The Spaces in Between

When we randomly came upon a photo of my late sister last weekend, T started to cry.

It caught me by surprise, because while he’s expressed sadness about her death, this was the first time he’s cried.

It was a reminder that grief is a process and that while so much has happened in the last three months, the wounds are fresh.

I recently learned about the concept of liminal space – which is described as “the place a person is in during a transitional period. It’s a gap, and can be physical (like a doorway), emotional (like a divorce) or metaphorical (like a decision).”

These in-between spaces appeared in different ways in my life in recent years: the transitions to and from remote work during the pandemic, Ma’s stroke and recovery, my sister’s cancer diagnosis and recent death.

This Forbes article provides a wonderful overview of liminal space as well as practical tips on how to best navigate through them.

I encourage you to read it but here are a few tips that stood out to me:

  • Ask “Why Not?” instead of “What If?”
  • Learn to meditate
  • Practice acceptance and being present
  • Remember positive experiences
  • Focus on what you can control not what you can’t

As a parent of a child with FASD, you often feel like you’re in constant liminal space.

You’re always learning about and facing different challenges brought on by a complex invisible disability that is often misunderstood and comes with so much stigma.

Practicing self care, remembering to be kind with yourself and each other and having a sense of humour are so important to navigate these spaces – as are advocacy and educating yourself and others about FASD.

In general, transitions are hard for individuals with FASD as a result of impairments related to executive functioning.

Transitions are a work in progress for T and effective strategies include providing advance notice and reminders, breaking tasks down into smaller simple steps, giving him time to process the instructions, and being patient.

Now that I think about it, these also provide a great model for how we should live in the liminal spaces that we find ourselves in.

When I learned late last year that my sister’s cancer was essentially terminal, I decided to reduce my personal and professional load, including stepping off work committees not core to my portfolio.

I explained to colleagues, who were understanding, that 2023 was going to be a transition year (I didn’t know the term liminal space yet!) and I want to create space to transition through these changes.

The recent experience with T crying over the photo was a great reminder about who T is at his core – a child who is genuinely kind and full of love – and that he too is going through liminal spaces.

When we allow ourselves to journey through the in-between spaces, we also open ourselves up to the surprises tucked within.

Peeking through the fence during a visit to Riverdale Farm at age 2. Time flies!

Still Young and Not As Restless

I celebrated another lap around the sun the same week an iconic soap opera celebrated its 50th.

More so than ever, I’m most thankful for my family, friends, health, and the opportunities to do things and be with those I love.

While I am lowkey about my birthday, I appreciate when people remember to send a greeting and to those who bring smiles to our days, like my thoughtful teammates who decorated my office!

And to the hubby who gave me my annual night off parenting – with pho for dinner too!

I used the time off to enjoy the latest episode of the excellent Star Trek: Picard.

And yes, T did write, “Happy birthday Ab” on his handmade card.

In fairness, I signed his recent birthday card as, “Love, Ab” – cuz parenting brain does that!

It’s very fitting The Young and the Restless celebrated its 50th anniversary the same day as my birthday because this iconic daytime drama has been a huge part of my life – 32 years to be exact.

I first stumbled upon the show in Grade 4 summer, because there was nothing to do at home by myself and my parents couldn’t afford to put me in camp.

The Lauren-Sheila baby switch storyline got me hooked and the show inspired me to want to be a writer.

I started writing my own soap opera scripts using a 286 computer and Word Perfect 5.1.

My first creation was a show titled “Life is A Library.” Little did I know back in Grade 4 the huge role libraries would play in my life!

I chuckle as I think back to how I wrote 2-3 page episode recaps during the daily journal writing time in school. My Grade 6 teacher’s reactions to my entries are hilarious to read as an adult. 😆

This was fun to look back at on this rainy Saturday.

In Grade 6, I wrote a letter to Y&R headwriter and executive producer, the late and great Bill Bell, asking to join his writing team and attached my grade 6 photo and a sample script. I never heard back. 😂

When I was in high school and through my university years when I studied journalism, I ran one of the first Y&R fan sites. I coded HTML line by line using Notepad. None of the fancy tools like WordPress that we have today!

It was the very first fan-run site to feature original content, such as interviews with actors and sometimes even out-scooped the media. I fondly remember actress Jess Walton (Jill Abbott) sending me a very nice email about the site.

I’d hunt down actors/publicists – this was before social media made celebrities accessible – and call them and they’d be like, “Who is this?” 😆

One of my favourite memories was when I was working as a customer service job in 2001.

The late Kristoff St John (Neil Winters) was doing an appearance at a nearby mall. I ran to catch his appearance during my lunch break, got a few quotes, and it was up on my site that evening.

Getting to meet “Katherine Chancellor” and write about it for my fan site was amazing.

I think back so fondly to these memories and I wonder where did all this free time and where did my hustle go?

Now in my 40s, I still feel young but I don’t feel as restless. I feel comfortable in my skin and have shifted my priorities towards my family.

All the skills and life experiences I’ve made are now used to make life as positive as possible for T.

A fun article about soaps I wrote during an internship at the National Post.

I spent this weekend enjoying the 50th anniversary episodes of Y&R – and enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

When we learned T was moving into our former tiny condo with us, I created livable space by whittling down my boxes of Y&R magazines to just a handful of issues I wanted to keep for warm memories on rainy days like today!

So many happy life experiences and academic, professional and personal opportunities were directly and indirectly made possible because of the love of writing that this show sparked in me.

Happy 50th anniversary, Y&R. May the trials and tribulations of Genoa City continue on for many more decades to come!

Y&R unveiled a new opening this week. Love that Tracey E Bregman (Lauren) leads it. She’ll always be my favourite.

Anahera: the Hidden Angels

While waiting for our flight home, an older man with a cross necklace sat in front of us.

The airport was packed and very noisy and T was overstimulated and stimming (digging hands) and eating his Pringle chips messily.

We told T to stop eating and save the rest for the flight and was met with a snarky “Shut up.”

Then he turned to the woman next to me, who briefly made eye contact with him, and told her to stop looking at him.

She gave a polite laugh and told him she was just looking around.

The poor hubby was flustered and I could tell he was embarrassed.

I knew I had to ride it out, because anything I did or said would be fueling a disregulated child.

“Nature is beauty

Beauty is nature

We are engineers

But who engineered us?”

– Anahera

The older man sitting across from us opened up his bag and told T he wanted to show him something.

