Life On The B Side

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

Unscheduled Fun February 15, 2019

We have a lot of fun together as a family. We go to trampoline parks and to shows and museums. We plan beach vacations and camping trips and in the next couple of weeks we’ll be going to the circus. It seems though, that having unscheduled fun with the kids is getting rarer and rarer. You know what I mean by unscheduled? The times when you don’t have a plan but you end up building a fort out of sheets and pillows or making funny hats for stuffed animal toys. The regular – free – EVERY DAY fun.

Now that the boys are 11 and 12 (gasp!), our “at home” time often revolves around making sure that all the things that NEED to be done, get done. The dinner and the homework and the chores. Whatever extra time there is, gets used up with me binging Netflix and them playing video games.

I know that one reason for this is that building forts and making play-doh pies just doesn’t cut it for pre-teens. But I also think lazy parenting is another reason. I’ve been at this parenting thing for 12 years and I’m tired. Tired physically yes, but also tired of putting legos together and pushing trains on tracks.  You parents of older kids remember all the “floor time” you used to spend.

When you have a new baby, everything is so exciting. You want to spend every minute with them. Teaching them and watching them and exploring with them. You love going to the park and pushing them on swings and you love hearing them giggle when you play peek-a-boo. You’d do anything for that giggle. You absolutely love feeding them pureed green peas and seeing the mess they make and you marvel at the green poop that follows. After a while though, you begin to love getting back to yourself. You don’t love your children any less. Not one iota. But you love that your children can now entertain themselves and make themselves sandwiches. You love that you can roam the Target aisles in peace and don’t have to spend any time looking at stupid transformers that cost too much for the 10 minutes that your child will actually play with it even though they are telling you that they NEED it and will for sure this time play with it for eternity.

 

How much together time is the right amount? I want us to be close. I want our bond to be strong. I want the boys to have a joyful life full of sibling and parent interaction. I want ME time.

 

I don’t have the answers. I am playing this all by air. I will say though that last week, Shaunie and Jay baked some cinnamon rolls together. It was nice. Also one day last week, I put my phone down, my feet up and Ace read me a story. It too was nice.

 

Then this week, Shaunie had to go to New Jersey on some family business. On Wednesday evening, Jay and I sat together and assembled candy grams for his class for Valentines Day. While we were assembling, we talked. Just he and I. We don’t get that a lot. With one Mom gone, the remaining 3 of us ended up having a slumber party in my room. We are not a co-sleeping family so this was a real departure from the norm. Plus, it was a school night. (What?!?!) It was such a hit that we did it again last night.

 

I really hope that we’re getting it (mostly) right. I hope we’re not being too hard on them; but pushing them enough. I hope we give them enough of their own space; while not making them feel alienated. I hope we force them out of their comfort zones often enough to spark an adventurous spirit; while honouring their own, specific, interests. I hope we enforce necessary routines; while allowing for (and even encouraging) flexibility and spontaneity.

 

Do all parents feel this way? How do you guys manage it?

 

When the alarm went off this morning and Jay rolled over to me and snuggled for a couple of minutes, I knew I had made the right call in agreeing to the “sleepover”. It was just so delicious. But sometimes the answers are harder to decipher; especially when they tell you that all they want to do is have electronics time.

 

Perfectly Imperfect Holidays January 2, 2019

So how was everyone’s Christmas?

I know it’s January now and people are talking about New Year resolutions and the like, but I have some catching up to do.

 

Our Christmas did not go the way we had planned. Does that mean it was good or bad? Continue reading to see.

 

On Saturday, December 22nd, we had tickets to see a play. It was to be a cute show; geared towards kids; about Santa and his elves. Everyone was up, fed, dressed and in the car on time. Then we hit traffic on I-95. Not just any old traffic. Major, not-moving, all the roads including side roads were jam packed traffic. The GPS initially said we’d be 10 mins late to the show. “OK”, we thought, “that’s not so bad”. Fifteen minutes later, it climbed to us being 20 minutes late and forty minutes later when we were not even half way there yet, the GPS said we would be 35 minutes late.

The show was not going to happen. Ugh!

