autism, family, holidays, joy, leap of faith, Love, Morgan, risks and rewards, Uncategorized

Family Gatherings

“I am brave. I am bruised.  I am who I’m meant to be.  This is me.” – Lettie Lutz in The Greatest Showman

Reconnecting with family can be very joyful; going over old memories, catching up on hugs, sharing what’s new,…  but for Morgan, it can also bring a lot of anxiety.  A couple of the hallmarks of autism are the difficulties with social interaction and communication.  This is partly due to the inability to understand other people’s thoughts and feelings.

Not saying family is scary, but whenever any large group of relatives come together, there are numerous opportunities for things to go awry for the best of us.  For Morgan, “too many friends” for “too long”, with no understanding of when the shindig is going to wrap up,  can make her “all done” much earlier than the rest of us.  For this reason, in the early years, I became more and more weary of family gatherings.  Little by little, I backed off, encouraging everyone else to carry on without Morgan and Mom.

Now Morgan is 25.  Her cousins are grown and married, with kids of their own.  We’ve missed a lot of years.  Since her dad and his sisters all have summer birthdays, we decided to gather to celebrate.  This time, to relieve my anxiety, we called ahead with a game plan.  We had the conversation with family, letting them know that Morgan may have to come for a short time, and then take a break.  And It wouldn’t be because anyone did anything wrong.  It would just be the best way for everyone to have a good time.

   Peggy Jackie and Rudy.JPG Rudy and his sisters

Morgan meeting her new cousin, who lives in Canada now

We booked a hotel nearby, where Morgan and I could retreat when needed.  We really enjoyed seeing family again.  When she was “all done”, we left dad to relax and continue catching up with everyone.  We went for a swim, took walks, rides, and naps, and came back ready to visit some more.  She told me twice that weekend, “I doing a good job.  I’m trying to be brave.” 🙂 She did do well.  I’m thankful for how far she’s come.  I’m thankful for learning to drop the veil, and be brave enough to have the conversation, so we can just be ourselves.  It turned out to be a very enjoyable visit.

 

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice and Family

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autism, faith, family, leap of faith, Morgan, Uncategorized

Room To Grow

 

Morgan and I have enjoyed watching our raised bed plants grow.  Although she would like to plant “a lot a bunch” of pretty green things, we’ve learned that less is more.  With room to grow, in a mix of good and bad weather this year, our tomatoes and “summer squash” are showing us they know just what to do. 🙂  In Morgan’s words, they’re “A Beautiful Mess”.

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One of the hardest things for me, as a parent, is NOT overcrowding Morgan.  I admit, I’ve found myself blocking her sun on several occasions, when my sole intent was to shade her from harm.

This song was written about that parent struggle.  How much to hang on, when to let go, remembering that God’s hands are always there.  😉 A Real Hard Place To Fall

I have to consciously pull myself back to give Morgan the space she needs.  My prayer is for her to have room enough to be able to make her own beautiful, messy, place in God’s garden.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

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autism, dance, faith, leap of faith, Morgan, risks and rewards

“Dancing Like David”

In May, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center celebrated it’s 50th anniversary with a visit from Timothy Shriver.  Morgan and I were very honored to be present.  We entered the Wyatt Center Rotunda, planning to locate a seat in the back, near an exit.  You never know when “Elvis” will be ready to leave the building. 😉 However, as friends of VKC, we were directed to reserved seats in the first three rows.  We chose the third row and were welcomed by some familiar faces.  So far so good.  I sent up a prayer and breathed a deep breath.

I showed Morgan the schedule listed on the program, but when she saw the stage, she immediately assumed there would be a Play with music and dancing.  She replied “Let’s Put On a Show!”  I told her people would be talking, then there would be treats afterward, and maybe we could arrange a dance later.  As the crowd hushed, and the program began, something wonderfully unexpected happened.  She looked at me, folded her hands, and placed them in her lap.  At this point, I had to fight my urge to get up and do my own Happy Dance! 😉

Rose Morgan enjoying a sweet gift from VKC

We loved hearing Timothy Shriver speak.  He truly understands the gifts individuals with disAbilities have to offer.  His book, Fully Alive, is about his search for what matters most, and the role his Aunt Rosemary played in leading the Kennedy family.  Things did get a little tense for me at the beginning of his talk, when he referred to the saying “Dance like nobody’s watching”.  I was concerned, if he didn’t move on to another topic quickly, Morgan might accept his invitation. 😉

Thankfully all went well.  Later in the program, when she needed to create her own entertainment, Morgan quietly pulled out her IPad.  With the help of friends, and a couple of chocolate chip cookies, we were even able to stay for a signed copy of the book.

Morgan and Tim  

Tammy Morgan Tim

Thank you VKC for a sweet day!  Whenever we take a little leap of faith together, and Morgan shows me she can handle a new adventure, my heart Dances like David!

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy and Morgan Vice

P.S. Morgan’s book, 52 Blue Mondays, is now available on Amazon.com and other book outlets.

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