Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Paltry Offering

I feel recent losses acutely, and I want to send strength, hope, courage, solace to those for whom the losses strike even closer, but I where did my strength, hope, courage, solace go?

The faith of those who rise up in the face of loss amazes me over and over again. And it humbles me mightily.

I want to learn from my friends with faith. I have long been trying to learn. Your faith is beautiful, friends, and I look at it with great admiration. I am sorry to let you do the heavy lifting, but glad that you can do for others what I am as yet unable.

In my shameful drought of strength, hope, courage, solace, I send this, all that I have, to those who are hurting: love. I send love. I wish I had more to offer. I hope you will forgive, and accept the love I send, as it is all I have.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Coconuts, Anyone?

When I started blogging, I sent an email to some friends to say, hey, I haven't felt like telling everyone one at a time how rotten I feel, but if you wanna read the blogoversion, here it is...they read, lurkerstyle, and sent me amazing support via email, even if they didn't know what to make of the rooster. They sent good love anyway. Those friends keep it coming, still putting up with my endless ranting, and, you know who you are: I LOVE YOU! Thank you. The emails, the calls, the good vibes and nice thoughts - I feel 'em all.

Some nice bloggers out there who were WAY ahead of me in special needs discovery took pity on the new confused and selfpitying girl on the block, and they showed me the survival ropes. I thank all of you who have become my friends along the way. You send me amazing support through your comments. I feel your love for my little rooster boy even though you've never seen his gorgeous little smile. I read all your blogs and hope that someday I'll have as much to offer as you all do.

So I wanted to say today that I know someone who I think could use an extra dose of the amazing support possible out here in the blogosphere. She has good listeners/readers, but it seems like she'd welcome as many supporters as she can get as she wrestles with the issues many of you know so intimately.

If you are a special needs parent and blogger and you haven't checked out Jen's blog, I want to tell you that she is newish in this neck of the woods, though her story starts farther back than mine does, and I wish I had smarter comments to leave on her pages, because she deserves them, but my brain has turned to mush. Maybe you have the right words for her? Help keep her from going coconuts?

Jen, hang in there. You are doing great.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Enjoy Your Vigors

Sometimes I forget that I am not actually all that old.

Not that I'm all that young, either; I don't wear 37 particularly well. I opened an album today and lamented how radically I have changed. The pictures were taken just 4 years ago, but I look back at the girl on the pages like she could be my daughter.

When I say I forget, I mean I often erroneously feel like I am just about to retire, have bunion surgery, get discounts at museums. Other people talk about these things, people a generation ahead of me, and my ears perk up. I feel myself registering kinship the way I used to when I first moved to LA and someone in the doctor's office would begin to describe their recent arrival from Back East and how they still had not adjusted completely. Only it made sense to relate then. Unless I win the lottery, I have about three more decades unti retirement, and probaby a quarter century until bunion surgery and cheap trips to the Getty Center.

I feel old. I look bad. I get extra worry lines worrying about feeling old and looking bad. And then my husband reminds me that I'll never be any younger than I am today. He has told me this often over our eight years together. Even before we had kids. Usually, he says it like this, "Enjoy your vigors!" It makes me laugh, it sounds so silly, and, well... old.

He first started telling me this when I used to fret over our age difference. After years of dating older men, I married a guy thirteen months younger. A silly 13 months! Ha! Why should it matter? It doesn't. It surely didn't change anything, and it certainly didn't keep me from marrying him.

But lately this old feeling has me acting a little differently. Sometimes I don't do this or that thing, because I think to myself, "I'm too old for that!" Or I make a choice for myself as the geriatric patient of my imagination. And so I had to blog about it to set myself straight. This blog you're reading right now? I am grateful you take the time to read it, and I value you. I wrote it, though, as a letter to myself. A reminder. For once, I need to listen to my husband. I'm not really all that old. I'm not getting any younger. And I need to enjoy the vigors of my... well, at least of my middle-agedness. Because I look back at photos of me with my kids one year ago and think, "Wow! I miss those days!" And those were HARD DAYS. Some time not so far off I will look back on photos of July 2008. In some sense at least I want to miss these days, too, and reflect on how the girl on the pages was enjoying her vigors as best she could, all things considered.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Notable and Quotable Three

Rooster's Grandma R: We used to have a squirrel in our yard who loved to eat cashews.
Rooster: Mommy? Why did a squirrel want to eat cats' shoes?

Me: Peaches, you are a piece of work. (Peaches is melting down about nothing. And everything.)
Peaches: I am NOT a piece of work. I'm a piece of PEACHES!