We were disappointed about the wasted money but more so about missing out on the event that we thought would kick-start our feel good family Christmas weekend. The kids took it in stride. They said it was fine and that we shouldn’t worry about it and suggested we go to the movies. So we did. We even splurged on movie theatre snacks which you know is a treat because they are not cheap. We watched Bumblebee and everyone thought it was good. (The kids mostly). Yay!

Following the movie we made a stop at the cell phone store to see what options he had because the day before Ace had dropped his in the toilet. Ugh! FYI – It turns out that putting your phone in rice for a couple of days really does work!!! Yay!

The next stop was a Jamaican restaurant that we patronize when we’re in the area. I made a comment that was just meant to be funny but it led to us being gifted a bottle of sorrel – which really was very good. Yay!

All in all, even though it wasn’t the day we planned, it turned out pretty good.

 

On Sunday, we had plans to go horse-back riding. Once again, everyone was up, fed, dressed and in the car on time. As soon as we pulled out of the drive way, we got a call saying we needed to reschedule because the area was too wet/muddy due to all the recent rain. Ugh!

We spent the entire day being lazy. I mean, there was some light tidying up, but besides that we watched lots of TV, including a Christmas movie. We watched A Christmas Story – the one with the “leg lamp”.  I had never seen it before which apparently is blasphemous.  The kids were excited because it was Christmas Eve Eve which was cute. It’s such a great feeling seeing them be happy. The day may have been totally different than planned but it turned out pretty good.

 

 

To be honest, that’s kind of how the entire holiday week went. Things not going according to plan, but then being imperfectly perfect just the same.

Even our New Years Eve plan didn’t work out.  I had bought us tickets to an event which ended up being cancelled on Dec 28th.  My money was refunded and Shaunie and I spent the day/night reading and eating left overs and generally having the best time at home just relaxing.  At 10 pm on New Years Eve we both said how glad we were that our event had been cancelled.  I made it to 12:05 or something like that.

 

Ultimately, over the past week or so, we went to Church and spent time with many loved ones and yes, Santa was good to us.  We did make it to 2 shows.  The Harlem Globetrotters on Dec 26th and on Dec 30th we saw Hip Hop Nutcracker.  It was a really lovely way to end 2018.

All that’s left is to send everyone lots of well wishes for a happy and healthy 2019.

xoxo Deens.

 

A Life Appreciation Post December 11, 2018

We are not big on the kids sleeping over at friends houses – if we don’t know the family well. That said … Jay got invited to a sleepover to celebrate one of his school friends birthday. My initial thought was no. But my mind kept drifting back to … well, maybe.

Having good friends is huge. For many autistic people, having any friends is huge. I mean, just yesterday the mom of a popular facebook page posted the foll:

 

Screenshot_20181211-102225_Facebook

(As you can probably assume, her son Greyson is non-verbal and uses a device to communicate.)

 

I had met the mom issuing the sleepover invite before. She seemed very nice each time. As Jamaican people would say “mi spirit did tek to her”. Jay had been invited to and had attended that same kids birthday party last year so this is not a brand new friendship.

After talking to the mom 1 more time and asking questions like “which other kids that we know will be there and *do you have a gun in your house?”, we agreed to let him go. He was so excited about it and the other kids were excited to see him when we showed up – that made it easier for me to walk away after the drop off. I want this for my son. I want him to have friends and to be included.

 

*~*

 

For the first time – I think ever – Ace had Shaunie and I to himself for an entire evening and night. He’d been asking to go to a Hibachi restaurant but since we knew Jay wouldn’t eat any of the food there it hadn’t happened. This was our chance. We didn’t tell him where we were going and to see his face light up once the realization hit was awesome. The evening did not disappoint. From the initial giant flame to clean the stove area, to the flaming onion volcano to the catching of the food in your mouth to the fake egg being thrown at him. He loved it all. And I loved watching him love it all. He tried the miso soup and said it was good. He did not eat any of the salad but … are you ready?… he ate a piece of zucchini AND a mushroom. Of both he said “It was ok but I don’t want anymore.” He did like the rice and although he had chosen to order steak, he said the best part was the complimentary 3 pieces of shrimp he got. Neither of those meats are things he typically eats.

