Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Exclusion Rips My Heart Out

I sit at the kitchen table. Peeling and slicing apples for pie. Liam
is in the other room, happily playing games on the computer.
He's quiet. He's happy. I'm enjoying the "down" time.

I gaze out the window at the freshly falling snow. I admire the beauty
of the trees covered in  white fluff. I begin to hear
children laughing. Children screaming. Children having fun. Then I see
all the neighborhood children, dragging sleds and
embarking on the trek to the hill. They are going sledding.

A tear creeps from my eye, and I wipe it before it rolls into the
apples. Before I know it, it's followed by more. I am crying.
Silently I weep, while in the other room, my son has no clue as to my pain.

No one knocks on our door to ask Liam to play. No one thinks of
including him. This rips my heart out. Today Liam has no clue.
Other days he asks, "Momma, how come I always ask kids to play (sled) with me, but how come they don't ask me to play (sled) with them?"

You see, he knows. He knows he's not included. He knows he's
different. He knows the other children know this.

So even though, at this moment it isn't phasing him, it's enraging me.

I shove the feelings down. I bury them deeper. Liam begins chatting
about his game. His current perseveration is this game, so it's all he talks
about. I start to wash the dishes.

Now the children are heading home. Still laughing. Still happy.
Walking through my yard to get home. They don't need to walk
through my yard. It's actually the long way home.

I want to scream at them. I want to tell them to get the hell out of
my yard. But I don't.

I don't because they are just kids. Even though these are the kids
that call my child an "autistic r-word." Even though these are the kids
that call him gay. Even though these are the very same kids that make
our lives hell in the warmer months, I don't say a word.

I keep quiet because it does no good. I keep quiet because they are a
product of their environment. I keep quiet because they are kids. Just kids.

I have reached out to them. To their parents. It does no good. They
still bully my child. So, even though I know my son is
better off NOT playing with them, it still rips my heart out.

To have a child who's not wanted. Not included. Not cared about. It
hurts. It rocks you to your core, and it hurts like hell.

This life isn't always easy. For them, or for us. But we need to keep
on, because some things will never change.

I put a smile on my face and I move on. I push the anger down, for
another day. Because today I don't have the strength to
face it. Today, I just want to smile.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sensory Stocking Stuffer Ideas for a buck!

    If you read my letter to a Good Samaritan, then you know what our financial situation is. Let's face it, money is tight for everyone. We have to save it where we can.

    One way I do that is by shopping at our local Dollar Tree. I'm sure you all have one in your town. They have EVERYTHING! Am I right?

    What some people don't know is all the sensory stuff they have there. Okay, pet peeve of mine is places that sell "sensory items" for an arm and a leg when you can get the same thing, or something similar for next to nothing else where.

    So what I decided to do was to go online and collaborate a list of sensory items that would make great stocking stuffers for the seeker in your life.

**NOTE: My Dollar Tree actually has even more sensory items such a "floam" and pop toobs, but I couldn't find them on their web site. Also, not EVERY Dollar Tree has the same things, so products may vary in your store. You can order online, but the lowest quanity was 6 of each item**

Without further ado, here it is!

Check out all these AUSOME items! One thing I want to point out is Theraputty. That stuff is pricey! Why not buy some putty from the Dollar Tree, and add your own items to it for kids to manipulate?

Here's a break down with links to make this even easier for you.

    Spring Toy (Slinky)

Liam's favorite sensory item!

A toy to squeeze and a toy to smell ;)

Liam LOVES this stuff. I always have it on hand!

Also a favorite of Liam's

Who doesn't love play dough?

How cute are these guys?

So there ya have it. A ton of sensory fun for just a few bucks. Head to your local Dollar Tree and see what goodies you can find!

**Dollar Tree did NOT pay me for this post. I am just trying to help out other Special Needs Parents**

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tears in Heaven

    A year ago today, I got a call that no one wants to get. My beloved papa Ross suffered a massive stroke and was rushed to the nearest hospital. (which happens to be in Maryland as they live on an island in Va) The prognosis wasn't good. There weren't a lot of details. I became numb.

