Je Crois Que la Vie est Belle

Ohhhh my oh my oh my. It’s been a while, no?

Nope, you aren’t imagining it; this blog seems to have fallen into a wide crevasse for a year or so. And yet – it lives! And honestly, I’ve missed you. (Aw…) I have though – and missed writing. So deeply. So how’s this: I’ll make amends by being prolific and fascinating from now on, and you can graciously accept apologies by stopping by once in a while.

A year. Don’t worry, I’m not going to insert the Christmas letter here. A good lot has happened, though, no question: I turned 40, Rob turned 40, and oh ya: I am now the mama  of two teenagers. Liam and Finn turned 13 earlier this month, and Rory is 8. We lost our beloved Ben last March, which was one of the saddest things we’ve ever gone through. It didn’t matter that he was nearly 14, and that we all knew it was coming. Don’t suppose it ever does.

Five months later, realizing that aside from missing Ben, we actually missed DOG, we started looking for a puppy. Lo and behold, the universe dropped Sam into our laps, and the rest is history. Also, he’s now too big for our laps. Sam deserves his own post though, so that’s going to have to wait.

There is an elephant in the room here (besides Sam) and it’s connected to my very last post from last Spring. We were going to Paris. Paris – the city of my waking and sleeping dreams since I was Rory’s age. And in spite of all the odds, we went.

Even if we’d never gone, the prospect of going, the planning and reading and dreaming and the tantalizing anticipation would still have been some of the best moments – months – I have ever spent.

Or rather, parts of months. At the same time as our departure date was getting closer, Liam’s struggles with anxiety and stress became worse and worse. It wasn’t exactly a surprise – for some reason, spring is always by far his hardest time of year. Every March, almost to the day, everything ramps up: temper, rage, fears, anxiety, desperation. Every year it happens, and every spring it’s worse than the last time. And last year it was awful. It was so bad he was hurting himself, and couldn’t leave the house without falling apart. It reached a terrible peak the weekend of the boys’ 12th birthdays, two weeks before we were supposed to fly to France. Candidly, if there had been an emergency room I could have taken him to on a Saturday night that would have known what to do with this poor boy, I would have taken him, and he would have gone. We were that desperate.

But we got through it, awfully, messily, and in the next six weeks two things happened: we started Liam on a new drug, and we found an insightful doctor at Sick Kids who spent a while with him, and pronounced a diagnosis of Asperger’s.

(Insert forehead slap here).

There are several things you might be thinking. 1) Didn’t he already have Asperger’s? A: No, that would be the other two. 2) How in the name of God could we not know he had Asperger’s when the other two have it, and we know more about it than most of the doctors? A: Ya. About that. Thing is, as the saying goes, “If you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism”. In retrospect, Liam TOTALLY fits some profiles of Asperger’s syndrome. But how the traits manifest themselves is different in every child, and for him, the anxiety was so absolute, so paramount, it sometimes obscured other issues. So there we were: three for three, and two of them with a Tourette’s diagnosis too. We’re pretty sure we could get a TS label for Finn, too, if it mattered, but it doesn’t.

Turns out the  medication Liam started has a record of working really well in kids with ASD and autism, and after 5 years of desperately trying with no success for any relief at all for him, it looks like we’ve found a match.

And while the meds didn’t work that fast, we decided Liam – and Finn and Rory – would be well-looked-after by our mothers while we were away, and on a rainy Friday evening, our friend Sarah drove us to the airport, and we were away. I, I’m not ashamed to tell you, was a basket case of joy from the moment I closed the car door.

And Paris? It changed my life.

Thing is, life-changing things aren’t always what you think they’re going to be: solutions to problems, or smooth, straight-forward transitions. They can be bumpy and painful and confusing. Don’t get me wrong – Paris was none of these. Paris was a dream, charmed and golden and rich beyond what I could ever have imagined, and that, my dear, is saying something if you know me at all.

But coming home was another story. What do you do with a window into another world, another way of being in the world, when you are so firmly rooted into a different one? See? Bumpy, painful and confusing.

I’ll tell you more, no question. I’ll probably even tell you more about my own Paris than you ever wanted to know, but I won’t hold it against you if you skip over those bits. But for now, baby steps have lengthened at least to include writing again, and that may be the biggest, wisest thing I’ve done in a long time.

Well, a year, to be precise.

Welcome back.

Writing at Cafe de la Paix

Writing, at Cafe de la Paix


7 comments to Je Crois Que la Vie est Belle

  • Sandy

    Yay! Welcome back to your blog!!! 🙂

  • Tanya Trafford

    Welcome back indeed, mon amie! Youpi! xoxo TT

  • Jocelyn


  • Jocelyn

    WE MISSED YOU. I MISS(ED)YOU. Let the stories begin 🙂

  • Debbie D.

    So happy to see you back and that you and your family are well. Can’t wait to hear more. Welcome back!

  • grassmar

    It’s a wonderful joyfulness to read your new blog.
    Can’t wait to see more coming.

  • Karin

    Hi Regan! Just reread your most recent post. Where have you been since 2012? With all the challenges of parenting your kids I”m sure your life is very hectic. But I am wondering – where are you working these days if at all? I love your book, and would so love to know what you have been up to!

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