Wednesday, November 11, 2015

All in all, it's just another day now...

{these days}

...These days, I am obsessed- OBSESSED- with the musical Hamilton. I will be close to menopause before tickets are available, as it is currently sold out through most of 2016. But, in the meantime, the soundtrack has been on in a near-constant loop. It's such a blindingly brilliant piece of work- the writing, the music, and the story telling. I am not a history buff by any means and find myself riveted by this story of an immigrant who became one of the founding fathers of our country. I can not encourage you enough to listen to the cast album and learn this incredible story. The writing makes me feel like I should walk away from my keyboard and never look back- it's equal parts inspiring and frustrating. You will not be mad at me if you take my advice on this.

...These days, we are getting a break from the non-stop activity of the first two months of school. Both soccer and hockey have ended, leaving us with therapy three days a week and cheer for one. Over-scheduling ourselves to such an extent was not my best move. More often than not, PJ was overwrought and unable to control his body. Hockey, for example, was a hot mess. Now, we have a free week night and open weekends for a bit and I am going to enjoy the peace.

...These days, I keep looking forward to crisp, cold weather, only to be thwarted by Mother Nature and her mid 70's muggy nonsense. I love each season, but loathe the transitional period between. Is consistent Uggs and sweatshirt weather too much to ask? No. It is not.

This baby is going to be six. What the hell???????
...These days, I am wracking my brain trying to make a decision on what to do for PJ's birthday party. The timing issue has reached critical mass, so I need to get moving.

...These days, keeping up with housework is an impossible task. The only thing that keeps this place from descending into full chaos is the fact that we have therapists in this house at least two days a week! That means that about 40 minutes before someone is set to arrive, I fly around the apartment like a psycho trying to make up for a full day of ignoring messes. Keeping house is one of the very many ways that I fail at adulting. Killing bugs, wearing makeup, controlling my smart mouth and the fact that I think Boone's Wine is good are some of the other ways.

...These days, I think about how far PJ has come since we started therapy with a new agency in the spring. He is still prone to behavior issues, but we are slowly chipping away at them as his verbal skills continue to grow. He learned my phone number in one day. If God forbid a million times over that he ever get away from me, he can tell someone helping him how to reach me. Today, we were walking to the car after school and he greeted a classmate with no prompting whatsoever. A week or two ago, he played with friends after school, laughing and running with his peers as I blinked back tears. It's tiny steps, tiny steps, tiny steps, always. The finish line seems so far away sometimes (not that you ever really hit a finish line when you're a parent, right? These beings are just always our babies.) but we kind of shuffle along as best we can. It's the little moments, good and bad, that really propel us along and these particular ones happened to be sweet.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

'Cause this is Thriller...


...Halloween was this past weekend, and PJ picked his own costume for the first time. He decided on Spider-man, so when his therapy session was cancelled for Tuesday, I decided to take him shopping to get his costume. Rookie mistake. The store was way too much for PJ- noisy, with loud music, blinking lights, and too many things to look at. We were able to make it to the register to pay for his costume but didn't get out before he threw a small display of pens that look like needles. I had to make him pick up every single pen. He did so, and I could see him trying to get some control by the expression on his face. But, next time, it's all Amazon, baby! Rookie mistake.

...speaking of the Spider-man costume, Pete was annoyed because it had a chest full of fake pectoral muscles. It is not authentic enough for him. Pete feels that a true representation of Spider-man would have a slight build. He got all offended when I reminded him that there is no authentic representation of Spider-man because he is a comic book character. I was rolling my eyes so hard that I am surprised they didn't fall out of my head. This is my life, folks.

...The day before Halloween was school picture day which meant that, the day before, I had to take PJ to get a haircut. Haircuts are...not fun. PJ loses his mind every time and even though I could never understand exactly what upset him, I knew that the noise and the feeling was just too much for him. But finally, at his last haircut, a breakthrough: he used his words to tell me "no neck." He hates the feeling of having the back of his head touched. So, this was not good news for a non-mullet look, but great news for someone who wants to see PJ empowered to use his words and address his needs. We practiced what he would tell Miss Jess, his hairdresser (and kind of a tattooed saint, along with her partner, Amy). "Miss Jess, just cut the front and the sides. No neck." He sobbed while he said it, but he did, and we listened. Thankfully, his last haircut was a good one, so he hasn't gone Billy Ray Cyrus just yet.  Still, it is KILLING me to see his hair not cleaned up in back! But PJ expressed his needs and I needed to let my need for a clean haircut go.

