Friday, December 17, 2010

Finding the Sun

To say I've not been in the Christmas spirit this year would be a MAJOR understatement. I've just not felt moved to do the usual decorating; even Christmas cards were a source of some serious irritation. Anyway, we'd planned to update our central AC/heat system so it didn't seem prudent to go all-out with the usual decorations and our enormous tree until after the work had been finished. Needless to say, the children weren't pleased since all the stuff starts to go up Thanksgiving Day. So we made a deal with them and settled on a 4 foot "Charlie Brown" tree instead and cut way back on the inside decorations. This seemed to appease them.

The outside stuff is Clint's turf...lights and yard art, etc. Apparently, he's suffering the same malady as me. So last Sunday, after much begging and pleading all four of us trouped outside in the cold and wind and proceeded to "do" the house only on a much less grand scale. We hung gaudy plastic ornaments and glittered snowflakes; put out the lighted tree and presents and a couple of yard flags, my personal favorite being the one that says "Jesus is the reason for the season". The children were quite pleased with themselves...hey, they were happy! Who am I to complain?

Now anyone who lives in Central Texas knows how windy it is here. Those ornaments banged constantly on the gutters and would keep me awake for hours. I sooo wanted them GONE!

Until the following Tuesday when we arrived home from school to discover ALL the ornaments and the Jesus flag had blown away...stripped off the gutters and yard stands. I couldn't help but feel like a total heel. Had I wished hard enough for all the banging to stop and this was the result? Oh, the guilt! The kids' faces were just awful. I couldn't have cared less about the ornaments, but the flag was another matter. So we dispiritedly began to pick up what we could find, which as it turned out, wasn't much.

We'd just started to make our way back inside when Paige came running from the side yard yelling "I found the sun! I found the sun!" Enter in one of those Mommy moments that don't make me proud: all I could think was "Honey, you ARE a blond". It finally occurred to me that she was clutching something and she kept yelling "I found the sun!" When she got to me and opened her hands, I could finally see what it was...our Jesus flag.

My daughter had indeed found The Son.

Here's wishing you and yours a Christmas season filled with The Son.
Merry Christmas

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I (Think) I'm Thankful

Ah, Thanksgiving 2010. I'd like to say our day started off well, but for those who know us, who am I kidding! The day started with piercing screams (the kids', not mine), a fist fight (again the kids, not me), a bad dog (just what is the attraction of a foam faucet cover?) and more screaming (me this time). Which begs the question: For what am I thankful? So in a half serious-half attempt-at-sanity-saving, I offer you the following items for which I am thankful...

An Ode to Thanksgiving

Togetherness; therapy (probably a result of the first)
Humor (God's which seems in an abundant supply and mine which I occasionally dredge up)
Adderall XR (you gotta live it to get it)
New day, every day
Kindness of strangers (and family, but they're just strange, not strangers); and kids
Second chances; my sweet spouse; sweet potato casserole
God's grace (thank you, Lord, that it's a bottomless supply)
Imagination aka creativity
Vino (Dulcis Rosso, if you're curious)
Infinite patience (God's, not mine)
Nickelback (hey, I said "half-serious")
God's mercy and everlasting love

I hope you see the humor here; and yes, I'm serious about each and every thing I've listed. I hope your Thanksgiving finds you surrounded by loved ones whether they're living or in your memory. And that you don't have to referee any fist fights!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Beginnings

Ah, the start of yet another school year. The frenzy of clothes shopping (shorts must be the proper length), big-kid tennis shoes (no, Mom, not Dora, she's for babies), backpacks and lunch kits. It never fails that year after year, as summer nears its end, the kids and I are ready for school to resume. Of course, by November we're generally pining away for the end of May. Go figure!

This school year has been a huge change for our family. Both kids are now in different schools: Paige has stayed in public school, while Seth has moved to a private one. It's never been any secret that Seth has ADHD and has really struggled through every year; this year, Clint and I wanted it to be different. I could sit here forever and list comparisons between the two schools, but it's enough to say that each child is now in an environment in which they are thriving.

Paige's reading continues to improve and she's now working with her favorite teacher again, Mrs. Connally. She's so proud when she can sound out the words and just soaks up the praise she receives. She bounds off the bus every afternoon and runs to greet her brother (Bubby, I misted you!) then plops down at the kitchen table, scarfs a snack and starts homework.

