Catharsis

I’m tired of the bullshit.
I’m tired of the lies.
I’m tired of the phony smiles that come with dagger eyes.

I’m sick of people in our lives
Who try to knock us down.
I wish things could better
But I end up as the clown.

I wanted so much more
For the children that I have.
I wanted unconditional love
To be a healing salve.

I wanted to know laughter,
Happiness, and joy.
But instead we just hear criticism
Tossed upon our boy.

Know that I slay dragons
I will fight you to the death.
I will make this world a better place
Until my dying breath.

You will never be permitted
To cast harsh judgement upon my babies.
For if you do, you must know this-
I shall see you burn in Hades.

You had a choice, you made it.
You only want to see the bad.
I feel only pity towards you.
You knew not what you had.

My babes are light and love and joy
And full of happiness.
You are dark and miserable
And will die of loneliness.

My girl makes this world better
With all the good she has inside.
My boy melts strangers that he meets
With his smile, bright and wide.

Understanding and compassion
Are ideas you just don’t get.
It must be awful to be you
On that, I’d surely bet.

Autism and ADD are not things
That bring us shame.
They are simply only challenges
And we will win this game.

You tell us that you love them
Then you judge behind our backs.
What you fail to understand
Is that I’m made of sharp, brass tacks.

You can no longer hurt me
Long ago you died to me.
I will not let you hurt my kids
You’ve made an enemy.

Our world is so much better
With our children part of it.
You should try to see them as we do
Instead of being full of shit.

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One Year Ago

Today is a sad day for me. It’s the anniversary of a day that brought so much joy, love, laughter and happiness into my life. You see, a year ago I had a visit from across the pond with some dear friends. They had flown to the US to visit with some family and friends and were making a stop here.

I had not seen either of them for over thirty-five years.

Backstory…
My friend Stacey and her mum were among the first people I had met as a baby. I was just a few months older than Stacey but I remembered her always as my best friend from childhood. She was pretty much the only happy memory I had as a child.

And then they moved to England.

I know it was so long ago but I remember crying for my friend for years.
We wrote an occasional letter and our mothers exchanged holiday cards and a photo from time to time, but this was decades before people carried little computers in their pockets and staying in touch required a lot of effort.
Phone calls were extremely expensive and even letters just grew to be too much.
We eventually lost contact.

About a year and a half ago, something stirred my memory and I began telling my husband about my best childhood friend.
Then I had an idea.
Facebook!
I mean, it’s only been a few dozen years. Why not try? So I put her name into the search box and crossed my fingers. How many people were going to pop up? I mean, Facebook is used all over the world, right? There were bound to be several people with the same name as well as the very likely possibility that she wasn’t on Facebook at all or she had changed her name. It was sort of a long shot.

I recognized Stacey’s face instantly when I saw her profile photo. I remembered her eyes that hadn’t changed in all of the years we were apart. I just knew it was her.
The questions and the anxiety started to flutter around.
Will she remember me?
Will she think I was some weirdo?
Will she even want to reply to me?
Eh. If she didn’t want to be bothered, it was ok. People are busy. We were just kids. What was a great friendship in my mind may have barely registered on her radar. Time changes a lot of things.
BUT…
What if she not only remembered me but we renewed our friendship? So…
I wrote her a message and clicked “send”.

We had dozens of email exchanges and it was as if we had been friends all along. Across many years and hundreds of miles, it was as if nothing had changed. You know, other than we grew up, I had a few kids, and we lived an ocean apart. You know, THAT.

One Year Ago…
We arranged to meet for lunch at a diner that is in my neighborhood at Sandy’s (mum) suggestion. That diner had been around since we were kids!
I arrived shortly before they did. I sat at a booth facing the door eagerly awaiting their arrival. I saw them from the window and resisted the urge to perform a running tackle from where I was. We had lunch and then continued dessert as a wonderful bakery nearby. We chatted for as long as we could. I reluctantly had to leave to get my kids from school. Then I had an idea- why not invite them for dinner? I did and after wandering the old neighborhood for a bit, they arrived at my house.

