Saturday, November 28, 2009

All I want for Christmas ...

I just called work to see when they'd need me today.  My original start time of 10 AM is being pushed back to Noon. While the rest of the retail world is being given a jump start by Black Friday, the world of optics takes a crash course in the harmonies of crickets chirping.  I've already showered.  Sitting here in my robe with wet hair; a cute kitten curled up on my lap, I have to ask what else do I need?  Another cup of coffee preferably delivered to me by a loving, hunky man who understands that kittens on laps are best left undisturbed.  Yep. I'm daydreaming again.  While I know there's a perfect bra out there for me so is the ideal man.  Perhaps the two will be found on the same day. Choirs of angels sing as the heavens open up with a hallelujah chorus.

The playful melody of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" keeps ringing through my head.  I can't help it. There's no shame in having a one track mind, is there?  After all, it could be slithering about in the gutter.  The tune changes from that to "Please Come Home For Christmas" and "Merry Christmas Darling."  Yeah, this middle aged often times cranky woman is really a romantic at heart. But I'll bet you already knew that.  Nevermind the razor wire, alligator infested moat and towering wall made of nearly impenetrable steel.  There's a key to the secret door.

OK, my mind just drifted off into lolly lulu land. Back to reality. The kitten hopped off my lap leaving a slight puncture in my thigh.  My lukewarm coffee isn't going to heat itself.  Cartoon Network was just flicked on the telly. My wet hair is air drying in a most unbecoming way.  Add to it my need to put on a bra because the droopage of the boobage is causing a sensation that is less than comfortable.

Have a groovy weekend. The holiday season has officially begun.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Unconditional and infinite

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." -- Douglas Adams

That quote was on my Facebook page today. I have a feed from the "quote of the day" website. On this Thanksgiving it seemed perfectly suited for me ... for anyone, really.  Think back to your teen years, twenty-something, thirty-something, etc... are you exactly where you dreamed you'd be? I'm most certainly not, but there's no question that we can't predict the future nor can we count on tomorrow.  Am I disappointed that my aspirations of being a doctor of psychology didn't pan out? Sure. Am I aggravated that I'm still not with the father of my son? Sort of. There's no going back -- only looking forward and dealing with the here and now.

Today brought a painful reminder of something I said only moments ago: Tomorrow is never guaranteed. I visited the cemetery again.  The purpose was to fulfill a promise made to a very dear friend.  ∞♥ There was no sense of obligation.  I've found going there quite calming.  I guess when it comes to those we love their departure from our lives is always too soon, but when they are taken from us in their youth or prime of their lives, it's even more devastating.  The indelible mark left on the living of the passing of a loved one ... a vivacious woman with two sons and a devoted husband. Or a lively, six year old boy who was the living embodiment of joy.  A mother in mid-life or  mothers with many years and children in her photo album ... gone but never forgotten.

Today I celebrate all the joy and happiness bestowed upon me.  When I consider all that I have to be grateful for I long a bit less for the things I wish for and find contentment that I'm where I'm supposed to be  ... for now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

mmmmm noggy

I get geeked out on some unexpected things.  Some people get razzle dazzled over new tech devices. Others do a dance of joy over the crossword in the New York Times.  I, on the other hand, get a badoozled and dillywomped over eggnog.  Eggnoggity goodness of any variety: Ice cream, cheesecake, McDonald's Shakes.  That's what brought all of this on today.  I stopped by McDonald's to get Mancub a burger (icky, I know) and a chocolate shake.  It's a big dealio for me to get him this. So, don't call the Department of Children and Family Services on me just yet.  When I saw the words "EGG NOG SHAKES NOW AVAILABLE" I nearly piddled on my heated leather seats.  I practiced restraint and only got a small. mmmmm noggy.  I was full from my late lunch (3:30 PM) and had no desire to eat anything at 5:00 PM, but good giggly goo! I could easily sip the frosty beverage.  I was wet from the pouring rain and chilled to the bone, but with the heat cranked on high and the seat warming my tushy, I relished each and every sip of my shake as my cranky ass mood from the day was beaten off by my first taste of the deliciousness that brings forth many a childhood memories.

Enjoy the recycled story I wrote a couple of years ago when I first started writing this blog.  I love and miss my mother every day, but this time of year makes me particularly melancholy and wishing she could be here with me and Mancub.