T leaned closer as the man took out his own tall tube of Pringles and told him he loved chips too – and T smiled.

The man then looked at the hubby and I and said, “Sometimes, we are given a gift that teaches us about patience and kindness.”

All I could do was smile back – but I thought about these words during the flight on Friday and this weekend.

In moments of chaos – such as the last 30 minutes of our flight when T was acting like a little shit – it’s easy to forget what a blessing he is.

T indeed teaches us much about patience and kindness, on a daily basis, often at the expense of our sanity.

I’m not a religious person but I believe in a Creator – and that there are no coincidences.

I have an incredible story about T’s mother that reinforces this belief – and it’s a story I’ll only share once it’s been shared with T first.

We were always meant to be with this frenetic ball of joy and chaos.

During breakfast today, I looked at T and told him, “Do you know what I love about you?”

Before I could tell him that I love that every day is a new day with him to try again, T interrupted me and said, “That I’m cute, funny and smart.”

Anahera means “Angel” and is a name of Maori origin. It’s also the name of one of my favorite trance songs – a guaranteed pick-me-up – and I listened to it during our flight home to re-centre myself.

Swimming with Dolphins

One chatty mammal met another chatty mammal during a delightful afternoon in the water.

The excursion van picked us up late afternoon and took us for a short drive through downtown Cancun and dropped us off at the marina.

We put on lifejackets and were escorted down the dock to where the dolphins were.

T was very anxious and scared at first. But once he got into the water, he warmed up and let the dolphins approach him.

The staff were excellent and T followed their instructions closely.

He laughed heartily as the dolphins splashed water at us with their fins and tails and he had the most endearing smile as they swam up to him and allowed T to press his cheeks against theirs.

We enjoyed letting the dolphins circle us. T gently petted them, carefully following the instructions to not pet them on their faces.

We then did a “stunt” with them, letting them come up behind us and lift us up by our feet.

T was very hesitant at first but warmed up to the idea. He swam out by himself and waited patiently for the dolphins to lift him up.

Look at how high he went!

We were so amazed and while T would not admit it out loud, the look on his face as he swam back to the dock told us he felt very proud.

T got to do an extra activity, the dorsal swim (below), and went for a short ride by hanging onto the dolphin’s fin.

I’m tempted to share the full photo because the look of sheer joy on his face was heartmelting.

You’ll just have to take my word for it.

This has been an unforgettable family vacation – and one that is coming to an end when he head home tomorrow afternoon.

Despite the few hair-raising meltdowns T had, I am very thankful for the time away and together – and for the wonderful memories we’ll treasure forever.

Above the Clouds

We’re spending March Break with T in Cancun and the wait has been so worth it.

The past few months have been very challenging and knowing this family trip to Mexico was in the distance gave us the motivation to hang on.

The hubby and I are part of a support group for caregivers of kids with FASD and a recent guest shared this video by life coach Mel Merritt on self care: Life has shitty moments and one way to get through them is to focus on the good stuff.

I know many will find her advice simplistic and idealistic. Viewing it as an FASD parent, I think that metaphorical jug containing the zest of life is missing cracks and leaks.

Nonetheless, the video resonated, because that’s always been my approach as T’s parents.

We knew at an early age life was going to be ups and downs.

So we do our best to balance life with moments and experiences that bring us joy, whether they are smaller scale, like our daily walks or play time or larger scale treats, like a family trip.

Because life with T is always a balancing act.

When we arrived at the resort, T was tired and disregulated, bouncing a water bottle on the ground repeatedly during check in.

After repeatedly telling him to stop, I took the water bottle from him, which led to an outburst.

“You are so stupid!” He yelled very loudly, startling parents nearby who all turned to look at us. T kept going. “You suck! And you ruined my day!”

I tried to apply the co-regulation skills I learned from the SNAP program.

Counting backwards from 1,000 – they suggest 10 – I repeatedly told myself that going to prison for 30 years was not worth the 30 seconds of satisfaction I’d get from strangling him.

But like all explosive moments with our child, they pass – and I was not going to let this shitty moment muck up our trip.

And it’s been a blissful two days so far.

The amenities at the resort are amazing, including a waterpark for kids, which T has loved playing at.

I got in a nice hour at the gym by myself on Saturday night followed by a nice family meal at a Japanese restaurant. This tapioca dessert, with crème brûlée cracklings, was so good.

T and I spent this afternoon at the indoor trampoline – where he played very nicely with two boys for over two hours.

It was so heartwarming to see him have a great time – being a kid, free of the challenges from the last few weeks and months.

As he bounced high up into the air, I couldn’t help but think T was soaring up into the clouds in his imagination, as he often does.

T is the kid on the left.

I allowed myself to truly savour the moment, guilt free – because we all deserve to rise above the clouds from time to time.

Above the clouds, the sun is always shining.

A Series of Suddenlies

Life flashes by in a series of suddenlies.

Suddenly, the hubby and I are university students randomly meeting on a dance floor then start to date on March 8, 2003.

Suddenly, we’re moving in together then getting married. Suddenly, we have a little boy then navigating the horrors of a pandemic.

It’s impossible to capture all the memories from the last 20 years with someone I’ve spent nearly half my life with – and the cherished family and friends who were part of them.

So instead, for our anniversary today, I posted 20 photos, 1 photo highlighting each year.

It’s interesting to remember that there was a life before T – because, as a parent, you genuinely do forget you once had a life! 😂

A life before the words FASD became part of our vocabulary – and that despite the challenges, our lives are now richer thanks to T.

To be reminded that through all the highs and lows, we can count on each other – and that together, we are more.

And the steps the hubby and I took individually and together before we became T’s parents will help us through this rollercoaster life with T.

And here are a few highlights from our life of suddenlies:

2003 – Our first Pride together. I sort of miss staying out late and buying sausages for $3 at 3 am from the street corner and covering it with lots of pickles – or going for cheap Chinatown eats at 4 am. If I did that now, I’d need a week to recover.

2004 – We celebrated graduating from university with our first trip together – and tandem skydiving in Cuba. I made the embarrassing mistake of asking the woman in the pink if she was the mother helping out in the office. She told me I was jumping off the plane with her. 😂 Good thing she didn’t untether me up in the sky.

2008 – Our first overseas trip together – visiting Beijing, Hong Kong and Philippines. The Great Wall of China was amazing. My Pa, who is a proud Chinese, passed away two months before our trip. He would’ve enjoyed hearing about our trip.

