Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Back in the day when my life was simpler... I remember how good it made me feel to look at a clean empty sink, or the tracks my vacuum cleaner left in the carpet or the smell of a clean house. They were all proof that my house was clean, proof that the never ending "To Do" list was getting smaller. Then I would go and have a seat, relish in a job well done and relax. Ahh those were the days! But overtime THE BAR HAS LOWERED considerably. Can't remember the last time I "enjoyed" vacuum cleaner tracks in the carpet. My life dishes up little or no time or places to just sit down and soak up the satisfaction of a job well done. Instead it seems like I clean constantly, but nothing looks better and my version of reflection or isolation is going into my closet when I need to scream.

In the everyday chaos it's been both easy and necessary to give up time for me. There is so much to be done, how do you really put you on the list. I've read about it, I heard Oprah say it, I've even tried, but in truth it's not so easy and I forget it's important.

I've set aside the importance of these things, but thank goodness a dear friend did not. Last weekend he convinced me to let a TV crew and make over team into my home to film a television pilot. The pilot was sponsored and dispatched by Pine-Sol (yes, the home cleaning product we all grew up with). The crew landed in my house to gift me with a "Fresh Start". Their goal was to transform my bedroom (the only hint that it was a bed room, was the bed!) into a comforting place where I could relax, escape. On the first day, Saturday I was so overwhelmed by the activity I was a nervous wreck. I was revved up, in my usual protect/defend mode. Were the kids okay? Was my family going to be alright? What's going to happen next? How long will it take? What do you want me to do? Who are these people in my house? I was on auto pilot, unable to go to the happy place to wonder..."What will it look like?" or "How fabulous is this?". On day two, Sunday I was able to let go - not an easy task for a nervous control freak. LOL. FINALLY, I WAS ABLE TO LEAP AND TRUST! I let myself openly talk about the realities of living with autism, the challenges we face because people don't understand, how I coped, the unexpected blessings that my ASD son had given me, the dreams I had for my family and other families living with Autism without letting my fear that people would see me as less than perfect or judge me. When I let myself feel grateful even about my less than conventional life the gifts that followed were astonishing.

My family and friends showed up to support me, strangers thanked me for sharing my story and teaching them about ASD. The team was cleaning the house - and making my kitchen and bathroom shine! I kinda liked it :) They were like my own Pine-sol Elves!

Then I saw my amazing room. I had no idea what it was going to look like, but in 48 hours they had transformed my bedroom into a sanctuary that had "Donna" written all over it. It really is perfect for me. Gone are the bright white walls, holes in the plaster, the clunky desk and mix match accessories. In their place calm taupe walls, pictures, a beautiful bed with lot's of pillows and a cozy chaise lounge. I knew a new room was coming, but the end result left me speechless.

I buzzed around thanking everyone as they prepared to leave. I was so grateful. I couldn't of imagined there was more...but there was! Just as the team was ready to go, Maureen the wonderful representative from Pine Sol said "There's something else. We heard what you want to do with your non profit. Pine Sol wants to help you educate the community and make the world safer for children with ASD". She then said "She was pleased on behalf of Pine Sol to make a donation to my non profit to help distribute free Medi-Tags for use by children living with autism". Wow!

Once again a leap of faith is rewarded, and for the moment my house is CLEAN!

Pine-sol, please feel free to come back next week...

Seriously, thank you so much for my room, and for helping children with Autism everywhere!


  1. If anyone deserves it, you certainly do Donna! Thanks for always giving me an inside pic into your lives that I miss. I caught up with the rest of the team last week and we all shared fond stories of your guy......good luck in 7th grade!


  2. Donna, I hope that your newfound sanctuary gives you a great deal of joy. xox Pru

  3. Thanks Donna. I can so relate! http://aweoutofautism.blogspot.com/

  4. I was enjoying reading the posts here on your blog. However I have read it with tears in my eyes as I realize how much, my Beautiful, 17 year old daughter, and I, have suffered as a result of her only getting diagnosed 2 months ago, with both Autism and ADHD. We were told this after we had a 7 year waiting list through the public school system and the health care people. Parenting her could have been so much better had I known!

  5. Wow all I can say is that you are a great writer! Where can I contact you if I want to hire you?

  6. Debra my heart goes out to you. I can't imagine the complexity of your journey. Clearly you are a great mom and have been one, regardless of any diagnosis. The best to you! Donna

  7. Anonymous thanks for the great compliment, it's all about the inspiration :) you can reach me at autismdaybyday@gmail.com. Again thanks for the compliment :)