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I read this blog today. It’s a guest post about a women with an eating disorder and a very difficult relationship with food. And it didn’t matter that it was about food, because what she said echoes perfectly my relationship with sex and pornography. I’m never fully comfortable with it. Never. Even in a happy, satisfying married relationship with a wonderful husband, sex is a difficult topic, a over-the-shoulder lurker just waiting to stick its nose in to a previously private conversation and make everyone involved uncomfortable.

When I’ve been sober for awhile, and I really couldn’t give a specific number of days or weeks or months, there comes a time when it’s really just my husband and me in the marital bed. And I revel in that. I’m fully present, and it sort of feels like it’s supposed to, I think. Other times, though, when it’s not been long enough, well, it’s not like that.

Because I don’t really know what it’s supposed to feel like. Too long using words and images as a crutch. I’ve never been physically or emotionally unfaithful to my husband. I’ve never fantasized about another person while I’m with my husband. I’ve never involved another person in any of my acting out. But using words written by someone else to arouse? Oh yes. And it cheats my husband. And our marriage. And myself. And inevitably leaves a very empty, awful feeling afterwards.

I say all this because addiction, any kind, is a means of escape. Of trying NOT to cope (or coping the best you know how). The drug addict, the food addict, the alcoholic, the sex addict, the workaholic…the specifics don’t really matter because all are, at the core, the exact same thing. Some are more “socially acceptable” than others. But all are just a means to and end–avoiding and escaping and numbing and not dealing.

And yes, Jesus heals. But this is something I’ll be dealing with for the rest of my life.

Search Term

I was checking out my “site stats” this morning–it’s always so weird to me that people actually READ my blog (and some even FOLLOW ME?!) and I looked at the search terms that people used to find me. Most still revolve around some form of Hershey Feeding Clinic. I’m happy about that, because we had such a wonderful experience there. But something that saddened me was the following search:

“scared about being mom to baby with special needs”

Oh, Honey! I’ve been there. I AM there sometimes! Feeling so inadequate to meet the needs of someone special. Feeling like a complete and utter failure. Feeling scared that I won’t be able to “rise to the challenge” of what my child needs. Scared of the sometimes-icky things that one with a special needs baby needs to deal with (infant colostomy, anyone? g-tubes anyone? eye-care after surgery anyone?)

You are NOT ALONE. Not one little bit. Most moms of special needs kids that I know have two needs–to find someone to talk to about their experiences and find camaraderie, and to feel like they can give back–make the fact that their child has “issues” (whatever they may be) MEAN something. That it’s not just me in the trenches every day for no reason.

Let me tell you, the day I found another mom whose son was blind AND autistic I was almost crying with relief. Literally. I wasn’t alone. I knew moms of blind kids. I knew moms of autistic kids. But oh, the combination of the two! AND her kid was a couple of years older, so she understood where I was. She could illuminate the path ahead a bit. A BIT.

So, Scared Mom, please Google (or Bing or Yahoo, whatever) your child’s special needs and the words “support” or “blog”. We are out there. We would LOVE to talk. It’s still going to be scary. Not having a healthy child is often scary. But you are not alone.

And for those of you considering Hershey Feeding Clinic–DO IT. It’s amazing, life changing and WORTH IT.

aka: Making it up every freaking day.

Ethan is autistic. Most of the time his blindness is the main disability I pay attention to, but there are times when the autism just wants to be the most important. Sunday was one of those days.

We left our old church the very tail end of 2012. Ethan mostly felt comfortable there and people were pretty good with him. Everyone was in elementary school, so it was no big deal if he was with the younger ones. Our “new church”, which doesn’t really fit into that category because we attend in fits and starts and when we feel like it or I feel guilty and then not at all for months, has been an interesting lesson in “I don’t know what I’m doing” with Ethan.