Me, to a teacher: Did you see the rooster's new shadow? (YES, we finally got a behaviorist.)
Rooster: Right there! On the floor! Right there on the floor is my shadow!

Peaches: I have a tummy and Rooster have a tummy, and mommy have a BIG tummy! (No, I have no plans for more babies. Yes, ouch. Must get to a gym.)

Rooster: Mommy, you listen. Do you understand me? You DON'T talk that big mommy talk to me, okay? You hear? I don't like that big mommy talk. For five minutes! Okay? You be quiet. I'm playing."

My favorite, due to its rareness, but lacking all humor:

Rooster: I don't like that, Peaches.
Peaches: I'm sorry, Rooster.
Rooster: I forgive you. Let's play.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Lately I have had precious little time, between travel to a conference for work, travel back East to a funeral, a visit from dear old friends, sick children, work, and, oh yeah, autism stuff. Not a spare moment for blogging could be seen for miles.

But the truth is, I have not felt like blogging.

Sounds funny, because I found myself saying at my conference, and back East, and to my dear friends, that blogging serves an important therapeutic role in my life. (C then handed me an article she'd clipped for me about the mental health role of the blogosphere.)

Sounds funny, too, because I have had much material all around me, and certainly could use a mental health boost.

But maybe I didn't want a boost.
Maybe I haven't wanted to feel better.

Maybe I knew I'd have to write about my grandma -- too hard -- or not write about my grandma -- too hard.

Maybe blogging about her -- or not -- seemed too much like real life marching on, moving away from the time when my grandma was still here, a phone call away, ready to reassure me, to love me, to understand me, to be my grandma.

Maybe blogging feels like living, and I've wanted to be in limbo.

Really, I've been too busy to blog, and I've been glad of it.

But really I'm too busy to blog tonight, too. And here I sit. So what does that mean?

I don't know. I'm not feeling particularly insightful.

But maybe I've had this nagging sensation in my heart of someone reassuring me, loving me, understanding me -- someone nagging me out of my limbo, back toward life.

I'm trying. I really am.
See you soon.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


This weekend, the rooster lost a crucial member of his fan club and support system. He lost his great grandmother, who was my hero, and now it is my job to keep her alive for him and the rest of our family through the love that lives on.

The rooster will not remember his great grandmother in the vivid way that I wish he would, but he will know all about her, and the many gifts that she gave him.

He will hear how she came all the way across the country to watch him be born. Already in her eighties, diabetic, arthritic, a cancer survivor, scarred from a vicious flesh-eating bacteria that nearly cost her life and limb, she came, looking beautiful and far younger than her years, ready to hold her granddaughter's hand for the umpteenth time, to help and care, and to meet the newest member of her beloved brood. Not even 32 hours of labor deterred her; she refused to be sent home for rest. He was the first child she ever watched being born, though she'd gone to celebrate many a new baby in the family.

The rooster will know that his great grandmother bought him his crib for his first gift, and she sent a check to open his college savings account. He will know how she treasured gifts of love and symbolism, of support and of encouragment. He will know how much she treasured cards more than gifts, how she read her cards so carefully and chose them with such love.

He will know that photos of him, of Peaches, of all her family adorned every shelf and covered her refrigerator. And he will know that she sent the cutest little outfits ever because she just loved to see kids look "darling."

I tried calling him "darling" today so that he would hear that loving word as I did, and it make him laugh. It made me cry.

The rooster and Peaches both got as much from their great grandma as she could pack into her short time with them. I will make it all last for the rest of my lifetime, through the stories I will tell them, the photos I will show them, and the videos we will watch. They will know her funny Brooklyn-meets-Southern accent, the way she crooked her finger, and the very best sentence she ever gave me, "I am so proud of you, I could bust." I will infuse their lives with this sentence as she did mine, and hope that it makes the same kind of through line for them, inspiring them to be their best.

But I admit that I am heatbroken that they will not eat turkey dinner at her table. That they will have no more of her kisses. That the photos cannot convey to them how her eyes twinkled with glee or mischief. That they never tasted her pie. That she cannot hold their hands when they too have children. She had the most beautiful little hands. Strong.

I close my eyes and I concentrate hard. I can hear her. She taught me well, I listened carefully, I cling to the lessons, I still benefit from her reassurance.

My grandma did not know that the rooster has autism. In some moments, when I panic right now, I feel a desperate and selfish need to talk to her about this, about everything. But the truth is, if I remember to concentrate and listen, I still can hear her. She doesn't care what you call the rooster, she just loves him. Here or gone, she just loves us. It is a love too huge to die.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I am all out of coping mechanisms.

Any place you know I could get some?

I thought anything could be bought or found online...