Friday, April 1, 2011

The Pieces and Parts that Make up this Lunatic Autism Mom.

In my world the sun rises and sets with my boys so it's no big shock that it occurred to me to introduce you to Cameron and Adam but not myself. Since I wanted to do a blog post today but didn't feel like doing a ton of research, today might be the best day for me to say HI! Here are the major highlights of the legos (pieces and parts) that make me, me.

Name: Maggie: it means A Pearl. Depending on who you ask, you will get a different answer to where my name came from. On my Dad's side it appears that I am named after my Great Grandma Maggie. On my Mom's side it appears that I am named after my Great Grandparents who's last name was McGee. But if you were in the hospital on the day I was born then you would have seen Days of Our Lives on TV featuring one of my Mom's favorite characters, Maggie Horton.  I guess it's anyone's guess as to who is correct but it seems as though, even at birth, I strived to please everyone :)

Hometown: I count Lebanon, Missouri has my hometown. I didn't move there until I was in 1st grade but we stayed until I graduated High School. We ended up moving the day after graduation so I have NO IDEA what kind of mischief all my classmates got into that summer before college.  I did hear rumors though.....

Growing up: I was a geek trying really hard not to be a geek. I liked school (I really did!), I was always excited to go to class to learn something new and I was excited to go to school every day to see what was going to happen. I don't think I fit into any one group, I didn't have many close friends but I do hope I was friendly to everyone. I had no illusions of popularity but I liked to be involved in lots of things. I played tennis, wrote for the High School newspaper, sometimes did track and field (threw shot put and disc because I am incapable of running) and worked at KMart as a cashier.

Education: Here is where it gets tricky, did you know that it is just as confusing to be equally good at different subjects as it is to be equally bad? I was an obsessive student, I had to study very very hard even in HS to get good grades and I did. In the midwest you take the ACT instead of the SAT and I got the exact same score on every section. So I took it again and got the exact same score on every section. So I took it again, same thing. I really wanted the test to show some kind of aptitude so that I could point in some direction going into college but no so off I went with absolutely no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I went to college at the University of Missouri Columbia where I proceeded to major in Computer Science then Mathematics then Statistics then Language Arts. I was probably a Math major the longest and when it came time to plan my final semesters at MU I was going to end up with a Bachelors of SCIENCE (not a BA) in Language Arts because I had too many math classes. Here's the thing, I like to write but I didn't know what I was going to do with that BS in Language Arts so when I fell in love with a boy in Maryland I quit school and moved. This pretty much involved signing documents with my parents that stated that I would in fact finish school NO MATTER WHAT!

I did finally finish. Shortly after the wedding to the boy from Maryland (a lovable, huggable geek like me) I enrolled at UMBC (which touts itself as An Honors College in Maryland) where I wrote Computer Science down as my major. It was short lived and I quit again before finishing the first semester. I guess I'm just not cut out to be a Comp Sci major! In the end I got two degrees from the University of Marland University College both a Bachelors of Science one in Business Management and one in just Business.  Whats the difference? I'll tell you, one is managing people and one is managing business. I worked in Human Resources for a Pre-IPO tech company that went belly up and got knocked up right after I got laid off. hehehehe.... I've never thought of it that way before!

My most important job: I loved working in the tech field but NOTHING compares to being a Mom. As soon as I met Cameron, I knew he was forever going to be the direction I was looking for so long ago. Really, he should have read my resume and checked references before deciding on me but he'll learn due diligence in time.  Our first year as parents wasn't easy, it involved me deciding to be a stay at home mom, Rob's company closing its doors, job hunting, selling our first home and moving to Northern Virginia for Rob's new job.  It was all a blur and by the time the dust settled, Rob had changed jobs again and we had moved back to Maryland and we were starting to wonder if something was developmentally wrong with Cameron.

