Day Two

Aaaaah. Day two in the bag.
It's been interesting these first two days.
On many, many levels.

Getting up early?
Not so bad.
Cut-throat drivers, break-neck speeds, drivers who drive like they are the only ones on the road?
Going against my grain.
I didn't realize just how "slow" I was taking it.
Transporting little ones on semi-deserted roads in the middle of the afternoon & having basically no need to drive at rush hour.
The rush-rush, the ants marching ordeal. I dislike. I dislike very much.
But it's part of the deal.

The actual "work" part of it?
Eh. It's training.
Policies. Procedures.
Procedures. Policies.

Today we talked about Juvenile Justice, supervising juveniles, and juveniles' rights.
I eat that stuff up like candy.
While I don't like to hear about how broken these children are, their families, and even the systems which are meant to help and protect these children, I like hearing about the process. I like hearing about the kids who have had positive outcomes. I like hearing about how I can impact a juvenile.

It has been brought to our attention many times during training about how being "in" a locked facility, has been the only stability and safety some of these kids have ever known.
While the trainers talked, many new ideas have popped up in my mind about ways we can empower some of these kids - which felt very exciting. Knowing that this center and this program is open to ideas from the staff and willing to support these ideas.

The most interesting part - in my opinion - of the past two days has been observing the people in my class. There are 15 of us in the class & out of those 15 only 7 are female. I'm accustomed to working primarily in early childhood, where the vast majority of the workers are female. And in my naive mind, I assumed this would be the same way. And what is even more interesting and uplifting is the fact that there are so many males, who come from various community-based organizations, who are minorities.
(I hope I'm not offending anyone here, it is just my observation)
I think it is wonderful to see positive male role models for the juvenile male population that we'll be working with. Males they can truly look up to and be inspired by. Men that seem devoted to this work and helping these at-risk and delinquent youths.
The role of the men in our society is changing & I have seen time and again men step up to that challenge & it is a wonderful thing to see. First-hand.

That being said, yes, I am exhausted. I'm missing Rav, the kids, and blogging more than I can say. But I'm trying to make the best of this. I'm trying to look at this opportunity as a first step. And all in all, I am enjoying it.
We'll see if I'm singing the same tunes when I'm on an actual unit with 20 young men who are bent on making my life hell.
For now, I'm enjoying though.


First Day Jitters

Today is my first day at the new job.
Two weeks of training. And then, the real thing.
I'm working myself up to that point.
Right now, I'm just trying to get through today.

The past 3-4 years is flashing in front and behind me.
Endless questions.
And deep hope that I did the best I could do with the time that I had at home with my babies.

Yes, I know I did a lot.
I fear that it wasn't enough.
And now it's gone.

I hate that times are how they are and I'm forced, basically, to do this.
It's not a matter of choice.
It is have to.

I'm nervous and scared.
I'm surprised at myself and the fact that I slept last night & have been able to eat breakfast.
Usually those are the first two things that go when I'm nervous.
Though, I had a dream I was married to Christopher (Micheal Imperioli) from The Sopranos, and that while I was in the house with Gracie, the family took a hit out on him.
They spared us though.

Well, wish me luck.

I miss the kids already.


Another Birthday - the big 5

Today is Connor's birthday.
This evening at 7:27 on 7/27 he was born.
The young master turns 5.

When I look back at the pictures it seems like a lifetime ago. So much has happened since then.
And yet it seems that time did a marathon and it was a mere minute ago.

Connor was a surprise. We didn't plan to get pregnant.
But I felt a peace I have never known when I was carrying him and for the first 2 years of his life.

Peace has given way to chaos. But that's OK. That's how it should be.

My boy. My little, quirky, smart, spirited boy.

Today he is 5.


Card Holding Member Of Geekdom

In the midst of my panic and anxiety (yes, I know...you're sick of hearing about it. And quite frankly, I'm sick of feeling it. It's on its way out. Promise) I have been geeking out. A lot.

I have been so wrapped up in birthdays and summer activities, mini-vacations and anxiety that I haven't even blogged about it. But now I will.

First let me say that as I type this, I should be on a plane heading to Chicago with the rest of all those cool gals. But it was not meant to be.


