Archive for the ‘Autism’ Category

A Promise Fulfilled

You may all remember my post from a few month’s ago called, “Can I Offer You a Kidney”. For those not familiar with it, here is the link:

Sometimes people say things they will do, as a kind gesture. Even if they never follow through, the fact that they offered is a lot to be thankful for. Freddy DID follow through.

Freddy and his wife, Chaquira, made the trip from New Jersey to fulfill the promise he made to us. This was after he worked in his shop all day, until 8:30pm. They left New Jersey at 9:30pm. They drove all night and arrived here, in Virginia, at 5:00am. They slept for a few hours and then he texted me saying he would be here when I wanted, because his day was dedicated to us.

When they got here, Jason gave them a tour of our new home. Then, Freddy got down to business. Even though the venue changed and he was cutting Michael’s hair in my backyard, nothing else changed. There were lots of laughs. Michael made sure to remind Freddy to not cut his ears off. That is a reminder Freddy gets every time from Michael, from day one. And he sat, as he has from their first meeting and let Freddy cut his hair.




Of course, no cut with Freddy would be complete without a spray paint of color. That is Michael’s favorite part, and Freddy didn’t disappoint. Jordan also got into the act this time as well. ORANGE HAIR FOR ALL!!


Freddy said something a few weeks back on one of my Facebook posts that really hit home with me. Freddy, I hope you don’t mind, but I am sharing it here.

He said:
“Some clients are clients, some clients become friends, some clients become family. I thank God I had the opportunity to meet Joan Leigh Flores and her family and gratefully consider them part of mine.” family, I have said it before. No words can properly express my gratitude for what you have done. You are one of kind, you are generous, you are amazing and I I am forever grateful that our paths crossed.


Can I offer you a kidney?

A few times in the past I have spoken here about Michael and haircuts. If you are an autism parent you already know how difficult and utterly exhausting getting your child’s hair cut can be. His first cut was a horrible experience, for us both. After that first cut, we were both ruined for a while. I decided I would start cutting it myself. He still cried. It was still exhausting, and it still took the rest of the day for him to recuperate….every. single. time.

Over time things got better with me cutting, but I am no barber. It always looked okay, but it definitely could have used professional help. One day driving through town, I noticed a barber shop I had never seen before. I took David first. I met Freddy. He did a really good job, and David was comfortable. I thought for a bit and decided I would TRY to take Michael. I expected to walk out in tears. When we got there, I explained that Michael was autistic and really didn’t like cuts from anyone. Freddy talked to him. He joked with him, and made him comfortable. I was in shock. We have always gone back. Michael actually asks to go back.

So when we decided we were going to move, it hit me. I would have to find a new barber for Michael. The thought turned my stomach. The level of trust he has built with Freddy is not something that comes easily. Now we would have to start from square one.  Last time I got Michael’s cut I jokingly (but seriously too) said that if I had unlimited funds I would fly Freddy back and forth just to cut Michael’s hair. Freddy and I are friends on Facebook, and he saw that post.

Well, this weekend I went to get Michael’s hair cut. As we were getting ready to leave, Freddy asked when we would be moving. I told him, in the the beginning of July.

He said to me…..ready…..I hope you are sitting….

He said to me, “My wife and I talked. We will go down to Virginia before the school year starts, so I can cut Michael’s hair.”

I thought I was hearing things. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights and I obviously thought that he was joking. As a matter of fact, I must have asked six or seven times if he was. He was NOT. He was dead serious. He also was not already planning to go to Virginia. The purpose of his trip, from New Jersey to Virginia, would be to cut Michael’s hair.

How do you thank someone for a gift like that? How do you make them understand just how much the gesture means? I still am not sure.
A gift certificate?
A kidney, maybe?

For now, this post is my thanks to you Freddy. You have no idea what that means to me…what it will mean to Michael. You have shown a level of kindness that I don’t know I could ever repay you for.



Both of those pictures were taken after Michael’s very first visit to Freddy’s

I can’t avoid it

This is somewhat personal, but I feel like I need to share it. I have talked once before, quite a while ago, about anxiety. My dad had it. I know I have it. I always have.

Something about me:
I am an avoider. If something bothers me, I try like hell to push it to the back of my mind. I avoid confrontation. I avoid doctors. I…just avoid.

There is a lot going on in my life. We are moving. A big move, out of state. It is taking me from my comfort zone. It is taking me from everything familiar.  There is a lot of uncertainty. I am worried…about everything.

