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A Day in the Life of Julie Hornok

Julie Hornok is a short story writer, blogger, editor and advocate for families living with autism. She is currently the editor of the National Autism Association of North Texas newsletter and a blogger for autismspot.com. When Julie isn’t busy driving her three kids all over Dallas-Fort Worth, she loves to give back to the community by planning events for families with special needs. Julie lives in Plano with her husband Greg, a financial advisor, and their three children: Andrew, 14, Lizzie, 12, and Noah, 9. Lizzie has autism.

6:45AM My alarm goes off. Yes, I know I should have set it for 15 minutes earlier. I also know that now I will be forced to rush, but I just can’t make myself set it any earlier. 

6:50AM  My 12-year-old daughter, Lizzie, now sets her own alarm because she is “tired of me treating her like a toddler.” Let’s hope she actually gets up. I quietly sneak upstairs and lay on the floor to see if her light is on. It is. Good … avoided argument No. 1 of the day. Yay, me.

6:55AM I wake up my 9-year-old son Noah. Sometimes I sing to him, which he doesn’t particularly like. I do it anyway in hopes that someday he will call me from college and say, “Do you remember how great it was when you used to wake me up singing?”

7AM I make the kids’ breakfasts while making the kids’ lunches. Every day I wish my kids didn’t have food allergies, so I could say, “Why don’t you just buy lunch today?” Instead, I put together two gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, egg-free, taste-free lunches.

7:15 AM While the kids finish up eating, I put essential oils on them for attention, anxiety and concentration. Maybe that makes me a freaky granola mom, but I don’t really care because it works. Plus, I like the smell.

7:20AM My 14-year-old son Andrew saunters down the stairs and says good morning. Sometimes it scares me a little because his voice is deeper than I remembered, but then I see his smile, and I give him a big hug. We are now eye to eye, and I can’t believe how much he has grown. I start to panic that we only have four summers left until he goes to college, but then I remember that there is no time for thinking because it is time to get out the door.

7:25AM The reality of having three kids at three different schools sets in. I kiss my daughter and husband goodbye, since he will take her to her private school in Dallas. I help Noah pack up, and we hop in my super sleek Honda Odyssey.

7:32AM Seven thirty-two in the morning is a pivotal time in my neighborhood. If I am not already on the main road to the school by then, I can kiss my morning goodbye. The “7:32 Train” is a massive train of cars that will not let you in.  

7:40AM I am back at home. Hopefully, Andrew has eaten breakfast and made his lunch.

8AM Time to take Andrew to school. We have a no-electronics policy in the morning, so we can talk.

8:30AM I hit the gym to do some hot yoga. I can’t wait to sweat it all out. After running a marathon, doing several triathlons, and many years of hard-core, joint-pounding workouts, I absolutely love the lean muscles and calm mind that yoga provides. I never want to go back. 

11AM I won’t lie. I hate to cook, so I almost always eat take-out. In fact, I really hate most things that a “housewife” should do, so I can’t believe that this is still my official title. I hate to clean, I hate to cook, I hate to sew, and I hate to shop. I am painfully aware of my deficiencies. I pray often to find joy in these tasks, but somehow I still dread them. So instead, I usually this spend this time on my volunteer work with the National Autism Association of North Texas or on my writing. These fulfill me in a way that a clean kitchen counter never will.

2:45PM The circus begins. I pick up Noah and drive to get Lizzie. It’s jam time in the car. I drop off Noah and Lizzie at home and pick up Andrew. Oops. He texted me and needs to stay late at school. Back home for 20 minutes … ah! Back in the car to get Andrew from school. Drop Andrew home. Drive Lizzie to gymnastics. Drive Noah to piano. Home for 20 minutes … ah! Pick up Noah from piano. Pick up Lizzie from gymnastics.

6PM Uh oh! I forgot about dinner. I throw something together while the kids work on homework. My husband Greg gets home. We eat — sometimes all together, sometimes all over the house.

6:30PM Greg and Andrew leave for basketball practice. I work with the kids to finish up homework and clean up.

8:30 PM Tuck the kids into bed “too tight” just like my mother-in-law does. Pray with the kids and have at least two minutes of talk about our day.

9PM Sit down to watch TV with Greg. I sure hope The Blacklist is on the DVR.

Published May 2015