Alcoholism and Intuition

There is a lot of alcoholism in my family, and I have had a hard time making peace with my own drinking over the years. I have enjoyed a glass or two of wine every night. It relaxed me, and is something just for me in a life of being a caregiver to my family.

For some that is a lot, for others it is not enough, but the point is, is it ok for me? And, I decided it’s not. I have too many past feelings and emotions surrounding alcohol. I’ve discussed it with Matt, and because he has not dealt directly with alcoholism, he does not understand my fear of one or two glasses a night. He is supportive, but cannot relate. What can these few glasses hurt? I drink responsibly, so why can’t I allow myself this? That makes perfect sense, except for the nagging feeling within me that it’s not ok.

I’ve learned, over the years, and especially with raising a child with more needs, a lot about self-care. It is a must. I also have learned to shut out other people’s “Shoulds” for me, and listen closely to my intuition and follow my own direction.

So, I decided to stop this glass a night drinking. I will still enjoy a few cocktails with Matt on the weekends, but the habitual week days, no. So, on my last shopping trip, I did not buy any wine. I admit it was hard. I had grown to rely on that glass for my relaxation. But, I know, to quit a habit, and be successful in sustaining it, I must put something positive in its place.

I heated myself some decaf tea, stirred in a big, sweet spoonful of my neighbor’s homegrown honey, took a cozy fleece blanket outside and sat on the back porch. The cat hopped up on my lap, and her purr motor was very lulling. Soon, Wil found me outside, pulled his wagon out of the garage, full of toys, and he pulled it around the yard singing to himself.

Positive reinforcement for kicking a habit? Hell yes! This experience is exactly what sat right with me deep down.

No matter what anyone else says or does, living at peace with my inner self and beliefs is what fulfillment is really about. There are no if, ands, buts or shoulds about it.

So, I raise my favorite tea mug from my back porch to yours, and I pray we all find the strength to bring forth the joy within ourselves to live the lives we personally choose to live.

Shine on in your own way, every day. We are worth nothing less.

life_is_good_half_full

ON ROYALTY, GOLDEN PEOPLE & FENCES

This morning, I took Elizabeth to the orthodontist. It was a first consultation, so everything was very easy going and pleasant. Her orthodontist shares the name of Elizabeth’s twin sister, Katherine, and when I told her, she replied that we have royalty in our house. A queen and a princess. I laughed, and said, “Would you believe we also have a prince? Prince William.”

“We do, too!” She said. “He is my little prince. He was born prematurely.” We talked briefly about her William, and then eased back into orthodontic talk surrounding Elizabeth.

As we were leaving, I mentioned that my William would be coming to see her soon, as well. She asked what she would be seeing him for, and I mentioned a cross bite and the need for an expander, because his mouth plate was too small for all of his teeth. I told her he had Down syndrome, so these issues were quite typical, and she nodded knowingly and asked how he did at the dentist. I told her it was a big struggle at first, but the last two visits, now with Dr. LaRock, had gone quite smoothly. Great, she said, maybe I could bring him in on Elizabeth’s next visit to get him comfortable here. Then, she shared with me that her William also had learning issues, due to his prematurity, but he had a great teacher this year, the same one her other son had the previous year, so she was much relieved. I replied to that, “Yes, I understand. Every year, it’s like starting at zero. It’s a wonderful relief when you don’t have to.”

“Ah, yes!” She nodded in agreement, “It’s exactly that, isn’t it? With all of his academic issues, I just want him to be happy at school.”

There are so many pieces that go together to make that work, the parents, the siblings, the IEPs, the teachers, the assistants, the special ed director, the therapists, the peers, and the laws to be upheld if not being adhered to. I have found, in this journey with a child with special needs, the explaining can be freaking exhausting. When I happen upon a doctor, or a school administrator, that just gets it like she does, I know I have struck gold.

The royal woman who shares my daughter’s name will undoubtedly be Wil’s orthodontist.

Not too long ago, I was having a very trying morning with Wil. I left the house out of sorts, to teach a bootcamp class. I pumped myself up on the way, and taught the class in high spirits, but underneath that morning was still tugging on me. After class was completed, and we all dropped on the mat to stretch, I happened to sit down with two other mothers who have kids with special needs. We talked about typical everyday things, slow and easy, enjoying the reward of the down time after a tough class. I could no longer ignore the downward pull I was feeling, and as the class emptied out, and we still sat there, foam rolling our sore muscles, I shared that I was frustrated from my morning, and I was having a hard time shaking it. They immediately gave me a nod of understanding, just like the kind doctor earlier today. They got it. No explaining needed. They opened up, began sharing some of their stories, and though our children all had different disabilities and challenges, the underlying emotions were the same. We formed a bond, and I knew, these friends were golden.

A diagnosis immediately places you in a very vulnerable position. It can be very scary at first, it’s uncharted territory for you. But you meet people who understand, who get it, and they help you along the way when you need it. You learn, and you grow, and begin to understand how golden that innate understanding is. I have lived and I have learned. There are people who have dove in and criticized, how I “Should” be doing things this way, and “should do” that and judged every little move I made. But, the funny part is, not a single one of them has a child like Wil. They are the sideline critics, and I no longer have time for them. Their words are loud, but hold no meaning. There is a quote that says, be vulnerable, then put up a big fence.

