Kalin Bennett: Autistic Rising Star

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 Kalin Bennett, is an 18 year old athlete from Little Rock, Arkansas who is making headlines across the country because he may be the first Autistic Athlete to sign with a Division I sports team. Earlier this month Bennett was recruited by Kent University, a Division I school because of his “stellar athletic record” according to NBC news. The now 6ft 10 inch Bennett did not start out athletically inclined. Like lots of autistic kids he was behind with some of his early childhood development skills as he did not start walking until he was 4 years olds and didn’t start to speak until he was 7. Having accomplished so much over the last few years, the Autism community is overjoyed with the fact that Bennett is breaking barriers. He says that he hopes to inspire other autistic kids and I suspect that will be yet another goal he achieves.

Dreams or Delusions

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Life sometimes leaves you questioning reality. You’re told to do good in high school so that you can get into a good college, and then do well in college so that you can get a good job. Next you’re told to embrace the entry level position offered right out of college so that you can build your resume. However, after more than a decade of skill set building and networking and you’re still not where you want to be in life you begin to wonder what went wrong. Have your dreams turned into delusions?

As the parent of a special needs child, I’ve had to modify the route I planned to take to get to my dreams but I didn’t think I would have to forfeit them altogether. The reality is that spending 9 hours a day in an office does not work for me because I have to get my son on and off the school bus 2 hours before most jobs want you to leave. Of course I am always looking for freelance projects and jobs that will allow you to work a portion of the day from, but they are difficult to find.

Am I to assume that the “Good Life” is reserved for people that don’t have special needs children? Hmmm… I didn’t get that memo when I was racking up student loan debt. I did read in the somewhere that “the race does not go to the swift, but to those who endure to the end.” On that note, I’ll continue to try to put together the pieces of this dream that used to be crystal clear as I don’t want them to shatter and be lost forever.

More Resources PLEASE

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The topic of resources and the lack there of for parents never seems to get old. America has several things that it proudly brags about being(Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, etc.) It sure would be nice if they would add “Most Thoughtful Country” to the list. It’s definitely not a stretch to say that if you are a hard worker, you can make a good life for your family. However, the two key words are work and family. So with that being said, parents need more resources and options for child care so that can work and provide a good life for their family.

The evidence of  this lack of support is always more visible in the summer time when children are out of school for as long as 2 months. Summer camps are typically a primary resource for parents and are great while they last. However, summer camps usually end 3 weeks before the school year begins leaving parents with limited options for safe and reliable child care.

I wish the elected officials that beg for our votes during election season studied their constituents needs more closely. People need more than tax breaks to live comfortably. Furthermore, life goes in cycles. Parents work to provide quality lives for their children so that they can in turn have meaningful careers and provide quality lives for their children. That very principle is why this country is considered great; I just wish it wasn’t so hard to keep it that way.

Single Parent Rant

Day in and Day out I move to the beat of an internal alarm clock. You see in my life nothing can have a minimized importance as everything is operates like a machine, and if one part isn’t functioning the entire machine will cease to work. From getting up at 6:45am to make sure Christian is ready when the school bus arrives, so that I can in turn start working, so that I can afford to pay bills, pay for cool preteen haircuts and clothing and do all the of the things necessary to run a household. And though this juggling act can be redundant, it can also be full of surprises.

I hate to sound whiny, but almost always the surprises are unpleasant. Surprises like my check engine light coming on when I start my car, or waking up with a body ache(which makes me move slower). However, like always super mom powers through and things work out. There’s just one thing(sigh)… I get tired sometimes. There’s so many have to do’s in life and very few want to do’s. For example, I WANT to go get a pedicure and not feel guilty about the 2 hours I spend doing it. I also WANT to go get a cup of coffee and not feel guilty about spending $5 on it.

Overall, most of my gripes can be lumped into the category of single parent ranting. With that being said I’ll close by saying that being a parent is the best and most meaningful gift I’ve ever received and that all of my griping will one day be cool stories to share with my grandchildren.

Run Your Race

Life can seem like a rollercoaster; you sometimes find yourself feeling like you’re about to crash but just before you hit the ground, you’re thrust to new heights you haven’t reached before. I used to wonder if I was the only person going through ups and downs… that is, until I started hanging out with other ambitious people. Regardless of what walk of life you come from, the more ambitious you are, the more uncomfortable you become with mediocrity.

I’ve recently learned to become my own cheerleader. I’m always on the sidelines cheering for other to have success in whatever they’re working toward. Well now I take the time to cheer for me. I’ve heard that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” well so is success and I’m going to keep running until my race is won!

 

 

 

 

 

Single Parenting

Where do I start? There’s so much that goes into being a parent. However, the load triples when you have to be a single parent.

I’ve been a single parent for 11 years as my son’s father died when my son was an infant. On one hand I can say that I am used to being a single parent since I’ve always been one, but on the other hand it is entirely true that I am still uncomfortable with it. Being a parent has so many layers. You’re the provider, comforter, disciplinarian, chef, fashion director, maid, doctor, tutor, speech therapists, friend, personal banker in addition to everything else that is necessary to keep your child happy. And of course I can’t forget to mention that we have to update our skill set as our children grow.

In addition, I’ve had a few detours in life that have altered my career path and completely prolonged my journey to “ultimate success,” however I am optimistic that I’ll eventually get there.

I wrote this piece as a salute to all of the single parents in the world. No matter if you’re in the United States, Africa, Brazil, Italy or the United Kingdom; our journey is still the same. A big hug to all of you.

Kid Cudi:Peace within

In recent news Rapper and Actor Kid Cudi posted a note on his Facebook page announcing that he had checked himself into rehab for “depression and suicidal urges.” Cudi, age 32 years-old whose real name is Scott Mescudi,  noted that he felt “so ashamed” and apologized numerous times throughout his post. He went on to say “I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me. If I didn’t come here, I would’ve done something to myself. I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life.”

There was such a flood of emotions poured out onto his Facebook page and an even bigger flood of supports from his fans and music industry colleagues. Cudi acknowledging that he has some issues and reaching out to get the help that he needs is completely commendable and a great example of what true bravery is.

How often do we as adults, parents and caretakers acknowledge our emotions and what we are feeling. For many the answer is not often if ever. We wear so many hats and are pulled in so many directions we hardly have the time to deal with self. I want to encourage everyone to not get swept away in the rocky sea of life and to feel what you’re going to feel, and if what you’re feeling isn’t right get some help. Cudi acknowledged how “ashamed” he felt for feeling the way that he did, but we can not be ashamed of who we are or who we’ve become. If we don’t like the way we feel or the things that are going on in life lets push the pause button to make the changes we want and live a life full of peace and joy.