Posts with Category This Writer’s Life

What my autistic son taught me about happiness

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It’s that time of year when we are constantly reminded through ads, resolutions, and unrealistic expectations that we are less than others. People are more organized, fitter, harder workers, better looking, and overall live better lives being better people than you and me.

Feel better? Are you overcome with hope and positivity?

Perhaps the happiest human I know is my son Griffin. This might surprise some people because Griffin, 5, is on the autism spectrum. The stereotype for someone on the the spectrum is that he or she becomes easily frustrated by people, lights, sounds, a break in routine. This can lead to anxiety and sometimes depression.

One night recently Griffin woke us up, not crying, not whining, but laughing an uncontrollable, body trembling…

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The sweetest Obamacare story you’ll hear this week

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Griffin was down in the basement in his “boy cave.” Harper was doing an art project on the kitchen table. Annie was preparing dinner. And I was shopping for Obamacare on healthcare.gov. My appetite a bit less as I scrolled down past ever-rising premiums and deductibles trying to find a plan that worked for us.

We are thankful for Obamacare and the fact we can’t be turned away for my son having a “preexisting condition” of autism. No private insurance company would insure us otherwise.

Basically, we pay the insurance company $10 and they pay $100 of our expenses. Of course, we pay a lot more than $10 each month to have insurance. Our premiums and our deductibles (which we…

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Thanks for the inspiration, Donald Trump. Let’s get to work!

There are a lot of reasons I didn’t want Donald J. Trump to be our next president, but there is one reason (and probably only one) that I’m glad he won.

The night of the election, I went to a watch party hosted at The Downtown Farm Stand. (Can you get more liberal than drinking organic beer and eating organic free-range, potato chips with your GMO-free friends? Probably not.) Like everyone else we expected to watch the election of the first female president. I can’t say I was a vigorous supporter of Hillary Clinton (there’s something rather unappealing about political dynasties), but earlier that day when I cast a vote for her I did get the “feels.” I have a daughter and if her fascination…

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This photo shatters a common myth about autism

There’s this myth that people with autism aren’t affectionate.

Allow me to shatter that into 1,000 pieces with this pic:

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This morning my wife took this photo of our 5-year-old son Griffin, who is on the spectrum, snuggling with his sister, Harper. Griffin gives great hugs and high-fives. He giggles so hard he toots and then giggles even harder because toots are funny. And he has a smile that will make your day.

Not all people with autism can express their affection through actions or words. We’re fortunate that Griffin can. But I’m pretty positive that every single person on planet Earth, including those who are on the spectrum, feel love and affection just like you…

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That time I filed a harassment complaint against my favorite ice cream shop

Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day–a day, which for religious purposes, we participate in whole-heartedly.

It was getting late in the day, our Sunday naps had given away to a flurry of activity–swinging, bike riding, Ninja-warrioring on the local playground, anything to try to wear out the kids so they would fall asleep before 2AM. (Oh yeah, we also enjoy playing with the kids, but, honestly that was secondary.)

I checked my phone in a panic between underdogs to see what time The Barking Cow, our favorite, local ice cream shop closed. The Barking Cow’s Facebook page said they closed in 50 minutes.

Oh look and there on their Facebook page was a picture of someone we know. The husband of Mrs. Stanley, Griff’s preschool teacher, was holding his little boy who…

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Where the hell do dreams come from?

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I haven’t eaten Domino’s for years, so I’m not sure why I was dreaming about Domino’s, but I was. And I wasn’t just normal me, but SuperMe, as in I was a superhero with the ability to fly.

So Super Kelsey was looking for a way to earn a few more bucks. Domino’s apparently in this dream world was delivering pizzas via an uber-like delivery service accessible from the Domino’s app. If you had time to deliver pizzas, you logged into the app and saw what opportunities were available. Different deliveries earned you a different amount. I suppose this had to do with distance and the size of the order, maybe, but I really have no idea. None of this exactly makes sense.

I…

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The Limo at the Daddy-Daughter Dance

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“Man, who comes here in a limo?” I said, to my fellow dad, Zach, as we left the daddy-daughter dance with our daughters.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but there seemed to be some pressure at the daddy-daughter dance to “out-dad” one another. This dad wore a suit. That dad wore a bow tie. This dad has some dance moves. That dad is on the phone.

But a limo?

As I turned to watch it drive by, I saw it slow in front of a dad and daughter well within earshot of my comment. As soon as I saw them, I knew that there was probably some super special reason that this dad came with his daughter in a super special limo. I…

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Jealous of 2008-Kelsey

I’m spending the day at Ohio Northern University visiting classes, talking with faculty and students, eating, some more eating, and giving a presentation tonight.

This is the flyer they made for my event tonight.

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Annie took this picture of me in our backyard in 2008, and it gets used quite often to this day on posters such as this, which makes me a little paranoid: Do I even look like that anymore? Do I look more authorial when I’m not wearing my glasses, which I absolutely have to wear today?

I’ve had professional head shots twice since, and folks can choose from, I don’t know, like 10 different ones, yet they continually choose 2008-Kelsey making 2016 Kelsey a little jealous.

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I checked in at my…

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All we really own are moments

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I lay down next to my son and stare up at the stars. They aren’t mine. A hand I’ll never shake placed the glowing sticky stars to bring joy to her daughter in the dark.

“Wish it. Dream it. Do it.” Reads the acrylic letters the same hand affixed to the wall.

The woman who lived in this house before died in her 40s. Her name was Pat. People seemed to have liked her. When I called the company that services our furnace, they remembered her. I delivered the news to a stranger about a stranger’s death. Now about my furnace…

I often wonder how the hole got in the door of the Jack and Jill bathroom. It’s at the right height and size to…

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Kids & sports & bassoon lessons

IMG_3931There was a volleyball camp this winter and my wife and I wanted our 7-year-old daughter Harper to do it. It was every Saturday for 6 weeks, or something like that.

“I don’t want to give up my Saturdays,” Harper responded.

It was a shockingly mature and reasonable thing to say. Annie loved playing volleyball and we really wanted her to do it. But we really didn’t have an argument beyond that.

“Ok.”

So we didn’t sign her up.

Right now, I feel like she’s in discovery mode and it’s our job to expose her to as many things as possible. But what if she is the most naturally-gifted bassoon player ever and we haven’t exposed her to a bassoon because I’m really not even sure what a bassoon is?!

Yet…

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