Tuesday, September 30, 2008
This instructor might be the reason we moved to Cleveland.
She's only taught Riley two classes, but she already understands my daughter completely. I can see the bond forming.
When Riley starts to cry, she very calmly tells her, "The words are....I don't know what to do."
"The words are, You are going too fast for me."
Riley stops crying and borrows her words.
Martial arts is serious business. There isn't any goofing around. The instructor keeps a straight face, but at one point I noticed her holding back a smirk.
Riley's back was to me. The instructor looked at me and said, "She's winking at me."
Weave your web, baby girl.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Riley, is thrilled. She's never been so close to a real live squirrel. I cringe as the the germ-o-phobe girl who is afraid of her own shadow, squats down and scoops the thing up, like it's no big deal. Like it's her kitten.
In full mommy panic, but not wanting to imprint my fear upon her, I say sweetly,
"Riley let's not handle him, okay? He's probably sick or something. Healthy squirrels don't just let you pick them up. Put the little guy down okay?"
Oh my God! I don't have any hand sanitizer!
She puts him down, but stays close by. Gives him a piece of bread we brought for the ducks, which he grabs from her hand and greedily scarfs down.
Rinsing her hands with drinking water from a bottle we brought, Riley is smiling, marveling about how a squirrel, no bigger than her hand, let her hold him!
Just then, a guy we'll call Dumb Ass, enters the park with his two boys. He sizes up the squirrel and says, "He's not long for this world."
I try to change the subject.
Dumb Ass adds, "Yep. Probably get eaten by a raccoon or a owl."
Riley looks up at me as if asking, "Is this true?"
I try to change the subject again, but the guy just can't take a hint. There's a reason they call him Dumb Ass.
Dumb Ass says, "He's not going to make it though the night."
Mercifully, DA and his kids run off to another area of the park.
"Mommy, is the squirrel going to die?" Riley asks.
"He probably is Dolly. Something isn't right with him. He's probably sick, or injured. He's getting ready to make his transition."
Seth jumps in, "He can't die! He's a baby!"
"Seth, babies die sometimes too. Everybody goes when it's their time to go, and some lives are just shorter than others."
We sit there, the three of us, silently thinking.
Riley goes over to the baby squirrel, squats down again, and begins to talk softly.
"It's okay little guy. It's okay if you die, 'cause you just go straight back to God. Don't worry, okay? Everybody dies."
She comes back over to us.
"Everybody dies," she says again.
"Yes, Riley. Everybody does."
We start heading for home, walking out of the park.
Seth grabs my hand,and looks up at me, "But you're not going to die for a really long time."
I smile at him. Squeeze his thick little hand tighter.
Then he adds, "And I'm going to live to be two thousand trillion billion."
Sunday, September 28, 2008
"Mommy, did you know the word listen has the same letters as the word silent?"
"Really?" I tried to calculate the letters in my head to no avail. I'd have to take her word for it.
"How did you figure that out Riley?"
"Well there's a sign on the music class door that says 'Be silent to listen' and I just saw it.
The little girl who repeatedly slapped her thighs in excitement for the next flashcard, while learning the alphabet (in two days), (at age 18 months).
She just saw it.
Of course she did.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
It's embarrassing when she does this. We don't yell at her. We are very careful to approach Riley in a calm way. She has been spanked twice in her life, and that was when she was two, and I was exasperated, and didn't know what was going on with her yet.
Finally, last night, I got it out of her.
"Why do you think someone is going to yell at you?"
"Well,when H. (the teenage baby-sitter) watched us over the summer, she said her piano teacher yelled at her whenever she made mistakes. She said she finally had to quit because the piano teacher yelled at her so much. I'm afraid if I make mistakes, the teachers will yell at me."
Mistakes = possibility of being yelled at by teachers.
Thrilled that I had gotten to the bottom of this excavation, I e-mailed Riley's teacher with the news, asking her to promise Riley she would not yell at her if she made mistakes. Having figured this out, I felt good about myself.
Wonderful Teacher e-mailed back, happy with the discovery, but then proceeded to burst my bubble with this:
Riley also says, "Don't hurt me," and "Don't throw me in the oven."
Seems I've a bit more digging to do. Did we get hold of a copy of Hansel & Gretel perhaps?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
-Ben Kingsley's character in Elegy.
When I saw this movie recently, the above line made me cringe. "Getting revenge?" while "making love?" Frankly....it didn't set well with me.
But after thinking about it a while, maybe it means something different. Maybe it means, that no matter how bad it's been, you get to experience "this" amazing thing, and it somehow dilutes all the awful stuff you've endured in life.
