Sampling at Tyler's

Sampling at Tyler’s

Dinner with Mom at Tyler’s in Apex, NC…again.

Tyler’s seems to be our go-to lately. It’s close by, offers great food and friendly staff and there’s beer. Lots and lots of beer.

(And if you check-in on Foursquare, you can enjoy a FREE order of Garlic Fries. Totally yummy and you can vanquish any hint of vampires with your breath afterward. What’s not to love?!

Anyone in the mood for a kiss?)

Meet the lineup: Great Lakes Imperial Smoked Porter (Ohio), 21st Amendment Sneak Attack (California), Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted (Scotland)

I love taking time to peruse through the various beers that Tyler’s has available in the moment – and depending on my mood, I will read through each description carefully and then pick one, or I will pester the Waiter/Waitress with questions and/or ask for a recommendation. Some are better than others with their responses.

And this evening, our Waiter offered some really great – and diverse – suggestions, and even offered to let me sample: try before I buy, as it were.

The samples rocked. And thankfully, there was enough in each glass that mom and I both enjoyed a couple mouthfuls to really get a feel and taste for the brews. (Although her lower lip did tremble a bit after the Porter…she was NOT a fan.)

I choose the Sneak Attack, which was spiced with Cardamom. Aromatic and full of flavor, I knew that it would make me happy with every sip.

The Porter was heavy on the smoked taste…serious bacon flavor – a little too heavy for my mood this evening. And the Harviestoun…well, my favorite part was the title, Bitter & Twisted.

Not pictured: Dogfish Head Theobroma

The sample of Theobroma came out a little later as the beer conversation developed. He was kind enough to bring out a sample for each of us. Think Aztec cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, chilies, honey and annatto in a 9% ABV light-colored beer.

It totally threw me for a loop.
It was delicious.

I’m ordering it next time (with fingers crossed that it will still be on the menu). You should join me!

Oh Wait I'll Eat The Spinach

Oh, Wait. I’ll Eat The Spinach.

I took the kid to Subway this evening. I had a gift card and totally felt like eating out and not paying for it.

He ordered an Italian BMT with spinach – and then decided to eat two leaves and pull the rest out. I asked him to please not waste his food and to consider the fact that his spicy meats were covering up the spinach “taste” anyway.

He didn’t think too much of my idea until I mentioned the fact that I had gotten us 3 cookies to share for dessert, but if he wasn’t going to eat all of his dinner…

He tells me, “Mom, I’ll eat just one more,” and pops a leaf of spinach into his mouth.

I answered back, “And that’s just enough for one bite of cookie,” and I broke off a small (SMALL) piece of cookie and placed it in front of him.

His response: “Aw, man…”

And suddenly, my idea of the spinach being “lost” in his sandwich anyway was utter brilliance, and it was gone just like that.

This kid…he just still doesn’t appreciate who he’s dealing with.

Stuck in the “Lost” Place

This post is the dark, twisted reality of fear that creeps into my existence with Autism.

It’s a rabbit trail from the post: The Most Important Life Skill.

<dark, twisty rabbit trail>

It’s probably one of the scariest feelings I’ve faced as a mother – knowing that my kid is stuck in a “lost” place, knowing that he’s trapped within the confines of his mind and struggling to convey what he’s thinking, knowing that balling his fists and clenching his teeth are among his only outlets in this “lost” place.

I’ve told him a hundred times, balled fists and clenched teeth don’t really give me the details that I need to help him.

But it doesn’t matter. He may hear me in the “lost” place, but he doesn’t understand. It’s very much like when Queen Elinor, after she’s been turned into a bear, slips out of her own mind and into the mind of a real bear (from Brave).

Merida loses her for those moments, and it’s scares her to think that she’s lost her mother to the creature within.

I know that fear.

Want to see inside my naked soul? I’m scared to death that during one of these “lost” moments, I will indeed lose my son to the creature within. Autism will take him into the darkness and I will be left with balled hands, clenched fists and eyes that don’t recognize me.

And, sadly, I know this fear affects me when I’m working to help him get “unstuck.” I’m louder, more shrill. I react, and then have to apologize. I am at my most unimpressive form of human nature. I am a mom scared about losing her child, trying to help her child overcome the battle in his own mind, within his own nature.

Of all the times not to be functioning at my best, and yet this is who I am when trying desperately to reach him, to find him in the “lost” place and encourage him to fight his way back.

And don’t for a second think it’s an easy, Skip to My Lou through the woods. No, darling. It’s much harder and more difficult than that. When I look at him, fighting to come back from the “lost” place, I know that for him, it would just be easier to stay, to give up, to give in – to just be done.

And knowing that I’m his cheerleader?! Me: a desperate, shrill, often reactive, probably disheveled woman pretending not to be on the verge of possibly losing her son…well, maybe at this point you can understand my fear of the whole situation.

[And let me also say - before the darkness becomes overwhelming - these are among the moments I'm thankful that I'm a woman of faith. I need to believe that there's someone bigger, more capable, more loving than I am who will help guide me through these parenting trials, give me the patience that I so desperately need to rise above my own selfishness and fill me with a heart of unquenchable love for this little boy in my care.]

</dark, twisty rabbit trail>

The Most Important Life Skill

The Most Important Life Skill

Sigh. It’s been a rough 14 hours with the kid.

Just off the charts unusual.

I tell people there are some days when he seems pretty “normal” and others when you know with your life’s breath that something – a big something – is not right.

And on the “not right” days, it can be a guessing game as to what’s the matter because, even though his speech capability has come a long way, he’s still not on-level…and that doesn’t even cover how on “not right” days he seems to lose the words he does have.

He gets stuck; and I have to help him find the next step to take – and sometimes, motivate him to take it.

Take a minute to follow the dark, twisty rabbit trail.

We’ve been talking a lot about life skills lately.

Mr. Man wants to be grown up and stay home alone for longer periods of time. I told him to gather a few more life skills under his belt, prove to me he could handle it and we’ll give it a try.

This morning, after a HUGE meltdown and quiet time for both of us to settle down and think, I told him about one of the most important life skills in the universe: using your words to share what’s on the inside with someone you trust.

“Bae, the people who love you and want to help can’t read your mind. You have to use your words. Tell us what’s happening on the inside with your body, your mind, your heart. So we can help. You don’t have to feel stuck and angry, or alone.”

The words came out of my mouth and I had a kind of twang moment…like “huh, maybe more of us – me included – should utilize that life skill more often.”

Parenting: we think we’re teaching them, when in reality, it’s a two way street.

two hundred nineteen

Know that you’re missed – and that you’re loved, no matter what.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will always love you. And whether or not it’s the right choice, it’s my choice.

And so, I’ll love you as I can – when golden opportunity matches my courage.

I’ll look at the naysayers with my bright eyes and nod, because they’re right. And I know it.

But, I’m also stubborn and fight hard for the things that I believe in, the ones that I have hope in. I’ve got some good practice time logged in the skills of “not giving up” and “thinking outside the box.”

I don’t want an “inside of the box” kind of love.

I want to be guilty of breaking boundaries, of finding capacity when the stores were already declared empty. I want miraculous love.

And so, with my choice, I pursue it.

I’ll answer for it at the end of my days, and I think that I’ll be proud with the way that I loved, love and will love you.