~~Momma's Christmas Eggnog~~

Ever since I can remember I have loved eggnog. While passing Fannie May Candies I eyed a sign in the window advertising their new item: Cheesecake. Like Homer Simpson spying a donut I muttered, "mmmm cheeeeesecake..." I adore cheesecake, too. Fannie May has brought together two of my favorite holiday treats! Eggnog cheesecake! Again, I mentally take on another character; Will Ferrell's Buddy the Elf. I was subconsciously singing in the mall, "CHEESECAKE! I loooooooooove cheesecake and eggnog..eggnog cheesecake.. I-WANT-TO- EAT- IT- NOW!" I'm sure my co-worker was unaware of the scenario blaring through my head. Had this truly happened I'm sure I'd still be explaining to mall security how I managed to escape from my straight jacket.

When did the love affair between eggnog and my taste buds first blossom? I can't recall the first time my tongue lapped up the delicious dairy-nog, but I assure you it was non-alcoholic. I do know that my mother

made it from scratch. I cannot tell you how she concocted my most favorite and beloved holiday beverage. The treat she made far surpasses any gunk you can buy pre-made. Her's was smooth, not too heavy or thick. My taste buds were doing the dance of the Sugar Plum Faeries as it slid down my throat. She'd dollop frothy egg whites on top with a light dusting of nutmeg. My eyes would dance wildly with excitement just awaiting that first sip. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve were the only occasions eggnog was brought to the buffet table. I suppose that made it all that more special to me and still is to this day.
Each Christmas season I am rabid for eggnoggy products. Eggnog to drink. I cut the commercial stuff with 2% milk...too thick. Eggnog Latte' at Starbucks. Eggnog ice cream at Oberweis. I bought a quart of Oberweis eggnog to add to my coffee in the morning. And now, Eggnog cheesecake at Fannie May. I'd probably use eggnog flavored toothpaste if it were on the market.

Eggnog brings me back to the happiness that was my childhood. The thrills of traditions created by my beautiful mother. Her image in the kitchen; singing her favorite Christmas songs. Her voice a sweet sound. Her song erased any sadness or disappointment I may have felt. Momma's Emeraude perfume lofting in the air. It's melodically stuck in my nasal cavity.

You see, drinking eggnog is more than just consumption of a holiday beverage for me. It's chocked full of beautiful memories. It's not only a memory of a punch bowl filled with a creamy concoction; it's recollection of admiration and love. Not only my regard toward my mother, but her regard to me as her child. She created memories that are sacred.

Everything was perfect at Christmastime. She taught me that wrapping a gift wasn't just a means to keep it secretive, it was to be done with loving care. Each fold of the paper was her way of giving of herself. Every gift inside was a piece of her heart and soul. My mother didn't haphazardly slap on wrapping, sloppily apply the tape or smack on a bow without care. She was an artiste.

She worked in customer service at Montgomery Ward when I was a wee tot. I loved going to see her there at Christmas. She was the master gift wrapper. I think people came to know she'd not only don their package with the shimmering foil paper, but she'd treat their purchases as if she'd bought them herself for someone special.

There was a lot to learn from my mom. I often wish she was here to counsel me in my day to day life. I suppose in many ways she does. She had far more patience than I. Mom could turn around any one's frown, sadness or dismay. I think over time it became a curse. No matter who she encountered, people loved her.

My Dad wrote a short Christmas story with my Mom as the main character. I hope to find a copy of it and share it here. After years of observing how my Mom pulled together Christmas (even if the money wasn't there), my Dad speculated that Santa had to be a woman; his wife. Mom created magic at Christmas. It was truly the most incredible homage any man could pay to his wife; the mother of his 8 children (after her death he remarried an extraordinary woman; through that union 2 more children blessed our family and new traditions would be made.)

Christmas is a glorious time overflowing with memories. Love is what abounds in my heart because of the unconditional love bestowed upon me by my parents. My enchanting mother taught me that Christmas is magic. It's not magic that comes from a wand or a potion. It's the magic you feel in your very soul.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shopping is not my bag

I've probably given the impression that I'm not a shop-a-holic. Finding styles that I like in my size isn't limited to bras. I'm tall and have plenty of junk in my trunk.  That combo makes finding really stylish clothing a hassle. But my dislike of shopping isn't limited to personal fashions.  What's involved in shopping is a lot of math. Meaning I deliberate thusly: I worked X number of hours to earn the money item Q costs. No item is alluring to me unless a deep discount is attached to it.  If I'm not going to get tons of use out of the item I usually pass it by.  Grocery shopping makes me break out in hives... Thank you ALDI for making this experience less itchy and scratchy.

