Where Did Twenty-four Years Go?!

Twenty-four years ago today, Himself and I were married. Say what? I look in the mirror and wonder where that young woman disappeared to. When did my grandmother replace her?

Since that fateful eve, I have given birth to a son, welcomed a granddaughter, buried two grandmothers (one of whom was my best friend)and a father-in-law. Buildings have come down and wars have been fought. We moved into a house and have nearly lost it to the economy and our own fiscal foolishness.

Good things and bad have come our way and gone from our hands; many tears have fallen and many laughs have been guffawed. We have survived an autism diagnosis and watched our grandbaby triumph and fail.

There were times I thought we wouldn’t make it; kindness and cruelty have come from my lips with, it seems, not enough of the former. Still, we stick around.

About my grandmother looking back at me from the mirror: she was my best friend, a woman I wanted to emulate. If I am going to age to reflect anyone, I am glad it is she, whom I still miss every day.

Happy anniversary, Himself. Let’s try a little harder.

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Sunday, Sunday

Nearly every Sunday during (American) football season, my son’s friends fill my living room and watch the games together. Truth be told, I like it. I would like to have my living room to myself but seeing them enjoy each other is worth the bother.

Unlike other wives, I am not a football widow. I like the game and understand it. The Boy started playing when he was seven years old but my interest was piqued before that; long before that. I, gail of the great Atlantic northeast, am a Seattle Seahawks fan! Yup, the entire country stands between me and my team.

There is really no reason why I got into that other than Sundays in autumn are all about football. And church. Period. Also, I want to get some entries going.

Trying to figure what to write has been so difficult. Do you really want to hear about my tantrum last night when I couldn’t take what was going on any longer? Or about how I am disappointed that The Girl isn’t taking Isabella to the free special needs dance classes? Or that I am sleeping a lot, probably because of fibromyalgia and the stress of having to be up very early with Bells to get her ready for the school bus? Or that I need some time to myself and haven’t been getting it? That I need a visit with my bff in the worst way?

Why would you want to hear about any of that?! I don’t even want to hear about it. I am not liking myself very much right now but that will pass.

Let me leave you with this: foo do fa fa

Maybe you will forgive me when you can’t get this out of your head!

Life Goes On

The last few weeks have flashed by in a whirlwind.

The Girl and Bells moved into a new place close by and we helped with that. Exhausting for all involved and we are hoping for the best.

Establishing Isabella in her new schedule at school has been difficult. Instead of being in the contained classroom all day, she has been entering school with the “neuro-typical” (N.T.) class (e.g. regular kindergarten class) and doing all her specials (library, phys. ed., music, etc.) with that class whilst doing her academics in the contained (autism) classroom. Her teacher from last year and the child study team leader felt she was ready for this. However, our nearly always happy girl has shown anxiety like never before.

Fortunately, her child study team leader saw her crying when she was leaving the gym one day and Bells was able to express that it was too noisy and too many kids and whatever else was bothering her. As a result, the team leader was able to ascertain which specials Bells felt comfortable. Things are going a bit better now. Maybe one more week will show a greater change. I want my happy girl back.<ins datetime=”2011-10-16T22:36:47+00:00″>

Yesterday, I gave Himself the day off and went to a wedding and reception with some friends. You know, I just might make a habit of this! We have gone to so many wedding receptions because of the number of children his friends have that it tends to get old. He is older than I am and some of MY friends’ children are of marrying age now. If he isn’t friends as a couple with my friends I will probably go the weddings by myself!

With all that has been going on, I am beat. When you don’t give in to the fatique of fibromyalgia, it will bite you in the bum. Today has been a true day of rest as in staying in bed until mid afternoon and doing no work at all. It’s a crazy balancing act but at least I am not experiencing a lot of pain. Yea! (That was last week when I didn’t give in! Flat on my back and sleeping for a day but that’s okay.)

All in all, life hasn’t been all that bad. Our bellies are full, we have clothing on our backs, a roof over our heads and a loving Father in heaven who meets all our needs.

Blessings to all, g

Moving Right Along

We had Isabella’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting recently and were thrilled to learn that Bells’ teacher and the child study team feel Isabella is ready to enter kindergarten. In the morning, she will enter the school with an NT (neurotypical) class and then go to her contained classroom with only three other students! All her specials (art, music, phys. ed., etc.) and recess will also be with the NT class! This is a wonderful improvement and we are thrilled with her progress.

The Girl is concerned, though, that Bells is noticing when NT kids her age and older say hurtful things like, “Why does she act like a baby?” She isn’t where they are socially yet and they don’t get it. Breaks a mom’s (and a Booboo’s) heart.

We are in the dog days of summer and autumn can’t get here soon enough for this cool weather girl. Ragweed must be blooming because my whole household is hurting. So thankful for air conditioning.

We’ve been invited to go down the shore for a few days with our dear friends. Himself is so excited. More than two nights away from my bed is difficult for me but I will do it for him. Ugh.

I’m down 30 pounds now! Twenty more to go. Feels goooood!

Last week, I spent five and a half hours with a 91 year old learning all about her life. It was so interesting! I love seniors, do you?

What’s going on in your world? I really want know!

blessings, gail

Oy, how did that Happen?

My day was planned out perfectly: bring Isabella to school, stop at the library, weight watchers meeting, trip to an outlet area for new “unmentionables” and maybe a new dress for our niece’s wedding, maybe a trip to Trader Joe’s and then, blessedly, a nap!