Then, there are the golden people. When I started opening myself up, so many amazing coincidences have happened that invited them into my life, for which I am eternally thankful.

In this life, I have found that unity and a sense of community is everything. These friends are my gold, they are my shine. We serve to brighten one another. And, if you are one of those that enjoys throwing stones at things that shine, I hope you enjoy the view of our big fence.

ivy wil

Makin’ it Happen

I woke up this AM without that usual get-up-and-go. I looked out the window and there was a heavy fog, the perfect excuse to feel sluggish and let the day happen to me.

I lead-foot it into the kitchen, thoughtlessly pour grounds into the coffee maker, and then, I go straight to the drug I know I must take to infuse some energy into this soul.

I look at them all splayed out in front of me without much emotion. I have many, in varying colors and sizes, and I randomly note how some of the smallest can pack the biggest punch. But, right now, I really don’t have much of a preference, I just know I need one now, so I quickly make a choice, and plop down in a chair with it.

I open it randomly, and look down to see my usual underlines, starred passages and earmarks on the pages. My mind is still a blank. I glance over at the coffee pot. Why didn’t I fill that stupid thing last night? This is going to take F O R E V E R!

I look back down, and start to read, with not even an ounce of enthusiasm. The only thing that doesn’t stop me from reading is the fact that I’ve been in this place before. I know what my day will be like if I stop now, so I give it some time. As I read on, I start to feel it, the smallest spark starts to make itself known.

Soon, that spark builds, expands, and in a short time these words are not just letters on a page. They are emotions, images and feelings! I may have read these verses over and again, yet their fire never fades. I allow the energy to course through my veins and penetrate that stubborn brain of mine, diffusing the withering thoughts. The world needs me to be an empowering light, not a selfish slug so easily affected by all that is around me. I am filled with enthusiasm and I haven’t even been caffeinated yet!

Oh, yeah, coffee! I glance over, and the pot is completely full. I realize it has probably been sitting that way, unnoticed, for quite some time, when it seems only seconds ago it was a frustrating, eternal drip.

I bounce over, grab my favorite mug, pour myself a divine cup of that lustrous, ebony brew full to the very tip-top, and savor that first sip right on the spot.

I saunter back over, coffee mug in hand, sit back down with my book, and set that steamy cup right next to it, filled with contentment.

Outside my kitchen window, the fog has lifted and the day has brightened. Time will progress and unfold in it’s many predictable and unpredictable ways, as is it’s nature to do so.

And, as for me, well, I am ready to happen in my very blessed way right along with it.

tea time

Find Your Light…

wil star selfieDo not strive for peace…Do not strive for happiness… http://christieleightaylor.com/find-your-light/

Do I Only Love Those That Love What I Love?

I’ve noticed a very interesting dichotomy in the fight for acceptance.

For instance, on Down syndrome support pages, the majority of parents are doing their best to advocate for acceptance of our children. We rally against bullying or any derogative comments and behavior. We proclaim, “Love and acceptance for all!”

Yet, the minute someone makes a derogative comment about our children, many of these same people who just claimed “Love and acceptance for all!” are firing back with derogative comments of their own! I understand the anger, believe me, but firing back with it does little for gaining new acceptance for our cause…http://christieleightaylor.com/do-i-only-love-those-that-love-what-i-love/

kissy face

Who Am I To Share?

christie 3When Wil was about 2 years old, I found out we could have a social worker come to our house as part of the Early On program, that helps families “adjust” to having a child with special needs. Wil aged out of Early On at age 3, but that one year I had with the social worker was so beneficial, that she became my therapist, and I’m working with her to this day.

And “working” is the correct term. She is very compassionate, but she also really pushes me. She is always helping me to grow a little more, push a little further, and though it is not easy, I know, from all of our past experiences, how very freeing and gratifying that growth is.

I’ve shared many of those growth experiences with you, but sometimes, I’ll go back to that old insecure place in my mind and wonder, who am I? Who am I to share when I still have so much to work on? I’m not a skilled therapist.
And, I do the same thing in my mind sometimes with sharing my experiences with running. I do well and work hard, but I don’t win the races. I’m not as skilled as many out there. So, who am I to share?


But, I’ve learned to answer that question, instead of letting it stop me in my tracks.


I am not a therapist, I am not an elite runner, I am a work in progress, and always will be. I love growing, and learning, and doing the best with who I am, even though on occasion my old “perfectionist” self still likes to voice it’s opinion. I’m a person that has learned the difference between selfishness and self-preservation. I’m a person that has earned who she is now, and to be both proud of my accomplishments that have gotten me to this place and also to know that everyone earns things in their own way.

We each have value and a great story that we have learned in the process. Just because my story isn’t perfect, or elite, or highly educated, does not mean my story does not have value. I don’t need to win a race or be perfect to know how to get through this life, but I sure can learn a lot from those that have a higher education or more experiences than me. My experiences are true and they are real, and because of that, even if they aren’t perfect, they may just be the right words for someone going through something similar.


I know others who have helped me so very much by sharing their stories, and so, the question really is, who am I not to share mine?

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