Just writing a short post to extend some love to those who have made this blogging journey with me. The fourth anniversary of our move from New York City to North Carolina is approaching, and I figured now is a good time for a little reflection.
First of all, thank you to all my readers, made up of friends, family, colleagues, virtual friends and strangers who have stumbled across my blog. It is a great pleasure to write, knowing that I have responsive eyes on the other end. It is only by your grace that I continue to punctuate cyberspace with my keystrokes. Thank you!
Here is what else I am thankful for — the time to write. Sunday mornings are often when I get up early and sneak out to my local coffee shop for the space I need to think. (Thank you, Poppyseeds Bagels! Craving some real New York bagels? Check it out!) I’m thankful for my editor, Bob, a professional journalist who reads most of my posts and suggests ways to make them better. He always knows exactly the right things to say! Yes, I think it’s safe to say I am one of the few unpaid bloggers with an editor. Bob and his wife, Sherry, own Early Bird Developmental Services, my son’s main therapy provider when he was a baby. One fine day a few years ago, Sherry wisely and brightly suggested I start a blog, as she knew I often felt frustrated and needed some sort of outlet. “And Bob can edit it!” she said. And so it was born.
Also, I will be very grateful for the coming weekdays, glorious in their ordinariness, when the kids are in school and everyone is back to a tried and true routine. We just don’t do as well without schedules – weekends and vacations are fun, but messy. Or maybe a better way of putting it is: I am naturally chaotic and unpredictable, and having too much free time just exacerbates this problem, which seems to be part of our DNA and gotten passed along to our kids. Children with special needs like my son don’t do well with too many unstructured blocks of time. They don’t get the input their disordered sensory systems desperately need and it often shows in their behavior.
Over the recent winter holiday breaks, I spent most of the time being sick, much like the rest of America. When I passed out for a two-hour nap one day, I awoke to find that my oldest daughter, age 7, had decorated the play area for “Mommy’s Love Party,” with hand-drawn pictures of her and me, and signs that read “I Love You Mommy.” Truly, you could not ask for better expressions of fondness. She is such a lovebug! I adore her, and I so treasure her eagerness to put her love on display. (I’m laminating those works of art so that during her teenage years, I can show her that she did in fact once love me.)
Our son with Down syndrome, who is 4, spent much of those vacation days following me around like a puppy. One minute could not pass by without him yelling “Maaa-ME!” à la Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” It was either “Maa-Me wook,” for me to look at his latest crayon stroke, or “Maa-Me elp me,” for me to assist him with some task he has completed on his own many times (or that he shouldn’t be doing in the first place.) Trust me, I love what this represents for his speech and cognitive abilities, but making dinner really needs to stop taking over two hours.
One time, before we even made it to 10 a.m., he had been charged with multiple counts of mischief. He shattered his beloved piggy bank, which he’s not supposed to touch without permission. Our corner joint saw his little face relegated there multiple times, once for hitting his sisters with the broom he was supposedly using to “cwean” the floor. During an attempt at independent potty time, he put the gross end of the plunger up to his face to use as a bullhorn. Another time, he wet his pants and was told to put them in the bathroom sink so they could be washed. Well, he couldn’t wait for me to do it, so he did it himself. In the toilet. Yeah. Luckily, the water was clear and cleaning up the half-inch or so from the floor did not take too long.
One Saturday we decided to head out for breakfast at our favorite restaurant before doing a little shopping. We were seated at a table that was half booth, half chairs. Before I could tell him to climb into the (more stable) booth area, my son sat atop a chair and leaned on the table in front of him. The table proceeded to tip forward and spill all its contents (silverware, salt shakers, sugar packets), including him, onto the floor. No one was hurt in the making of that anecdote.
But we sure know how to make a grand entrance. Thank you, son, for keeping us on our toes. Sorry about passing along my crazy genes, but at least life is never dull. For this, I am truly thankful.
And for these hats, which we fell in love with during our shopping trip:
Panda Bear: Gentle big sis
Angry Bird: Grumpy, feisty little sis
Sock Monkey: Goofy little brother
In case you missed my other latest work, I had the recent honor of being a guest blogger on the web site of Amy Julia Becker, a talented and respected book author who writes about faith, culture and disability. She has a daughter with Down syndrome and a blog called “Thin Places” at //www.patheos.com/blogs/thinplaces/ You can read my article here. Please also spend some time exploring her blog; she’s a truly graceful and grace-filled writer.