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Monday, November 28, 2011

One Touch

He was eight simple cells when I first saw him, through an electron microscope.

We went to the doctor’s office that day to have the embryos from our invitro fertilization implanted, and the microbiologist asked us if we’d like to look. Would we! I stepped into the back room and stared at the screen where the microbiologist brought up the eight perfect circles that would eventually, hopefully, become my baby. I reached out to touch the outline of those circles and I remember saying “Come on, baby. I’ve waited my whole life for you. Don’t make me wait anymore. Your sister wants to meet you.” 

Five months later, I sat in another doctor’s office, my fingers touching and tracing a tiny printout of my baby. My baby boy, I now knew, and I couldn’t stop my fingers tracing the shape of his head, the way his hand reached up like he was already curious about the world around him. My finger lingered on his hand and I remember thinking I’d be holding it someday.

I lay in bed a few months later, unable to sleep. It was that last hellish three weeks before the due date, and sleep came in 20 minute snatches, interrupted by kicks and prods, heartburn and bathroom breaks. My hand reached down to touch my distended stomach, gently pushing, and I smiled in the dark as my little somebody pushed right back, against my questing fingers. “I love you,” I whispered. And I knew he loved me too. I knew it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Once Upon A Time - Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: We Need Elf Tonic - STAT!

This recap begins with my firm assertion that this is one of my favorite of all the episodes, and I can say that so firmly because I'm retro-reviewing this season. Oh, God, do I love Jiminy's backstory. And I love, love, love his parents. This story has it all, love, sacrifice, bitterness, pain, and creepy, creepy puppets.

"You are who you are, son."
We open with a medieval puppet show - and who doesn't love a medieval puppet show - complete with a pickpocketing kid working the crowd who turns out to be a young Jiminy, the third and most lucrative part of his parents' puppet act.

Jiminy waxes philosophical about the innate goodness and freedom of crickets, and his parents shut that shit right down (with impeccable actorial timing - these two actors are magic together) because he's part of the family racket and that's that.

Which brings us to a thoughtful Henry, who is sitting in Archie's office having his therapy session. He mentions that there are no crickets in Storybrooke, and sure enough, there aren't. Archie wonders briefly why that is before trying to get Henry to figure out why he believes the whole town is full of fairy tale people.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Getting A Grip On Autism Means Letting Go Sometimes

When we first started coming to the playground, he wouldn't play on the equipment. He only wanted to climb up on the bench, walk its length, and then jump back down. He couldn't step up by himself, so I had to be there to hold onto as he pushed himself up. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Uphill, Both Ways

My mother and father grew up in the shadow of a war. I remember my mother telling me about the time she and her sisters went to the local market for their mother, and upon returning home discovered that they’d lost the sugar ration card.  Her mother sat at the kitchen table and cried.

Friday, November 18, 2011


It was a Saturday, David was five, and we were bouncing.

Yes, bouncing. A local place down the road opened up with giant inflatable moon bounces, slides and obstacle courses – an indoor playground full of cushioned fun and energy-burning action. In short, it was a kid’s paradise and it only cost us $10 a head. Normal entry was $8 for a bounce-all-day pass, but we paid an extra $2 as part of the fundraiser. I caught the sign as I drove by on my way to work one morning: “BOUNCE FOR AUTISM 10-2 SAT”. Bouncing? For a cause I had a direct relationship to? You better believe we were there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


She stands behind me, quiet as always when she meets new people. It's not that it would be noticed if she spoke up, anyway. All eyes are on her brother. Mister Congeniality. The star of the show.

It's hard not to adore David. He's not your usual child with autism (if there even is such a thing). He's funny and loud and extremely social with adults. He's also very, very cute and he knows it, milking it and using it to his advantage whenever he can. Wherever we go, he's front and center, and Anna hangs back, silent and beautiful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Slow Down, Ellie

I was driving home from work last night and I have to tell you, the sky was magnificent! The autumn sunset made it look like it was on fire in streaks of red, orange and fuschia. It was amazing. And I never would have truly noticed it if I weren't stuck behind an accident on the interstate for a good 30+ minutes. I realized how sad it was that I had to be forced to slow down before I could really drink in the beauty that's around me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Old Yeller

