Monthly Archives: November 2015

Gather or Scatter: Girlfriending the Special Needs Mom


The Quakers have a simple and calm refrain… “Let your life speak.”  As a special needs mom, sometimes my life is screaming and sometimes it’s whispering, but it’s always speaking.  And I need my girlfriends to listen to both.   I am fortunate to have several girlfriends, two of my closest, Ann and Fonda, who have stuck with me for years are in the image to the left.

I was the late bloomer in my bunch of girlfriends.  I married later and when I finally became pregnant, most of my married girlfriends were finished having their children.  Having a baby meant I could finally catch up and speak this wonderful language they had already been speaking for years.

But as it turned out, I would again remain the outsider.  I never got to speak their language because my son suffered a traumatic brain injury in utero, due to a burst blood vessel in my placenta and lost blood, which is oxygen, which is life.  He was born dead.  In medical terminology, he was premature, hypoxic, a Hematocrit score of 16, and an Apgar score of 0.  Born dead.  Continue reading Gather or Scatter: Girlfriending the Special Needs Mom


Abnormal, Normal Development

When I decided to title my blog post, “Hope takes practice,” I was in a good place, a normal place. Didn’t realize I would be actively practicing it so soon again.

I recently asked my friend, Barb who has breast cancer and is also a writer why she wasn’t blogging about the cancer.   So, going to take my own suggestion and blog about my own “cancer.”

Like cancer where bad cells quickly grow uncontrollably, so does my life as Will’s mom. My son has endured 34 medical procedures and surgeries—in 9 years. And with each one, we are often assured this will be the last one….for awhile. Apparently, the medical community’s idea of “awhile” and mine are very different. Awhile has come in less than a year.

After Will’s last complex neurospinal surgery, which was characterized to my husband and I as “routine,” went badly and our son lay in a hospital bed in the middle of our living room for four months after the surgery, we were just beginning to feel “normal” again.

Now, I put “normal” in quotation marks because there is nothing normal about our lives.   While you might say, “C’mon, Lyn, no one’s life is normal,” let me give a quick short list of how I define not normal: Continue reading Abnormal, Normal Development

Hope Takes Practice

This will the longest blog I post. I want to give you a context for why teaching, memoir, and disability are so important to me. This blog space will continue to speak to all three.

I grew up with a single mother, an absent father, an older brother and later a step-father and two sisters. We moved around, mostly living in poor and rural communities in southern Indiana. My family was dysfunctional, sometimes abusive, and my life growing up was hard. I spent as much time as I could with my grandparents, at school, and at work because those individuals and institutions gave me the structure, support, and love I craved.

I joined every activity I could, studied hard, and worked and saved so I could get out. I attended one of the poorest and lowest performing high schools in the state.   Many students didn’t graduate from high school and few went to the university. The expectations were low. When I expressed interest in seeking a college education, my counselors suggested a vocational career instead. Many girls in my high school dropped out, were already married, and had children.   I remember taking brochures about universities from the office and being asked to put them back for students who really needed them. Continue reading Hope Takes Practice