I was just so proud of him. I want this for my son. I want him to have a wide variety of experiences and to know that even though sometimes his wants are not immediately do-able, when we can, we will do, just for him.

Following the hibachi dinner, at Ace’s request, we browsed Barnes and Noble where we each got a new book.

 

*~*

 

The next day we picked Jay up and heard rave reviews from him about how much fun he and the other boys had. He didn’t even want to come home. [Well, hurt my feelings won’t ya 🙂 ] The mom told us how pleasant of a kid Jay is and how polite and how much of a gentleman. It made me feel so good. I know I say this all the time, but truly – I NEVER COULD HAVE IMAGINED THIS WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER. It’s the most wonderful thing to witness.

 

After we got home it began snowing so we spent the day reading books and baking and playing in snow and finally settled down in front of the TV to watch Christmas Chronicles (a new holiday movie on Netflix). As I sat there, cuddled with my 2 boys under a blanket, listening to them laugh and seeing Shaunie in her spot on the other side of the couch, also under a blanket, the fireplace lit, the Christmas tree lit and already overflowing with presents, the snow falling outside, I had a moment of total and complete contentment. Despite a whole lot of crazy and hectic and worry, we have such a good life and I am so blessed.  I don’t take any of it for granted.

 

 

 

 

*If she did own a gun, I’d’ve had follow up questions about the storage of said gun.  I mean, you can’t be too careful with 7 boys ages 10 and 11 running around.

 

Thankful for … November 26, 2018

Last Friday, we went out – to a wonderful dinner and then to a nightclub (where a good friend of mine works) – to celebrate my sister in laws birthday. I am thankful for family who live within driving distance and friends who give you the VIP treatment at their place of employment.

 

On Saturday, we picked up a cousin from the airport. She was visiting from England. We dropped her bags off and headed out to a Drag Queen Christmas show. Risqué – Yes.  Irreverent – Yes.  So fun – Yes!!! I am thankful for relationships that stand the test of time and distance. It had been 12 years to be exact since she was here last and not a single beat was missed.

 

On Wednesday, my boss came by at noon and sent everyone home so we could get an early start on the holiday weekend. Yeah, you can bet I was thankful for that. I made a couple of stops, picked up a few things, and when I got home at 2, the house was empty – and stayed that way until about 5. I love my people but YAYYYYY for time alone!!!!!

 

Thursday was a delight. I don’t even know where to start. We all shared the work so it didn’t feel like work at all. Everyone over the age of 11 contributed to the holiday feast. Meaning that Ace (with a little help from England Cousin) made apple turnovers for dessert. The youngest (5 yrs old) led us in prayer before we ate. The middle child (Jay Boogie) helped to clear dirty dinner plates and serve cake. The adults who hadn’t cooked, – ok ok ME – did most of the cleaning up.  I think.  There was Christmas music and card games and tons of laughing and even jello shots. So much to be thankful for.

 

The gluttons for punishment in the family (aka, everyone but me) ventured out for Black Friday shopping on Thursday night after dinner. The kids were super excited to go – as kids tend to be about doing something new and “grown up” that you’ve heard a lot about and seen on TV. England Cousin was excited to go because as a Brit, she’d never been. Shaunie and Cousin Andrea were excited to go because they love to shop but more than that they love to get good deals.

***ahm – Did I tell you yet that Cousin Andrea came down from New Jersey? Well, she did.  And we love having her.

After they left, I was thankful for the couch and a blanket and Netflix and tea and 5 uninterrupted hours of a documentary on the Rajneeshi cult.

 

Friday was all about Washington DC. We ate and took pictures at famous sights and toured a museum and went ice-skating in the park. I was thankful for warm coats and family who are easy going and traffic free highways.

The rest of the weekend was pretty chill. We just hung out and chit chatted and had leftovers. Last night, when asked what their favourite parts of the weekend was, Ace said it was Black Friday shopping, helping to prepare Thanksgiving food and 1 other thing that I can’t remember right now. Jay said it was getting to play video games, eating cake and one other thing that I can’t remember right now.

For me, I was just so happy to have several days full of nothing but love and family and contentment.

