He runs to make his mind still, to organize himself and to get rid of the noise from this loud, confusing world. The more he's moved, the more he's introduced patterns and rhythm into his routine. Laps around the house are a daily ritual. He's made it more complex as he's developed, but the basics are the same. There is a pattern of movement -- specific foot patterns based on whatever song or chant he chooses to accompany the run, and he can not be stopped until he is ready to be.

This is James, and this is our story.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mixing Martinis and Fire Pits is a Very Good Idea. If...

On World Autism Awareness Day, I wrote a post about why I wasn't going to put out a blue light on our stoop. James gets really upset when attention is drawn towards him and he is just starting to understand what having autism means. I don't want him to feel at all uncomfortable while we navigate together through uncharted waters.

I do, however, know how important it is for our children with autism to have the same opportunities as all the other kids in our community. And I know all too well how necessary it is for me to have time away with my friends to relax and unwind, so I can continue to be the best mom to James and Johnny that I can.

So when the chance came to spend the evening raising money for students with autism just by hanging out with my D'MAC friends drinking martinis at our de facto clubhouse... well, it was like all the stars had aligned.

A few years ago, folks from the West Roxbury YMCA approached us and asked how they could help. I'm not sure that at the time they realized how loaded a question that was. We had kids who couldn't participate in general swim classes and in many of the programs offered in our community. Our kids were missing out on some great opportunities to actively socialize. For some of us, the hours after school were the most difficult. Our autistic children needed constant direction and guidance and behaviors always seem to be more challenging when they get home after a long and frustrating day at school, but all our other children needed our attention also. Many of us felt like we were not doing enough for any of our kids.

We poured our hearts and our ideas out to the Y. They listened. They understood. And then they created an incredible program.

We now have an open swim and open gym where our kids can play and relax and just be themselves, in a safe and judgment free environment. Most importantly, we have an after school program with a ton of volunteers who take the students swimming and do OT based play. 

These programs provide incredible and much needed opportunities for our children, and for us.

So the fabulous Sonia and Joe Garufi at Sophia's Grotto decided to give back to the Y. They created a drink special called the Blue Spectrum Martini, and all proceeds from sales of this drink go directly to the Y's after school autism program. And they didn't stop there. They got some absolutely incredible raffle items donated by their generous vendors, including a night at the Colonnade in Back Bay, a case of Italian wine and a fire pit filled with bottles of gin and vodka! I almost feel like I shouldn't be telling you this because I want to win so badly, but I'll do it for the kids I guess...

If you've ever been to the Grotto, you'll understand why it's been my favorite restaurant since even before I was lucky enough to count Sonia and Joey as friends. If you haven't yet been to the little hidden gem in Rosi Village, you need to go. NOW. THIS WEEKEND.

The Blue Spectrum Martini and raffles will be featured until Sunday 4/7 (raffle drawing is Sunday evening.)
You'll leave the Grotto content after a delicious meal and happy you were able to help by having a fun night out. And you might even leave with a fire pit filled with bottles of vodka!!

D'MAC helping Steve make Blue Spectrum Martinis
Wicked Awesome Raffles. For the kids, right?

Just doing my part. For the kids...

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