If I Can Make It There

I’ll make it anywhere. That’s how the song goes, right?

I think I shall begin logging bicycle rides not by the number of miles I turn, but by the number of times I nearly get killed by a distracted driver. Today’s count is two. I originally wrote only two, but then edited because really one is all ya need. OK, one is too many. It would take just one to wreck me for good, so the target is zero. Nada. Zip. I should consider myself lucky to have survived another urban cycling adventure.

And it was an adventure. For four whole miles, I pedaled south along the shores of Lake Michigan. For four whole miles I passed no one, I heard no motorized anything. My goal was to ride south to College Avenue, about six miles south of home. I made it. Here’s the tricky thing though: it is not enough, not enough by half, to merely arrive at your destination to meet your goal. You also have to make your way back home. Which I did, triumphantly for me, to the notice of no one else on the planet. 14.7 miles, coupla airhead motorists, lots of ups and downs, achy quads and triceps later. Boom. Just like the old days. OK, not at all like the old days. But strong. Fine! Strong-ish.

Waaaay over there? Looking even smaller than an ant community? That’s downtown.

The Actual big news is that I am headed to New York City tomorrow. No, there is no Barenaked Ladies concert to attend, it’s a reunion of my college friends. The four girls I spent 4+ years cramming for exams with at Marquette in the late 80s are meeting in New York City. We are now scattered throughout the Midwest and East coast, and we’ve all reached this magical, stupid age, so why not?

I’m not gonna lie, up until this morning towards the end of my bike ride, I was pretty scared. I’ve flown before by myself, so it’s not that. It’s, well I don’t know what it is, but I know that my anxiety meter was pinging into the red.

The other four girls have all been there before, so I have nothing to do but follow them around. I was not responsible for making even one of the travel arrangements; in fact, the girls were good enough even to scout out flights for me. Still though, nervous. And a little guilty. Mom guilt is a bee-otch, you guys. My son, he of MD fame/infamy/neither of those, just the kid who is DYING to visit NYC, laid it on pretty thick for a brief period. Then I reminded him how old I am, and it’s just now my first time taking a bite out of the Big Apple.

Anyway, for the first time since downloading the Southwest Airlines app, I felt not apprehension but anticipation. They promised me they wouldn’t leave the airport without me, and I’m holding them to it. So technically I can make it there. . . I do have my boarding pass, and now all I have to do is pack.

Sue, Bridget, Beth, and Julie–Monitor Hall (the ugliest building on campus) Takes Manhattan–let’s go!

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Table For Seventeen

Were I able to pick a more inappropriate time to have an “MD Moment,” I couldn’t have.  I certainly would never have selected last night’s celebration dinner honoring my son and three of his friends’ completion of the eighth grade as the moment to withdraw into my cocoon.  I wouldn’t have chosen a dinner with our friends and their families as my moment to retreat into the innermost recesses of my brain and lose myself in a future of muscular dystrophy-related what-ifs and whens.

If I could pick, I would pick not to know anything about muscular dystrophy.  Nope.  Step back further even–I’d pick that MD wasn’t even a thing.

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The four boys were having a grand old time on their end of the table, laughing at their hilarious (they obviously thought so) Apples To Apples card throw-downs or their YouTube shits and giggles.  Joyous teenage laughter echoed in the party room on one end of the table while the adults discussed movies (of which I’d seen none), boot camp fitness and long-distance running (in which I can participate in neither), and beer (which I do not drink).  Big mouth Wendy brought nada to the table, I served up a steaming, heaping bowl of jack squat.  I had nothing to add really, so I found myself watching my kid.  He looked happy, snickering with his friends, really happy.  The view was magnificent.

Someone asked the kids what their future plans were, you know, what do you want to be when you grow up?  Three of the four chimed with surety in their college majors, while mine said he hadn’t quite decided yet, and that is where the chink in my armor split wide open.  And not because I believe a fourteen-year-old can or should be expected to declare his college major.

