It’s been a while.
I mean, I’ve shown up here and there over the years, caused a ruckus when it was necessary, shared a few updates about Andrew and our family.
But my time on this site has been sparse. And while I’ve missed it, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt authentic enough to come back on a regular basis and dive back into doing what I love so much: writing from the heart about parenting, disability rights and advocacy, alcoholism and recovery, bicultural living, and, of course, making fun of my family.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that in 2013 we found out our son Andrew – who can’t talk and has autism, epilepsy and SynGap1 (a genetic disorder) – was being abused at school by his teacher and some support staff. It was his 1:1 aide at the time that finally came forward and shared what she witnessed over several months, and the feelings of shock, anger, guilt and despair that followed were something I wish upon no one. Ever.
I won’t go into the details of the abuse and subsequent actions here, as they are available on other posts on this site, but I bring it up because the trauma Andrew endured, and the fallout for him, for our family, and for us all as individuals was something we never could have imagined or planned for.
For me, the greatest ache of course, was for my child. I couldn’t bear to look at him without bursting into tears, knowing I had sent him to school each day having no idea what was happening to him. That I was an unknowing participant in his physical and emotional unraveling was too much to bear. Guilt is not strong enough a word to encompass what I felt. I had a difficult time facing myself in the mirror. The world became a dark, dangerous place and mistrust permeated every relationship I had.
I stopped writing.
My work – something I loved and used in an effort to make this world a better place for my son and his peers – was a constant reminder that I had failed Andrew.
I felt like a fraud.
Here I was, writing about inclusion and accommodations and cheering on my fellow special needs parents and doling out advice like some kind of know-it-all while I was failing my own child.
I would start dozens of posts, and delete them all, each word a reminder that I should have done better, that I should have known somehow, when Andrew stopped toileting, and started screaming in terror when he’d see his beloved school bus round the corner, and began gouging his face until it was covered in angry, red scratches, that something very bad was happening to my little boy.
But I didn’t.
Recently, during one of my weekly therapy sessions, as I sat across from the woman who has helped me navigate my overactive mind since 2011, I began crying as I shared how much I missed my writing. How I felt like a void without it. How it had come to my attention earlier that month that six years have passed since we learned of the abuse, and how, despite the many incredible gains Andrew has made, and the healing that continues to take place for all of us, I still feel lost. Untethered. Incomplete.
“How much longer will you punish yourself?” she asked.
And I didn’t have an answer. Because it never occurred to me to stop. That I could stop. That I should stop.
That I deserved to stop.
But maybe it’s time.
Six years have gone by and many things have changed since then. I know peace and forgiveness doesn’t come overnight. Just like with Andrew’s hard-earned and ongoing healing, I too am a work in progress. But progress is hard to come by when you’re still lashing yourself each day. And so I begin here, with this site, with my work, with finding my way back to something I love and treasure and hope to rekindle.
I’m so excited to be here.
So grateful to simultaneously be starting over and picking up where I left off.
And whether you’re a returning reader, or here for the very first time, I hope you’ll stick around.
I know I plan to.