The kids have been on Thanksgiving break since last Friday. I have not. This means Ben has had a few more hours to himself than I care to admit. On the way home from work tonight, I began to think through the amount of minutes I am sure he has had on screens and the panic set in. Did the written prompts help him to remember to take his meds, brush his teeth, put on deordant, eat all his faves for lunch? Could the picture schedule for each day that he relies on really be enoug...h?
All those "should haves", "could haves" and "would haves" raced through my mind. It wasn't just about the past few days but I went all the way back to the day he was diagnosed at 18 months with Autism. Why didn't I put him in more social clubs or get him to try out for the swim team? Surely, there is so much more that I could have done and should be doing.
Here's the deal: Every family has its stuff. Special needs families just have extra on top of the stuff. So when I walked through the door with the story nagging at me that I suck as a mom, my son probably hasn't eaten all day and his brilliant mind that just needs extra help navigating has lost brain cells due to Nintendo and Sponge Bob, I found the unexpected.
He was showered and dressed ( at this point, who cares about the deordant). I was met with a warm greeting and of him telling me he was at the table working on his math homework which isn't due until next week. The television wasn't on nor was his video games in sight. I asked if he was hungry but he declined, sharing that he had already eaten and told me thank you for getting his favorite foods. He added, " The kind that didn't require any cooking."
He was safe. Happy. Healthy. Cared for in the best way a person can be.
I was tearful. I was grateful. Grateful for Ward, Payton and myself. For every therapy, therapist, teacher and teacher aid, for whoever developed the picture exchange communication, every friend and family member, each fireman and policeman who we needed throughout his younger years of wandering, for every single tear and prayer, every single sacrifice,the daily hope that he would meet his very greatest potential.
It truly does take a village. How blessed am I to see the fruits of our labor of love. Near and far, new and old- Happiest of Thanksgivings to our friends and family. We're all winning. None of us suck.
Love and gratitiude,
The Herberts

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Autism does not equal oblivious.

This morning, as I am rushing out the door from being called into work early, Ben hands me a progress report that has to be signed TODAY and TURNED IN because of a few missing assignments.

Ben, this should have been the first thing you showed me yesterday after school/work.


"But, I didn't want to ruin your baseball experience."

Me: Unacceptable.

Me as autism mom: Well played. Neuro typical behavior. Brilliant. You're so in there. You so belong.


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Jeremy L. Warren
· June 1, 2017
The family that started this site are some of the most phenomenal people I have ever met- their vulnerability and insight has been honed and refined by years of their own journey with a special needs ...child, and all the other struggles that typical life brings. I have learned so much from them and my perspective of "special needs" has shifted drastically, as I have learned to embrace and really see the gifts that we all have been given despite the labels our society places on individuals. See More
Ward Herbert
· June 2, 2017
This is a special place to and be belong!
Stephanie 'Hyberger' Link
· June 1, 2017
Such a needed perspective. Expect honestly and heartfelt encouragement!!
Sunday Stories 7/16/17 6pm What I have learned from Ben about truly belonging versus just fitting in.

Piece by piece, what are you letting go this season?

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Ellen Phillips Herbert

"If I could let go as the trees let go. If I could move into the dark with eyes wide open. I would lose what I lose to keep what I keep."

A poem I gave to Ward... at this time last year. I did not pen this nor is it the entire writing. But we were in a season of letting go. That's what I love most about the fall. There were ideas about myself, my beliefs, my relationships, hurtful things in my marriage, parenting mistakes and a 20 year long career that needed to experience how lovely it is to let the dead things go.

In the letter that I wrote Ward with the above poem, I ended it with, " I will lose what lose to keep what I keep and I want to keep us."

A year later, we have lost much but kept the most important and have never been as sure that each present moment is the best time of our life.

What are you letting go in this season of allowing dead things to lie in order to enter rest in the Winter and renewal in the Spring?

Ward Herbert

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Hey there! Could you let me know if you see this post? Working on page for lifeinpieces
Enjoy your Saturday!

Belonging is found through believing you are enough...just the way you are. The vulnerable way of life is risky but it's way better than fitting in and losing pieces of your bright, beautiful self! God does some of His best work in the belonging.


As many challenges that come with life on the autism spectrum, there are just as many surprising gifts. It has been ringing true through the years that even though we may adjust a focused behaviour…

Sunday Stories

What I have learned from Ben about truly belonging versus just fitting in.

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Ellen Phillips Herbert

I can't tell you for sure how long I was talking to him before I looked of Ben's drawings to the person who guesses what movie he is currently dressed for and watching!
Ward Herbert

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I mentioned in an earlier “Piece” that there are several books that have deeply impacted my life and journey.  One of my favorite authors is Peter Scazarro who has taught me so much in his book “Em…

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I value our time together.
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Young Adult Part 2 – DO you remember times in your early adulthood when you thought you were beginning to figure life out. You’d seen the mistakes and pitfalls of others in your friend group, your …

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