...Halloween ended up being a great day! We started the morning with soccer (PJ's buddies brought him Halloween treats!) and then came home to rest up a bit before we hit the streets. We met up with cousin Robbie, who was very convincing as a soldier (complete with camouflage). The boys had a great time knocking on doors and running around. After that, PJ and I headed to Marla's neighborhood for Round Two. Her neighborhood goes all out, turning Halloween into a giant block party that includes "treats" for the adults as well! It was exciting for me because it was PJ's first time Trick-or-Treating at night (I know, I get excited about bizarre milestones!). We wrapped up the night sitting by a fire outside as neighbors buzzed about. PJ fell asleep on the way home, still clutching the glow stick he very sweetly talked someone into giving him.

...Halloween is a tightrope when you have a child with special needs. For PJ, there is a high risk of sensory overload and an Epic System Meltdown. His school Halloween events were just the trigger, and it made me sad to see that he just could not enjoy the fun- his body was just too uncooperative. Parents of children with allergies, with physical impairments, with developmental disabilities; it can be a victory just to get your child into the costume, much less around the neighborhood.I found that I had to modify what I thought would be fun into what would be fun for PJ as he is. I have a feeling I'll need to make those adjustments for the rest of our lives, but it's all good as long as he's happy.

...a few more pictures from our Halloween!

Our day started with soccer and it looked like this. Gorgeous. 

Large pectoral muscles. 

LOL, I just noticed the Robbie photobomb! 

I love everything about this picture- I love the glowy light and the curve of the sidewalk and how PJ looks like such a big boy. 

The light in his hair. Swoon. I just wish he had picked more peanut butter cups. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Baby bend over, let me see you do that yoga...

In an occurrence that becoming increasingly common, I went way out of my comfort zone today. Today, discomfort looked a lot like Downward-facing Dog.

Marla has been having increasingly serious issues with her bone density, particularly with her hips. She needs to exercise, but her delicate body can only handle so much. I need to exercise, too, even though my body is dense and indelicate. One of us is a fat-ass and one of us is a brittle-ass and, either way, our asses needed to move. We need to be careful when we move. So...what?

And one day, it came to me. It came to me, and it was horrific because, suddenly, I knew the truth.

We needed to do yoga.

I have tried yoga a few times before and I hated it. I am not good at being peaceful and relaxed unless I am laying on a massage table. It is impossible for me to clear my mind. When I am in a quiet room, my first inclination is to start giggling. And I am not a touchy-feely-mother earth loves us kind of person. When the sun comes out, I don't offer it salutations; I use my coffee mug to shield my eyes from it while I frantically gulp. But I kept going back to fat and brittle and resigned myself to yoga.

I don't even own yoga clothes, so when we stepped into the room I was decked out in running gear (side note: I haven't gone running in a very, very long time). I eyed the piles of yoga stuff- mats, strappy things, block things and...wait. Blankets??? Maybe this wouldn't be so bad! I was just about to snag one in the hopes that maybe someone would just turn off the lights and let me nap when I noticed that nobody else had one.

I glanced around the room for the instructor and noted a cute guy at the front of the room. He had a beard (of course he had a beard) and was wearing baggy pants and a shirt. I was thinking that he was actually cute when he turned and I saw it.

A man bun.

That left me kind of alarmed, like I was in for some serious tree-hugging shit. But I had laid out my mat and blocky things and taken off my shoes (but kept my socks on) so there was no turning back. The class began, and the exercise in and of itself was okay. The class was for beginners so I was able to keep up well. But I had terrible acid reflux every time I had to bend down too far (fat girl problems) and I almost burst out laughing when Man Bun McCrunchy stopped to adjust the stance of a classmate and murmured "'s that feel?"


But that brief stifling of giggles aside, the class was going well. I was cold because I wasn't really working up a sweat, but my body felt pretty good. I was getting a good stretch in my legs and hips and even though my boobs are a little too big for yoga to be 100% comfortable, I was feeling good. We were on our mats in some kind of lay-out-on-the-floor pose when the woman next to me, somehow, touched my hand with her DAMNED FOOT AND OH MY GOD WHAT IN THE HELL and then everything went into Complete System Meltdown.

