Life On The B Side

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

What’s Wrong With Him? October 12, 2016


Ignoring the stares and comments from strangers used to be a daily occurrence.  People had a lot to say about the behaviours they saw from Jay in the early years.  At first it was really hard.  Every look put me on edge and every judgmental word made me cry – Then my skin got thicker.  I became a master at focusing on him and what I needed to do to help him, instead of them.

Without me noticing it, the need for the thick skin slowly faded.  His tantrums have all but disappeared.  He has become more and more able to regulate himself and function in a mainstream setting.

I got comfortable.

Nowadays we sit back gleefully and soak up all the positive reports we get from school.  We grin and get all the good feelies when people who know us see how well he’s adjusting and working his way through life.

We brag about his sense of self and his unwavering support for his brother.  If Jay has your back, he really has your back.  Trust me, you want him in your corner.

Plus, he’s just so darn cute.


When he goes to martial arts class – we see him through parental eyes.  A year ago he would have been unable to handle that type of setting.  The bright lights and loud noises.  The physical touching and demands to perform, to wait your turn, to be crisp and sharp and to remember routines.

When he’s in class we see him thriving.  We see him learning the moves.  We see him getting stronger.  We see him trying really hard.  We see him HAPPY and proud of himself.  We share the videos with family and friends.  They all cheer for him and share our excitement.

When he’s in his martial arts class the joy bounces off him.  He loves it there and it’s magical.

It’s obvious that this child is a super star and that he deserves to be praised and celebrated.



Then one day you are reminded that everyone is not in your bubble.  You make the mistake of forgetting that not everyone sees him through the same lens that you do.

They don’t see the amazing, over-comer that you see.  They see just another kid.  They see him running too fast or his arms moving too erratically or his coordination not being quite as good as the other children.  They see him smiling too widely and laughing too loudly and being a little too silly.  They wonder out loud,WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT KID?”

They don’t know they are witnessing a miracle.


I’d love to shrug it off and say it sucks for them.  That it’s their loss and their life would be richer if they could really see him.  Really see him.  But the truth is that no matter how much you try to convince yourself of that, it hurts.  You wonder if you should say something to defend your kid.  Shout at them.  Calmly educate them.  Or should you just ignore it.

How dare they dampen your joy.  How dare they put a nick in the awesomeness that it is to see your child shine.  How dare they assume to know anything about where we have been and how far we have come and what our story is.  How dare they wonder about what it took for us to get to this point.

No, hearing those questions doesn’t erase all the work or minimize the achievements, but it does make you stagger.  It feels like a kick in the gut.


In the end, you sit there, swallowing bitterness and fighting the urge to lash out.  You let your kid finish his lesson.  You give him a huge hug when he runs over to you at the end of it; delighted with his performance.  You hold his hand tight, and your head high, as you walk past the same people who were wondering what was wrong with him.



How Are The Boys? January 19, 2014

For over a week, it’s been on my to-do list to write about Jay’s birthday – or anything really.  I’ve been stalling.

His birthday was simple, but awesome.  The cupcakes and party hats and balloons and presents made him very happy.  So happy that he wore the party hat for 4 straight days including to school and the balloons – although somewhat deflated – are still hanging out in our living room.  The yo-yo that he asked for and got, still goes everywhere with him and the Perry the Platypus stuffed animal has spent every night since January 10th cuddled up with either Ace or Jay.  That platypus is living the good life.

When told “Happy Birthday” Jay said “Thank you” and when asked how old he is, he will say “Six“.  These are new things that he learned on the morning of his birthday.  That it only took him about 5 minutes to master the correct responses is news in and of itself.


There are people who you see or speak with occasionally or in passing and when they say “Hi, how are you?”  Or “How are the boys?”  You give the generic answer of “Hey, we are good.  The kids are doing well.  How are you?”

And while you ask the question, you don’t really expect them to go into too much detail.  You expect the same answer you gave them.  “Everything’s fine.”


Then there are the people who even if you don’t see them or talk to them everyday, when they ask how you are, you know they are looking for the truth.  These are the people to whom you can say things like “Well, last week was tough.”  Or “I’m totally stressed out and I need a break.”


A couple days ago one of those people who I tell the truth to sent me a text message asking me how the boys were doing.  I  paused trying to think of what my response would be.  Know what I wrote?

The boys are doing well. No news. Things have been easier with them lately than they have been in a long time.”

I looked at those words for a while … I soaked them in … I wanted to make sure they were real.

They were.

I have been seeing it everywhere.


I’ll be on the phone for a while and my friend on the other line will say: “I’m happy you got some alone time.”  When I say “Oh, I’m not alone the kids are here.  They’re playing in the next room” – I see it.

When I can be in the living room on a Sunday morning writing a blog post while the boys are contentedly playing together – I see it.

When Jay and I go to pick up Ace from the Boys & Girls club and Jay sees one of his classmates and says “It’s Josiah” and then walks over to him where the boys exchange hellos – I see it.  Man do I see it.


A part of the reason I haven’t written before is that I feel a little guilty about all this.  I know other people are having a hard time with their kids now.  I wish if everyone could feel some relief from their hurts and stresses.  I wish if just by wishing it, I could make it so.  I don’t deserve this bit of peace or seeing this amount of progress anymore than anyone else.

While I’m hoping for and praying for all my online friends and their children to experience some easing of what pains them – this is where we are.

Overall life isn’t easy.  Life is busy.  There are still bills to pay and there’s still homework to do and there are always Doritos crumbs on my floor and popcorn crumbs in my couch.  We have our bumps and our downs and our setbacks and our messes but the truth is that my boys are doing well and that opens me up to deal with everything else with a good attitude which I think then helps my boys to keep doing well.