I'm big fan of shopping online. Quite often I can find items far less expensive than what's available in stores. I watch for FREE SHIPPING and easy returns.  A rush overcomes me when I get to the check out and it ask "do you have a coupon" -- and I DO!! But when I don't, I feel defeated.  Where do people get the savings discount codes?? I have the answer.  CouponCode.com!  Yes, even coupon codes for amazon.  Speaking of Amazon.com, this week is BLACK FRIDAY WEEK.  Special values abound on everything.  I use it mostly for mp3 digital downloads. The powers that be are giving you a jump start savings of $3.00 instant credit.  There are 500 downloadable cds for a mere $5.00. Hello! The newest releases by Rihanna and Adam Lambert are only $3.99.  You get an entire compilation for only 99 cents. That's what most single downloads cost. Woo! Now would be a great time to buy tunes for your Christmas soundtrack. 

This has been my public service for the day.  You're welcome ... keep an eye out for more shopping advice from yours truly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'd be thankful if ...

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching we're reminded that it's not about an endless buffet of food, football and sleeping on the couch in an upright position with our pants unbuttoned. Nor is it about plotting and planning the insanity that is shopping on Black Friday.  No. We're supposed to count our blessings and remind ourselves of the sacrificed our forefathers made to build this country -- and to give thanks to the Native Americans who were duped into giving it all away, but I digress.  All you history majors just put a lid on it. I'm on a roll like Bluto in Animal House.

But I like to be a visionary.  I don't want to blather on about the typical thankfulness for my family, health, friends and roof over my head. Isn't that a given? Gratitude is tallied up daily for all the things I do possess. It would be too predictable for me to wish for world peace, the end to hunger and prejudice -- this isn't a beauty pageant, after all. Don't get all high and mighty with me.

Suck it, Trebek!

What I want to share with you are the things I'd be thankful to never see again.  Those nagging irritants that just seem to never go away.  Like seething pustules on the ass of society, culture and entertainment, the items on my list just fester. And when you think you've lanced the bastard -- it comes back and often with a vengeance. Here are my top 10 randomly placed Things I'd Be Thankful for if They Disappeared:
1.  Vampires.  Sparkling, love making, swoony moony faced creatures of the night with 6 pack abs.  Go the fuck away. I'd love to be the one who rams a stake into each and every one of them and shoot their hairy little companions with a silver bullet. Movies, television, print ... oversaturation is not a good thing. No offense to anyone who is just madly in love with the Twilight series. You're entitled but it's all gone haywire. Enough is enough already.

2. (a)  Kardashians and anyone remotely related to them. That even goes for Olympic wonder boy Bruce Jenner and his douchey Bromancing son Brody. 
   2(b) Most of E! Network's programming should be silenced. How entertaining can Hugh Hefner and his gaggle of augmented platinum blondes be? They aren't! Word to the Lamas offspring: You're moronic and there's a reason you're D-listers. You're assholes! Ryan Seacrest needs to have less money so he's no longer able to produce diddly.  Denise Richards? Really?
I admit that I've watched the shows out of morbid curiosity. No. They aren't in my guilty pleasure line up. I'm still wondering why they continue to be on the air.

3.  Theatrical remakes.  Stop screwing with my teenage angst! You cannot improve upon them.  Television shows that were a hit 30 years ago do not belong on the big screen.  Also, not everything is better as a musical. Stop it. That High School Musical dude needs to be bitch slapped and fast. If Hollywood would spend half as much on decent scripts as they do high tech special effects then there would never me another lame remake. In fact, I can give them the name of a fantastic writer.

4.  Mary Murphy judge of "So You Think You Can Dance" -- I want her flipping head to explode in Scanners fashion.  Stop screaming! No one dances that well.  NO.ONE!

5.  John and Kate and all the other multi-birthing-your-uterus-is-not-a-clown-car families. I don't watch those shows but some how I know more about them than I ever wanted.

