Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All That (and a bag of chips)

The above phrase is a favorite of my Sherpa's, and it springs to mind because I was thinking of an email rant that some one sent me a few years ago that ended telling me that I am NOT all that, so get over myself.

The rant was ironic for a few reasons, not the least of which was the fact that she didn't even have a dog in the fight she was ranting about; she was just a bloviating mean girl who saw an opportunity to kick me when I was down. I shared her commentary with some friends and family who shared a laugh and then asked, "where does she get off saying that you are not all that?"

Where, indeed?

Every so often I come back to this thought, and chuckle. Honestly, I never thought I was all that, but people tell me I am. I'll tell you what I think I am; a concerned mom, a powerful advocate, a deeply spiritual person, a team player, a loving friend and ally, and an awesome worker bee with a solid and honest work ethic.

Is that all that?

Don't know. Don't care. I'll keep doing what I do because I know I do good.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

(Grand)Mom Well Met

I have a rough cut of my article done, but still have to do the word sculpting before I can send it out. I need to chill out for a little while before I can do that.

Just met with my mom for dinner, and boy, have we come a long way. It was a nice meal, and the kids were well behaved, let my mom and I talk, and I don't even think she noticed that they didn't interrupt either of us once. They responded nicely when she asked them questions, and much to my surprise, Nic asked to sample my rice pudding at dessert.

The kid is full of surprises.

He is doing all right with ESY and summer playground, too. I explained to mom that it was almost like everything was arranged for me to go back to work, it's been almost scary how easily all the pieces have fallen into place.

The scariest bit is the fact that we are doing Nic's program without a net. But he seems to be holding his own.

G is doing just fine in his, and having a great time. The kids and the counselors seem to like him a lot.

I was just reading back to my earliest blogs this evening, and I am amazed at how far both boys have come in three years. We continue to chase normal, but we are gaining on it. Unbelievably, we are all gaining on it.

While some things remain challenging for us, friends, and having company over, for two examples, other things, such as meeting up to fish, or to take train rides to the city, or going out for other adventures--all of these things have become almost effortless. It's taken years, a lot of hard work, a couple b*tchslaps from people who think they can parent my kids better than me, but we're making it.

We really have come a long way, baby.

My mom said to me as we parted company, "You know what, you look great--better than you have in a long time. I like your hair like that (long, tied back in a pony tail) and you just look beautiful."

I laughed and told her one of my coworkers told me I looked like I was 18 today. "It's working," I said. "It's having a part of my life where I feel like I have some control. And it's having my kids becoming more independent, too. It's a lot of good things lining up, finally, in the right order. God looks after me."

"Me too," mom said, and gave me and the boys a hug and a kiss, and said goodbye.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Elastic Time

Ten years with Nic feels like 10 years.

It's possible that this kid packs so much intensity into his being that 10 years could possibly feel like 50. In any case, Nic the 10-year-old boy simply is. I experience little to no awe that he is already 10.

I can't say the same about G. My quiet little guy grows in the shadow of his brother in more ways than one. So when I arrived at school one afternoon to take Nic to a doctor appointment, the little boy who beelined out of gym into my arms (he saw big brother in the hall, then heard my voice) took me aback.

I saw G running toward me and took him in as a stranger might; gangly, long and loose-limbed cherub with a mop of hazelnut hair and incandescent smile galloping full bore. And I stood awestruck--and a little sad--that my baby is going to be 7 this year, and I feel like I blinked and missed it.

He needs more of me than he's been getting.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Getting my specialist on

Another week, another series of social disasters, and another lesson on why I need to keep on top of my kids and their social interactions.

A confab catch up session with hubby confirms what I've been saying for years. (I'm trying to type while G reads to me from the Big Nate novel so if I go off track, that's why). An outing with friends from school had Nic pretty much acting to type, acting how everyone expects him to act; and an outing with new friends demonstrated better (albeit Nic-typical) behaviors.

Conclusion? He really is marked by his school status. He does act pretty much like any other kid when we are out with friends who are not in district. My whole deal lately has been trying to bring his wider world lessons back to his neighborhood, but for some reason, he's not buying what I'm selling.

He needs to learn these things by himself, the hard way, if these lessons are going to stick. Just like I did.

