Dear Mom,

I was trying to think of something special to do or say  for your birthday today.

Sometimes – ok a lot of times – spoken words just escape me.

I know our phone conversations are short.

Sometimes it’s because of the kids – too much fighting/wrestling/smashing and crashing – and my attention goes to them and not you.

But most of the time it’s me.

I have words, just on the surface, but I won’t let them come out.

Too much emotion I guess.

Too many things unspoken after all these years.

Too much going on in my head about my life, the boys, everything.

I’m afraid that once I start, the flood gates will open and I won’t be able to stop.

But if there’s anything I’ve realized, though, after all we’ve been through…

If you don’t say it now, you may never get a chance to say it at all.

So I’m doing it in the way I know best.  In a letter here to you:

Thank You.

Thank You for being the glue that held our family together.  Even before Dad was sick.

Thank You for everything you gave up those 13 months.

Thank You for being the strong one.  When the rest of us were falling apart, you were there for us.

Thank You for speaking up at the Town Democratic Caucus during the conversation about who would step into Dad’s seat at the State House.  You spoke for me when I couldn’t speak for myself.

Thank You for standing by my every decision I made those two years following when I was at the State House.  You never once told me what to do. But always stood by what I chose.  Even when I knew it was time to leave.

Thank You for standing by every decision I’ve made period.

Thank You for hosting our wedding at your house. I knew it then but even more now how hard it was – emotionally, physically and financially.  You never said no.  You made our day magical and special.  Rainbows and all.

Thank You for being at our house when Gerry was born.  And for sitting with me in the hospital when Tim needed a break.

Thank You for being here with Gerry when Howie was born.  Knowing you were with him made those difficult days a little easier.

Thank You for staying at our house longer than planned after Howie was born.  And for convincing me through my tears that I could parent two kids.

Thank You for your immediate and complete understanding and acceptance of the boys and their diagnoses and special needs.

Thank You for the trips to Story Land, the Aquarium, and everywhere else.

Thank You for the hours on the floor playing with Hot Wheels and Little People and Legos.

Thank You for getting Gerry out of here for ice cream when he couldn’t be in the house one more second.

Thank You for showing me that hope and love springs eternal, and that new chapters can be written with new loves.

Thank You for understanding these days when I can’t talk.

Thank You for always having room for us.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Thank You for being my mother.

I love you.

207631_1963370450553_4713608_n

Well, I know it’s kinda late.
I hope I didn’t wake you.
But what I gotta say can’t wait,
I know you’d understand.

Every time I tried to tell you,
The words just came out wrong,
So I’ll have to say I love you in a song.” – I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song by Jim Croce

 

 

 

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Ten.

How are you ten years old?

I feel like I need to write something poignant.  Something meaningful.

Something about how you changed everything for me.

Something about how from the very moment they handed you to me, I knew you would teach me more than I could ever teach you.

You taught me that you have more understanding of what it means to be a big brother than most siblings do.

You taught me that being different isn’t wrong.  And showed me through your paper snowflakes.

You taught me it was okay to panic about having your brother in school with you because it was out of love and care and your need to protect him.

You taught me the way out of the meltdown the day when I was stuck in a moment.

You taught me that you need me to advocate just as fiercely for you as I do for your brothers and that you feel the stress in the house just as we do.

You taught me to put the spotlight back on you and showed me how to recognize when you’re in pain.

You taught me how much you are like my dad when you wrote to the President asking him to turn The White House blue.

You taught me that your brother deserved to know that  he was autistic because you knew he deserved to know why he was special.

You taught me that sometimes a brother knows best and wowed me with your “inventions” to help him, and.

And you taught me that ten years later, you are still my best travel companion.  And that sometimes a hug says more than words.

**********

Ten.

How are you ten years old today?

The title of this post is “The Man That You’ve Become”.  It seems an odd title perhaps for a kid just turning ten.

People say you have an old soul.  You have had to grow up fast here.  Your interests are “older” than many kids your age.

But you are still my little guy.  My buddy.  The amazing big brother who will still sit and watch “Blues’ Clues” and run laps around the house and pretend to lose the race.

I have no doubt that you will change the world.

You’ve already changed our little corner of it simply by being you.

Happy Birthday to my favorite ten year old.

Doing what you do best…being a brother

Big wheels, hot wheels
Little trucks and cars
Skinned knees, climbing trees
Wishing on the stars
Moments may be lost somewhere in time
But the sweetest memories are never left behind
Now you’ve grown so fine
And come so far…” – The Man That You’ve Become by Molly Pasutti

March 16, 2006

It’s a little bit funny,

this feeling inside

I’m not one of those who can easily hide

I don’t have much money, but boy if I did

I’d buy a big house where we both could live

March 16, 2007

If I was a sculptor, but then again, no

Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show

I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I can do

My gift is my song, and this one’s for you

2nd-birthday

March 16, 2008

And you can tell everybody this is your song

It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done

I hope you don’t mind,

I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words

How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

3rd-birthday

March 16, 2009

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss

Well, a few of the verses, well, they’ve got me quite cross

But the sun’s been quite kind while I wrote this song

It’s for people like you that keep it turned on

March 16, 2010

So excuse me forgetting, but these things I do

You see I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blue

Anyway the thing is what I really mean

Yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen

March 16, 2011

And you can tell everybody this is your song

It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done

I hope you don’t mind,

I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words

How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

I hope you don’t mind,

I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words

How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

March 16, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday to the boy who changed…everything.

(lyrics from Your Song by Elton John)

My little guy is three today.

