Monthly Archives: November 2011
you know what else i’m grateful for? Having written this last year and it still fits! HAH! (that’s supposed to sound like Mrs Kerbopple, btw)
So, it’s that time of year when we take a moment to think about what it is for which we are grateful. Besides being grateful for understanding the rule of dangling participles (see previous sentence–and if you still don’t get it, take a grammar refresher), and the fact that Kahlua and coffee is a damn fine combination, there are a few more things on that list. I’m not really the knd of person to say this crap–so better to write it here and then hide away with my blushes:
I am grateful for:
1) Motherhood. As much as I may bitch and moan and wish every morning for those pre-baby days of sleeping in and having responsibility to NO ONE, it has changed me for the better. While I may miss the carefree days of being able to pop out and do what ever activity struck me 2 minutes ago, it has mellowed me a little. It is the ultimate “hey! Think about someone else!” lesson you can get, and I do what I can to not only keep my son alive day-to-day, but to take that energy and give it to others as well. You might say it’s the ultimate pair of big girl panties you can get, and they are strapped on with duct tape and love.
2) Marriage. Again-as much as I piss and moan… well, that’s not true. I’m of the opinion that bitching and moaning about one’s marriage partner is overrated. Is my husband perfect? Hardly. But neither am I. The beauty of marriage is that you HAVE to deal with those imperfections, and that you know the other person is dealing with yours. I always know that, no matter what, my husband has my back, and that I can bring anything to him, positive or negative, and he will listen. Like when I tell him later today that there is no Peach Schnapps in this house. He will listen carefully before checking the bar and then writing it on the grocery list. But seriously, he’s the only one whose been brave enough to deal with my baggage, and there’s no one else with whom I’d rather grow wrinkly.
3) Family. This word perhaps has different meaning for me than for others. I don’t just mean blood–because I think family is something bigger and greater than DNA. It’s the unconditionality that some people give you, no matter what. It’s knowing that you are always home when you are with people that love you. It is taking the time to lift people up when they need it, and accepting them for just who they are. That’s how I’m raising my son to look at it anyway. And while he obviously loves his Savta and Grandma, he also unconditionally loves all his “aunties” and “uncles”–and yes–that includes my favorite checker at Ralphs. Love is love, without strings, without judgment.
(and yes Manny, that includes you too! This family wouldn’t be whole without you watching over our safety!)
4) intellect: I like that I have the ability, and freedom to think what I want. And to express it. And to just USE it. I don’t have to be told by my government or media how to think–I gained that right when I began to make my own decisions. And nothing irks me more than to have someone take time out of their day to try to convince me to think like they do–and I mean in a harsh–“you should think like this” way, and not the “hey, this is how I live” way. I like taking time to make decisions, I like rolling an idea around in my head for a while, chewing on it, arguing with it, savoring it, rejecting it, and ultimately making peace with it. That’s what the brain is for. Not to hold useless facts and regurgitate inanities. Any idiot with a keyboard and the internet can do that. It’s what you DO with those facts that matter.
5) Difference. Autism came into our lives, and spent a good amount of time bitch slapping me until I acknowledged it’s presence. And there are days when I wish she would just chill out for a moment so that I can catch my breath, and to spare my son the agonizing frustration he ultimately feels when he cannot communicate his needs, or when life is just to goddamn intense. But at the end of the day–even those hellish ones–I am grateful for who he is, warts and all. He will always see the world differently than I do, and I will spend the rest of my life being privy to that view. He is my constant reminder that we cannot all be perfect, and without our differences, we would be the most boring race in the universe. He may discover something none of us ever thought about, or he may compose a piece of music no one has ever heard before. He may have the right temperament to make the sacrifices needed to live on another planet, for all I know. He is amazing, and I am grateful for everyday he puts his little hand in mine.
Now, for my usual readers, I suppose this is where I am supposed to remark that I am also grateful for happy hour and a lock on the bathroom door. And I am. But I think those are gimmes. And in the end they are just things. Which are nice to have, but ultimately transitory. This house could burn down–but I’d still have all the things for which I am grateful–and that’s all that matters to me.