6.  Facebook games.  Please stop sending me invitations for Mafia Wars; Farmville: Cafewhatsitsface and the like. While I can appreciate your desire to earn points, collect rare animals and kill off another powerful family, I don't give a rat's ass.  I have music to listen to and blogs to write.


7.  Wendy Williams: What in the name of all that's holy!? Someone tell me how that happened! And is she a Drag Queen?

8.  Spray tanning.  It doesn't look authentic. Skin is not intended to be that hue. Oompa loompas didn't even want to be that shade. .

9. Rachael Ray. There. I said it. Her Muppet like face is everywhere.  Her voice is even worse. Her catch phrases Yum-O! Sammies, Delish, EVOO (and then explaining what it means) make me want to jab myself in the ears with hot pokers and then rinse out the pain with rubbing alcohol.

10. The Today Show.  Whoa! It's like 5 hours long. Meredith Veira and her pack of babbling boobs make The View seem intellectually stimulating.

Traditionally untraditional

Ho, ho, ho, and falalalala abound no matter where I turn.  Santa made his arrival at the mall yesterday. I thought the old, jolly fat man wasn't allowed to make an appearance prior to Black Friday.  Economic strain has overridden tradition, I guess.  Christmas parades are commencing a week early, too. Once again my holiday equilibrium is thrown off.

Growing up, our household traditions were upheld by Mom. We always turned to her to keep the season merry and bright.  When she passed away after a short battle with cancer, nothing was the same. It was enough to attempt to pull ourselves together emotionally let alone try to carry on the traditions that Mom made so perfect. Those traditions couldn't be carried out if she wasn't there to execute them.

As I've matured and built a household of my own, I've been incapable of duplicating the spirit that Mom embodied.  When I was married and had a newborn child, the hope of creating our own traditions filled me with such elation.  What ensued was decorating a tree, mostly by myself, while listening to Christmas tunes. Mancub has never been giddy with excitement over decorating a tree. In spite of my efforts to create tradition, we're lacking in having year in and year out expectations.  Maybe in turn Mancub won't have a major adjustment when he sets out into adulthood. Perhaps when he is with a significant other he won't impose upon them "my Mom always ..." sort of situations that lead to argument and holiday stress.

Please don't let any of this imply that I'm a Scrooge.  Indifference is really what this time of year evokes within me.  Besides, Scrooge had tons of dough. He was just stingy with it.  I'm broke.

Do you have traditions that you absolutely cannot live without? Did you start it or is a carry over from childhood or handed down from generation to generation?  I'd love to learn what puts the cherry on your holiday sundae.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beware the stare

When I read the first 3 words of my horoscope this morning my heart went pitter patter. It was quickly replaced by a sense of panic. I work in a mall. Do you realize the number of freakazoids who meander the corridors of a mall? I work where we're on display like poo-flinging monkeys in the zoo! I have no idea who might be gazing at me. I'd die a thousand deaths if it's Mullet man. Seriously, if that was the case I'd pull a Samurai suicide with a dull butter knife.
A certain someone -- after yet another day of boring through your soul with their penetrating glances -- will finally approach you and say what's on their mind: you! If you're unattached and interested, this could be the one. You know, The One! For good measure, how about returning a few intense stares yourself? Just don't be surprised when once the staring begins, few words are exchanged.
I've not been feeling a penetration of any sort lately... glances or otherwise. There's no doubt that I'm often clueless or just assume no one in their right mind would be interested in me. So even if I do feel that a 'certain someone' is looking my way I rush to a mirror to see if I have the toilet lid protector hanging from my wasteband. Yeah yeah... self-esteem smelf eshteem. I can't help that my parents gave me an overdose of humility in my formula.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bra Humbug

I realize the content of this blog, lately, is best described as textual boredom. I'd offer an apology, however, I am one of those people who can't force inspiration. And to be quite honest, I have no idea if anyone beyond a handful are continuing to read my personal blathering.

When your life consists of getting up, making coffee; checking (and hoping) for emails that aren't spam ie. Urban Word of the Day, Amazon.com or forwards about it being the 52nd friendship week of the year; getting ready for work; working; coming home from work; making dinner... you get the idea. My life isn't action packed. I could piss and moan about work but that doesn't bode well when you're trying to make the workplace more harmonious. Not to mention comments would come from the wood work to chastise me for not being more grateful at this time of year. To which I would annoyingly reply, "suck it, Trebek!"