 

I hope all of you who celebrate it, had a wonderful weekend in whatever way meant the most to you.

 

How A Space Heater Saved Our Lives October 23, 2018

Typically, a group of about 10 of us go camping together in the summer. Some years we have a couple extras. One year we had as many as 22. This year though, we couldn’t find a weekend that was suitable for everyone in our regular crew. Too many other things happening. Babies being born and weddings in other countries being attended and so on.

It seemed as though we’d miss out on our annual camping trip this year. And in some ways we did. But not in all the ways. Our rag tag army of 4 decided to brave the elements and take it on by ourselves.

Camping on a good day is a lot of work. It’s worth it. But it’s a lot of work.

Add to all the normal work that we chose to book a weekend in late-ish October AND hadn’t checked the weather report before heading out. Maybe it was a good thing that we hadn’t checked because had I known a storm was going to pass through I may have pulled the rip cord and spent the weekend on my couch.

 

We arrived at the site around 8pm on Friday; which is later than we normally try to get set up.  I mean, setting up in pitch blackness can be a little tricky.  None-the-less, we got the tent up, made a fire, hung out for a little bit and then went to bed without any problems.

Let me just say – Thank the heavens we had brought a space heater. It saved our lives when the temperatures dropped in the night. Even with the bit of warmth, no-one got a good nights sleep however. It rained pretty hard and the air mattress Shaunie and I were on, lost air steadily as the night progressed. By the time we “woke up” the next day, we were feeling hard ground beneath us.

Oh well. All part of the fun I told myself.

Saturday was a great day. The kids made a hot dog breakfast on the open fire and Shaunie made eggs on the one burner propane stove we had. We toured the site and found that it was quite nice. It sits on a river which I’m sure would be fun to swim in, in the summer time. They had a basketball court, a bouncy thing for the kids to jump on and a game arcade (which we didn’t actually use). Back at our site, we played board games and Jay threw rocks into the river. At one point he tried walking down a hill but he slipped and ended up going down the muddy slope on his butt. It was pretty funny and he took it like a boss.

In the afternoon there was a costume contest (since it’s so close to Halloween) and also there was trick or treating. The boys ended up with 2 bags full of candy. I snagged a snickers bar and some vampire teeth. We had no idea we were supposed to bring candy to give away but it was ok; All the regulars (who clearly knew the deal because they came PREPARED with legit decorations) made up for it and there was more than enough to go around.

When it got dark, we went for a walk on a haunted trail (also set up by the camp site) and it was really good. I think Ace was the most scared out of the 4 of us. But he made it all the way through and I was proud of him.

Saturday night was rough since a storm came through. Really heavy wind and rain lashed outside and our little tent was swaying a lot. It also got seriously cold. The space heater helped for sure, but it didn’t come close to making us warm. Poor Ace got so scared by the wind that I ended up moving to his air mattress and cuddling him all night.

We all woke up exhausted on Sunday and even though the sun was out, it did not help to warm us up at all.

We packed up and left the site at around 11:30.

 

All in all, I think it was good that we pushed through and did it. Shaunie may disagree with me.  But the kids enjoy it and I think it’s good for them to spend time “roughing it”.  Plus, I am all about having family traditions and this has become one of ours.

 

See ya again next year camping equipment. In the summer though.

 

Sneak Peak October 14, 2018

I have news.  Well, you know how I used to talk about how much I enjoyed my job but I had a long, painful commute?  I’ve given that up and I will start at a new job this week.  It is bitter sweet in that you never know what kind of boss or coworkers you’ll get when you start a new job and I really did like my former ones BUT that drive was simply too much.  90 minutes in the morning and 2 hours to get home.  More than half of that being nothing other than me sitting in traffic.

I will now have a 15 minute commute and I am very much looking forward to the extra time at home.

 

Last Thursday was my final day of that awful drive.  Actually, it was only half awful because I left early and was home by 4pm.  I picked Jay up from school on my way home and since Ace takes the bus he was there waiting for us.  By 6pm, we’d had dinner and cleaned up, the homework had been done and checked, we’d showered, I’d taken out clothes for the boys to wear the next day and chores had been completed.