    While my mother gathered her wits, and some necessities, my father and Pita took her to the airport. She got an emergency flight out to get there quicker. They rushed my papa into the OR, but even that was in vain.  By the time all of this happened, it was the next day. Call it fate, but my mom happened to be able to meet my aunt on the connecting flight in Philly, so they could go the rest of the way together. That evening, after finally arriving, they joined my gram and my papa.

    I rushed over to my father's because my dad is lost without my mom. I had started cooking him meals as soon as I knew she was leaving. She called us with an update, and said it wouldn't be long. I couldn't even tell him goodbye over the phone because when he was spoke to, his blood pressure would sky rocket and his oxygen would bottom out. (his living will stated he couldn't be sustained on life support, so Gram only kept him on so he could say good bye to his girls.)

                                                        I was devastated.

    Knowing there was nothing else I could do, we went home. Just before we got out of cell service my phone rang. It was my dad. He told me, the three said their good byes and my papa went to be with our Lord. I was thankful in that moment that he was no longer suffering, but I was angry. It was so sudden. He was seemingly healthy. He had been fishing with his buddy all day, and came home and that was it.

    The darkness in the car was a God send, for I hate people to see me crying. I turned the radio up a bit and wept. I had only 10 minutes before we would be home, and Liam can't stand to see me cry. (Supposedly autistics lack empathy, but not my kid.)

    I explained to Liam that great papa was gone. He knew the outlook was grim. We prepared him from the get go. His therapists were even ready with a grieving plan in the event that he needed it. He didn't it. Oddly, my son is sometimes so much stronger than a child should be.

    Out of nowhere, tears would start to slide down my cheeks, and I'd try to wipe them away. Liam would notice. He would stop what he was doing to comfort me. He's always been a little man in that respect.

    At this point my father was losing it. He's never been away from my mom, only ONE time in their almost 30 years of marriage. He wanted to be with his wife. Comforting and consoling her. We decided that we would drive him down in his car. We would stay just two days and come home with his car, and he would come home later with Papa's truck.

    The trip was long. Much longer for my father. We finally arrived in Virginia, and gram, mom and Aunt J seemed to be in a great spirits despite. It was a hard couple days. I was afraid to say the wrong thing and make more memories for my gram or my mom. I stayed pretty quiet, just taking it all in.

    For Liam it was exciting. We don't go on trips often, let alone so far. We were staying in a hotel. We took him to see the beach (even though it was freezing.) I said my goodbye to papa on that beach. That was where his heart belonged. He and gram vacationed on this island, LONG before they lived here. Finally retiring to their dream town. My papa spent the majority of his days fishing the surf. Gram in her chair, reading in the sun.

(Papa and I circa 1989)

    We went back to the island this summer. This time with my sister and my brother. It was a melancholy experience. Seeing his office, where his truck sat, and where his boat rested, was hard. Pita calling gram on speaker phone to go visit her, and the machine picking up, with HIS voice, that was soul crushing. For a second my heart stopped. It was like I forgot he wasn't with us. I lost it.

  The beach was different. It was like he was there. Watching over us all as we frolicked in the surf. Smiling down as we laughed and enjoyed each other's company. (the first time we took Liam to the beach there, he was not quite 2. Poor papa was a nervous wreck watching him run to the waves with wild abandon. And the quietest, kindest man that I have ever known, actually cussed at some fishermen for fishing to close to his grand kids and great grand son. I almost died!)

    The one thing Liam wanted to do more than anything that vacation was to fish. To be like his great papa. And fish we did. All but one day that child had his pole in the water. Of course, great gram brought him his very own deep sea fishing pole. I know my papa was proud!

    Liam is now in love with that little island. And so am I. Grammy is still there, with my aunts. But so is grandpa. His heart, and his memory resides on that little island as well. As I sit typing this, tears pulsing in my eyelids, I long for the day when I can visit him again. When I can sit with grammy in the sun, and listen as she tells us stories of their time together.

In loving memory of Papa Ross.

Forever in my heart