Tuesday, November 26, 2013


A few days ago, I noticed that there was a box of old toys sitting at the end of a driveway in our neighborhood.  I'd passed several times and never really thought about what was in it until one day I had the realization that someone had made a conscious effort to go through a child's belongings and decide what should be discarded and what should be kept.

Was it an effort to make room for the new things that would be coming wrapped gayly in shiny christmas themed paper sitting under an equally gayly decorated tree?

Was it because said child needed more space in their room or was it because that same child had lost interest in these "old" toys and no longer loved or played with them?  Was it just because?

A few days later I noticed that several of the toys had been taken from the box.  No doubt, the sidewalk gods had visited and pleased with the offereings, took them to a new home to a new child.  New toys to play with.  Quite probably a gift that would be wrapped gayly in shiny christmas themed paper sitting under an equally gayly decorated tree and opened by a child filling the room with squeals of delight and love for their new toy.

They would hug it and love it and pet it and name it...

Then I thought what life must be like for that child and those parents.  To be in a place in life in which you must pull items from a trash pile, clean them up the best you can and offer them to your child for christmas must be disheartening.  And for the child to know that this is not a new toy because there's no box or tag must pierce a heart just enough to bring a drop of blood.

To borrow a line from a song, "Love is the rock we throw ourselves against."  Well, this is that parent's and that child's rock.  Love picked that toy up.  Love cleaned it up.  Love will wrap it up and put it under that tree and love will light that child's face up and heal that pierced heart.

I'm not sad for them.  It took greater fortitude to stop their vehicle, get out and rummage through that box risking derision and pity from those of us who might have seen them.  It took courage.  More courage than I have.  That parent isn't driven by the latest and greatest item that Target or Toys R Us tells us we must have. They aren't spending the night in a line outside a store to purchase whatever the current craze might be.  They are too busy dealing with life.

I believe that child will be just as happy with a used, castoff toy that their parent took the time to rescue and clean up for them.  I believe that child will grow up understanding what giving is supposed to be about.

I wonder if the rest of us do.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


My youngest graduates High School today.  This is one of the major milestones in one's life and what a wild, twisting, winding, bumpy, pot-hole-filled road it's been.  I will never EVER say that's it's been easy or without anguish, tears, angry words and total frustration because it has been.  Getting a piece of coal to a diamond takes lots of heat and pressure and time.  Good lord, I thought child-birth was hard.

As a parent, it is now our job to push him out of the next and you'd think that having already done so with our oldest, this would be a cakewalk.  It's anything but.  It scares the hell outta me.  The oldest is in college and safely (mostly) ensconsed in the protective (mostly) confines of a dorm on campus.  He's not out there having to face the cold, cruel world just yet.  It's coming.  But, the youngest is heading out to another state to work, to get paid, to manage money, to follow rules set by someone other than his parents.  To survive and my mind spins in vicious circles asking and arguing with myself over whether we've fully prepared him for what's coming.

And I just don't know.  I guess we won't know for years to come.  I believe that we've done our best, that we've taken from our own experiences as young adults and tried to teach him or at least explain to him the possibilities-both good and bad-that are out there.  Whether any of that has penetrated his still developing brain is anybody's guess.

I worry because when demon-spawn isn't standing in my kitchen, he's the kindest, most generous, most loving and trusting child I have and it scares me because that opens him to all sorts of people who will take advantage of him.  I've already seen it in some of the people he calls friends.  Friends of convienence.  Friends who need a ride.  Friends who need a coke.  Friends who need a sandwich.  Friends who need and rarely give back.  It breaks my heart.

My oldest's soul is like memphis bbq.  His flame burns low and slow.  My youngest is a Thai wok.  His flame burns hot, bright and fast and it consumes a lot of energy and resources.  He has a mind that is on super sonic speed all the time and it's exhausting just trying to keep with, much less stay ahead of him all the time.

Both boys' souls were brought to us for a reason.  Their souls have been surrounded by this group of souls for a reason.  Some souls have moved in and out of the group and those that have come back, have come back for a reason.  I know that ALL of the souls in this circle have lessons to be learned from this group.  Our job is to figure out what they are and evolve from them.

