Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Life On The B Side July 10, 2017

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to change the name of my blog.  (I don’t think I can change the actual website link name … Well, I think I can but I have some logistical questions so I’m waiting until I can get my techy friend Robbo to come help a sistah out.)

In the mean time though, I can change the name that appears as my header so that’s what I’ve done.

 

All those years ago when I first began blogging, I was consumed with autism.   I ate, breathed, and dreamed ABA, self-contained, sib shops, sensory integration, adaptive technology, theory of mind, floor time, social stories, insurance coverage, equine therapy, fine motor skills, chelation, gluten free … you name it.  It was ALL I Googled about.  Autism was the ONE subject matter on all the blogs I followed.

Also, all those years ago, my boy was obsessed with trains.  Thomas the Tank Engine to be exact.  We spent hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours on Thomas.  I hated the expense more than the time.  Some of the songs are actually pretty good and I enjoyed the Hero Movie.  And no matter how mature I am, remembering how it sounded when my toddlers said “Percy” will never not be funny.

 

The name Life On The J Train made perfect sense – At the time.

 

Things have changed.

Now our lives do not revolve around autism anymore.  It’s still obviously a huge part of all our experiences, (will always be), but it’s not all consuming, all the time.

Now I write about many different topics.  Now I follow bloggers who write about many different topics.  Now, Ace is as much a part of my blog as Jay ever was.  Just like we all have, my blog has evolved.

Life has undoubtedly turned out to be vastly different than I thought it would be.  Vastly worse in some ways, yes, but also vastly better and easier in others.

 

I have chosen my new name as way of acknowledging my “Holland”.

(In case you are not familiar with it … “Welcome to Holland” is an essay about having a child with a disability which uses a metaphor of excitement for a vacation to Italy that first becomes disappointment when the plane lands instead in Holland and then contentment at the happy events which they experience instead.)

 

What I once thought would be an outlet for doom and gloom and despair has turned into what I hope my boys will see as a gift.  I hope they see my growth and understand the dark moments.  I hope they enjoy having all this info about their lives at their finger tips.  While other people may not be able to fully see the beauty in our lives, I have come to treasure all our experiences.  Because of everything we’ve been through, I love harder and appreciate on a deeper level.  I am better and stronger and braver.

I have LOVED The Jay Train.  Truly.  Starting this blog is one of my favourite things I have ever done – ever.  But I’m ready to move on to The B Side.

 

If you are like me and were a child in the 80’s (or earlier) then you know all about A sides and B sides on a cassette tape.  For you young’uns … The A-side usually featured the songs that the artist thought were the good ones.  The ones they hoped would receive radio airplay and become hits.  The B-side (or “flip-side”) had the songs that were considered to be more fluff and less substance .  The thing is though, there are many B side songs that out performed expectations and became hits.

 

Unchained Melody, I Will Survive, Save The Last Dance For Me, We Will Rock You  – Yup, all B side songs.  All huge hits that no-one saw coming.

 

This new header takes into consideration the totality that is my life … my writing … my experiences.  The things I never could have predicted.  It is to symbolize that while there probably is some garbage, amazing goodness can come out of what people assume will be something bad or mediocre.

 

Now tease your hair, think about your favourite Molly Ringwald movie and grab a pencil cause it’s highly likely that I’ll unravel at times.

 

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About Me – And Us July 6, 2017

Just as with my last post, I was motivated to write this post because of something I saw online.  It was this past Fathers Day and one of my Aunts posted a message talking about her dad – My grandfather.  It was then that I realized that before she did that, I had never even known his first name.  It was a strange realization.

It led me down the road of thinking about other things that I do not know.  There is so much.

It also led me to think about the times I’ve spent just chatting with my Aunty J in Jamaica.  A couple of months ago while we were there I learned for the first time why her brother moved away (got sent away) to Canada to finish high school and she told me what it was like for her when she left Jamaica – alone as a teenager – to attend college in England.  She talked about the boat ride and getting lost and having to borrow money and living off 300 pounds for an entire year.

I loved hearing her stories.

 

All this got me thinking that I want my boys to know things about me – And about themselves.  Random things.  Things that they may not ever think to ask about or that may never come up in conversation.