(not to say I am wishing for disaster. it would still suck.)
So, while you gather around the table to celebrate our American holiday of gluttony–take a moment to give thanks–and not only that Aunt Hester brought more than one bottle of wine. Happy Thanksgiving!
Sometimes, I fool myself. I get lulled into this world of almost normality, and i kinda forget the reality of my situation.
Not that this is a bad thing, really.
My son has autism. we know this. We have official papers saying this is so. We get a special pass at Disneyland. A majority of my week is spent in his therapy.
as he improves, he becomes more and more high functioning. WHich is AWESOME. But it lulls me into a certain complacency. Which *could* be dangerous.
Part of my acceptance of Ben’s situation was an absolute VOW to live in the now. I’ve posted about this before–it’s almost boring now. But it’s true. I don’t look much further ahead than maybe next month. Sure–i’ve got Kindergarten in the back of my mind, but there still winter break and the following IEP before i even have to tackle that one head-on. But right now my focus is Thanksgiving and family visits and making sure Ben enjoys his time with both his Grandma and Savta (my mom).
But when he’s doing well, I start to daydream a little. I start to think forward. You know–like parents do. TYPICAL parents.
I know my other special needs parents will feel me. We live in this amorphous world in which there are a million possibitilites for our kids–and we imagine them all–good AND bad. and this is dangerous territory. Because it can both get your hopes up too high, or drag you down into despair.
which is why we live in the now. because a) it keeps us SANE and b) it’s the most fair option to our kids. When you aren’t thinking ahead to future nobel prizes, or possibile instituionalization, you are letting your kid shape his/her destiny, serving instead as a tour guide instead of a dictator.
This is what i know: Ben is improving by leaps and bounds. In a way that *may* allow mainstreaming. But that doesn’t change the fact that he will always see the world differently. and THAT’S what i need to keep in the forefront.
That was my five minutes–but lemme add: I know there is nothing wrong with getting your hopes high. And mine are–believe me. I expect this kid to tackle anti-gravity or some shit to the point of making Star Trek a reality (he gets very frustrated with gravity on a daily basis–to the point of meltdown sometimes. It is his nemesis, if you will)
Yes, I hold him to high standards and expectations. While I have no crystal ball into the future, I do know what this culture can do to a kid with special needs, and the last thing I want to do is mollycoddle him. He already has very pretty manners–to which he will hold through life, even if I have to beat it into him during his teenage years. And by beat of course I mean take away every electronic device he’ll own until he can “yes ma’am” me in his sleep. We push him daily, which is factor #1 as to why he is improving (Well, almost daily–some days he needs a break).
These thoughts were spurred on when I watched Horse Boy this week, and saw shades of Ben in their son, and I began to realize what I was doing. Whether or not you have a kid with special needs, it’s an interesting flick.
So, pictures came in yesterday.
school pictures. You know–the ones that cause the most anxiety because they are COMPLETELY out of your hands. ANd all you know is that if you don’t get the envelope back when they come home from school is that a picture was taken, and you’ll just have to wait to find out if it’s any good.
Now, i’ve been blessed with a pretty photogenic child. Not photgenic enough to get picked up for modeling or anything, but he’s a looker and knows how to ham it up. Example:
The first year (2010)we sent him off to school for school pics, i was nervous as hell, because, well, he’d never done it before. And there were only so many social stories you could give. That year we got this:
his teacher told us that he was fidgety and fussy up to the point he sat down, and then the angels spoke and he turned on the charm.
This year, we did a little prep, but he seemed ready. I didn’t fuss at him much. WE practiced with his ABA therapist and he sat still and said “Cheese!” we deemed him ready.
ANd for the most part he was. the note on the envelope was that he moved around a lot–i guess to explain the off center stare:
Still–eat your heart out Shaun Cassidy.
And yes, we put him in that shirt on purpose. With that hair? how could we not?