It was quite a shock to my system since 6pm is usually the time I’d be getting home.  I almost didn’t know what to do with myself then.  Bed time seemed so far away whereas it’s usually the next step once we’ve done our evening routine.

The boys, realizing they had lots of time left, took off running.  As I lay in bed watching TV (something I NEVER got to do at that time before), I heard them laughing and play fighting and chatting.  They were up the stairs and down the stairs.  They were in the kitchen and they were in their rooms.  They bounded into my room wearing their Halloween costumes and I chased them out.  They came back 🙂

We got to just hang out being goofy and silly and it was really nice.  At 7:15, when they had apparently exhausted their immaginations, they asked if they could get on their electronics.  (They don’t typically get to use them during the week).  I said they could for a little while.

 

It was such a lovely evening and while I don’t expect that every evening from now on will be like that, I do feel like it gave me a little sneak peak into what I’ve been missing out on and what it will be like soon.

 

The one downside to this arrangement is that it seems I’ll be the one responsible for preparing dinner since I’ll be the first adult to get home most of the time.  It was kinda nice coming home to a cooked meal every day.

Not THAT nice though.  I’ll take the extra chore of cooking dinner if it means more quality family time.

Wish me luck!

 

Claim Your Place September 10, 2018

I am not a stranger to the dark

“Hide away,” they say

“Cause we don’t want your broken parts”

I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars

“Run away,” they say

“No one’ll love you as you are”

{All italics are lyrics from the song This Is Me in The Greatest Showman}

 

 

People get uncomfortable when they come face to face with – different/new (or new to them).  People don’t like to be uncomfortable.

 

A woman should be cute and quiet and lady-like and know her place.  She shouldn’t be loud and assertive and stand up for herself.  

Black people shouldn’t bbq in the park and gay couples shouldn’t publicly show affection for each other.  

Tattoos and piercings don’t belong in board rooms or operating rooms or holding a gavel.  

And definitely, people with disabilities/physical abnormalities should not be brought out into public spaces where they might disturb other – normal – patrons.  They are loud and people want quiet.  They are fidgety and people want stillness.  They speak in an unusual way and people want what they are used to.  Their wheelchairs take up so much space.  They move at their own, maybe slower, pace and people want to rush through.  They look funny with their protective helmet or dwarf fingers or extra hairy faces and it might scare the children. 

 

 

But I won’t let them break me down to dust

I know that there’s a place for us

For we are glorious

 

 

“What are they doing?” Jay asks as we lie in bed watching The Greatest Showman. 

“They’re putting up posters because they’re looking for interesting people to join the show,” I tell him.  

A few minutes later, he’s back with more questions.

“Why are those people ripping the posters down?” He wants to know.  I am in my element now.  Well, I say, those are people who want to be in the show because they have something special to offer so they need the poster since it has all the information on it. 

 

 

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down

I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out

I am brave, I am bruised

I am who I’m meant to be, this is me

 

 

I continue softly, “Those people were all told they were weird and now they can join a show that celebrates them.”

 

One of the most fierce and powerful scenes is the singing of This Is Me when they are denied access to the high society party.  They were done with being hidden in the shadows and were ready to claim all their beautiful weirdness.  I loved it.

 

Look out cause here I come

And I’m marching on to the beat I drum

I’m not scared to be seen

I make no apologies, this is me

 

 

If I could make one song the anthem for my family, this would be it.  Oh how I want my boys to be strong and secure in who they are.  I don’t want Ace’s sensitivity to make him shrink away from speaking up.  I don’t want Jay to purposely exclude himself out of fear that he’ll be called weird.  It takes a lot of bravery to boldly say, this is who I am, just deal with it. 

There were so many times when there were people who probably wished that they didn’t have to deal with the likes of us.  The day at the supermarket when Jay had one of the biggest meltdowns he’s ever had.  The day at his neighborhood school where we fought over him zipping up his jacket himself.  The morning at Church where we both left sobbing.  In classrooms where Ace put his teachers through the ringer.  Going through security at the airport.  Trying to leave the zoo.  At my own wedding.  You name it. 