 

Things like the fact that Ace got his name a long time before he was born.  There was a boy in my high school who went by a different name altogether and then one day I learned what his real name was and I fell in love with it.  This boy wasn’t my friend in any real sense of the word.  We had no relationship at all really.  I just loved his name and made a decision there and then (when I was 14 years old) that I’d name my son that one day.

Ace was born at 8:05 am by C-Section.  My official due date was September 27th but I was scheduled to have a c section on the 13th since he was breach.  However, my water broke at about 2 am on the 3rd so that was it.  The whole thing was calm and fairly easy.  I never felt one contraction.

This may be a weird thing to say but the first thought I had after they took him out was … “What’s the date???  Please don’t let me forget the date.  It will be so bad if I can’t remember my babies birthday.  I am sure I am going to forget the date.  Deen, remember todays date.”  Lol.  Maybe that was because of the drugs I was given and maybe it was because I had been so focused on the 13th up to that point and maybe it was just my hormones going crazy.

 

 

Jay got his name because his dad liked it.  I was campaigning for Gavin or Tristan.  I did get to choose his middle name though (which is neither Gavin nor Tristan).

Jay actually has a cousin with the same name who is 3 months older than he is.  They claim to have chosen the name first but they didn’t.  They stole our name.  I don’t say that with animosity.  Just stating facts.  🙂  This is why I advocate for keeping your name choice quiet until delivery day.

He was born at 2:20 on a Tuesday afternoon after about 16 hours of labour and 15 minutes of pushing.  We had left one year old Ace with Nanas while we went to the hospital and he stayed there until Jay and I were discharged.  I don’t know what we would have done without her.  When I tell you she’s been there with us through it all, I mean it.

Jay also came 3 weeks early.  Seeing as he is a January baby, I of course worried about the weather.  I did NOT want to make the news because I birthed a baby in the Holland Tunnel due to being stuck in snow storm traffic.

Jay had the most unruly hair I’d ever seen on a baby and while we were in the hospital he was most comfortable sleeping on me.  He was not a fan of the basinet.

 

That’s all I’ve got for today.  I will try to make this a recurring theme.  Hopefully – Maybe – One day the boys will read this and find it at least a little bit interesting.

 

Mind Reading July 5, 2017

I saw a thing online – It asked the question:

 

Whose mind would you like to be able to read?

Your partner, your child or your parent.

 

Right away, Shaunie said she’d want to know what happens in my head.

I’m glad she can’t – lol

 

I didn’t immediately know my answer.

I very quickly ruled out parent.  That left partner and child.  Who hasn’t at some point wondered WTF their partner was thinking?  But my first thought was “Definitely my child; specifically Jay.”

I mean, that was my wish for such a long time.  I dreamed about it and wrote about it and cried about it.  I wanted to know my baby.  I wanted to know what he liked and how he felt and what scared him.

 

When Jay was 4 years old I took my boys to the park.  It had a little fenced-in playground.  Other parents found spots on benches and sat while their kids ran around laughing and sliding and playing tag.  I walked around – this way and that – Always making sure that I could see my boys and that they could see me.  We weren’t at the point yet where I was comfortable not having them in my eye sight.  They were too fragile.  Ace with his over the top energy and Jay with his poor communication and frequent tantrums.

As I was leaning against the fence, Jay ran over to where I was standing and started staring up into a tree just on the other side.  Of course my eyes followed his gaze where I noticed the squirrel that had captured his attention.  He stood there for a while.  Then he said “out.”  It happened so quickly and so out of the blue that I wasn’t sure I had heard it correctly.  He had never said out before.  Up to that point, his entire vocabulary consisted of 2 words.  Had he even said it at all or was it in my head?  I looked around to see if anyone else had heard him because if they had, surely they would have made a big deal out of it.  Nothing.  Kids were still running and laughing and climbing.  Parents were still sitting.

I panicked because he had said something.  It was one word.  But it was something and I needed him to know that I had heard him and understood him.

But Ace was still playing.  I wanted to take Jay “out” and bring him closer to the tree and his squirrel but I couldn’t leave Ace there.  By the time I grabbed Ace would the squirrel have moved on?  Would my moment have passed?

That was our life.  Always on edge, grasping at every straw and gently holding onto every  precious morsel – lest we lose it.  We could afford to lose or waste nothing.

 

 

 

Last weekend, I sent the boys to bring our garbage can around to the front of the house in preparation for Monday mornings pick up.  It’s their standard Sunday chore.  Every Sunday I have to remind them to do it.  Every Sunday they complain about doing it.