I've been geeking out because of Harry Potter. Within a week I've seen the new movie and bought the new book. The movie was one of the better ones, I feel. However, as most fans of the series who read the books, I was bummed about some of the things that had to be left out of the movie. I know that is unavoidable. But all in all, a pretty good movie. And just to show you what a geek I am (and those of you who have seen the movie will know what I am talking about here), I had goosebumps. Yes, goosebumps when The Aurors showed up in the movie and when they were flying over the river. Do you know which scene I am speaking of?

I have/had regrets about watching the new movie and reading the new book as I have forgotten many details in Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince. But Rav has been happy to remind me of the minor details as he has been a good little nargle and re-read the books (and re-read and re-read).

The book....oh, the book. I will not spoil anything here. Promise.

Rav finished the book in a blink. He's a crazy, fast reader.

Me? I take a bit longer. It took me about 2 1/2 days. Of nonstop reading.

The first 300-400 pages? For whatever reason....total snooze fest for me. It wasn't bad. It just reminded me of Order of the Phoenix when I read it. Not much went on in the beginning. I was becoming agitated and just wanted J.K. to get on with the damned story already.

She didn't let me down. I have to say that I am sad to see it end. But happy with the outcome. I think this book will make one wicked, kick-ass movie.

To invited geekdom further into my life, any of you who read the books and read my blog...feel free to email and I'd be happy to discuss the book and the latest movie.

I need distraction from my longing/jealousy over missing out on Blogher (and my unused, nonrefundable plane tickets).

Yeah, I'm whining. Just a little though ;)


infinite love + unrelenting guilt = a mother

Lately, I've been grappling with the guilt and questions that come with being a Momma.
A momma who is struggling to hold herself & her family up in the middle of the biggest transition.
And I know other Momma's out there are facing similar things.

That guilt that creeps in.
The guilt that is the gift that keeps on giving when you become a Momma.
As endless the love is that we have for our children
so is the guilt.
The love for them is as vast as the sky. There is no beginning. There is no end. It simply is.
And unfortunately that guilt can be just as endless. It can be the giant rain cloud that covers up the beautiful blue sky. And we have to learn to navigate around it.
Not always an easy task.

We are faced with this tremendously awe-inspiring task of caring for a totally dependent individual.
A constant vigil.
It never ends.
In fact, it happens so quickly and fiercely that you can't even see the point at which it started.
There is no definitive moment.

Some may say that this vigil, the watch guard post - and the guilt - begins upon finding out you are now carrying this new life within.
Some may say that it occurs when you've decided natural childbirth is archaic and the decision to opt out for a relatively pain-free delivery. And that is a relative term, mind you. Pain free delivery. Yeah, uh-huh, sure.
Some say that it begins the moment that new life is physically in your arms.

But it happens. And again, the process is so swift, so thorough that it really is hard to determine when it happens. But it does.

So as new mothers - or just mothers - we take on this monumental task of constant caring, nurturing, rearing, guiding, loving, empathizing, hurting, pining. You name it, we are i-n-ging it. But we're happy to do it. It's the greatest of works. The fruits of constant tending and work that cannot be compared to anything else.

The power we possess so raw, so carnal. The ability to alert or cloudy-eyed cubs of our presence by just walking in the room - because of our scent.
The power to soothe with the merest of hums in tiny, sweet ears.
The power to comfort and protect with the warmness of our breast and arms, wrapping our cubs in the thickest of fortresses.

But with that power comes awesome responsibility.
And with that responsibility comes questions, swift looks back and hoping that it went well.
We wonder quietly, if we did any damage on those days where we were weary from an all-nighter and operated on auto-pilot.
We wonder if those days where we are frazzled beyond oblivion when all we can do is bleat-bleat answers - not ever really hearing the questions. And realize as head hits pillow that they are moments that are forever lost.

But we try.
We work our hearts and fingers to nubs.
We never fully take credit for the wonders that we are responsible for.
Instead, we second-guess.
We think that it's never enough.
We think it's all wrong. We're doing it all wrong.
And certainly, it's never story-book.
But considering what we're up against, we're pretty damned good at it.

If we asked our kids who were the best mommies in the whole-wide-world, what do we think the answer would be?
And true, some day they may question our abilities, our actions, our intentions, or how well we did.
But in time, they do come around and see just how hard we tried.
How hard we did.
How much we loved
and still love.

Mistakes will be made.
Absolutely no doubt.