Mancub is fantastic and performing phenomenally well academically. There are few complaints nor do I struggle with single parenthood beyond the financial constraints. It's been a couple of months since he's heard from his dad. DNA does not a father make. Christmas is approaching. Perhaps he'll show up unexpectedly to throw a monkey wrench in our my holiday cheer.

With all honesty, at this moment I wish the holidays would not exist. I know it's selfish thinking. Lucky for you all I don't have possession of three wishes or Clarence.  Even reaching deep I am finding it difficult to find the spirit of the holidays.  I know very little can be purchased for my son.  Buying for anyone else holds absolutely no bearing in my shopping.  Seriously, who the hell needs another trinket o'marketing bliss just so they can't tally up the number of gifts for post Christmas bragging rights??  Again I say, "suck it, Trebek!" I'm returning to the days gone by.  Remember those times when our elementary teachers would hand out materials for a project and we'd construct gifts for our parents? Yeah, it'll be something like that. Maybe. If I find the motivation.  Otherwise, just be joyful in knowing me -- and I you, friends. I'll tie a big f'ing red bow on my head -- found on clearance last year at the dollar tree, naturally.  How's that for presentation?

In closing, I am going to share my horriblescope of obscurity.
It's finally starting to dawn on you that it's over, and that you've actually gotten yourself out of a really tough situation. You're feeling free -- like it really is the first day of the rest of your life. Well, don't stop now. If you have a couple of other changes in mind, this would be a good time to give them some energy and consideration, too. Why not make it a clean sweep?
I have no idea what it really means. What's over? I've not sung yet. So that son of a bitch is NOT over. Maybe I've been struggling with something subconsciously and not been aware. In turn, my subconscious mind had finally dealt with "it" and accepted "it".  Yeah, yeah. I know c-h-a-n-g-e.  I changed my underwear; brand of deodorant; body lotion; toothbrush; switched out razors.

That'll do pig. That'll do.


image borrowed from AnneTaintor.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No more commando hands!

Handerpants! Handerpants!! HANDERPANTS!!! Great for the aspiring magician, magician's assistant, booger flicker, gardener, weed wacking (not recommended for other wacking -- the cotton is soft, but not that soft -- wink wink.)

Folks, this is for real. It's no Chia Pet or Pet Rock, but wouldn't it make a perfect stocking stuffer for that friend who has it all? And while you're wasting your money, order a Snuggie! What a great companion piece :P


Cosmic thing

You need a change of scenery. Sitting still has always been a challenge for you. But at the moment, it's going to basically impossible. Why fight it? Get out there and mix it up. Someone special would like to spend some quality time with you right now. Whether it's an old friend, a new flame or a long-neglected family member, share yourself with someone you adore. They'll appreciate the gesture and you'll increase your cosmic connection with this person.
Increase my cosmic connection ... bring it! C'mon!! This is something I can fully grasp. Well, in an outer dimensional method of thinking. Let's dance this mess around.

I have to do laundry today. Doubt is on the horizon of actualizing this horoscope there. I'm avoiding the big laundromat just in case Asshat Running Man gets the same idea. That is one person with whom I do not have a cosmic thing
.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Working on Sunday = hate


I do NOT ... I repeat DO NOT LIKE WORKING SUNDAYS!! This is all the energy I can muster.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

At a loss

For the past two days my Facebook status has expressed that I have nothing to say. That's not wholly true. Plenty of thoughts swirl around in my head like a cyclone; yet, I'm unable to express them.

This is often a startling concept to people who see me as someone never at a loss for something to say. I'm a known babbler. Often in that babbling comes insight and or profound revelations. However, there are circumstances which leave me dumbfounded. Incapable of channeling a great poet to offer words of hope and wisdom, I remain silent amongst the bounty of tears that flow.

How do you offer comfort to a friend who has just said goodbye to his mother? How do I appear selfless and sympathetic while I mourn an amazing woman? A rush of personal experience of loss leaves a feeling of complete uselessness.

This outstanding woman wasn't simply my friend's mom. She was Mama Nelson to all who knew her. She embraced each of us as we walked over the threshold of her home. Never did we feel unwelcome. Always greeting us with a smile. We weren't just Tom's friends. We were her kids by association. For me, the association goes deeper. Mama knew my mother and uncles. Catholic school kids. I felt a great kindred spirit with her for that.