But because his future holds more uncertainty than theirs, evident already.  I watched him with children–nay, young men now–young men he’s known since he was four years old, and was reminded again that he was different.  His two-handed death grip on his pint glass (filled with water, of course!) looks different than the casual way his friends held theirs, and for reasons unknown to me, I was undone.  His future is certain to bring progressive decline in his motor skills–his friends don’t have to think about that, and neither do their parents.

And I KNOW that his disease could be worse.  And I KNOW tomorrow is a guarantee for none of us.  Today is a gift we should rip open and hold up to the sky like The Lion King’s baby Simba heralded for all the world to behold!  Knowing to seize the gift of right here, right now, and actually grasping it are two distinct acts of behavior however, and sometimes, the dark side wins.

It won last night.

But now there’s today.  THIS is the reason I keep this little journal here.  Writing gives me a repository, a box to dump all my crap, organize the crap, and pack up the crap for never again.  Today, the sun is shining.  I’m distracted by my students’ musings and my end-of-the-school–year preparations–thank stars for a lunch hour reprieve.  I’m so proud of and excited for my son’s completion ceremony.  OH!  And MDA Summer Camp is less than a week away.  I’ll be carpe-ing the heck out the diem this week, I promise.  Well, I’m sure gonna try.

Solo: Me, Not The Movie

This afternoon my husband, one of his brothers, a brother-in-law, and the Yahoo Brothers (my sons) embarked upon a 5-day, 4-game tour of east-of-home Major League Baseball ballparks. They’re swinging through Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, then back through Detroit on Memorial Day. I couldn’t be happier for them.

I am home alone. Well, with my idiot dog (and you know I do looooooove him and his squishy face!), so not alone-alone. But I am responsible for no one but myself for five days. I don’t know where to begin. Actually I do: I began with a good-bye note to the boys–and yes, I know my handwriting has become atrocious, made worse by this giant spiral for a teensy notebook written in by a lefty!

They each responded, I presume on their way out, with a quickly-jotted note, surgically precise in perfection befitting each of their personalities and styles–my sweet, sentimental baby; my teen, with whom I trade “punk” designation several times daily (it’s a term of endearment, for reals); and the one who got me into this mess in the first place, my dear husband.

I continued with a list of stuff I thought it would do my husband well to remember, traversing south, east, northeast, then west and back. Five grown-sized men sardined in a mid-size SUV requires a special brand of patience probably. Also, Febreeze probably.

I took Sparky for a long walk. I cleaned a bathroom, I finished my book, I called and cried my way through a conversation with the boys’ piano teacher, I walked the dog again. I noticed that two of our hanging flower baskets have been stolen, and I decided that people suck. I’ve done a lot, and a lot of nothing this evening. I’m awaiting proof of life from the Fab Five, so wanting to hear someone’s voice–this stolen flower baskets deal left a pain in my gut.

My big kid says he won’t miss me (oh, that big sentimental lug), and that I’ll be happy to have the house to myself. Yes. And No. I’m never lonely, and I do covet being alone, that is accurate, but of course I will miss them. This weekend isn’t about the mom though, it’s all about the baseball. Baseball is life. Baseball is a metaphor for life. I’ve even heard it said that life is a metaphor for baseball. Though my kid will not be playing ball this week, his mom is going to his team’s weekend tournament. Baseball IS life and FaceTime is a thing.

There’s nothing left to say but have a terrific time, my loves! You don’t have to miss me.  It’s OK, it’s how it’s supposed to be.

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PS–it’s freaky how closely my Bitmoji’s hair looks like my actual hair.

 

What Is Your Biggest Fear For Him?

I hadn’t considered this question in some time, but a few weeks ago, before parent-teacher conferences at our school, a colleague I don’t often enough get the opportunity to speak with often asked me this question.

I am certain that I fell into my now-common middle distance, eyes up and then to the right gaze, and sighed in contemplation.  I guess that has become my “I’m thinking” preparatory set as I deliberate the big stuff.  I considered options for the few moments the normal flow of conversation allows.  I began to give voice to something, stopped, and began anew.

