Sunday, December 27, 2015

'Twas the Day After Christmas

'Twas the day after Christmas, our duties were few. 
Just Pete and just PJ and just me, the Jew. 
The presents, now unwrapped, were strewn 'bout the place.

PJ played with contentment, a smile on his face. 
A day as relaxed as the robe I was wearing-
'Till the Eagles came on and Pete started swearing. 
There was coffee to sip, Christmas candy to nosh
And after our baking, dishes to wash. 
After all of the jolly, after Santa had come, 
After presents were given out to everyone
We all sat around and that was just fine. 
The presents, some coffee, this family of mine. 
In between restful moments PJ needed help
As he gleefully pulled his new toys off the shelf
"Play with trains! Build Lego's!" he commanded sans care
Resplendent in his new Super Mario Bros underwear. 
Our Day After Christmas turned out pretty swell.
'Twas a day to relax and to reflect as well. 
To think of the moments from Christmas that shone
All the people I loved gathered inside one home. 
The moments I laughed at, the times that I smiled. 
(My full plate of food that I quickly defiled)
Watching my son and his cousin play catch.

Giving out cookies, batch after batch. 
A morning mimosa, a bagel and lox.
Opening up brand-new jammies and socks. 
The cousin Pollyanna saw the kids being Elf-y

And the family turned in for a Christmas Day selfie. 

The 12 Days of Christmas we all gathered to sing,
All shouts when we got to the "Five Golden Rings!"

The hugs and the smiles and the thank-you's and cheer

The men smoking cigars and drinking some beer. 
Everyone chatting 'bout various topics
While outside, it kind of felt like the tropics. 
The spirit was strong despite the weird weather. 
We may have been hot, but we were all together! 
The Eagles are still losing, Pete continues to curse. 
But still, all in all, it sure could be worse. 
Now I'm off to bed, but 'for I'm out of sight:
Merry Day After to all, and to all a good night. 

Some more pictures from our Christmas Day: 

"Like the scripture said
'Everyone shall sit under their own vine
and fig tree.
And no one shall make them afraid..."

Friday, December 18, 2015

But what kind of heart doesn't look back?

{things on thursday}

...I used to attend a writing group, hosted at the beautiful home of a sweet woman named Debbie. We would sit at a table in her sun room, overlooking a creek and a lovely bit of treed land. Her coaching and encouragement and friendship inspired my writing, and gave it life at a time when I was having a hard time begin inspired. When my sister had her mastectomy, Debbie brought Marla and Steve a delicious meal. Writers group was something I looked forward to monthly. Today, Debbie lost her newly-married, 30 year old son, Eli. A NJ State Trooper, he was responding to a call when his car veered off the road in the downpours we had all day today. I am thinking of Debbie and her kindness, of how she spoke of raising her boys with love and bemusement, of how gracious she was with her home and heart and I am heartbroken for her. Losing your baby is the most horrific things I can imagine, and it's punctuated by this season that is supposed to be so joyful. I deal in words all the time and I just have none, but to ask you to send up some prayer and love for Debbie, her husband, and sons.

...This week, on the whole, hasn't been a winner. Last weekend was a perfect one, so I had hoped that we could carry some of that spirit over, but Monday came and the magic went poof. On Tuesday, we found out that PJ's ABA therapist quit. In fact, she called out that day- her supervisor and PJ's lead therapist was the one to tell us. After our excruciating experience with our last provider, this was not welcome news. My number one requirement was a dedicated therapist, so we could avoid a revolving door of people providing care for PJ. Thankfully, PJ's lead therapist will take over his care, with just a few minor changes, until another therapist is found. I am angry at the disruption and furious that the therapist took the job knowing she would be leaving within a few months. But, what's done is done and, in all honesty, there was going to be an interruption in PJ's care when we change insurance carriers at the first of the year. It's just sucky.

...On a lighter note, I took a class at the gym today that was so hard, I thought I would have brain damage when I was done. It was called "Body Blast Express" but it should have been called "Kiss Your Kids Goodbye and Say Hello To Your Percocet Addiction" because Oh. Mah. Gawd. I should have known when I walked in and the instructor asked us to get a step, a resistance band, a mat, and hand weights for a one hour class that I was in for a world of hurt. And I say this without a shred of self-deprivation or joking- I was, by far, the fattest in the class. It looked for all the world like someone sent a drunk woman having a heart attack into the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The class was far, far above my skill set and I am shocked that I made it out with no further injury, save my rapidly stiffening body. My boobs hurt, guys. My boobs, and I know I can blame that on those mother f*****g planks we did. Needless to say, I will not be attending that class again any time soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's just another ordinary miracle...

{stream of consciousness}

I have sat down at the computer so may times in the past few weeks, ready to pour out all of the things that have been in my heart and on my mind. It happens to me a lot- I become like a clogged pipe, with lots to move through and no way to do it. A good friend of mine is a screenwriter, and he once told me that they key to beating writers block is to just sit down and type. Just write and write and write and, much like Drano down the kitchen sink, things will start to drain again.

