Step II - Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity??

Aye Curumba!

Can you tell I didn't think this through?

I decided at the beginning not to "read ahead" and discover the next steps because I suspected it might make me cop out and not do the series at all.

And as you can see by the gap in posting, I have procrastinated about approaching this one. In the end I went back to google and instead of jumping on the Wikipedia tram, I scrolled down a bit and found the irish website.You see, because this is still allegedly a catholic country, they take their religion for granted. So the Godspeak is decidedly low key. Which suits this Anglican Agnostic nicely.

Actually that reminds me of a good joke:

"Did you hear the one about the Dyslexic Agnostic Insomniac?

Stayed up all night wondering about the existence of DOG."

Boom Boom! I actually rang up and told that joke on the radio once. And fuh'ed it up saying"Oh Shite I fecked it up" live on air.

Which was actually way funnier than the joke. People were crashing their cars laughing, apparently. (Don't worry it was only Triple J)

Ahem: Back to Step 2.I have thought about this one and I am sorry but I am not going to link it to Religious faith.

Faith, like a small waist or neat ankles, is something you either have or you don't. You can't force it. So while I am not shutting the door on a death bed conversion, I am not comfortable with the accepted dogma of the church and I hope God will forgive me for that.

What I do recognise is the basic principle of the golden rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" Meaning put it out there and there is a better chance that some of it will come back to you. The power, therefore, that is greater than ourselves, is that of our COMBINED efforts to manage and support our child's disability. You gotta have friends. You gotta network. You cannot do this alone or you will FECK IT UP. (as a great philosopher once said)

At the beginning you will be feeling hopeless and may be tempted or even told to "offer it up".

A charming irish expression commonly bestowed on women meaning to take all the injustice and cruelty of your daily existence and offer it up to Jesus or God.

What God is expected to do with it is anyone's guess.

Women being the vessel of sin are supposed to just suck it up I guess.

And yes for 800 years they mostly did.

(pre-invasion the Irish women warriors ran around doing what they liked)

Bad marriages, abusive husbands, a cruel and dictatorial church, exploitative labour laws, absence of contraception and the right to "Say No".

They were expected to put up with it. Many did, and it was to the detriment of their kids I can tell you.

So, as previously discussed, nobody is going to fly in on a cloud or indeed ride in on a white stallion to the rescue with all the services and intervention your child needs. Indeed, the system actually supports denial and if you choose that option, no one is going to bother you until your child reaches primary school age and can neither talk or use a toilet independently.

Then they might notice.

So you are going to have to go out and seek the greater good that is already out there in your world, most likely created by parents like yourself, who went before you.

The best diagnostic, therapuetic and educational services in this country are parent driven. There is also an informal network of support groups lead by parents and finally, a formal counselling service at the National diagnostic Centre; Solas.

Parents who have gone before you, who have fallen into the traps of waiting for non existent services, of pursuing the false gods of expensive treatments.

Parents who know how awful it is to hear the news and walk out of the clinic with that piece of paper that confirms your baby isn't perfect.

Parents who will never tell you to "offer it up" or indeed give you the the irish version of grief counselling: "God Help Ye" and "Sure, you'll be grand, you have your OTHER kids"

Please reach out, relinquish absolute control and accept the help that can restore you to sanity.

And when you do get yourself together. (I reckon it takes 2 years) you can sit down and work out what you can do to help the next ones who come along.

Do unto others, put it out there. By the laws of mathematics, the more good we put out there the more likely we are to come across it ourselves.

Now for my shoe of the Week.You remember my reference to ankles? Well I got some lovelies in the the Trinity Hospice store on Queensway London W2. These shops are all over London and they are fantastic as unlike the some of the choosier thrift stores; they take in Anything.

From the designer dee-lights stored safely behind the counter; to the bric a brac of unopened perfumes, vintage sunglass cases, designer shoe and handbag-bags, airline and hotel toiletries, and best of all: kids videos.

Some snootier thrift stores have decided not to take videos anymore because they are "obsolete". But surely thrift is the last refuge of the obsolete and heaven for the collector.

IN one morning I got:

A gorgeous black Burberry skirt with a very minimalist burbery check on the tie belt. (completely non chav),

a little purple Maxmara cropped jacket, Ralph Lauren Polo Denim Jacket (to share with Boo),

Mango arse flattering trousers, (gotta love spanish labels)

a little Radley wallet bag to keep my sunglasses in.

And sitting handsomely on the shoe shelf (as opposed to the shoe bucket which is universally full of crappy pleather and nylon nasties, and Crocs) were some suede Kurt Geiger Mary Janes.

Now I am under no illusions about my ankles, and freely accept that like True Faith, I don't really have any. As evidenced by this Hen Night Heifer picture.

However, I am able to compensate for this cankleness and by adjusting the straps and adding some opaque tights, I can create the illusion of daintiness.

I still have my sturdy little carry me 10 kilometres without a worry ankles; while looking like I could be on my way to a highly paid job in the city,

- as opposed to drinking cocktails through a penis shaped straw in Temple Bar.

