A Sty In Your Eye

This morning, Jari and I were sitting having breakfast at the kitchen table, just about ready to head out the door for school...when I suddenly noticed a red lump at the corner of his eye.

"Does your eye hurt, Jari?" I asked him.
"No, but it has a bump on it," he tells me as he pokes at the sty on his eye.
"well, mama better get you to the doctor and get some medicine for it so it'll get better," I tell him. "You have a sty on your eye."

HAHAHAHA "I have a sty on my eye" HAHAHAHA "But I am NOT gonna have NO medicine."

"But if we don't get medicine and make it better, you could go blind," I say.

"Well, at least then I could have a dog." answers my son, picking up his backpack holding onto a fake leash and walking with his eyes closed, pretending to be blind. "If I go blind, can I have a dog then, mama?"


White or Brown?

Tonight, Erwin was late getting home from work, so the boys and I ate together. We had ham, potatoes, mushrooms and garlic bread. Yum! There were no complaints from anyone, which is a miracle in and of itself. That's Jari's greatest forte...EWWWWWwwww, YUCK! I don't like THAT!

So, when Erwin got home, after we had eaten, I prepared his dinner. As I placed his dinner on the table, Jari sat by watching.

"White bread?" asked my darling little boy. "Papa has white bread and we had brown bread. That's funny.""

I looked at him and said "We had white bread too, Ja-Bug!"

Üh-uh, we had brown bread. Papa's is white, and ours was brown.""

And okay, so I have to give it to him, our white garlic bread did get a little TOO done in the oven...I guess we'll just call it brown bread from here on out :-) Like I said, there were no complaints!


Someone Is A Gold Medalist!

Today, we had a big ole surprise come to our house. Jari ran in the school run today, competing against kids from schools all over our region...and guess who got FIRST place???
My little bug, my little speed demon, came home with the gold medal! I am so proud of him!!! And besides the medal, he also won a new game, which he immediately wanted to play....of course!
Anyway, I am a happy, proud mama this afternoon, and there's a happy, proud little bug in my midst as well. We have reason to celebrate!


'Special' Kid

It's hard to be the mom of a 'special' kid. I mean, really, don't we all think our kids are special. Each has character traits that are unique to them, each has a talent in which we praise them for, each has a manner about them that tugs at a mother's heartstrings. But, some are more 'special' than others. I am the mother of one of those 'special' kids.

Yesterday I took Kaeden to his first day of high school. I walked the halls of the school with him, his backpack hunched over his shoulder, and really looked at my son. It's hard to look at his face and see a 'special' kid hiding there behind his golden eyes, his perfectly shaped face, his bright smile, and his charming manner. And yet, there is something just a little different about him.

I can't put my finger on it as I look from afar, testing my own logic as I try to weed out the perfection I see in my own child. But as I look at him from down the long hallway, his stance is just slightly off-balance, his eyes staring ahead as if deep in thought, not really registering all that is happening around him, or maybe precisely the reverse, and he's taking in too much. The way his fingers are positioned at his side, just ever so crooked. When someone comes upon him and speaks to him directly, he doesn't respond, but continues to stare ahead. I go to him and say: Kaeden, aren't you going to tell Mrs. .... hello?

I am always trying to help him participate in conversation, help him see the proper manner of social contact, putting a smile on my face as I shake her hand and tell her we are here for our first day of school, apologizing in my own response of: Kaeden is interested in what is happening in the class. And then to my son, still trying to involve him in our conversation: Right, Kaed?

And he looks at me, although avoids contact with her eyes, as he shakes his head yes, though I am uncertain if he knows what the question was in the first place. Still, it is a response, and I sigh with relief as we continue on our journey. As we walk, I tell him: Kaeden, when someone says hello, it's nice if we speak back to them. As I place my hand upon his shoulder, he shakes it off. He's feeling overwhelmed, and this is my first sign that this is so. He cannot handle human contact when he's overly stimulated. This is one of the pains that tugs at my heart in dealing with autism. Touch hurts. And just when you most want to support your child in the most natural manner possible, with a reassuring touch, or a hug, or even a glance, you can't. He cannot handle it at those times.