This was part of an awesome linky over here at Autism Army Mom’s site. And i don’t care what she says, Audrey looks adorable!
Now–let me just state here, i am in NO WAY saying that ANY of the holidays should not be celebrated, yada yada yada. Of course, there will be those that read it that way. And frankly–that will only prove my point.
Let me state upfront that i am not a Christian. I got no beef with Christianity, i am just not a card carrying member. I have discussed my faith a few times here, so I’m not gonna get into it, because frankly–the only thing that matters here is that i am not a Christian. I am a member of the religious minority.
And we all don’t see christmas the same way.
For some, it is a holiday of idyllic innocence and sweet sentimentality. ANd for some, it totally is, and Goddess bless them for it. But let me just lay down how some of us see it.
- It’s a time to be told we are wrong if we don’t celebrate your holiday.
- It’s a time to be proselytized because there is obviously something “Wrong” with us.
- It’s a time to be attacked for what we actually do believe.
- It’s a time to have our holidays compared, and found wanting. And told so. ad nauseum.
- It’s a time to be patronized and pitited–for simply being ourselves, which frankly is insulting.
- It’s a time in which our kids are made examples of publicly as “different”
- It’s a time in which our kids have the rampant materialism of the holiday forced down their, and consequently OUR throats.
- Its a time in which we watch the traditions of OUR holidays taken over and their meanings ignored. (Do YOU know why you have a christmas tree? I do)
- And it’s a time in which we have to listen to a the majority BITCH about how put upon they are that they can’t put their religious symbols everywhere they want, and how difficult it is to be them, and the comparisons about Daniel and lion’s dens arise, and those of us with Yule logs, and Chanukiahs, and Kinaras, who know we are obvious targets for placing them in plain sight have to simply smile and nod and say how horrible it must be to be you.
- And it’s a time to have targets placed upon us if we even utter any of these thoughts.
so, those of you in the majority, who feel there is a “war on Christmas”–look around you. Your holiday is everywhere. And ours is relegated to lawns, token sections at the grocery and light shows, or even hidden away in the privacy of our homes–WHERE IT BELONGS (IMHO)
ANd for those of you who say it is just a secular holiday, well, good for you. Enjoy it.
Yeah–this got a little ranty. But maybe–just maybe–you’ll understand some of the ire that the religious minorities face this time of year. Maybe you’ll understand the demand for a little equity, or to not have your religion shoved down our throat with every tra-la-la. Or at least, maybe you’ll ask, how do YOU celebrate the season, instead of assuming we do it just like you.
Yeah–this is for the lady who snarkily said “merry Christmas” to me last year in the nastiest voice possible when i didn’t say it back to her the first time she said it.
Happy HOLIDAYS y’all. ALL of them.
Ok–that may have been longer than 5 minutes–but it had a full head of steam and needed to be said. I realize many folk on this linky are in the majority, and may have read me wrong. and i’m ok with that, because as stated before, i’m a little used to it this time of year. But if we live our lives in quiet ignorance, we never grow. Please realize the folks who do not wand a nativity scene in the downtown park don’t hate your religion. They’re just tired of the obvious inequities we face year after year.
and if you’re still offended, you were gonna be anyway. so have fun with that.
As i have been a crafter since god was a boy, it was only natural that when my womb began to increase with my very own human larvae that i would make him a blanket for snuggling and assorted whatnot.
His first blanket was a light aquamarine blue, crocheted in soft baby acrylic yarn.
and he loved it and loved it and and couldnt’ go to sleep without it.
(and internally i was all YES! *I* made that! suck it baby blanket buyers! harsh? maybe.)
ANd that was all well and good until he was @18 months and the eczema showed up like an unwelcome and scabby houseguest.