Phew, step II out of the way.

Now I have to run. Will try and improve on the photographs later.

Thanks for sticking with me.



Maisie May said…
What you write is so true, Hammie.
It has been two and a half years since my little one's diagnosis and lately things have clicked into place. I feel a different level of acceptance now and a renewed appreciation of her extraordinary beauty and uniqueness. With that comes a clarity which has allowed me to focus on others, for help and, hopefully, to help.

Loving the blog. I'm of the no-waist/ok-ankles/atheist persuasion. Dog help me! Maisie.
Skye said…
I was wondering how in the hell you were going to spin this step - and you have far exceeded my expectations. Fabulous words of wisdom, and lovely shoes - what more could anyone ask for?
Vaklam said…
That is an excellent take on the concepts of faith and higher power. I hadn't thought of the network of good, helpful people in that way but I will from now on.

I'm loving this series. Keep up the great work.
Make Do Style said…
Ah feck will ya stop bemoaning your gorgoues ankles!
I like your interpretation of step 2. I'm a complete non AA type person but think your use of the strucutre is tip top!
Step one I can absolutely do number one. Step two. Umm? Well a power greater of ourselves could be a group of people who support us. It could be all my blogging friends. It could be something that a pharmacist that prescribes that restores us to sanity.

By the way, you so do not have cankels. You have gorgeous legs and fantastic taste in shoes. Hope you had a lovely evening. And, if you got all those goodies in a thrift store you must have a personal deity who is conspiring for your happiness.;-)
Elizabeth said…
Your interpretation of Step II is dead on: nobody's going to ride in and save you, so you will have to make adjustments.

Maybe the "power greater than ourselves" is the accumulated energy and positivity of the people who "put it out there," the people who went before, and paved the way for the people who come up a year or two behind them.

If we were to stretch that theory out, then we could say that what Hammie does today to seek out programs, assistance, new legislation, etc., benefits another person tomorrow. Or next year.

I love those shoes, and by the way, I don't see any evidence of "cankle."
Lisamaree said…
Maisie May! Welcome, it is lovely to hear your comments. And he he he! You get me.

Skye: Spin? who me?
Thankyou. xx

Vaklam: welcome and thanks for staying with me. I wanted people to look at their network and apprectiate it, so great.

MKDo: I think the AA philosphy just got to me via Osmosis, and american film and television culture. (like everyting else) And it was my big sister who first pointed out my peasant ankles; I am afraid it is ingrained.

La Belle; whatever gets you through the night, is alright.
I was off to a meeting in the daytime believe it or not, murky wintery light an' all.

K.Line said…
Honestly, this pose is so good in so many ways I cannot begin to enumerate them. Your mathematical conclusions managed to be a)aligned with faith (though not traditional religion), b) sciencey and c) totally, incredibly true! The idea that it can take 2 years to adjust to the "confirmation that your child is not perfect" seems so apt. People need to grieve the loss of expectations in order to give up "absolute control". That takes time. I imagine that you have helped so many parents struggling with a new diagnosis. What a gift to them. Probably gives them faith that they can do it too!
Anonymous said…
Right on, Hammie, right on. A power greater than ourselves needn't be anything so lofty as God ... it can be the power of community and understanding and support. That's a power much stronger than fear or confusion or depression. That's a power that might keep parents of autistic children from giving up, or breaking down, or cursing their fate. THAT'S a power we agnostics can surrender to, even as our souls rebel against religious faith.

Additionally, if you think you have cankles, I suggest a trip to the eye doctor. I'm for real.
Lisamaree said…
enc: I'm blushing. You have no idea how much your comments mean to me. xx

K-: thankyou, also blushing from your comment. You really get where I am going with this, so encouraging!

Sal: I don't want new glasses. My failing vision is making my wrinkles fade and I have never looked better. xx
Nick McGivney said…
Whatchoo talkin bout ankles? I have seen many's a decent agricultural ankle in my day and you sister don't even make it to the bottom end of Rick Dees' top 100 sturdiest ankles. Srrsly grlfrnd, ur supafine.
Songy said…
Please reach out, relinquish absolute control and accept the help that can restore you to sanity...This was the exact reason why I came out of my little 'break'. You must have sent me some message over the pacific ocean.
The Spicers said…
First, great post.
And second: you do NOT have cankles. The shoes look lovely!
Sister Wolf said…
Thank YOU, this is the best wisdom on having a special needs kid that I've come across. It is other parents who learned about autism and went to the trouble of posting their knowledge online....that's how I became an expert.

I spent hours and days and weeks and months, researching and printing out papers on AS and then shoving them in the faces of teachers, administrators, everyone who had contact with my kid and pretended to know what they were doing.

Each child is different, within each diagnosis. And each mom is different in how she responds to the challenge. But not many are like you, my dear Hammie.

That's why we treasure your words and your spirit. If there was a god, I'd thank him personally for letting me find you.
Nan P. said…
As a dyslexic agnostic myself (thankfully not insomniac) a Higher Power is the expression of what is bigger than me, what I can’t explain, yet guides me, looks after me – it’s the spiritual side of my human nature.