He made his entrance at 10:21 am on 10/21.

These three years have been a blur for me.  He spent the first few months of his tiny life dragged from evaluation to evaluation for his older brother.  The revolving door of therapists in our house is not an anomaly, but a normal way of life.

And now they come for him too.

The mommy guilt around the third child is tremendous.  We have photos – I know we do.  But they aren’t up.  Or out.  They are in file folders on various computers and memory cards.

I even forgot to order his birthday cake on time this week because I was dealing with a crisis with his brother.

But…

The best birthday gift to me came this morning.

Tim put two birthday hats on his head.  Lewis started to laugh. And said:

“Mom! Daddy has two party hats on his head!”

Clear as a bell.  A full complete sentence.  Correct use of sentence structure.  Spontaneous and unprompted.

His IEP is set.  We have a wonderful plan in place to keep this progress going. His speech sessions start Monday. I see nothing but a bright future for him.

It’s all good from here.   This year will be magical.  It has to be.

Happy Birthday to my little buddy.  Let’s go have some cake.

three is the magic number

Did someone say cake?

“Three is a magic number,
Yes it is, it’s a magic number.
Somewhere in the ancient, mystic trinity
You get three as a magic number.

The past and the present and the future.
Faith and Hope and Charity,
The heart and the brain and the body
Give you three as a magic number.” – Three is a Magic Number from SchoolHouse Rock

It’s the 17th of the month and I’m back with my regularly scheduled post at Hopeful Parents.  I’m still talking about birthdays.  This time, it’s about birthday parties.  And friends.  And birthday parties with friends.

Come read it at:

 

Hopeful Parents
Find Out Who Your Friends Are

Click Here for Find Out Who Your Friends Are

Tomorrow is a special day.

Tomorrow, Howie turns five.

So many of my posts are filled with how difficult life is for him.  How his autism and sensory processing disorder cause everyday activities to be so challenging.

Not today.

I have a feeling I’ll be a bit busy tomorrow managing the whole birthday thing.  So while I have a corn-free cake cooking in the oven today, I thought I’d tell you all the amazing things about my son.  What makes him a rock star.  And what makes me proud to be his mom.

  • He has the most amazing giant brown eyes, and when he looks at you, you get lost in them.
  • His passion for Hot Wheels cars is unmatched.  He knows every single one that we have in the house.  We have a lot.
  • His memory is impeccable.  Ask him what rides we did at Storyland last summer and he’ll tell you them all and where they are in the park.  Ask him what happened at his birthday party last year when the lady forgot about our party and the doors were locked.  Ask him where all the satellite dishes are in our town.
  • His laugh is contagious.  When he giggles, everyone else around starts giggling too.
  • His teachers love him.  Actually, any adult that has met him loves him.  He draws you in immediately without any pretenses.  And will call you on your crap in an instant.
  • He loves his family above all else.  He shows it with these giant squeezy hugs that go on forever and ever.
  • (from my husband) He is always happy and positive, and willing to play at anything.
  • He has the greatest names for things.  Our recliner is “the green chair”.  Pita bread is “the bread that we had at my friend Stevie’s party.”
  • His imagination is amazing.  He can create elaborate racetracks for his Hot Wheels cars and fantastic stories to go along with the track setup.
  • He doesn’t exclude anyone, and will stand up for his friends when they are in trouble.
  • Every kid in his class knows his name.
  • He is totally rocking the 3T pants now.
  • He yells at his older brother when he forgets to flush the toilet.
  • His mind works in the most amazing ways, and has such a curiosity about life.  He can stare for hours at the pipes in under our sink or at his school, and he’s actually thinking about where all the water goes and what happens to it after it leaves the pipes.
  • He wanted to wait until his birthday to open his presents that arrived early because it wasn’t his actual birthday day.  And that he wanted to thank the “mail lady” for delivering the package to him.
  • Every night, as he’s falling asleep, I lay next to him in bed.  And the last thing he says before he falls asleep is always “I love you, too, Mom.”

And how have I changed in these five years?

  • I’ve learned that patience is more than a virtue.  It’s a skill that needs to be practiced over and over again. But the rewards are amazing.
  • I no longer judge.  Anyone.  Ever.  (or at least out loud)
  • He’s shown me the beauty in the little things: to slow down for a walk to pick up an acorn or to take the long way home to hear the end of a song.
  • He’s introduced me to some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.  People who I want to have as friends.  People who understand and accept us for us.
  • I now celebrate the accomplishments in our own time, not because some book told us when it was supposed to happen.
  • I try to use the words “child-appropriate”, instead of “age-appropriate”.
  • I have learned that there’s nothing better than a hug out of love.
  • He helped me find my voice – here on this blog and with other newly diagnosed parents.
  • He’s shown me that the most important job we can have as a parent is to be our child’s best advocate.  To speak for them when they cannot.  And to fight to the end to get them the help they need.

And above all else…

  • He has made me a better wife, mother, and friend.  I would not be the person I am today had this gift not entered my life five years ago.

Happy Birthday to my little man.

smiling at Storyland

People see me
I’m a challenge to your balance
I’m over your heads
How I confound you and astound you
To know I must be one of the wonders
Of God’s own creation
And as far as you can see you can offer me
No explanation

O, I believe
Fate smiled and destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as she came to my mother
Know this child will not suffer
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She’ll make her way” – Wonder by Natalie Merchant

(this post was inspired by my friend Stimey, who asked a few of us to share our favorite things about our kids.  Her kids are rock stars too…)