Tag Archives: Our Life

Prince Charming

By Michael Armijo

I thought it was a war movie, or maybe a history movie; the previews were very realistic. Children played ball while the large planes flew overhead. The camera shot followed the bombs as they landed on the enormous ships. I could see the determined look in the crewman’s eyes as he fired the machine guns at the planes in the sky above. It seemed like a pretty cool action movie, but I was taken by deep surprise as a love story unfolded while watching, “Pearl Harbor.”

In another scene, a young woman departed from a train, and you couldn’t help but notice the beautiful glow on her face. She smiled, convincingly, and carried herself as though her life was like a child’s dream. The gleam in her eye, the uncontrollable smile, the happy pitch in her voice – she was most definitely in love.

As she approached a man, he stood there, handsomely, in his compelling uniform.  With flowers in hand, hat in place, and his love beaming like a proud 10-year-old home run hitter, he obviously desired to be near her. He was in love; free from judgment, free from dysfunction. He stood there and confessed his love for her, and she believed him, because he meant it. He meant every syllable, every vowel, and every adjective that came out of his mouth. He loved her as no other. He loved her unconditionally.

When I saw the reflection of his heart on her face, when I saw her overcome with the power of emotion, I noticed how she felt, and then it came to me. It was obvious that she felt the way she did because he loved her, completely. He stood there in his fairytale book stance, and he proved he was, undeniably, her Prince Charming.

The look in her eyes, the love in her smile, was just captivating. It was right then that I knew he was responsible for her love, and I understood that as men, we are responsible for our partner’s love. It’s our responsibility to provide a strong, loving arena for the one we love, so they have no choice but to feel life is like a Hollywood movie with a storybook ending. I also realized that it’s been years since I’ve seen that movie-like emotion in my wife’s smile. And something surprising came to me:  I am no Prince Charming.

I wondered what it would be like to be someone who was capable of giving their heart to someone else, unconditionally, uncontrollably. I wondered what it would take to love someone and to feel free from fear, to give it all up, opening up to possible pain.

I wanted to be like that actor. I wanted to be someone who was capable of all that emotion. But more surprisingly, I wanted that stature in life, and not for me, but for my wife. I wanted to become something that I wasn’t, so that I could someday stand there like that actor did, at the train station, while my wife’s heart beamed with love for me.  I wanted to be free from all of life’s historical pains, egos, anger, frustration, and unhappiness, so that I could be responsible for her undying love. I wanted her to have this life because deep in my heart I know she deserves it. She deserves to feel the way that young woman did at the train station. She deserves every minute of that joy.

Yes, it was just a movie. But to me, today, it’s real life. Because of a simple, believable moment manufactured by Hollywood, I’m doing all I can to give my wife the love that she deserves. I’m trying my best by forgiving past pain and experiences. I’m letting go of agony that bad love once provided. I’m leaving all the insecurities and the egos in the past. I’m giving her my heart. I’m holding her hand. I’m opening her doors. I’m becoming more patient. I’m learning how to apologize more often. I’m being her friend, and I’m letting her be my friend. I call her, sometimes just to tell her “hi,” or “I love you,” and I have no ulterior motive. I am working so hard to earn her trust, to prove to her that I’m capable of loving. I’m learning how to love again.

And I know that a day will come when she’ll smile brightly. She’ll stand there, and her eyes will glisten with happiness. Her hand will clasp my own. Her hug will be trusting and convincing. She’ll whisper in my ear that she loves me. And she will smile uncontrollably. Then I will know in my heart that that I’ve finally provided her with her fairytale, her movie-like love. And when that day comes I will be able to feel her heart from a million miles away, and I’ll know that I’ve finally become her Prince Charming.

The Loss of Life

By Michael Armijo

   I was very close to my family. I loved them with all my heart. I no longer see any of them. One day I woke up and felt that they had abandoned me. And then I drove them further away by sharing my experiences with the world. I am hurt by the loss of their lives.

   The day I opened up to my father I began a real relationship with the one I feared the most. Although I never had his complete love, I somehow gained his respect by my success and aggressiveness. After we began our journey of becoming emotionally close, one dark night I found him lifeless on the hallway floor. I am hurt by the loss of his life.

   When I met him five years ago, he spoke of fairness and honesty in life. Integrity was high on his list, but it wasn’t necessary. His fatherly personality made me confide and respect him. Eventually he became my boss, both personally and professionally. We shared secrets and feelings. We helped one another and confided in each other. His heart was bigger than anyone I’ve ever met. And then one day he developed cancer. I was forced to watch him die, and I felt helpless. I am hurt by the loss of his life.

   He’s a new friend, and I really like him. He’s a cross between an older brother and a young father. He loves to laugh and shares the same dysfunctions I do. We get along and we really care for each other. He’s now someone who I respect, and I love him very much. I consistently remind him to get plenty of rest, live healthy, and to go to the doctor when he feels sick. But I am very afraid. I worry. I am in fear. I am afraid of the loss of his life.

   They call it condition stimulus. A repetitive action that turns into a repetitive response. I love, and then I hurt. Bring out the meat sauce because I’ve now turned into the Pavlovian dog that I read about in college.

