Tag - love

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Words Like Nets
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Spaces Between Us
3
Sam’s Credo
4
The Difference Is…
5
Loving You
6
Those Pesky Producers
7
Count Your Blessings
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Granite Days
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Animaniacs!
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The River

Words Like Nets

This. This at the end of a long, tiring day. This, when you simply want to put a period on it, as in, THE DAY IS DONE.

This, when the goal is to slide into the evening with your thoughts and a glass of wine, your children at last asleep. Let’s be honest, looking forward to these moments is what keeps you going some days.

So when one of your children refuses to cooperate and instead keeps getting out of bed after lights out and you see no discernible reason other than he quite possibly does not want you to have alone time, you will sigh heavily and say “Alright, then. Come here. Sit on the couch with me.”

The truth is you are just too tired to keep walking him back to bed.

You ask him, of course you do: “John, what is it? Why can’t you sleep?” You ask him, knowing that it’s futile, knowing that answering requires too much and tools he does not have. And then you spot your laptop. You open a blank word doc and you type:

John, why are you sad? Because… ?

You don’t expect an answer, you don’t expect much, which is why when he leans forward you still don’t realize.

a take to bed

“Take you back to bed?” You tell him you still don’t understand. You try again.

WHY is John sad? 
no sad
Okay. Is something bothering John?
Yes or no?
yes

And you tell him you want to help, can he please tell you more, can he type more?

neat mom sat on bed
sleep mom sad wake up mom
back ward school

What does it mean? Backward school? Go back to school? And he continues:

dad grandma house train
dad number 012345
dad grow plant
home mom
dinner
movie popcorn
bath time
bed time
brekfest
dad no hi
dad air up
dad chikfil a
the muppet show season 3
sesame street surprise watch
moo bow elmo puppet
fair boat
hot air balloon
lunch
fair boat home
dinner movie bed
back to school
lost home ant jt
go home
nose
watch to baby da vinci
jelly fish

This. All of this. You need to de-code and you need to alert the press. This is the longest conversation you’ve ever had.

The day you discovered Sesame Street’s “Divorce: Little Children, Big Challenges” downloaded on his ipad without any help you knew that he was taking it all in and processing. And today you see, god how you see, just how much he has to say.

Words

Spaces Between Us

We are on our way to meet your dad and it is a trek. We’ve done all the prep: schedules and social stories for John and long talks about our feelings and careful treading through the what-ifs of divorce.

(“What if you see each other again and fall back in love? Those what-ifs, the ones that live large in your heart when you’re a child of eight, when your dreams are full of them. I know.)

You are excited.
And nervous too.

This morning you bound out of bed in your clothes, smiles on your sweet faces. It is easy getting out the door.

But on the way, John, you start to yell and I know something is not quite right. You ask for the bathroom so we head there and I am surprised when you pull me instead to a seat and hug me. I stroke your hair. “John, are you excited to see Daddy? Yes or no?” Yes, you say. “Are you sad too? Yes or no.” Yes.

I tell you I will call you and you can call me. “Yes or no?” Yes, you say.

We sit there for a time and then you softly sing, my for-so-long non-verbal boy, I love you, you love me, we’re best friends as friends can be… I stop breathing for a moment, listening to all that lives inside you come rise to the surface.

* * *

We say goodbye on the cold concrete. I hold your faces and kiss your cheeks, press each of you to my heart and say goodbye. I tell you to have a great time, I’ll see you next week.

And now?
You are there,
I am here.

My love for you lives in the spaces between us. It travels down Route 95 and knocks on your window. Are you awake too?

I am not me without you, I am this new me. We’re still getting to know each other.

Sam’s Credo

I came across this scribbled drawing as I gathered the dozens of pages Sam leaves strewn across the house. Our house is on the market, have I mentioned this? That we need to move? and life on the market means keeping it in showing condition always. An impossible feat in the best of circumstances — really really, difficult with two 8-year-olds. I vacuum, I dust, I hide things in drawers and closets as I shoo the boys closer and closer to the door. Some days I just order them to the car with iPads and tell them to sit … it’s the only way to do it. Otherwise, I spend 15 minutes in one room only to return 10 minutes later to destruction.

Anyways, I digress.

So I was cleaning for a showing and piling Sam’s drawings into a pre-recycle bin — the one I use BEFORE I dispose of his scribbles into the actual recycling bin, when I came across this one. It struck me as simple, direct, a credo.