“I guess I am most worried he won’t find a mate.”

My colleague, one of the quickest wits of our time and a genuine all-around decent guy, replied, “Yeah, but doesn’t everyone worry about that for their child?”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right, that’s true,” was my not-at-all snappy comeback, looking up and to the right again, “but he’s going to take so much more time.  He’s going to have to find someone extra-special, someone so patient, someone who will help him, who will wait for him.”

I can’t quote the rest of our talk, but I remember telling him I worried for the day my son wakes up and isn’t able to walk.  Something he does now will become something he never does again, and while that is true of each of our children, each of us for that matter, I know my son’s trajectory is a little more direct and brief.  I’ve recorded what I believed was his first last, the rock climbing wall, and though it was the first last, it is certainly not the worst last.  The thought of my child circling a day on the calendar, marking the first day he can no longer walk, is simply too much.  So I don’t think about it.  Much.  As much.

Last week the world learned that Stephen Hawking had passed away, decades after his disease suggested he should be crossing the finish line.  Decades!  I felt like this quote from his brilliant mind was a beautiful fit for what had been racing laps around my grey matter.  He hit all the right notes in this bit of advice to his own children, and I’m going to remember it for mine too.

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It’s All Fun And Games Until Somebody Breaks His Brother’s Phone Screen

The title pretty much tells the tale. The fallout of this episode of “Shit Breaks When Two Middle Schoolers Won’t Stop Screwing With Each Other” is #1’s cracked phone screen.

This just in: You may be an up and coming badass pitcher, but your accuracy with strings of Mardi Gras beads whipped at your brother isn’t major league. Here are five fun lessons the boys have learned in the past hour:

  1. YOU, #2, are going to pay for the repair.
  2. Your “emergency”, #1, doesn’t mean my life stops so I can run you to the Apple store immediately after piano lessons tonight. A jaunt to the mall wasn’t on my agenda.
  3. Follow up to 2 above: IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT I WAS PLANNING TO DO TONIGHT, EVEN IF I WAS GOING TO SIT MY ASS ON THE COUCH ALL NIGHT LONG, I WASN’T PLANNING TO GO TO THE APPLE STORE. That may or may not be a stern direct quote. *ahem*
  4. I’m genuinely mad, and I am also disappointed. I’m not in the mood to joke with you now, kid. You are sweet and funny, but you done screwed up–now is not the time for a joke.
  5. You do the research. You make the appointment. (Just not tonight, kid. Jaysus!)
  6. OK, six. Stop talking to me about it. STOP. TALKING.

Really, it’s not the end of the world, but geez! do I resent both boys’ assumptions that I’d drop everything and cater to their mess at the drop of a hat. Is that the pattern I’ve led them to believe?

I’m disappointed that they don’t feel the gravity of trashing a $600 piece of electronics. I feel like I’ve taught them better than that–to take care of their property. The damage was unquestionably an accident; I know that. But even accidents have consequences.

I feel a grounding coming on. That’ll be a first for us. It won’t be a long grounding, because of the accidental nature, more like a statement grounding. They’re good boys, and for once, I’m not overreacting or underreacting. Just reacting.

How Have You Made The World A Better Place Today?

I prepare breakfast for my Yahoos every morning before school. Their teen and tween selves are entirely capable, sure, and I don’t have to do this for them, but it matters to me that I do. I remember my mom making breakfast for my brother and me on the mornings she didn’t have to work, and I still carry echoes of those conversations with me. I guess my hope is that in the future my kids will look back and remember that we had some special conversations at the breakfast table too.

You all know that I am bonkers for the book Wonder, by RJ Palacio. I have recommended the book to many friends, colleagues, acquaintances, really anyone who will listen to me. At its core is a message of kindness. Wonder’s protagonist is a fifth grader named Auggie, a child who, after dozens of surgeries, finally in fifth grade enrolls in his first brick and mortar school. Auggie has Treacher-Collins syndrome, a disorder that causes facial deformities. You can well imagine how the world is not especially kind to someone who looks very different. Wonder shows us just how.