But in between the mistakes, and the guilt, the brand new cub and the adult they grow up to be is the best of us. The best of us that we give to them. And that questioning and the guilt shows just how seriously we take this job. We want to do it just right.
And if we didn't question, if we didn't care - we wouldn't wear our guilt and worry like the hottest new skirt or shoes for all to see.

In that time -the in betweens - are the moments that rest on sleepy eyelashes, toddler giggles, and chubby-armed hugs, the dirty fingerprints on everything, the countless buttercups handed over to us, the campy arts and crafts, the pb&j kisses. Those moments are just for us.
And we work so hard for them. We don't ask for them. They are handed over so lovingly, so generously.

The guilt is an occupational hazard, for sure.
It's there to stay.
They'll be OK.
And so will we. I think.
So will we.


Sunday Morning Song of the Moment - the big 3

Friday was spent running around on errands to get ready. And we spent the whole day doing it.
The whole day.
From the time we got up to the time we went to bed.
Yesterday even found us spending much of the early part of the day getting ready.
And then at 1:00 p.m. it was on.
A big birthday bash for Gracie who turns 3 today.
And for Connor who turns 5 on the 27th.
We went all out for this one (which we don't usually do).
But I wanted to have a good time.
So we also invited a lot of "adult" friends.
And we enjoyed a lot of "adult" beverages.
The weather was beautiful. Perfect actually.

Perfect actually. That describes my Gracie - I call her Gracie-goo, Googie, Goog, Poogie, Poog. Pick one. We call her it.
She was born 3 years ago today.

My sweet, loving, caring, even-tempered (but a fireball) of a little girl.
The little girl I was so upset to find out we were having, but couldn't imagine my life without.
You can read her birth story here if you would like. Or if you haven't already, you can read the story as to how she got her name.
She is such a joyful girl with the most beautiful spirit.
And I'm glad she came to me -to us. I know that her path to get to me was a long one. But she's here now. And we're both better for the long wait.

These are for her. The first song, Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder I put on one of her very first CD's that I made for her. And the second one is from the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. It's Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby by Alliso Krauss, Gillian Welch, and Emmylou Harris. I used to sing this to Gracie over and over and over. And it is still one of her favorites. If she curls up on my lap for a snuggle and I start to sing it, you can tell she slips into a memory, a comfortable place, and is soothed. I prefer the album version of the song. But I have to take what I can get.


Wrestling and Words

talking on the phone with the Administrative Assistant who is setting up the arrangements for the new employee orientation, questions were asked. Questions like:

when will we find out exactly what our schedule will be?
what is the attire for training? is there a "uniform" to be worn?

The answer to the 2nd question was: the dress is business-casual for training, but there are days where you will be permitted to wear jeans and there will be days you need to come in sweats. they'll let you know. the days you have to wear sweats are the days where you will be rolling around on the floor doing take-downs.

A Cheshire-cat-grin spread across her face upon hearing "take downs". Oh, she was familiar with them. She has seen her husband do quiet a few of them. She's even attempted a few take-downs during their mock wrestling lessons on the livingroom floor.

The call ended and she shared the information with him.

She feigned worry. i can't do this shit. really. i can't.

he beamed. yes, you can. i'm an all-state wrestler, remember? and you've taken me down plenty of times when we were wrestling. you'll be great. you'll do fine. you'll tear it up. just remember, if you're the best in the class you'll probably end up with the better schedule. and i know you'll be the best in the class. you've got it going on. you're awesome.

yeah. she said.
i know it's true. i just feels good to hear it sometimes.

he throws his head back in laughter. he takes her in his strong arms and kisses her on top of her head. he pulls back and looks deep within her eyes, with a sparkle in his and says

and that is why i love you.


The Girl With The Campfire Hair

This past weekend, we went on a family camping trip. Which means, our little family met up with Rav's family (his parents, their dogs, two of his brothers, and our nieces and nephew).

To be perfectly honest, I was not looking forward to a 5 hour car ride and camping with our two kids. I was not looking forward to this trip. But it was the only time we could get away & I thought the break might be nice.

I packed and baked goodies and made chicken salad with a heavy, heavy mind.
In fact, there was a breakdown thrown in for good measure.
A fit of crying, and questioning, and the throwing of hands up in the air.
All the while, Rav let me do it. He watched, he sat quietly, he let me air my crazies out.
And as always, he remained cool. Perfectly calm.
He knows how to ride out storms like a pro.