2010 – Our first time visiting Europe – stopping by Paris and Switzerland. Ma came with us! 🙂 This was on a tram traveling up the breathtaking Alps to Jungfraujoch, 8,000 feet above sea level.

2012 – An unforgettable 14 days in India.

2013 – Atop the Eiffel Tower – after touring the UK with the hubby’s parents. This is one of my favourite photos.

2015 – Visiting amazing Macchu Piccu in Peru.

2016 – And the year the little guy entered our lives – and the year we started to age rapidly. 😆😂

And the story continues…

Together We Are More

I recently thought about a bedtime story called “The Bundle of Sticks” that Pa used to tell me.

As this Aesop’s Fable goes, an old man gathers his 20 dysfunctional sons as he nears his death.

He gives them each a stick and asks them to break it – and they each do so with ease.

Then he puts 20 sticks together and asks each son to take a turn at breaking the bundle – and they are unable to do so.

And so, the old man imparts an important lesson about unity.

Blogger Vickie Rubin recently wrote about the trick that keeps her marriage working – and for my family, and raising a child with FASD, it’s about making or breaking it together.

The hubby, T and I recently started a 13-week program called SNAP.

So what does SNAP stand for?

It’s not the Bend and Snap, unfortunately.

It’s not this either.

SNAP stands for Stop Now And Plan and it is “an evidence-based cognitive behavioural model that provides a framework for teaching children struggling with behaviour issues, and their parents, effective emotional regulation, self-control and problem-solving skills.”

It’s a referral-based program with a long waitlist – we waited a year – and we are so thankful for the recommendation from Surrey Place.

Taking place once a week, T is in a play and learn based group with three similarly-aged kids while the hubby and I are with three other couples.

The weekly subjects covered hit on so many skills that we want T to learn – including emotional regulation, playing in groups and even covers topics such as bullying.

Three weeks in, I’ve been enjoying the sessions; it’s so refreshing to meet other parents, in person, who just get it with zero judgment.

We get home late in the evening, so we made a few changes to our routine – we get takeout, no reading homework, no bath – so T gets to bed at the same time without meltdowns.

Yes, it is as time consuming as it sounds and I need something else on my plate like I need another gray hair – but I think it will be worth our time.

During a recent drive home from SNAP, I thought back to 2011 when the hubby and I took a multi-week course called Papas and Daddies To Be, offered by a 2SLGBTQ+ organization.

It was a journey, an investment of time, and so worth it as it helped inform our adoption journey.

I’m hopeful for a similar experience with SNAP.

It’s also nice that T’s CYW is trained in SNAP and uses it at school. We connected her and the SNAP team together for mutual goal setting.

Life with a child with FASD is filled with ups and downs – and there are days where I do feel like I will snap from how hard it is.

What keeps me together is remembering that the hubby, T and I are in this together – through thick and thin.

Individually, we’re thin and susceptible to snapping – but together, we are more; thicker and stronger.

We support each other through the lows and we celebrate together our many highs.

Recently, during bedtime, the hubby was trying to get T to finish showering, one of his favourite activities that he could spend forever doing.

Cue the screaming fit.

I reminded the hubby about SNAP. “Count to ten and take deep breaths,” I said, with perhaps a bit of playful sarcasm.

“Replace those hot thoughts with cool thoughts. He’s acting this way because he’s having fun. He’s not trying to piss you off. Stop Now and Plan.”

The hubby, already quite irritated, stared at me with quite the look and said, “Fuck off.”

Did I mention having a sense of humour also helps?

The Skin We’re In

Being thick skinned takes work, whether it comes to parenting or Air Frying pork belly.

When I cook, one of my self care routines, I find parallels with parenting a child with FASD.

My cousin gifted us an Air Fryer for Christmas and it’s been amazing to make recipes on my bucket list, most recently roasted pork belly.

I got a 1.5 pound cut of pork belly, with good distribution of skin, fat and meat.

I boiled the meat for 15 minutes to remove the impurities then rinsed it under cold water.

I then poked holes on the skin using a fork – you can use a toothpick or skewer – which allows for bubbly crispy skin.

Don’t poke into the meat or the meat juice will spoil the skin crisping.

For the skin to crisp up, it’s important to dry up the skin.

I brushed it with vinegar then salted generously to draw out the moisture.

I put it in the fridge uncovered for 48 hours, taking it out after a day to pat the skin dry and to score the meat in one inch squares; then seasoned the meat with five spice powder.

When I was ready to air fry, I wrapped the sides of the meat in foil then sprinkled more salt on top.

I roasted it for 40 minutes in 390 degrees Celsius.

And voila! It exceeded my expectations – the skin was so crispy and the meat was juicy.

Being a parent of a child with FASD can feel like a pig being slaughtered and roasted.

Many parents of kids with FASD often share challenges with verbal aggression – and the hubby and I are certainly not immune to it.

“Shut up” is T’s go-to phrase when he doesn’t get his way or when he’s refusing to comply. When he’s very disregulated, he will hurl threats or hurtful comments, such as “I hate you” or “you’re the worst.”

I’ve learned to be better at not taking it personally – and to reframe his behaviour as symptoms of his disability: impulsivity (says the first thing on his mind) combined with difficulty regulating his emotions (says the thing to inflict the most hurt).

I came across the very useful QTIP acronym on Jeff Noble’s FASD Caregivers Success Group.

But I’m only human. No matter how thick skinned I am, things get to me if I am consistently poked at – like pork belly – and it gets to me, because I parent with my heart wide open to T.

I feel horrible when I don’t react with calm and grace in moments I feel like I’m submerged in boiling water.

I’ve learned to be less bothered when the comments are directed at me. Because I know that in one moment, T could be screaming I’m the worst parent because I’m ending his bath then moments later, we’re snuggling with a book in bed and he tells me he loves me.

What bothers me are the reaction – said out loud and unsaid through body language – by people who see T at his worst.

I remember one family member remarking on T after he was so awesome throughout my sister’s funeral service. Instead of attributing it to maybe, just maybe, he’s a good kid, the comment was, “Did he take his medication?”

People are quick to judge and to label kids into black and white buckets based on disregulated moments and these overshadow the moments when T is good, kind, caring, funny, regulated, compliant and empathetic.

But unlike roasted pork belly, our skin and spirit do toughen up – and I choose to focus on the positive and the things I can control: advocating for T, raising awareness about FASD and increasing understanding, one heart and mind at a time.