The kids in Auggie’s class, are fortunate to have Mr. Browne, prince of a teacher and good guy extraordinaire, in their lives. Mr. Browne teaches the kids many life lessons in the form of precepts, beliefs about the way we should act in our world. Officially, a precept is a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action. Unofficially–words to live by.

Some years back I recommended Wonder to my friend Kathie, who at the end of that school year presented me with a gift. When I opened the gift bag she handed me, I found 365 Days of Wonder {Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts} within. Palacio had gone on to author companion books based on Wonder’s theme. This particular volume contains exactly what you might expect given its title: 365 days of precepts, one for each day of the year.

At least once or twice at breakfast time with the boys each week, I select that day’s precept to read. I ask the kids what they think it means, and sometimes, though they’ve been awake probably only eight or nine minutes by this time, the kids play along thoughtfully. The fictional Mr. Browne has inspired enlightening pre-dawn conversations. With the naïve hope only a mother holds for her babies, I do hope my sons remember these exchanges fondly. Even more, I hope my boys, loves of my life, live and heed Mr. Browne’s messages.

I began working at a new school for weeks ago, and I am having a hard time reaching one of my students. Sixth grade girls can be as cuddly as wolverines, and one of the wolverines in my charge, well, I’m workin’ on it. . . I brought my precept book to school with me last week, and I’ve begun Mrs. Weir’s Board of Mr. Browne’s Precepts. Here’s the inaugural post:

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. –Aesop

It’s overcast today, the sky flat, dull February white. My husband is working this weekend, and social media is flaying the four cavities of my heart. In place of any traditional news media I’m glued to NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Winter Games (Ski Jumping, large hill if you’re curious). The kids went to a friend’s, but before they left, I asked them this:

I ask this question of them every so often (OK, usually when they’re at the zenith of sloth-dom), and I asked them today. My big kid, clever that one with evasion, asked back what was I doing to make the world better today?

I made a cake. I made this heart-shaped chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting dusted with pink and red sugar. Cheeseball? Super cheeseball. But you know what? It’ll make my husband smile, and my three boys will make it disappear by Monday, I am sure. My effort to improve the world today was close to home and dorky, but I like it.

Here’s today’s precept:

Those who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. –Lloyd Jones

I tried. I’m good with that.

What are YOU doing to make the world a better place today? I’ll slice you up a piece of cake while you tell me about it.

Brave or Crazy

People who’ve never spent time in the central city sometimes say I’m brave or crazy working where I do—it’s “so dangerous” I’m told. I’ve known students expelled for bringing weapons to school, handguns secreted in their pockets or backpacks. I’ve broken up fights, though no more–I’m getting too old to think I can intervene in that physical business. I’ve been called vile names by students who refuse therapy or straight up walk out of my classroom. I’ve been named in a lawsuit in federal court by an irate parent (currently awaiting trial for sex crimes, that guy–oh, karma, how I love you, though I sure hate that a young man’s life was impacted), and parents have screamed in my face, demanding my license.

But those are not my everyday experiences.

Neither are school shootings everyday experiences. But wait. The New York Times reported today that Since Sandy Hook in 2012, there have been 239 school shootings nationwide. 438 people have been shot, and 138 of those shot were killed. At school. OK, so not every day. . .

You know what’s brave in 2018? Sending your children to school on a random Wednesday. Just ask any one of the parents in Parkland, Florida. You know what’s crazy? Thinking that school violence is a phenomenon limited to institutions in the “inner city” and that it could never happen to your child. You know what’s dangerous? Assault rifles.

No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.

Holy crap, for the first time in over a year, I’m in agreement with words coming from the highest office in the land, twenty of them anyway.

But what’s going to be done about it? I mean, besides continuing to “send out thoughts and prayers” obviously.

Road Rage

A parent never wants to learn that two cars were shooting it up as they raced/raged past your children’s school playground via social media.

Before you chide me with the inevitable “See, I told ya! I still can’t/never did/never will understand how you send your children to a city public school and/or remain a city of Milwaukee resident when it’s the fourth poorest city in the nation” call to action: no one was hurt.