We never quit trying.  I didn’t have it in me to stifle my boys adventures because I was worried about making other people comfortable. 

Yes, we went to autism friendly movies and we chose aisle seats for Thomas Live so we could make a quick and easy get away if necessary and we turned down some invitations and Jay was in a self contained special education class for a while and Ace got help for his ADHD but every single one of those things were for US and to make my childrens lives better.  NOT to appease strangers. 

 

 

Another round of bullets hits my skin

 

 

On Facebook, my friend tagged Shaunie and I in some pictures from her wedding.  In 1 of the pictures from the photo booth, we were kissing; just as most of the couples who took booth pictures had done. 

Two women kissing is still weird for many.  “We love you guys and we want you to be happy,” they say “we support you, but why do you have to be so public about it?”  How easy would it be to ask the friend to untag us or take the picture down altogether.  As easy as it was for Zac Efron to let go of Zendaya’s hand in the movie when his father saw him with her; a “beneath him” circus performer.  In that moment it was easier for him to love her behind the curtain, out of everyones view.  In the end, his love was strong enough to drown out his shame and he loved her openly and proudly.  That.  That’s what everyone deserves.

 

 

Well, fire away cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in

We are bursting through the barricades

And reaching for the sun

We are warriors

Yeah, that’s what we’ve become

Won’t let them break me down to dust

I know there’s a place for us

For we are glorious

 

 

Parents coach and remind and give advice all the time.  Among the most important of these is for me to teach my boys to be true to themselves.  To not be followers.  To not dim their shine to make someone else happy. 

Boys:  Don’t hide away.  Not even the supposed broken parts.  The right people will love you as you are.  Be a glorious warrior.  There is space enough for you.  All of you.  March to your own beat.  Don’t be scared.  Be seen.  Be you!

 

Oh and the last thing … Be sure to make fun of your moms singing by howling like a wounded dog every time she dares belt out a tune. 🙂 

 

The Knowing – Part 1 August 9, 2018

When things get hard, when they are complicated, I get quiet. I curl inward. That doesn’t mean my brain, soul and heart shut off. It means they are working overtime.

< Lori Duron – https://raisingmyrainbow.com/2018/08/06/one-mom/ >

 

 

Therapist:  So, what brings you here today?

Me:  I don’t know.  I just feel overwhelmed.  With my life.

 

That was how my very first therapy session started.  It was the spring of 2013.

At the time, I had a job that I wasn’t happy at.  Pretty much no money.  A 7 year old with not-yet-diagnosed ADHD who was struggling in school.  A 6 year old whose autism had a choke-hold on us.  The relationships with my husband, father, mother and grandfather varied from shitty to non-existent.  I had curled inward : away from my friends.  I felt very alone.

I couldn’t catch my breath.

I didn’t go to therapy thinking there was anything they could do or say to “fix” my life.  I mean really.  What could they do about any of the things I was anxious about or overwhelmed by?  But also, what other choice did I have?  I had to try something.  Giving up has never been an option for me.  I suppose that’s a good thing.

 

I ended up going to 5 sessions then.   Five weeks is how long it took me to realize life boiled down to 2 things.

  1. Sometimes things suck and you just have to get to a place where you accept that and stop looking for/hoping for/expecting different.  And move on.
  2. Some things – like your job and your marriage – can change. How much are YOU willing to accept before YOU make steps towards making that change?  And move on?

 

Knowing those 2 things doesn’t prevent anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed by what most people would consider minor issues, from stopping by uninvited.

 

 

Summer 2018.

Shaunie:  What’s wrong?  You got quiet.

Me:  I’m just in a funk.

 

How do I explain it to her?  She’s a “fixer”.  But there’s no easy fix when depression creeps in.  You know all the things.

You know it could be worse.

You know there are people who love you.

You know you have lots of reasons to be happy and grateful.

You know if you ask her to do something specific she will make it happen.

 

You also know she’s dealing with her own schtuff and the last thing she needs is you adding to her plate a bunch of “to-do’s” that will ease you to some extent but won’t magically “un-funk” you so there’s no point in putting her through that.

 

The problem isn’t in the knowing though.  It’s in the feeling.

I feel on the verge of tears often.