We sat in the classroom where the kids who can't handle social interaction go during breaks. This is a classroom in which my son will frequent. A place where he can feel safe, a release from all social obligations, a place where he has a special task of working alone to assure he isn't a burden to other students,can't harm them with his physical presence or nasty words. It is an inviting place, with all kinds of activities in which to partake, woodworking tools, computers, games...and yet, it is isolated. We go over his schedule, the classes he will need to seek out and find on his own, the times that he'll need to be in a different building, and even though the teacher discussing it all with us knows Kaeden, has worked with him, and understands his needs, I can see that nothing we say at that moment is registering in his mind. He keeps talking about Hannah, a little girl in our neighborhood who has also been diagnosed with autism and attends this same school, the elementary school, but whom he will see on the bus at the end of the day. He can't, at this moment, take part in the conversation surrounding his school schedule.]

We go into his homeroom class. I look in at his classmates as they introduce themselves to my son. The teacher asks if he knows any of the faces. He responds with: No. I take over here. "Kaeden, look, I see Marlon there. he is your friend." as I point at the boy that came to his birthday party last year. "Yeah, I know Marlon," he replies. But the thing that strikes me most is that of the five kids, two are noticeably handicapped. Their facial features show a disability, and at that moment I am fileld with shame as I wonder why my son, my beautiful, perfect child is coming into this class. He doesn't even look like he has a handicap.

And then, as we part ways from this classroom, I am filled with even more shame, and a great big ole portion of realism. BUT YOUR BEAUTIFUL BOY IS HANDICAPPED. It hits me like a load of bricks as maybe, for the first time ever, I am awakening to the fact that my son is disabled. And, he's in a place for disabled children, where he can learn to be his best with the goods God has given him. He fits in here. He belongs. This is the one place in the world where he truly fits in, where he won't be judged or looked down upon for the strange mannerisms, strange stance, inability to read and write and speak in a normal voice tone. This is the palce my son needs to be.

I tell Kaeden goodbye, pat him on the back, and he doesn't shrug away from my touch. As I walk out the doors of the school and look around me, I see all those children, each walking with backpacks hunched on their backs, some with noticeable physical deformations, some with absolutely nothing I can see from just a glance, and I am filled with shame. Shame for thinking I am better than them, shame for thinking my son is better than them, and as I turn my eyes and walk towards my car, I decide that I am going to be a more accepting person...accepting of my son, his disabilities, and my role as the mother of one of those 'special'' kids.


I'm Raising A Chicken!

So, I was getting Jari ready for bed. He was sitting on the bathroom cabinet poised with toothbrush in hand and wrapped up in a towel after a refreshing bath. Suddenly, he pipes up: Mama, when I grow up I am going to be a chicken and sit on an egg.

Now, you had to see his face, but trust me, it was the genuine look of WOW, I just figured out what I am gonna do with my life! So, it seems as if I have a chicken-to-be in my midst. I wonder if parenting a future chicken is any different than parenting a future soccer star?

As the conversation continued between mommy's fits of laughter, we discussed chickens and roosters and how eggs become chicks...and I realized that I don't know a whole lot about the entire process. But, I DO have a good book that describes the egg to chick process in detail from day to day...guess what our nighttime story was? Jari woke up the next day retelling the story of how an egg becomes a chick, focussing on day 13 when they get feathers. And he seems to have decided that maybe he doesn't want to be a chicken, beause teh egg comes out of their butt! And he also seems to have decided he won't be eating anymore eggs (though I don't think he's ever eaten an egg to this day, unless it's in cookies or cake!!!).

So, I think I'll just go back to being the mama of a future soccer star...seems much easier than being the mama of a gender-transformed chicken!!!



My son is home!!! With him he brings mixed feelings, but mostly just a completeness to our family once again. My home feels once again like home, my heart feels full, and my world is complete. It doesn't take much to make me feel happy. On the way home from the hospital, with Erwin driving, Kaeden in the back seat with his bag full of belongings, my purse full of new rules and doctors and care centers and medication, and the sun peeking through the clouds, tears escaped from behind my eyes. I was completely overwhelmed. Completely at a loss as to why the tears were falling, completely and totally burned. If Kaeden needed to know at that moment why I was crying, I would have been at a loss for words. There were none. They were all used up. It was an emotional rollercoaster of a day for me.

Still, my son is home!!! Maybe tomorrow I can go deeper into all the reports and evaluations and suggestions, and opinions, but for now, I just want to relish in the fact that my son is home!!! And so, the son-shine once again lights my life...