But nooooooo! As I pulled into the drop off area at school, I noticed I was the only one there. The district didn’t use all its snow days so we have a four day Memorial Day weekend. No one told me! Isabella was confused but dealt with it. “Is school finished?” “For this week it is, honey.”

After a week of congestion and coughing (allergies?), Bells could have slept in this morning and this upset me. I hate to wake her up when she is in a deep sleep. That might have bothered me more than having my plans upset.

We went to the library, one of Bells favorite places, and then to weigh in but not stay for the meeting (another pound and a bit – just over 21 pounds!) and then we went to see great grandma. This was a good thing as she adores her little pigeon (pah-jink-ah in Slavish) and she is pretty fond of me, too. We all packed into my car and went to the outlets together. Isabella made out the best with sandals, a swim suit and a dress. I got two tops and a skirt – only $10 each! -and I got a lovely top for my daughter, too. Nothing for the wedding and no undergarments.

We had a bite to eat in the food court and went back to great grandma’s where we waited for himself. He ate the gyro we brought back for him and then we drove up to where The Girl works so Bells could go swimming.

Are you tired yet? I am! Himself went home and I went to get some stuffed cupcakes and then home to cook. Ugh.

Since dinner, I have, basically, been sitting in my recliner fooling around on the netbook and “watching” mostly mindless tv.

Now, my perfectly planned day is another example of God’s sense of humor. “Man plans and God laughs?” Had everything gone according to plan I still would have taken Isabella by her mom but then great grandma wouldn’t have had her usual Friday visit. My mother-in-law adores Isabella. My girl brings great joy to her and this was a hard week because it would have been my father-in-law’s birthday. I am so happy we were able to bring joy to Mom

As for tomorrow, I am afraid to make plans! Truthfully, all I want is to sleep as long as possible and stay in bed until I am good and ready to get up! If someone gets in the way of that they had better look out. If Mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy!

To my American friends, let’s not forget the reason for Memorial Day even whilst we enjoy our bbq’s and whatnot.

blessings, g

A Walk in the, uh, College Campus

Yesterday, we walked for Autism Speaks. The organization is not perfect but it a big help for families dealing with the autism spectrum.

As the team captain, the weeks leading up to the walk are stressful to me. I did nowhere near as much fundraising through sponsors as I did last year as I was paralyzed by what I saw as the immensity of it. It really isn’t a big deal but, in my mind, it was of gargantuan proportions.

Last week, not only did my fms flare but my ibs decided to come along for the ride. Ugh. I am so thankful that I was able to nap and function well enough to do what I had to do.

Our team Isabella came out beautifully! The girl wanted pink but I put my foot down and we settled on orchid (pale purple). A couple of the guys were not thrilled but real men do wear purple!

How wonderful it was to have both our side of the family, Isabella’s dad’s side of the family and dear friends join us in support of our girl! Even my mother-in-love, who has issues with her legs, joined us in a wheelchair for the second year in a row! It was wonderful to push her along the 1.6 mile route.

After the walk, most of us broke bread at a local eatery and continued our fellowship and good time. Our girl, Bells, did so very well. We couldn’t be prouder.

Will we walk again next year? As long as children are newly diagnosed, we have the strength and we are able, yes. Will I get all worked up? Probably. Let’s just hope I start earlier and get more productive with corporate sponsorship!

blessings to all, g

Mother’s Day and Such

It is just after 10:30 PM this Mother’s Day of 2011. It was a good day.

Himself and I grabbed a bite last night – although we had to leave because the place we chose was so crowded I got overwhelmed and we had to take the meal to go. It was better at home anyway!

After church, I started to prepare the meal I am going to serve my parents when they visit tomorrow. We so rarely get to see each other and I want to have something special for them. Sunday afternoons are usually for napping but we had to go to Himself’s mom’s house. It was so good to see everyone there.

Isabella, at age five, is the oldest of the great-grandchildren. Her cousin Giuliana is just thirteen months old and cousin Tyler is just four weeks old. My poor Bells was so upset at not being the center of attention. When I picked up Tyler, the look on my girl’s face was like I had put a knife through her heart.

We sometimes expect to be able to reason with our girl as we would an NT (neuro-typical) child but often we can’t. What is going on in her mind; her intelligent, wonderful, complex mind? How does she process what she sees and hears? Is she acting like a brat or like a hurt child unable to understand that our love for other children will never take away from our love for her?

There is a very loaded question in the autism community: if you could take away your child’s autism, would you? Some say a resounding, “No!” as if you are insulting their child. Those who are on the spectrum and can answer for themselves often say no.

For the parents and families of people with autism who can not communicate or are afflicted with anxiety and frustration, there is often a resounding, “Yes!”

Would I take away Isabella’s autism if I could? Get back to me in a few years when she is no longer an adorable five year old; when other kids can hurt her more than they can now; when she realizes she is “different.” I’ll let you know then.

For now, I will love her and hug her and joyfully swim in the wonder of her hugs and kisses and her requests to sit with me, sitting so closely I can’t tell where she begins and I end. I will hope that she never stops calling me Booboo replacing this special name with the generic names grandmothers go by because Booboo makes me feel special. I will walk to raise money to help others on the spectrum. I will advocate and go to meetings at school and support my daughter as best I can on this journey.

I am not a saint. I am a tired, worn out mom and grandmother not always trying my best but doing what I can when I can. There are times when I just sit and play on my netbook or watch tv and knit. I give myself permission to be lazy whenever possible. Thankfully, my best is good enough for Bells. And that is what matters.