Category Archives: Writer’s Workshop

Writer’s Workshop: Meeting Jade

I vaguely remember meeting Jade for the first time.  It was in church (that much I know), it was during a lunch ( I think) that was served after church to all who attended.  Our husbands played basketball together while we waited.  I remember thinking….hmmmm…she’s awfully quiet.  And she looks like she’s 12 years old!  Her husband looks like he’s 30!  I am awfully curious about her…him…the whole arrangement.  But she doesn’t talk much.  So how can I possibly get to know her better?  Oh well.

Then we had lunch together…with our husbands. I remember this silly joke she said about a cockroach….that her husband had to encourage her to tell.  Turned out she has a very dry sense of humor…and she makes me laugh literally out loud.  She’s not so quiet after all.

And then a most interesting thing happened.   She and her husband were looking for a new apartment…turns out he wasn’t 30 and she wasn’t 12:)  And they were expecting their first child.  They happened to see us as they were looking at our apartment complex.   Soon, they moved in.  We exchanged numbers.

Then Nick got sick.  He was just a little guy then, and one horrific night he spiked a fever…and then started to seize.  I freaked.  Mel was not home.  I was alone with him and his older brother who was just a very little boy at the time.  I called 911.  And when the ambulance arrived the paramedics called from the security gate outside, saying they needed the code to get in.  I knew the code.  I knew it because I gave it out to all of our friends who visited.  But I could not remember the freakin’ code when I needed it the most.  So I did the only thing I could think of…I called Jade. She lived right by the gate.  I asked if she would please let the paramedics in.  She, of course, did.

She was 9 months pregnant, and she came to my rescue.  She took me to the hospital and sat with me while the doctors and nurses tended to Nick.  She was, in short, an answer to prayer.

And, truthfully, she has been coming to my rescue ever since.

She has held my hand, prayed with me, held me while I cried…

She has been with me through all of life’s ups and downs over the last 13 years.

Illness…

Injuries…

Pregnancy…

Miscarriage….

Adoption (yay!)

Our children’s successes….

As well as their struggles…

Life…

and even death.

There is no one, besides my husband, whom I rely on more to help me through this life.  There is no one I can laugh more with…and no one I am more comfortable sharing all of my innermost thoughts with…the darkest ones don’t even scare her away.

I am thankful that we met all those years ago…and that she has forgiven me my many failures as a friend.

And I will be forever grateful that I can call Jade my best friend.

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The Princess and the Pee….

This is Belle…

 

Ain’t she cute??

Well, at least we think so.  She is almost perfect.  She is the proverbial lap dog.  And we love love love her.  She has helped soothe our aching hearts after having to say goodbye to our dog, Jasmine.  She has given our home life in a way only a puppy can.  She plays with our almost-ten-year-old border collie Sheba…she has brought the pep back into Sheba’s step…which is a minor miracle because I was already starting to think about the time in the not too distant future when we will have to make the same awful decision for her that we had to make for Jasmine.  In short, she fits into our family like she was created just for us.

Now if we could just get her to be the master of her urine life would be fabulous.

Apparently, Chihuahuas are notoriously hard to train…must have missed that memo.

I am trying really hard not to compare her to Jasmine and Sheba…both who were amazing when it came to house training.

We have tried the crate.  “They won’t go where they have to lay down.”  Really??  Poop..pee…you name it, our little princess dog has done it, in the crate, outside the crate.  Whenever the mood strikes her–she goes.  I am forever picking up after her…thought dogs were supposed to be easier than kids! I feel like I am her servant.  She owns me..not the other way around!

So, we have given up with the crate training, and are focusing on puppy pads.  Better luck so far.  But still…

If you are a guest in our house, watch where you step.  She weighs only about 4 pounds, so thankfully she doesn’t pee a river…but those little droplets of urine on the hardwood floor where you least suspect it could cause trouble!

Is it wrong to threaten to get rid of her when I am exhausted and picking up pee??

But….all I have to do is look at her sleeping not next to, but on, my little one…

…and I know she is here to stay…she has already wormed her way into our hearts, pee and all.

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Filed under Belle, Pets, Uncategorized, Writer's Workshop

Where Have You Gone?

I once had a really special friend.   Two, actually.  And the one friend asked me if I thought the other one would like her( the other friend was a man).  Thus, began our troubles.

I had been friends with both for almost the same amount of time.  It was about four years at that point.  But we were REALLY close.  I am talking taking each other to the airport, holding my hand while I was in labor close.

So, when the one friend (who, for her privacy I will call Jen) asked me to ask Dan (another alias) if he “liked” her….I hemmed and hawed for a good bit.  She badgered me and finally I told her flat-out–“You break his heart, and don’t bother calling me again.”   He was one of those rare finds…a truly nice man.  A gentleman.  And as my Dad used to say…you line up 20 women against the wall, and he will pick the 1 bad one every last time.  His heart had been broken too many times already, and I couldn’t bear the thought of a friend of mine breaking his heart.