On Thanksgiving Day, my one and only baby turned six. Six is a big deal. Six is a two hand age. It's 2,190 days that somehow went by in the blink of an eye and in a lifetime. PJ is still quite a bit like that puff of air they handed me at 4:17 in the morning in 2009. He is still blonde, still all arms and legs, and still has the tiniest butt I have ever seen (Truly. It's ridiculous and I don't know how he sits and he gets it from his father). He is still stubborn (Lord help me.) and is still loud. And he still means more to me than I ever thought was possible. I have checked to make sure he is still breathing 2,190 nights in a row. Since that very night he was born, that hasn't changed.

But six years is still a nice bit of road, and there has been and growth and happiness and heartbreak already. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, and with luck, there will be more chunks of six years to walk ahead of us. Raising this human has been the greatest privilege of my life, and I am thankful every day for PJ and everything that comes with him. I'm thankful when it's easy and thankful when it's hard.

I wanted to sit down and celebrate this precious life, put down all of the things I was feeling about my sweet son, but then the world turned dark. It somehow seemed like flouting my blessings to sit and write about everything I was happy about (to all six people who read this blog, but you know what I mean). I would sit down at the computer to write about joy and just. could. not. write.

When terrible things happen, I think every mother wonders how they will try to help their child make sense of things. As I watched Paris explode in bullets and parents standing outside of a building in San Bernadino, wondering if their babies would come out, I was slightly thankful for the buffer of Autism. PJ can't fully express his thoughts and feelings about his surroundings yet. He's not asking questions about why these things happen and I am thankful for that. I am thankful because I would not know what to tell him.

Six years ago, I was in the hospital with my newborn son. It was just us- everyone else had gone home to try and salvage the Thanksgiving meal we had so rudely interrupted. I decided to forgo the turkey and, instead, had tortellini's, eyeing this baby as I ate. I felt like I had no idea what to do, where to go, how to make sure that PJ had the best life possible. I can't change the world for PJ, as much as I would like to sometimes. And, as Anne said, " spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." In six years, I have seen the world be the best it can be and the worst it can be. I myself have been the best I can be and the worst I can be. Parenthood, in general, brings that out in a person. And I have seen my son blossom in ways I never imagined at 4:17am when I held him on the outside for the first time.

Yes. In six years, we have seen terrible things happen. But, in six years, I watched my baby take his first steps. I heard him say his first two-syllable word, the one was waited so very long for (rainbow!). I've watched him perform in front of hundreds of people, surf the waves like a champion, and attend his first "school friend" birthday party. There has been heartache, but there have also been thousands of tiny miracles, millions of seconds that took my breath away. There is just as much room- if not more- for the little miracles as there is for the heartache, and if PJ ever asks me why bad things happen, I think I will remind him of that. And I'll also remind him that a world with him in it is a world worth living in. A world with my sweet, funny, outrageous, brave, smart, loving six year old.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

She blinded me with science!

When I think about being a parent, I can come up with a lot of way to describe my particular parenting skills. Hot mess generally comes to mind, but on a good day I remember that I am trying. Trying is good, right? Parenting can be hit or miss- it's not like I have this crap down to a science!

Thankfully, there's someone out there who gets it! I mean, all mothers get it, but since these mothers happen to be published, it gives us some credibility when there's an explanation in print for why it seems to take eleventy-thousand years to complete a game of Candy Land, or why you are ready to sit shivah for McDonald's cheeseburgers because pregnancy nausea rendered them dead to you. How getting to shower is a privileged, not a right, and that when your child is at group play, it will be obvious that he or she is a genius. And the poop. So much poop.

So what is this mystical book of parental understanding and painfully honest truth-telling? Who has penned this treatise of child-rearing?

Meet Norine Dworkin-McDanial and Jessica Zeigler, the mama-brains behind Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations. Driven by their own experiences as new mothers, Norine would scribble down her thoughts while Jessica would add the illustrations and presto! An idea, much like their sweet babies, was born!

Since its release, Science of Parenthood has been flying off the shelves! The reviews have been amazing and the readers are eating it up! Not surprisingly, parents can relate to a book that is full of real, honest thoughts on raising children. You can find Science of Parenthood on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BooksAMillion, and wherever books are sold! Science of Parenthood is also available for the Nook or Kindle e-readers!

If you want more of the Science of Parenthood experience, join Norine and Jessica as they make their way across the country on the Science of Parenthood Book Tour!

And now, the best part!

You can enter to win an Amazon Gift Card to order your very own copy of Science of Parenthood! The book is currently sold out, but you can be the first to order a copy whent hey are back in stock thanks to a sweet little Amazon Gift Card! And pick yourself up a little extra something as well!

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