   I have a problem understanding life today; I have a problem loving people who may suddenly leave this earth without warning. I know, any one of us could die at any moment. We can get into a car accident, a plane could fall from the sky, or our heart could just quit without any warning. We cannot control it. This is just the way it is.

   Through these experiences I’ve learned not to wait until tomorrow, but I’ve also learned to be afraid to feel love today. I’m tired of the losses. I’m tired of the pain. The siblings who are hurt and hate. Others who are hurt, attack. The blame. The absurd accusations. I don’t want to go through those things anymore. Lately, I haven’t participated in my community. My heart had felt numb. Personal experiences have pushed painful scenarios within my spirit. I felt the struggle between what is, and what could be.

   Today is a good day. I feel content. I am happy. I know that whatever happens, I will look towards the positive. Whatever darkness that creeps into my life, somewhere, somehow, I will see a light. Whomever I love today, I will love completely, … today. I will not wait to hug. I will not wait to express how I feel. I will not feel pain and anguish without confronting those feelings with those who try to push their hate into my life. I will do this, each and every day, because I choose to no longer feel the sadness. This is the gift I’ve received from those who have passed. I choose to feel the many joys hidden deep inside the experiences of the loss of life.

The Power Of A Child

By Michael Armijo

We go through life and we grow, we build, we conquer, we reach our successful arenas; our niche in life. We overcome things we never dreamt we could possibly overcome. We accomplish the impossible. Then we reflect and feel this power about ourselves, the power of controlling our lives and accomplishing what we need to. We feel strong and purposeful; in control of our own destiny.

And then one day, by an act from God, a 60 pound, 4 foot 1 inch person rips away every sense of power that we’ve worked all our lives to obtain.

I’ve felt helpless at times in my life, but have always felt that I could overcome anything life gives me. But strength, intelligence, and endurance cannot compete with certain elements that come into our lives, seemingly as an act of God.  Only God could show us how love can make us feel powerful…or powerless. 

When her tiny voice cried out I could hear the weakness in the tone. She looked frail, lethargic, and felt much warmer than she should have.  I could sense the virus creeping into her weak little body; she lay exhausted and motionless as her fever climbed to 102 degrees.  My child was sick.

Motivated by strength I rise to the occasion and I’m determined to stay by her side and make her well – for as long as it takes (but deep inside I feel afraid and helpless).  Intelligence kicks in and I start the bath water running and carry her to the cool water.

Feeling even more helpless as her fever hits 104 AFTER the bath, I call for help.  The fear escalates as the paramedics take my child away and I follow them to the hospital.  As doctors and nurses attend to her my eyes fill with tears.  I spend a sleepless night at her bedside. 

I sit slumped over in a chair next to her bed, head in hands, exhausted.  My mind starts wandering, and I begin to wonder, is it worth it?  Is the responsibility of this little person too much?  Does the giving, sharing and loving balance out with the worry and fear?

 And then, I feel this soft little touch on my hand as tiny fingers try to interlace with my own.  I hear this little voice whisper, “I love you, Daddy.”  I feel the tears run down my cheeks and I’m overwhelmed with relief.  I look up at my girl and see a hint of a smile, reassuring me that she is better.  That little ray of sunshine feeds my soul, and I’m feeling better, too 

As she feels stronger, I feel stronger.  I embrace my child and feel some of my power being restored and I begin to understand.  The moment she was born I relinquished all of my power to her.  She is the source that can bring me to the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows.

And so it is with children.  They motivate us, give us strength, and show us the power of love.  They are worth every worry, every tear, every laugh, and every moment of our time.  The power of a child is the power of love. 

Don’t Cry When I’m Gone

By Michael Armijo (2001)

I’ve left this earth and you’re still here crying. Well, don’t cry now that I’m gone. You see, I’m free.  Free of the responsibilities that came with life.  I can’t hear anymore; I can’t see what you see.   I’m a pure and flowing spirit that will roam and feel the energy of life. When I shed my body I shed the tears, the pain and the torment that came with it.  I waited all my life to feel what I’m feeling now.  I waited what felt like an eternity.  I lived a good life on earth, so now I will lead a good life in my next step.  Just as I was taken from the womb of my mother and lived that life completely, I am now taken from this life to live yet another.

I am happy, as each life gets easier, stronger, better. I no longer know pain, so when you are in it, I cannot see you.  I only know love, so when you follow it, I will watch you shine.  Just as I do not remember my life in my mother’s womb, I do not remember the life I had on earth.  All I know is that I am truly happy now.   My world now is the world that I’ve built in my heart while on Earth.   My world is the one I had always hoped for.  It is beautiful.   It is wonderful.   It is mine.  But I must tell you, enjoy your life as I am now enjoying mine.  It’ll go quicker than you can ever imagine, it travels faster than you’ll ever believe.  One day you will look up and your life will be over.  Enjoy today completely and contently as tomorrow may never come.   Tomorrow never came for me.

So please don’t cry when I’m gone, be happy for me as I was always happy for you.  And please remember to live life with compassion and character, hope and pride, and love and peace, because the love you’ve embedded in your heart today is the love you’ll hold onto forever.