Unlike roasted pork, I don’t want life as a special needs parent to make my exterior hard, coarse, crisped – and jaded and cynical.

So it means to not dwell on the small stuff and to brush myself not with vinegar and salt but with the good stuff that fill up my heart and spirit.

And that includes indulging in my cooking adventures.

Chosen Family

Holidays provide time for rest and reflection.

Family Day is a special holiday, because it comes after Valentines and the anniversary of finalizing T’s adoption in court.

When T was a toddler, we loved reading Todd Parr’s Family Book, which spoke about families in all forms – nuclear, single parent or multi-generational households, same sex parents, adoption, bereaved families.

One thing that’s clearer as I get older is the importance of chosen family.

Family is not just defined by blood. It’s about bonds formed by choice over time, respect and love.

Last night, we enjoyed hotpot at a friend’s home – and the shared cooking and conversation felt wonderful and soothing.

T enjoyed playing with our friends’ teenaged kids, who were once much younger than T was.

As a parent of a child with FASD, quiet free time is a luxury and my circle – my chosen family – has tightened the last few years.

In many cases, the pandemic has created distance and in some cases, I decided to not spend my energy on fairweather relationships.

I am very thankful for the relationships that have endured through my parenting journey.

And I wish for T to be blessed, as I am, with his own chosen family as he moves through life – relationships that are respectful, soul-filling, lasting and that help keep him on the right path.

Stand Under My Umbrella

Six years ago today, also a Wednesday, T, the hubby and I became a forever family.

In many ways, it feels like a lifetime ago when our adoption was finalized in court – and in other ways, I think with awe, “Has it been only six years?!”

So many moments have happened since – joyous highs and crushing lows. But yet, like T, every day is a new day and we keep chugging along.

I love that this anniversary always falls after Valentines Day and before Family Day, because it is symbolic of what love and family mean to me.

Shining Together

This Sunday was Super Bowl Day and I was excited about Rihanna’s halftime show.

The hubby and I loved her music, as it played in the clubs when we started dating in our 20s.

I went on a binge of rediscovering her music last week – hits after hits – and it was fun introducing them to T during our drive to swim class.

After his lessons, we went to a birthday party for the daughter of the hubby’s friend and colleague.

It was the first party T got invited to in the last three years – and it reminded me of the guilt I mildly feel for not having yet done a birthday party for T, with the pandemic partly to blame.

T made a wonderful card for the birthday girl.

The party was hosted at a small art studio for kids, as you can see by the awesome creations below.

We regrettably arrived late and the kids had already started a group painting activity.

We encouraged T to participate, but the combination of arriving mid activity and him not knowing anyone other than the birthday girl made him feel reluctant and shy.

So he stayed outside the room and looked around the Studio. I wasn’t fussed but the hubby felt embarrassed and flustered.

The Studio staff were empathetic and offered to do an activity with T to pour small plastic balls into a deflated balloon to create a hand fidget toy.

Afterwards, the kids gathered to eat pizza. He was still reluctant to join, so we sat and ate outside.

Eventually, T warmed up and went inside – just in time for ice cream cake!

“When the sun shines, we shine together
Told you I’ll be here forever
Said I’ll always be your friend
Took an oath, I’ma stick it out ’til the end
Now that it’s raining more than ever
Know that we’ll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella.”

– Rihanna, “Umbrella”

As an adult, I can find social events hard, so I can relate with a kid, FASD or not, navigating a party where he did not know anyone and he arrived late.

So you know what, T did awesome.

I loved when the host asked who wanted more cake and T said out loud, “(Birthday girl) should get a big piece because it’s her birthday.”

T brought Moo Moo with him and Moo Moo got to meet a fellow farm animal at the party! 😊

After the cake, it was piñata time. The kids lined up to each take a turn swinging at Olaf the snowman.

T didn’t want to line up and we could tell he felt anxious.

When the piñata broke and the kids grabbed the candy, T started tearing up. Thankfully, the host parent bundled up a bag and gave it to him.

We stood with T and stayed calm to help him calm down – and eventually he did.

And just like that, the party was over. As we exited the Studio, T pointed out his gift and card to the birthday girl.

The party experience, its ups and downs, sums up how I feel about parenting on this forever family day.

When the sun shines, we shine together. Told T we’ll be here forever. Said we’ll always be his friend. Took an oath, we’re gonna stick it out ’til the end. When it’s raining more than ever. Know that we’ll still have each other. He can stand under our umbrella.

Sweet Dreams

Time flies. It’s hard to believe but our little guy turned lucky number 8 last weekend.

T had been counting down excitedly for weeks. But his birthday week got off to a rough start.

Last Monday, T woke up around midnight and threw up. A lot. Then woke up every hour after to throw up even more.

We kept him home for two days. It turned out a stomach bug went around his class, as his teacher and classmates also caught it.

Thankfully, he was fine by the weekend.

We did a Sonic the Hedgehog theme birthday, with matching balloon colours.

Blue for Sonic, orange for Tails, Red for Knuckles.

The hubby baked a homemade Sonic cake with cake toppers purchased online.

And the cake was yum!

T really wanted a party, but with my sister’s funeral taking all our energy, we didn’t have time to plan one. We made a pledge to do one, his first-ever party, for his 9th birthday next year.

But it was wonderful that his CYW gave him a gift and two classmates each made him a card.

My good friend dropped off a book for T, another Oliver Jeffers book, which has become an annual tradition. Our family loves his books.

Instead of a party, we took T to Niagara for fun at the Fallsview waterpark.

The last time we were there was to celebrate T’s 5th birthday, with his foster parents and brother. Little did we know that a few weeks later, the world would forever change with the pandemic.

It was nice watching T have fun at the waterpark. What a difference three years makes. We didn’t need to supervise him closely this time.

We really needed this weekend as much as T did and it was a welcomed change from the challenging last while.

You know you’re exhausted when you sign a birthday card for your son using your first name instead of “Papa.” 😆

In Chinese culture, 8 is considered a lucky number, because it is often associated with wealth.

During the drive to and from Niagara, we played “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics.

I’m not sure where T first heard this song but it’s his current favorite and on repeat in the car. He calls it the “seven seas song.”

Growing up, we often heard our parents share their dreams. It often had to do with us being a doctor or having a well-paying job – because wealth was often associated with success and a good life.

As a grown up and a parent – and I’m not just viewing this through the lens of special needs – my dream for T is more simple and open ended.