Celebrating 90

Some things are just hard to take in. One of these is the fact that today, my grampa celebrates his 90th birthday. NINETY! 90! Nine-TY! Holy cow...he deserves a celebration!

My family is all gathered in Wisconsin and with his friends and extended family, they will be having a huge farm-themed birthday party to celebrate all the years of my grampa's life. I wish I could be there, but helaas, it will be only in heart.

I'd just like to tell my grampa: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Congratulations! And may it be a day filled with love, laughter, and lots of games of cribbage, a whole table full of cheese cubes, and a whole cooler of cold beer!

Here's a little something I wrote for my grampa, today on his birthday. It's a bit on the novice side, but to be perfectly honest, I think it suits him just perfectly. I can already hear his laugh as he reads the memories of chasing the piggies, playing Santa Claus, and all the adding machine tape he used to find lying around the house.

Memories Of The Farm
Through the eyes of a little girl
Written by Tera, for her wonderful Grampa
On his birthday today, 90 years, give a whirl!

I remember back
To piggies on the farm
Running through the corn fields
Chasing them away from harm.

The always present cream puffs
And homemade applesauce
People playing cards all night
The stacks of empty yogurt cups
We weren’t allowed to toss

Annie’s bedroom with closets full of clothes
I wasn’t allowed to go in there
But still sneaked a peek or two
Whenever I would dare.

Jeff and Jan had the video game
We were allowed to play
Their room at the back always dark
Where they would sleep away the day.

A hop and skip to Kim and Tracy’s house
We made a path through the corn
Cornhusk plates, mudpie cookies galore
For fairy friends we invented in the dewey morn.

The basement with all kinds of ‘toys’
Invented by grandkid girls and boys
A bike to ride across the floor
And an adding machine with tape galore

An old fashioned washing machine
Wring those clothes on through
And the chute for the laundry
Did a kid ever slide down there too?

The German Shepherd dog (Sonja?) was always there
Guarding the homestead as we ran around
Heading to Piggly-Wiggly and the ice cream shop
For kids at play there was fun abound.

The creek where we weren’t supposed to go alone
We managed to find our way there quite often unknown
Christmas with the decorated tree
And always a visit from Santa Claus-who could that be?

My Misty got hit there, on that busy road
And that was a day when many tears flowed.
The Spanish bull-fighter adorned the living room
I dreamed of being the girl in the red dancing costume.

And yes, this was all many years ago
These memories that flood my heart and my soul
A home where I was always welcome and free
To be a child, a girl who grew up to be me.

And it was there, on Grampa’s farm
That I learned to love this man full of charm
His laughter still fills up a room
A hearty and full-bellied laugh, like a boom.
His stories of the past, so enlightening
Some of his experiences in life, downright frightening.
The love he still holds for his wife
Is testimony to the way he’s always lived his life.

This man is my grampa, I’m so proud to say
And it is in this special poetic way
I want to wish him, my special grampa,

I love you, Grampa! Love, Tera

September 19, 2008


How Can We Be A Friend?

This morning when I logged onto the computer, I had a message that I wasn't prepared for. Months ago, I contacted an old friend of mine and she responded, but i haven't heard from her since. Today, I received another email from her, and when I saw her name staring me back from my inbox, a surge of joy spread through me. An old friend, someone I shared a great deal of time with in a very extreme environment, where we clasped arms and walked down the street, a friend with whom I shared a closeness and bond so strong we purchased friendship rings and wore them faithfully. She is someone whom has never left my head...or my heart. And yet, we haven't been in touch since 1995, when I last visited her and she told me that she wasn't in a plce at that moment in time in which she could be my friend. It was hard, yes, but honest. And it wasn't that I wasn't someone she didn't want to be friends with, more that she was experiencing things in her own life that couldn't allow her to be a good friend to me. And so, we broke contact. And still, I thought of her often.

So, there was her name, staring back at me. Like I said, I felt joy that she was again willing to try anew with our relationship. But then, I read the email. And the joy turned to pain and sadness as she told her story of struggles in her life, and her numerous suicide attempts, and how she is, at this moment, planning yet another suicide. She remarked on the fact that she hasn't been in contact sooner, because she has nothing good to offer me, and that she is sorry. As I reread her email again and again, I was struck with the nostalgia of our friendship, the beauty we shared as two women scarred with different issues, yet both searching together to find a place for us in the world. And we did find that place, within each other, and the boundaries of our friendship. But now, that place has been removed, and her struggles are taking over her life, and she can see no way out of the hellhole other than an end to her own life.

