Life On The B Side

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

Have you ever? July 9, 2018

 

Have you ever had your son beg you to take him to iHOP because he loves their pancakes

So you wake up on Saturday morning and tell everyone to get ready because you’re all going to iHop

And then you get there and everyone places their order

But as the conversations flow

You realize you’ve been watching your older son who is sitting across from you

And you are keenly aware of how chiseled his face now is

And you keep thinking about how in no time at all, he’ll be a teenager and then an adult

But you brush those thoughts aside and just enjoy the quality, no electronics, family time

Then your son, who you were just willing to stay young and carefree and happy and innocent

Tells you that he’d like to get his ears pierced

And you are jolted out of your thoughts

So you take a moment before you respond that you are not comfortable with him getting his ears pierced just yet

Then you feel your eyes begin to fill with water

And you know you are being a bit dramatic

But you simply cannot help it

And since you know at this point there’s no stopping the tears

You put it on the table yourself by saying “Look at me, I’m gonna cry

And the other people at the table look at you in bewilderment because they don’t understand why talking about ear piercing is making you cry

But you know

And you decide you are not going to be embarrassed by it

So you grab a napkin and wipe your tears away

All while your wife and son are joking with each other about how weird you are

But your younger son, who is sitting beside you, puts his head in your lap

And you rub his head and revel in the sweetness of his gesture

As you try to finish your eggs, pancakes and toast

Which you eventually do

So then after paying the bill, you all walk out

And the older child puts his arm around you

Causing you to again get choked up as you hug him extra tight and kiss the top of his head

Realizing that soon he’ll be the same height as you

Even though you weren’t aware of any growth spurt that he’d had recently

And then he totally takes your breath away when he says, “It’ll be ok Mom, I will always be your baby

And you want to hold onto that moment forever

But you know you cannot

Because children were not made to be held hostage by their parents

They were made to fly

And as hard as it is

You know you will grease his wings for him when it’s time

And even though you may not know exactly how long it will take

You do know it’s a matter of time before you will either crack and give him permission to pierce his ears

Or he will get to a point where he’s old enough to do it without your permission

So you sit in the car and don your sunglasses

And in that moment it feels like they are the only thing protecting you from everything???

 

 

No?  That’s never happened to you?

Oh.

Well, that’s never happened to me either.

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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

 

 

Being An Ally June 8, 2018

Filed under: Family,Life on the Jay train — The B Side @ 3:14 pm
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*Language warning. If you’re offended by curse words, stop reading.*

 

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I saw this on Twitter and added the comment – “Not just the cake. All vendors/services.”

 

 

The other day, via text message, I received a bit of a rant from a friend. A straight friend.

 

I’m so over this wedding cake case. Fucking religion. When I hear people start with it, I have to restrain myself. If you are using it for good, then fine, but what infuriates me is all the awful things they use it to justify. If they want a cake, and you are in the cake business, bake them a cake. They want a room, and you are in the hotel business, rent them a room. Why is any of that subject to your belief system? They want to be married and are of consenting age, give them a license. I get so goddamn angry. Because if you’re the worst person on earth but you’re straight, step right up. What will you be having today? Marriage, cake, adoption?

Fuck outta here. It’s indefensible.

I asked a religious friend of mine who I know is against gay marriage due to the fact that “it’s a sin”, if there was any action/sin that a straight man/woman could commit that would make him say they shouldn’t be allowed to get married to someone who also wanted to marry them.  He said no.  I had to laugh. Then I said, so only homosexuality is a problem? He said he had never really thought about it that way but no there isn’t any sin that would disallow marriage if a man and a woman wanted to get married.

 

After reading through his messages, I replied with:  “Yup, that’s how it is.  They’d rather the gay man, lie (which is also a sin) and pretend to be something he’s not and marry a woman. Then they can live unhappily ever after.”

 

It’s imbecilic” was his final comment.

 

 

Recently, another friend of mine asked if I wanted to be a part of a Whatsapp group chat with a bunch of people we graduated high school with.  I said sure.

It started off fine.  Lots of people who I hadn’t spoken with in years popped up in the group as each member kept adding whoever they were still in touch with.  Some of the names being added were people I don’t remember being in school with at all.  It was fun though.  People cheerfully welcomed all the newcomers.  People reminisced on our high school years, mourned the loss of those who have died and asked after the ones they had long since lost touch with.  At one point, someone asked if anyone was in contact with my friend Jon and suggested that he be added to the group.

That’s when things took a turn.  Jon is an openly gay man.  As far as I know, he’s the only one of our group.  My former classmates, who I’d just been happily chatting and catching up with did not want him added to the group chat because they “don’t agree with his lifestyle” and they actually called him derogatory names.