But, I have something to say” Jay quipped.

Go get the trash can first and then you can say whatever you want” I told him.

Off they went and I was there with a ready ear upon their return.

 

It didn’t hit me until Shaunie and I were talking about the online question that I had been so cavalier about Jays desire to speak to me.  My son, who I spent so much time waiting and wanting to hear any word from.  5 years ago; 3 years ago I would have told you that you were crazy if you told me this would happen.  If you had said that I wouldn’t stop the world from spinning every time Jay wanted to share his thoughts.

 

Go get the trash can first and then you can say whatever you want.

WHAT???

 

 

When our neighbour offered to take my boys to the park with her son, Jay declined saying he’d prefer to stay inside as he’d had enough time outside and was hot.  Later when he was invited to their house for dinner, he accepted.  He did, however, ask if he could bring his own snack – weary as he was that they would be serving something he didn’t like.

He’s made it clear that he wants to go to a big water park this summer and he does not see the value in learning how to ride a 2 wheeler.  He let me know that he was proud of himself for trying pink lemonade at camp and complained to his father that I take too many pictures.  He says he wants to be a policeman when he grows up and he explained to a friend that even though school is out, he still needs his rest so he doesn’t mind having the same “early” bed time.

If he’s not happy with us, he shares why.  If his feelings are hurt, he is open about it.  If he’d prefer (frozen) at home pizza over our usual Friday trip to Costco complete with Costco pizza then he lets us know.  If he’s excited or bored or nervous or thinks something is funny, we know all the details.

At bed time if he wants me to stay with him for a while and cuddle he will ask.  Conversely, if he wants alone time, he will politely say “Do you want to go now?  You can if you want.  I won’t mind.”

At the local pool, he encouraged a friend who was nervous about going on the big slide.  He has already let us know what kind of cake he wants for his next birthday (in January).  If he’s mad about ripping a page in his book or about being told he has to do a chore before he gets a snack, he will be very vocal about his displeasure.  If he thinks he’s not being treated fairly he will be the first one to speak up.

If Ace is talking and Jay interrupts, I let him know that he has to be respectful and wait his turn.  His talking, while still cherished, does not take precedence over all things.  Not anymore.

 

This is our life now.  It happened ever so slowly – Yet, I have become so accustomed to it that it would be easy to overlook.

The bottom line is this … If he likes something he will say and if he doesn’t, he will also say.  Of all the people in my house, Jay is now the one who is the most open and who is the least likely to be holding back or hiding his true thoughts.

 

He still has many challenges.  He’s still socially out of tune sometimes and reacts to things in ways atypical to other children his age.  He is still vulnerable to bullying and/or abuse, but gone is the crippling fear I used to live with that he will be bullied and/or abused and not be able to let me know.

 

So even though I’d love to understand HOW their brains work, I am inclined to agree with Shaunie that the kids deserve the privacy of their own thoughts.  And even though I’m not sure if it would make things better or worse between us, I guess I’d choose to read my partners mind.  I’m sure there are some real gems rolling around in her thought bucket.

 

 

By the way though, as their mother, I reserve the right to change my mind about all of this when they are teenagers.

 

Pride Month Reflections – With some religion and general life stuff thrown in there. June 28, 2017

Very often, life is incredibly beautiful.  Very often, life is incredibly difficult.  Just as often, both of those things are happening at the same exact time.

If you are lucky enough to find someone who makes the beautiful moments even more so and the difficult times somewhat bearable, then hold onto them with both hands.  If you find someone who you love and who in turn loves you and is as committed to you and your happiness/success/well-being as they are to their own, then cherish them.  Don’t let them go.  Certainly don’t let them go because of what other people think.

Find your real people.  The ones who willingly share your burdens.  The ones  who make you laugh and who comfort you and who are good influences on your children and who bend over backwards for you.  The ones who welcome you with wide open arms and want nothing more than for you to be happy.

Ignore the ones who do not make any effort for you.  The ones who make excuses and who don’t show any concern and who forget important dates and who obviously don’t care about your feelings or appreciate your time/sacrifices.  The ones who talk about you but not to you.  The ones who add nothing of substance but would have you live by their rules.  The people who are happy living in their own sin but who would judge you for your perceived transgressions.  No matter what their titles are, those are not your people and you do not need them.  Life is hard enough without them adding to it.