But I have a hard time reckoning with the ouch factor.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Finish Line

So I am lying facedown across this finish line called Friday, pounding my bony little fist in triumph. The fist pounding comes from the fact that I still have strength to pound my fist after this past week.

Let's see: my elder son nearly gets tossed out of camp and only through my promises of vengeance on one side and sheer diplomatic chutzpah on the other manage to keep him installed; the resulting cooperative kid leaves the camp director scratching her head.

Opportunities present themselves from all sides; I am still sorting through my invitations.

We commit to vacation; you only live once and it's been a long time.

A get-together with another family results in near-disaster, saved only by a convenient coffee house with an indoor play area.

I don't want to talk about my tooth. That it still hurts says much.

And I missed an eye appointment I didn't even know about.

Oh, and I walked into a closed-door meeting that looked like I should have been included--but wasn't.

I've had more ups and downs than a horse on a carousel this week. TGIF, indeed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thought du Jour

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!" -Henry Ward Beecher

In the space of 24 hours I went through the agony and the ecstacy, of Nic trying to get himself tossed out of summer camp to his being a model camper and assistant (I wield a great deal of power over that kid, but his willfullness reduces me to stark terror some days).

My prayer is that he acts always in good faith, ruled by his best instincts. He's smart enough, but is he wise enough?

His great day yesterday was his birthday gift to me. We celebrated at our favorite restaurant and chased it with a viewing of Toy Story 3.

Every year is better than the last, and I look forward to the trials and triumphs of the coming year--God knows, there will be plenty of both. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Today is my birthday, and despite the fact that the dentist couldn't find--let alone fix--my cracked tooth, I think I could do a hell of a lot worse.

I'll just take a moment and send up a prayer of gratitude for all the good in my life, and even the bad reminds me of just how good I have it. I am an extremely fortunate person.

Thank you, God, for all your blessings, and for giving me the strength, knowledge and endurance to pay it forward.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Good stuff, aligning planets, the whole 9

In spite of the fact that my mouth is singing in pain (thanks to kettle corn in Strasburg that wasn't even good enough to merit the damage it did to my teeth) and that my sorry butt is going to get handed to me later today, I am in pretty good spirits.

We had a pretty packed weekend, with trips to the Comcast building, out to Strasburg, then Costco, shoe shopping and then MIL's birthday party. The kids start camp this week--hopefully it won't be too bad for either of them. Nic starts ESY in a week. I have stuff lining up and I am figuring out what to do about the rest of the summer. It will all fall into place, because it always does, and the more I trust in that, the better things tend to work out.

I am so, so very grateful for all the good stuff in our lives. I had a peaceful time at BIL's house, watching G on the swingset, talking to my niece and future niece-in-law, and thankfully oblivious to drama going on around me.

Ah, life is good. And quiet. Which means something is probably going to get upended at any moment. That's okay. Bring it. I'm ready.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cool Breezes

I wanted to write this last weekend and was way too distracted with everything else going on.

Just before I crashed out the first night of States, I lay on the bunk of my dorm, eyes closed, and the most beautiful cool breeze caressed my face as I drifted off to the most peaceful and rejuvenating sleep I had in years.

And I remember that I made a note to remember this feeling of complete and utter peace and appreciation.

Friday night, dusk: I am sitting on my front step, listening to a party a across the street, and a cool breeze across my face reminds me of a beautiful evening a week previous. The first lightning bugs of the evening glow and wink on my lawn.

I'm also thinking of my day with the boys, on our very special trip to the Comcast Building. The boys had a blast and enjoyed meeting my friend and her hubby....and maybe there will be other visits in their futures....IF they behave.

We really do have good people in our lives. I am grateful.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ignore the Small, Still Voice At Your Peril

Just a few random thoughts I had on my way in this am--first, I saw not only a redtail hawk, but also a great blue heron in flight. I think this day will be good.

Thinking back to Tuesday (a very intense day straight across the board, although I didn't notice it as such as I lived it), something that stands out in my mind was the almost instantaneous responses I had to a bombardment of decisions that needed to get made.

Once upon a time, I could be depended upon to make all the wrong choices. And I have. And I learned from them.

On Tuesday, I had many little decisions, seemingly unrelated, that ultimately led to two or three big events that were connected.

I remember the anxiety I felt coming upon me as we waited for Nic's neuro to consult with us.

And I remember the small, still voice telling me to put the amxiety away; everything would ultimately work out.

