Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I've been in literal pieces this week.

The smaller details matter not. Just Nic, again, epic meltdown over something so inconsequential it leaves bystanders scratching heads.

I work so hard to integrate them into the fabric of our community, and have to talk people into giving them a chance, and when he blows up like this, he just doesn't seem to understand how he acts just cements and seals people's bad opinion of him.

Corrective measures taken, I sit here on this beautiful evening on my front step unwilling to fight anymore. At least not this week. I have deferred at least one phone call to next week, when I will be in a better frame of mind to deal with whatever comes.

I went out walking last night and saw B with a friend. He imitated my walk to his friend, then waved at me. His parents, of course, didn't see what he did, so there was no point in calling him out on it. But I did take his name off the 'supportive of Nic' list I'll take with me to the middle school. Nic's supportive list is dishearteningly small, but I'd rather put the names of one or two kids there who will really back him versus 20 names that won't mean much of anything.

We do have several families here that don't mind being seen talking to us in public places. But again, that's less than a handful. In a township of how many families? It's shameful. It's pitiful. But it is what it is.

I found Isaiah 40:31 this morning: Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Despite everything, I am still here. But I weary of the scarlet letter we wear; how funny that it's an A; how sad that we wear it at all.

Most people dread change. I hunger for it. Because change always holds the promise of something better.....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

These days are blessings

How can I best encapsulate this birthday week?

My sons have been away at camp; while I miss them, I know that they are safe and having a great time. Their first time away like this has been exciting for all of us; I can't wait to hear what they've been doing, who they have met, and if they have friends they will want to keep in touch with. I'm hopeful.

In the meantime, I awoke on my birthday in wonder at the fact that I'm older than I have ever been in my life. How funny to think that, because this is true of all of us, every day. But I, literally, did not ever dream I would live this long. My clean bill of health earlier this month is doubly sweet.

Although I experienced a serious disappointment earlier this month, perspective has tempered my anger and sense of injustice. I always tell Nic, "Life's not fair," and I had a healthy reminder that these words apply to me, too.

Still, I always get what I need, and certainly, all I deserve, good and bad. So it is in the spirit of the latter that I am happy to say that I enjoyed a phenomenal birthday with family and friends; hubby and I enjoyed 'Midnight in Paris' and gelato on my actual birthday, and I had dinner and lunch on different days with two of my closest friends, and yesterday, hubby and I packed a picnic lunch and kayaked and fished all afternoon on Lake Nockamixon.

When I pick up the boys later today, we'll continue my celebration. We all have so much to celebrate. Yes, we have come through an extremely challenging time, but there is so much good in our lives. We are blessed to be surrounded by loving family and friends.

And really, what more can anyone ask?

As I sit here and listen to the birds sing, and feel the cool breezes coming in, I'm thinking it's going to be another beautiful day.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Gift of Kindness

There are actually two things I want to address in this blog post: Nic and kindness. The title of this blog came to me in the car ride home this evening, and it's part of the story. Kindness came in the form of my sister in law and niece coming to Nic's promotion last week; that little bit of extra family support meant the world to me, and I know it meant a lot to Nic, too.

This past weekend, we had friends visit from Maryland, and my kids loved the company. I had a great visit with their mom. And one of the best coincidences came in the form of a yard sale across the street on Saturday. For the first time in years, Nic spent some time with the cousins that stay sometimes with their Nan. And what came of that (in addition to the great deal Nic got on an O-scale train set) was another act of kindness; on Monday, one of the boys helped Nic fix his bike. The two of them worked on it together, and Nic was ecstatic, not only to have his bike working, but that D (who once called Nic a butthole) helped him fix it.

Thinking about Nic, having such a hard time, and the way he looks at me lately; he knows I know he's having a rough time, and he knows that I am doing everything I can to help him. He lets me know by the way he takes my hand when we walk together, by the way he smiles at me. I feel hopeful for the fall; not overly so, we have too much work ahead. But I think that come September, he will be ready for almost anything.

I hope. As he and his brother spend their first night away at sleep away camp, I wish them both sweet dreams, good friends, good times, and much love.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Turning the page

So my son, who could not string together his own words and relied so heavily on scripting to communicate when he started K, was promoted to 6th grade.

All I could think as I watched him yesterday sitting with his classmates was how the relief I felt at having "done that" mixed with the high anxiety of the abyss called middle school.