 

Jon and I are Facebook friends but we are not as close now as we used to be.  However, back in high school, he was one of the nicest people you could ever know.  He never said anything bad about anyone.  Never hurt anyone.  Was considerate and welcoming and when we were at his house he was a gracious host.  His entire family was that way.  I have no reason to believe he is any different now.

I know for a fact that some of the people who had been enthusiastically welcomed into the group chat have criminal records.  We had liars, cheats and divorcees. People who have had abortions and those who have had kids out of wedlock with multiple partners.  People just a minute earlier were boasting about how much rum they drink and how often they get drunk still.

The only person they wanted to exclude was Jon.

 

I don’t know if I should have said something in the group or not.  I chose to speak separately with the people I considered friends.  I told them how disappointed I was in the way they were behaving.

A lot of the people in the group know that I am in a same sex marriage and (whether they agree that it should be legal or not) they didn’t reject me.  But for some reason, it’s pretty standard for males to get harsher treatment than females.  I can’t be a part of a group that would discriminate that way even though I wasn’t personally being harmed or left out.  We all need to do a better job of supporting each other and advocating for each other and being allies for each other even if we are not in the affected set.

I left the group chat.

 

 

 

 

P.S.  “No Gays Allowed” because the Bible says so? The same book of the Bible (Leviticus is the popular one) also forbids: • Charging interest on loans • Trimming your beard • Selling land • Eating shrimp • Wearing two different fabrics and suggests the death penalty for adultery.

 

 

 

Roller-Coastery Weekend June 1, 2018

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Life on the Jay train,Marriage,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 11:25 am
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I’m hoping this coming weekend will be less of a roller-coaster than the last one.  Never have I ever had such a roller-coastery 3 days.

Friday started out great.  I got out of work early ahead of the holiday weekend and instead of going straight home, I made the decision to spend some time alone and do girly things.  I visited Sephora and played with Rihanna’s line of make-up.  I ended up buying a cheaper Sephora brand lipstick that supposedly was similar to the Rihanna one.  I’m not sure I made the right choice.  I might still need to go get the real Snake Skin lipgloss.  Next, I went to Charming Charlie and even though I browsed all the displays and saw several cute things, I landed in the sale section where I got the cutest pair of gold flats for $8 and a $5 t-shirt that says “Live Wild & Free” in gold letters.  Guess what I’ll be wearing together?

Later that evening, cousins from New Jersey came for a visit.  We had a good time hanging out with them; drinking wine and chatting.  The next morning we took a quick trip to the river before they moved on to their next stop.

 

Then – We got the news that Shaunies beloved Grandpa in Jamaica had died.  It had been coming for a couple of months so it wasn’t a shock in that sense.  But still, it hurts.  A lot.  He was only 70 years old and the last time we saw him (exactly one year ago) he was as vibrant as ever; with no signs that anything was wrong.

 

On Sunday, we decided to try and keep our spirits up – partly for our sakes and partly for the kids sakes.  We went to the pool and had a nice time.  We all jumped and raced and showed off handstands and splashed and did summersaults.  In between all the water fun we ate snacks and just put our feet up and enjoyed the sun (and shade).  We closed out the afternoon with a trip to a bookstore.  All 4 of us love browsing book stores.

 

Then – We got the news that my Aunt was back in the hospital.  Her hip has been misbehaving lately and she’s about to have her 3rd surgery in as many months.  That’s not good news for anyone.  It’s particularly not good news for someone who is 90 years old and on the fragile side anyway.  It sucks.  Add to that, the medical bills are adding up and some uncomfortable conversations needed to be had.

 

On Monday, there was (as you can imagine) a lot of emotions swirling.  Lots of phone calls being made among Shaunie’s large and tight-knit family and plans being put in place.  Me worrying about my Aunt and trying to be supportive of S.  At one point I decided that spending some time outside would do me good.  I made the kids get their bikes and helmets and we headed out for a little exercise/fun.

Now understand this:  I’ve been trying to teach Jay to master a 2 wheeler bicycle for years.  It has been a struggle.  A STRUGGLE.  Mostly because he’s been scared.  He was certain that he would fall and hurt himself.  As long as I’ve been trying to teach him to learn, he’s been trying to convince me that he doesn’t need to and will get along in life just fine without that skill.

Well, on Monday, HE DID IT!!!!  It was so exciting and I was incredibly proud of him, but even better than that; he was proud of himself.  We rode for a while and when we were all done he asked me if I had caught his ride on video.  I had 🙂 .  Now, he wants to ride his bike every day and I am not mad about it.

 

There are other things too – Good and bad – But I’ll keep those close to my chest for now.  Unnu too faas.  That’s Jamaican for “you’re too nosey”.  Just kidding.  I love you for reading and following along.

Peace and love!