When I was younger, I moved to LA. It was not out of excitement for trying out the California lifestyle or wanting to check out another new state on the map. It was a move from sheer need, as I was at a down point in my life and knew that if I didn't do something, I would be gone. I needed help. So, I sought out help after contemplating suicide myself, being so disgusted with the person I was that I could no longer stand to be held in the confines of her body. At that point in my life, my weight issues, which I had dealt with daily from the time I was young, hadd become too much for me to bear. And they were causing an outgoing, fun, beautiful person to become angry, bitter, ugly, and self-conscious. I stayed to myself. I turned into a recluse and hated who I was. When I finally came to terms with the fact that I was headed down the wrong road, I searched out someplace I could get help, dealing with my weight and all the issues that surrounded it. And I found a treatment center in California that dealt specifically with people just like me. So, I rounded up the money from my savings, asked friends to borrow, and bought a plane ticket, leaving my little pooch behind with my parents. I planned to stay about 6 weeks, the allotted amount of time for the treatment program, give or take a few, but I ended up staying over a year. I learned a lot about myself during that time, and the therapy we took part in was intense. I ended up staying nearly 3 months in the treatment center, and after I found a job with one of the men who was also a patient at the center. It was an inpatient treatment center for all eating disorders, from obesity to bulimia and anoerexia. And those people I met during my time in the hospital became very close friends. They knew me from inside out, the very core of my feelings, things that had happened in my lfie that nobody else to this day still knows. It was what I needed, and I started feeling acceptance and love and a genuine desire to live after my stay at the facility. It was here that I met my friend I now speak of, and though I dealt with being overweight, she dealt with bulimia. And though I still suffer from being overweight, she still suffers from bulimia. Eating disorders are not quick to cure. However, I have found happiness, comfort, and my place in the world (at least to some extent...I still have those days where my weight issues are sincere struggles), while my friend has not. She still feels unworthy of hope. She feels unworthy of life. And she feels alone, and scared, and in pain.

So, I wrote her an email back, reminding her of why I thought she was worthy of my friendship, why I care about her, why I hope she will reconsider her suicide plans and try again to find happiness and pece with her life. I told her that she was reaching out by writing to me, that she is strongbecause her body ahs not yet given up, and that I still truly and sincerely care about her. All the while, I was thinking back to walking down the streets of LA with her, arms joins, as we made our way to our favorite frozen yogurt shop, or ducked into a shop to look at the beautiful hand-blown glass. I felt the comfort I had with her, the acceptance, the love, the knowing she was there for me as I was for her...and I didn't know how to tell her, through her pain, how very much she is worth, how much this world needs her, how much she has to offer. To tell her that it really will be okay. That I want to be here for her, that I want to be her friend, that I want to help her through this time. All the years and years she has been abusing not only her body, but also her soul...that we can make it all okay. But how do i tell her, how can I assure her, how can I be the light that helps her shine?

Being a friend is an honor. And I am honored that, even through her pain and all the years that separate us, she has turned to me. I hope beyond hope, that I can help her see that she is worth it.



I just returned home from the dentist...for teh second time in a week. I am not one that thrives on going to the dentist. Though I do love the way my mouth feels after a good cleaning, I always get a little nervy when the appointment nears. Especially, when I know it's not just a check-up and cleaning, but to have work done.

So, last week I got a filling, which was right near the roots with the probability of a necessary root canal. I have never had one and it doesn't sound like much fun, so I was hoping the filling would work out okay. And to date, it seems okay, just not perfect. In general, I feel no pain, but every couple days I suddenly get this debilitating crazy ouch pain that lasts for an hour until pain relievers kick in. The dentist told me to just see how it goes, see if I can handle it, and hope that within a few months it's all well.

Today, I had to have a tooth fixed that broke off the day before we left for summer vacation. And he informed me that it's another one of those probable root canal situations. And he loaded me up with numbing shot, but my tooth never really went numb. So, he tries again, waits another 10 minutes, still not numb. He starts drilling anyway and YOWWWW! That hurt like the devil. The squeal that exited my mouth could be heard a few streets further up. But he says: Just another second, come on, you can do this.