In Loving Memory of Michael Anthony Armijo 1/20/1964- 10/22/2020

Fear of the Light

By Michael Armijo

   Doug was a simple guy who had worked hard to be “normal.” His upbringing wasn’t the best, but Doug beat the odds and found life within his spiritual realm. He found God and decided that his true place in life was with Him; he wanted to come out of the darkness and stand strong into the light.

   One day Doug stood in line at the mini mart when a young woman walked in. He immediately noticed her long brown hair, her beautiful eyes, and her slightly crooked smile. She raced in, dropped a fifty-dollar bill on the floor, and she didn’t notice a thing.

   As he hesitated, Doug remembered his obligation to be honest. He remembered that he attends church on Sunday, and for that he just has to do what’s right. But he didn’t. The little voice in Doug’s conscience whispered: “Pick up the money put it in your pocket.”

   He picked up it up, placed it in his pocket, and turned the negative into a positive by bragging about how “lucky” he was.

   Soon after, he re-examined his actions and tried to justify them. He thought to himself: “God wanted me to have this money; he knew how much I needed it.” And then the guilt set in. He wasn’t comfortable attending church on Sunday, and began to run from his guilt by not caring anymore. Doug was now lost to guilt and temptation.

   Several weeks went by and Doug’s dishonesty grew. He felt content about his new place because he received things he didn’t earn; he took things that he didn’t deserve. His cheating the system helped him receive tangible items that he usually couldn’t afford. And then one day a friend invited him back to church and Doug was faced with a very powerful decision: Do I continue my wicked ways, or do I go back to the light?

   If Doug was to give up his newfound lifestyle, he would then have to change what he was taking from others. He would have to exchange his financial riches for spiritual ones. Honesty would once again have to prevail in his life. All the taking, which had grown into an unstoppable disease, would have to subside into giving.  But Doug was afraid of doing what was right.

   I believe that honesty doesn’t just “happen,” and to many, honesty has to be taught. To find a ‘God’- which is a true icon of honesty- is just an uncomfortable feeling that’s unfamiliar and sometimes uneasy to people.

   And although life has given me unpredictable waves that have created confusion within my own life, I sometimes still believe. And sometimes, I HAVE TO believe. I believe that there’s something out there, a higher power, an incredible universe that shines brighter than ever imaginable. I believe that when we smile uncontrollably, when we feel the presence of happiness, we draw from this power that fills our hearts with a specific peace. There are times when it’s unexplainable, when you just can’t pinpoint why. And I believe that it’s at those times we truly feel the power and the benefit of this light.

   And I hope for Doug, and for many others who have subsided into the darkness of life, that they overcome their fears. The fear of feeling content about love, affection, honesty, truth, intimacy, and the fear of anything that’s good. Because this life we live each day really is a good one, once when we pursue the truth. When we’re able to be honest and content about who we really are, where we’re going, and what we believe in. These are the elements that I believe, are the true ones that keep us free from sin, free from pain, and free from being fearful. Once we overcome these fears we’re able to openly feel the glorious rays that come from that wonderful place, which one day will guide our hearts and minds away from the deep, dark place that’s filled with the darkness filled fear of the light.

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

By Michael Armijo

   While at the ATM drive-through, a woman straddled both lanes in a two-lane isle.  I’ve been there a thousand times and not one person has ever straddled these lanes, they just pick one.  Sometimes the line moves quickly, other times you have to wait while the cars next to you move right through.  It’s a gamble, but we make a decision and we accept it. 

   Maybe it was the long day or maybe I just felt short-tempered, but while the woman straddled the lanes, I went around her car, and I picked the left lane.  She got out of her vehicle and told me; “I’ve been waiting, you can’t go around me.”  I explained the unwritten policy of the drive-through ATM machine.  She angrily got back into her car and waited again.  As I drove up to the machine, I felt so uncomfortable.  I knew she never should’ve sat there and straddled both lanes, but who am I to react to her misdirection?  The uncomfortable feeling made me sick inside, I knew that I never should’ve gone around her.  So I backed up, allowed her to go first, calling out to her; “I’m sorry, go ahead of me.”  She pulled up to the machine, finished her transaction, and her last words were; “Thank you for being fair.”

I believe the true essence of being a complete individual begins with the ability to communicate.  The ability to express yourself and present issues, views, and concerns in a dignified, fair, and an understandable manner.  To simply be a human being.

Simple people do not get caught up in the unfairness in life.  They do not listen with anger and respond with vengeance.  They see light and are drawn to it.  They’re clear individuals that can respond with solutions and not just complain.  They respond instead of react.  And it’s their simplicity that keeps them humble and dignified.  Simple people see or experience tragedy and work through it and not around it.  This keeps them complete and understanding.

I also believe in responsibility.  Not to just go to work, pay the mortgage, and get the kids to school, but also to enforce responsibility inside, not just on the surface.  To not just promote a good life but to actually live it from the inside outward.  In a person’s life, responsibility also includes our jobs, our actions towards society, towards our fellow man.  Not to act like a good person, but to actually think, feel, and believe in the goodness of being a good person.

When I pulled in front of the woman at the ATM machine, I knew she was misdirected, and yet I reacted to her misdirection instead of responding to it.  If it meant that much to me to not wait behind someone who couldn’t make a decision, I should’ve communicated with her.  And if it didn’t mean that much to me, then I just should’ve waited behind her and not given it another thought.  Instead, I almost ruined her entire day, and who knows what that could’ve done to her family and friends.