I  think we need happiness and trust too. Don’t you? And love like this…it would be a good start.

IMG_5270

The Difference Is…

The lights off, I tuck you in. Your eyes, heavy with sleep, struggle to stay open. You ask me in your sleepy voice, “Why am I different from other kids?” I ask what you mean and you say, “You know how I get frustrated easily and I can’t catch a ball… and sometimes I talk different?” I explain that everyone is unique and everyone has things that are difficult. Some things are because of autism and there are wonderful, awesome things about you too. You ask me to please enumerate them (and you say “enumerate” in such a way that I laugh and immediately oblige).

“Well,” I say, “You have such empathy, Sam. You are so aware of feelings — you might say you’ve been an A+ student in feelings.” And I remind you how starting at age two you studied the faces of all the Thomas the Tank engines and named their expressions and spent hours drawing pictures of feelings: Happy, Sad, Excited, Scared, Nervous.

“What else?” you ask.

I tell you that I’ve never known anyone who has a memory like yours. Your memory is astounding. You nod, “My brain is full of many facts.” Indeed. I tell you how I don’t know one single person who can draw our U.S. map from memory and tell me with absolute accuracy which state borders which state. Or who can tell me, when asked, who the 7th president was and whether he was Republican or Democrat and if he liked to eat cheese.

You mention your latest subject: Evolution. And you rattle off hominae and homini and homo erectus and tell me how neanderthals became extinct 30,000 years ago and we are part of the Great Apes, one big homini family. Ho.

“You see?” I say and touch your face. “Your memory is something special.” You smile but ask for more.

“Okay,” I say, “your enthusiasm is contagious.” And you ask me (of course you do), “Like a disease?” and I say no, no, no. “I mean your enthusiasm is SO great that other people sometimes “catch it”.

“You mean like a disease,” you say — not a question. I sigh, we are trapped in your literal mind. “Yes,” I tell you, “but a GOOD disease — it’s not a disease, but if it were a disease, it’s something everyone would like to catch.”

“Is stress like a disease?” you ask out of the blue. I tell you that it is, kind of, and you tell me that when I’m stressed that I should practice your techniques. “Oh?” I ask, bracing myself. “First you must count slowly to 4 — like this: ‘1…2….3….4….’ You should also smile more because this will trick your body into not being stressed. People like being with people who smile lots.” I ask if people includes you and you tell me it does.

“You are very wise, Sam,” and I tell you that you are more grown-up than most adults.

“Thank you,” you say, pleased.

I think how time is like a rubber band: it stretches from the past to the present, from what I knew to what I know…until eventually it snaps, and in breaking releases me. Today might be my 12th wedding anniversary but I feel a strange release. I feel free, at least more free than yesterday.

The difference is my boys, everything real and true and honest in my life.

Loving You

We sit here and talk about your day. New camp, new experience, new fears. And you whisper, Her name is Mimi, your smile shy. She cried at drop-off and I ask if she did better as the day went on. She was sad, you say. You were relieved you weren’t the only one anxious about a new experience. You tell me about her long yellow hair and how she wears it pulled back in a ponytail. I ask if you and Mimi became friends.

Not yet, you say. You tell me that you’re both getting used to each other first — in your minds. That tomorrow, perhaps, you will be ready to move forward — that tomorrow, perhaps, you’ll be three quarters there. We’ll smile then speak when it’s time. I see how earnest you are and am impressed by your insight: this is how it can go, after all.

Then later, Mommy can I marry you one day?

No, sweetie. It doesn’t work like that. And I tell you how one day when you grow up, you will meet someone who is just right for you, who you will love and who will love you too. And you’ll get married and maybe have kids and Mom will be here (Down the street? Next door?) and I’ll also be known as Grandma if I’m lucky.

But I’m worried. I think I’ll lose you when that happens. Impossible, I say, and tell you about all the many types of love in the world and the love you have for your mom (and the love she has for you, dear Sam) is Forever.

Mommy is forever here loving you.

Those Pesky Producers

Sam runs in to the kitchen where I am working on dinner and says, “Mom, it was Jamie Kellner.” I am confused, I don’t know a Jamie. Or a Kellner.

“It was Jamie Kellner, Mom,” he says, pointing at the ipad. “He canceled the Animaniacs in 1998!” I tell him that I still don’t know who he is talking about.

