Monday, April 29, 2013

Calling all Exhausted Mamas!

If you're the mom of an alphabet soup kid (ADHD, ODD, SPD, ASD, FASD, etc...), which I'm betting you are since you're reading this, then this post is for you.

Consider this your friendly reminder that April 30th is the last day for early bird registration for the Happy Mama Conference & Retreat. What is the Happy Mama Conference and Retreat? I'm so glad you asked!

Last year some very smart--and exhausted--special needs moms decided that there needed to be an opportunity for smart and exhausted special needs moms to get together to share their stories, learn a little bit, and laugh a lot. After all, who knows better than other special needs moms what it means to be a special needs mom. Hence, the Happy Mama Conference and Retreat.

This year marks the second annual retreat, and yours truly is heading down to Raleigh, North Carolina to attend. (And for the record, I'm not being paid to write this. In fact, I wasn't even asked. In double fact, the organizers don't even know I'm doing this, but they can most certainly feel free to buy me a drink at the conference anyway!)

This conference is truly for the exhausted mom whose attention span is non-existent. Check out Saturday's schedule:

1/2 hour Welcome
10 minute break
20 minute session
20 minute break
20 minute session
10 minute break
20 minute session
45 minute group discussion
1 hour lunch
40 minute session
10 minute break
20 minute session
3 hour spa

Now this is a conference put together by moms who get it!!!!

By the way, did I mention that the conference is only $145 if you book before May 1st? Granted, it only goes up by a whopping $20 after that, but still! Oh, and that includes lunch and supper on Saturday. If you stay at the Embassy Suites where the conference is being held, you get breakfast as well. There's also a Starbucks on site...bonus!!!!

Check out the room I booked! I know...fancy, huh? Not bad for $109/night. I tell myself I'm going to take advantage of the pool and gym too, but I really foresee myself curling up in that bed with a good book.

So, head on over to The Happy Mama web site and book your escape. Not that I don't love my husband and kids, but I will tell you quite honestly that I'm counting the days. I even get to fly on a plane! With a window seat! Whew hew!!! (Wow...I really need to get out more.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Avoiding the Tough Questions

"Mom, what's Easter about?" Bear asked me one day a few weeks ago, without so much as looking up from what he was doing.

"Wha...huh? Em...uh...well...that's a really good question, Bear," I stammered, totally taken aback and also really impressed.

The problem was that I had no idea how to answer that question. I mean, I knew what the answer was, I just wasn't sure how to share that information with Bear without traumatizing him. Although we're a Christian family, Bear's issues have pretty much prevented us from attending church on a regular basis...or a semi-regular basis...or at he hasn't been exposed to the darker side of the Christian story. Sure, I talk to Bear about God, but it's more the warm and fuzzy stuff.

I could just see how this would go...

"Well, Bear, you see, a very long time ago, Jesus -- you remember me telling you about him, right? -- and you've learned about him at school, right? -- you know, Jesus? (insert French accent because Bear goes to a French school) -- well, he's God's son. And there were a bunch of really bad men who didn't like him, so they decided to punish him and kill him. What? How did they kill him?'s not very nice, but back then they nailed people to a really big cross, and they died there. Oh, don't look like that, Bear! It's OK, cause God knew it was going to happen. In fact, He planned it. Why did He plan it? Um...well...that's another really good question. No, you're right, it doesn't sound very nice. No, it doesn't make him sound like a very good father. But back then people had to sacrifice a lamb to get God's forgiveness for their sins. What does sacrifice mean? Um...well...they took the lamb and..."

You get the point. I just didn't see this ending well. So I pretty much took the coward's way out.

"At Easter we celebrate God and Jesus," I told him. Short and sweet.

"Oh, like a birthday?" he asked.

"Nope, Christmas is Jesus' birthday. At Easter we them."

"Oh, OK."

Then it occurred to me that surely they're teaching him about Easter at school. It was the week before Easter and Bear goes to a Catholic school. Surely they've figured out how to talk to a 7 year old about Easter.

"What are they teaching you about Easter at school, Bud?" I asked.

"Huh?" he asked, looking up from his game. " don't know," he said, looking back down.

Obviously they hadn't said anything too traumatizing, so I let the subject drop. OK, then...let's just leave it there and be happy we got off easy this time.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

You're Stuck with Me!

I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who reached out to me to share how much this blog has meant to them. You told me how I made you laugh until you cried, made you cry through your laughter, reassured you that you weren't alone, encouraged you to keep fighting, comforted you when things got tough, inspired you to reach out in your own community and, most importantly, helped you to be better parents. You told me that you needed me, that you would miss me, and that I still had work to do.

Your words encouraged me, inspired me, made me smile, and even made me cry. You reminded me that the next steps in a journey don't cancel out the previous steps, they build on them, ultimately adding to the experience. What diagnosis is given to Bear or what I choose to call myself doesn't take away from what I've learned along the way and how it has shaped me. If anything, it adds to what I have to offer the world through my words.

So this is me -- The ODD Mom.

It's who I am.

It's who I'm proud to be.

Thanks for reminding me. I'm grateful.