Monday, July 27, 2009

We'll Call This One "Seth's New-Found Love - Himself"

I go to download some photos and find that a little 6-year-old has discovered his vain side. Please notice the dates and that this went on for several days in a row ...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Great Timing

So my 6-year-old autistic son said his first cuss word recently . . . walking down the hallway at church on Sunday morning. It was just terrific.

Seth: "Damn."
Me: "Hmm? What? What did you say?" (keeping my mama cool)
Seth: "DAMN. I dropped my Skittles."

Eh - the rest of parenting history.

Another Anderson makes their indelible mark on White River Christian Church.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh, Jesus Help Me

And I am not using the Lord's name in vain, here, people. That's a genuine shout-out to the Almighty.

Dear Lord,

Please help me understand why I must say more than once, "Joel, do not tie your brother up."

Guide me, Lord, in finding my path through the laundry, Legos, and action figures to what I am supposed to be doing with the gifts you have given me.

Give me the willpower to drive right on by Starbucks each of the 236 times per week that my errands take me anywhere in the vicinity.

Please make your presence known to me in those moments when I am struggling with feelings of rage over the fact that roughly 20% of the popcorn that my boys just popped doesn't make it to their mouths from the bowl - somehow losing its way and ending up on the couch or floor.

Are you there, God? It's me, Holly.

Impart to me the wisdom, Lord, of why a grande, non-fat, two-pump mocha with light whipped cream is as addictive as I imagine crack cocaine to be.

Is there a particular reason, God, why boys never want to bathe? And what is so great and funny about all of those noises that their bodies seem to naturally make?

Lord, will there ever be a day in this lifetime that I feel worthy of the job you've put me in?

Please help me come to terms with the fact that my house will be a mess and in disrepair until I finish raising these three boys; and remind me from time to time that the dents in the walls, the loose banister, and toys in the landscaping are all signs that this home is filled with a family.

Help me do my best, Lord, and when I can't seem to do that - please carry me until I can.

photo by Steve Woods

Thursday, July 9, 2009

God Is In the Ordinary

A most beautiful thing happened the other day. I saw God - in a store employee.

Let me set this up a bit. Seth (6, with autism) has been coveting a trophy that Joel (11) received a few years back after his first soccer season in Houston. He wants it. Bad.

None of us can make him understand that you have to do something to receive a trophy, and that this particular trophy is very special to Joel, and - no - he cannot have it. He has begged, pleaded, bargained with his brother to have the trophy in his room and obsesses about it - often.

Fast-forward to a few days before oldest brother Alexx graduates from high school in May. Seth and I visited Noblesville Trophies to look into having the watch we were getting Alexx for graduation engraved. When we walked in, it was like when I walk into Ikea - I just knew Seth heard angels singing. The room is full of trophies - hundreds of them of every shape, color, sport, etc., imaginable. How I got him out of there, I do not remember. But the visit stuck in his head, as he asked me nearly every waking hour after that if we could go back to get him a trophy of his own.

If you've never been the object of an autistic person's obsessiveness, please imagine Chinese water torture directly onto the part of your brain that controls any sense of sanity or control.

I finally consented a few days ago, so off we went. After taking what seemed like hours to pick just the right trophy, we took it to the register to ask if they had it in stock. They did, and the woman working asked what we wanted engraved on it. When I said nothing, she looked at me so completely puzzled that I explained to her about his autism and the entire situation, and her face just melted.

So I got out my debit card, and she said that she couldn't run debit or credit for under $10 (it was $7.50). I told her we would be right back after going to the bank, turned to Seth to tell him we would come right back after going to get some money, and his face just fell. I continued to explain we would be right back - I promise!

The woman about came unglued. "You just go ahead and take it, young man!" I argued with her that we would be right back, that I wasn't taking it to no avail. Fine - then I told her to charge my debit card $10 for it. Nope. She wouldn't do it. She wanted him to have that trophy right now and that's it.

But there's more.

She then asked him if he'd like his name on the trophy; of course, he said yes. So she goes in the back and comes out with the trophy a few minutes later, which now reads, "Seth - the BEST of the BEST."

His eyes lit up and he nearly began dancing around with that trophy right there in the shop. I have never seen him so excited or proud.

I then told her we had definitely hit $10 now and handed my card in her direction. She would not take my money. "Seeing that little face it all I want."

After thanking her profusely, we went to the van and tears just rolled down my face. And Seth rode in his car seat kissing his new trophy all the way to PetsMart, where he then proudly walked through the store holding it.

There is more to the story, but to protect the woman's privacy, I will not put it here. She was the unfolding of a sermon our pastor had preached just a few days prior.

Lest we think there is little good in our world anymore ... just know that it can turn up when - and where - you least expect it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

You Have Been Warned

So my friend, Jess, always says she wants to hear more about our marriage and reiterated that after my last post. We live 2,000 miles apart, so she cannot experience - for herself, in real time - the great gooberness that we live each day.

Warning: you're about to find out.

Let me first explain that we did not sit down one day and create this marriage. This is just how it happens to be. We have been together since we were 16 and married since we were 20. We, essentially, grew up together - and by God's grace alone, grew in the same direction. For the record, we are now 38.

So here are the basics:

We are silly.

We enjoy each other. I mean really enjoy each other. I love his personality and his humor and his everything. Sure, there are things that drive me crazy that he does at times, but they are not deal breakers.

We love to dance. Let me clarify - we don't love to go dancing. I mean - we love music, often have it turned up quite loudly in our house, and just love to dance together. Oh - and neither one of us can dance very well at all. In fact, we are sadly inept. We just like to have fun - and be close.