 

MY Saturday Was Good May 15, 2018

It’s Saturday Morning

And I have told Jay that it’s time to get ready for his weekly tennis lesson.  When we step outside, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping.  It’s a beauty of a day.  I don’t know yet what it will be, but I know I will find something to do that will keep me outside for a good part of the day.  Even Jay is picking up on the good energy and arrives at tennis in a good mood.  Usually he’s a bit surly until the class is well underway; sad to be leaving his video games behind.

At 10:30 when his class ended, instead of making the left that would take us down the short winding road that leads home, we made a right and took a long winding road to a town 30 minutes away.  A Naval Museum there was hosting a STEM event for kids.  Both boys tend to enjoy science and we’re always looking for ways to get the boys involved in activities such as those.

At this point though, Jay was no longer a happy camper.  He wants to go back home – to his electronics.  He whines for the entire car ride.  We hear every complaint in the book.  He tries bargaining his way out of going.  When he raises his hand during one of the experiments, the teacher probably was not expecting him to ask: “Is this the last thing?  Can we go home after this?”

He suffers through the first task.  The second one is made only slightly more bearable because it involves starbursts which the kids get to eat when it’s over.  The third and final exercise, requires them to form teams of 2 and then use marshmallows and spaghetti to build towers.  The team with the highest tower would win.  Wouldn’tcha know, after all his protestations, with him as the leader, he and his partner win the challenge.  We leave, he chooses a bag of Doritos as his treat and then we head home.  Not before I also get a treat though.  KFC.

 

It’s Saturday Afternoon

And we have dropped Jay home.  We have also checked in on Ace who is suffering from a severe case of “When will the pollen go the hell away so I can see, breathe and sleep normally again???”  The temps are in the high 90’s which for many people, only means one thing:  staying inside where there is AC.  Our AC has broken so there is no respite for us.  Also.  I have no intention of staying inside all day AC or not.  Between the 2 of us, I am, without question, the more outdoorsy one.  I suggest that we check out a state park not too far from us.  Their website says they have a “beach” and multiple trails.  The park does not disappoint.  I love driving through “farm land” Virginia to get there.  At one point we stop at a red light and 2 guys who are hanging out at a road side shop eating watermelon offer us some.  Once at the lake, I love kicking my shoes off and feeling the sand squish beneath my toes.  I love the coolness of the water lapping my ankles.  I love hearing children laugh as they play in the sand and seeing the canoes and jet skis further out on the lake.  Shaunie … keeps her shoes on, gives the side eye to teenage boys who’re throwing a football too close to her head and asks if I think she should reapply the bug spray.

When we’ve strolled the full length of the beach area and stood around chit chatting and taking in the scene for a while, we trot back to where we have parked.  I am actually willing to go home at that point.  I’m sure Shaunie has had enough.  But, she knows me and she loves me so SHE suggests that we check out one of the trails.  Yay!!!!!!   More bug spray and we are off again to see what the forest has to offer.

 

It’s Saturday Evening

And I have promised Ace that we will have a family movie night.  The problem though, is that I said that earlier in the day when I was feeling energetic  and spunky.  By the time I had finally gotten home, the LAST thing I wanted to do was sit for 2 hours and pretend to be interested in a kid friendly movie.  I wanted to shower, eat dinner and catch up on my own TV watching.  I had made a promise though.

We gathered in the living room and turned on Netflix.  The movie was painful.  And we were only 10 minutes in.  How was I going to make it 2 hours?  Then … Netflix went bonkers.  It just stopped working.  We went back to the home screen and tried again.  Nope.  We tried a different movie.  Still nope.  Before Ace could come up with any suggestions, I told him that our plan wasn’t going to work and we’d have to try again the next day.

He was disappointed but he understood.  After all, he saw what happened and knew it wasn’t anyones fault.  I got off scot-free.

I jumped up from the couch, showered, ate and was comfy in my bed before 9pm.  It was glorious.

 

All in all, I had a great day on Saturday.  How was it for my people?  Debatable.

 

 

*Netflix righted itself so Ace and I watched a movie on Sunday*

 

Letting Off Steam May 2, 2018

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Family,Marriage,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 10:13 am
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I just need to vent a little.  Let off some steam if you will.
So, I have this “aunt” who is a vocal fan of #45.  I put aunt in quotes because neither her nor my uncle who she’s married to are biologically related to me.
She posted this whole thing on Facebook about how he’s the greatest president ever.  Apparently his accomplishments include lowering taxes and wiping out ISIS.
I was itching to comment on it.  I typed up some questions for her and then deleted them all.  Partly, because I promised Shaunie that I would cool it with the politics on FB (due to her job) and partly because I feel like there is no reasoning with people like her.  If she’s confident enough to post that crap knowing all the other horrible things there are to know about him, then, hell …… what could I possibly say to her that would make a difference?
I checked back on her post a couple of times to see if anybody else (especially anybody I knew) had either “liked” it or commented on it.  So far, nothing.
The thing is, I don’t feel good about leaving it alone.  I feel like a fraud.
I feel like leaving things alone is a huge part of the worlds problems.  Nobody wants to rock the boat, or cause a stir, or get into an uncomfortable argument.  I get it.  But it’s frustrating as hell too.
……………
*Just so when I read this again years from now, I’ll remember what happened – Kanye West made some comments to TMZ (a celebrity gossip site) and among other asinine things, he said that for slavery to have lasted as long as it did, it seems to him, that people chose to remain enslaved.*
That to me, feels kinda like a coworker I had who once told me that Jay (who is autistic and has a lot of struggles and challenges associated with it) was so lucky that he got extra time to complete tests in school and that it wasn’t fair to her son (who is neuro-typical and fully capable, but kind of lazy) because he didn’t get extra time.
Her and Kanye are both totally clueless about real life shit and they can both eff all the way off in my opinion.
 
