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Monthly Archives: May 2011

He’s All Right, It’s the World That’s Wrong

My five-year-old son, Lucas, has an Autism spectrum disorder.  He was diagnosed at three years old with PDD-NOS, which basically means he has a form of Autism that cannot be categorized in the other four forms.  At the time, the diagnosis hit me like a ton of bricks.  As a mother, I wanted my child perfect.  Happy, healthy, and normal.  It was probably the biggest blow that I have ever experienced as a parent.  Millions of thoughts raced through my mind.  How will this affect him?  How will he live in this world where perfection is paramount?  What will people do to him/say to him/ how will they make him feel?

Thankfully, he has a really mild case.  His speech is garbled, and he has to repeat himself many times for strangers, teachers, and kids to understand him.  He doesn’t like to be touched.  He likes his things neat, and orderly.  He has special people that he is connected to, and others he wants no part of.  And, when his routine is broken, he goes haywire.  Watching him grow, and watching these behaviors grow with him is sometimes heartbreaking. 

I’d like to say that I’ve dealt with this as a human being, and as a parent.  But, that would be a lie.  I’m still dealing with it.  I don’t care what people think of me, or say about me.  I’m a big girl.  But, when it’s my child, look out!  I broke down and bawled the first time a kid in his kindergarten class called him stupid.   I’ll always be afraid for him in this crazy world.  What is being different going to do to him?

Then, I realized that he’s ok, it’s the world that wrong.  He’s a good kid.  He may have issues, but he has a heart of gold.  Most people with special needs do.  I think it’s because they know that the world looks at them like there is something wrong with them, and they are extra nice, or special, to compensate for that.  That’s how many people take advantage of them.  That just sickens me. 

I realized that I’m GLAD he’s different.  I’m glad that this little boy will go out of his way to pick me flowers. I’m glad  that he will skip going to get a toy, to go visit his grandpa that had knee surgery.  I’m glad that he will stop playing to make sure the baby is ok when she cries.  I hope to God that this world doesn’t beat that kindness out of him.  We call people with disabilities, “special needs cases.”  However, maybe we should call people without disabilities special needs cases.  After all, a special needs person doesn’t need to be reminded to be kind.  Regular people do!   

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Life

 

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I Never Said Thanks

I’ve talked about this poem before.  It’s the one that won the Cameron Poetry Award, sponsored by the American Academy of Poets.  I’d like to post it here.  It was published in the print version of The Plume, Keystone College’s literary magazine.  Before anyone says, “Oh, she just can’t wait to get more praise,” rest assured, this is not the case. 

I want to post this poem, not only because it is a tribute to Donnie, whom I miss ever so much, but also because this poem is an example of what I wrote in a community workshop.  It was sponsored by poet Brian Fanelli, and he’s going to be running the workshop again here shortly.  It’s listed in his blog, All the Right Notes, which you can access by clicking the link on the side of my blog.  I would urge anyone that is local to try to sign up for this workshop.  I learned so much from him, and he’s a really good person. 

Workshops are SO important for writers!  Feedback is essential to the process, and sometimes, workshops can provide that little push to complete a project if, like me, you procrastinate on a daily basis.  I am finding myself pushing writing to the side, as I am between writing groups at the moment.  Without a set deadline, I find myself saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow,”  This ties into the poem, “I Never Said Thanks,” because I’m always putting off today what I can do tomorrow.  But, sometimes tomorrow doesn’t come.  I urge you to find a group, take the feedback gracefully, and provide feedback of your own.  It’s essential to the writer’s life!

(A note about spacing:  The couplets should be single spaced, but since WordPress is retarded in its spacing, it is what it is.  Enjoy!)

I Never Said Thanks

when he buried my horse on the last day of summer,

dug the hole with the tractor,

told me not to look

when he hooked on with a chain,

leaned an elbow on my shoulder, said,

Let’s get a beer when it was over.

Five years later, on the day of his funeral,

I carried yellow mums in the first stages of bloom,

walnuts crunched under my feet,

and still I remembered

the buzz of flies, the sweat on his brow,

and the taste of light lager.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Writing

 

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I Don’t Want that Photograph!