And I agree with you, this expression can take the form of a group of people brought together for a common purpose. And when that happens, it can become a force to be reckoned with.

Including bringing a sense of normality in our lives.

That may be why I have different sets of friends for different situations (I was going to type “purpose” but that would be, in effect, correct).

I also agree with you that “God” is often confused with “Religion”. In my view, one does not imply the other. Hence I believe, I have faith in a Higher Power, whom I may call God sometimes. My catholic religious up-bringing is part of what made me, not what I chose to be now.

And by the way, my Higher Power is definitely a female...

NB: you handled that step in a very interesting and novel way!
Lisamaree said…
Nan: thankyou. I think I do that a bit too. In reality all my friends here have been made through having Autie kids, but the blogging world has helped me make cyber friends with people outside of that cocoon, and it is a relief to go visit them, helps me develop that part of me, or should I say Me.
Sis: Yep, each child is different and it is getting that across to people that can be so frustrating. From Each According to his abilities, To Each According to his needs. Just to throw some Marx in there. Thanks for the props too.

IHeart: Thankyou, and that is only because I adjusted the straps. I am a realist if nothing else.
Lisamaree said…
Songy: I am intrigued.Tell me more?
And it is funny but I think of you as across the Indian Ocean on the Western Shore there. I guess I have been following the QF1 route across Europe, The middle East and then asia to get home to The East Coast. I've never flown the long way round, hmm wonder what the jet lag is like that way? Maybe I can skip my 40th Birthday crossing the date line.....

Nick: You are so full of shite Man, but thanks.
jazzygal said…
Another serious thought provoking post there Hammie.
Think you've nailed the first 2 got the right take on them.

While I do have some religious beliefs,I like to think there's a higher power. But i wouldn't be totally relying on it. We do indeed need our network of friends and help from others who've gone through similiar difficulties.

It is then good to pass this help and support onto others. It's right and fitting that we do so. Treat others as you would like to be treated. My absolute belief and something I'm working on having my child understand.

Now, I'm curious. Do you have a fabulous pair of shoes for every one of the 12 posts?? just wondering! xxxJ
Seeker said…
My dear Hammie,
Reading this post I feel that you’re very angry, with people, with institutions and maybe you’re right.
But “God’s” work doesn’t end in temples.
When a group of parents fights to give a better life quality to their children, they are doing “God’s” work.
There’s a difference between Church and Religion. Church is an institution with a hierarchy and rituals and rules. Religion comes from the Latin meaning Link between Man and God, and this is a very private link, no rules, only communication. When I say God I talk about the Unity, the Universe, the Cosmos…
The first thing I think you must do is to accept you must fight to achieve your goals. The second is to pacify your heart, you’re doing a task of Love, and you must get rid of the entanglements of the pain in your heart. You’re a Light Warrior.
You must connect yourself with the Universe to preserve your energy, you must contact your guides to enlight you in your decisions.
You are in the Path that the Universe presents to you.
All this I’m telling you is connected with your spiritual side.
I think that this is very important because what, in my view, make you sad, bitter and feeling this is a hypocritical and unjust world is because you miss the “liaison” with the Universe.
I agree with you that the groups and/or associations of parents are an important power to change things, to make the difference. But you’re not alone, you have many groups of parents doing the same work in the entire planet and is physically impossible communicate with them all. The only way of doing that is to connect with the Universe, the ultimate Power.
But of course this is my humble view.
Above all I respect and admire your work.
God Bless you

The shoes are gorgeous ;)
Andrea Eames said…
Thank you - this was really lovely to read. Words of wisdom, indeed!
OH BOY PENIS SHAPED STRAW. golly gosh. I want those.

hahahaha drinking from long cool glasses of iced tea at garden parties, in a pretty floral day dress... and a penis shaped straw. :D

I love the dog joke. Triple J... hahaha I guess if you're going to kill people en masse, you pick the public radio station with limited listeners. :)
Sesame said…
What have u taken on girl??

Am wondering if I have a problem at all?

In the beginning I offered up Babs to my 'higher power' to be fixed ..the higher power being those who know best, 'the experts'..soon came to realise that when it comes to my child and his problems I am his higher power, his voice..has that restored my sanity...yes actually i do think so..accepting and taking responsibility was the hardest thing and am nearly there...

I am catholic but not as good a one as my mother...mass every week, rosary beads, praying to statues, pilgrimages to Lourdes & Knock looking for miracles that will never come...just doesn't do it for me...
I'm more a pic n mix catholic...pick out the bits that suit me at any given time..usually when things go wrong...
I know there's no bearded man sittin on a throne in the sky lookin down poking me with his staff when I do bad things...punishing me for my sins if u like....I do, however, have my spiritual side which gets me through...I believe that my loved ones who have 'crossed over' are taking care of me and my loved ones...and my new network of 'special' friends are my miracle

Am I ready for the next step...god I dunno..