Sunshine Blogger Nominationu

Thank you LOLSYS LIBRARY for the Sunshine Blogger nomination.

The Rules For Sunshine Blogger Award

• Thank to the person that nominated you.

• Link the post back to them.

• Display the picture on your post.

• Answer their questions.

• Nominate 10 bloggers.

• Provide 11 questions for your nominees.

Q/A

1 If money was no object, what would you be doing on the first day? (Or I guess right now) Would you be working in your dream career?

Assuming money was no object. As a kid I always wanted to be an astronomer or cosmologist. I could listen to Carl Sagan or Patrick Moore all day. Money would buy me a large observatory on some remote Southern Hemisphere mountain top. I would finally be an astronomer. On my first day I would close my eyes and imagine myself being either Carl or Patrick. Happy days.

2 If it wasn’t completely morally (and sometimes illegally) wrong to keep a wild animal, which one would you want to keep?

To keep my son happy it would be a Peregrine Falcon. He’s always been fascinated with this bird, often to the point of distraction. Chris Packham, the TV naturalist, has talked about his Aspergers and the importance that a specific bird of prey played in his childhood.

Secretly I would love to live with Penguins.

3 What would be your favourite Mythical pet to have?

Has to be a dragon. Always loved them. I still believe that Puff the Magic Dragon exists.

4 What is the hardest and the best life lessons you’ve learnt?

The hardest lesson was without doubt learning that time spent with loved ones is so precious. You can’t take it for granted. Two years ago, life was good, plenty of time to do the important stuff. Then within six weeks I lost my mum and then my life partner. What happened to having plenty of time. I will never take time for granted again.

5 As my therapist asked me my first session, are you a worrier or a warrior?

Worrier. But I’m sure I’ve got that question wrong.

6 What is your meaning of life?

According to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, it was 42. Problem is that I can’t count that far. Since the world changed for me, my meaning of life, is just my son.

7 What is the one thing you would love to be able to “do” to make the world a better place?

Reconnect people and society with nature. Nature has balance, something which is sadly missing at the moment. Sorry going all Star Wars in my old age.

8 How do you, or would like to, spread kindness?

One thing my parents stressed was that it was never ok to poke fun at others. Always poke fun at yourself first. It helps when I’m such an easy target for my jokes. Sometimes our dark old world needs a few smiles, just not at the expense of others.

9 What advice would you like to give to beginner bloggers (or just blogging advice in general)

Don’t forget to enjoy reading other people’s blogs. It’s not all just about yourself. I hope that I spend no more than 5% of my ‘blogging time’ writing and the rest is spent enjoying other people’s posts.

10 What is one thing people might find surprising to learn about you?

I’ve not had alcohol for two years.

11 What do you think is your personal proudest moment, feel free to brag!

At my son’s school leavers service this summer. He stood up in front of the church and spoke without notes for about one minute. He made eye contact with the audience, talked clearly and was very funny. Briefly his Aspergers was put to one side. It took everyone by surprise and I was so proud.

I always remember as a 10 year old winning an art contest and having a painting of a space rocket displayed in the local gallery. It took me about 2 months to finish and it most have been an inch thick with paint.

I would like to nominate the following Bloggers

Pina Chidichimo

MeRaw

Emerging From The Dark Night

Jean Lees World

Boo

Susiesopinions

Johnlmalone

Autism in our Nest

Nika – Survival

Maranda Russell

My Questions for the nominees

  1. What makes you smile?
  2. Why do you blog?
  3. I’ve talked about Planet of the Apes and Planet of the Pugs. What Planet would you like to live on?
  4. If you could only ever read 3 books, what would they be?
  5. What was your best ever holiday?
  6. Which cartoon character are you most like?
  7. If you could introduce one thing worldwide, what would it be?
  8. If magic existed, which spell would you try first?
  9. What’s your secret talent?
  10. What would your perfect day look like?
  11. What’s the one thing you would like to change in your life?

Hole in my bucket list

This morning witnessed the usual pre school panic. We must have a ruler in this house somewhere. Every corner searched (even the dog basket). Nothing. But I did find a couple of handwritten old bucket lists we had made before our son was born. I am really pleased that my partner got round to ticking most of her items off.

SORRY – getting married – SORRY SORRY on that one. It’s my greatest regret, the one I really feel like I let down my partner on. I thought we had plenty of time…..

My bucket list is less well ‘ticked off’.

  • Become a father✅
  • Partners for life✅
  • See The Eiger✅

All the other items are yet to be accomplished. It’s strange, it really doesn’t bother me. I am happy to cross the remaining items off. The desire to do these things went with my partner. As if someone put a hole in my bucket list. A bit like the hole in the house which has swallowed every single ruler.

