Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nancy knows best...

Disclaimer: I am not a world traveler; I have really never been anywhere outside of my boring life, but my honeymoon in Europe will go down as the best trip ever.


Summer 2002.

An unforgettable honeymoon destination.

God love Scott Shade. I mean I have to tell you he was pulling out all the stops. We arrive in Paris early in the morning via train, well TGV actually, and we are fortunate enough to check into our hotel early. I attempt to clear my head and recover from three days in Amsterdam by taking a shower. I walk out to find, wine, cheese, bread (which is the best on the planet) and a receipt for a “destination dinner” to the Eiffel Tower. We take a long overdue nap and wake up refreshed for our soon to be fabulous dinner. We don’t know what we are doing, don’t speak the language but find our way to the Eiffel Tower tickets in hand. We make our way up and sit down to dinner, ready to embrace the romance that only Paris and the Eiffel Tower can join together. We enjoy a glass of wine and then a tour guide comes up and informs us that we will be joined by another American who has booked the same “destination”. Our beautiful fairy-tale dinner has been interrupted by a middle-age Executive from Boston named Nancy. Scott Shade is furious but not really able to express it because Nancy is sitting and has already ordered Hors d'oeuvres. We are still in shock that our romantic dinner has suddenly turned into a nightmare threesome.

I actually decide that Nancy isn’t so bad and we start talking. We learn that Nancy is a successful Executive in Paris on business. She travels all over the world and from time to time books “destinations” so she can feel normal and doesn’t forget how fortunate she is to see the world on the company dime. I tell her that Scott and I have been together for years but decided to get married because we want children. Nancy begins to tell me how being a working mom and attempting to be a “good parent” is her biggest challenge in life. She then tells me something that had no real meaning at the time but has since become my life motto. Nancy says, “You know Tara when I first became a mother I had a lot of guilt, I worried that I was never going to be good enough, I was never going to be able to do it all. I soon realized that I was very naive to believe that I am the only teacher that my child is ever going to have. I believe that it is my responsibility to love my child and be okay and happy about the fact that other people can love and educate my child when I can’t be there. If I do that, I AM doing my job.” I had no idea at the time how true this statement was going to be for me in my life.

When I think about our journey, where we began and where we are now I can’t even imagine where we would be without the guidance, knowledge, and (at times unsolicited) support of others who have shaped our world as we know it. If there is one piece of advice I can give you as a parent of a child with autism it is this… don’t be closed minded or competitive. It is okay to admit that most of the time this journey is too much to handle on your own. Understand that you don’t have to be an expert and there is probably ALWAYS somebody who knows more than you do. Embrace the knowledge of others and learn from it. I wish I could find Nancy and thank her. I quote her regularly and tell myself when I am at the end of my rope that I don’t have to have all the answers, I don’t have to be an expert, It is okay that some parents know more than me, and most importantly at the end of the day all I have to do is love my child and be happy that he is learning. If I can do that, it can’t be wrong.


  1. it was really great advice, and you're right, we do quote Nancy a lot. i just wish she would have come over, offered that profound statement, and LEFT. haha

  2. I don't know she did order that fabulous pate!