Monday, December 8, 2008

Special Intention

Those who know me know how much I love a good cup of tea! I brew a pot straight after I rise for the day. This ritual is often repeated for morning tea; afternoon tea; with James before we retire for the evening, or any other time of the day when the mood takes me.

I'm not a big fan of tea bags, thanks to my parents and their love for the real thing. I still have my Grandfather's battered tea pot which was once red. The paint has long since peeled away. My favourite wedding present is a beautiful tea pot given to us my James' best man and his wife. You can see that I love tea!

On December 2nd, I decided to begin fasting from tea for an intention which is very close to my heart. I've decided to only have tea first thing in the morning, until my prayer intention comes to pass. I'm hopeful that my fasting will remind me many times a day to pray for my special intention.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

But I thought we were going to Italy?

Yesterday, 2nd December, James and I celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary. I quite like the number 13. I like to think of it as Our Lady's number, as she appeared to the children of Fatima on the 13th of the month from May to October 1917.

It was also the date when we received a diagnosis of atypical autism (also referred to as PDD-NOS) for Roo.

For some time I have thought that if he is on the autistic spectrum, that would be the most likely diagnosis. However, I was hopeful that his difficulties were the result of a more general delay.

At the moment I am still processing what the diagnosis means for our family. I want to push the pause button on our life while I sift through the implications and emotions. Strangely , this diagnosis doesn't feel as difficult to comprehend as Koala's diagnosis of Aspergers. Perhaps because we have been here before and know some of what's coming.

I'm trying very hard to not feel sorry for myself, and sorry for the reshuffle of my dreams for Roo and his education. I'm trying really hard not to feel cheated when I hear about other 4 year olds who are starting to read; joining in on the home school gymnastics class; talking non-stop, in short, just being normal 4 year olds! It hurts.

I don't want to be here in Holland!

"Welcome to Holland"
By Emily Perl Kingsley, 1987. All rights reserved.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Sunday of Advent

Yesterday we spent the afternoon getting ready for the wonderful season of Advent. The tree went up amidst much noise and excitement.
The Cat Chat Advent/Christmas CD was dusted off, and the Advent wreath was set up.

Unfortunately I am not as organised as I would like to be. Therefore, my candles are not new as they should be. But at least the wreath was in working order when the time came for it to be put into service.

An Advent highlight for Bilby and I, is reading The Jesse Tree . This is a must have for every family! Opening it on the first Sunday of Advent is like welcoming a much loved friend after a long absence. It is so beautifully written and engaging. I really enjoy putting on the gruff voice of the old carpenter at the beginning of the story, then allowing his voice to soften as we edge closer to Jesus' arrival.

This year we have decided to try our hand at making a modest Jesse Tree. True to form, I have yet to find the "tree" to hang our hand coloured symbols.

This Advent I feel as if we are entering more fully into this special season in the church calendar. I feel so very blessed to be part of the Catholic Church and to be able to celebrate her rich traditions.