Here we go . . .

A new title. Another chapter of life. I know, I know, the London city bus picture needs to be changed. I'll get there, I'll get there. The previous "Minneapolis Mommy In London" posts can now be easily found by clicking on that category to the right. I won't tell you how much fun it was adding that category (one by one) to each of my London posts. I should have had a gin & tonic. So this is me, MPLS MOMMY. You can see by my title that my primary job is raising two boys, although some might argue my engineer husband qualifies as a third. I also work extraordinarily hard at keeping myself "full." And sane. This requires an enormous amount of love and support from my husband and family, a serious amount of power walking and yoga, and an army of girlfriends, who, as Carrie Bradshaw once said, "are my insides." And when all else fails, I have medication. Really . . . I do.

So that brings me to the "Bringing Up Autism" bit. Elliot has autism. Call it Asperger's Syndrome, call it High-Functioning Autism, call it PDD-NOS, call it Planet Elliot, call it Serious Sensory Integration Mess....I don't care to know which label it actually deserves. Here's what we do know - Elliot is a brilliant, gifted and beautiful six year old boy on the autism spectrum. It does not define him or our family, but it certainly shapes how we live and interact with each other. Autism is the third young child in my house, I bring it up along with Elliot and Quinton. It requires that much energy, coping stamina and understanding. I do not remember what life felt like before it arrived, much like I cannot remember what life felt like before my children were born. Sometimes autism is very quiet and I am at peace with it in my house. Other times I am raging angry that it has stolen yet another of what should have been a "connected" moment. Other times I am sad . . . very, very sad. That's when I call the before-mentioned army, grieve, and then remind myself that this is happening to Elliot more than it is happening to me.

And then, I breathe and find my big-girl-mommy-pants. Because I am truly blessed. Elliot has the sweet soul and face of an angel, and teaches me more about myself than I will ever in my whole life of opportunities teach him. He breaks my heart and elates me every day. His brain is a quirky puzzle that will do amazing and gifted things one day. And as his London teacher Susanne reminded me, "Darcie, he already is doing amazing and gifted things." My well of empathy for any child or family struggling with learning differences and extra difficulties runs deep. Quite deep, actually. And this is a gift, as I will never look at the miracle of children the same way ever again.

Life with autism, as with many things, demands a sense of humor. I read a quote earlier this week.

"If you want to make God laugh just tell him your life plans."

No joke. I used to be a master planner. Okay, I'll admit I'm still a bit of a control freak. But let's just say I'm rolling with the punches a bit better than I used to. I don't have the energy to take myself that seriously anymore.

And now on to more practical family matters. My life is currently filled with home repairs, a husband who commutes to London, OT voo-doo (more on that another time), and getting two children ready to attend City Of Lakes Waldorf School in Minneapolis. My big boy is a first grader starting Wednesday, and after I suffer a mommy heart attack over it I am going to desperately miss him. Quinton will attend five half-days. The beginning of a new era.

Maybe I'll get a job. You know....one of those that happens OUTSIDE the home. But don't let God in on the idea. I'd likely end up pregnant again!