In my prayers, I pray for T to grow up happy, healthy, self sufficient, to do something he loves, to have lasting friendships and relationships, to stay out of trouble, and to contribute light to this world.

How he does that – we’re open to all possibilities.

As life with T teaches us, there is no linear nor singular path to success.

Sweet dreams are not made of just this one thing.

As T noted while he was playing with his golden 8 balloon, 8 turned sideways is infinity.

And who am I to disagree?

Family Traditions

Time spent and memories made with our loved ones are what really count in the end.

When my sister learned her chemotherapy was not working, it was sad watching her come to terms with her time left.

She said the saddest thing was not getting to spend more time with family and friends.

Shortly after her funeral, COVID hit our family – the hubby got the brunt of it – and I felt a tad stressed.

T’s teacher sent an assignment home on the weekend – asking us to work with him to complete a worksheet about family traditions ahead of the class talking about them the coming week.

While I didn’t need one more thing to do, I loved her accommodating approach for T.

I first explained what family traditions are then asked T to write one word and draw one photo to represent one of our traditions in each of the six boxes on the worksheet.

I let T take the lead and it was touching to see the six traditions he chose: Christmas, Easter, pizza, camping, beach and “happy birthday.”

Family traditions are important to me, because these moments create lasting bonds and memories.

They could be big events like a family vacation and more often than not, they are the simpler pleasures – like a walk or hike together, summer swimming or Friday night takeout.

Traditions represent routines and structure and predictability are so important for kids with FASD.

Traditions give us something to look forward to. Knowing milestones that lie ahead in 2023 is helping me get through the challenging past while.

Working on the traditions assignment with T helped me get through hard days in January. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane and it was touching these traditions mean something to him.


Our first Christmas together when T was 1. Look at him go with opening presents at his grandparents.

T’s favourite holiday and the one he looks most forward to is Christmas. He can roleplay Christmas and Santa any month of the year!


Not a pizza, but the spaghetti at Normandin in Quebec is always a detour during our annual drive to visit T’s grandparents in New Brunswick. T loves it.

T is a very picky eater so when he finds something with protein (meat) on it, we celebrate. We have at least one pizza night a week.


This was a memorable trip to a beach in Turks and Caicos. T had just turned 3 and he had a look of wonder as he stared at the approaching waves.

We are fortunate to be able to go on family vacations and we try to do something, nearby or further, once a year. As T is younger, we do family friendly beach vacations. As he gets older, we hope to explore other parts of the world together.


Walking through the campsite at Algonquin at age 2.

One of the best things about parenting is introducing your traditions to your children so it becomes their tradition – like camping. T went on his first camping trip at 18 months with us and it’s now a summer tradition.


Dyeing eggs during the first pandemic Spring in 2020.

I was shocked that Halloween didn’t end up on T’s traditions worksheet, but I was amused he chose Easter. Come to think of it, he always enjoys the egg hunts each year.

Happy Birthday

Celebrating T’s second birthday, our first birthday with him, at Ma’s.

Birthdays are up there with Christmas as something T looks forward to every year. This year, T wanted to invite classmates to our house and we’re not comfortable yet to do a party. But we told him we will try for his 9th birthday next year – as a new tradition to look forward to!

A few days into the following school week, we got a lovely text from his CYW.

She told us that T did a great job presenting his worksheet to the class – and that he spoke clearly and confidently.

We know public speaking is something T doesn’t normally enjoy, so we took this as a win and were so proud of him.

To celebrate, we ordered pizza for dinner.

All That Matters

Our family’s recent and first experience with COVID reminded me what’s truly important in life.

Yes, the dreaded COVID finally hit our family and I was a single parent for nearly two weeks.

Shortly after my sister’s funeral during the holidays, our family was longing for respite. No more bad news, please.

A few days later, the hubby came down with cold and flu symptoms and a fever – and a test confirmed he had COVID.

While I had no symptoms, I tested the next day to be safe. It showed a faint second line, meaning I had it too.

We kept T home until we were sure he had no symptoms and we tested him before we sent him back to school.

A lifetime of watching zombie apocalypse movies prepped me for this moment.

We immediately isolated the hubby in our bedroom and I slept in our guest room. We all masked indoors and I kept my interaction with T to a minimum until I tested negative two days after my positive test.

Still exhausted and processing from my sister’s funeral, I was extra sensitive of death and a part of me worried about the worst case scenario for the hubby.

I went into caregiver mode – sending reminders to the hubby to drink water and medicine, waking up at night to remind him to drink water, to take his temperature and to make sure he didn’t have breathing issues.

The hardest part for me was for 13 straight days, I did all of the hubby’s tasks, like dropping T off at school, doing T’s bath, and getting no breaks on the weekends.

It was exhausting! But you know what, I enjoyed the extra bonding time with T. Getting to play with him, see his morning routine and friends at school, meeting his CYW.

It reinforced to me about all that matters in life – our loved ones.

It reminded me about the things we often take for granted – second nature routines – like all the tasks my hubby does that I never worry about.

T was so good and empathetic. He was and still is a needy child, but I also saw his appreciation and care for his Daddy and I.

And to the single parents – some of whom are bloggers I follow and admire – kudos to you for doing this every single day!

Last Friday, I took a solo lunch break at our local mall’s food court. The hubby finally tested negative and I treated myself to this hearty bowl of ramen with chicken karage on the side.

Later that afternoon, as I drove T home from daycare, I shared the happy news that daddy was finally free of COVID.

T let out the loudest cheer and scream and almost bounced out of his seat.

When we drove up the driveway, he could not have ran out of the car fast enough.

His daddy was waiting at the door and after not hugging or much interaction for 13 days, they gave each other a long tight hug that seemed to last for a lifetime.

The Wedding

We took our 7-year-old to his first wedding this past weekend.

Well, at least the first wedding he’ll remember. He attended his first and only wedding in 2016, a friend’s destination wedding, when he was 1.

As with all social events, we had some initial apprehension of how T will be.

But we believe it’s good to let T experience these life moments as they help him build his social skills and broaden his awareness of the world.

We briefed him about what to expect and we’ve also read books in the past about weddings, such as the fabulous Worm Loves Worm, a book that spoke about marriage of all forms.

It was a beautiful wedding held at the charming Old Mill Inn and it brought back fun memories.

The hubby and I attended our first wedding as a couple there back in 2004 and we’ve attended two other weddings there since.

