Friday, December 7, 2012

How a Preschool Craft Restored My Sanity

The post Thanksgiving blues have left me feeling stuffed like a turkey.

And not just physically, but emotionally and creatively.  I fill myself with so many good things, food, literature, blogs, Pinterest pins, Facebook and they all taste lovely on the way in.  But afterwards I feel sluggish, lazy, and gluttonous.  I have the nagging thought that I am consuming but not creating.  I am out of balance, out of whack.  The truth is I'm not so good at follow-through.  Moderation is not my strong suit.  The fear of failure keeps me forever in the planning stage.  I get stuck.

And then my sanity was restored in the most unexpected way.  A gifted birthday craft tucked away for a rainy day was discovered by eager little hands.  After a mighty tornado of glitter whipped through our kitchen, landing on everything in sight, a completed project sat before us.  Eleanora beamed with pride and so did I.  I was reminded how good it feels to use my mind and hands to create, not just devour.  To contribute and not only consume.

I am inspired to unearth my knitting basket from the attic, try my hand at that modern cross stitch pattern, make a few more homemade gifts this year, and maybe even show some love to this poor neglected blog of mine.  And if I am in need of further inspiration, all I need to do is peer closely at Ben's beard for the stubborn traces of glitter still plaguing him a week post-tornado.  The joy that brings me is enough to make me want to roll my sleeves up and dig in all over again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Roller Coaster

I hate roller coasters.  I find no exhilaration in ridiculous heights, raging speeds or stomach-dropping hills.  If coerced onto such a torture devise, I triple check my safety harness, close my eyes, and hold on for dear life while muttering a few incoherent prayers of protection through clenched teeth.  The only joy I find is the sweet relief of opening my eyes and realizing I have survived what I was certain would be the death of me.

Samuel's journey into this world and his following diagnosis were the worst kind of roller coaster.  There were unseen drops, terrifying turns, and worst of all, the uncertainty of what may lie ahead.  I was forced to strap myself in and travel a road I never would have chosen.  I spent much of the past two years holding my breath, muttering incoherent prayers and being reminded again and again that I have no control where this ride is taking us or what lies ahead.  Even in our darkest hours, Ben has never wavered in his belief in Sam's future.  No matter the outcome, he has always been certain that Samuel will do amazing things and make a difference in the world.  But I wavered.  I worried.  I held on for dear life to Ben and his unshakeable faith was my safety harness.  He saw the signs that the ride was slowing down before I did.

The summer of 2012 will forever be the Summer of Sam for our family.  

He found his voice, truly, and loves to use it.  He's speaking in three word sentences, and his favorite animal is POR-CU-PINE (said in a deep voice he learned from his Opa).  He speaks in sentences Where ball go? I get da ball! Bus! I hear Bussie! and calls Streetcar Named Desire-style for his neighbor friend, Lila YAYA! 

He found his legs.  After a few days of being unwilling to touch that creepy stuff called grass, he began walking in it.  Then he began walking up the steep hill in my parents' yard.  Loose sand, mud, and stairs are no match for this guy.

Yes, the signs were there that the roller coaster was closing in on the finish.  But still, I had my eyes closed, my breath held, my teeth clenched.  I prepared myself to continue on with appointments, therapies, and specialists.

Then an evaluation changed everything.  Samuel tested within the normal range for every area of development.  No delays.  None.  Our beautiful 30 week preemie with a bi-lateral grade 3 brain bleed is not disabled.  He's not delayed.  He's normal.  Except he's not.  He will never be normal.  He's a miracle boy who beat the odds from the start.  His new pediatrician watched him run and jabber and flirt for half an hour today and couldn't find a single thing to be alarmed about.  She said without his chart she would never guess his medical history is the size of a novel.  She said it's children like him that make her love pediatrics.  She said based on the severity of his brain bleed, he should not be where he is.  But the brain is an amazing thing, and Samuel is downright astounding.

And as I drove away from her office with my beautiful, amazing, super hero of a boy chatting away behind me, I exhaled.  I felt the sweet relief of solid ground beneath me.  What lies ahead is still unknown, as it is for us all.  But I can face it.  My faith is renewed.  My joy is true.  My cup runneth over.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First day

No fear, no worries, just pure excitement. 

She is the best medicine.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Big Job

Eleanora takes her job as the big sister very seriously.  She is convinced I will forget that Samuel is toddling a few steps behind us and will leave him behind at the gardens/zoo/grocery store/library/living room.  Momma! Don't forget Samuel!!!!  She loves to start her sentences with Sam we do not...  She translates his every grunt to suit her mood. Sam says he wants Daddy and a cookie, ok Momma?  When I tell her for the millionth time that she can relax and just be the big sister and let me be the Momma she tells me, Big sisters tell their brothers no-no, and Mommas hold them when they cry.