I believe that we, as a society, need to remember how important and how powerful we really are.  We need to understand the true meaning of sharing experiences, applying yourself, being honest, open, and sincere.  It will bring you peace when you remember that you have so much to contribute to life, let’s not waste it on bitterness, anger, frustration, or unfairness.  Instead, let’s focus on the good things.

The power we hold within ourselves is worthless when we misdirect our hearts by allowing our minds to take over.  I believe the truest form of life is not just having the power to get your way, but having the power to help others find their way.  And when we see this powerful light that shines from within, we can capture it and allow those rays of sunshine to help our heart glow with a magnificent gleam that reminds us that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.

On Being Human

By Michael Armijo

Ever since I was in 7th Grade I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t want to just tell a story or discuss life as it happened, but I wanted to share how I felt about things. I wanted to create emotion and somehow help someone understand that it’s okay to be human. I thought if I helped people understand certain things, then they wouldn’t have to go through all that I’ve endured (and Lord knows I’ve endured).
My family and friends have told me they like what I’ve written. They’ve appreciated how I’ve shared my life, feelings, and thoughts with them. This has given me some fulfillment, but not exactly what I had been reaching for completely. I guess throughout my life I’ve wanted to help people because I felt just a little bit different than everyone else, and when I wrote it made me feel a little bit closer to being human. Then one day, it finally happened.
In the first issue of our paper, I wrote an article entitled, “Some Things Are Forever.” It was a story about my father’s death, what had happened, and how I felt about it. It was one of the most fulfilling stories I had ever written as I spoke directly from my heart. A few days later something happened. I received a letter from someone I’ll call Agnes – because that’s her name. Agnes wrote of her father’s death, what happened, and how she felt about it. She wrote of how her father died on New Year’s Eve, and while everyone was wishing each other a Happy New Year, she just sat by a window with a heavy heart. She spoke of that one corner of your heart that will grieve forever, and that there is no replacement. She found comfort in my article, as she felt very alone.
“My hands are shaking as I write this,” Agnes wrote. “This touched me and helped me at a time I needed it the most.” I understood what she was saying, what she was feeling, and for the first time in a long time I realized that I wasn’t alone, either.
My 7th Grade dream became a reality when Agnes opened up. She shared something because I shared something. She reminded me that we all have a common thread; we need each other to survive. I felt reassured that my grief was shared by many and that I will survive after all. I also realized something that we sometimes forget: we need each other’s acceptance, each other’s care, a soft word, a short note, or a sign of acknowledgement from one another. We need to know that in this harsh, rebellious world, there are people like us who care, who survive, who have the ability to live, love, and laugh. We need to stick together, because life can be a battle. And with the help of others, I have realized that dreams can come true. The different emotions that I’ve experienced throughout my life have often been a mystery to me. I’ve told myself that I am just like everyone else; I’m not any different than anyone around me. But a little thought deep inside quite often tells me, you’re not completely like everyone else. When I look around at all the violence, pain, suffering, abuse and so on, I wonder what actually makes people human. Then I think of people like Agnes – who share their experiences, who’ve reached out to say that they care, who believe in community – and I realize that it’s all-inclusive. I realize it’s okay to be human after all.

Our Life: When Are We No Longer Parents?

By Michael Armijo

It was only a 45-minute drive, but I arrived at the site. It took me another 10 minutes to find his “section,” but we were soon in the vicinity of where his life was laid to rest. As I paced each headstone, I had an eerie vision of him lying beneath the surface, watching me pace the yard, while his spirit yearned for me. Almost as though he was screaming, “I’m over here,” in a silent spirit.
I walked up to his plaque and I stared at the etching in the stone. I reluctantly read the words, “Cipriano Armijo, beloved man of God.” And after kneeling down on the soft, damp, green grass, I relaxed my body over the 8 by 4 foot section of landscape that was the last home to daddy’s body. I traced each word on the plaque with my hand, etching each letter of his name with my fingers.
When I knelt, I looked down upon the freshly cut, softened soil and confessed all the things that have happened since he left this earth. I explained to the ground, and to the bronze piece of metal that bears his name, my life without daddy with hopes his spirit heard my deepest fears and my strongest accomplishments. I told him that I had hoped he was proud of me, as my life had followed strange paths that have given me journeys of learning and routines of pain. Since his departure, life had become interesting and successful, yet painful and confusing.
When I sat at his gravesite, I realized what a misconception the phrase: “I no longer have parents, they died.” Because when I knelt at his site I held myself accountable of my actions and perceptions of life, just as when he was alive. I relayed the message; “I know you’re there, I know you’re watching.” As I crept to my knees, I still had a father and I still had someone to answer to.
I believe that parents are forever. Good or bad, their behavior and their actions stay in our memories. I believe that we never end our influence on our children, we never stop being parents. That’s why it’s so important that we do a good job each day while we’re here on earth; we have no guarantee of how long we’re going to be here. When we’re gone, when our heart stops and our spirit rises to the world beyond our hearts and minds, we can only hope that we’ve loved enough, lived enough, and laughed enough for our children to remember our lives as a benefit to their own, because we do live in their hearts forever.
Someday, when our own children kneel on the soft, moist, green grass that lies our last home to our bodies, we can only hope the tears that fill our children’s eyes and hearts are tears of love that yearn for us to forever watch over their joyous lives. This will remind them that we’ll never, ever, stop being their parents.