At the end of the day, there’s no use pretending to be someone you are not.  There’s no point in being lonely and no reward for being unhappy.  There is no prize for leaving yourself unfulfilled in order to please people who should be focusing their energy on other, more worthwhile, ventures.

 

 

I am no different than anyone else.

My life has had a lot of very difficult moments.   My life has had a lot of very beautiful moments.

I have truly amazing friends who have been there with me and stood by me through it all.  I have found romantic love and lost romantic love.  I am in love now – And I couldn’t ask her to love me (or my boys) any better.

I cannot imagine doing life without these people.  I would not want to imagine it.

 

But, there are those who would attack us with their religious speeches.  The ones who would deny my wife and I our happiness/rights and deny my children an awesome parent.  The re-married “adulterous” divorcees who quote one verse of the Bible to justify their anger/hatred/fear of gay people, but happily disregard the parts that say women should be silent in church and keep their heads covered or that shrimp is an abomination or that allows for incest and polygamy and slavery and that speaks of women as property for fathers to give away and for men to own/pass from brother to brother.

A few months ago they were posting about “Black Lives Matter” but now that it’s June they are posting about being “Straight and Proud”.  They don’t see that proclaiming Straight Pride is the same as proclaiming All Lives Matter.

These same people, with their holier than thou attitudes when it comes to homosexuality, have no problem with other forms of supposed sexual immorality.  They have no problem getting drunk on a regular basis or not tything or touching a menstruating woman.  Others remain silent when their friends spew racism and the worst of them condone men in their family who have molested children.  They welcome these sick bastards into their homes and they smile with them and wish them a happy fathers day.

 

I am not here to bash the Bible or religion or church goers.  I am bashing the hypocrisy.  I am bashing the picking and choosing of which Bible verses to pay attention to and make a big deal out of.  I believe the Bible can and should be used as a tool for good.  It should not be used as a weapon.  I believe there are a lot of benefits to having a church family.  I also believe it’s not possible to take everything the Bible says (in both the old and new testament) literally.

I believe at the end of the day, Jesus was about love.  Jesus was about protecting children and healing the sick and befriending the outcast.

When He gave His sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7), He talked about anger issues and lust (for another mans woman) and divorce and making promises and retaliation and loving your enemies and giving to the needy and fasting and anxiety and judging others and He taught people how to pray.

 

Do good.

Forgive.

Be Honest.

Help Others.

Love!

These are the things He preached about.

 

Shaunie and I didn’t attend any Pride events this month as it wasn’t convenient this time around.  We were busy living our lives.  Paying our taxes.  Pumping our gas.  Watching kid friendly movies.  Going to the dentist.  Hanging out with friends and hosting Grandma.   That’s not to say I don’t fully support them though.  I do.  I understand the desire to celebrate with and to be surrounded by other LGBT+ people.  I am 100% on board with activism and I think it’s totally ridiculous that laws get enacted based on the religious beliefs of some.

 

Life is hard enough without us imposing additional and unnecessary burdens on each other.  We should let people feel comfortable enough to find their true love; whoever that may be and whatever body parts that person may have.  Let people adopt children and give them a good home no matter the gender make-up of the household.  Provide a safe learning environment for all students regardless of their gender expression.  Stand up to bullies in every form.  Ban work place and/or healthcare discrimination based on sexual orientation.

 

To everyone I say, I don’t have all the answers to all the questions.  None of us do.  But I do know it is NOT our job to make things harder.  It’s just not.  It IS our job to make getting through this damn difficult thing called life as happy as possible for as many people as possible.   It IS our job to leave the world a better and safer place for the next generation.

To my fellow LGBT+ people, in addition to the above I say, keep your head up.  Be proud.  Be open.  Don’t give up the fight for equality.  Handle your personal business.  Live your truth and let your light – and rainbow – shine!

 

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According to Ace June 21, 2017

If all goes well, courtesy of their father and step-mother, the boys will be the big brothers to twin sisters early in the fall.  The other day, Ace was talking about it and said “I hope the twins don’t get autism.”

I understood that he probably had a good reason for what he said but I didn’t like that he said it in front of Jay and explained to him that we never want Jay to feel as though something is wrong with him or that we don’t love him for exactly who he is.