It's been such a tricky year, especially with the social nuances that he misses, the bullying that goes on that he grasps on some level, but much of it he misses (he still believes everything that everyone tells him). The worst of it is that I can't tell him anything--because if mom (or dad) says it, it doesn't count (why oh why does he have to be typical tween in this instance?). But it's also been a year of great personal growth for him. I was proud of him when he said to a roomful of adults at his IEP on Monday that he was worried about bullying in middle school. All the adults in the room hastened to assure him that there were policies in place so this wouldn't happen.

But I saw the look in Nic's eyes, and although I am not a mind reader, I know he was thinking about all the times he went to an adult when he was being bullied by B, and all the times he was simply instructed to 'stay away from B', effectively allowing B to follow him around and continue harassing him. There were no consequences for B, so the bullying continued until April 30 of his 4th grade year.

Thanks for nothing, responsible adults.

So part of this summer will be about planning, working with Nic to transition to middle school, working with him on his letter of introduction to his new team, outlining his hopes and goals, his concerns, and his own history of how he got to where he is, and how he hopes to get where he's going.

For my part, I'll be working on plan B. I may never have to use it, but it's best to have it--just in case.

In other news, the bag of crazy that has been my life over the past month--Nic's issues as well as my own--have settled down. I find that taking the high road, while difficult, rewards in unexpected ways. The medical scare turned out to be nothing, but it has galvanized my sense of urgency in settling a few matters for both boys.

Upset, fear and disappointment yielded some excellent stuff in spite of themselves. I'm not sure if it's just me looking at the glass half full so much as that adversity presents unique opportunities that wouldn't exist if life were perfect, and the wise person understands this.

So, as my middle schooler prepares for the next phase of his life, I find myself gearing up for new parental challenges. I understand that this won't get easier. And as my little one moves to second grade, I remind myself that this is when bullying started for Nic, and hope that my little one has a smoother ride than his big brother had. Life will not be easy for either of them, but they will be that much more appreciative of what they have, because they had to work that much harder to get there.

Adversity, after all, has its advantages and teaches its own lessons.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mixing ponderables

It's really been a hell of a month.

I don't want to rehash--I've already disclosed the worst of a lot of it, but there's a lot more I can add--but discretion forbids it. SO suffice it to say, that's all I'm going to say about that.

I will add, though, that my mammogram turned something up. I go back on Tuesday for a follow up and an ultrasound. I'm not even really thinking about that right now--only in terms of how a negative outcome will radically change things around here. Which begs the question: should things change, anyway?

And I spent an hour pondering and reflecting on Nic's re-eval. It's accurate, for better or for worse. And now that we are starting group and one-on-one therapy, I know we are remediating what we can; now it's up to the school to meet us halfway.

(I'm not optimistic.)

I came in from a 4 mile walk and am sitting with my younger son, eating banana bread we made together and listening to him retell the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know I am doing everything I need to do for both boys. The medical stuff now has me wondering--more than usual--how much time I have left on the clock and whether I will have enough time to get it all done.

I hope for a good outcome. Oddly at peace, not worrying, because that's not productive. Just focused on my to-do lists and enjoying the boys.

Which is probably what I'd be doing, anyway.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Stop the World....

A friend of mine would tell me I am suffering from having too many windows open.

She'd be right. My spillover week from just about two months ago has been outdone by a few orders of magnitude the last two weeks. As it happens, the field trip and the teen harassment are the symptoms, not the problem.

The central problem, as it always seems to be, is that I too quickly conclude that Nic's problems are/were my problems--and while he runs into many of the same situations that I have, he has his own ethos--which I forget, at my peril. And as it happens, at his peril, and perhaps my family's peril, as well.

I can yell and scream about consequences, but he won't necessarily hear me; I can warn all I want, but will he really understand danger until it's too late? As hubby said, dangerous attracts him.

I want to do more than wring my hands. I want to throw myself in harm's way if it means saving him from himself. But I know, in my heart of hearts, that the only way he'll learn is the hard way.

And, oh, how it twists me up inside how fraught with hazards that is; how his whole future is threatened by his own stubborn short-sightedness.

But I will not wring my hands or stand to one side. He will learn to make better choices because he will be held accountable for the choices he makes. He will learn that you can't take back things that you have already said or done. But he will learn that you can put things right; you can make amends; you can ameliorate situations.

He just needs to be shown how. And he needs me to show him.

Game on.