I have a piece in the November issue of Woman’s Day (it doesn’t appear to be online) about a fabulous, funny mom named Pam in Valparaiso, IN who has a 20-year-old son, Alex, with autism. I loved talking to Pam and so admired the way she copes with some fairly hardcore challenges. The first draft of the story was a little darker than what ended up published, so I’m not sure how much Pam’s resilience and determination really come through. I urge everyone to check out her blog, which is brilliant, offering a lot of useful practical advice for parents with adult children with autism as well as a portrait of her and her husband Ed’s life with Alex. The labyrinth of legal, social, medical and insurance-based structures parents’ with adult kids with disabilities have to navigate — oy.
Side note: I hate picking up the phone to call someone I don’t know for the first time. It’s ironic, given what I do for a living. I’m OK once I’m a few minutes into talking and listening, but pushing the buttons of a phone number for the first time gives me agita. With Pam, though, I felt comfortable instantaneously, two seconds into our first conversation. She’s funny and smart and generous. Her blog is full of evidence of her Christian faith — each post ends with a Biblical quote, and there’s a whole lotta Jesus going on — and I wonder if we’d hold similar political beliefs. It didn’t matter. I don’t usually think the connections of mommydom trump all differences, but in this case, really respecting the way this woman parents and shoulders adversity with humor and perspective made me connect with her in a flash. She rocks.
The November issue of Woman’s Day is on newsstands now, I do believe.