And I did. Pain, yes, but it was over in a matter of minutes and he used a whole lotta filling to fix the ole tooth with the hopes of not needing a root canal. We'll see. Anyway, though my tooth never numbed, the side of my cheeks did, and I am sitting here waiting for that weird feelign to go away. I hate drooling! ;-)

So, that's about it from the excitement of my life. I think that's enuf excitement. Sometimes just blending into life without tooo much excitement can be a good thing.


A Whole Lotta Stuff

First and Foremost, let me take just a moment to remember the lives of my fellow Americans seven years ago today. 911, a day that changed the world. A few days back Erwin and I were watching a documentary about 911. He told me that he never had the opportunity to see the twin towers in person. I looked at him in shock and horror. In all of our travels, my husband never had the experience of seeing the New York skyline as it was meant to be. I am thankful that I did. That remembering the way it used to be (in more ways than one) and taking to heart all the lives forever changed, the lives lost, the change that has since taken place in America. My son, just a newborn at the time, now 7 years old, without an awareness of life before 911. But I remember. And I choose to remember.

I took Jari to soccer practice yesterday. 2 other moms were there, 1 from our team, the other from another team. We used to all be incorporated into one team, but they spilt off this year. We moms weré talking, discussing the split teams (something that doesn't bother me in the least, but which seems to threaten every other 'soccer mom'...yeah, you know the ones...that can't go to the bathroom without another mommy there to hold their hand...uh huh). ANyway, the mom from our team told the other mom that she hates the split because she has NOONE to talk to any more. Uhm, HELLO??? Am I NOONE? Do you see me standing here? Am I nothing to you? Talk about feeling hammered into the ground. Made me re-feel all the reasons I do not fit into European life. Made me struggle to keep my head on and not pack my bags for 'home'. I mean really, how utterly rude can a person be? I sincerely wish I had said soemthing at the moment it happened. Instead, I hung my head in shame, my mind a whirlwind of reactions I should have used. Rude, plain and simple.

We have new neighbors. While we were in the states, the new neighbors moved in. They are a young (early 20's) Turkish couple and live upstairs with the plan to rent the downstairs. Anyway, I hadn't had contact with them, until....
I was cutting up a tree we were pruning. They came knocking on my door later that evening and told me that my mess was bothering them. That they like things to be neat and proper, and wanted me to move my mess from the front of their garage. Well, I assured them that I would be cleaning up the mess, but that I planned to finish cutting the tree before I took it all to the dump. And then I sprung on them that actually, the garage they want the mess moved from is illegal and needs to come down. They told me they has asked to have it legalized. Monday morning I went to the city hall and inquired about our rights and whether permission was granted for the garage to stand. It wasn't. I was informed I needed to have a surveyor come and speak with the notary that drew up the paperwork when we purchased our home. So, I called the surveyor and they came...and I discovered that we own more land than I realized and we can take access of all of it (if we choose to be bitchy neighbors, which we won't, but still...). The way our house is divided is a complete disarray and in order to access their yards, both our neighbors need access through our land. And, we are willing to give them that access, as long as they remove the old garage which borders our property...and was placed there illegally and still sits there illegally. Anyway, I so want to go and throw a whole lot of tree branches right on my property (which backs the door to the illegal garage) and make as big a mess as I can, because I can, because it's my land, and the hostile neighbors had NO right to come and tell me to move my mess in the first place. I am happy we're going to get this all corrected, but I am sorry there has to be trouble with the neighbors. Until now, we have loved our neighborhood and direct neighbors, and we all coexist happily...without much interaction other than a friendly hello on ocassion...but now, it seems the war is on. I just hope it doesn't coem down to a court battle. I am really nervous about that happening. But, I am not willing to lose the land I pay taxes for and in which my children could have space to play, and I could grow a bigger garden on. So, I will be fighting for what is rightfully mine.

