A Teenager

Thirteen years ago at this moment I was in hard labor.  Hard.  My husband was sleeping because he was “really tired.”  He actually said those words,  you guys!  Still not over it, but it did provide a story I can, and sometimes do, hold over him.  And we laugh about it now, as he appropriately smirks, shakes and mock hangs his head.  It’s all good, y’all.  Look what we got for that labor:  A teenager!  (not the dog)

Happy 1-3 to my firstborn.  You were so worth the nine days’ wait past your due date.  I sometimes miss your gooey baby smile and gentle toddler ways.  I miss your soft, blonde baby head, your then-blue eyes sparkling at me when I was the center of your world.  I miss the cute toddler things you would say as you developed command of language–“Nice to coming!” (a cute mashup of nice to meet you and thanks for coming) or “Mama, pick me down” (well, what else would be the opposite of pick me up?)  And I miss thinking you’d grow out of that clumsy gait; I miss waiting for you to grow into your muscles.  Now we know.

I’ll never not hate that you have this stupid disease, but am grateful to have connected with many lovely humans in the blogosphere because of it.  Because of MD, you good people around the globe wish him well.  Because of MD, I found a voice here, and while I wish I never needed to find that voice, well, here you are listening.  I thank you.  Because of MD, he has the opportunity for summer camp.  It really was his best week of the year.

But hear me, muscular dystrophy, I am NOT grateful for you.  You suck.  You’re a mean, terrible, hurtful bully, and I despise you, even though that sounds middle school-y.  When I reflect on my thirteen years as a mother, I lack capacity to relate the hundreds and thousands of glad-hearted lessons I’ve learned.  Sure, I miss blissful unawareness, but being my kid’s mom has brought joy into my life that I’d never know were I not his parent.

I would love to post a beautifully-worded summary of my year-and-three-quarters as a mother whose child has muscular dystrophy, something profound and meaningful, maybe inspirational for others in my shoes.  Something perfect that everyone would hold up and proclaim:  THIS.

I can’t.  But I can say this:  Happy birthday, son.  I love you.  Like crazy.  It’s your birthday, but it’s my becoming a mom day, so for thirteen years the gift has been mine.

‘Twas the Night Before

‘Twas the night before the first day of school, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring.  Know why not?  Because they’re ready to go back to school.  And that is without me prompting them with leading questions.  I’m happy to say the kids are ready.  Me?  Not so much.  The boys have negotiated “better” bedtimes (or so they think, but really, do they not really know who’s in charge?), and I’m staying up only as late as it takes me to finish here.  They’re finishing up their evening routines right now–brushing teeth, washing up, selecting their clothes for tomorrow–and I hear this deep voice booming from above me.  Surely this can’t be my son.  Surely this voice cannot belong to my 9 pound, 8 ounce, 22-1/2 inch long newborn whose first day of K4 was just last week?

I spoke with my big kid’s home base teacher at the open house last night about his MD.  It’s such a weird way to lead, but it’s got to be addressed.  “Hi, I’m Wendy.  You know my kid has MD, right?”  She posed a few specific questions about his needs, and even offered up a suggestion I’d never considered.  He’s anxious like I am sometimes when the crunch of time seems to be more a CHOMP! than a crunch.  When he tries to move quickly in response, sometimes his fingers respond in concert with his intent, and sometimes they sorta give him the middle finger all on their own.  He drops things in his haste, and then his locker contents flow and/or spew from his locker to the floor.  The Mt. Saint Mauna Loa OMG I’m Gonna Be Late! of a locker volcanic eruption can be prevented (usually) with the simple addition of a few seconds.  It occurred to me just now that I didn’t ensure he’s been assigned a top locker, and my stomach hurts over it.  Epic fail, mom.  Nice one.  Please let the alphabetical order wizards work so that he gets a top locker.  Pleeeeeeease?  He’s 5′ 10″ so even without a disease that renders him slower to maneuver, a bottom locker would be ruinous.

My son and I had a series of brief, but good talks (for reals I mean that this time) about seventh grade this week.  He asked why I thought it was so hard for kids, and I explained as best I could about how evolving adolescent bodies make evolving adolescent minds do stupid stuff.

He asked about swearing, because ALL of his friends swear don’t you know?, and he wants to too.  I told him I wouldn’t command him not to curse, but I took a line from a supervisor with whom I work whose words stuck with me so much I wrote them down for future reference.  And here I am:  future mom.  I told him that profanity makes ignorance audible.  I got the eyes up and to his right questioning look from him, and we discussed what that means.  I also straight up told him I’m a terrible potty mouth, and no role model in this department.  His two word reply laid me out:  I know.

He actually admitted he had a crush on a girl, but alas, thinks he’s not super crushing on her anymore. That’s OK, I told him–there will be others.  Again with the brevity:  I know.

One of his good friends has moved to another school, news we learned only yesterday.  I’m so sad at his departure, but my big kid handled the news better than I’d hoped.  His friend got a phone and wants to text with my kid, but my child doesn’t have a cell phone yet.  Good thing his birthday’s next month.  We’re jumping on that bandwagon a wee bit earlier than we’d have otherwise, but we’re OK with the decision.  Which actually hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll have plenty of time to second and fifty-second guess myself.  He’s already lost an iPod.  But at least he hasn’t gnawed away at the rung of my dining room chair like his dog did this evening.  My dog is trying to murder me.  That feels like a blog title now that I see it in print.  Stay tuned.

Big Kid, 1; New Dog, 0; My sanity, -373722736189.

As for my school readiness?  I’d totally bomb my standardized test were there one I was forced to take tomorrow.  It’s my 45th first day of school–kindergarten through high school, college, graduate school for my master’s degree, and 26 years working in the public school system–and my 4,779th day of working in my district.  Friday is our opening large group meeting, and I’m closing the meeting with our monthly thought–a message meant to get our 181 speech paths reflecting on their practice or maybe just a happy or thought-provoking idea to take away.  I haven’t quite pieced it all together, but its focus is on happy.  Not work-specific happy, just happy.  I’ll let you know if I kill or crash and burn.  Happy first day of school, Wisconsin.