We had planned to sit at the back, in case we needed to duck out to give T a break, but we spotted friends in the third row, so T got a great view of the ceremony.

He sat so well through the sweet ceremony. But T being T, muttered out loud when a baby started crying, “Oh my God, that baby is so annoying.”

I had to bite my tongue from laughing.

A lunch reception followed and we sat with our friends and their two daughters.

I loved how our hosts thought about each child by preparing a loot bag of things to help entertain them – such as fidget poppers and games.

The key to social outings with kids like T is to prep him ahead of time of what to expect, to not sweat the small stuff, and to not force him to do anything he doesn’t want, like taking photos.

He gets very cranky when we ask him to take photos when he’s not in the mood.

But it was wonderful when my friend’s daughters invited him to take photos together at the photo booth, which had many fun props.

I cherish these photos as his smile, as with any photo he decides to take, is pure and genuine.

The sweetness of the event was a welcomed contrast to the last few weeks of the new year – and to get dressed up and to celebrate a happy joyous occasion was a blessing.

Sharing Our Son’s FASD Diagnosis with Him

There are crucial conversations in life that stick out vividly long after they’ve happened.

Coming out when I was 14; telling my parents I was moving out; our wedding vows; the adoption worker telling us we were matched with T.

Over the Christmas break, I had two more: one that was planned and another that was unexpected.

A few days before New Years, I drove to my mom’s to deliver the news my sister had suddenly passed away that morning.

That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

In comparison, sharing T’s diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) two afternoons before seemed like a walk in the park.

The anticipation was daunting.

We had wanted to tell him in the summer vacation before the new school year started but we decided to keep summer light.

We were then going to tell him in the fall, but my sister’s cancer took a turn for the worse and she moved in with us.

We decided Christmas break was going to be it – no more delays.

My sister was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Day, so it created some privacy in our home to share the news with T two days later.

It was the late afternoon, after a very relaxed day at home of play, play and more play.

I was resting in our room, when the hubby came in to lie down too – and not soon after, T came in and sandwiched himself right between us.

So much for my nap, I thought.

Then without a heads up to me, the hubby just went right into it.

He asked T if he knew what alcohol was. And T said he did not.

He briefly explained what it was and said that his mom had drank while he was in her tummy.

Then he asked T if he remembered being taken to Surrey Place a year ago to meet with the doctor (psychologist) to play games and answer questions.

T said he did and the hubby explained it was a series of tests that helped us learn that T had FASD.

I then said that a lot of people and kids have FASD – and it’s what happens when the baby’s brain is exposed to alcohol while they’re in the tummy.

We said that for him, FASD means he is hyperactive and has a hard time sitting still.

As I said this, he was squirming and doing his “fish worm dance” on the bed.

I explained that it also means he has a hard time with controlling his impulses.

As I said this, he was kicking me gently on my leg.

I also said that he has big emotions and FASD means that he has a hard time controlling those big emotions at times.

Lastly, I said FASD also means he has a hard time focusing at times – like doing his work in the noisy and busy classroom.

Funnily, he then went down to get a banana as I was in the middle of explaining this.

We told T that FASD is very common and that lots of people have it.

He then asked if we had it.

After we said no, he then asked if his cousin A has it and if that’s why she jumps around uncontrollably (stims) sometimes.

We explained that she has autism and that while it is different from FASD, there are a lot of similar things to think about.

He asked if that’s why he digs his hands and we said, yes, it’s probably related to him stimming, in the same way his cousin jumps around.

We told him FASD is nothing to be embarrassed about and he immediately responded that he’s not embarrassed.

I love how he said that so quickly and with such conviction.

We told him he has so many strengths – he’s bright, caring, funny, curious – and that these strengths will help him overcome the challenging parts of FASD.

We said that FASD is what makes him him and we are so lucky to be a family.

We ended off by saying that it’s a lot of info we just shared with him and that we will unpack it together because we’re a team and that he can ask us questions or share his thoughts anytime he wants.

To be honest, it was not quite how I imagined it going. I had it so planned and scripted it my head and this just felt so spontaneous and sloppy.

On the one hand, I kinda wished the hubby gave me a heads up he was going to launch into it.

On the other hand, it felt so cathartic to finally get it out there.

There is so much to unpack over the next few weeks, months and years for T and with T – but the seed has been planted.

I genuinely believe this will benefit him in the long run and help him understand his day to day and his interactions with the world.

During the latter half of our conversation, he came to give us both a big hug and told us he loved us.

When I asked for another hug, he told me to go away because “your breath stinks!”

Yup, T is T and we wouldn’t have him any other way.

Marshmallow Halo

Processing and understanding death is hard for kids. Sometimes, stuffed animals can help.

T’s Auntie’s – my sister’s – death a few days after Christmas was sudden and despite the unexpectedness, T is doing ok.

I continue to check in with him every day to see how he’s doing.

Kids often don’t tell you how they’re feeling, instead they show you; they don’t tell you they need you, instead they ask you to play with them.

On New Year’s Day, the hubby, T and I took it easy at home. We had been running around for two days getting the funeral organized.

T asked me to play with him. He gathered all of his stuffed toys – his “pets” – into the living room.

What started as a camping trip and roasting marshmallows over a fire spontaneously became a funeral service.

His poor seal – named “Love” – was just minding his own business in the living room when he got picked to be the one to die.

It was interesting to watch T act out what he thought would happen, based on what we’ve described to him – including him digging up a hole to bury Love.

A week later this morning, a few days after the real service, T and I played again. This time, T re-enacted his Auntie’s service to pretty accurate detail.

This week, his pets bid adieu to “Cookie” the whale – who, unlike Love, got a proper casket.

T set up formal seating for the guests.

In a separate room, just like the actual service, T set up a refreshments lounge for guests. The menu included fish. Yes, serving fish at a funeral for a whale – I adore this kid.

T also had a podium for guests to give eulogies – and he asked me to say a few words about Cookie.

He then decided to say a few words. For someone who doesn’t like public speaking, I found this interesting.

The comment that jumped out at me was when he said, “I really loved her a lot” – because he always refers to Cookie using he/him pronouns.

The hubby and I are not experts in grief – nor are we looking to gain more experience! – and we’re doing our best to help process this.

I continue to tell T there is no right or wrong way to feel, think or say how he’s feeling – the important thing is to try not to bottle it in and to let us know at anytime whenever he wants to chat.

