Wednesday, March 17, 2010



The chime just sang for 11:30 in the Frank Lloyd Wright clock in our living room (well, it actually sang for 10:30 because we haven't gotten around to resetting it; really, we were too excited about being an hour closer to bedtime to bother) and I'm sitting here at the computer instead of sitting behind the wheel of our minivan on my 12-minute rocketing down the Parkway 18-minute trip to pick Parker up from PreK. Matt surprised me this morning by announcing he'd taken the day off, about 2 minutes before he normally would've been heading downstairs to get started (ah, the joys of having a guy that works from home!)

I could be cleaning the kitchen, scrubbing pink paint off the wall from oh, I don't know, three weeks ago? or polishing the dining room floor or something productive like that, but really, I cleaned 75% of the house yesterday morning in a manic hour that has left, a bit fed up with cleaning. So I figured I'd at least get started on a blog post.

Of course, before signing in and putting my fingertips to the keys, I couldn't resist checking out that suddenly-popular blog I mentioned in a prior post, here. I keep telling myself not to look, but I'm a sucker for good writing and even better pictures, especially when they make me feel like I'm looking back at a little piece of myself.

I normally would think it quite rude to talk about someone else's blog - I mean, really, high school much? - but this particular one has really had me in a funky mood the last couple weeks. I've found myself emerald with envy not over the author's ability to spin words into dancing prose like I used to think I was capable of doing or take pictures of gorgeous kids like I might be able to attempt if I didn't have so many of those said gorgeous kids or, even better, if I had several more arms; rather, I find myself both jealous of and irritated by those luscious first few months after having your whole world shattered and suddenly pasted back together by a miraculous little creature in an entirely new and achingly perfect way.

I read this blog in a half-smiling, half-cringing sort of way, eyes tearing as they're rolling, torn up over the knowledge that two years ago I would've sat nodding and bawling to that blog, maybe even an awkward, "Amen, sister!" tripping past my tongue. Today, that greenly innocent new mommy to an extra-special child is for the most part, grown up and moved on.

These days she is trying desperately to keep chaos down with her thumb, popping Prilosec in the morning for her very first peptic ulcer and counting down the minutes left to survive until bedtime. She is realizing each day that having six kids age 6 and under is




And there should be a natural law against this sort of thing.

She is finally deciding to put her oldest on medication for his newly diagnosed ADHD/ODD/CD after seeing him struggle to remember some random thing from school he had just demonstrated mastery over 12 hours prior because he can't get his brain to work the way it needs to and being awoken at 6:30 in the morning by a disapproving Parker informing her that this child had run off into the backyard barefoot to look for worms. Part of her is feeling like she is embarking on a Great Betrayal of this child, that she is not accepting him as he is, that she is trying to adapt him to her needs and those of a harsh world instead of letting him find his own path to orbit. The part of her who now delays all vaccines for at least one year, grimaces at the thought of artificial anything and tries to feed her kids reconstituted vegetable protein (yum) and once drove nearly two hours to buy organic beef that was cheap enough to possibly fit into a very tight budget is now about to give her kid mini-meth.

That girl has also decided to let go of her attempt to get a certain 2 1/2 year old with Down syndrome to eat like her age, at least for the time being, as Emerson went on yet another hunger strike for anything with the slightest bit of texture to it or the flavors she just can't live with in her mouth. Thirty minute epic battles of mealtimes are simply not on the menu for a woman with 5 other kids to manage and honestly, she's tired. And when a certain awesome speech therapist made the observation that she seemed "defeated," there really wasn't any other word that could fit the situation better. Because she did in fact set out on a mission, a mission to save a little person from an awful situation and shine her up a bit and help her reach her full potential, to show the world the magical awesomeness of having an extra chromosome; and so far at least, she has been mostly defeated by said little person who would truly dehydrate and/or starve herself into the hospital before progressing. And she's learning to accept that and move on, chugging through the grief and the stress each day to get as close to a happy place as possible and drag six little ones, often kicking and screaming, with her.

And there's nothing beautiful about this. There is no picture I can take, no editing software I can download, to make this part of some book I don't have time to write. This is life. It's messy, it's raw, it hurts, it gives 28 year old women ulcers and calluses on once-smooth hands just at the place where their palms grip the wheel of their minivans a bit too tightly as they attempt not to be 10 minutes late to PreK yet again. Today at least, my hands are getting a break.

And it occurs to me that maybe my blog is the anti-that-other-blog, or would be if I could create an extra hour in every day so I could blog. And maybe some people don't want to read this because it doesn't give you that warm fuzzy you're looking for, the one that makes you feel like you just ate a whole block of cheese and liked it. Perhaps I am just another green, a pretty shade of jade. And perhaps that's the color most of us weather to eventually.

And I'll give Down syndrome and ADHD one point in this, one thing it's taught me other than how to talk myself out of being overly-hopeful and unrealistically-positive, it's certainly shown me how to accept how I feel and realize that it's okay. We don't all have time to document our lives with a sunlit slant - sometimes we just barely have time to live them. And it's okay. There are gorgeous moments, there are ugly moments and although most of us don't want to post pictures of our severely delayed child who has just pooped like a 3 month old up to her neck because she doesn't eat enough solid texture to bulk it up, that is a real, not-so-beautiful but still just as worth it, life.

And what do you know, it's 12:15 and half of my troop just pulled into the driveway. Time's up. Back to reality.