Once I purged my mental toxins, I felt a little better.
And upon piling in the car, I was even feeling happy.

The set-up of our Ravioli tent city went pretty smoothly considering there were 2 dogs, 4 kids under the age of 6 and one 8 month old.

The evening met with much throwing back of bottled adult beverages, a tidy campfire, and Rav & his brother playing guitar and singing.
And I just sat quietly.
Willing myself to shoo away anxious thoughts.
I talked to all of the kids as much as I could.
I sang to some of the songs as much as I could.
Because with stillness comes the dread, the fear, the questions, the doubt.

Saturday met us with plans to hit a place in town called The Gorge.
Connor headed to Corning Glass with my one brother-in-law and his daughter (my niece).
That left Rav, Gracie & I to head to The Gorge with my other brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, and my other niece and my little baby nephew.
The Gorge was breathtaking.
And the place where I felt life melt away - just a little.
For there were views like this:

Gracie on the left. Cousin royal T. Ravioli on the right.

And this:

This one (above) is one of my favorite pictures that we took at The Gorge. The views were mind blowing.

The girls did such a great job at The Gorge. I was so proud. They did a 2 mile hike with rarely a peep or complaint. Cousin royal T. liked to be carried and Gracie just wanted to stop and look at the water. That was the only time you heard them complain. They took it all in and just had a blast. You could see between them a bond begin to form. A sisterly companionship that was truly spectacular to watch. And you can see it bloom in that first picture I posted of the two of them at The Gorge.

At one point during the hike, I had picked Gracie up and was carrying her. I leaned in and made the most of the moment - being there in this beautiful place with her - and I kissed her sun-kissed head. And as I did, I inhaled. And her hair smelled like campfire. She smelled like home. She smelled so beautiful. I know that I will never forget that moment with her as long as I live. The moment was quick. It was undetectable, really. No one knew. It wasn't marked by fireworks, squeals of delight, or monumental applause. It was for me and her. Though she doesn't even know it happened. I felt renewed there. My daughter who gives me so much - and she doesn't even know she does it.

It may sound cliche and hokey. But it was then that I felt peaceful. It was then that I felt back at center and back to myself. Surrounded by beautiful, natural cliffs, running spring water, and my girl.

My sweet girl with the campfire hair.

There's just one thing missing in this picture. I wish Connor had been there.


Feels Like Forever

Some of you might have noticed that between last night and today, I've been peeking in on your blogs.

We were away this weekend for a mini vacation.
I'm exhausted, but feel a bit better.

I will share details later. But we have a busy day of cleaning up and unpacking ahead.

I just wanted to say Hi and that I'm back.

I can't wait to catch up with everyone.


For Me, For You


Peeking Out

I've been hiding out. And it's not good.
This is what I do when the contents of my mind are spilling out all over the place in an invisible puddle.
I'm trying desperately to wipe it up before anyone sees these thoughts.
But I'm afraid I'm getting caught.

My anxiety level is at a new, all-time high.
I'm not sleeping well.
And when I do fall asleep, I wake up in a fit of anxiousness and a swirling in my stomach.
My mind is poisoning my body right now.
It's just not good.

When I get like this, I retreat. From everything.
I'm here. But it's not me.

My role is changing. The role that I've been in for 4 years now. And I'm not handling the anticipation of this change well. The effects this change will have - the impact of it - I feel is falling completely on my shoulders.

I'm in a pit of unhappiness about my plans for attending Blogher falling through.
It's leaving me feeling like a cry-baby.
But I have been making these plans for months, and to have them fall through is crushing.

I'm not whining.
I swear.
I just need to air this out.
I need to acknowledge why I've been absent here and out there, with the rest of you.

Not only that, those two mega posts from last week, drained me. Mentally and physically. It's as if typing it deflated me somehow. Rather than leave me feeling lighter and relieved, it has left me dry for right now.

For now, I'm taking my leave.
It may be for a mere 2 hours.
It may be for 2 days.
It may be for 2 weeks.
But for right now. I just can't do this.


Ravioli's Day

That picture of Rav over there, to the left, is one of my favorite pictures of him. It's not a great picture. And I'm not even sure why I like it.