“He was an executive, the WB kind,” he says matter-of-factly. Sam has made it quite clear that while he loves DVDs (specifically Volumes 1, 2, and 3 from his Aunt JT), what he’d really like is to watch his favorite show on television, you know — like on Boomerang? Or Cartoon Network? They should totally start airing new episodes.

“Why did he cancel them?” I ask, noticing Wikipedia open on the ipad.

“I don’t know,” he says, “but he was responsible.” And that, friends, must be the gospel truth if he read it.

I suggest he write a letter to Mr. Jamie Kellner or to the WB. “Can we do that?” he asks.

“Sure. Why not?” I say, “We could start a ‘Bring Back the Animaniacs’ campaign.”

“Maybe we can write to the others too?” He starts rattling off other names I’ve never heard of — Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille (the voices); Steven Spielberg…

I stop him and say, “Steven Spielberg?” He says, “Yep. He’s the executive producer.”

“Oh. Spielberg. Didn’t he do some other stuff?” I ask him.

“I think so, another cartoon maybe?”[smile]

“Mom, can we go to Hollywood? I want to go to Warner Bros. to visit them.” And he says Bros. so that it rhymes with ‘toes.’ I start to explain that Wakko, Yakko and Dot probably do not live at the Warner Bros. studio any longer because they’re cartoons, but I don’t want to see that smile dim.
“I’d like nothing more,” I say instead and give him a hug.

In the early nineties, when Animaniacs was apparently everywhere? I owned a TV, but had no cable. I had never heard of Sam’s “zany Warner trio” before he plucked them back into existence off of youtube. Luckily, Santa had heard of them. And she shops on ebay.

Count Your Blessings

I’m not sure when I stopped paying attention to what was playing on the radio — no, that’s not true. I stopped once I had kids and was more concerned with what dangers lurk outside — as if I monitored it all, I could keep my boys safe. NPR, news stations, weather and traffic updates.

I’ve started listening to music again. Adele? Love her. How did I live without her?

Throw your soul through every open door
Count your blessings to find what you look for
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold
You pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow.
—”Rolling Back the Deep”

I think the toughest thing I’ve faced as a mother was John’s heart surgery when he was a baby. And although autism has been a rocky ride? It is this holiday season that takes second place. Count your blessings, and I do. I must. I’m so grateful for family and friends who swoop down and envelop me with love, and for each of you who reads — thank you.

Granite Days

I feel my way through the days, I am parting sheets of granite with my bare hands. Sometimes the effort it takes feels both herculean and insufficient. Everywhere I look there are things to be done, things to look at. I feel my power surge and fall and with it my ability to sleep. But I am strong. I feel this as an absolute. It can be no other way.

My children show me this every day.

A little boy who has always insisted others draw for him, whose grasp on a crayon or a marker has always been hesitant and weak — this boy has accomplished the herculean. Drawing by himself. Sometimes with prompts but more and more often self-motivated. Finding his power, his ability, his strength.

Animaniacs!

We have swerved off of Looney Tunes into the land of Animaniacs! It’s a shame I’ve not yet shared Sam’s adoration of all things Looney Tunes because it supplanted Thomas the Tank Engine about a year ago. We’re talking DVDs, character blankets, cuddlies.

But then he happened upon this video on You Tube (fueling an already happy obsession with geography) and ever since we’ve been living in another dimension — one populated by Yakko, Wakko and Dot.

Happy Day-Before-Thanksgiving y’all.

The River

The thing about feelings is this: they either rush through us like a river and empty out of us or they course around and meet a wall — a wall we build when it’s not safe to let it out. The boys rush to me in the mornings and each curls into a side. I feel like a bird, plump with wings made just for this. Their eyes are crusty with sleep and they yawn and burrow. They are so tall now, all gawky hard angles.

“Mom?” he says, “what’s on tap for today?” For Sam, schedules are still paramount. He likes to plot it all out — which is why weekends, with chunks of time to fill, can be problematic. We talk about how it’s Monday (hooray!) and he has a regular day at school and media — his favorite. We talk about what types of books he will check out (we’re back to extreme weather and the world atlas). We outline his schedule (first morning meeting, then math, then reading…).

Then he says, “I love you Mom.” I love you too buddy! I say as brightly as possible because in an instant the river has rushed up behind my eyes. The wall is close to coming down. John is still quiet, his arms circle me from the other side. He listens to us and then says “Go to school?” We get up and begin the morning routine and I’m all super-efficient Mommy making breakfast, packing lunches, getting clothes. As long as they are okay, I’m okay.

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