Our Diagnosis: Cam was 2 when he started his evaluations with Infants and Toddlers. He was diagnosed with Autism at 2.5. At the time I was 5 months pregnant with Adam. In the diagnosis meeting, the doctor told me that since I was having another boy, he had a 1 in 20 chance of having some form of Autism as well.  It was a sucker punch after a hard left hook.  We walked out of that office door and into the world of Autism, never looked back and have henceforth lived by the rule, "forward motion always, no regression". Of course we have dealt with regression with both boys but as rule number one we catch it, turn it around and give it a swift kick in the right direction again.

How I stay sane: I don't always! I have good and bad days just like everyone else, I also have I HATE AUTISM days.  Those are the worst because there just isn't any form of logic I can apply to get out of them. Autism--->is there anything I can do to fix it?--no-->am I doing as much as I humanly can?--yes-->Autism I climb out of the loop and tell myself:
If you cannot fix it, fix your perception.
My hobbies- Staying sane part 2:

  • BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS..... I love to read and I do it obsessively. When I was in 9th grade a teacher gave me a list of books that every college graduate should read. I did. When I was in college I read all the "great literature", I wrote papers on the sublime, the next level of consciousness in literature, the true meaning behind the seemingly simple idea of creating a feast for friends, etc. etc. Now I find peace and contentment in smut. Yep! I've put in my time toiling over thick tomes written in old english and dissecting a sentence down to it's ands/ors/buts, now I want nothing more than some well defined characters doing something relatively simple and, by golly, I want a happy ending!!!! Of course as with every Autism parent, I also read a lot of books about Autism, or books written by people with Autism, and that deserves its own blog post (to come). The library is truly one of my happy places on this Earth.
  • Crafts.... I love crafts and I love to collect crafting stuff.  I cross stitch, scrapbook, home decorate, sew, bake, crochet, etc, etc, etc. I worked in college as a pie chef and I love to bake pies, but I hate to EAT pie. Seriously, I hate it and I much prefer cake and cookies. I also have a few things I call Autism Crafts which will also get its own blog post soon. 
  • Obsess.... here's the thing about staying sane, you do it however you can. Sometimes that can be in a constructive way and sometimes not.  There are times when things are so out of control that there is a need to control something, anything and for me that usually turns into diet or cleaning. This is when I will start a diet or make a master cleaning schedule. Being obsessed with something like that creates a situation whereby if you fail the obsession, you fail yourself personally. It's taken a while to recognize that and even longer to turn it around. Believe me, I've got weight to lose and a house to clean but I'll be damned if I force myself back into a no win situation again.  
  • The computer, facebook, et al. I do most of my communicating online. I live far away from my family and my husband travels so some days I live for the connection. I look up information constantly, I read blogs, I always keep my eye open for new decorating ideas and new books by my favorite authors,  and sometimes I just look for stuff that makes me laugh. I love my computer, I love all my portable media and I love my cell phone. I am "connected" 99% of the time.  
My beliefs: Isn't this kind of where the rubber meets the road? The fundamentals of what you believe make up who you are as a person BUT in my opinion those fundamentals do not make you a better person or a lessor person just a DIFFERENT PERSON. I respect everyone's opinion, I will never try to change someone's fundamental beliefs. I am capable of understanding even if I disagree.  So here's the hot topics: 
  • I am a Democrat and pretty liberal at that. I support gay marriage and pro-choice even if they are not choices I would make personally. 
  • I believe that faith exists outside of religion. I, in no way, believe that I am the highest power in this world but I do not believe in "one true God". I respect all religions even if I do not participate in any and fighting and wars over religion makes me sick. 
  • Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking: Never, Rarely, Never. and I am happy with that choice. 
  • Family is the most important thing in the world. 
  • Support The Troops even if you don't support the War. 
  • All children are beautiful and should be protected and cherished. 
  • I learn something new every single day.
Today is April 1, 2011 the first day of Autism Awareness Month. There are a lot of great opportunities for education this month and I hope everyone takes advantage of it! 


  1. so proud you are my niece and I get to tell people she is someone I love to pieces