Sam is not always a fan of her mothering attention.  He's been subject to many many many imaginary doctor's visits where he is reminded to be a brave boy as he is pinned down to recieve his hundredth injection.

Eleanora's other self-appointed job is to be our family dictator, I mean director.  Every scene of imaginary play has been carefully scripted and must be followed to the letter.  She interrupts lackluster performances to remind us to really scream like a dinosaur is going to eat you up, ok?  Deviations and improvisation are not tolerated unless they involve tickling.

Bedtime is carefully choreographed, down to the number and placement of bedtime kisses.  There are silly kisses, real kisses, elbow kisses, forehead kisses, and nose kisses.  Her sweet hands squeeze my cheeks and angle my head to receive the kisses appropriately.  I'm tired, so ready for a few precious adult hours.  I'm tempted to cut her off, lay down the law, and close the door.  But somewhere deep down I hear the whisper, savor this moment.  And so I lean in for yet another super-sloppy, open-mouthed, suction-cup kiss on the cheek.  

Every day races by so quickly, I don't want to forget a moment of it.  I don't want to forget how she refers to the nursery at church as The Nursery Rhyme and it's volunteers The Nursery Rhymers.  I don't want to forget how she starts every other sentence with a sharp intake of breath and the words, I have an idea! or how she calls Ben her best friender and she tears up every time he leaves for work.  I don't want to forget a single snuggle, sweet sleepy sigh, or whispered I love you.

And so bedtime will take longer than I planned and my precious adult-only hours will start a bit later, but every kiss makes it worth it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Special Needs

Why do these two words, special and needs when put together make my Momma heart simultaneously sink and bristle?  It's undeniable, my baby boy sees three specialists a week to help him speak, move and develop.  For most of our appointments we go to a wonderful children's clinic full of fish tanks, therapy dogs, toys, bright colors and beautiful murals.  Many of the children in the waiting room are severely disabled, and I tell myself that Samuel doesn't really belong here. That we are just here for extra credit. That's it's all preventative.

And then my bubble of ignorance is burst.  Because Samuel is not walking, physical therapy is suggested.  Low muscle tone is diagnosed.  Leg braces and foot supports are discussed and appointments for fittings are made.  I fall into a tailspin where I question for the millionth time why and what if and if only.  I again question every decision I've ever made regarding both of my pregnancies and give myself a pretty good flogging for not trusting my instincts more and following my natural intuition.  I circle yet again through the stages of grief, faster this time than in the past, but painful nonetheless.  I renew my efforts to speak more gently to myself so that I can hear the whispers of my instincts. When at last I feel acceptance and peace coming around the corner, I get a little nudge from my precious boy.

He decides to start walking.

To be honest, his sister decided he should start walking, and that boy would go to the moon if she told him it was the place to be.  Eleanora flung open her arms from across the room and called to Samuel, "Walk to me!" and he did, just like that.  Again and again they continued this game, each time with Samuel walking further, each time ending in a sweet sibling hug of congratulations.  And as he walks across the room, he gives me a smile that says, relax Momma, we're going to be just fine.

And you know what?  I believe that wise, wonderful little guy.  He knows what he's doing and I'm just happy to be along for the ride.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Post speech therapy, sister's at school, so I have Momma to myself snuggles.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beach Boy

His hair is way too long, but I don't have the heart to cut it.  I love it when he shakes that beautiful, beach bum blonde hair like surfer coming out of the water.  I love the cleft in his chin that matches Ben's.  I love his piercing blue eyes.  I love the dimple he gets high on his cheek when he is really happy.  I love his sweet voice practicing new sounds and silly voices.  I love his very rare "Momma" and his much more frequent "Dada".  I love his giggle, his sweet nature, and the sight of his chubby fingers nearly always clutching a car or truck.  I even love the way he always kicks his left foot over his body when he's having a tantrum.

I am so proud of my precious boy.  He may not have many words yet, but he makes sure his voice is heard.  He may not be walking yet, but his determined head-down-full-speed-ahead crawl gets him anywhere he wants to be.  He may not be able to tell a joke yet, but his sense of humor is evident when he giggles and puts his sock on his head. 

And his joy?  It's contagious.  You'd be hard pressed to find a happier boy.  And you certainly won't find a Momma more in love.