Presently, I feel like there is more going on than run of the mill anxiety. I have never felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, stealing my breath. An elephant sitting on my shoulders, weighing me down. Lately, those feelings are becoming more of my everyday, than not. I feel paralyzed by the thoughts that are constantly swirling around in my head. I can’t avoid it, no matter how hard I have been trying.

I have talked about this feeling with Jason, and a friend or two. The concensus…I need to go back to the doctor. I need to get something that will take this horrible feeling away. I need to be able to focus. I need to not feel like I want to throw the covers over my head, and hide in bed all day. I think people would be suprised to learn I have been feeling this way.

I need to stop making excuses for NOT going to the doctor. Because really, I can roll the excuse list out like a mile long red carpet. Already, a week or two has gone by since this started. I still have not gone to the doctor. That excuse list is pretty damn long. I guess I am putting this out there for me…to sort of be held accountable. To get it out of my head. Also, I know I can’t be the only one to feel like this. The only person that can help me, is me. I can’t avoid it any longer.


This little girl

You all know I have talked so many times in the past about Jordan. She is Michael’s younger sister. Younger, but not by much. They are only 14 months apart.

She is truly an amazing little girl. I really am not only saying that, because she is mine. She has this quality about her. Is it because she has an older brother with special needs? Would she be this way if he was not autistic? I don’t know the answers to either of those questions. What I do know is that there are times that I am completely in awe of this little seven year old girl. She is wise beyond her years…exponentially.

Over the weekend we started talking about roller skates. She has never been on them, ever. However, she really wanted a pair. Jason and I discussed it, and decided I would take her Sunday to buy her a pair…with all the protective gear.  When we were getting ready to leave Michael asked for a pair too. In the back of my mind I kind of knew he was asking because she was getting them. I told him I would take him next time. Jordan said, “Michael, I will get them first and you can watch me skate. If you think you will like them after you watch, then mommy will get you a pair of your own.” She is wise.

We got home with all her gear. I took her outside to test them out. I held her hand and she was soooo wobbly. But, she was holding her own. Michael and David came outside to play. Michael was trying to keep busy. She wouldn’t stop watching him. She was throwing ideas out.

Jordan: Wobble wobble wobble, “Michael, draw with the sidewalk chalk.”

Me: “Jordan be careful and watch where you are going.”

Jordan: “I know mommy.” Wobble wobble wobble, “Or you could play tag. But David, don’t run so fast so he can catch up.”

Me: “Jordan, please be careful.”

Jordan: “I KNOW mommy!” Wobble some more, “Or play hide and seek, but don’t go behind the house because then we can’t see you”

….and so on and so on…

All the while, she was trying to learn to ride in her new skates. Jason took over for a few minutes while I walked away and when I came back, there she was. She was doing it, all by herself. She was rolling around the driveway, but those eyes were fixed on her brother. She was keeping close watch, until he had enough and decided he wanted to go back inside.

She is ALWAYS watching him. She is ALWAYS protecting him. She ALWAYS cares…about everything and everyone. Most undoubtedly the reason she got this in school on Monday.


Here is a picture of her in her skates. They are already looking worn in, and she loves them.


Do I have a future roller derby girl on my hands? Maybe. I don’t know.

What I do know is that we were so incredibly blessed when this little girl came into our world.

Just a Boy

For some reason today, I decided to ask my almost 9 year old what his brother’s autism meant to him.

He looked at me puzzled for a moment and then said, “It means we take extra care of him.” That was it. That was all he gave me. I didn’t want to push and ask more. But, I couldn’t help myself.

“Anything else?”, I asked.

“Not really mommy”, he replied.

Then, quickly it hit me. As an “autism mom”, sometimes I get so wrapped up in it all. (the diagnosis, the doctors, the therapies, what others think…the list is endless)  I need to remind myself that autism is only a very small part of who Michael is. Because after all, I am not perfect either.

To David, Michael is just his little brother. Sure sometimes he needs to have some extra patience with him. But to David, Michael is the boy he plays with, laughs with and fights with. He is just his little brother, that needs some extra care. So profound. So simple.

I can only hope that as he grows older, that Michael will have the love and understanding of lots of friends who see him just the same way David does….as just a boy, and friend, that needs more care. ❤

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The views expressed in this blog are opinions. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, cause, worsen, or delay any disease or mental health state. To contact me, e-mail

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