Our Life: Green Eggs and Ham

By Michael Armijo

I’ve looked at society and the everyday human being and I’ve come to the conclusion that; “I just don’t understand.” I don’t understand why people react the way they do, they play little games with others and sometimes, so adamantly, they convince themselves that life really is the misery that they proclaim. They realize that they have power and they pick and choose whom they’re going to benefit. Some people just feel they have the experience and the knowledge to choose who will gain from their power and their position in life; it’s up to them and no one else.

After getting off the phone with someone who had somewhat authority to make life easier for everyone, this person decided that today wasn’t a day to help anyone. At some point in our conversation, she realized that she isn’t going to help, and wouldn’t. Her logic was, “too bad,” and without regard, she decided she was not going to grant me any wishes. She decided that, based on my history, I didn’t deserve anything and I had no choice but to suffer the consequences of the misunderstandings that were evident.

I understand that a structured life has somewhat of a protocol, and procedures were made to reduce error and to be productive. But I also understand that there is an immeasurable element that structure, protocol, and procedure will have to take a back seat to, a measure I call “human compassion.” Not always will there be an answer we’ll always want to hear, and “too bad” ranks up there with the bad words, right next to “can’t” and “impossible.” I believe it’s not what you say in life, it’s how you say it.

When we speak to other individuals, we need to understand the importance of getting our point across. We need to understand the importance of communicating and educating others in order for them to see the entire picture. And when we run into those individuals who prefer not to educate others but instead choose who their power will benefit, we sometimes lose that wonderful vision of life that keeps our heart beating and allows our spirit to replenish.

Although we can sometimes feel that we are in a minority of society, we being the positive and outreaching, and regardless of these misunderstandings in life, regardless of the good intentions that we try to convey as true while others disregard, I still believe in many fantastic things. I still believe in the deep colorful shades that secrete in beautiful rainbows. I still believe the visual childhood implemented premise of the handsome prince charming coming for his beautiful princess, and that a gentle loving kiss can awaken her from her deep and lonely sleep. I still believe in the premise that wonderful people receive wonderful things at Christmas time. I still believe in the treasured happiness that our teachers and our parents implemented into our hearts; those unbelievable bedtime stories of happy scenarios with wish-like endings. And more importantly, I believe in the persistent philosophy in the certainty of the impossible in an age-old phrase that we’ve come to question; that there is a delicious taste embedded somewhere in “Green Eggs and Ham.” And regardless of all those who are out there, this belief helps me keep my faith in the goodness of the human spirit.

Our Life: The Consequences of Aggressive Behavior

By Michael Armijo

I’ve ran into people, and have practiced, at times subconsciously, what i define as “aggressive behavior.”

I believe that aggressive behavior comes in many forms. Some forms are in obvious threatening writing, some are in intelligent verbose writing, some are disguised as protective action, but most aggressive behavior is in actual physical delivery.

It’s difficult to handle these types of actions as individuals are clouded by what they believe is the truth, and others are just spewing their anger issues through an action that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Although protectiveness is admirable, individuals have a tendency to go straight into“attack mode” and disregard everyone involved. They blindly approach people with aggressiveness without realizing neither the consequences nor the outcome.So i stepped back for a moment and analyzed the root cause of such behavior.

What I’ve come to learn is that many people act out the anger they’ve carried from their childhood. We, as children, were abused and felt helpless. We were victims and had no say so nor did we have the physical ability to defend ourselves. So, as adults, we are quick to resort to “attack mode” in an effort to avoid feeling how we did as a child, trying to avoid feeling like a victim again.

Another misguidance appears to be our anger towards our own life, our lives within our current situation. We are angry with our spouses, our partners, our bosses, or ourselves. The mistakes we’ve made, the consequences of our irresponsible actions.

These are the times to remember that what happened to us as children, with negligent and abusive parents and/or siblings, is not the same as the situation in front of you. Sometimes criticism is constructive, not destructive. But that’s just one of the many scenarios that come to mind.

As a parent, I’ve made many comments that were not abusive, they were given in the fatherly protective love trying to help their child be a better human being, because I believe they have the ability to be better. But it sometimes isn’t received the way in which it was intended. And what I’ve learned from other parents, those scenarios can sometimes turn into another result of aggressive behavior.

What’s sometimes missed by the aggressor is the fact that when you go after someone aggressively, or angrily, the victims protective wall comes up. What happens next is that your input now turns into an unheard statement. Because the victimis so busy trying to protect themselves they are not listening to you. They too turn into a person who is in attack mode. Its not what you say in life,it’s how you say it.

I try to ask others to refrain from what appears to be aggressiveness and stick to common sense and wisdom that’ll appeal to others. You will help that way and you’ll be heard and respected.

No one has the temerity to treat others without respect, it just hurts everyone involved. And no one can give their burdens to others when their intentions are presented in a harmful delivery. You still have the perils that haunt you, bu tnow you can sometimes make new ones by your newest actions.