I think this roleplay with his pets is healthy, because afterwards, he moves onto the next preferred activity.

The last few days reminded me of many things – one of which is that at his core, T is an incredible, kind, caring and good kid.

After Love the seal was cremated, T placed him on top of his toy garage, high above the ground.

He put one of his stuffed marshmallow toys on Love’s head.

“It’s a golden ring,” he said, “He’s an angel now sitting on a cloud.”

In the Arms of an Angel

Our family faced a sudden loss – for T, his first experience with losing someone – over the holidays.

My sister passed away last Thursday, a few days after being admitted to the hospital on Christmas Day, after a short and brave battle with cancer.

My family and I are still processing and making sense of this sudden loss. No matter how prepared we were, knowing we were on borrowed time, it still feels so sad and shocking.

T was her favourite person. Being his Auntie – a doting one! – was one of her most treasured roles.

She lived with us last Fall. I didn’t blog about it, as she loves to follow along T’s adventures and I wanted this space to be an escape from it all.

The last few months were so hard, stressful and exhausting. While we were happy to support her, it was beyond what the hubby and I were capable of. It disrupted T’s routine and affected our home life, sleep, mood quite seriously.

But I am glad we did it, because it provided her with comfort that she was not facing this awful illness alone.

In the earlier part of her stay, T and her enjoyed watching movies together in the family room and she would offer to help cook meals for him.

It is sobering and sad to now look back and realize just how quickly she deteriorated.

T displayed so much empathy, care and maturity during her stay – often going to her doorstep to tell her “I love you” or “I hope you feel better.”

But T, being T, also spoke his mind.

The funnier moments were when he’d go into her room and call her “Baldie” after the hubby shaved her head before she started chemotherapy.

The more serious moments were when T complained to her directly she was keeping him up at night because of her nonstop trips to the bathroom and her constant coughing.

The hubby and I would try to explain to T that while it was annoying and disruptive, she was not doing it on purpose and that she was only doing so because she was very sick.

About two years ago, T randomly asked me about death.

Before we invited my sister to move in at the end of September, the hubby and I decided we were going to be open and honest with T every step of the way, as it helps normalize things.

We let T know she was moving in because she was sick. We let him know that while we were hopeful for a miracle, she was also likely to pass away in the near future.

Watching T process things the last few months has been interesting, heartbreaking and ultimately something that makes us beam with pride.

I remember his school EA telling us T told her quite sadly, in October, that he didn’t understand why his Auntie was not getting better after he ran so hard for her at the Terry Fox Run.

T also went from having 1-2 night terrors a year to 1-2 night terrors a week when she moved in with us – a tell-tale sign of him coping with this huge sudden disruption.

We told T about her death after he came home from daycare. We were going to wait until two days later that weekend but he asked about visiting her and so we didn’t feel like we could wait.

He took the news well, although the next day, Friday, daycare staff said he cried.

In T’s mind, his Auntie is now an Angel sitting on a cloud with a gold ring over her head and has wings. And at nighttime, she is a star in the sky.

Honestly, I could not feel more grateful for how he is processing this.

We told T there is no right or wrong way to feel and to feel, think and say what he needs to – and that we are here for him at any time.

The hubby and I let T participate in some of the funeral planning. During a visit to the funeral home, we showed T the room where her service was going to be held and walked him in detail through the 4-hour visitation/service, so he knew what to expect the day of.

We told T what to expect his Auntie to look like when he saw her again in the casket in a few days – and explained that she would be cremated and what that meant.

We visited the cemetery and showed T where she was going to be buried.

The visitation and funeral service took place this Wednesday.

The hubby, T and I got there an hour before guests arrived to set everything up and to give T one-on-one quiet time with her.

While the hubby and I were reviewing the registration table setup, T quietly snuck up to her casket and shouted, “Boo!”

It startled us and we asked him what the heck he was doing.

T said matter of factly, “I just wanted to see if she was alive!”

God bless this child. Because the hubby and I burst out laughing. We really needed that laugh.

Then we told T he had better not do that when the guests arrived.

The four-hour visitation – with the funeral service held in the middle – feels like a blur to me now.

It was so nice to see many of her friends and our family come out to celebrate her life. I know she would’ve appreciated it.

And she would’ve been so proud of T.

He gave my Ma a hug when she arrived and hovered around her a few times to make sure she was ok.

He said he wanted to sit next to her during the service, because she was going to be sad, but he ended up sitting with my cousin’s similarly-aged children.

He sat through the 30-minute service, attended by about 75 guests, calmly and quietly.

My cousin told me that at one point, T put his hand on her daughter’s back to comfort her when she started to cry.

T’s doting Auntie surely would’ve been proud.

Believe in Your Goodness

Faith is not believing things will always work out but that you will be ok regardless of how they do.

It was an up and down week at school. So the start of the holidays was so welcomed.

T made a lovely note for Santa last night.

When he woke up this Christmas morning, he could hardly contain his excitement.

He even dressed up for the holiday occasion.

We went straight to opening gifts.

Among T’s bounty this year, included a Sonic plushy he had eyed during multiple visits at the mall and the new Sonic game for the Switch.

The hubby got me a black Power Ranger t-shirt and my favourite chocolates.

I got him his favourite chocolates and a book from his favourite author.

T had egg nog for breakfast and Whopper chocolates for lunch – and I didn’t bat an eye, because it’s Christmas.

Spotted this meme on Instagram.

I picked up and brought Ma over for hotpot lunch.

T asked her to cut him an apple while I finished prepping our lunch.

T also got a thank you card from Santa.

The note read:

“Dear T,

Thank you for the cookies and milk. How very thoughtful of you.

You have a wonderful smile and a caring heart.

Believe in your goodness, be kind and work hard – and great things will come your way in life.

Merry Christmas sweet boy.


This message was as much a reminder for him as it was for the hubby and I.

During the more challenging moments with school, it was easy to forget that at the core of this boy who gets disregulated and whose exhibited behaviour are related to a disability – is a sweet, caring, bright, funny child with so many gifts.

We got a Christmas greeting text from his school CYW this morning.

About two weeks ago, she got reinstated in his classroom to work with him 1-1 for the indefinite future – fingers crossed until June.

She has already made a difference, after several months of rotating classroom supports that has left T and everyone feeling frustrated.

She gets him and is achieving positive results.

We wished her a Merry Christmas and told her she is the best gift we as T’s parents could hope for.

Christmas to me has always been a season of reflecting on and restoring faith.