Mama managed to raise four very unique children on her own. Little did I know 30 years ago that she'd be a spectacular role model to me as a single mother. She gave her kids the best possible. My friend Tommy has her love and compassion. I can't imagine what my life would be like had we not become friends. Every body loves Tommy. Trust me that if you met him you'd understand why. He's a loving reflection of Mama.

Tomorrow I will go to her visitation. I don't know if I'll manage to find the right words to offer comfort. I may only cry and embrace my dearest friend. I hope that will be enough.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Love and honor


It is with a humble heart that I give thanks and honor to our nation's veterans. My gratitude for your dedication and selflessness is infinite.

Happy Veterans Day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just give me a 'shy boy'

Hey! I stumbled across this while exploring my latest addiction : lala click the link on the player. Look me up and we can be friends. You know friiiiiieeeeeeends.



You might remember Katie Melua from an earlier post. She did a cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" that, in my humble opinion, encompasses far more emotion than the original. It's just an opinion. Don't tar and feather me.

There was a time in my life when I was drawn to bad boys. The hard to attain boys. The guys who made me jump through hoops for their attention. In other words, total asshats. Then, I married one. hahahahahaha OK, not really a laughing matter. He wasn't a bad boy. He was a do-whatever-I-want-to-boy; without-facing-consequence-boy.

Believe it or not, I'm a shy girl when I truly want to pursue a relationship. I'm ballsy and forward when there are no stakes. Flirting without fear of rejection is second nature if I'm not being serious. When a girl is shy. And the boy is shy you end up with a very quiet prom date filled with sweaty palms and moments of silence that seem to last for hours ... until the music starts and you both dance your asses off ... and 20+ years later you find you have a ton to say without enough hours in the day to say it. Go f'ing figure!!

So, I heard this song and loved the rhythm and kitzchiness. I hope you enjoy it, too. I've included the lyrics. Song along. Tap your toes.


"Shy Boy"

I'm sittin' in the window of a street cafe
Watchin' you walking by each day,
It seems that you always wanna look my way
Hey, you can't deny, boy,
You're such a shy boy.

So good looking you seem to be
But you're too tongue-tied to say hi to me,
You could make it happen so easily
Woah, I'll tell you why boy,
'Cos I'm looking for a shy boy

Most guys advertise
By making eyes and telling lies
If you only knew,
You could make your dreams come true
All you gotta do is ask me to

If this was a quiz on a TV show
And the prize was a guy who would love me so
Whatever they ask, the answer I know
Hey, my reply boy
Is gimme a shy boy.

Most guys advertise
By making eyes and telling lies
If you only knew
You could make your dreams come true
All you gotta do is ask me to

Some guys act a bit too sure
And maybe you're thinkin' that less is more
But Honey, you still gotta knock on my door
Hey, just try boy,
And you could be my boy

I'll tell you why boy
I'm looking for a shy boy,
Just try boy, you're such a shy boy

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let's do caw-fee

The people you encounter today are going to love loving you. Everyone who thinks you're cool is ready and raring to let you know it. Accept compliments graciously, because you'll get lots of them. But try not to let it go to your head. Vanity is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but it's something to indulge in with careful consideration.
There you have it.  My horoscope for today.  I read it after making the following video.  Y'all know what you're obligated to do now.  Hey, we can't go upsetting the stars and proving them wrong, now, can we? We, of course, being you :) I'm graciously awaiting

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Brain fart



Tuesday's blog post has been temporarily interrupted by a wall. Enjoy the music while I gather my thoughts.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Are you proud?"

Where do I begin?

You're all probably aware of how exceedingly proud I am of my son.  He's made great strides in his career as a student.  I've written briefly about his ability to overcome the many challenges a child with Asperger's Syndrome faces.  Rather than go into a dissertation on AS, I've provided the link. Just know, for the sake of this post, that for Mancub it has imposed upon his social interaction, concentration and coordination.  Never has it been my desire to make that the focus of why I bask in his accomplishments.  However, today's post deems it necessary.