So I emphasize, and I understand the aggressive behavior now. I get it. I understand. But what I’ve learned is that you can get more from an individual by raising their spirits, than you can by lowering their dignity.

See the Miracles

By Melody Kraemer

Do you ever wish for a miracle? Do you ever hope things would change? Do you dream about how things could be better? I use to. Every day I would pray for a miracle that my child with autism would understand and have a full conversation with me. When I asked about his day he just repeats my words back. I have an idea how his days go at school yet I have no clue if he was happy, sad or even cried during the day.

Some days I wish, with every ounce of my being, he would express something to me. I have hoped for a miracle on many occasions for him to please share with me and talk to me. When he cries, I hurt because I know he can’t express himself fully and tell me why. I kept thinking one day a miracle will happen and he will walk up to me and say, hey mommy, guess what we did at school today or mommy I made a friend today.

Sometimes it makes me cry to think about him locked in his world. I hold onto that miracle that one day he will converse with me. The only conversation we do have is, first that then this. “Yes honey, I find myself saying every morning as he repeats himself, first school then home.”

Every day I search for that miracle and hold onto that glimmer of hope. Then one day as I was looking into his little face, seeing those beautiful little eyes it dawned on me. I shouldn’t be looking for a miracle when one was standing right in front of me. I have my miracle, in fact, I have four miracles.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid- Jurupa Valley- Eastvale as well as Macaroni Kid- Riverside. Visit her on the web at https://jurupavalley.macaronikid.com/ or https://riversideca.macaronikid.com/. For information or general encouragement feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.


Melody Kraemer-Autism Mom

The other day I woke up with a heavy heart. My son got bullied while he was at school. No matter how much we try to protect our children we just can’t always be there with them.

Now my son is not one to sit back and take someone beating him up or kicking him while he is down, he will try and defend himself. On this particular day, he spits on a kid to protect himself from being bully.

He got in trouble, not in a lot of trouble, but he did get in trouble.  He used “bodily fluid” to defend himself.

He was angry over this; more than angry he was livid. He did not understand how in self-defense he was the one in trouble. Explaining to my autism child sometimes is like talking to a brick wall, his mind is black and white with no grey area.

The “bully” to my understanding got sent to the office, sent home with a note, and a phone call to the parents. He was also not allowed to play on the same playground as the class during recess.

When I picked up my son that day he broke down in front of me and just cried hard, as a mom my heart broke for him. I calmly listened to him; his hurt and anger were off the charts. I talked to him and tried my best to calm him down. All he could think about was how he was going to get revenge.

Autism thinking can be so perplexing at times and can be narrow-minded with no room for understanding.

It took me most of the day to explain that we don’t get revenge on people.

Though his anger grew and he still didn’t understand the concept why he got in trouble for defending himself.  Honestly, I still have a small issue understating it myself.

He was told by the school any time that anyone attempts to bully him or anyone he needs to go to an adult. I told him if there is no way he could get out of the situation and get to an adult he has every right to defend himself even if it meant spitting. He may get in trouble but I said if he felt that was the only way out of his situation he has to do what he has to do.

I have a 0% tolerance for bullying I will not tolerate my son or any other child to be bullied.

I can’t talk to every child, I can’t speak to every child who bullies, but I can and will talk to my child about bullying.


By Melody Kraemer

We all have choices. We all have options. When we wake up in the morning, we can decide to be happy, sad, frustrated even angry or whatever emotion we choose.

We can plan our day and make the choice of how we want it to go. It may not always go the way we want, but at least we have that choice in hopes, it goes the way we planned.

There are a few things that we can’t and don’t have choices for.  One thing is we didn’t have a choice when we were born, or the family we were born into.  We also are not to choose when we die.  Everything in between is an option or a choice for the most part.  My boys were born with autism that was not my choice or an option I would have chosen. I do though have the option and the choices to do what is the very best for them.  What school I put them in, the classes they have even the extra help they get after school.

The worst thing one can say is I don’t have an option. According to Merriam Dictionary, an option is “the power or right to choose.” I hope the choices I make for my boys are the right ones. I always have their best interest at heart. Yes, it can get tiresome from appointments to IEP meetings but I choose all of that because of the love I have for my boys and always want the best for them. I would never do anything in my life that made myself or my boys miserable and say, I have no other option but to do this. Life is about choices and options. Why choose something to make one miserable. Make the choices in life that bring joy, happiness and what is best for oneself and for the family. Remember there’s always an option.

Melody Kraemer

Editor and Publisher Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley- Eastvale

and Macaroni Kid Riverside (autismmomofboys@gmail.com)


A Bad Day Doesn’t Make You a Bad Mother

By Melody Kraemer

Have you ever had one of those days where you couldn’t wait for bedtime? How about one of those days where nothing seems to go right? Maybe today was one of those days where you think you had the entire day planned out perfectly and not one thing you planned happened?

Or It could be one of those days where you lose your cool, and now you feel guilty for feeling the way you do? How about one of those days where your patience is so thin, even though you try with every ounce of your being to have patience, it’s just not coming easily? What about a day where you just plain feel agitated?  I am feeling each and every one of these things today.

The more the day goes on, the more I wish it was bedtime.