Remember earlier when I said I kept my socks on? That was partly because the room was cold but mainly because I hate feet. I hate feet. I don't like pedicures, I can't even deal with a foot rub. And above all else, I really just can not deal with other peoples feet. It's bad enough if Pete's toes creep over to my side of the bed and graze me in the middle of the night. Stranger feet?


So, I had Foot Contact and my poor little brain basically melted. Thankfully, there was only about ten minutes left in the class because I had completely lost my chill. Everything Man Bun said went in my ear and turned into some sort of innuendo an eight year old would come up with and I had to bite my lip to keep the laughter in. I was also keeping my limbs as close to my body as possible to avoid any further contact with my classmates, making it hard to "unfold and stand on the mountain" or whatever the instructor was talking about.

Clearly, yoga is not 100% for me. My body felt good after, even if my mind fell apart but that is, I'm pretty sure, the exact opposite of what yoga is supposed to do for you. Still, I'm going back to Man Bun's class next week and this time, I'll put lots of space between myself and the person next to me.

Friday, October 23, 2015

...and I am sorry but I am not a maiden fair.

It was a warm, early September evening. Muggy, the kind that lends itself to my natural curls and also to frizz. It was one of the many times that I wore my skin awkwardly. One would think that, at almost 40, I would be past that awkward-feeling stage but, on this this night, I felt sweaty and dull and not lovely.

But we were going out- my own little family along with the large extended one I inherited when I married my husband- to celebrate the 70th birthday of my father-in-law. There were many children in tow, PJ included, so our chosen destination was hardly the Ritz. Still, it was nice enough that I had to skip my typical uniform of jean, flip-flops, and a tank top.

My little Prince.
Age and motherhood both have left me with a body that I am still not used to. Extra weight sits on my small bones in a manner that is not kind. I remember having to struggle to stay above one hundred pounds. Now, I am nearly forty pounds overweight. I forget sometimes that I am not the lithe creature of my 20’s. Generally, that moment comes when I need to get dressed. Clothes didn’t matter to me, even as a young person with a great figure. Now that I am in a body that is difficult to dress, it matters a little bit more.

I tell myself that there are more important things on my plate. I am the mother of a child with Autism. It takes so much energy sometimes just to stay afloat, even though raising him is a joy, an honor, my life work. The idea that I might hold some beauty seems silly. Who is even looking?

I opened my closet to get dressed and found a dress I had not worn before. It is something that happens to me often- I purchase something only to get it home and lose faith. I have a penchant for maxi dresses despite my short stature, but this one was a bit dressier, a bit more structured. It hung softly on its hanger, a coral glow among the other brightly colored rejects that joined it. I slipped it over my head and adjusted. The long skirt floated to the tops of my feet and the halter tied in a ribbon about my neck. I stood in front of the mirror, all coral and floated skirt, and gave myself the stink eye. The dress didn’t cling too conspicuously, and it wasn’t filled out to its breaking point. There was nothing outwardly wrong and yet I could plainly see that it did not look good. It was not flattering.

I sighed and walked into the living room, where PJ was sitting on the couch watching a movie. He glanced up at me as I walked in. I can’t always hold his attention very long, so his short glance was not out of the ordinary.

“Mommy’s a princess!” he declared brightly.

PJ had never made such a statement. His observations tend to run toward the more concrete (“Mommy is wearing a shirt!”). I felt my heart stop as I sat down next to him. “A princess, eh?” I asked, but his attention was already turned back to Wreck It, Ralph. I snuggled next to him and fingered the hem of the dress. My rational self knew it didn’t look good, but my son had told me, for the first time ever and in his own way, that he thought it was pretty.

I got him dressed and intended to change after, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to take off that wretched garment and flee to the safety of my jeans and a nice tank top. Instead, I slipped on a pair of silver sandals. I walked into the restaurant with my sons hand in mine. I let myself enjoy the feel of the soft skirt against my legs and carry the glow of the coral fabric. I basked in motherly pride at how well-behaved my son was and wore it like makeup. I kept my stomach pulled in, my shoulders relaxed, and my back straight. My usual insecurities didn’t matter that night. I didn’t let them weigh me down but, rather, bore the sparkle of my sons words like a tiara, just like any princess would. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How the Viva® Vantage® 7-Day Switch Up Changed My Cleaning Game!

Tracking Pixel Tracking Pixel

This is a sponsored post, written by me, on behalf of Viva ® Vantage ®.