This was taken before we even had met. But I think it just reminds me of that time. I love the fact that he bleached his hair - just as he did the summer we met. And I even had him bleach his hair for our wedding.

Today is Rav's birthday.

As always, there are a million things I want to say. But I can't quite find the words.

There are so many things that I would love to do for him today. But circumstances just don't allow for it.

I want him to know just how much he is appreciated and loved. That he is deserving of a celebration. He is an amazing friend, partner, father. He has such a calm, loving soul. And in the demands of daily life, Rav often gets looked over. He is the kind of person that demands little and requires even less. He is always happy. He is always in a calm, balanced state. So it is easy to forget that he needs tending to. And he never complains. He just keeps plugging along.

I want him to know how happy I am to mark this day with him. To recognize this day for what it is. The day that brought him here. The day that would ensure his presence in our lives. And we are all the better for him.

I love you, Rav. Happy Birthday!!


Sunday Morning Song of the Moment

So many days, I come here to bloggy-bloggy land. And so many days I get so many wonderful comments.

Comments from so many lovely, lovely people. Comments and personalities that lift me up, carry me through, make me laugh, make me think in new ways.
Not only that, so many of these lovely people who comment offer up fascinating stories, mindsets, thougts, introspective, personal, and pee-in-your-pants-and snort-at-the-same-time funny posts.
The giving that I have found here is endless.
And beautiful.

Last night, I found The Color Purple on TV. I haven't seen the movie in years and it's been just as long since I've read the book.
And in watching the movie, I found a song that I had forgotten about, but want to send out to all of you who are my sisters out here.
I don't feel I have adequately acknowledged just how much your support of me, my family, my thoughts has meant to me.
And today, I'm trying to do just that.

Here is my song. From me to all of you.
And you all know who you are.

And I take you all with me during the day. You pop up in little tidbits of real life. And I love it.
Enjoy your song. And go shake your shimmy, sistas!
Miss Celie's Blues sung by Tata Vega for The Color Purple

At Your Service

The other morning, while most of the East Coast was adrift in peaceful slumber, I made my way downstairs to try to take care of some much important and overdue blogging (lurking, commenting, reading - you know, that stuff).

A few minutes later, Connor comes down the stairs.
His hair standing up in all kinds of wild angles.
And I chuckle to myself as I watch him stumble over to the couch. His eyes are barely open.
He wraps himself in blankets.
And he says Mom? Will you turn on Cartoon Network?
I think maybe it might help lull him back to sleep. So I say Yeah, I'll put on Cartoon Network.
And he says You're good at service.
I laugh and ask him Why do you say that? What does service mean?
He says Well, you do some of the things that I like and some of the things that I ask you to do. And that is service. And you're good at service.

I was completely amused by all of this. The fact that he's trying on new vocabulary & working out the definitions.
Part of me though, is worried that I'm raising a club-weilding caveman.


Navigating Through The Knowing

-He's a boy.
-Boys are just very active.
-He needs to be disciplined.
-I don't see these things you are talking about.

The kickers:

-You're crazy
-It sounds like you want him to have something wrong with him.
-Why are you saying there is something wrong with him?

The above list would be filed under the category friendly fire. You'll need to know this for later on in the post.

It's the first day of preschool.
You're so proud of your son.
You walk him to his classroom. And the hallway is filled with this, almost, pageanty/competitiony air. Proud momma peacocks and little peacock babies, walking under wing.
As you stand in the hall, waiting for the day to begin, you look ahead to what a wonderful year it will be.
Friends to be made.
Activities to participate in.
The endless painted, glued, glittered, pipe cleanered art projects.
New songs to sing.
You delude yourself for awhile that all will be well.

But then comes the day where you get a negative report at pick-up time.
Then days and weeks meld themselves together into this unstoppable train of bad news.
Negative reports and gut wrenching, hands-in-the-air exasperation.
You leave in tears.
Day after day.
As you walk out the door to head for home, with pitying eyes bearing into the back of your neck and skull, you look down at your boy, the chubby still toddler face, the fat fingers pressed in your hand.
And he looks crestfallen.
His chubby, little hand tenses in yours. It's even sweaty.
His eyes are sad.
He simply is not happy.