I feel exhausted just thinking about the things I need to do.

I feel resentful of people who have even one thing that I want. (Eg. A short commute.)

I feel badly about myself because I take these feelings out on the people who least deserve it.

 

Everything feels like a huge problem and like it will take energy I don’t have.  The house needs tidying up.  I feel fat.  I look old.  I have to renew my license.  The kids need new passports (we didn’t get it done 2 weeks ago like we were supposed to).  I need to catch up on over 200 work emails.  I have a phone call to a sick friend I’m supposed to make.  I need to make arrangements with the kids dad for him to see them again before the summer is out.  I got an email saying my credit score had dropped.  I don’t know why and I can’t bring myself to investigate.  Not today anyway.  Maybe tomorrow.  I always have another dentist appointment scheduled.   And I always know that the next one won’t be the last one.  I am SO OVER THE DENTIST.  And you mean, I need to stop at the gas station and fill up the car?  Ugh!

 

No, I don’t want tea or to laugh or to exercise.  I love her so much for seeing me.  For trying without being pushy or annoyed.  For wanting to be whatever I need in that moment.  But all I want is to curl up in bed.  It’s all I can manage.  That’s what feels easy.  Doable.

We cuddle and I fall asleep.

But I can’t live in bed.  I have to shower and go to work and make phone calls and wash dishes and hang back up that picture that fell off the wall.

 

Ace starts 7th grade in September.  I am not too worried about that.  It’s his second year of middle school and last year went pretty well.  He has a cell phone now, thanks to his Grandma, so I will have to figure out some rules around his use of it as well as install some parental controls.  But that, thankfully, is at least one thing I can put off for a little while.  They don’t come back home for a little while.

Jay.

My heart constricted a little when I typed his name.  For the last couple of years, I had not fretted about the start of the new school year.  But he’s going into 5th grade which will be his last year of elementary school.  I cannot handle the thought of him leaving that environment.  Elementary school felt safe for him.  His teachers, the mostly innocent and friendly and understanding kids, the easy routine.  Middle school will be different.  Totally different set of students as none of his current friends will attend the same middle school as him.  Different school staff who don’t know and love him yet.  Totally different daily routine.  Different expectations.  Different with Jay is scary.  Why am I already stressing about next year?  I don’t know.

 

Things will settle down soon enough.  I will get over these feelings eventually.  My thoughts will become rational again.  I KNOW this because I’ve been down this road before.  More than once.  The feelings will pass as smoothly as they came.  And in this case, the knowing is the force holding me together and the best of life jackets.

 

 

~ Don’t worry about me.  I’m fine.  Part 2 to follow soon ~

 

*Edited to add the link for part 2 —> Here

 

#tbt Jamaica Post July 19, 2018

On June 20th, I landed in Kingston Jamaica.  I meant to write about it a long time ago but never did.  Think of this as a #tbt post.  🙂

Of course, when I got back everyone asked how the trip was.  That’s tough to answer because I was there to support Shaunie at her Grandfathers funeral and to see my ailing Aunt.

I love going there though – No matter the reason.  At this point, I have lived in the US longer than I lived there but it will never not be home.

It’s the place where my Aunts car got brazenly stolen out of her driveway and it ended up taking about two months just for her to get the police report – so I had to ask a friend to come pick me up from the airport.

It’s the place where the friend was late to pick me up.  Even though I had told him an earlier time than I really needed because I knew he’d be late.  I say that with so much love.

 

But it’s also the place where the fruit is the juiciest and you can always find someone willing to help you if you just ask.

My pictures show me posed up at the brand new (and the only) Starbucks on the island; yummy frappuccino in hand.  They show me grinning next to long-time friends while the sun shines down on us, sipping on blended drinks beside a pool and leaned up against a coconut tree surrounded by gorgeous flowers.  There is even video of us enjoying a ride on a floaty device being pulled by a speed boat.

 

In the beautiful hills of St Ann, as a family, we went for walks and ate fish and cleaned ackee and argued over who ate the last of the mangoes – and worked hard getting the hall ready for the hundreds of people who would show up for the memorial service.