Paper towels are definitely a thing in our household. I have often thought about going paper-free, but the fact is, I have a five year old son and a 16 year old cat and there are some things that need to be thrown away after they are wiped up. *ahemcatbarf*

So, paper towels. If they are going to work in my household, there are a few requirements. They need to be strong, so when I use my foot to wipe something up (*ahemcatbarf*) they don't fall apart. They need to have scrubbing power for the same reasons. It needs to be absorbent, so it can handle the clean up of eleventy-billion spills every day, and it needs to be soft when I need to use one as a tissue.

Allergy problems.

We were using a store brand of paper towels and they worked okay. Not terrible, but nothing to write home about. Then, like magic, an invite appeared in my in-box from the fun folks at Viva ® Vantage ® Paper Towels! "Come meet some bloggers, learn more about the Viva® Brand, and try our Viva® Vantage® Paper Towels," they said! And, of course, I said "yes!" No brainer.

Off I went, with all of the messes my family can make dancing in my head, wondering if Viva® Vantage® would pass the test.Viva ® Vantage ® Paper Towels had just been named the 2015 Product of the Year and, as someone who holds awards shows with high regard, this meant something to me.

I had prepared myself for the same old paper towels, but I was pleasantly surprised! Different stations were set up to allow me to put Viva ® Vantage® through its paces- washing AND drying glasses, scrubbing dirty mushrooms until they shone, and wiping up a spill when I knocked into my water glass (That last one wasn't a station, that's just my life). No disappointments- Viva ® Vantage® powered through! Dirty mushrooms were scrubbed clean thanks to the super-strong V-Flex Weave, glasses were washed and dried to a fingerprint-free shine with its sponge-like absorbency, and my spill was sucked up with no problem. Nobody noticed my clumsiness and our hosts counters were in no danger of being scratched up with a rough paper towel.

With those early party successes in the bag, I considered taking the Viva ® Vantage ® 7-Day Switch Up. It made sense. I had been using paper towels that were...okay. Why not see if I could switch things up and make my life of mopping spills, cleaning splatters, and scooping cat barf a little easier?

I started my Switch Up off that very night and used a Viva ® Vantage® towel to remove my makeup. I don't think the fine folks at the mall makeup counters would have approved, but our bathroom was in the middle of a huge remodel and my makeup remover was alllllllllll the way at the back of the bathroom behind piles of tools. So I eyed the Viva ® Vantage® towel, wondering if I was going to regret my decision. But, a damp Viva® Towel later (no soap, even!) I had clean skin that didn't feel like I had passed a steel wool pad over it!

Oh, yes. Viva ® Vantage ® and I were going to get along just fine.

Why we need Viva in our lives...
The 7-Day Switch Up was on, and over the week that followed, I put Viva ® Vantage® towel through its paces. I used them to rinse, clean and dry grapes for my sons lunches. The towels are so strong, I could use them as a colander! I mopped up spills, scrubbed paint off of my kitchen table, and wiped up layers of dust and grime generated by our bathroom reno. Sauce splatters on the range, dry erase marker on our kitchen white board, and the inevitable cat barf- the messes were powerless to the fantastic scrubbing power of the Viva ® Vantage ®! Their stretchy-strength means that I can rinse and reuse the same Viva® Towel, saving money and waste. And for someone who hates to scrub, the Viva ® Vantage® took our usual scrubbing game to a whole new level. It was just. so. easy!

So, we're Viva ® people now! Yup. It didn't even take the full seven days of the 7-Day Switch Up to know that Viva ® Vantage® was a great fit for my messy little family!

Now it's your turn to be a Viva ® Vantage ® family! 

Visit Viva ® Vantage ® and get your coupon so you can get started on your own 7-Day Switch Up! Shake things up by switching out your ordinary products for Viva ® Vantage®! Spend some time using Viva ® Vantage® to clean all the things, and then stop back to tell the fine folks at Viva ® about your experience for your chance to WIN a $100 gift card!

This was a sponsored post, written by me and detailing my experience with the 7-Day Switch Up, on behalf of Viva ® Vantage ®

Monday, September 28, 2015

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars....

I am over at Mom Babble today, talking about finding magic when you have a child with special needs! You don't need magic wands or vehicular produce (although how awesome would THAT be?). You just need to believe. Do me a solid and stop by Mom Babble to check it out! 

