Before Steve and I got married we visited Father Ashley for pre-cana classes. He asked what we expected to be doing five years from now. We were both in grad school in the early stages of dissertation writing, so we told him that in five years, we expected to have tenure-track professor jobs and maybe a young family.
Yeah. None of that happened. The dissertation writing took too long. The academic job market was horrible. We had a kid before finishing the dissertations and needed WIC to buy groceries. Then Steve switched careers. I switched careers several times, while managing two kids and one kid’s autism. But we adapted and created something entirely new.
The truth is that things ended up pretty great. Sure, I have a certain amount of special ed parent chores that are extremely annoying, like IEP meetings, doctor’s appointments, and government paperwork. But I’m also super lucky to have writing gigs, entrepreneurial fun, and local activism to keep me busy and amused. I have friends and families who like to join me on various adventures. We’re tucked away in a nice house on a tree-lined block.
I like this life much better than the life that we had planned out with Father Ashley twenty years ago.
Inspired by AOC’s Day in the Life of a Congressperson Instagram Stories, I’m documenting all the stuff that I do on an average day. I have highly photogenic plans for this evening, so there will be more installments.
Because there are no organized activities for young adults with high functioning autism, we make our own fun. Tomorrow we are taking Ian into New York City to see Dune on a big screen in Lincoln Center. Afterwards, we’ll dine on kabobs and red wine at a cute little restaurant on the Hell’s Kitchen. He’s our permanent third wheel, who is always ready to join us on any adventure.
And we do lots of things that have nothing to do with kids or work. We run 5K’s. We turn ugly vegetables at the farmer’s market into evening feasts. We have spontaneous calorie-fest meals at local pubs during the week.
While I’m a passionate advocate for disabled and disadvantaged kids and their caretakers — a topic that sometimes gets depressing — my life is actually full of joy and fun. Life is good.
How are people who quit their jobs getting by?
Book buyers only want to read happy things. How can I write about disabled kids and their needs without being a total bummer? I will be low key worrying about that bit of information this weekend.
Okay, hope y’all have a great plans for the weekend!