My #2 heard the gunshots from the science room, but #1 didn’t hear anything from his classroom. Curiously enough, there was no mention of the shots fired made from either of my sons. Had I not asked Saturday morning, I don’t believe either child would’ve said anything, except perhaps in afterthought. My husband spent a few minutes studying the exterior of our Lannon stone home, looking for evidence of bullet strikes yesterday, and came up empty. We joked that the miscreants behind the wheels and triggers must’ve been expert marksmen–according to social media, MPD reported no artifacts had been found. One neighbor posted the 11:44 AM audio from his garage-mounted security camera; fourteen cracks unmistakable in their clarity. They had to have hit something. Themselves? Their cars?

No one at school was injured, the loss of innocence maybe the only casualty. I don’t even know what to do with the fact that gunshots heard in school didn’t even warrant a casual mention from either of my sons.  They both were outside hanging out yesterday, because when the temps hit upper 40s in January, you go outside!  I didn’t go into full freak out mode, and I don’t know what to do with the fact that I’m not freaked out enough.

If social media is to be trusted, it wasn’t a targeted school shooting, apparently a road rage incident gone local, and thank stars the kids had just come in from recess. Saying “well, it wasn’t a school shooting” is not to excuse or minimize ANY VIOLENT act, nope, but to illustrate that gun-wielding idiots with sub-average executive functioning skills permeate our society, “safe” neighborhoods and less safe ones alike. But no one cares, because no one will admit that this shameful, inexcusable behavior could happen LITERALLY in their backyard–it’s always in “those” neighborhoods among “those” people. And apparently we need our own personal arsenals to keep ourselves safe from “them.”  Well, it happened in my neighborhood, on my street.

I grew up with guns in the house; my parents and younger brother all hunters.  My ex-husband owned two handguns (which his mother ordered him to store at her house for awhile after I announced I was leaving him), yet for all the time I’ve spent with firearms in my houses, I’ve never touched a gun.  I don’t understand the allure. I do understand that while we say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” people are less likely kill someone with their fists than with a handgun or semi-automatic.

But this isn’t a blog about weaponry.  It’s a blog about being a parent whose kid has a shit disease.  A disease that renders him slow and clumsy and an easy target.  He got lucky this time; they all did.

I started another assignment at a new school Monday. This is one of the windows in my new classroom, the one right behind my head when I’m sitting at my desk–and yes, it’s in one of “those” neighborhoods, so it’s OK, right? And sure, it’s only probably BB pellets, so whatevs, “those” people don’t mind or don’t deserve safe environs.

I sent this photo to a group of my friends, and one of the girls responded by telling me that before her office moved, she found a gun alongside a stash of cocaine in the bushes outside her workplace.   It’s not just here, and it’s not just now.  I didn’t understand it then, nor do I now, and I sure as heck have no solutions to replace violence on this earth with peace in its stead.  My little mantra, be kinder than is necessary, seems to fall short and on deaf ears.  But still, do that: be kinder than is necessary, that is.  It’s a start anyway.

Leather Or Crystal?

For the first time since learning our son has MD, I didn’t wake up on the unhappy anniversary date with “diagnosis day” screaming at me.  I walked the dog before dawn, brewed a cup in the Keurig, leafed through the Sunday coupons, when BOOM.  It hit me.

I feel some insane pull of duty to mark the occasion.  That’s ridiculous, I’ll grant, but I’m big on anniversary dates.  Until this year, I’d counted down the hours leading up to January 21, not because I enjoyed that, but because I was consumed with MD.  Maybe this is a sign of my growing acceptance, erosion of the initial shock has dulled the blade stabbing my heart.  January 21, 2015.  THE day.  The day that began the after.

