Before Motherhood: The Child In Me

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Estee on 24-08-2009

5536_163963020328_531425328_3905111_5995336_nThis is me in 1981. I’m singing at St. Michael’s Choir School Stage with our band “Maurader.” Those were the days… every weekend jamming in someone’s basement. I played keyboard and as you can well see, sang. I think these were some ditty’s from Pat Benetar….”You’re a heartbreaker….”  Now this was no motley crew. I sang and went to school (St. Mikes was our “brother school” as I went to HNM — an all girls school) with Michael Schade, now a world-renowned tenor, and Mitch himself is now a composer, among some other of my friends who stayed in music and went on to do other marvelous things. The folks from St. Mikes and HNM are a highly-achieved bunch. (C’mon friends, speak up).

Driving up North with my son Adam, the singing hasn’t stopped. Both Adam and I sing out loud to the radio tunes. The rock and roll girl still lives on some 25 years later deep inside the responsible, devoted autism mom. I dance and sing with Adam every day and he loves it. He loves mama’s spirit and mama love’s Adam’s.

5536_163963025328_531425328_3905112_754729_s-1 Adam learns piano. He loves to sing. He loves to dance. We can never downplay the innate gifts we have to give to our children. Thanks to my old friend, Michel, who found these photos, and some of my high school friends (thanks to Facebook), I am aided in that they help to resurrect the great memories and the strong bonds we had. They awaken a side of me that I had nearly forgotten. Going through divorce makes one want to go back to one’s roots. And mine, thankfully, are strong. The memories bring me back to myself. I am painting again — Adam watches every stroke of my brush with great intrigue and attention — he particularly likes it when I paint his portrait. I bring out my guitar to see if I can remember how to play. While writing has turned into my first passion, the other artistic pursuits help move things along when I am stuck. And if it’s passion we’re talking about, I’m happy to say that one of my favourite bands, RUSH, is also going through a revival — eyeglasses, arthritis (I am just assuming) and all. (I am wearing my glasses I cannot live without recently as I write this). It’s all rather fun to rediscover in order to grow.

5536_164445075328_531425328_3912954_7695774_n-1 (This photo was the band that started it all…Xephyr. My first boyfriend on the far right — that is if you don’t count the 1st beau in Kindergarten).

So if ever you think you’ve lost yourself in times of great change, I think it’s important to go back to the days when we felt most fully ourselves. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m a goof  for doing something because of my age, for being a little silly and taking chances will be the one thing that keeps me vital. When we are young, there are no real obligations to quell some of these risks we take to discover who we are and what we love. Growing older and more experienced in life has certainly made me wiser, but when I look back at myself I get the chance to remember an aspect that still lives strong within me. It reminds me that it’s not over — the exploration not yet complete.

While I still sing in the car, I often think of returning to voice training now that my life has cracked open again — and why should I not? I’ve sung in choirs (once with Toronto Mendelsohn), and in many other venues.  I also consider how I’ve turned my creative self towards autism and Adam and how he challenges the artistic growth within me as I also hope to nurture it in him. So, forgive me for being a little self-indulgent as I turn giddy down memory lane. Remembering who I was makes me excited of who I may still become.

Rock on.


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.