Monthly Archives: May 2011

Pull the Pin!


When do you make the Command decision to retreat?

Is it before or after you pull the pin on the last grenade – a final act to say SCREW YOU!? Or rather is it more effective in the broader scope of operations to save some ammo as you regroup and plan a new strategy for winning the battle next time?

Jess over at Diary of a Mom recently pulled back. It was a true learning experience for me to watch someone I admire have that kind of courage and strength to say ENOUGH. For now.

It was good timing as I have recently been having similar conversations with myself over the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW of trying to advocate while also being the wife and mother I need to be. And oh yeah – I’m supposed to juggle social relationships, too?

Too much.

So in my own personal style, I WILL PULL THE PIN and toss out that last grenade before I go.


I will take some cover and enjoy my children, my amazing husband and just BE.

For now. 

Lookout, TRICARE – I’m still aiming for better care for our kids!






[Editor’s note: I write this today in honor of one of my dearest friends and fellow Warrior Mama.  We have fought the good fight for our kids side by side, ended the toughest days over a bottle of wine and celebrated each other’s victories with sincere pride and joy.  Yet, we both can’t seem to shake the suit.  Cheers, CM.]


There is an empty hanger in my closet.  It’s been empty for nearly 5 years.  It just hangs there.  Waiting to be used again.

I have no recollection of purchasing the garment that came with that hanger.  But after researching its origin I have found that apparently such garments are handed out along with your child’s life-changing diagnosis.  And there is a No-Return policy.  It is two sizes too small and from what I read on the label, I am advised not to stand near an open flame while wearing it.

It is an ugly, tight, 100% itchy faux-wool suit.  And I’m wearing it right now.

I am uncomfortable – all of the time.  The zipper is broken so I am simply stuck in this suit no matter how hard I try to escape it.

It is very distracting.  Because of this damned suit I don’t sleep well unless medicated and quite frankly intimacy cloaked in an itchy wool suit is – well – challenging.  Not just with my husband – but my personal relationships with everyone.  Sometimes the opportunity for social interaction sends me scurrying for cover because in addition to the insult of wearing this thing, I just feel I cannot handle the onslaught of sensory input involved in being around people.  I start to think maybe I simply hate people in general.  Let’s face it – sometimes people just suck.

The constant irritation and feeling on-edge affects my concentration and ability to get things done, too.  Making a simple plan for dinner seems overwhelming.  I have difficulty enjoying the things I used to love before suiting up.  Sometimes just being in a moment with my family when things are actually calm and somewhat joyful, I still feel distracted by this scratchy, freaking outfit from hell.

The constant worry of how to manage everything and be prepared for whatever comes next is unbearable to my senses.  Being on heightened alert every moment of every day literally makes my skin crawl.

My child’s diagnosis is like an itchy suit I cannot take off and hide away in the closet.

And though I understand the purpose and even usefulness of this suit – I do wish with all my might that I could just take it off once in a while and maybe treat it with a little fabric softener and make use of that lonely hanger.

A Mother’s Day Love Letter


[Editor’s note: I wrote this letter to a very special Warrior Mama a little while back.  It was signed by a group of us Mamas who love her and appreciate all she does for the love of her son.  I share it today with ALL mothers of children who were brought into our lives with added struggles and enormous gifts.  Wishing All a very Happy Mother’s Day today.]


To a Very Special Mother,

Honey, you are never alone.  There are so many of us Mamas – millions we shall never even meet that also fight and fight and fight for their medically fragile child, their child with autism or their child with mental illness.  Sometimes the tsunami of symptoms and overlapping disorders is too much to make sense of and when our baby is suffering, we as mothers suffer a thousand times over.  The helplessness is debilitating.  Now there are two in need of acute care.  What to do?

Mama, you are strong.  You are capable.  You can get through this part of the journey.  Your beautiful child is who he was always meant to be.  There is nothing ‘wrong’ with him.  He has a path to follow as we all do.  His may seem cruel at times and you may wonder endlessly WHY.

Please remember THIS –

Your son CHOSE YOU.  As he drifted into this world filled with love and gifts to share, uniquely challenged but with boundless opportunity of spirit within him – HE CHOSE YOU.  It’s not meant to be easy.  It is sometimes so tiring and so draining.  Though take one look into his eyes and you know – your love will carry him through every struggle and lift him up with every success.  THAT is why he CHOSE YOU.

Step back in those deafening moments of sadness, anger, exhaustion and frustration.  Your son did not choose you for your ability to wish the difficulties away but rather because he knew your heart held enough love to see him through.

You are not alone.  We all support you and we love your son.  His journey and yours may be rough at times but the sweetness of the joyful moments is everlasting.


Your Sister Mamas

The Situation Room

The news of the death of Osama bin Laden is welcomed here.  As my Sergeant Major and I prepared to turn in for some Zz’s last night, we checked the news channel to get a weather report for today.  We were stunned.

I did not lose a loved one on September 11th, 2001 – though my heart was broken and I would be changed forever with the loss of each and every soul that day.

We all lost so much that stunning September morning.

I lost entire years of time spent with my husband.  I lost sleep worrying for his safety and the safety of our nation – the safety of each of my neighbors and the future my children would face. My children lost so much that day as well.  They missed their father tucking them into bed each night and missed his laughter and his Turbo Hugs.  Daddy missed his son’s giggles and spent many lonely nights sleeping in a tent thousands of miles away while his baby girl slept in a hospital bed.  We all missed each other so much it physically hurt.

While my husband served in Afghanistan against the War on Terror, I spent months in the Situation Room carefully gathering data, assessing threat levels and calculating acceptable loss.  I qualified available assets and carefully exploited what I needed to and when.  No, I am not The Commander in Chief of The United States Armed Forces and my Situation Room may not be located on Pennsylvania Avenue – but I have had my own operations to conduct in my own Situation Room here in Stim City.

With each mission Daddy went on, the Situation Room here was busy, too.  Where SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) were carefully followed to the letter on such missions as traveling hazardous resupply routes to acquire necessary equipment and sustenance.  Taking a toddler and his baby sister with tubes and pumps attached to the grocery store without incident.  The coordination of the simplest of things such as attending a preschool concert were impossible and quickly eliminated and categorized as ‘acceptable losses’ in the bigger picture of operations.  So were such things as pedicures and Girls’ Night Out.

Because of the evil that exists in this world, the work of our soldiers is never truly done.  However, we celebrate a victory today – not of the death of a miserable monster – but of the renewal of our faith that America indeed stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Our freedom is never free, but damn are we blessed that our soldiers do what they do.

To ALL those who serve our country’s military and to the partners, grandparents, family and friends back home who run and assist in The Situation Room – God Bless YOU.

God Bless America.


[Ed note: May 1, 2012. Please watch the video and sign the petition to give military families with children on the autism spectrum the critical treatments currently being denied to our Wounded Warriors and retirees. Thank you.]


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