Saturday mornings mean soccer. Now that fall is
upon us, Saturday means cleats and soccer balls and the amazing support and love PJ gets from his soccer buddies, Anthony and Nick. This particular Saturday, PJ insisted on accessorizing with a vaguely Freddie Krueger-ish hat he found in my in-laws basement. As one does. It was cool and cloudy and slightly Pope-y, and PJ had a great time.

After soccer, we headed a few minutes away from the field to the Air Victory Museum, a small airplane museum in Lumberton. We met my in-laws and the younger boy cousins there, and the kids took in all of the planes and aircraft memorabilia crammed into the space. Everywhere you look hung some small piece of aviation history, and the boys were drinking it in.

After a bit, though, the museum started to overwhelm PJ. There were a lot of things that he couldn't touch, and yet so many things to see. He held up well but as the visit started to come to a close his frustration started to mount. As Pete walked him out of an exhibit, he flopped to the ground, rolling away and kicking at Pete.

Pete's dad wanted the kids to pick out a toy plane as a souvenir, but by then, PJ was past the point of being able to make a decision. I tried to calm him, but he was angry. I caught a head-butt to the cheek just as a package containing an airplane kit appeared between our heads. It was held there by the elderly gentleman who ran the front desk of the museum.

"Hey, buddy," he said. "If you're a good boy you can have this."

Dude. I felt the last of my patience drain out of my ear. The kid was slapping me across the face. It was like putting your hand inside a beehive and let me not even get started on giving a toy to a child who is behaving that way. Of course, I knew where his behavior was coming from (a good, old-fashioned case of fatigue and hunger, exacerbated by Autism) but to anyone else, it looked like a bratty kid having a fit in the souvenir section. Whyyyyyyyyyy would you butt in and hand this child a toy right now?

Thankfully, I managed to gather some semblance of grace, and switched gears.

"PJ, our friend said that you can have this plane if you are ready to show me your best behavior. Are you ready?" I asked. He agreed, and the tantrum seemed to melt away. He thanked his benefactor and we went outside to open his new package and check out the large military helicopter on display.

The boys ran to see the helicopter and I thought about what had just went down. Not so much the tantrum- it was not the first or last time PJ would lose his mind in public. I couldn't stop thinking about how a stranger was willing to jump right into the fray, and an elderly stranger at that. Autism can be a difficult thing to understand when you know what is happening. If you're a bystander who happens upon a kid losing his shit, it looks like a kid losing his shit. Older people, in particular, can have a hard time understanding Autism because it just wasn't a thing for them the way it is now. He could very well have yelled at PJ. He could have asked us to leave. He could have made of of those judgey "Can't you control your kid?" statements. He could have ignored us and avoided eye contact, which is the response I get from 95.3876% of people.

Instead, he saw me struggling, saw an unhappy child, and tried to help. It didn't matter that PJ didn't deserve a toy just then, and it didn't matter that if his meltdown got worse it could have put all of the tiny planes on the shelves in peril. He came over with a green plane in a paper package and said "Here. This is what I've got. If it helps, it's yours."

It made me think of one of my favorite internet finds- a TED talk by Ask Beckham. I have mentioned it on this blog several times- it's something that I come back to often. The message from the top has to do with coming out of the closet, which is something I personally can't relate to. But the sub message is that it takes a lot of bravery to have a conversation you are scared to have. She gives an example of an awkward conversation with family friends, who desperately wanted to show their support after she came out. The interaction, on the whole, was a hot mess of sweetly misfired attempts to show that they still loved her. She admitted that it could have irritated her, but instead, she realized that it may have been just as hard for these folks to start the conversation in the first place. She could take it for what it was- a show of support, no matter how weird.

It occurred to me that just before the gentleman thrust the plane between our faces, he may have wondered if it was the right thing to do, if the crazed child was going to destroy his gift shop, or if I might yell at him. But he decided that above all, he wanted to fix the situation. So, plane. And in the end, I was so grateful that he made the decision to connect rather than ignore.

Thankfully, we made it through he rest of the visit without incident. The boys got to check out the inside of a helicopter and have lunch together. PJ wore that weird Freddy Krueger hat the whole time. Our day wasn't ruined by a moment that could have tipped over into disaster.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I'm going off the rails on the crazy train.

