The REAL Housewives of Tampa Bay

What a week!!!... It's Thursday Night and my last post was on Monday... I am so disappointed with myself and I am so sorry but it was truly beyond my control.. My computer crashed and I had to purchase a new one.. I was so dejected since I have been having a good "Savings" record, but as my mom always says, God provides the money when it is needed. Secondly, our wireless Internet connection apparently developed a glitch after our last power outage and would continuously shut off in the middle of trying to create a post and doing my work.. so frustrating... However, I think I was more frustrated when the upsides of this week occurred and I couldn't share on the spot.. It was like getting a diarrhea alert while travelling on a bus .. lol..

Anyhow, if you haven't already started playing the video above, do click now as I want it to be the interlude for this post.

I attended my first ever Autism Support Group dinner this week and boy was it surreal. For 8 years plus I have been on this journey and have never once attended or participated in any support group meetings or intervention except one time after Dylan was diagnosed and soon after Brandon was newly diagnosed, I began cutting myself because that pain was so unbearable. The lady who was assigned to my case through the early steps program demanded that I speak to someone or else my kids could possible be taken away.. KIDS TAKEN AWAY FROM ME ? WHAT????   Look I have never ran to a shrink's office so quickly. Truth be told, I ended up having the therapist spill the beans about her life to me.. I remember entering the office and immediately after introducing myself, I told her "Look..I am going to save you time here and make this very easy for you.. I am a mom with two beautiful children who were diagnosed with autism within just a little over one year apart. I feel very alone.. I don't know what the hell this thing is.. Whether I am the cause of it or whether there is a cure for it. I just know that I am tired and I don't even think I want to be married anymore.  They play in their poop and spread it everywhere.. My husband is never home and when he is, he is in another world of his own, I have no family here... no friends.. I have lost many friends... I can't go anywhere.. I am not sleeping because the kids don't sleep... I am in a pain that I have never ever experienced in my life and it's not a tangible pain... It's an internal pain in your heart and it circulates throughout my body but you can't take a pill to diminish the intensity, instead I feel that it's either push a spear into my heart for the pain to stop or I cut myself to feel... to truly FEEL something tangible and see the blood will put a label on this pain and give it its own voice... I think I have to go to my homeland for a while away from what feels like a house of horror and I will hopefully return renewed..."
The poor woman couldn't get a word in and this was just the introduction. By the end she was in tears, I was able to make her look at her life differently by putting things into perspective and I went along my jolly way...

Last year I met one the most amazing women name Patricia Sengul who also has three boys, two of whom are on the autism spectrum  just like myself, so for that alone, we have plenty in common. She had encouraged me for several months to attend those monthly autism support groups but I was just not really prepared to go and rehash all those horrible memories that I had worked so hard to put behind me, so I never really made arrangements with my husband to perhaps clear his calendar in advance to watch the kids, but this year, as my journey began with this promise to put myself on my TO-DO list, it has allowed me to physically release that burden and pain into the universe... God has captured it, recycled it and I believe he has sent the recycled product back to me that I can use it as an instrument in other people's lives and also my life in a positive light... Since releasing it, I have now been able to re start my life's journey and incredibly and perhaps frighteningly, so much other stuff is surfacing... MANY good.. with the occasional hiccups.

So I attended my first ever Autism Support Dinner.. First of all, any excuse for me to wear heels and makeup, I am there.. I arrived at the restaurant and didn't quite know what to expect.. Would it be a small group? Do we have a private room where they lock us up so we could cry our eye balls out and say F*&K  as loudly as we possible can without getting arrested? Would everyone be cordial? Am I overdressed? Am I going to be the craziest one of the group? Would they have to tell me to shut up? Well about 4 of us were seated in the middle of the restaurant (btw..we were are PF Chang's), I was in my element, (most of the time I am) and was very excited to see what the night had in store for us.. as the minutes went by more beautiful women continued to enter and be seated at our table.. I kept thinking OMG they all look like me!!! Confident, Charming, Beautiful women.... They didn't come in walking with slouchy postures, crazy hair, smeared makeup, dirty clothes... THEY ALL LOOKED LIKE ME...Now!!!! (there is a reason I used those terms in the aforementioned and will explain later in another post so stay tuned)
About 1 hour later, our group for the night was formed but hastey me wanted to know the protocol so I kinda tried to silence the pockets of conversation to get everyone's name and ask what we we were supposed to do. In a nutshell, someone said "Vent".. hehehe.. We all kinda gravitated to the women nearest to us and I listened to the different stories in amazement... They were my stories... Many of the women had met at previous meetings so I was one of the few newbies.. It was eerie, like walking into a new school during the middle of the school year but what touched me was that all those women were in different stages in their grief, anger, frustration, fear, acceptance, solace, joy, celebrations.. Some of them recently received the devastating news, and it was so incredible to hear the strength in their warrior mom voice. We were hungry to hear about each other's stories.. share what we are doing and have been doing... speak candidly in our own language which we alone understand and know that it will be embraced and we will not be made to feel diminutive...
                                                                   I... WAS... HOME....
 After my boys were diagnosed I have always felt like I live on another planet within planet earth.. I reside in this lovely community with lovely homes and well manicured lawns, but my house sits on a land owned by extra terrestrial and the minute you step foot into my house, I am on the planet " Coo Coo Nest".. Then when I articulated that, another mom said OMG..OMG.. That's me too.. she even started a blog "Embracing Holland" because she feels she is living in Holland  while everyone else may be in neighboring countries.. It was truly a night to remember and I am still on a high from the brife experience.. I thank God on this Holy Week , that he allowed me the opportunity to meet such incredible women... It may just be what I have been searching for...
*I would also like to thank the M.A.S.D.A's group for organizing those monthly dinners.. It is such a beautiful change from a typical group therapy setting where everyone sits on metal folding chairs in a circle.
*I would like to thank Patricia Sengul for always being so persistent inviting me and not giving up..

*..and to all those lovely, beautiful moms I met on Monday night, I am honored and blessed to be a part of this group of strong mothers who love their children as much as I love mine.. It was such a pleasure to listen to your stories of strength and hope and I respect and love you all. I hope we can continue to encourage each other...

                                                       Thank Goodness..
      I was not the craziest in the bunch...hehehehe.. love her!!

                                                                       TRISH!!!!! Hahahaha

                              Miss Sheryn in the middle, I think she is a distant relative.. hehehehe
                                 Oh... We all put autism bows in our hair made by one of the moms

                                  Waiter!!!!.. Someone doesn't need another drink..hahahaha

                                          Aren't we a beautiful bunch?.. God Bless us all..

Please click on those links Embracing Holland and Autism and Salvation and follow those amazing blogs or two mom's journies through the world of autism.. We all need the encouragement.. oh and please comment under the posts.. We love comments and feed back and for more information about our support group dinners visit M.A.S.D.A  on Facebook. We're a crazy bunch but it's all in the name of love..


Tricia said...

Great post Lisa! I'm so glad you made it out to the dinner and that you fit right in--I knew you would! Love you dear!

Katy Rudie said...

I'm so glad I was able to meet you Tuesday at dinner! We've got to get together and play tennis! Xoxo