Today we had family counseling at the psych hospital. It was a difficult appointment for me. They are discovering that Kaeden's reaction to feelings comes in the form of anger. Since he doesn't know how to show sadness, worry, fear, confusion, or anger, he just wallops it all together in a big fit of rage. This made a lot of sense to me...but it still hurts. Now, how to go about helping him to understand emotions. I hope they have some advice to go with the observations. There was a whole lot more that happened during the session, but I 'won't get into all of it. However, Kaeden had a bad day yesterday, which made them try to determine what happened that made him upset, since he can't voice his emotions. It finally came out that mama cried when she told Kaeden goodbye during their visit and he didn't know why she was crying...and it bothered him...and it always bothers him when mama cries, because he doesn't know why mama is crying. And when I was asked to explin it to him, I cried again...and so did my son...which seems to me a very positive reaction in a child who has difficulty showing emotion. I think, as difficult as the session was for all of us, it was also a very rewarding one.

So, we got home to pick Jari up from daycare, where he was instructed to go when school let out. EXCEPT, Jari forgot he was supposed to go to daycare this afternoon...so, there stood my little guy, in the schoolyard waiting for mama, and waiting, and waiting...until finally the teacher waiting with him took him in her car to daycare, still unsure where mama was. Even when I am on track and have everything scheduled out and I'm doing all a mama is supposed to do...well, even then, it sure seems like I manage to screw things up...even when it's not my fault!!! When I asked him if he was sad or scared waiting for me, and Erwin asked if he cried, he said "No, I just had sand in my eyes." I think that says enough, even if it is cute in that sorta sad little boy way.

So, can I possibly fit anythign else on this page? Of course I can!!! :-0 But I'm going to stop here and go rest after a busy day of emotions and more emotions floating in, upon, and around me. Until tomorrow (when the workers will hopefully be replacing the sidewalk that they removed from the front of my house this morning and is now a huge dirt pit in which to fall and bring even more dirt into the house with.....)


No Flow

My words seem to be unable to flow. I am trying to write something special for my grampa's 90th birthday party and I haven't managed to put together a single coherent line...just lots of little thoughts all stuck in mourning in my head, waiting for their place in this wonderful story creation which lives in my brain, but not on paper. I come here to write what's happening and tell the stories of our family and after writing a couple lines I hit the X and close it down, because my thoughts are just not ready to be released into words. My parents called me yesterday and I think they are probably still shaking their heads in confusion. I spoke with them but I am not sure the conversation was a very productive one. Even to my own ears I sounded in a distant land and my thoughts were strangled as I tried to form them into words.

I think my brain is full...full of too much and ready to explode, but not in the meaningful, wordy way I am desiring. Too many thoughts, too many opinions, too many reviews, too many memories...and too little actual writing to release it all.


Feeling Lost

I am home. Yet, things have a very different feel to me after having been in the states on vacation for the past few months. I feel a little lost, really, as if I have been welcomed home, but the home is not my own. I go through the daily rituals of cleaning and cooking and caring for my family, and everything is just where I left it, yet I sometimes turn to the wrong drawer for a spoon or reach into the wrong cupboard for the cleaning solution. Since our arrival home, there has been so much happening, and I feel just gruesomely tired, as if sleep has betrayed me and I could hunker down for months.

But I think it all stems from the absence of my son in our presence. I await 6pm when I can call him, hear his voice, and conclude that he's doing okay. I walk through our home and don't have his clothes, his messes, his backpack to clean up off the floor. And it has made my life less complicated, less worrisome, less stressed, in simple terms. I have one less person in which to consider when making plans, one less person in which to care for. And that's just not how it's supposed to be. I am sincerely and truly missing my first-born son. Since his birth, I have always had him present, creating havok in my home, just as children are wont to do, are supposed to do. And now, I am lost, his mama without the responsibility of being his mama. The only thing that makes me so is those phone calls that offer me just a slight recapture of having him in my presence, in my home, in my life....and the worries about him that never subside for even a nano-second in time, whether here, there, or anywhere.

The positive side to this is the quality time I have been awarded with Jari. He and i have spent numerous hours just being together, playing, craving an undivided attention from his mama which being a second child has never before been granted. He has asked me more questions about autism in the past week than I knew his little mind held. Yesterday, upon his arrival home from school, he said very matter-of-factly: Mama, all people are the same, right? Except people with autism are not the same as everyone else. Cuz they have a different brain, right mom?

It made me wonder what conversation took place at school, what considerations he makes confronted with explaining who people are, what makes a person alive, happy, successful. How does he come to terms with having an autistic brother, being confronted with problems that a child his age should never have to become acquainted with? And yet, is it broadening his view of people, of accepting people with differences, of making him into a non-judgemental being in a world where judgement and superiority reign?