Having Stacey and Sandy in my life again was like finding a piece of my heart that I hadn’t even known was missing. We talked for hours. And hours. Sandy had known my dad since before he became sick with colon cancer. She told me things about my parents that I never knew. She validated beliefs I had held regarding my mother and assured me it wasn’t my imagination. She told me how much my dad loved me.
What Sandy gave me in those few hours were the gifts of a lifetime.
She gave me closure.
She gave me peace.
But even more, she gave me laughter. Both she and Stacy were SO hilarious together. They were both patient and kind with my children and my kids absolutely adored them as did my husband.

I really hated to see the evening end but it had to. They had to be getting back to the city and I had to get the kids to bed.

I wanted to drive them to their hotel but Sandy wouldn’t allow me to. I drove them to the train and we exchanged hugs and promises to keep in touch. Promises, I’m happy to say we have kept.

It pains me to no end that shortly after that visit, Sandy was diagnosed with cancer and dis not live much longer.
The world lost a beautiful, funny lady who once planked a desktop on a dare from her daughter. Her only child lost her incredible, loving mother. I lost someone who was so much more to me than just a friend. Her warmth and genuine ‘joie de vivre’ were an inspiration to me and my family.

Today…
Stacey and I stay in constant contact through Facebook and are planning a future visit. I hope to fly across the pond to visit her when my kids get a bit older.
I think of Sandy a lot and miss her terribly. I hope she knows how very special she was in my life. I like to think she does.

The diner we had lunch at that wonderful day has since closed its doors for good. It had been open for nearly forty years.
I know this much- it had never seen a happier reunion in all of its operating years than it did on that wonderful day.
It could never be topped.
Perhaps it felt it had done it’s job and was time to go.
It makes perfect sense to me.

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My Hero

My daughter received a homework assignment the other day. She was asked to write an essay about her hero. This afternoon she typed it up and then showed it to me.

I choked back the tears until I read it again, alone.

Now, I share it with you…

MY HERO

Heroes don’t have to be strong, or have laser vision, or be able to fly. They don’t even need a cape. They can just be someone who you look up to. Many people have heroes that don’t have super powers. Heroes can be anyone. My hero is my brother called ‘Nick’. Nick is very smart, kind, and is really good at building Lego items. The reason that Nick is my hero is because he is very creative and he encourages me to do my best. These are some of the reasons that my brother Nick is my hero.

My brother Nick is very creative in lots of ways. He loves to build Lego models. Recently my brother constructed a Lego stationary unit called the “Nick 5 Station”. He didn’t even use an instruction booklet! That is a reason that my brother Nick is my hero. Another reason that Nick is my hero is because he encourages me to do my best.For example, I am trying to build a house of cards.he sees that it fell. I am having trouble with it , and Nick says that I am doing a good job. He might come in the room and help me build it. He is very kind to me and he makes me feel like what I am doing is going to work great. Nick is also great at cheering me up when I feel upset. This is why Nick is my hero.

When you ask someone to describe a hero, he/she might say someone who fights crime and saves the day with their powers. But heroes do not have to be super or have powers. They can be a next-door neighbor, a friend,or even the guy who works in the ice-cream truck. But mine is my brother, Nick. He is creative, smart, and hens very kind and bright. Nick is a sibling, and a hero that makes me feel okay. That is why he is my hero.

So…
My daughter’s hero is her brother because of who HE IS.

My hero? Well, that would be my daughter.

I Hate Being Right

Yes. You read that correctly. I wrote “I Hate Being Right”. Well, ok. I exaggerated a little. I hate always being right about people. Since I was a kid, I have possessed the ability to read someone accurately within ten minutes. I have never been wrong, either. Well, I have gone against my gut and tried to see the good in someone only to learn that I should have followed my instincts from that first tingly meeting. Unfortunately, family is not exempt from my ability, although being wrong where they are concerned is a lot more painful.

If you have read my “Vicious Cycle” post, you know that I didn’t grow up having a rose colored childhood. My shades were definitely more of the black and blue variety. Shortly after my father died, my mother took me to see Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. She told me that if I made a wish when I entered a new church, it would come true. Since I was still drinking the holy water catholic cool aid back then, I stupidly wished for my father to come back to life. Naturally, that didn’t happen so I started wishing for something a little more possible. I wished for a family.
A REAL family. The kind you would see on tv in a 30 minute show. Sure they’d have problems but nothing that couldn’t be fixed at the end of the program and all was well again. Everyone loved each other and there was always a happy ending, right? Yeah. Not real.

