboats, plastic chairs, plastic spoons, Frisbees and blindfolds. We circled our chairs to sing and worship with guitars and a box drum, so Monday my head was full.

Tuesday I packed in more. Too many years had passed since I chatted with cousins Chuck, Jean and Pat from Anchorage and Seattle - and here they were in my parents' living room! "Visitin'" went on till late into the night. My father in his 70s couldn't stifle a yawn and the overload of words and daytime hours took their toll.

Wednesday I met my cousins for breakfast with my brother who is also a person of few words. He displayed his willingness to contribute with flair, however. We stood outside discussing and discussing while people attempted to enter the restaurant with a multitude "excuse me's," so we broke up into two cars and headed to Costco. I don't know if the guys in the other car were talking, but I don't remember any lack thereof in mine!

Wednesday evening was our "gatherin'" time. My house filled with people attached to plates, bowls, pie pans, and increasing chatter. We are so polite; we took turns talking while the others were chewing so that the silence would not intrude. Then out came the guitar for the "singin'" and the drum to add umph!

Sometimes you've just got to indulge yourself in the riches around you, and store up the good things for times when there is less. I know in just a matter of hours I will wonder at my lonely solitude (and thank God for memories of the noise).