I was walking the other day, and a landscaping guy up the street turned on his damn blower. The sound crashed into my peaceful walk. I felt irritated, but I didn't want to feel irritated. It went like this:
Let's work this through.
Can you think of a way this sound might not be so unpleasant?
Hmmm....step, step, step, step.
Well, if I were the worker, and my livelihood depended on the damn blower, and I couldn't get it started, and then suddenly, after several tries, it came on for me, I would be happy. I could finish my work. I could pay my bills and feed my family. It would be a good sound.
The noise no longer bothered me. I was past it by then anyway.
Good noise/bad noise. Take offense, or don't. It's all in how I choose to look at things. I always have a choice.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
She: Even if I in my mind I was having an affair by sleeping with you?
He pauses, looks at me. Weighing his options.
She: Because I would think you weren't really you.
He: I'm done with this conversation.
She: It ain't easy being me.
He: (In his mind, but audible to her) Try being married to you.
He: (audibly) It's easy to be married to you.
She: That's not what you thought in your head.
He: Laughs, clearly busted.
I blame Atmospheric Disturbances. It is a novel by Rivka Galchen, about a man perhaps experiencing Capgrass syndrome, or perhaps just an altered state of reality? I've never quite read anything like it. So funny, and clever and disturbing. It gets you thinking about how none of us are really who we were, when we met. I went to see the author at an event last night and she was delightful. She signed my book. At least, I think it was her. One never really knows.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Well, now he wants a Webkinz. He wants a Rhino.
And, he wants to name it...."Horny."
Monday, September 15, 2008
Kathleen is a friend of ours from Lynchburg, Virginia. On July 16th, Kathleen, a devoted mother and grandmother was watching her grandchildren, and found the youngest, a three month old baby girl, dead in her crib. As the family reeled from this tragedy, one month later, Kathleen was diagnosed with bone cancer.
Like so many hard working people in this country, she does not have health insurance.
Kathleen is one of the people that blessed our path, helping us find the right treatments for Riley when we lived in Virginia. Many times when I felt it was all too much, she bolstered my spirits with a kind word, a warm look, or the loan of a CD that happened to have just what I needed to hear on it. She is a friend to all mothers and has a soft spot in her heart for kids on the spectrum.
If you are moved to do so, please make donations to:
245 Old Farm Road
Amherst VA 24521
If you live in or near Lynchburg, please consider attending a benefit for her:
Place: Nelson County United Methodist Church on Route 29 across from Tye River Elementary
Date: Sunday, October 12th
There will be:
* Music* Food* Yard Sale* Bake Sale
* Silent Auctions* Bands*Raffle
They will need donations for the yard sale and bake sale.
Donations can be dropped off or mailed to:
245 Old Farm Road
Amherst VA 24521
Or call: Sunnie, Kathleen's daughter (434) 826-9641
Donations accepted at any Wachovia bank: Kathleen Wacholtz
A Little Hope Lights The Way
Friday, September 12, 2008
When we push against something, anything, we make it bigger.
When we are "anti" we draw more energy toward the very thing we don't want.
So whatever candidate you support, you should SUPPORT fully. Be PRO your candidate, and don't worry about the other one. Because if you do, if you put your attention on who you don't want, you might as well just cast your vote in their direction.
Instead of focusing attention on what we don't want, we might better ask ourselves, what do we want for our country and why?
She had a hard day at school, and then, before bed, when she took way too long in the bathroom, I got frustrated with her. I hurried her along, sighed, and rolled my eyes. That little bit, devastated her.
Another time, I was mad. She cowered away from me, saying, "I'm afraid you're going to hit me or say mean things!"
I responded, "Riley, when do I ever hit you?"
"And when do I say mean things?"
She whimpered, "One time you told me.... to.... shut my mouth."
The self loathing is thick here. It feels like there is no room for error.
She is a teacher of unconditional love.
I used to think that meant, unconditional love for her, despite her "difference." And I do love my girl. But sometimes I'm tired. Sometimes I just don't have much patience.
What I'm starting to understand is that the real work is unconditional self love, even though I'm not perfect, and even though I can't make everything okay for this child I love so much.
It looks like a giant mountain from where I stand. My imperfections contribute to her pain.
And before you tell me I need to get over it, consider whether your eight year old has ever seriously expressed wishing they were never born.
Little love, thank you for existing. Together we go up the mountain, one step at a time. Because of you I've seen glimpses of the top, and it is beautiful.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Well it's no longer a joke. I finished My So Called Family and it is, most definitely, Blume worthy. I don't say that lightly because I know how much Judy Blume means to the whole generation of reading girls I was part of. We inhaled Judy. I've no doubt Courtney will have the same effect on a new generation of young adult readers.
