[Kim Stagliano (All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism) — wife, mother, writer/columnist/blogger/, autism activist, and memoirist — leads a 24/7 life. How does she manage to cope with it all? In today’s guest post, Kim shares her favorite, tried-and-true form of relaxation.]
Thank you for inviting me to share some thoughts on Divining Wand as we countdown to one of my favorite holidays, Halloween.
As the 31st approaches I’m proud to announce that my 300 piece bag of chocolate candy from Costco is as intact as a virgin on her wedding day, safely “hidden” in my coat closet. (Thinking. Maybe just one piece? No! You’ve made it this far, Kim, don’t DO IT!) OK, the moment has passed. Sure we all love candy. But I might be the only one of us who grew up with a drawer in her kitchen called, “The Candy Drawer.” And my Dad was an orthodontist! We still call it that when we go home to my parents’ house in Massachusetts. And there’s usually a Hershey bar or two in it. For a while anyway. The untouched Costco bag is a big deal. Halloween is one of those holidays for children that adults can enjoy just as much and on the same level – candy, costumes, parties.
My life can be chaotic. A lot of things haven’t gone quite as I’d planned. My husband and I have three beautiful girls with autism. They are almost 16, 14 and 10 years old, and I love them more than all the Kit Kats in the world. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that our lives get really stressful because of the autism.
One of my coping mechanisms is reading. Thinking about Halloween got me thinking about my favorite books from childhood, and how I still love them and turn to them from time to time for the comfortable feeling of going back in time. My wise parents enrolled me in the Weekly Reader book club in the mid 1970s and saved the books for me.
Those old childhood books have a special way of soothing me when I’m as frazzled as a handful of Twizzlers. Before writing this, I pulled a few of them off the shelf and noticed a bit of a Halloween theme in my old friends. Gus and the Baby Ghost and Lazy Tommy Pumpkinhead were favorites. Opening those covers releases a slightly damp smell of well read pages and transports me back to my childhood bedroom with the pastel wallpaper (think Brady Bunch) and the Snoopy bedspread I loved so much.
And I relax.
The day after Halloween is All Saint’s Day. It also happens to be my launch date for my book www.kimstagliano.com All I Can Handle I’m No Mother Teresa. I didn’t plan that twist of calendar continuity – Mother Teresa, All Saint’s day and “me.” The book is a “Kimoir” and I’m both excited and nervous for how readers will receive it. That’s why you’ll find me on the first with my nose in one of my favorite books, surrounded by empty candy wrappers, hoping the launch is a treat and not a trick.
Note: There’s no need to wait until November 1st, All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism is available now!
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Beth Hoffman and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.