By this time, Seth and I've already been home for an hour and so far, his homework routine has gone just as smoothly. Each Monday, they have a spelling pretest; a grade of 95 or above gets you out of having to take it again on Friday. Allow me to boast when I say he's yet to take a Friday test!! His handwriting is definitely improving and he seems more patient with himself and others.

There are so many questions that run through my mind:
Is some maturity finally showing itself?
Is it that each kid is in their own school environment?
Will it last?

I'll admit, I'm probably one of the biggest pessimists ever, so it's really hard to see the good happening and not wonder when the other shoe will drop. The more I think about that, the more I realize that it robs the kids of the greatness they achieve each day and that simply isn't fair. Far better, to take things as they come, relish the wondrous, slog through the tough and come out the other side a better person and parent for doing so.

Both my kids prove to me every day that life does hand you lemons. One child will enjoy the lemon as it is...sour and shocking. The other will add a little water and sugar and enjoy the sweet. Neither way is wrong, just different. What will you do with the lemons life gives you?

Thursday, August 5, 2010 much

I'd like to personally thank each family member, friend and stranger who's ever offered up the sage statement "It could be worse".

No shit! There's a teeter-totter effect in play here. I am grateful it's not cancer, a severe physical or mental handicap or any of those other horrors we imagine being visited upon someone else's child. On the other hand, I feel guilty for being grateful it isn't those things.

Here's our reality. He has ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, sensory integration dysfunction and depression. He's our human bumper car, stone wall and prickly pear. He's the kid who bit himself up and down his arms as PUNISHMENT for flunking 3rd grade. Ever had your 9 year old say he just wants to die? I thought not.

So kindly refrain from lecturing me about "what's worse" and quit trying to cheer me up.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Martians Have Landed!

I didn't quite know what to make of my particular situation yesterday afternoon.

Following our appointment, we swung by the local Sonic for a frozen treat when, out of the mouths of babes, came words so often forgotten in our house: "Thank you, Mom". I looked into the backseat...they looked like MY children, their voices were the same, but....using MANNERS!? They handed me their trash instead of dumping it into the floorboards as is so often the case and quietly and happily set to eating their sugary bounty. I responded with a faint "You're welcome" and drove on home trying to figure out who the backseat strangers were who'd replaced my two kiddos.

I just knew it would hit the fan when we got home. Imagine my surprise when it didn't.

My ritual is for the kids to make their beds and pick up their dump, I mean their rooms every afternoon. This is generally accompanied by great, heaving sighs and excessive eyeball rolling. Not so today. I could've eaten off the floor, no lie.

The two of them then sat down with numerous scrapbooks I've done over the years, Paige giving Seth her full attention as he read off each blurb accompanying the pictures. They sat there, heads bent together, as Seth shared memories of Paige as a baby. They hadn't been that sweet with one another since before Paige learned to talk. This strange behavior continued for the remainder of the evening.

This is what I imagined a sibling relationship would be like when I was growing up as an only child. It's all too much to hope for: good manners put into practice, loving words and gestures between sibs...clean rooms. I hope it lasts.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do you see what I see?

I have a son named Seth. He's a student in your school, maybe in your class. But you don't know him.
He's the squirmy one. The one who can't keep his hands to himself. The talker, the instigator, the thoughtless comment maker. The one who makes his classmates cry. But you don't know him.
He's the boy with the sloppy handwriting. The one who's always in a hurry. The "underachiever". But you don't know him.
You look at him, but you don't SEE HIM. You see the things he does or those things he fails to do. You see every nit-picky, socially "unacceptable" trait he possesses...the wiggling, the zoned-out look of distraction, the irritation he causes his classmates. But you don't see HIM.
Sure, you call or email and encourage us to "talk to him". As if that will help. As if it's our mission to make your life easier. But we do it your way and for a while it works and your world is restored to order. And yet, you still don't know him or see him.
I'll tell you what you're missing. I see a sweet face. I hear a little boy voice coming from a growing boy body. I see a curious child. A creative child who has such a talent for drawing all sorts of things. I see a child who struggles to print legibly but whose cursive is beautiful. I see a brother who by turns will hug and cuddle or push and slap at his sister. I see a jokester and good-natured teaser. I see a taunter and yes, sometimes, a bully. I see an obsessive lover of books. I see a child so frustrated, to the point of tears, because he can't retrieve the data he needs from his ADHD brain.
I see him struggle and know in my heart that he gives everything he's capable of giving. How hard it must be to cope! I hear his quavering voice say "No one see me when I do something good". I do.
How sad your life must be to miss out on TRULY seeing and knowing this boy.
I see him.
I know him.
I love him.