It gave me the idea though that I wanted to interview Ace.  I wanted to give him a chance to talk without feeling the need to sugar coat or censor anything.  Our interview is posted below (with his permission) as well as a couple of notes by me.  His answers are in bold and my notes are in small print.   (If the formatting acts right.  It’s looking weird on my screen.)  Also, I selected the punctuation to try and reflect the way he spoke as accurately as possible.

 

 

What’s your name and how old are you?

*Ace.  I’m 10 years old.

 

What’s your brothers name and how old is he?

Jay and he’s 9.

 

What kind of things do you do for fun?

*smiling*

I’ve never been an interviewer before. 

 

Interviewee.  Remember there are no wrong or right answers.  I want you to be completely honest.  OK?  So, now, what kind of things do you do for fun?

 Sometimes I watch videos or play video games.  I also like to build Legos and on occasion, I read for fun. 

(I love that he said “on occasion”.  It sounded so grown up. )

 

What kind of things does your brother do for fun?

He likes to watch videos.  Right now, mostly Garfield episodes and then he makes them in book form.  He also plays Roblox.

 

What do you guys enjoy doing together?

*Long pause*

We play with Legos or other toys.  Like animal toys.  And we act out our own stories.

 

What have you taught your brother?

That’s a hard one.  I can’t really think of anything.  I did help him to get better at speaking.  Like, I correct his language when he says things the wrong way.

 

What has your brother taught you?

He tried to help me to get better at drawing but I’m just horrible.

 

What kinds of things are hard to do with your brother and why do you think they are hard?

It’s hard for him to speak properly and to not get angry over silly things.  It’s because he’s autistic and his brain has a hard time knowing what to get angry about and knowing how to focus on what to say and how to say it correctly.

 

What can you tell me about autism?

I know kids with autism are really smart but they have problems showing it.  He’ll get better when he’s older.  He’ll still have it but he’ll know how to control it.

 

Can you think of a time you felt really proud of your brother?

Yes actually!  Whenever he tries new foods and when he completed his first book that he wrote I was really impressed.  It was really good.

Also, when other kids compliment him and his drawing I feel really proud of him.

 

Does your brother ever embarrass or frustrate you? If yes, how do you handle it?

No.  Well … kind of, sometimes.  When he gets angry and other kids talk about him it’s kind of embarrassing.  I don’t say anything.  I try to ignore it.  Now, it’s not so bad though and he gets over it really quick. 

 

Is there anything your family hasn’t been able to do or it’s been harder because of your brother?

I can’t remember where we were going but he got angry and started making the trip miserable so we turned around and didn’t go.  Also, sometimes we leave places early because he’s getting mad and making it miserable for everyone.

 

Do you feel like you get less attention than your brother?

No.  I feel like we get equal amount.

 

Do you feel like you each get enough individual attention from your parents?

Yes.  You do a good job.  Don’t change a thing.

(That was nice to hear because it’s one of the things I have long worried about.)

 

Do you ever talk to your friends about having a brother with autism?

Yes.  No mean things.  But like when we are at camp and other kids talk about how it’s not fair that he gets better food than us so I tell them that he has a doctors note and I try to explain to them and defend him.  Or if he’s throwing a tantrum and kids say something I tell them he’s autistic.

 

Do you have any friends that also have a brother or sister with autism?

No.  One time after I was talking about Jay, one kid told me that I would get along well with his sister but I don’t know why he said that. 

 

What can parents do to help siblings understand autism?

I think parents should be open and they should talk about things and explain why things are happening and what to do about it.  Like in case you can help.  Depending on the sibling I think they don’t mind helping. 

 

How can parents encourage more positive interaction between their children?

I don’t know.  I think we have a positive relationship.

 

How can parents deal with resentment and competition from siblings?  Do you understand that question?

Yes, I understand but I don’t know.  I don’t feel any of that.

 

If you put yourself in your brother’s shoes, what do you think he would say about you?

That’s a hard one.  I think he would understand how I feel and he would try to help me as well.  He would say I’m a good brother even though I am only nice sometimes. 

 

Do you worry about what will happen to your brother when you guys get older?

No.  Not really.  I believe in him.

(I LOVED the words “I believe in him”). 

 

Do you think he will become your responsibility and you will have to take care of him when he’s older?