We are very affectionate and always have been. Take that exactly how you think you should. ;-) Public displays of affection? You bet! We're always hugging and kissing on one another - to the point that our oldest is always saying, "Get a room!" and Sean's response has always been, "I have a house full of them." My 90-year-old grandma is always commenting on how we are always loving on one another like a couple of kids.

We can never get enough time together. You know how some couples spend too much time together and want to kill each other? Not us. We actually put this to the test when I was pregnant with our youngest. Sean was home for three straight months without a job. It was a mighty stressful time - a time when many couples would let the stress get the best of them and begin attacking one another when they'd been together too much. We had a ball! It was so sad when he went back to work.

When things get bad, we cling to one another for dear life. When stress and circumstances are overwhelming, we are like the other one's life preserver. And I think this is one of the key things that makes our marriage work well. We do not snipe and go after one another when things get bad - and we've been through bad several times in our marriage. When all else seems to be crumbling, I have him, he has me and we stick together like glue. There is no other option.

Humor is the backbone of our family. Everything is funny to us. Everything. If you can't take a joke, then you won't be happy here. We. Love. To. Laugh. Interesting fact: Sean was voted our senior year "Most Likely to Become a Professional Comedian." There you go.

Another interesting fact: Sean and I were also voted "Most Odd Couple" our senior year. Hmmm - do you know how many divorces we've either seen or heard about? Yet here we are - odd pairing that we are.

We rarely fight. And when we do - we have this amazing ability to stop, right in the middle, and one of us will say, "This is so stupid," and hug and move on. I can't tell you how many times that has happened. Fighting is such a time vampire - and is so eroding. Plus it's simply no fun.

We do not argue in front of our children, we do not yell at one another, we have NEVER called one another names - even in our most frustrating moments. Treating one another like that is not an option.

We are best friends. He would never complain that I'm not doing enough or doing something wrong. If the laundry is piled up, he begins doing it. If the house is a mess, he doesn't ever say anything about it (though I think that's more because he doesn't care). When I'm upset, he does what it takes to stop it. When I'm sick, he takes care of me. When I've accomplished something, he rejoices. He thanks me every day for how hard I work, he thanks me every night at dinner for making it - even if it's a frozen pizza. He tells me I'm beautiful when I could scare away crows from the backyard.

Simply - we just want to live. God has guided this marriage from the beginning, though we didn't realize it then.

There's so much more about what we believe, but those are the basics. We just want to live, raise our kids to the best of our ability, have fun and be happy.

There was a time when life and circumstances were getting the best of us and we would, out of sheer exhaustion and frustration, say to one another, "I just want to live." Then we just began doing just that - living through the hard stuff, living in spite of the frustration, just living and enjoying us.

We still act like teenagers. We giggle, we make out, we act silly, we have fun. Marriage is hard work - so make it FUN!

Life Unleashed.

I am feeling unreliable lately, and that is not an emotion that I relish. Most of the time I already feel like I'm spread way too thin. Having three boys - two of which whose special needs are ruling the roost a lot of the time - is a constant juggling act. (Along with a complete parenting self-esteem buster.)

Every day is dominated by one of them; and heaven help us on the days that they both are having bad days. It leaves little time, energy, and opportunity for everyday things.

My house is always a mess.

My laundry is always piled up.

Meal execution is now often a last-minute race.

Planned events are often shot down at the very last minute, hence the unreliability factor.

I love, love, love getting out of the house and being me. Not the special needs mom, the wife, the housekeeper, the writer, the groundskeeper, etc. Just me. Either by myself, or with a friend, or with a bunch of friends - I love that time! It reminds me that I am much more than a crazy, wild-eyed, fatigued, frustrated ball of . . . this.

However, I have to take those opportunities as they come up. Often when I go to walk out the door to do something and plan on leaving one or both of the little boys with their older brother, someone erupts, something happens that makes it impossible to leave them. This is the nature of emotional problems; they are completely unpredictable. I then either have to stay home, or take the out-of-sorts one with me.

So when the opportunity - a moment when everything's going okay - surfaces, I often bolt! Unfortunately, I also often have to stay when I meant to leave when things are not okay.

The upside is that I have a super awesome husband who I don't have to "check with" to do these things. We often talk about this, and the bottom line is this: we built our relationship on this idea of "Love & Respect." Simply - be nice, be respectful, love him/her. If I need to get out, I do. If he wants to go do something, he does. We don't need permission; I do not rule over him, he does not rule over me. Out of respect, we will ask if the other has anything they need to do. But when I want to go, I do not need to worry about him being mad or upset or grumbly; and vice versa. What is the point in that?

Too many people make their marriages so complicated. Honestly, we have too much stress in other parts of our lives to be creating more for one another by being on opposite sides. There are certain things we have to work around that cannot be helped - our boys' issues, and his job. These are things we cannot control and that's that. Other than those things - why put up road blocks for one another that aren't necessary?

I love him and respect that if he wants to go to Meijer at 9pm to buy Diet Coke, then I will put the boys to bed and when he gets home, we'll have alone time! If I want to go to Starbucks and conveniently not be home until after he gets the boys asleep, he has hugs for me when I walk back in the door - not resentment!

So this is all a long way of getting out that I hope people understand, like my husband does, that I get out when I can, but that often doesn't mesh with when other people can; and this doesn't mean that I am intentionally being unreliable. It means that I'm doing the best that I can under the circumstances that I've been handed this side of heaven.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Wow. I'm so out of touch. Middle son (11) is taking up an inordinate amount of energy lately. His mood disorder is quite disruptive lately and now he's on a new med. So we're watching . . . and waiting . . . and dealing.

In other news . . . nothing. :-) We're just living, breathing, existing, enjoying summer. Not exciting, but it's all I've got right now.