Bennett and Laura, who are, remember, the exact same age as Ethan, go to the middle school program. Catie has, until two days ago, attended the elementary school program. Ethan tagged along with her because I felt that it was a better fit. Even though he was in 7th grade and elementary ends at the end of the 5th. Whatever.

But now Catie is going into 6th and has “graduated” into the middle school program. All the kids in middle school start in the main area with the adults, do worship time with them and then make their way back to the youth group room. Ethan was somewhat overwhelmed by worship–his hands were over his ears and he just sat in his seat or reached out and held my hand. I walked him back to the youth room and left him sitting next to his sister. Mistake #1. Apparently the boys and girls voluntarily sit on opposite sides of the room. Mistake #2. Ethan doesn’t understand rhetorical questions and answers them. Mistake #3. Ethan doesn’t understand  that there are things we just DO NOT DO in public and put his hands down his shorts. Yay.

So, do we just keep him with us and have him listen to the sermon? Or go back to the elementary program where the kids are a LOT younger than him  now (he’s going into 8th)? Or try again the middle school program, where he embarrasses himself and the kids around him (and his siblings)? I have NO FREAKING IDEA. There is NO guidebook on this one. Suggestions from you, dear readers?

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. We’ve been back from vacation for a week now and I have to admit, I’m enjoying it more than I did the week away. That’s a pretty sad statement for a vacation, isn’t it. I guess we really ARE homebodies!

2. For years, Bennett, Laura and Catie attended Good News Camp, which is run by the same people who do Good News Club, an after-school Christian club. The camp is crazy-inexpensive and they’ve always loved going. This year, for the first time, Laura and Bennett were too old to attend. The director called us in the spring and asked if Bennett and Laura would be willing to be “jr counselors” in their kiddie camp, for 4-6 year olds. They were dubious, but I made the decision for them. Yes, they would. After years of receiving, they would be the givers. The first day both were rather nervous. When I picked them up, they were utterly enthusiastic, thrilled and delighted. They want to do it again next year. Let’s hear it for mom pushing the kids to do the right thing!

3. With summer and easier schedules here, my clean-out-the-clutter itch is back. In our schoolroom we have a large closet–as in double wide. It was originally a coat closet, then morphed into the catch-all for our then playroom. Then we put lots of shelves in it and it was lovely for a few years and then it became a massive mess again. Yesterday I went on a spree and got rid of a lot of things the kids just don’t play with, listing them for free on a Facebook group. We got rid of SO MUCH JUNK! Now, I also have a pile of stuff (like DSi’s) that I’m not giving away and that need to be priced and listed on the same site. But I’m loving the new look of the closet!

4. Reading up on the Christian Left. Not feeling like I’m fitting in lately with the right side of the fence, but don’t know that the CL is the right answer for me, either. I think I’m more a combination of both. It’s confusing being me!

5. The triplet’s 13th (!) birthday is in 6 short weeks. We’ve been saying for a couple of years that we would do the cellphone thing when they turned 13. I’m somewhat regretting that statement, but thinking that maybe it’s time to let them prove they are responsible enough for them.  AT&T’s new “no contract” thingy is surprisingly cost-effective for a family of 5 or 6 phones when compared to what we are paying now. Unfortunately, it’s also the massive outlaying of funds for the actual phones that’s just too horrible to contemplate. :-P

6. Speaking of responsibility, Catie is dealing with it right now. This week she got both upper braces put on and got her ears pierced. She’s still figuring out the eating thing–I never had braces so don’t understand why it’s difficult, but apparently it is. But she’s been doing great with the earring care. Twice a day she cleans them and spins them. So proud that I haven’t had to remind her once!

7. Just found a WONDERFUL program that lets you change your computer’s country of origin–Hola. Now, this might sound silly and why would you want to do it? But if you’ve ever wanted to watch a video from another country (Hello Sarah Richardson on HGTV Canada!) and couldn’t because it wasn’t your country, it’s VERY handy! I’ve been gorging myself on her new program Real Potential that we can’t see here in the States. WooHoo!