When I watched the video though, I couldn’t help but notice all the people in the TMZ room who heard the crap Kanye was saying and just stood there, with no rebuttal.  The ONLY person to say something was the 1 black guy who was there.  All the white people in that newsroom are just like all the people who heard that comment about Jays “good fortune” and just sat there silently, even though they knew the situation.  And unfortunately, just like all the white people I’ve known in my life who have heard their friends and family say racist crap but chose to ignore it rather than speak up because they didn’t want things to be uncomfortable. Well, guess what? It was uncomfortable for me.  I guess that was the lesser of the 2 evils to them.  
Vent complete.  Happy friggin Wednesday.
 

Cash Crops Coming April 24, 2018

The other day I posted the below on Facebook.  (Real names edited to protect the innocent)

 

Me: I should get some more plants for in here. I love them so much. All that greenery. It’s just so beautiful. Yup, that’s what I need. More plants. Give me all the pants. All different kinds of plants. Big ones and small ones. I’ll take such good care of them. It will be great. And our air will be so fresh and clean. MORE PLANTS!!!

Shaunie: Nope. I’m not living in a jungle. We have enough.

Ace: Nope. You’ll just kill them like you did all the others. It’s not fair to the plants to be left in your care. You are a plant murderer.

Jay: Go ahead Mom. Do what makes you happy. Get your plants if you want to. I believe in you. You’ll keep them alive this time.

#MyLife

 

 

I have an update.

In social studies, Jay has been learning about Americas first colonists and about the revolutionary war.  It’s actually pretty cool that we live in Virginia because so much of the story played out in our back yard.  We have a couple of famous battlefields right in our town.  The house that George Washington was raised in, is a stones throw away.   Thomas Jeffersons home of Monticello is a history lovers must-see and interested visitors can tour the Yorktown Battle field which was the site of the last major battle of the American Revolution.  Around these parts, kids take school field trips to places like Jamestowne and Colonial Williamsburg.   But I digress.  *My kids get their chattiness honestly*

Like I was saying, Jay has been learning about colonial Virginia and you can’t talk about colonial Virginia without talking about tobacco.  He has learned that tobacco was a “cash crop”.  You know what that is … A crop produced so you can sell it and make money as opposed to a crop produced solely for the owners use or enjoyment.

 

What does this have to do with my love of plants you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.

First though, you need to know that Jay came home very excited because he had found a 4 leaf clover so of course that meant he would have good luck.  In an effort to protect his 4 leaf clover, he placed it inside a zip loc bag (not sealed so oxygen could get in), then he placed it by the window where most of my plants are so they can get adequate sunlight.  Since he was over there, I asked him to water my plants; and he happily obliged.  Somehow this led to the boys counting my plants (7 thriving) and Ace having a grand time teasing me, yet again, about the sad state of one of my bamboo plants.  I had 2 and only 1 of them is currently doing well.  Jay was quick to come to my defense.  I love that kid.  The 4 of us got into quite the lively and funny conversation about whether or not I should get more plants.  Clearly I need to replace the 1 dying bamboo so that the 1 that’s doing well can have a buddy.  Jay was ready to fund it with his piggy bank money.  Ace and Shaunie were totally opposed to the idea.

THEN, I had the BRILLIANT idea of asking Jay if HE would like a plant (or 2) of his own that HE could take care of.  He was quick to say yes.

LOOPHOLE!!!!!!

 

Shaunie couldn’t say no to Jay having his own plants to tend – even if she gave me a wicked side eye while agreeing.  She did make a slight alteration and suggested that he grow something besides flowers.  Something like tomatoes maybe.  Jay was all for it and said “that’s a great idea, instead of just flowers, I’ll grow a cash crop and we can sell what I grow”.   So now, we have a plan to go to the store this weekend and purchase all the necessary things to grow tomatoes … (and maybe carrots and bell peppers as well cause I think those are pretty easy and I have a hard time just buying 1 thing when I hit up a garden section … but don’t tell anyone I said that).