I rarely listen to the local mixed station, 98.5 KRZ.  You can read my essay in Word Fountain about the night pop music was killed for me here:  http://wp.me/pTXg0-1D .  I’m more of a 97.9X girl.  Killer station, awesome bands, (hot DJ’s!) 🙂  Anyway, last night, we borrowed my sister-in-law’s truck to go pick up my father-in-law from the hospital.  He just had two knee replacements, and needed to be brought home in a vehicle that he could stretch out in.  My truck wouldn’t fit into the parking garage, so we took the Ford.  Big mistake; I should have stayed home.

As we’re driving down the road, the radio (tuned to KRZ because the truck has a stereo that is confusing to simple minds like myself) starts blasting out this horrible assassination on my ears.  Def Leppard’s “Photograph” has been covered by Chris Daughtry and Santana.  I begged my husband to turn it off.  “Turn it off before I need drugs to recover from this,” I pleaded.  No dice.  He got some kind of sick enjoyment out of watching my face, cringing like I’d just been told I had six months to live.   Twisted, isn’t he?

This cover is a sacrilege!  Chris Daughtry and Santana have just killed this icon rock song with their candy-coated voices, and poppy “I’m-on-speed” kind of rhythms.  Don’t get me wrong.  Carlos Santana is an icon himself, and Chris Daughtry has got it going on with his last album, Leave This Town.  They are both awesome, in and of themselves.  But, what possessed these talented singers to team up, and ruin a song?  What the hell were they thinking?  They mainstreamed a hard rock song, and sold out in a big way. If you are a Leppard fan, I beg you, don’t listen to this.  It will burn into your brain, and leave you writhing on the floor, with bleeding ears as you try to forget it!

In my humble opinion, cover songs are ok.  I mean, some bands improve the original version.  Look at Seether’s cover of “Careless Whisper.”  They can be proud of that!  Red did a cover about two years ago, of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World,” and far surpassed the original.  What Daughtry and Santana have done is just plain wrong!  They took a fabulous song, and turned it into pop.  For once, I don’t even have the words.  Thanks guys, you just ruined an amazing song for me, and for the millions that will be subjected to this trash.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Music

 

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Judge Your Momma

I find myself at loose ends these days.  The semester is over, the kids are winding down their school years, and I’m looking at a three-month break from the real world of interesting people, differing opinions, and daily challenges.  This should be appealing; after all, I’ve spent the last sixteen weeks drowning in papers, homework, permission slips, swimming days, and rides home.  I wished for some time to breathe.

Now I’ve got it.  I have twelve hours a day to write, read, relax, kick some butt at Mortal Kombat, and settle arguments between the four, and five-year-old.  As I think of the endless three-month stretch, I find myself wanting to run, far far away.  Does every mother have these thoughts?  Does every mother have these moments when the four-year-old puts gum in the baby’s hair, the dryer breaks, the five-year-old wants to walk to his best friend’s house, and the responsibilities become so crystal clear that you want to bang your head repeatedly off of the nearest hard object, tear at your hair, and scream along with the baby? 

Am I a horrible mother for not enjoying my kids twenty-four hours a day?  I don’t think I am, but hey, I’ve always been a little different than everyone else.  The odd one out.  A little off, a little crazy.  A tiny bit independent, and a large bit loud.  I’m not the soccer mom, but who can live up to their standards anyway?  I’m the mom with the popsicle-stained kids; the one that other moms look at with disapproving glares.  The one whose kid cursed at school, and someone else’s kid couldn’t wait to tell me about it. 

I have to wonder why the hell we have to judge each other, and ourselves, so harshly.  Is there a Bad Mommy’s Club?  Should I petition to be president?  Should I be ashamed that I dread the thought of summer break because I can no longer get away from the screaming, the fights, the boo-boos, and the super-glue baby?  I hardly think so.  So why am I so hard on myself?  Why am I ashamed to admit that the tiny paper flowers for Mother’s Day didn’t float my boat, but the spark plugs and wires for my Camaro did? 