I grew up with a Mother who was a yeller. She could scream until the veins stood out in her head, scream herself into a coughing fit if it was cold and flu season. Once, she screamed so loud and so long at me and my brothers, she got lightheaded from the rise in her blood pressure. I learned very early on that you can't outscream a screamer. It's an exercise in futility. So I perfected the cool-as-a-cucumber defense, pasting a blank look on my face and staring at some point right between my mother's eyes because God forbid I should not be looking at her when she yelled at me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Once Upon A Time - Season 1, Episode 4: Sheriff Graham Took A Shower And I Forget The Rest

We open tonight's episode with that old, tried and true tale of (yawn) Cinderella, given a fun spin by the appearance of Rumplestiltskin as her replacement fairy Godmother. He agrees to help her to her happily-ever-after as long as she promises him a favor. Rumple is so delightfully creepy. He absolutely makes the scene because Cinderella is sweet, but forgettable.

It's a beautiful day in Storybrooke (and believe me, bright, sunny weather is a serious rarity here) where Henry is happily chirping about Operation Cobra and Emma runs into Sheriff Mancandy Graham, who offers her a job as deputy. She turns him down, despite the fact that the job has dental and she'd be working in close proximity to a former underwear model who steams up the screen every time he appears.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Eight years ago today, I became David’s Mom, and my life was never going to be the same again.

Various writers, ministers and philosophers have said that God picks certain people to be the mothers of special-needs children. I disagree. There was nothing particularly special about me, until David exploded into my world and gave me some serious parenting lessons that I wouldn't trade for the world.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Listen To The Mustn'ts

When my son was four, a little boy down the block invited him to his birthday party. The party was booked at a local sports center owned by another neighbor of ours and the place was state-of-the-art. There were batting cages, pitching machines, a professionally trained staff and all in all, it would have been loads of fun. Well, for most kids, anyway. I remember thinking that my kid would most likely spend the time rolling a ball back and forth on the ground, or running in circles. I might be able to get him to hold a bat, but odds were that he won't try it. I was going to take him myself, standing uncomfortably against a wall while all the other little boys and their Dads - and maybe a few Moms - pitched and hit and batted and laughed and ran and just behaved like regular kids.

Monday, November 7, 2011

No Can Do

I came across this little item in my internet travels today. Yes, that's just what it looks like - a canned PeanutButter and Jelly sandwich. Supposedly, you can only find them in Utah right now. Will they catch on? I must admit, I'm curious about the taste, but not sure I'd buy it more than once to say I ate it. Or some of it. God only knows what that's like once it hits your tongue. It could be a complete fiasco, like the cheeseburger in a can.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Once Upon A Time - Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: Snow Falls And So Do I

This week, we get some backstory on our beloved Prince Charming, who is seen traveling with an un-named-as-yet princess who is clearly not Snow White and is also, clearly, a bitch. They're ambushed on the road and Princess Bitchytoes gets all screechy when a hooded bandit makes off with Prince Charming's family jewels.

No really, it's a pouch full of jewelry.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's A Hard Thing To Watch, When A Life Deconstructs

"Where are my car keys? I just had them! I just had them!"

"Evelyn, you don't drive, honey. You're at home. I drove you here. Remember?"

My mother tried in vain to help Evelyn remember what she couldn't. It happened on a daily, almost hourly basis.

"I need my keys!" she said again, vehemently. Then her head swung toward me. "She took them! I saw her rummaging through my drawers!"

I glanced at my mother, my eyebrows raised. I hadn't left the room since we got there, just a few minutes before.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Perchance To Dream Of Viggo

Holy cow, has it been a long week. Work has been so frantic - I don't think I've TGI'd an F so much in a good long while. On top of that, the kids are in fine form this evening. Calgon, take me away!

I'm going to climb in bed now and put on Lord of The Rings. It's good fall asleep to because there's lots of murmuring. And walking. They walk and they murmur.

Occasionally they yell and kill, but mostly they walk and murmur.

Yeah,'s Viggo time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On Mothers And Daughters

My whole life, I just wanted my Mom to respect me for the person I was.

I used to make a joke with my friends - I'd tell them that if you put my Mom in a room with me and a hundred other girls my age and told her to pick her ideal kid, it wouldn't be me. Ever. Not that I had a bad childhood, mind you. My father always had steady work, we always had food, clothing and shelter. My Mom and Dad loved me, and I never doubted that. I just frequently wished they didn't love me quite so much. I was relatively sheltered, mainly due to my strict father and my evangelical Southern Baptist mother.