Be the Bumper Guard

by Peggy on May 29, 2017

After my family moved from the Midwest to Colorado, we started a new Christmas tradition. My grandmother, who lived in Rockford, would send a little cash instead of gifts for Christmas. She forbid my parents to use the money to pay bills. It was to have fun, she said.

So, Christmas Day, we’d all go bowling. As we grandkids had kids of our own, we kept on bowling for Christmas. Some years we’d take up as many lanes as a league would.

Those first few years, it was hard to watch the little ones learn to bowl. They would hit pins, but they would also throw a lot of gutter balls. The year the bowling alley offered lanes with bumper guards was its own kind of Christmas. The bumpers didn’t eliminate the gutter balls, but the set-up helped the kids figure out what they were supposed to do. It was nice to sit back and let them have at it. They were set up for success: they got a lot more pins and they learned more quickly how to throw. By the second or third year, my nephew was ready to ditch the bumpers and bowl in a lane with the grown-ups. He bowled great games.

My kids are grown and I’ve stopped parenting, but when Sam needs support now, I try to remember to be a bumper guard, just like I did when the kids were little.

We parents need to stand on the periphery of their lives, far enough back that the kids know they are doing things on their own, but that you’re watching, too. They need that internal message that they shouldn’t worry about hitting a lot of pins, and that they are still going to throw gutters, and sometimes the ball is going to ricochet its way down the lane, but just keep throwing and try to get strong so you can throw it straighter each time. And one day you’ll be ready to go without the bumpers. You will hit some spares and strikes and you’ll throw some gutters. And it will all be ok.

I don’t always remember to be a bumper guard. A few weeks ago, I thought someone had drained Sam’s bank account. Fear turned me into a helicopter parent. Of course, my actions, ostensibly to defend his hard-earned money, upset him. And they created other problems that he needed to solve. When I remembered my role and stepped back, he cleaned up the whole mess himself.

Our culture is changing rapidly. To survive and to thrive, all of our children, not just the ones with autism, need to be resilient. We should not stand over them and help them throw all the balls. That’s not how to make a resilient kid. With each situation, each problem, each opportunity for growth, we need figure out where to install the bumper guards, stand back and let them throw.

 

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Love people. Cook them tasty food.

by Peggy on May 5, 2017

Penzey’s Spices started in my home state of Wisconsin. I’m pretty sure I’ve been a customer for decades, because I remember reaching for a Penzey’s jar the first time I made so many recipes that I’ve been making for decades …

Roast chicken with lemon and rosemary …

Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon …

Pasta with ginger and garlic …

They used to have just the one store near Milwaukee and I ordered by mail. They have shops all over the country now, but we still order online.

If your order is large enough, they’ll send you a little sample of something. For a few years, they kept sending me a spice blend, BBQ 3000. I guess maybe they thought since I lived in Texas, I would need a lot of that.

Like most Texas meat lovers, I think, I like to mix my own.

This last order, they let me know in a pop-up window what the freebie would be, and asked if it was ok. Dill weed. I clicked yes.

When the box arrived, they’d also sent a colorful bumper sticker. I didn’t put it on my truck. I put it in my front window, because it’s just such a beautiful sentiment.

Love people. Cook them tasty food.

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Butterflies

March 5, 2017

Sam was spared the agony a lot of us get in the home stretch for a new job: the long wait between a successful interview and the offer. On Friday, one rolled right after the other for him. He had the best smile when he announced over dinner that WinCo hired him to work in the warehouse. Sam sacked groceries at Albertsons for […]

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Overheard in the Wolfe House #310

January 23, 2017

Sam: Today’s the first day. (pauses) I hope I like everyone. Peggy: That’s a nice goal.

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Random thoughts from the first Knob Hills half

January 23, 2017

Pack 166 people on a single-track trail in the uplands of Grapevine Lake and they’ll spread out quickly; soon enough, it’s mostly just you and the birds for a couple of hours. Except for that guy and his target practice. Flooding is not good for trees. Flooding collects so much of the detritus of our modern life that it […]

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A grown-ass man

January 12, 2017

Sam came home today after spending three days in Fort Worth. He has competed every year at the Chisholm Challenge, a series of horse shows for riders with disabilities. It’s part of the events that lead up to the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Sam added another silver belt buckle to his collection, but that […]

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Not remedial, but cutting edge.

December 22, 2016

About a month ago, a television reporter went to elementary school classrooms around these parts to tell us about “wiggle chairs.” The chairs helped first- and second-graders sit at their table and get their work done. I recognized them instantly. When Sam was in elementary school, he went to the occupational therapy lab once a week at Texas Woman’s University. […]

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Random Thoughts Running in Eureka Springs

November 6, 2016

It takes a long time for the sun to come up in the mountains, too. Old men step outside at dawn to drink their coffee and breathe the air and they all remember to say good morning and their dog doesn’t follow you. There is no flat route in the mountains, even old mountains. If you […]

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Random Thoughts on the Palo Duro Trail 20K Fun Run

October 16, 2016

First, if the crowd you are running with considers a 20K a “fun run,” consider yourself warned. Keep the rain guard off your tent and you can watch the satellites fly by. You can also wake up to the full moon’s travels across the night sky. Walking down the draw before sun-up to the starting line, where […]

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Overheard in the Wolfe House #309

October 10, 2016

Peggy: Look! It’s a full arch now. Sam: Yep, it’s a high-def rainbow.

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