I think it’s this “golden girl” image that the media portrays to us.  You know, the one where working moms leave high-powered jobs to go play patty cake with their brand new baby, or the celebrity mom who wears her baby for a walk in the park.  How the media praises these women, all while pretending it’s a choice.  It’s a choice all right.  It’s a choice that makes me want to puke when I hear how people revere it.  Then there are the reports that shove breastfeeding down our throats in order to keep women chained to their babies.  What happened to choice there?  Have you ever read a message board where other moms have the opinion that you don’t love your child if you don’t shove your tit down their throat every five minutes?  Have you ever heard such nonsense? 

I hardly think about these things when I’m buried ten inches deep in paper, working on a research project, while writing a response to some piece of literature, and listening to my son practice his reading.  But, when the projects are over, and I’ve got all of the time in the world to think, I get mad.  I don’t see fathers judging themselves, especially when they are playing weekend daddy, or diddling with their side projects on their days off from being out in the working world, where they are free to socialize without wiping noses, changing diapers, and settling arguments.  Most dads are way more relaxed.  I find this interesting, and wish most moms would take a leaf out of their books.  Quit judging others, and damn it, especially me!

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2011 in Life

 

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If I Had 7 Wishes

So I went old school this morning, and threw my favorite vinyl album on the stereo.  Night Ranger’s 7 Wishes is a great record.  I remember the first time I heard it.  My ex-boyfriend popped it in the cassette player in his ’85 Escort that he had spray-painted a dark blue.  The drums from the title track poured through the sound system that was worth more than the entire car, and I was totally hooked. I tried for years to find it on CD (remember, this is before the internet, people!) but never could.  The first time I saw it in a record bin at the flea market, I snatched  it.  As those same drums pounded through my house, I remembered my ex telling me that it was one of his favorite albums, and how his mom introduced it to him.  This was a big deal for him because he didn’t have the greatest relationship with his mom.  Who does? 

Anyway, that first time I played it alone, I remembered the way we shared things.  This ex was my best friend in the entire world.  Was I trying to re-live an intense relationship from my past that ran its course?  Perhaps.  I don’t regret the relationship, just like I don’t regret the break-up.  It was long overdue.   We even talk once in a while, and he’s stayed in contact with my family.   The coolest thing about this memory is that it coincided with the song, without me even realizing it.  After all, I was so young when I heard it the first time. 

Here are the lyrics:

 If you were handed seven wishes
Would you turn your back for more
Would you hold on tight to what you have
Would you try to change the score

If you were given back a lifetime
Would you find some room for me
Oh, won’t you take my hand and walk away
Know it all was meant to be

Heart aching
Heart breaking
Hearts changing
Never want the same thing

Rise to the sun with seven wishes
Will you turn into stone with seven wishes
And your eyes on the run with seven wishes
Seven wishes

If we could travel back in time now
When I handed you the key
Oh I know you learned your magic well
Would you use the magic on me

Are the changes for the better
Do the lonely ones agree
I see you handing out the promises
That were meant for only me

Heart aching
Heart breaking
Hearts changing
Never want the same thing

Rise to the sun with seven wishes
Will you turn into stone with seven wishes
And your eyes on the run with seven wishes
Seven wishes

Heart aching
Heart breaking
Hearts changing
Never want the same thing

Heart aching
Heart breaking
Hearts changing
Never want the same thing

Rise to the sun with seven wishes
Will you turn into stone with seven wishes
And your eyes on the run with seven wishes
Seven wishes

To me, this song means a lot.  The other day, I ran into another ghost from my past.  The one who changed my life.  There was so much I wanted to say to him, but I couldn’t.  I just couldn’t bring myself to reach out to him.  And it made me realize what this song is really all about.  It’s about the way we always try to go back.  How we live in memories, how we hang on without moving forward. I’ve done this for so long.  I’ve been trying so hard to change, to open doors with the keys that he gave me. But, I didn’t understand that I was still trying to go backward.  Back to him.  With every move, I tried to show him that I’m different.  Seeing him the other day, I realized that he is my past.  He belongs there. 

If I had seven wishes, I wouldn’t wish to go back.  I’m moving forward.  “7 Wishes” was a reminder.  And, it’s a wonderful piece of music.  Check it out!

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Life

 

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