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the myriad other tasks and responsibilities served on my already heaping plate this week.  I’ve been cleaning up a mess–a hot mess, a ghost pepper/sriracha/cayenne/scotch bonnet kind of hot mess at work.  It’ll be but a distant memory in a month, but for now, my full time job is made to take a back seat to accommodate this other full time job.  Not that I get a pass on my actual responsibilities–it’s not that those tasks have disappeared, no, but this clean up occupies so much of my cortex that I can’t even.  Ah, I can’t even finish a sentence with a verb that fits adequately is how much I can’t even.

I’m starting another school therapy assignment tomorrow, and until a few minutes ago, didn’t even know my students’ names, grades, or disabilities.  I’m super good at winging it, but I want not to wing it.  The kids deserve better than that on their new “speech teacher’s” first day.  (It’s in quotes because I’m a speech-language pathologist, but no kid has ever referred to me as speech-language pathologist.  Hell, these days, if kids aren’t referring to me as that old lady white bitch, I’m calling it a success.)  Anyway, it’s unlike me to feel unprepared, and for the first time in five years, I admit to feeling a bit anxious about a new assignment.  It’s probably because I’ve not buttoned up my previous assignment.  See previous paragraph.

I told a colleague Friday that “being me is exercise.”  She laughed, because I’m usually rife with hyperbole, but the truth is that my workweek last week and all the stuff I have to do causes my heart to race.  My Fitbit read about 100 beats per minute just sitting at my desk, organizing, scheduling, calling, emailing, writing.  My resting heart beat when I’m not insane is about 60.  Our district is pushing a mindfulness agenda, and while I’m all for self-care and trying to focus on success and forward-thinking-ness, my workload at present gives not one tenth of one percent of a shit that I’m harried.  Mindfulness, you can suck it this week, thank you very much.  Check back with me around Valentine’s Day, m’kay?

I think I shall choose to look upon this work-induced “Welcome to MD” memory lapse as a gift.  The gift of forgetting, or at least not springing from my bed sheets laser-focused on the big anniversary, is something I should be pleased about, right?  Two of my friends and another family acquaintance lost one of their parents this week.  I feel like a schmuck for having missed one funerary visitation, but I was teaching a class scheduled months ago and I just couldn’t bow out. Within the last two hours, my younger son and I returned from a second visitation; I’m so relieved not to be planning the funeral of one of my own parents.

I just completed my reading of Evicted by Matthew Desmond, and I should be jubilant that I have stable housing in a reasonably low-crime neighborhood.  Evicted shall stand as a post on its own to be explored soon–it’s a horrifying ethnography of poverty and housing inequities in Milwaukee.  I am jubilant that we can provide a roof over our children’s heads, and that I can let them play outside and walk to school without constant supervision.  Or abject fear.

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There are wiser ways to be spending a dreary, dank Sunday than forcing myself to feel something specific because it happens to be 1,096 days since I crumbled for the first time.  HE is marking the occasion, as always (I think anyway), blissfully unaware.  I’m gonna follow his lead.  I’m going to lay my head down on this pillow Nikki sent me yesterday and read.  Gonna read something light and airy–you know, murder, mayhem, lawyers, and detective-y types–no more nonfiction for me for awhile.  My personal nonfiction is enough, you guys.  I’m always transported while reading, and whether I’m transported to the nineteenth century, World War II-era Europe, western Pennsylvania, or Stockholm, Sweden, I’m going to distract myself, because yeah, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s all I can think about.

The traditional gift for the three year anniversary is leather; the modern gift version is crystal.  Since it’s not the 80s, I don’t own much in the way of leather accoutrements, but I do have beautiful pair of crystal wineglasses.  Now the only real anniversary question is this:  red or white?

Atypical

Have you seen the Netflix series Atypical? My husband and I watched the first three episodes last night and we are both in love. We are both in admiration and appreciation anyway; I’m probably alone in declaring love at first sight. The series chronicles a family whose teenage son has autism, whose teenage daughter is both begrudgingly and lovingly, fiercely protective of him, and the relationship of the parents as they ride the whitewater rapids of life with a child whose disability makes parenting and marriage more challenging than it might otherwise be.