My So Called Family is about the angst a teenage girl experiences as she tries to connect with fellow siblings, all created with the help of the same sperm donor. It is modern and timely but speaks to the age old need of every person, to feel they belong.
This book is going to knock it out of the park and Courtney is just getting started. She's got two more in the works, already sold to Simon & Shuster.
Read more about Courtney here.
Your daughters are going to love her.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
She declines any of your tea.
Option one: You are offended. What's wrong with Yogi tea in every variety?
Option two: You applaud the woman for not ingesting something she would not enjoy.
I vacillate between the two.
"I'm calling 911! Get out NOW!" I yelled.
"No you're not!" He bellowed as he pushed past Todd and headed toward me at the phone.
Pick a different story.
Pick a different story.
Pick a different story.
This is your dream.
Paul stood confused at the entryway to our kitchen. Delicately I approached him. Paul is an elderly person with Alzheimer's.
Taking him by the elbow, "Paul, come with me. I know where you are going. Let me take you home."
He shuffles out the door and down the driveway. We head across the street and ring the neighbor's bell.
"Special delivery," I smile to my friend when she opens the door.
"Oh. I'm sorry!" She says.
"Not a problem," I say placing Paul's hand in hers.
And it's back to sleep, on my own terms.
Monday, September 08, 2008
"Okay, how 'bout this? I call, and if they have the book we go. If not we stay home and play."
Riley says ever so slowly,and with over the top drama, "Great. Because I reaaallllllly want to go."
"Riley, are you being sarcastic?"
She nods, giving me the dimple.
Well I'll be damned.
I'm reading an advanced release copy of Courtney Sheinmel's young adult novel coming out in October. It is soooo good! If you have a teen, you must one-click! I'm actually really enjoying it as an adult.
More to follow. I'm half way through! Courtney, you are awesome!
Saturday, September 06, 2008
And if you don't live in Cleveland, you might want to rethink that. Click on this link to scroll through the pictures and see all the fun to be had here.
Hmmm....my wheels are turning. First, get plus sign, then...
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Seth is six today. He started kindergarten last week and three different moms have come up to us, saying their children love him and talk about him non-stop. Seth is the friend every person wants to have. He's kind and good mannered and very diplomatic. He's already taken on a would be bully by performing the art of ignoring. He's also a silly goofball, which is quite appealing to the K-1 set.
"Seth, what did you do at school?"
"Well, first we cried, then we pooped in our underwear, then we cried some more and then we pooped in our underwear again......"
Seth is a good person. I'll never forget him, at four years old, attempting to stop a party of screaming, jacked up on sugar, kids. He stood in the room, hand out in "stop" position, yelling, "MY SISTER HAS SENSITIVE EARS!" What 30 pound creature does that?
The other day, Riley had a hard time going in to school. When I picked them up later, he was the first one out. He ran up, hugged me and said,
"Mom. Riley ended up having a good day. I saw her in the hall and she was smiling." No matter that they spent every waking minute together the whole summer, seeing his sister in the hall or the cafeteria at school is a thrill beyond measure.
Seth you are a teacher. You teach every day with your kindness, and your sweetness, and your willingness to be patient, your generosity. You rock each day with silly willy joy and that's what life is about. And yes, there's the cuteness. Hard to look at the cuteness and feel anything but appreciation.
Happy birthday Seth! Thank you for being my little boy. Like every mother's child, you are the absolute, very best one.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
*Note, just because I liked it, this is not an invitation for people to send me forwarded e-mails. I usually delete them. The delete button is my friend. We're close. Delete, delete, delete.
The following are from church bulletins or were announced in church services:
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on Water.' The sermon tonight is 'Searching for Jesus.'
Our youth basketball team is back in action. Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing: 'Break Forth Into Joy.'
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan Last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours'
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Yes, I was the winner. Warning, image in photo is even uglier in person. Don't stare directly at the pattern. May harm eyes.
*Anyone who wants a chance to win this little number, leave a comment. I'll mail it to the lucky winner....after the "procedure."
Monday, September 01, 2008
I liked the sentiment on the memorial stone below. It is at the entrance of the falls. Earlier this summer, in Alaska, I met a mother who's child was like Riley. He'd been diagnosed with everything under the sun, but now, as a young man, something has clicked. In 18 months, he's taken in five years of music theory. He is going to college on a full music scholarship. He is thriving.