History: the Old Man is quite the delicate flower where fibers are concerned. Cannot wear a THING unless it is 100% cotton, or damn near. When he was a child, he was covered in the those adorable red splotchy patches that make people think you’re a leper. In almost all his toddler pics, he is scratching at his elbows. When it comes to eczema, he has a hate-hate-i will fucking CUT YOU relationship, and tends to lose all sense of rational thought. He remembers the itch like that ugly sweater your aunt Hilde made for you and your mother forced you to wear every Thanksgiving. Hell, he’s prolly scratching right now reading this.
(yeah, he actually reads my stuff, sometimes, if there is no sporting event visible or scheduled.)
So, when the splotches appeared on my lil one’s legs, we assumed the worst, natch. Anything not made of cotton was declared verboten, and was tossed (clothes) or covered (carseat) so that he could only know the soft spelndor that is one of “world’s dirtiest crops” : cotton.
But what about blankie? After many a wash and lovie session, it had attained that acrylic feel of, well, acrylic. You know–like an old sweater that just don’t feel right. You can’t explain why, but it’s just….meh.
But he still loved it, still slept with it, still dragged it along, the ever present Linus.
The Old Man looked me solidly in the eye, took my hand and told me, it HAD to be replaced.
(shut-UP blanket buyers!)
Since he wouldn’t snuggle up to a quilt in quite the same way, my only choice was to hie off to Michael’s to find what kind of cotton yarn they offered. Strangely enough, they had a soft cotton baby yarn, in the same shade as his previous blanket. Kismet. All right then.
hook in hand, i crocheted until my fingers were numb, and then i crocheted some more.
And when it was done, we just switched them. And it was like he’d never had another blanket. Insert thumb in mouth and commence self soothing. And Benji liked it too.
And it has been with him ever since. Linting on all the furniture, capturing the dog as if he were the Green Goblin to Ben’s Spider man, and attracting every dust bunny i failedl to sweep up.
And slowly–ever so slowly, falling apart.
Bits would come off here and there. Holes would get larger. Like some sort of Hansel and Gretel, he would leave a trail of blanket bits in order to find his way back.
Till, finally, it has come down to this:
This is all that’s left. In fact, he lost it this morning in his own bed and came into our room wanting to know where it was (under his pillow, of course. But how could anyone find ANYTHING without mommy help at 530 in the morning, i ask you? *grumble*)
My husband and i discussed this a while back. Do i make him another one or let this one simply dissolve into nothing?
We agreed that we would let it go. That there is a lesson here that all youngun’s have to learn. That unlike Linus, you cannot carry your blanket around forever and that letting go of things is a part of life. Like saying goodbye to that Winger cassette that just doesn’t play right (like it ever did), or my hair crimper. (seriously–we DID that to our hair?)
But my resolve is weakening.
I am fearful of that first night when the blanket isn’t there. I am not sure i’m ready to be pragmatic against the tears and the whines and the absolute heartbreak that will come with its absence.
Which leads me to today’s discovery. a second blanket i made for the car–out of the acrylic yarn, which shouldn’t be a problem since he’s only shown to have the eczema, and not the skin allergies. He’s worn other fibers without a problem.
I know. I’m a coward.
And the fact is, now that he’s had a cotton blanket for so long, he always eschews the acrylic one. ANY acrylic one.
(SUCK IT, blanket buyers)
So the Old Man and i with some friends went to see Bill Maher in concert last night. I know–he ain’t for everyone, but we find him amusing enough most of the time. I don’t always agree with him on shit; his views on religion–or rather anti-religion–can be as bad as an Evangelical Christian. I got no issue with folks bein’ athiests, but i DO have an issue with calling people idiots for having a belief system. But i digress. He represents not only a powerful voice for the left–of which i am most certainly a card carrying member, but one of the things we love about him is his no-nonsense style. If a politician goes on his show and starts their talking point nonsense–left OR right–he will call them on it. That alone is a breath of refreshing air in my book.
