I “Planned” and will Smell Every Rose

For me, “Stop and Smell the Roses” means to remember to stop being a grown-up long enough to appreciate the mind-boggling intricacies of a flower, feel the wind on my skin, notice what’s going on in front of my eyes, and catch as many sunsets as possible.  (at least three or four a week, alone, in total silence, for at least a half hour and preferably more than an hour or until the stars come out).


Does this happen? Not enough.

No one ever is on their deathbed and says, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” I wish I had spent more time sitting in traffic jams and huffing exhaust fumes. I wish I would have spent 2 more hours on social media or my head buried into You Tube videos.

Life is short, and then you die.

Think of all the little treasures of life: the smell of a rose, which blooms today and dies tomorrow. The daffodil-colored light right before sunset.  The seasons of change when your trees change vibrant reds, yellows and oranges right before your eyes.  The laughter of Cameron and Cody wrestling on our bed.  The smile and hug of the one you love when you’ve been reunited after his travel.  The one on one time with your husband when your conversation is more than about your weekly schedules.  The uncontrollable laughing between a mother and daughter.  The sight of your first tomato growing and you watch it daily until its ripen enough to eat off the vine.  The smell of fresh pinon and only the glow of the fire in your living room on a cold winter night, the first night of fall when you notice the crickets.  The baby lotion smell of Cody’s clean hair right after bath-time. The snore from your pets because they seem at peace and relaxed.  The feeling you get when you can feel the energy and excitement off your oldest son while throwing someone out at second base that tries to steal and lastly the constant wind hitting across my face when I am enjoying a glass of wine watching the boys play basketball together.  The list could go on….

So these things do happen but not as often as I would like them too. This is tough one for me in our lives today and honestly it typically has to be planned a head of time to really stop and take in the present. We have very few spur of the moments!  I have a support system that will remind me at times and I am very blessed to have this.  Our friends, Brad and family will also point out little treasures that always bring a smile to my face too.

I have to try to keep my balance, be strong, stay healthy not only for me but also my family. Many of my previous blogs discuss how easy it’s to get off balanced with so many balls we juggle each day so if I have to schedule time to smell the roses right now, I will.

I put my Mom back on a plane yesterday.  Never easy for me.  Her visit this time was a fast and furious one and we had very little time together but still was able to capture some moments. We did manage to squeeze in a quick lunch on Sunday as a family at AnaMias which is always a treat.  I was very grateful as she was able to re-stock my freezers with dinners and it sure makes it very helpful during our weeks and will give me more opportunities to stop and be present.  She also got to hear Cody whisper her name for the first time which I believe made her year! He softly said, “Sita.” Then she had him repeat to her saying, I LOVE YOU,  He repeated in his own way saying, “I Ove Ew.”  She also treasured the little things like treating Cameron for a yogurt and picking him up from school and taking Cody for a golf cart ride which allows him to put his hand on your leg.  It’s the little treasures that make you feel connected.

In closing today, the expression “stop and smell the roses” is not simply about flowers, but rather about how to live your life with a deeper appreciation of the world around us. It reminds us to slow down and notice the little things that make life worthwhile. Despite a busy life, it is important to know how to be present in the moment; otherwise those moments will pass you by. I challenge you….Take time to make a call to your steadily aging parents or family or at your next family dinner talk about something more than your schedules for the week.

Brad and I are headed to Hot Springs to take in the fall season later this week and I plan to smell every rose.  

Those curious about the outcome of my blog last week about the iPad and how we were nervous yet ready to make some changes.  Not only has it been a non-issue is was the best decision we have made in a very long time.  As our BCBA said, “We have our Cody back!” It’s amazing how engaged, attentive, present and fun he has been this past week!  He literally has had more laughter in the last week than he has had in a month and just seems happier.

We were also able to identify some new toys and activities to replace and he seems to like the changes. Brad and I also learned quickly that some of his new items he becomes very attached. One was a musical book and I quickly learned getting out of the car for school yesterday that he started to become a bit more obsessed with it when it brought a few tears when I took it away.  What I have learned is when I start seeing these behaviors in when those items need to disappear for a awhile.  Some of you may be thinking,” How will this teach him that sometimes he has to hear the word no?” This is very true but when he obsesses with the same song and repeats it several times and does not want to do anything else but listen to the song, its OK to take it away temporarily.  You see the book was an issue that evening when he headed up to bed, breakfast the next morning and then the drop off to school, we had to tell him no.  Its OK though, he is finding new things to play (and obsess) with and our hopes are to increase these items over time for him to choose from!  More reinforcers means even more successful development for Cody Rivers.



Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

One thought on “I “Planned” and will Smell Every Rose

  1. Loved our visit and just wish they could be more often. I hope Cody is wondering, “Where did that crazy lady go?” Thank you dear one for your kind words in your blog. I love you all so much.


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