I have found strength in many of the people traveling in this circle of souls.  Sometimes in the most unlikliest of people and I've also found judgement.  None, though, have judged me more harshly than I have myself.  I suppose all parents go through this and I suppose I'm not different than any other parent, it's just that in this moment, I feel like I'm the only parent out there with a child about to walk out into the cold, cruel world.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Felt His Anguish

We were at dinner with friends for another friend's birthday.  I saw them walk in, a mother, older, a son, maybe in his early 20's and a father.  All seemed relatively normal so I didn't pay much attention.  When we all walked in, the family was sitting at a table behind us and I heard the son say something along the lines of, "Girls!"  I was then aware that his mental age was maybe 5, maybe 6.
What happened next had a startling affect on me.  He began to act out a little.  Like any child, he was hungry and when children get hungry they get aggitated.  Those of us who have children have all experienced this.  All you want is a cracker to shove in their mouths.  A kingdom for a cracker.
He was hungry.  He was a 5 year old in a 20 year old body that weighed 300lbs and he wanted a fucking cracker.  He started his tantrum.  It was a 5 year old's tantrum in a 20 year old's body.  He began to cry and beg his parents not to make him leave because he was hungry and he would be good.  All of this while pushing himself in his chair across the restaurant towards the back and all the while, his mother telling the people around them that they were trying to get him out.
A 5 year old, you can pick up and sling over your shoulder or your hip.  Not a 20 year old, 300lb human with the mind of a 5 year old.
I felt his anguish.  I felt how badly he wanted a cracker or his dinner.  I felt his parents' anguish at having a son who isn't like other sons.  Parents who tried to deal with him with calm and patience.  Parents who have probably seen this behavior numerous times and who probably hope that this would be the last time but who probably know it won't.  Parents who are trying to have a normal life and give their son a normal life but who know it's anything but normal.  Parents who live with the stress everyday of not knowing how their son will behave next.  Parents just trying to raise a child and give him a cracker.
I felt that to my soul and it hurt.  I also heard and saw the reactions of the people around them.  The staring.  The whispering behind their hands.  They were afraid and they were judging and THAT pissed me off.  It made me angry and hurt for that family.  A family who has a soul that chose them and chose to manifest as a child in an adult's body.  A soul that mixed with many souls who were in that moment and all together for a reason.  There was something to learn.
Sad thing is, most of those people staring and whispering have missed the lesson.  Most didn't feel what I felt or those parents felt or that child felt.  They were too wrapped up in having their dining experience messed up by a child who just wanted something to eat.
Most were probably thinking, "There but for the grace of God," and I'm thinking, "There by the grace of God."  I realized that though there are times when we struggle with our children, our problems are not nearly as profound or hard as theirs.  And while our boys are young with still developing male brains, they are not 5 year olds who only know that in that moment they wanted a fucking cracker.  And we are parents who can still handle our boys.  And for the most part, we can be confident that when we go out in public, we won't have an incident or episode that disrupts our evening and causes other ignorant people to talk behind their hands and whisper hurtful or judemental things about us.  At least not for that reason.
I also realized that the love those parents have for their child is truly unconditional and I felt humbled because I haven't always been able to say that about my children.  It had to be unconditional otherwise, why continue to put yourself in that situation?  They just want a normal child.  They don't have it.  I'm sure they are doing the best they can and it's put me to shame.  And it should have shamed everyone in that restaurant who has children or who was thinking of having children and who said, "There but for the grace of God," but should be saying, "There BY the grace of God."
I will find and carry that fucking cracker for my children and will remember that incident forever and will remember this lesson everytime I lose my patience with my children.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Things You Find

So, I'm cleaning up the back yard which includes scooping Abbey's (the lab puppy) poop. Now, for most people, that would be an unremarkable thing because for most people, dog poop would be just dog poop.

Not on Maury street and not in our back yard. It's an adventure. Today, I found a piece of RCA universal remote, numerous pieces of a blue, silicone supposedly indestructible chew toy, about 8' of multicolored yarn, a pile of poop that only had enough poop in it to bind together the 2 lbs of various pieces of fabric from what I can only assume were once stuffed animal chew toys and the lid from a small plastic bottle that once contained my test strips.

She's also very fond of pooping in the monkey grass and vinca major and one can only assume she does that to hide her poop from us so that we can't see how much crap is IN her poop.

Clever girl.


BREAKING NEWS: This just in....A rodent aka flying squirrel aka sugar baby was released from her kidnappers and torturers aka "those damn cats" and one eager bouncy lab puppy this morning at approximately 4:32AM. The victim was found confined in the bathroom and hiding in the shirts belonging to one human known as Ginger Leonard. According to records, those shirts were hanging on the back of the linen closet door. The human, clad only in a t shirt, was able to scatter the cats and control the lab puppy long enough to cradle the frightened rodent in a wadded up towel then release said rodent in the front yard. The hostage crisis ended peacefully and the rodent was said to flick her tail in appreciation towards the human hero.