See, he wants to be good.
He tries to be good.
He is good.
He just operates a little differently.
And he - at 3 - has no idea how to
handle this
or the fact that his mommy cries for him everyday.
And he sees it.
But if you stopped and read his eyes
and really listened
that is what he would say.
If he could.

He's the most caring, heartfelt boy.
But affectionate, he is not.
He's wickedly funny and smart.
But intensely serious and pensive.
When he laughs, you think he hasn't a care in the world.
But he is full of anxiety and worry. He worries about it all.
You talk to him and think he hasn't heard a word.
But he hears it all. He remembers everything he hears and sees. And he notices the smallest changes.
He lives in the moment and lives with wild abandon.
But he cannot transition from one thing to another easily.
He loves input and action.
But he becomes so overwhelmed by it all.
He loves to build intricate contraptions with Legos.
But he has no attention span.
He is so easy to understand.
And so complicated.

You just want everyone - teachers, his friends, your friends, family members, his daddy, even yourself - to understand this Rubicks Cube of a boy.
And to accept him.
Without shame.
Without guilt.
Without their "friendly fire" opinions.

All you want is for them to put aside their misconceptions, pigheaded opinions, and learn about this fascinating boy, his wide-open mind, his immense heart.

You just want him to sit still at circle time.
Three minutes. That's it. Sit still for three minutes.
Like if he accomplishes that, it makes all the difference
what and what, really?

You just don't want to feel completely alone in the accepting, the grieving, the crying, the rejoicing, the understanding, the being thankful.

You feel that your only friends, at times, are the developmental specialists, the psychologists, the speech language pathologist, the occupational therapist.
Because they corroborate what you already know
and all of the other stuff, the good stuff too.
Yes, he's got a diagnosis.
But he's also got an above-average IQ, his cognitive ability is great, his speech is stellar.
They've got your back.
You can count on them.
You just wish that you had that security from people you
have actual relationships with.
Not strangers.

There comes a point where you feel you are fighting everyone (except for your stranger, specialist friends).
And you're exhausted from it.

All that you want to do is scream at everyone:
All I'm doing is what is best for him. I'm only thinking of him and what will help him!!!

Again, with the looking back.
And the realization that of all things
the diagnosis was the easy part.

Screeching Hault - Updated

The past few days have been a little nutty.

And I won't be posting much here in the next few days.

Rav & I have been sans sleep for the past 3 days.

He is in excruciating pain due to some pesky wisdom teeth.

And I haven't been sleeping due to the fact that my mind just.won't.shut.up.
or just.slow.the.hell.down.
Oh, and because of anxiety.

This afternoon, Rav has an emergency consultation at an oral surgeon and tomorrow will bring surgery on his wisdom teeth.

So, until I'm rested up and Rav is feeling better........

I'll be seeing you then.


Rav is hanging in. Thanks to some prescribed drugs.
Hopefully that means he will be able to get some sleep.

Turns out, that the problem isn't his wisdom teeth at all, but rather a molar that has some nerve issues.
Oh, the nerve! (sorry, bad joke alert. I'm punchy. I've been running on no sleep myself)
So, tomorrow I drive him in for a root canal.
And hopefully he'll be on a road to recovery.
Thanks for all of your comments and thoughts!


The Process Of Knowing and Accepting

Upon giving birth to your children, there are certain thoughts that you can't easily wrap your mind around. Dizzying thoughts, frightening thoughts. And you push them away. And you don't dare speak of them. For you fear that the very utterance of such things will actually bring them on.

When you hold your children in your arms for the first time, you finally get to look at actual features. Rather than the ones that you painted on a tiny face in your mind - features of your own design. The canvas that allows you to paint on it the perfect, button nose. The biggest, widest, inquisitive eyes. Perfect baby curls. Baby pink skin. You never stop to think about the underneath.

The Code. The perfect fusion of separate genetics that have to come together.
That's a painting class you skip over when painting features on your baby.
Making sure you add perfect strokes and fusions of color to certain pieces of code.
You can't. You contribute what you have and hope it's for the best.

So you hold your baby and look at a face that is brand new to you, but you can't even imagine a time that it didn't exist in your life. Despite the difference it clearly has in regards to what you had imagined.
It is all foreign.
And familiar.

For nine long months you imagine what this new life will bring. At the very least, endless possibilities.
And in your mind's eye they all lead to extraordinary things.
All that you can think about and do is how to harness all of this potential. This potential for greatness that we are all born with, but is exceptional when you hold it in your own hands.