No.  I think he will get a job and be able to live in his own house.

 

What’s the best thing about having Jay as a brother?

*LONG pause*

I’m not saying there’s no best thing. 

*Smiling/Giggling*

He is easy to tease and to have fun with.  Like, I can show him what to do and he will do it.

 

What’s the hardest thing about having Jay as a brother?

Dealing with his anger issues.  For sure.

 

What are the best and worst things about having you as a brother?

Having a brother who respects him.  But having a brother who bosses him around.  Like, I will tell him “take your feet off the chair” and like that.  I talk to him like he’s only 5 years old and I will do the counting thing like “One, two … “ when he’s not doing what he’s supposed to do.   

 

Is there anything else you’d like to say that I haven’t asked you?

You only asked me about autism.  I want to say that having ADHD is hard.  I get distracted easily and sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep and I fall asleep late but then I am tired the next day. 

 

Is there anything else we can do to help you that we are not already doing?

No.  I feel like you know it’s hard and you understand what it feels like for me.  We have a lot of fun and even when you are hard on me I understand why even if I don’t like it.

 

Anything else you’d like to say?  Would it be ok if I interviewed you again some other time?  Maybe in another year or so?

Oh yes!!!  Maybe you can interview me and ask me what it’s like to have twin sisters.

 

*Both of us laughing*

Sounds like a plan.  Thank you for doing this.

 

Sleep Over Balancing Act June 19, 2017

When we moved to Virginia, towards the end of a school year, Jay ended up at a different school than Ace.  Basically, Ace  got enrolled at the local public school for our zone and Jay was enrolled in the zone next door.  Jay needed a specialized program and there were no available spaces at Ace’s school.  The thought was that we’d have him finish out the year “next door” and then in September we’d transfer him to his rightful place at our district school.

Here’s the thing though – We fell in love with his school.  Well, the staff really.

They were amazing and he instantly found a home there.  When September came, we decided to leave him where he was.  It has not been inconvenient at all and there have been no issues with this arrangement.

Until.

The weather started to change in the spring and the neighbourhood kids began playing outside.  All the kids in our neighbourhood go to Ace’s school.  I  didn’t think this was a problem though because they always welcomed Jay to play outside with them even though they didn’t know him from school.  Kids are pretty cool that way.

 

Jay noticed however, and asked me one evening why it was that he never saw any of his friends playing outside.

It broke my heart.  All I could think was that here was one more way in which my boy was losing out due to no fault of his own.  One more way his different neurology was singling him out and making him feel “other”.  I hated it for him.

 

It got worse.

One day the kids were all out playing and ventured a little further than they typically do.  (Still safely within the confines of our complex).  Ace found out that yet another friend of his lives by us.  He was closer to this friend than any of the others.  The next thing I knew, this boy, oh heck, let’s call him, Zach, was at our house a few nights later for a sleep over.

There was much excitement about this sleepover.  It was the first one Ace had had with a school friend.  They had all kinds of plans to play video games and eat too much junk food and stay up all night.  (The junk food and the all-nighter didn’t happen by the way).

Even though we have a spare room and offered to let Zach sleep there, he made himself comfortable on the floor of Ace’s room with blankets and sleeping bags and the like.   There was much talking and laughing coming from that room.

 

 

Here’s the thing – Jay wanted very much to be a part of the sleep over fun.  Ace wanted very much to have his friend to himself.

I understood both desires.

I could’ve compromised.

I could have made Zach sleep in the guest room when it was bed time.  I could have forced the 3 boys to share the same space – either in Ace’s room or set them all up on the living room floor.

 

This time though, I had to rule in Ace’s favour.  He is expected to share a lot with Jay.  He gets lectured a lot on taking good care of his brother, especially when they are out together.  He’s told to be on the look out for bullies targeting Jay and to help him when he’s struggling to communicate.  He is reminded of Jays developmental delays and expected to understand and accept and include and coach and teach.

But I have to allow him to have something to himself too.  He has to know that he’s allowed to have relationships outside of his brother and that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself sometimes.

 

It was really hard tucking Jay in that night.  He was so sad.  He wanted to know why he wasn’t having a sleep over and why his friends never came over.  He wanted to know why Ace and Zach were leaving him out.  I tried my best to comfort him.  I even offered to lay down with him until he fell asleep.  I NEVER do that.  He turned me down.