One of the things the bloggers I read post are their menus for the week. Lovely organic, fresh from the garden, home-cooked meals. I love reading them, but come away feeling somewhat guilty and defiant when I’m done. My menu for the week, you ask?

Monday: Tacos (first time ever we’d had this since the kids were born)

Tuesday: Hot dogs, mac’n’cheese (from a box), carrot sticks

Wednesday: Chicken Stir-Fry

Thursday: Grilled Cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

Friday: Pizza – from a pizzeria

Saturday: Sloppy Joes (not from a can), salad

Sunday: Get Your Own

Taco seasoning, hot dog preservatives, boxed macaroni and cheese, white rolls and soup from a can. Yeah, Martha Stewart I’m not. But in a family of four children, with one who has major texture issues leftover from preemie life, one who struggles with chewing well, one who will sit and cry and go to bed before eating a vegetable except carrot sticks and one who is ok at eating, cooking is a challenge. Hot dogs appear on our menu literally every week. Spaghetti is every other, as are eggs and toast. So, no, you will never see me display with pride my menus (until the kids move out and then yee-haw!)

In the United States, currently the divorce rate is about 40%. (I don’t care that everyone uses 50%–it just isn’t true. If you look at the most recent census figures, they do not add up to 50%.)

For parents of multiples the rate is higher.

For parents of a child that has died it is much higher.

For parents of special needs kids–especially those with a child with autism–the rate JUMPS.

So as a family living in the US, with triplets who used to be quadruplets, with a child who is blind AND has ASD, I’d like to talk a moment about my marriage. When Jim and I stood up before our friends and family before God and promised “for better or worse” we had NO clue what that actually meant. We had no idea just how hard it was going to be.

We’ve done the marriage counseling thing several times. It was needed and extremely helpful. And we have, thankfully, a strong marriage. We’re going through one of those smooth times right now–the kind you remember and that keep you going when the road is much rockier. I love my husband deeply–I can’t imagine walking this road of life with anyone else. And I want to go on record as saying I’m glad we’re not just one of the statistics.

The family all took a trip to the Lewes/Rehoboth DE area this week. The vacation was supposed to be from Saturday June 28 through today, July 5. Actually, we would have been leaving RIGHT THIS SECOND if one big thing hadn’t happened.

Hurricane Arthur.

When my brother (who was also in Rehoboth) first mentioned the hurricane, my response was “What hurricane?” Hah. Double hah. By the time it hit two nights ago it was a category 2! We spent a great deal of Thursday cleaning the house and packing everything up. Once finished (or almost), we headed to the boardwalk, did some rides, had dinner and ice cream and then headed back to pack the car and finish cleaning the kitchen. We left for Pennsylvania around 8:30, although we took a quick side trip to the Candy Kitchen, the home of expensive but tasty fudge, salt water taffy and assorted very large lollipops. We pulled into our driveway at 11:08, much to everyone’s relief. There is nothing quite like sleeping in one’s own bed in one’s own house. And we got out just in time. When I spoke with my brother the next morning, it was raining an insane amount (and who wants to be cooped up in a house on vacation in the rain?)

The weird thing was, once we knew about the rain and that we’d be coming home early, both Jim and I were happy about it. I love planning vacations. I love going on them. But EVERY TIME I go away, I miss my home and can’t wait to get back.  While our current plan for next year is Michigan, a part of me wonders if a “stay-cation” might not be a better choice. No worrying about the dogs or cat, no massive driving (Michigan is 17+ hours driving and a ferry ride, plus hotel stays each way). We obviously have a year to think about it, though!

Following up on my last post, I contacted my accountability partner the very next day. I installed accountability software on my phone the very next day. I deleted all those books the very next day. I still say being a sex addict SUCKS EGGS and always will, but it’s a lifelong journey that I’m on. I may take a short detour every once in awhile, but so far I’ve always found my way back to the main road.

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