They say that life takes you in directions you never expected. That’s for sure. If I were to go through my metaphorical wallet, I would find all sorts of membership cards there I never expected to hold, alongside a few that I pursued deliberately.

The desired and sought after:

  • mother
  • partner
  • holder of a university degree
  • and because I didn’t feel done yet, a master’s degree
  • homeowner
  • professional educator
  • gardener
  • avid reader

The surprises, for better or for worse:

  • physically disabled
  • homeschooling parent
  • later, public schooling parent
  • then back to homeschooling again
  • aaaaand back to public school
  • parent of an autistic child
  • artist
  • writer
  • intense reader of food labels and student of bugs
  • autodidact of medications, traditional and holistic

Parenting has a way of presenting challenges that you never expected, tucked inside that blanket holding the precious baby you labored so hard for. Thus started my pursuit of hidden ingredients, tracking down food items that might sneak up and bite my child on the butt, allergically speaking. And my pursuit of knowledge about all things autism related. Aaaaand my study of insects after my toddler developed an allergy to, oh, all of them. Which led to a crash course in how to use an EpiPen.

And life has a way of knocking you on your butt when you’re least expecting it, sometimes literally. In my case, it knocked me flat on my back when my girls were 15 months and 2.5 years old. I thought I had the flu. I went to bed one night a little achy and tired. I woke up the next morning unable to move. My brain and body had gone to war with each other in an entirely unexpected way. It took months of physical therapy for me to be able to walk without falling again, years to get a diagnosis. And suddenly, after falling in love with homeschooling, public school was a really viable option. Art became a vital part of my life, an outlet in an uncooperative body. Writing, a means of advocacy and therapy.

So here am I, writing my introduction to you all, and I’m having an awfully hard time summing my life up for you. I am currently functionally disabled, meaning that I’m not fixed, but I’m not totally broken. After eight years, I was recently able to go back to work part-time, and I’m loving it. I am a big fan of taking as few medications as possible and eating clean, but I down more medications a day than I can count and I often live on Gatorade because it’s the only thing I can keep down when my symptoms are flaring up.

Being sick sucks, but it’s led me to the knowledge that I am damn strong and damn determined. It’s brought me creativity and a patience I never would have imagined having, and a collection of very pretty walking canes. I adore my girls and my husband. I wish my daughters hadn’t had to learn how to be helpful and independent so early, but holy moly, they are amazing kids and they both have a maturity level and skill set beyond many of their peers because of it. Sometimes I can’t believe my husband has stuck it out, but he has, and he’s taught me a lot about giving and grace in the process.

I’m not where I expected to be. But I am so blessed to still be here. I get to see my kids grow up and I get to share the adventure with my partner. That’s freakin’ awesome!

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