He has brought it up no less than 10 times in the last couple of weeks.  “When will I get a sleepover?”

I don’t have an answer.

 

As hard as it is to hear those questions and to see Jay hurting, I know it was the right thing to do for Ace.

I’m not gonna lie though, I’m kind of glad that Zach spends his summers in North Carolina.  That buys me some time as I don’t expect to have to deal with anymore sleepover requests for a while.

 

For You We Always Will June 13, 2017

Well, it happened.  The boy graduated from elementary school.  What a journey it’s been.

I told a friend on the phone … “I made it through without crying.”

His response was the equivalent of … “It’s not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life.  There are bigger things ahead that really deserve to be celebrated and that will probably make you get emotional.”

 

No“, I said, “You don’t understand.  For some peoples kids getting through elementary school is easy.  For mine it was not.  I am just so proud of how he has performed over the last 2 years.  The first 3 were rough.”

 

I remember the days when every single report card came home with a note saying we needed to have a parent teacher meeting.  Shoot, in some cases, I had to meet with the Vice Principal.  I remember when having his own personal chaperone on a field trip was mandatory.  There were times when I couldn’t make it and our Nanas stepped in.  I remember in second grade when they threatened to hold him back and have him repeat due to near failing grades.  I remember, with much appreciation, all the things his teachers did to help him even though there was no legal reason for them to do so.  Bringing in their own personal i-pads to school to use as an incentive for good behaviour.  Allowing him to play with Legos in a quiet office when his body was too agitated to sit through reading time.  Buying books with their own money that they thought he’d like to encourage reading.  I haven’t forgotten the concern over his fine motor skills.  (His writing was all but illegible).  I remember the phone calls I received telling me about the latest injury he received because he fell over in his chair.  I can recall his teachers treading lightly as they attempted to suggest we take him for an evaluation with a specialist.  They didn’t want to offend.  But they saw him struggling.  I remember him starting to hate school and being scared to begin a new year in a new grade with a new teacher.  I remember  his school choosing to put him with a specific teacher in 3rd grade because they thought she would have the skills to reach him and help him.  They were right.  She was a great fit for him and he loved her and learned to love learning.  School, was still not easy, but it stopped being such a scary place.

Fourth grade and fifth grade were vastly different.  There were no more “needs improvement” check marks on the behaviour section of his report.  There was marked improvement in his organization skills.  He began getting A’s and B’s.  He joined, and enjoyed being a part of, multiple after school activities.

 

So you see, while to many an elementary school graduation may not be a big deal, for us it is worth celebrating.  First we struggled and then we conquered.

 

It was a team effort and his support team is stronger than ever.  I will say the one part of the ceremony that almost got to me was at the very beginning when the Vice Principal asked the graduates to turn around and look at the crowd behind them.

That’s your support system.  Those are the people who helped you and will continue to help you.  Lean on them.  They love you.”

And there we were, sitting proudly in the auditorium.  Myself, Jay, Shaunie and CC.  All together for our boy.  When it was his turn to collect his certificate, Jay stood up and shouted “Ace is next” and then he clapped bigger than anyone else.  Shaunie and CC were on photo duty.  I sat up straight, soaking in the moment and beamed.

 

It happened.  The boy graduated from elementary school.  What a journey it’s been.

 

 

 

~*~

When you’re feeling lost in the night,
When you feel your world just ain’t right
Call on me, I will be waiting
Count on me, I will be there
Anytime the times get too tough,
Anytime your best ain’t enough
I’ll be the one to make it better,
I’ll be there to protect you,
See you through,
I’ll be there and there is nothing
I won’t do.

I will cross the ocean for you
I will go and bring you the moon
I will be your hero your strength
Anything you need
I will be the sun in your sky
I will light your way for all time
Promise you,
For you I will.

I will shield your heart from the rain
I will let no harm come your way
Oh these arms will be your shelter
No these arms won’t let you down,
If there is a mountain to move
I will move that mountain for you
I’m here for you, I’m here forever
I will be your fortress, tall and strong
I’ll keep you safe,
I’ll stand beside you, right or wrong

For you I will lay my life on the line
For you I will fight
For you I will die
With every breath, with all my soul
I’ll give my world
I’ll give it all
Put your faith in me 
And I’ll do anything

(For You I Will – Monica)