I personally wouldn’t make a new bucket list. I only have one burning desire left … that my son starts fulfilling his dreams, ticking off his list. Now off to the shops to purchase rulers.

Anchor

I remember feeling completely lost after my partner died. The whole structure of my daily life had been turned on it’s head. I used to just wake up each day and really just ‘wing’ it, no routines, just turbulence.

Looking back three things really helped.

  1. Realising that I had to focus on just one objective. Give our son the best and happiest childhood possible,
  2. Bringing a crazy dog into the family,
  3. Forcing some new structure into my daily life.

Just before the funeral I remember reading an article about the actor and wrestler Dwayne Johnson. He talked about the importance of having an anchor in life. His was his early morning gym ritual. He talked about how important it was to him, how he cherished and protected the time. How it helps him be the person he is and how it has helped him be the success that he has become. It sounds like his daily life is anchored by this gym ritual.

This really struck a chord with me. This life anchor was what I needed to bring structure back into my life. I realise that I could have chosen thousands of different things in life to be that anchor. I could have chosen reading, prayer, volunteering,…. But since I am a completely unimaginative person I just sort of copied Mr Johnson’s idea. Everyday I would get up early and do at least 30 minutes exercise. Getting up early was not a real problem as I don’t sleep much these days.

I’ve stuck to it everyday since the funeral and it’s worked for me. A bit of structure has been reintroduced. Even when I’m going through a dark period, it just seems to give me a bit of a lift. I feel like those few anchor minutes are ‘my time’ and I really do protect them now.

One thing I must admit… It has not transformed my body into that granite super being structure. I still look like Homer Simpson (he probably has more hair). The Rock might be able to save the world in each of his movies, but transforming my body is a task even beyond him….

Occasionally the ‘my time’ is not much fun. This morning the crazy dog decided to ‘wee’ all over dumbbells just before I started. Lovely….

Cats and Dogs

When my son was a toddler we took in a couple of unwanted kittens. We thought that they might be an ideal type of pet for our son (plus we were always suckers for sad animal stories). Several years later and yes the cat option has proved very low maintenance. Solitary, hardly ever seen, very quiet …. phrases that come to mind. Most days you are lucky if they grant you a few seconds petting with them. Often the only trace is the trail of white fur that seems to zigzag the house.

However cat and dog have struck up a relationship. When we got the puppy, I was worried about the effect on the cats. I certainly made sure that we choose a puppy from a home which had cats as well. It actually went better than expected. The cats prefers to be with the puppy more than human in our house. Often they can be found sleeping next to each other. Other times just walking round the house together. They seem to be the only thing that can calm the mad puppy down – well for a few minutes anyway.

Well they have now become better relationship counsellors than me.

My son has been struggling to make new friends at school, while the kids he went up with have all found new circles of friends. His Aspergers and Dyslexia in his own words make him different. As a result he is having panic attacks about being the only boy at school without friends. I’ve really struggled to find the words to help. On Friday he was adamant that he wasn’t going back to school…

Last night the cats and dog were sleeping together and my son watched them for quite a while. Then simply said

Well if they can be friends then there might still be hope for someone like me. I’ll give School another go”.

Mole Hills

Yesterday was a nightmare. Something innocuous turning into a panic. We checked the school timetable for the next day. Second lesson was French with the line added ‘bring French dictionary’. I had completely forgotten to buy one. Suddenly my son’s Aspergers starts to kick in, this was not part of the plan. Panic starts to set in. But calmly I assure him that we must have one somewhere in the house. The search commences. Two hours later, no luck, panic now transferred to me. Finally a moth eaten French phrase book is found. That will have to do. This does not calm my son down, a sleepless night and a disrupted start to the school day…..

Mr Mole has been busy in the garden, molehills everywhere. When Mr Mole first struck several months ago, panic set in, clearly the garden was about to be destroyed. However I quickly realised that with just a couple of minutes work the molehills could be ‘repaired’ and as a result no problem exists. Relax.

My son returns from school. We had misread the timetable, French was not until Friday and thanks to Amazon the new dictionary will be here Thursday. So thinking about last night …. what is that phrase about mountains and molehills.

Two years

Time seems to speed up as you get older. I can’t believe that it’s coming up to two years since the world changed for us. The dreaded late night phone call, that conversation with my son, the funeral …. all are still so vivid and seem like yesterday.