It was a long, but lovely service and it was abundantly clear just how loved Mr N was and how much he’d be missed.  In the front section that was marked off just for family, there were about 80 of us, representing 5 generations, from all over the world, and all wearing royal blue.

The following day we all went to the beach – to exhale.

Sun and sand and the ocean and boat rides and dolphin shows and drinks and the laughter of children are healing.

 

 

It’s unfortunate that it takes things like funerals to bring people together.  It was wonderful that we could all get together.

I hated to see my Aunty like that.  She looked so delicate.  Every time she got up to walk it gave me anxiety because I was so worried that she’d fall and hurt herself.  Again.

Any time with her is incredibly precious and it brings us both so much joy and comfort.  As hard as it was to leave, I was happier that I had seen her at all and filled her in on all our adventures and gone shopping with her and hugged her and laughed with her and scolded her for trying to do too much and enjoyed world cup matches with her and prayed with her.

 

I don’t know when I’ll go to Jamaica again.  There are no plans in the works.  Both the boys passports have expired though and I know that the next time I go, I’d like them to go also.  The paperwork is all filled out and we’re gonna go renew the passports this weekend – so they’ll be ready.

Plus, the in-laws are moving to the Virgin Islands so I’m sure we’ll want to go there soon.

The very next trip we take will be an actual vacation.  I can’t wait.  The boys are going to spend 2 1/2 weeks in Florida with my Mom and Shaunie and I are going on a cruise and then right to the Dominican Republic for a friends wedding.  So exciting!  It will be a nice respite from all the other craziness happening around us.  Stuff with this damn government and stuff with Jay and stuff with loved ones.  Nope.  Not gonna go there.  Let’s go back to thinking about my upcoming vacay.  Yup.  Much nicer.

Talk to you soon.

 

The Hole In My Lid June 28, 2018

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Family,Life on the Jay train,Marriage,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 11:56 am
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Soooo, what’s been up?

It’s been a while since I wrote.

Whatever I’ve missed is going to have to remain missed.  Today, I’m diving into our most recent news.

 

My boys have been away for just about 2 weeks and I feel empty.  I miss them something awful.  I always miss them when they go to spend extended time with their father but for some reason this trip has been extra hard.  I can’t get my stomach to settle.  It could be because we’ve been hit with a series of bad news over the past few months so I am feeling more emotional than usual (which is saying a lot).  It could also be that time is inexplicably speeding up and they are growing up faster than they used to and it’s making me a bit panicky.

Ace happily and artfully sailed through his entire 6th grade year like a champ and it only took about 2 weeks.  It was just last month, (wasn’t it?), that we were touring the middle school and everything about it seemed so daunting.  I was so worried about how my baby would navigate that new environment.  He amazed me in all the ways.  Socially and academically.  His final report came in and I am blown away.  It’s the best report he’s EVER gotten and my heart could just burst.

I haven’t gotten Jays final report as yet, but I have every reason to believe he did a great job as well.  He’s going to enter his final year of elementary school in September and then he too will be off to middle school.  I’m really struggling with that.  Let’s not talk about it.  Thanks.

 

In other news

Shaunie and I went to Jamaica to:

  1. Attend her Grandfathers funeral. It was really great and sad, but wonderful.
  2. See my Aunty. It was awesome and heavyhearted.  I was happy there but leaving was hard.  Really hard.
  3. Attend my uncle’s high school graduation. (My Grandad had a son when he was 72).  It was good but weird.

 

I’ll write a post about the trip later.

In the meantime, while we were gone, Grandma in New Jersey underwent surgery.  Some sad medical news hit my family.  Also, there were big shake-ups at work.  How the work shake-ups may or may not affect me is still to be determined.

 

I know this post wasn’t that interesting but I needed to “stick a hole in my lid”.  You get that reference right?  In a coffee cup lid, there’s the one hole that we drink out of and then there’s the (very important but easily dismissed) hole on the other end that lets the steam out.  My internal steam was building and this blog is my tiny hole.

 

If you are the praying type, please keep our family in your prayers.  It can’t hurt.

 

My boys come back this weekend.  I am ready to see them and hug them.  That’s the good news, so I’ll end there.

xoxo