Motherhood is one of those things that has an ebb and flow. There are days when I feel like a rushing river, crystal clear and moving with a purposeful force. There are also days when I feel like low tide- so far from the beach that it seems like I will never reach the edge again (not to mention the smell. Low tide. Gross.).

What I'm getting at is that this week was straight up low tide. I felt a million miles from where I wanted to be almost 90 percent of the time. We were moving- it was school, therapy, sports, doctors appointments, errands, volunteering, back-to-school night, on and on and on. In my old life, being busy was what propelled me. I liked the feeling of having a full plate and being able to keep it spinning. I thrived on multi-tasking and gloried in my ability to keep things together. This week, I felt sluggish and confused most of the time. The culmination was losing my temper this afternoon when PJ was having trouble controlling his body. He was swirling around the room like a tornado on crack and when he's at that level of disorganization, I often become his punching bag. Well, perhaps not punches, but there is much pulling of hair, kicking of feet, and slapping of hands.There is almost always an elbow to the boob. Spoiler alert: Autism isn't always pretty, folks. Eventually, my loss of temper looked a lot like a crazy lady raising her voice while her face was very. very close to her sons.


PJ was so crazed that he didn't take it personally at all, thank goodness. But I felt out of control and disappointed in myself for losing it. He plopped into my lap and pulled my arms around him. With his head snuggled under my chin, I burst in tears. This prompted a flood of head pats and a stream of "Mommy, it's ok-aaaaaaaay, it's ok-aaaaaaaaaay, it's ok-aaaaaaaaaay," from my son. The whole thing felt like something I would shake my head at if I was watching from the outside. It was a hot mess and I was ashamed of myself.

I would like to say we rebounded and that the rest of the night was lovely. Really, we simply made it to bedtime without any further incident. I guess I can consider that a success in comparison to the rest of the day. I tucked PJ in and it seemed that he still liked me, so I guess it was a wash.

In what will, hopefully, be a long life of days there are bound to be a few duds. Hell, I don't even think that I would want a short life to be all 10's. How on earth do you learn anything if things are perfect all the time? I try to remember that the crap days are meaningful, too, but, jeeze. Watching my baby struggle makes it even worse. But, he's asleep in bed, wiping the slate clean, and I will follow suit shortly.

Wishing all of you a week full of 10's! Bring on the Pope!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Let's get dirty...

Hey guys! I'm over at Reedman Toll Auto World today, talking about some great places to take a road trip to! Pile into the car and check out the Elmwood Park Zoo! Just click HERE to check it out!

When PJ was an infant, I was a crazed psycho helicopter mama a little over-protective. PJ was my first, my only, my brand-new little piece of joy and it felt like that much joy must be a breakable thing.

Because of that, I flinched any time someone breathed too close to him, or when he shoved things that were decidedly NOT edible into his mouth. Gross. I feared scrapes on his pale baby skin and anything that might dull the bright blond cloud of his hair. I felt the need to protect him from every little germ or fleck of dirt. 

Fast forward a few years, and am in a place that has let me learn some lessons. I can relax a little bit and enjoy motherhood as PJ’s mom, versus my original methods acting as a general in a battle of germ warfare. This means that if the situation warrants it, PJ can get as dirty as he wants, and his propensity for filth is astounding- PJ could get dirty in a bridal salon. But the germs haven't killed him yet, and it makes letting go a little easier. PJ can jump in the occasional puddle, and he can surf the occasional wave. He can dig his fingers into a mud pie, or he can splay his fingers in to a high vee on stage with his cheer leading team. It seems like the dirtier PJ get, the more opportunities for growth appear, and I can only assume it's because as his mom, I finally just shrugged and said "Pffft. Get dirty. Whatever." 

A few weeks ago, PJ and a classmate had a late summer play date. We met at the playground and watched the kids swing and run and soak in the lovely morning. They circled a puddle much the same way the Earth circles the sun- powerless to its gravitational pull. Finally, the mamas said "Pffft. Get dirty. Whatever." Magic words as my sweet boy and his beautiful friend made imaginary potions, giggling and smiling. 

Of course, I fear that our “let the dirt in” attitude could be a challenge come puberty, and I feel like I should apologize in advance to his future life partners about any off roading, surfing, ditch digging, gardening, mud runs, insert dirty activity here that he might have an interest in. I am deeply sorry for the laundry this will cause. But maybe, just maybe, if PJ has babies of his own someday, they will learn the same lessons, and he will remember when I was learning mine.  Letting the dirt in means letting joy out, and it can be worth the risks. Right now it’s my job to be brave enough to let go. Later it will be PJ’s job, and I hope to set the right example.