Elsa, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, becomes especially troubled as her son decides he wants a girlfriend. She defines herself as “Sam’s mom,” his strongest, most intense advocate, and finds as her son is maturing, his need for her control over every variable in his life is diminishing. She is a control freak who thinks she has done all of the right things to help her son find his way in his world. Maybe she has, probably she has, but he’s reaching out in new directions, toward more sophisticated horizons. She is struggling, unsure of her very identity absent her starring role in her son’s life.

I love the character Sam, the eighteen-year-old protagonist, I adore his father, and his big sister, Casey, is simply freaking amazing! As we were watching last night, I asked my husband if he recognized shades of me in the character of Elsa (*spoiler alert* minus her dalliance with the hot, waaaaay too young bartender because obviously I’m not combing the bars seeking that type of attention). To his everlasting credit, my husband responded instantly sporting an expression of utter confusion: um, no, you’re not at all like her.

When I began blogging, my son’s diagnosis of muscular dystrophy was all I could think about. All. I. Could. Think. About. MD became my full time job; my coronation as Empress of My Son’s Diagnosis was immediate. I GET Elsa. I get who and why and how. (Though I don’t get the hot bartender fling, but I’m only a few episodes in, so I hope she does right. Five more episodes will tell that tale.)

I get how easy to define oneself, myself, as that mom could be.

But I hope I haven’t. I would hate to wake one morning to discover I occupy but one dimension.  Being an attentive mom is my full-time job, but I also want my children to see the many facets of my personhood, to grasp that their mom is the sum of her parts. I’m a mom all day, every day, sure. It’s the biggest gig I’ll ever get.  But it’s not my only duty.  I’m a goofball wife and loyal friend.  Nine months out of the year I am a baseball mom. I’m responsible for the success of many speech-language pathologists. I’ve got this knucklehead dog I am crazy about.  I like to cook, I’m a big fan of this one band I travel all over to see, I’m an avid reader.  But yeah.  I am the voice of muscular dystrophy in our household.  I sincerely hope that my children see me as more than that mom.  You’ll tell me if I begin to slink down that rabbit hole, won’t you?

Watch Atypical.  Not because I’m telling you to, but because it’s excellent, and it provides a world view with which most of you are unfamiliar.  The world is filled with perspectives; this provides a good one.

Happy New Year

In other news, it’s almost 2018.  I’m squishy sentimental over all these year-end retrospectives and the promise of the baby new year.  Receipt of a billing statement last week reminded me that I begin many a tale here, but lack follow through.  So, though I make no resolutions at the dawn of any new year, I resolve to resolve a few items here.  Clean slate and all just in time for the new year.

Go, Huskies!

Number One Son met the entrance criteria and was accepted at his top high school choice.  He’s a Husky!  Just this past Monday, after months of groundwork, seemingly endless waiting, and the anxiety of delayed notifications, he received his acceptance letter into Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School.  I’ve not seen my son so proud of himself in well, ever. He did the entrance work, but the real work lies ahead. He’s going to work harder than he has ever known academically, and says he is up to the challenge. Proud mom.

Insurance Fail

I was royally unsuccessful in my bid to persuade Great Benefit Insurance Company to cover my son’s brain spectroscopy last summer. Despite consultation between our neurology clinic, the hospital’s billing department, and my insurance company, we ended up stuck with the entirety of the not insignificant balance. I still feel a little pukey when I think about it, but the money is gone. I’m over it.

Un-Broken

One broken collarbone, one Little League shoulder, and one rotator cuff injury later, 67% of our injured family is healing as expected. I have come to grips with the fact that I will never be made whole again. A Cortisone injection followed by months of physical therapy was tremendously helpful, but not a 100% repair for my shoulder.

I head into the new year not with resolutions, but with resolve to remain in good health. It would be extremely easy to give in, trace an easier path, and waste away in front of a television, inert. But I am better than that, and I encourage you to be better than that too. Do something fun. Do something a little dangerous. Do something just a little bit outside your comfort zone. Do something to show the ones you love you’re more than the one thing you’re best known for. Defy what defines you. Be a little atypical.