So…they dated…and HE fell in love…and SHE fell in love…the only problem was she didn’t fall in love with him, but his BROTHER.  Yep…you read that right…not only did Jen break Dan’s heart–she did it by shacking up with and eventually marrying his brother.

And I guess she believed what I told her, because I haven’t heard from her in twenty years.

I think about her from time to time…what she’s doing..does she have kids…etc.  And I wonder if our paths ever crossed again…what would happen?

Honestly, I have forgiven her.  Dan forgave both her and his brother–I told you…truly a nice guy.  Dan went on to marry somebody else and have children of his own.

But still…

I could never look at her the same way again.  I know we were all really just kids when all the drama unfolded.  But I loved Dan like a brother…and it was as if someone shoved a dagger in his back…and I could forgive her, but I really couldn’t forget.  I couldn’t forget the look on his face when he told me what had happened…or the way I think he just “settled” for, and then married, the very next woman who came into his life.  Dan and I also haven’t spoken in years now.

I don’t know if any of that is Jen’s fault…probably not…but my friendship with Dan was fractured when they broke up…and I don’t think it ever healed properly because slowly but surely, Dan extricated himself from my life.

I miss him.

I don’t miss her nearly as much as I miss him.

But, yes, I still wonder what we would say to each other if we saw each other.  Would we be able to make a friendship work?  Or would it be just ugliness?  Maybe I will look her up on Facebook and see what happens…

Then again, maybe I should just pray that she is fine, happy, and leave the old wounds alone.

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A Different Life

When I read the prompt from Mama Kat–“What one thing would you change about your life?”, the first thing that came to mind (of course) would be Nick’s brain.  I would love to be able to wave a magic wand and have those gaps filled in.  Wouldn’t I?

I mean…to never know what it felt like to have a doctor tell me that my infant son has this rare crazy diagnosis—Partial Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum?  To never hear those words-“severe brain damage”?  To never have a smug doctor, when I asked him what this means, respond “You are an intelligent woman.  You know what this means.”

If this had happened now, I may have slapped him.

To never have all these questions immediately come to mind–would he be able to have a semi-normal life?  Would he be able to play like other kids?  Would he be able to have a family of his own someday?  Would he even know that he has a disability?

Would it have been nice to have given birth to a “healthy” baby?  To never have known the world of neurologists, behavior therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, IEP’s,  cranioplasty bands, AFO’s, surgeries, nephrologists, gastroenterologists,  etc.?

Would it be amazing not to have stares from people ad nauseum?

Would it have been wonderful to never have to tell either the older or the younger son “we can’t do that because Nick can’t deal with the heat/lines/crowds/etc.”?

Would it have been a much easier life to just pick up and go to a baseball game and not look like we had 10 kids with us due to all the stuff we absolutely had to take?

Would I have been happier if I never had to deal with special education–which, for the uninformed–rarely feels special?

Would I have loved to be able to get anyone, perhaps even one of my sisters to watch Nick overnight so my husband and I could actually have just one night to ourselves?

The honest answer is of course.

But…and there is always a but…what would I lose by gaining all of this freedom?

I would lose my Nick.  At least the Nick I know and love with all of my heart and soul.   The Nick I know is assured of his place in heaven.   This is the Nick we were given, and we believe that he was designed.  I may not understand the design at times, but I believe that he was created and we were chosen to care for this incredible boy.

I would also miss out on seeing some pretty incredible things.

Just last night, the youngest said to me, “Mom, I wish Nick was able to do everything.”  He said he felt bad because Nick couldn’t do all the things he could do.  He is six and he not only realizes that Nick needs extra help, he is constantly trying to help him.  And that is a level of empathy and compassion that eludes a lot of adults.

My eldest is fiercely protective of Nick.  And I believe that is just how he is.  But I do wonder if he would have been nearly as awesome a young man had he not seen first hand the struggles and triumphs his brother goes through on a daily basis.  Would he have been as willing to defend others had he not had Nick in his life?

The truth is I will never know.

And what about me?  The first time Nick said “ma” I cried tears of joy.  When Matt said it?  Of course I was excited.  But I didn’t realize the true miracle of speech until Nick uttered that tiny word.

The same is true for every other milestone Nick reached.  I realized that I was witnessing a miracle for every accomplishment, no matter how small it would seem to the outside world.  And that is something I will never take for granted again.

On top of how having Nick (with his wonderful brain) in our family has affected us individually, it has affected our friends and family as well.  People in our circle don’t use the phrase “retard” or “retarded” flippantly.  They understand what that word really means now.

We have also seen who people truly are because of Nick.  You can’t hide who you are from him.  And we have seen both our share of gems and people whose hearts have to be made of ice.

So…yes…I would love to “fix” Nicholas.  But what if upon fixing him we all are so different I wouldn’t recognize or even like who we became?  Yep…this life seems tough at times.  But I love my family and wouldn’t trade this life for anything.

Corny, but true.

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Filed under Family, Nick, Uncategorized, Writer's Workshop