And for once in my life, I listened.

And everything DID work out, with a little help from my friends and a whole lot of help from God. And the resulting peace of mind and heart...priceless.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Neither Here Nor There

The Special Olympics provided Nic and me with quite an education this weekend.

For my part, I saw all aspects of human nature, the good, the bad, and the ugly. For every one person who seemed to miss the point of being there, there seemed to be a hundred who *got* it.

Remembering my boy sitting in the van, on the way to the buses, his hoodie pulled over his Phillies cap, so that all you could see of his face were his two big, wide-open green eyes. He knew about as much about what to expect as I did.

I treated my athletes with dignity, and they paid me back in kind. They taught Nic what it meant to belong to a team. And he, fortunately, is a quick study.

He won two gold medals. Coming off the podium twice, he removed his medals each time, and each time placed his gold around my neck, telling me, "I won this for you, mom."

Dad reported that on the way to the bus on Monday, he became pensive and quiet, almost, dad noted, as if he were girding himself for battle.

He gets his differences, I told his new neuro yesterday. He doesn't quite fit in at school, and he didn't exactly fit in with the Special Olympics, either.

The neuro looked at Nic and told him, "Really, kid, you are one of a kind. Special. Different. In all good ways."

"Oh yeah?" Nic murmured. His catchall response for when he's not sure what's expected of him.

And yet. He still has friends. And he knows his family loves him. So despite his growing realization that he's not like everyone else, he is okay with who he is.

Because he will find his place in the world. Just like I did.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Golden Boy

I will write a longer post after I unearth from the most glorious weekend of my life (work, laundry, life), but I just wanted to let everyone know that my Nic won two gold medals in the SOPA Summer Games. As the ladies' assistant coach, I was part of our county's delegation, which had to be one of the hardest best things I have ever done. I would do it again in a heartbeat, since I was entrusted to work with 27 of the finest and most noble athletes in the state. And I found I was good at it.

And for his part, each time Nic stepped off the podium, he promptly removed his gold medal and hung it around my neck saying, "Here, mom. I won this for you."

Does my kid rock or what? :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

That was weird

I was just reviewing a training module for work, and all of the sudden, it was 21 years ago and I was working at the Savings & Loan down in S Jersey.

My mind took one skip--my friend K; a second skip, the bags of hand-me-overs--nice clothes she had no further use for--she used to give me; and that somehow landed me on a windswept boardwalk, talking on the phone with hubby, who was then my beau. And that led me to thinking about my crazy work schedule that summer--all day at the bank, evenings hostessing on the boardwalk at the only sit-down place on the beach, and how that summer was a nice clear sweep of everything that prepared me for grad school--and the rest of my life.

I feel like I am at a very similar moment right now, which is why those images struck me with the odd resonance. There are many differences between then and now, but the feeling of change and possiblity is very much the same.

I think it's a good thing, but I haven't been on that boardwalk--literally OR figuratively--in years.....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Yeah, Glassware!

Here is a pic of my finished pieces. As it happens, I made one for each of us. And each of has a favorite that we have made our own. :) How cool there was no overlap in taste!

I need to finish my article this weekend, and I have another on deck. Short busy work week ahead and some more adventures on deck--more details when I have them and have time to record them.

Real quick, strange dreams about Fr Mike, funerals, cathedrals, my aunt and uncles' old house in Bucks County, with G in tow. I don't know what any of it means.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bad boys and some world cup

I love Bryn Terfel and I had an overwhelming urge to listen to 'Te Deum.' Tempo is a bit slow for my tastes, but wow, this guy is amazing.

Watching World Cup with hubby and had a great night out with a good friend. Tomorrow is Friday and I will have lunch with my sherpa and get the wonderful pieces I made in glass blowing class last week.

Also finished the last of my interviews for my quick-turnaround article due next Wednesday. Job is grooving along, kids are grooving along, especially now that I have what I need in place for Nic.

Oh yeah. Bring the weekend.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Whirred, blurred, word

It's Wednesday, and I am not exactly sure how I got here, but at least I'm still in one piece. I'm in overdrive trying to fix N's situation and hope that G is able to sit tight until the end of the year--which FTR is little more than two weeks away.

In the meantime, just trying to keep my head, keep screwups minimal and keep walking placidly amid the noise and haste--even though in reality, I want to run like hell.