Please Cover Your Butt Crack! (Sorry; I don’t know how else to say it!)

jeans picAs parents of an autistic son, we have had our share of embarrassing moments. Our son doesn’t have much of a filter. He is the youngest of four, and our first three were always quite well-mannered in social settings. I have had a myriad of experiences in the last few years to get me over people pleasing, many situations of my own making, but nothing calls for instant humble acceptance more than social faux pas with your own child!

There was the time when we were at a quaint, conservative, outdoor wedding and our son pelvic thrusted front and center … oh! Bad timing, really bad timing on a lot of levels! My eyes, already rather large, grow three times their regular size and my smile turns inward as I clamp my lips into my mouth! There were the times when we attempted to visit a restaurant and my beautiful son would expel gas from various parts of the body in fairly quiet setting with all eyes on us! (See my It Took Nine Years To Go To A Restaurant.)

But nothing turns me inside out more than seeing my son’s butt crack exposed when he bends over! Why does this undo me so fiercely? I think it’s because so much of this journey feels out of control for me. I didn’t get the instruction book for this child; there is so much to learn, so many new tools to try in a moment’s notice.  I already feel so inept, so unqualified for this job description. When my son bends over and inadvertently exposes himself, it’s another reminder that I didn’t plan appropriately, I didn’t do enough, and that I am not the best caregiver for this person entrusted to me. (All these thoughts I work through, by the way, one minute and one day at a time as I walk out my humanity.)

You would think that after it happened more than once, we would have put a plan together to ensure that it didn’t happen again. But you just do not understand, unless you understand what a cascade of events happen in a single day of an autistic adventure.

Well, the catalyst day came while we were at a Christmas party. We were having a lovely church Christmas party held in a picturesque, historic castle in our area. There was a white elephant exchange going on and it was time for our son to pick out his gift, which was done one by one, in front of the congregation. He walked up front to pick his prize out of the basket and displayed a lovely, round, full moon for all to see.

That was it! We had an epiphany. It was NOT going to happen again on our watch! It is OUR responsibility to ensure his dignity and teach him to care for himself when we aren’t around to remind him.

We bought him long tank tops and a new belt! He is not to leave the house with out tucking his tank into his jeans and putting his belt on, with a shirt over both. It works so well. He has a new routine, which he thrives in, and we have peace of mind that he has self respect.

I have had the opportunity to work part time at a school this school year. My eyes have been opened (literally) to the amount of buttock cleavage that is on display! It is just gross. I mean, don’t we all wince a little when someone bends over and the moon comes out? It is not reserved for just the kids either, which is even more disturbing! Remembering my son, I have bought a belt and tuck my shirt snugly in my pants because I bend over quite a bit on my job, speaking to children and otherwise.

Sometimes I want to shout; “Please cover your butt crack!” as I am sure people felt like  shouting to our son from time to time. But it is our responsibility as adults to teach these character qualities to our children. I know I must sound like a dinosaur in such a free spirited and filter-less culture, but I see what this one small shift has done for our son’s confidence and showing concern for some one else other than himself. We were all made for quality, importance, and distinction—this is just one small way of showing it.

You Bless It’s Growth

 

 

 

You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it. The river of God is full of water, you provide their grain, for so You have prepared it. You water it’s ridges abundantly, you settle it’s furrows, you make it soft with showers, you bless it’s growth. Psalm 65:9-10

When I read this scripture this morning, I was reminded of the weather we have experienced last few weeks here in Pennsylvania and reflected on the abundance in my life.  When I go inward, to the secret place of The Most High and find my strength, refuge and expectation from Him, he blesses growth in my life. That is what He does and we can see it in nature. The earth receives water, it goes deep into it’s resources and produces something under the surface that we eventually see. It is the same with us. Though I am always tempted to look externally for expectation, acceptance, comfort or significance, I am seeing a shift in myself to go directly to the source! All I have has been given to me and placed in me by The Most High God, I go to Him and He produces. It is His blessing to produce growth. Happy Monday<3

Turning 50- Beauty Much Deeper Than Skin.

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                                                                                     facial by Doug at Simply Skin in Clarion, PA

 

 

Wow! I used to think people were so old when they were fifty! I mean, in 5 years I could live in a 55 and over community like my parents used to…that’s so weird!

Here I am, it is what it is, I am what I am! I went to the Chiropractor the other day and he said; “Aren’t you so glad you started taking care of your self when you did, it shows! You don’t look older than 35”! I love that man!!

Seriously, I have learned that I do care about how I look but over the years it has come with much more balance than obsession. Many years ago a wise Christian woman told me that a smile was the best thing any woman could ever do for her face- a free face lift! I have been practicing that ever since!

I have recently been thinking about what I have learned over my life. In the last three years alone, I have learned more about myself than I could ever convey.  But some high-lights have been; Aromatherapy, Human Behavior  and Autism. I have done this  through classes and certification, living with my son, working in the field and personally working with therapists.

After playing the drums and piano most of my life, three years ago I started learning guitar  and returned to taking voice lessons again.  I have been working on pieces that are so challenging, I want to scream and throw them in the fire place!! I hate how uncomfortable and irritated change can make me feel, yet I desire to grow, and that takes incredible effort.

The most profound lesson I think I have learned in the last three years can be best conveyed by a story in Shauna Niequist’s book, Present Over Perfect. Shauna conversed with a man on a ferry ride  and he shared with her that he was skilled at making people “feel loved in an instant.” His business started out with genuine love and creativity and he loved spreading the message every where he spoke- he was extremely successful. He gave every one he met his best attentiveness and energy! But along the way, “he lost the ability to demonstrate real love to the woman and children who were at home”, and he eventually lost them.

The story of this man angers me because I have been the man, and I have also been charmed by the man! The story scares me because we can “loose” something we once had.  We save our best and turn on our energy for those who do not know us so well, not those closest to us. We get very good at being charming with relationships that are in the outer sphere because we simply do not want to express more effort learning better tools for intimacy at home.  I almost lost my soul in such an experience and I know of many who have. That is a very important lesson to learn, and yet, I am keenly aware of how capable I am of repeating it.

That made me think of a weighty scripture that has always grabbed me. Proverbs 31:30-31 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.

Fearing the Lord will produce something of value, something lasting, pure and true. It has benefit, not just to the person who fears the Lord, but to others who have been recipients of the good works. It multiplies and ripples out in ways that make others want to give thanks for that person. In contrast, when we are charming and deceitful, it only serves self, scratches the momentary itch but at the same time makes self hungry for more, and can potentially ripple into a wake of destruction and ruin.

I am 50. I have been changing, growing and learning life altering lessons among other things. I want to be beautiful…but in ways that are much deeper than skin. In ways that are life giving and nurturing, today and forever<3