In recent years, and through this FASD parenting journey, the meaning of faith continues to evolve.

Today, it means that things may never work out the way we imagined, but we will be ok.

I enjoyed watching T open his gifts. Seeing his uninhibited joy is heart-filling. He gave me a big hug and said thank you afterwards.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

In another universe, I’m a novelist and our son is disability free. Oh, the what ifs of the multiverse.

I watched “Everything Everywhere All At Once” this weekend, the Michelle Yeoh-starring film that is generating major Oscar buzz.

The film is about the multiverse, where infinite and different versions of the same characters exist.

The directors must’ve been on potent drugs, because this film is bonkers – converging multiple genres, like martial arts and animation, and has characters in one universe with hotdog fingers and in another universe, existing as stop motion rocks that converse in speech bubbles.

It is as insane as it sounds but it all comes together cohesively and at its core, the movie is a genuinely moving story about family and love.

After watching the movie, I couldn’t help but think about the concept of the multiverse – that there are infinite versions of my family’s life that exists, each a branch of a different decision made or circumstance.

In other universes, I am a teacher because I accepted the offer to the teaching program at age 19 instead of studying journalism; or I am a journalist because I pursued that career after graduation instead of working in libraries; or I would’ve published several novels by now, because I committed my focus to doing so.

In other universes, I am living in the Philippines, because my parents did not immigrate to Canada and the hubby and I do not know each other; or the hubby and I do not have kids; or we have children adopted privately and not through CAS.

In other universes, T’s mother is raising him because she had a stable life; or T does not have FASD.

In another universe, characters exist as stop motion rocks that converse in speech bubbles.

The vast mystery of universe is fascinating and humbling to think about – we are just a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of time and space and of the creator’s master plan.

It can indeed be tempting to think about the what ifs, especially when one is in the trenches.

But the one key message of the movie – no spoilers – is to embrace and be grateful for the here and now and what is in front of you.

And that’s how I’ve always embraced this happy, crazy, joyful and chaotic journey with T.

Because FASD is very much part of T and what makes him T – for better and for worse.

As the movie was reaching its end, T sauntered down the family room to find me.

He asked me earnestly, “When you poop, is it long?”

Yup, wouldn’t trade this T for another one.

He let me finish the movie then we played stuffed animal tag, a game we made up where we chase and hurl stuffed animals at each other.

The next morning, as I was cleaning up after breakfast, T told me to come to the living room.

He had created Daddy, Papa and T out of his blocks (see photo at top). He gave himself a Lego dog.

I amused myself with the thought that there is another universe where we all exist and love one another as Lego people.

T put Lego T petting his Lego dog on my work desk at home before he left for school this morning.

Cultivating a Learning Mindset

Fostering an attitude for learning is so important.

Kids with FASD face additional challenges and are often at risk of falling behind in school.

This year, Grade 2, has been challenging. We’ve had numerous calls with his teacher who is struggling to manage T in the classroom.

There are many factors we attribute it to, including a constant rotating door of classroom supports and unexpected disruptions in our home.

It’s hard for me to think about his recent comments about despite how hard he tries, he says he never has a good day at school.

The hubby and I believe T is bright and capable. It’s his hyperactivity, focus, impulsivity, self regulation, executive functioning that hinder him.

And they are no small challenges.

This is why the hubby and I continue to provide him with supplementary learning outside of school, to help bridge potential gaps.

The mind, regardless of impairments, is capable of growing and learning something new each day.

And here are some ways we’re approaching learning at home this school year.


Reading is something we keep up with every day, because it forms the building blocks for all other learning at school and in life.

We’re so proud of how far T has come and his teacher says he’s reading at grade level.

His teacher sends a book home every day, so it makes our jobs easy.

I borrow books at the library that T would enjoy – which currently are the Little Critter books.

We ended off the book by asking him quick questions to confirm his comprehension.


Recent modules T completed on Khan Academy

I often read that math – and time and abstract concepts – is challenging for individuals with FASD.

Fingers crossed, T is good at math so far and he feels good when he gets the work done.

We set him up with Khan Academy, an amazing open source learning resource that covers a range of subjects up to the high school level, to practice with their math modules and he loves it.

It’s a great way to reinforce what he’s learning in the classroom and to catch up on things he may be missing due to environmental challenges.


Looking up the school board curriculum is a helpful guide to figuring out what areas to focus on.

We focus on reading and math and try not to overdo it as weekends are for rest and fun.

But I do sneak in some science by watching short educational videos on YouTube that align with our province’s school curriculum.

I try to find videos no longer than 5 minutes, so they are digestible bites of information.

We sneak these videos in during drives to and from swim lessons.

The last few weeks, T learned about animals, including the mammal classification. I had a laugh when T was appalled that he and dogs were part of the same classification.

It’s also heartening to hear when he says stuff like, “I learned this already at school.”

I may rotate science videos with other subjects such as social studies as the school year goes on.

Outdoor and Physical Activity

I miss these summer hikes and can’t wait for next summer to arrive.

Kids with FASD, like T, are in constant motion and need lots of physical activity and outdoor time to burn off energy and regulate.

We go outside 1-2 times a day and during these cold winter days, I long for our long summer hikes.

We also started T with swim lessons this fall and he’s doing amazing. It’s so important for him to have opportunities to succeed and feel good about himself.

He’s interested in martial arts and we’re considering lessons, making sure we don’t overload our weekends, because self care is important too.

Focus on the Big Picture

T completed Level 1 of swim lessons today and will be moving onto Level 2 in January. 🙂

It’s important to remind ourselves of T’s strengths.

When we work with him one on one, we can see he gets the work. The trick is to work on his focus and to help him develop skills to minimize his frustrations – which is a challenge.

We remind ourselves that in T’s case, it’s a learning disability rather than an intellectual disability – an important distinction we’ve learned through this FASD parenting journey.

We remind ourselves to keep it relaxed – as hard as some moments can be – and that weekends and evenings should be prioritized for wellbeing, rest, fun and family time.

We remind ourselves to move at T’s pace and to adjust our expectations to minimize frustrations. This one is a hard one but on the days the stars align, it helps us keep our eyes on the prize.

And for those that are wondering, we haven’t shared T’s diagnosis with him yet. Life got unexpectedly hard and busy this fall.

The hubby and I plan to do so this holiday break. This will be an important milestone for our family – and one we are hopeful will help T make sense of his challenging moments at school.