I am feeling just a little secluded from life as I know it. I circle around, looking for myself, trying to find me, discover where I left her when she ran off on vacation numerous weeks prior. She is not here, but in her place a mama, wife, homemaker with the exact same face, same values and morals...with just a little less energy, a little different form of worry, a little more time on her hands. And a deeper understanding of what it means to cherish her children, whether it be in the form of taking them for a bike ride and baking waffles, or making that phone call to tell them goodnight when the six oçlock bell rings.


Happy Birthday Lil Bug

My dear little Jari,

This weekend we celebrated your birthday. The day 7 years ago in which mama gave birth to my littlest pride and joy, bringing with you a complete picture to our family portrait. And in the past seven years, your presence in our family has been one of importance as your smile lights up the lives of all the rest of us.

Jari, I couldn't love you any more than I do. You are so full of wit and you have the power to make mama laugh more than anyone else in the world. I can be in your presence and for no reason at all, other than you, I start to giggle and laugh and smile, unable to control the happiness that emanates from me. You are so very introspective, and watching you decipher the world and it's workings makes me take a second look at what is going on as well...just how does this all work and come together?

Sometimes I get annoyed with you. You can never come to me and ask when you have a question, but scream from wherever you happen to be "Mama! MAAAMMMAAAA! MMMMMAAAAAMMMMMAAAAAAA!!!" until I inevitably make my way to your side and can hear what it is that you need. Or the way you throw yourself upon the ground, wherever you are, when something isn't to your liking. "I can't walk. I can't carry my bag. I can't...I can't...I can't" all the while lying upon the ground or floor rolling around as if in pain. And the seatbelt issue. My dear son, since your birth, you have been required to wear a seatbelt. Put it on already and be safe. Even if you have travel sickness, that is no excuse to not wear your safety belt in the car. And no, it's not safe if you have it stretched 100 miles long wrapped only around your big toe.

But there are other things in which take away every annoyment we pass throughout the day. "Mama, may I help you cut the fruit? Mama, will you please come play soccer with me? Mama, can I help you fold the clothes? Mama, would you read me this story?" And then, there is bedtime, when my favorite moment of the day is upon us, snuggling together in bed when I read you your chosen book, and you tell me all about the story in your own words after each page. And often, halfway through the book, something else crosses your mind and we spend ten minutes just discussing something that we did, something that made you happy, something you are excited about. And then, as fast as the conversation began, you suddenly tell me to finish the story, my mind in a whirlwind. After the light is out I begin to sing, all your favorite bedtime songs, and without doubt you will tell me "Mama, the two dinosaurs and Sanomi and then one extra bonus, k?" as I hear sleep begin to overtake you. But still, you wiggle, first left and then right and then your feet between my legs and then all the covers shoved off and then rolling toward me. And always, always, I await the coming moment, when your arm wraps around my neck and pulls me close and I can feel your sweet breath on my face as I softly sing into your ear and feel a total sense of peace envelop me, snuggled there next to you. Until you fall asleep and I can't bring myself to leave, because I am lying next to you with the strongest feeling of love I could begin to muster and I don't want to move, to break the spell, and often, I just fall asleep there next to you until Papa comes and wakes me later, and we've both shifted positions, and as I get up I give you a last goodnight kiss and tell you I love you and to have sweet dreams as your eyelashes flutter against my cheeks in response.

Every bathtime, I get glasses of bubbly beer from you, in which I have to pay 5 cents and you giggle as the bubbles foam against my lips and I pleasure you in taking a slug of the brew you have created. Or the times when we bathe together and play games with all the animals, and you sometimes squeal out "Mama, scoot over, you're taking alllllll my space" which I usually am.

How about the times you tell me I am the prettiest mama from all the kids in your class, except for Xander's mama.

Or how about when I hear you tromping downstairs and you appear at my side, a game in your hands, and ask with your big blue eyes looking at me pleadingly "Mama, will you play this with me?"

Yes, my little bug, you turned seven years old. Seven years of life, just the beginning. And I am so glad, for I want to share so much more with you, so many more smiles, so many more snuggles, so many more playdates and household chores together. Happy Birthday my darling son. May life be as happy for you as you have been for me. I love you. I couldn't love you even one tiny drop more.

Love Always, Mama XO