PJ and a sweet school buddy enjoying a mud puddle during one of the last days of summer vacation. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

I'm taking what they giving 'cause I'm working for a livin'.

Kim Davis. Bless her heart.

In case you have been so busy clinging to the last days of summer that you haven't turned on a TV or perused the internets, let me briefly fill you in:

Kim Davis is a county clerk in Kentucky (say that five times fast) who has refused to issue marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples seeking one in her fine, fine state. This decision is in direct defiance of the Supreme Court ruling marriage is a benefit that everyone can lawfully take part in. Ms. Davis, however, feels that this decision goes against her personal moral safe zone and will not issue the licences. This decision has landed her in jail for contempt of court. She remains there as of tonight (Sunday the 7th), not willing to back down from her stance but also with no intention of quitting her job.

It is almost too easy to start pointing the finger at her personal choices, the irony in a woman who feels such conviction for the sanctity of marriage having entered in the blessed union four times. Divorce is most certainly frowned upon in the Bible. Having children out of wedlock is, also, another biblical rule that Ms. Davis has tossed aside. There is a saying about glass houses and it did not take very long for the world to take some Windex to the home this woman has built.

My main problem with her is this:

When I was a working woman, in a magical time before I had children, I was a work-a-holic. I often had two jobs and worked seven days a week. I liked my work, but I certainly did not always agree with every decision my superiors made. Some of those decisions hindered my work, made things more difficult in some way, or were down-right dumb. But I wasn't signing the paycheck, I was merely earning it, and the decisions were not mine to make. My job was to perform in the manner that was expected of me. I could think something was dumb but if I wanted to be paid, I sucked it up. There was even a time that I chose to leave a job because I disagreed so strongly with my superiors.

You should always stand up for what you believe in. If you believe that strip clubs objectify women, don't patronize them and, certainly, don't become a stripper. Becoming a fully-clothed stripper who only used the pole to lean on while reading chaste literary classics is not meeting the requirements of the job and will not make you any money. You can have your religious beliefs, and you can have a job. Your boss can't fire you just because you have your beliefs, and you are free to practice them as you will. It is not your privilege to not do you job because of those beliefs. You are not forced to work any particular job, and you are not forced to stay in any job that is not in line with those beliefs. But if you are not in charge, just collecting a paycheck versus signing them, that you are expected to carry out your job duties whether you believe in them or not. Kim Davis is not doing her job, and therefore should be relieved of her duties.

Of course, right now Kim Davis sits in a jail, gaining notoriety and, no doubt, crafting the first chapter of the book she'll have someone ghost write for her write when she gets that inevitable book deal. She gets to be a martyr for her cause, and I don't doubt that she enjoys it. Personally, I would let her ride into the sunset. Let's not let get used to the idea that you can just up and stop doing your job and still get paid.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Your faith walks on broken glass...

So, I wrote this last night while I was drinking wine. I forgot to hit "Publish" because, wine. So, that.

Today was the last day of summer vacation.
I wanted the day to be full of magic.
I wanted it to be a day that PJ and I could enjoy the last little bit of freedom
 before we are back into the swing of things with school.
 we started the day off with a haircut-
an auspicious start because PJ spent the rest of the day
being defiant and contrary.
He did get to spend the day with his cousins,
 splashing in a wading pool and eating donuts which,
by five-year-old standards,
seems like a pretty good day.
But he was pesty and wearing on my nerves and
 I found myself relieved when I tucked him into bed...
...and than immediately felt guilty for that feeling
and empty thinking about an entire school year stretched out ahead of us.
A school year, by the way, called Kindergarten.
This is the big leagues, folks.
And if this is the big leagues than this summer was his time in the minors.
We sacrificed a summer, our golden time with our only son,
 to spend a summer going to therapy.
I think we made the right decision.
I almost know we made the right decision.
Tomorrow, it will be in the hands of someone else,
 and I am nervous, mistrustful.
But my baby has worked hard this summer and
 he has so many new tools with which to build.
Bring it on.
PJ has grown and stretched again and always despite Autism,
 despite misunderstanding,
 despite the million and five mistakes every day as I try to mother
that subborn, blond, firey soul we created.