My mother severed all ties with my father’s family after he died. Then she reunited with her long lost family- a bunch of narrow minded, right winged, racists. I did NOT fit in there at all. In addition to being an only child, I was the only cousin in my age range. I was too young to sit with the cool teenaged kids and too old to be one of the adorable, doted on toddlers. It’s not fun to feel like an outcast in your own family but over the years I tried ( despite my radically different opinions) to fit in. I bit my tongue a lot and stayed quiet as a church mouse at most get togethers. As I got older and graduated college, I became more accepted by the older cousins because I loved to travel and participate in adventurous things. I gained a little of their respect and tried again to form a bond. My cousin Mark took that as an invitation to stick his tongue down my throat one Christmas Eve Needless to say, ties were severed.

The day I married my husband was unquestionably the happiest day of my life. I was happy for so many reasons but one of the biggest was I felt like I was finally getting the family I had so desperately wanted. My husband had an older brother and an older sister and I was so excited to accept them as my own siblings. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out quite the way I had hoped. My new parents in law were the loveliest people. They never once made me feel unwelcome in their home. I have always felt close to them since even before my husband and I married.
Unfortunately, that closeness didn’t carry over to the rest of his family. My brother in law and I have a lot of similarities. I get him. He’s different, quirky, and likes to push buttons as well as envelopes. He is brilliant and funny and unpredictable. When he is “on” , there is nobody I enjoy being around more than my brother in law. And now, his new wife.

My sister in law however, has been a constant enigma to me. When I was pregnant with my first child, she threw my baby shower. I named her as my daughter’s godmother. I thought of her as one of my closest friends. I was overjoyed with the thought of finally having the sister I had always wanted.
When she found a boyfriend however, all of that perceived closeness instantly evaporated. She disappeared from our lives. I was left sad and frustrated. Where was this person who came over and visited weekly? Where did my daughter’s aunt run off to? I tried calling her to talk about it, I even cried to her about it (hello? I don’t cry, people. Not in front of anyone, ever). While the relationship never really got back on track, it waxed and waned and I accepted it for what it was, friendly but distant. It was ok. Until she ended her nearly ten year long relationship. Then she was over at my house weekly again, offering to watch the kids, hang out, even stopping over on weekends to take them to breakfast. The kids LOVED it. They soaked it up like little sponges.
(can you see where I’m headed with this? Because I called it three months ago).
Now she has a new boyfriend. And she has once again disappeared. I’m fine with it frankly because I know the drill. This ain’t my first rodeo with this woman. However, this afternoon my son asked me a question that I found myself too raw to answer.

My innocent little boy asked, “Doesn’t Aunt J. love us anymore? She never comes around to see us.”.

How do you answer that? I hate lying so I answered as truthfully and protectively as I could. “Of course she loves you, she is just busy right now.”. Then I went into distract him mode and put on a video game as fast as I could.

I should NOT have had to answer that question. It never should have had to been asked as far as I’m concerned.

Long ago I gave up ever having the ideal version of a loving extended family. I will never have that. After my mother died, I cut ties with her family. I felt no need to pretend anymore and I surely didn’t want to subject my children to some of their bigoted ideas. Now that my child has autism, I’m even more thankful they aren’t around. I can only imagine the comments I would have had to deal with.

A parent always wants more for their children than they had. I gave my kids even less family than I had when i was a child. It breaks my heart that my little boy, who is thankfully oblivious to most things, feels like someone he adores no longer loves him. My daughter says nothing, though I’m certain she shares some of her brother’s thoughts about this.

As their mom? My gloves are off. I’m done playing nice. You hurt my child and you have made a grave error in judgement. I’m done giving out second chances. You don’t get to pop in and out of my children’s lives on a whim. You’re in or you’re out.
You know who you are.
It’s time to make a choice.
I suggest you make the right one.