But this piece isn’t about him. It’s about the lady standing outside talking on her phone in the middle of the show. (having lost all the power of my teacher bladder, and having had a child, i can no longer control my bladder like a super hero) anywhoozles–she’s in the lobby, talking on the phone, very upset. Personal crisis? Dad in the hospital? Imminent forclosure? no. she is OFFENDED by the show.
offended. as in, she found the show “vulgar.” (direct quote) Really? You somehow didn’t know that this guy uses the F-word A LOT, and will make fun of anyone caught in a homosexual scandal and then claim they are not homosexual.
Yeah–this wasn’t a Jeff Dunham concert, toots. Might be time to reevaluate your ability to LOOK at your TICKET.
Now i realize she may have not been the original ticket purchaser here–but who comes to a comedy show without knowing who the comic is? I mean–THAT right there is a recipe for disaster, as SOME comics are bound to offend you. If you don’t like the F word and jokes about the right wing, then–and pardon me for making this assumption–may NOT be the show for you. no need to attend and find yourself “in tears” over a joke about senator Larry wide-stance Craig.
so, consider this my PSA. If you don’t know the comic, GOOGLE. should tell you all you need to know.
Today is Day 2 of Dia De Los Muertos. THis is the day you remember those you lost in the last year.
I realize this piece may seem like a bummer–but it isn’t really. AS a society, we’ve become so far remved from death that we don’t heal and grow from it as we should. Yes, i miss my friend–but i also celebrate the life he had and the fact that i was blessed in knowing him.
So here’s a repost of my first reactions to David’s death. As it should, it made me think about things that make me uncomfortable–but that is part of life. No one ever said it’s supposed to be unicorns and glitter the whole time. It’s called life–and death is part of it–pretty or not.
I’ll fill a glass of Frangelico tonight to place on the altar, so that his spirit can enjoy. We miss you, David.
May 15, 2011
We found out yesterday about the passing of a good friend. And it’s left us all…well, grieving. Its always hard to describe grief. And yet we all understand it. I mean we’ve all been through it to one degree or another. But it fuckin sucks. Fuck you, grief.
I’m not gonna eulogize David–he was an awesome dude. Enough said. I always hated eulogies, obits and the like. They never do the person justice–they are never enough. All i can say is that he liked my kid and my dog, and they loved him: the definition of good people. He was my husband’s poker buddy–and that is one awesome group of dudes. See?
- My husband’s poker buddies at our wedding in 2006. David is directly center, in the back.
(fyi–my Old Man is the one in the tux, leaning in, with the spikey hair and ‘stache. Yeah, the one that kinda looks like muppet. )
But of course, when death hits close, it brings all kind of shit to the table–things you don’t want to think about, refuse to think about, really, STFU, i DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THIS. You know, what would happen to your kid, your family, yada yada yada, should you just not be there anymore.
And not to diminish what the parents of typical kids feel, when when your kid falls into that “other” category, this thought almost makes you shit yourself. Or at least might be a challenge for the sphincterally challenged.
ANd yes, yes. I know there are legal things i(we) can do to make sure our lil dinosaur is taken care of–i’m not talking about that. You think about the little things–who will patiently wait through each step of making a PB&J with him? who will know to scratch his back and play with his hair when he’s over the edge sensory-wise? Who will diligently fill out every last piece of fucking paperwork to make sure he gets every fucking service for which he is eligible?
Yes, yes. I know. I know. With a kid like this, who wouldn’t? Hell, i’m convinced the girls down at the bank would take full custody of him if we didn’t already have something in place. But as with the nature of in-your-head scenarios–they are always the worst.
And like a nag, they just WON’T SHUT UP.
So it’s 345am and i’m up, thinkin about shit i don’t want to think about, drinking decaf because it just doesn’t make sense to drink caffeinated coffee at 345. I was originally up because of a bad dream about–you guessed it–Benji. THe kind of dream that took every bit of energy i had not to go into his room and hug the snot out of him. Yeah. That kind. good times.
So, you’ll forgive if today’s post isn’t as snarky as promised. That’s the thing about death and bad news. it doesn’t pay attention to your schedules and plans. It just moves in and starts bogarting all your snacks and taking over the remote control and farting alot. Suck it, grief. Get the fuck off my couch.