In that time somethings have changed:

  • New School
  • Anxiety levels
  • Career
  • Living in a country which seems to have completely lost the plot and becoming alien to me
  • Loss of free time
  • Increased disorganisation
  • Increased mood swings
  • Rapidly decreasing social circle
  • New crazy dog (probably my only good parenting decision)
  • Increased money worries (definitely not helped by my one good parenting decision)
  • Rapidly thinning hair (largely due to my one good parenting decision)

And yet somethings have not changed:

  • Still can’t cook
  • Still burn myself on the iron
  • Still don’t understand Pokemon
  • Still haven’t found my ‘how to be a good parent user manual’
  • Still shaking my head at our strange world
  • Still fighting to get Dyslexia support
  • Aspergers
  • Feeling blessed to have a son
  • Hope
  • Love for my son
  • Love for my lost partner

I could witter on for hours about all this. But all I really need to say is we still love you and will always do.

Romance

Over the last two years there has been so many emotions swirling round the house. Often these have been dark and painful. Certainly ROMANCE has been strikingly absent. Until now.

Romance has returned. I just hope it’s not too much tough love. The last soft toy quickly ended up looking like John Hurt from the Alien movie.

Planet of the Apes

The weather today was wonderful. Warm and still. Countryside filled with fantastic deep colours. Even the dog was almost behaving himself. It should have been a walk to saviour.

Yet a my head was blocking the surroundings out, to busy lost in worries:

– son starting new school, have I got everything ready, I must have forgotten something from the school list, will his uniform fit, will he make friends, will he get bullied, have I got the wrong start day…..

– we haven’t had a holiday in 2 years, I must be a bad parent….

– what happens to my son if I become ill…..

– is it time to have that chat about Santa Claus…..

– am I leaving it too long in getting round to spreading my partners ashes…

– are we spending too much money….. am I working enough hours……

– the lawnmowers broken, can we afford to buy a new one this month….

– did I turn the oven off …. did I lock the front door……

And on and on and on it went. Virtually the whole beautiful walk blocked out by my worries. Then the realisation that I had not spoken to my son in over an hour. Luckily he seemed really happy, walking the dog.

“Are you ok, son?”

“Fine dad”

“What are you thinking about

“What might have happened if the Planet of the Apes was based on a different animal. Currently trying to work out if Planet of the Pugs would make more money than Planet of the Budgies”

……………………………………….

So hopefully I’ve learnt my lesson. Try to live the moment rather than worry about things. There is probably a time and a place for these worries, but it’s not on a beautiful walk.

I missed out on todays Planet of the Apes debate but I’m certainly not planning on missing out on next weeks now booked debate about alternatives to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Progress

The hustle and bustle of school summer holidays is something which does not sit well with my son. Aspergers and crowds is often not a good mix. Added to this was the fact that since his mum died, the sight of happy families would often greatly upset him. Reminders of what he had lost.

But now we have some progress. Now when he sees families it often reminds him of some wonderful memories. Memories he loves to share. Good times which make him happy.

Today was almost a perfect setup for him during a walk with the mad dog. Occasionally we came across families playing in the park. Today these encounters prompted memories of holidays we shared together with his mum. All precious and warming memories. No tears just smiles.

But today it often felt like we had the park to ourselves, no hustle and bustle, just the sound of birds. Today no anxious looks over his shoulder at the swirling crowds around him. A boy at ease with his surroundings.

Days like today feel like progress days. Often it seems like you get good days and bad weeks. Dark periods seem to go on forever. But when you do get a good day it reinforces the importance of trying to keep moving forward.

Aspergers and Dyslexia- have you considered moving

Our son was diagnosed with Aspergers a few years ago. He is also dyslexic. It was a nightmare of a bureaucratic process. Three years of road blocks and dead ends. We were lucky, many families don’t get there. I assumed that the support and help my son needs to develop to his full potential would then follow. Sadly that was wrong.

In a world of cuts and austerity many key services have been cut. Our Local Authority has cut back Autism Support Services. It provides no specialist educational Dyslexia support. As a result many children like my son are provided minimal additional support.

With a new School rapidly approaching I tried again to gain support. Luckily our wonderful NHS has now started trying to help my son better understand what ‘living with Aspergers’ means. However no educational support is available. They won’t even do an educational assessment of his dyslexia to see what are the best strategies his new school can adopt. It’s left to the parents to take this forward. Unfortunately my son has a rather limited parent in this field.

We met up with his new school and they suggested a novel approach to the issue. Some other parts of England still provide Dyslexia and Aspergers support to children. The school asked if we had considered moving out of the area. My son immediately responded by saying he was really happy living here but if he had to move would it be ok if we moved to Canada.