Everything has seemed to go wrong, even though I am trying hard to stay positive. Of course I believe my children sense when I am feeling this and view this as a challenge to see how far they can push me.

It is now late in the afternoon, and I’m rushing out the door to get my autistic children to their speech and OT classes. I see the clock, and it’s on the hour we are to be there.

Great, just another late arrival, I open the front door and my youngest bolts out and down the street while the other one is chasing him.  I raise my voice, sure that the next neighborhood over could hear me saying, “Get in the car!”

Feeling horrible inside and feeling like the worst mother ever I drive them to their classes. As they walk inside, I take this moment to feel relief and take a deep breath, I can’t help this overwhelming feeling of mommy guilt. I have raised my voice and have had no patience with my boys. I sit down in the waiting room and take out my computer to catch up on work since I now have to sit here for 2 hours.

I open up my laptop, and the first thing  I see is a post on Facebook, “Just because you are having a bad day, doesn’t make you a bad mom.”  Wow, I needed to hear that. That’s so right, we as moms are allowed bad days just as kids are allowed bad days, but it doesn’t make us a bad person. What it does do is remind us that we are only human. Next time I’m having a bad day I must remind myself, it’s a bad day and this bad day does not make me a bad mom. My children love me unconditionally even through my bad days just as I love them through theirs.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley- Eastvale

and Macaroni Kid Riverside. For any information or general encouragement feel free to email me at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com



We Grow Flowers Not People

Melody Kramer – Autism Mom

School has started, and the homework has started to come home. For my eight-year-old autistic son, he had a paper to fill out titled “about me.”

I tried asking him these questions that were on this paper, but he didn’t quite understand. Usually, I have to do a lot of prompting.   One of the questions was, “what are some of my favorite things?”  He doesn’t grasp the word favorite, so I asked, do you like pizza? He replied yes. And it went from there.

Another question was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He answered, “A flower.”  I was surprised he said a flower. So I asked again.  The same answer. I asked are you sure that you don’t want to be a teacher or maybe a police officer when you grow up? He still wanted to be a flower.

It was a cute answer, and funny. I said if you want to be a flower, you can be a flower. Then I started thinking. The question I asked, when you “grow” up what do you want to be.  The way his mind may think it was the most logical answer. A flower grows.  So when I asked if he wanted to be a teacher or police officer and he gave me that strange look I got an understanding of how he was thinking. You don’t grow a teacher you grow a flower.

We are so used to our way of thinking, speaking and understanding a simple phrase, such as “what do you want to be when you grow up.” His autistic mind is so analytical and logical it just doesn’t make sense to him, we don’t grow people.

Now if I ask what do want to be for Halloween? Spiderman is the answer.

I guess we will leave that answer blank for now.  Just a thought, raising children is like growing a flower. We take care of them, feed them, protect them, we do everything to help them bloom.  He may not realize it now, but he’s already a flower in the garden of life.


Stress Makes a Mess

Melody Kramer – Autism Mom

All my life I have been an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, sad, grieving, angry,  and mostly when stressed.

Stress plays a huge part in my life.  Which in turn stress eating plays a more prominent role.  My stress levels of each day can rise to full capacity. How do I control my stress, I eat.


What is emotional eating?

“Emotional eating (or stress eating) is using food to make yourself feel better—eating to satisfy emotional needs, rather than to satisfy physical hunger. … Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there.



Raising two autistic boys, my level of stress can get to a high point during the day, but I am learning now, through a health coach, to not reach for unhealthy food while stressed.

We all know stress eating is not healthy.   When I am at the limit of my stress, I reach for that comfort food, it tastes so good, for that “moment.”  After that “moment” I’m still stressed. Even more so because now I feel tired and/or sluggish and my head is cloudy all filled up with the sugary and/or salty item I just ate.

So why eat when stressed?  For me, at that moment of stress, it’s an automatic trigger to go binge, for an “instant” rush of satisfaction.


Thank goodness for my health coach, he is teaching me how to change my lifestyle of eating and get on the right track to healthy living and to make better choices and not emotional eating.

I am sure many of you are living a healthy lifestyle, but for the ones that need that extra help of getting on the road to healthy eating, email me I’ll put you in contact with my health coach. Let’s get healthy together. I would love to hear from you, and my coach would like to help you.



Before the Morning

By Melody Kraemer

As I sit here in front of my laptop, with a cup of hot coffee to the right of me and next to that a notebook filled with the many things I need to accomplish.  The thought, “Oh Lord, help me make it through the day,” crosses my mind. The house is quiet, and I wonder how much longer before my boys (autistic boys) wake up.  How much time do I have to accomplish anything on that list next to me?

Once my boys are awake anything on that list is now pushed to another day.  I might be able to squeeze in a  few minutes to throw in some laundry, but I couldn’t tell you when it will come out of the dryer and get folded.

Having children, autism or not is a full-time job by its self.  Living in the autism world is a world where it’s no longer about oneself it’s about watching almost every moment of what they do.

My eight year old now has a thing about eating the top of pencils, almost every pencil in the house has no eraser.  Every paper clip, a piece of thread, Lego,

Basically any small object will find its way into my child’s mouth.