Big changes can often disrupt the balance an Aspie has persevered in managing.  Taking on the basic tasks of changing schools and tackling harder studies of being a freshman put me on high alert for Mancub.  He's always had to deal with kids who don't like that he's different from them.  That's not to say all kids who endure the bullying of such neanderthals are Aspies.  How Mancub reacts in these situations is what often sets him apart.  He becomes visibly agitated and, oftentimes, emotionally erupts.  I've faced facts that I cannot always protect him nor can the teachers.  He must consciously process everything and then categorize it so it's less troubling.  Keeping focus on his studies in class takes a lot of effort.  This is especially tricky when the class is over crowded and disturbances abound ... even worse if there are students who know how to goad him to the point of an outburst.

Freshman year started out quite well.  His grades were high.  Then, Labor Day rolled around.  Along with it came increased enrollment.  Class size increased.  With that came more disruptions and less one on one time.  The result was falling grades for Mancub.  Weekly I receive a progress report from his case worker (who is phenomenal and I'd love to give her an award for it).  I freaked upon viewing his Science and Global Studies grades.  I've always been accustomed to seeing As and Bs and maybe a C, but never did a D cross his path.  A stern discussion took place between mother and son.  Emails were written on his behalf to the teachers and copied to his case worker.  Pleas that missing work would be accepted with a lowered grade.  Denied.  Rules are rules.  We signed the agreement when the class syllabus was sent home.  All that could be done at this point was diligence.  It came to light that he wasn't handing in work because he hadn't completed every question or problem.  He was putting completed work in the wrong baskets.  Work was being lost. 

Over the course of a couple weeks we reorganized his binders.  Homework was being done immediately after school.  Due to parent teacher conferences nearing, weekly progress reports halted.  I was in the dark but Mancub assured me all was well.  Rather than question his word, I had faith that he was telling me the truth.  I took him at his word when he said homework was finished.  Although, I do admit this is terribly difficult to do.  He needs to taste success without mommy running to the rescue or helping just a little too much. 

Fast forward to October 29.  The date of my parent-teacher conference. I was wringing my hands with nervousness and anxious anticipation.  I was encouraged by his case worker to bring Mancub along.  So, I convinced him to tag along in order to be part of any discussions mandated by his grades.

Upon checking in at the high school I was handed his report card.  I glanced at Mancub who was smirking as if he knew already.  Tears. I had to breathe deeply and fight back tears of what I read.  No longer did I see the little boy who'd have tantrums because the din of the cafeteria was more than he could bear.  A young man who is capable of holding his own put his arms around me and asked, "Are you proud?"

As we sat at the table labeled with Mancub's name and our appointment time, teacher after teacher sat down to sing his praises.  With each encounter more tears would well up.  He's not only bright but respectful to everyone.  There's a newfound comfort zone in socializing appropriately.  His Global Studies teachers says he often makes everyone laugh with him via his unique sense of humor.  His Spanish teacher says he is the only student who greets her each day with vivacious "buenos dias!"  The D that had sullied his progress report was turned into a B!! The C is now a B+.  The rest is all As!!! My son is getting an A in Algebra.  I'm so mathematically challenged that I had to beg my teacher for a D, for pity's sake. 

When we'd spoken to all of his teachers his case worker remained behind.  I took the opportunity to praise her for being proactive and for taking a personal stake in Mancub's success. She calls me at home to follow up on things we've discussed.  She'll have conversations with Mancub and listens to what he has to say.  Through all of this many tears flowed.  Mancub's reaction to it all? He turned to the case worker and said, "I think my Mama needs a hug" and he proceeded to envelope me in his arms.  The babe that I once cradled in my arms is now offering me comfort.

I would be remiss not to mention that upon returning home I emailed the special education resource teacher who was instrumental in getting Mancub tested for Asperger's in his repeat year of kindergarten.  She wouldn't accept that his previous school had categorized him as behavior disorder.  None of his tantrums were deliberate means of gaining control.  He was sweet and compassionate, but obviously lost and confused in the sea of chaos that existed within his mind.  We've shared many struggles, as well as, triumphs in Mancub's education.  Her unyielding determination to seek out the best avenues and accommodations for him has been vital.  I thanked her for becoming a teacher. Thanks was given for writing out his first IEP (Individualized Education Program). That single document has been a blueprint for his achievement. She wrote me back in a matter of an hour.  She said my email brought tears to her eyes and that she would love for me to remain in touch.

We owe so much. Thank you seems to not be enough, but words really fail when I attempt to express my gratitude.  Mancub is living proof of what a difference one teacher can make.  Yet, we've been blessed with countless educators.  For that, I am truly left ........

speechless.