Tabula Rasa.
Their slate is perfectly clean.
You can read to them in languages - any language - and their little minds are wired to accept it all.
You can sing and talk and they know your voice.
A voice they've heard in their water cocoon.
You can touch and be touched.
And these sensations trigger chemical and physical reactions that begin the bonding process.
And they are an integral part of the development of their greatness.

They are so perfect in that no harm has touched them.
The world is a sensory smorgasboard.
And you are just trying to provide every perfect opportunity and experience of all the things the world has to offer.
And they are so perfectly willing to take it all in.

As a parent, you dream for them all of the dreams that have slipped through your fingers.
You want them to know no bounds to the wonders that they can accomplish.

Time moves on for a bit and there is a shift.
A brick in your gut.
You are beginning to slowly become aware of one of the thoughts that you initially couldn't wrap your mind around. And again, you don't speak it for fear that it will surely come true.

You feel in your gut that, at 8 months old, your child is just
You can't put your finger on it. And when you say it in your head, it sounds quite silly.
And in fact, you feel like such a fool, that you keep the insanely green, new mom thought to yourself.

You keep that thought to yourself for 2 years.

However, it begins to creep its way to that space in your brow where the lines begin to deeply crease. When the pediatrician offers you her wisdom in the form of:
Don't be surprised if....
Don't worry though. There's still time. He's still very young. He could just be immature.

You shake this off, like any good mom would do.
You leave the office and shove that statement to the bottom of the diaper bag. Right next to the bag of smashed crackers and Zweiback toast that has probably been there since he was teething at 5 months old.


A year or so later, the summer is winding down.
The sun is beginning to set a little earlier. The air has a new crispness to it. Change is making its way through the air, down to the plants in the gardens, the water, even the grass. And you have no idea that it is extending to you, too.

You hold a camera up to your face.
You want to capture a moment in time. A moment you'd love to hold on to for a rainy day.
Your finger presses down and you can't begin to imagine the striking change you've just captured. You have no way of knowing yet. And you won't see the picture for a few days.

In hurried anticipation, you tear open the envelope. You pull out the photos.
And in that instant there can be no more denying.
The little boy in the photos is a shell of the boy you know and love.
For all of the life you know he possesses, there isn't a sign of it in his eyes.
They are vacant.
A dead brown.

In a rush you tally changes up in your mind:
-the absence of good eye contact
-the aversion to certain textures of foods
-the explosive tantrums
-the anxiety
-the sensitivity and overreaction to sunlight
-the impulsivity
-the hyperactivity
All of these things, singled out, are not really that big of a deal.
But when you weigh them together, you are deeply entrenched in the knowing.

You yell at yourself for not listening to your gut.
And then rational, reasonable thoughts whisper in your ear that it probably wouldn't have made much difference.

You have conversations with yourself about how it could be so much worse.
And you know that.
But the reality you face now is a bit more muddled and foggy when placed next to its predecessor.
The reality you had before.
Back then.
Despite all your knowing the good things, the positive things, the it-could-be-so-much-worse things, you know that you have a road to travel that will be different from the easy, meandering country road you had envisioned.
You know that it will, hopefully, get better.
But for now, you have to prepare yourself for a war-torn road.

Not to mention
frequent run-ins with friendly fire.

I Am A Mutant

First let me say that I had spent all of this time posting pictures of my flowers and my garden into a semi-interesting post to just have it go to hell.
This post, when I published it, was too much for the rest of my blog to handle it sent the whole thing to go all haywire.
I deleted it & decided to come back to it another time.

So for now, this is all I've got:

Am I the only person on the whole of the Earth that cannot stand the movie Grease?

I understand it has legions of devoted fans.

But I remember seeing it for the very first time at age 10 or 11 and found myself rolling my eyes, plugging my ears with my fingers, and generally relieved when it was over.

And I still feel that way today.

I don't get the big deal about this movie.

I don't know why it irks me so.
It just does.

Sorry to any of you out there that love this movie.
I apologize. We can still be friends just because I don't like it and you do...
I won't hold it against you ;)
I just don't get it is all. What it is about that movie?

And I feel like I'm the only one who feels that way.
Especially considering my gender.