He is a curious one and will take apart things. He has no fear of heights and will climb and climb. He loves to explore the outside, but be always reminded, no bugs in the mouth, no snails in the mouth and no plants in the mouth.  Though those are just words and if I don’t constantly watch him he will have something in his mouth. There have been times where I’ve been grossed out.

We have high locks on the doors, and we have a front gate, we also have the backdoor strapped because when I take a chance on throwing that laundry in the washing machine I know, he can’t escape for that moment.

As I sit here and pick up that coffee cup on the right side of me, I hold it with two hands; I take in a deep breath and let it out, as I do every morning.  Will the day run smooth, or will I be finding something gross in the hands or mouth of my child?  Whatever the day may bring I will embrace it to the fullest, there is never a dull moment in this house.


Beautiful Challenges

By Melody Kramer – Autism Mom

My children are autistic

You may not see it from the start.

If you only knew the challenges

you would understand my heart.

I try my best from when they wake

to when they sleep,

Most nights I go to bed and weep.

I’m exhausted to no end

and coffee gets me through the day,

but nothing compares to the love that my boys give away.


They have their moments

Oh and are they tough

I ask God for patience

cause it can get rough.

If you only knew what I go through daily

from their tantrums to them losing control.

You wouldn’t be so quick to judge

and more acceptable to console.


It isn’t always easy raising kids,

especially one or two who’s autistic.

So forgive me please if at times I seem distant or cold

I’m just trying to hold it together, so I don’t lose control.

I love my boys with all my heart,

The lessons they teach me, the joy they bring,

the love they share, the smiles they give, the songs they sing.

God blessed me more then I could ever imagine

And yes they are a challenge what more can I say

I am so thankful I am their mommy every day.

Melody Kramer is the publisher of Macaroni Kid in Jurupa Valley and Riverside. Macaroni Kid is an online newsletter for family events. Check out the link below for more information about fun, exciting and educational events in your area.


Connecting With Your Spouse

Courtesy: Google Images

By Melody Kraemer-Stillwell


I looked at my husband sitting on the couch and wondered to myself, who is that man? He almost felt like a stranger living in our house. Then it dawned on me,  when was the last time we had a meal together that didn’t involve picky eaters, feeding a child, cutting up meals, and more?  When was the last time we had a conversation that didn’t include a million interruptions? When was the last time it was just him and I? It had been so long, I couldn’t remember when it was just us. I started to feel the distance between my husband and me, and I realized we were co-parenting in the house and that was it.  What happened to us? Kids and life!

Having an autistic child who is almost nine but is still, mentally, around the age of four can be challenging and exhausting.

We as parents need each other. It’s vital we stay connected. We can go out for a date night, but it’s not that easy. Having two autistic children, we can’t just hire a babysitter and head out the door. We came up with some ways we stay connected that what works for us:

  1. Say I love you daily to each other
  2. Smile at each other
  3. Text each other (and yes sometimes it is when we are in the house together)
  4. When we pass each other, in the house, make it a point to reach out and touch the other one.
  5. Random hugs
  6. Make it a point to get up early with your spouse and spend a few quiet moments together before they leave for work.
  7. Complement each other.
  8. Say thank you to each other (Thank you, honey, for doing the dishes..)
  9. Try and stay humble and never assume you know what the other is thinking (ok this is a hard one)
  10. Discuss things and try not to argue, and be honest with each other.

Though life can be challenging and daily living will get in the way, we have to stay connected as a couple and not just as co-parents. There will be times you may still feel distant from your spouse then look over to them and smile they will smile back all is right in our world.

Melody is the publisher of Macaroni Kid in Eastvale and Riverside.  Check out her online newsletter for fun family things to do at: http://www.jurupavalley.macaronikid.com


Meltdowns Happen – Autism Mom

By Melody Kraemer

Meltdowns are ok.  Oh wait, maybe you think I’m referring to children. I’m not! I am talking about a mommy meltdown.  In fact, today was that day that my patience ran out, and my autistic boys were in full form of being “needy.”  Have you ever heard someone say “I just can’t adult today!”  My saying is, “I just can’t autism today!” That’s right this mommy of two autism boys just had a complete meltdown.

Of course, no one saw me on the floor throwing a tantrum, nor did I scream and run away, or give up, even though I felt like it. I quietly had an emotional breakdown with tears running down my face.  I thought to myself, “Now I can’t be the only mom out there that wants to run away, go lock myself in the bathroom, open a bottle of wine, or just go to bed with the covers over my head.”

Parenting is tough, and we as moms aren’t perfect.  We lose our cool, and then the mommy guilt factors come in.  We all have experienced that mommy guilt. No matter how hard things get, how much mom guilt we put upon ourselves, we have to remember that we are not alone, every mom experiences these feelings.  We all have that mommy meltdown some time or another.  I said to my son today, “Mommy is doing the best she can, but it seems like her best isn’t good enough.” After  I  thought about what I said I realized my best for today is good enough because I’m giving my best and I’m not giving up. It also helped that my son saw my tears and said, “You are the most beautiful mom.”  Even during my meltdown, tears running down my face, feeling like the worst mom with the mommy guilt,  my children love me unconditionally.  We as moms have to remember our kids don’t expect perfection just a mom who is doing her best and loving her kids.