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Archive for April, 2013

If your head tells you one thing and your heart another,
before you do anything, you should first decide
whether you have a better head or a better heart.

~ Marilyn vos Savant

Undoubtedly my heart is better than my head, but I’m not sure if that’s saying all that much.  Oftentimes I extinguish the embers attempting to flare into emotions simply because I don’t want to feel those emotions.  And other times the embers are fed by a circumstance or song, and they flicker and come aflame unbidden…causing anything from tight-jawed pain to tremendous joy.

Yesterday Jonah was a happy kid.  My mom waited in the car while Andy and I went to the residence, and Boo was standing excitedly by the front door.  I had brought his “octopus” with me, but a small red-headed boy hugged me and held out his hand for the toy, so I dropped it in his palm, smiling as he ran off happily to play with it.  Jonah didn’t mind, and I can always buy him another.  Jonah’s more concerned with where grandma is, and whether or not there will be delicious things to eat.  We went into his room to gather a windbreaker, and another kid came running in to jump & land on Jonah’s bed.  Another kid was in Jonah’s window because he loves to look out at the playground. Party in Boo’s room.  Jonah tolerated it nicely as we apologized for the handfuls of hair incident from the other day, and asked about his morning (which, they told us, was good).

The caregivers who had endured Jonah’s attack were kind, smiling and telling us Jonah is good far more often and causes smiles more than frowns.  My heart swelled so that tears came into my eyes.  Also he has been doing something new; whereas he used to take his shower and go straight into his room to lie down, now he is coming out into the main living room area to walk circles or sit on the couches with the other kids.  I am glad he seems to be moving toward some sort of socialization, even if the kids can’t really talk to one another (Jonah is one of the most verbal) and don’t actually play with one another in a traditional sense.

He can easily outrun me to the car (Andy could probably catch him, but I just started walking and running, and I tire easily).  There he found his precious grandma, but wanted mama in backseat?  After I’d gotten in the car and Andy had gotten in the driver’s seat,  Jonah turned to me and said “need help?”  I asked him what help he needed and he pointed to his shoulder.  I noticed Andy had forgotten to secure Boo’s harness to the clips on the back of the seat and I secured each clip, in awe of Jonah noticing this mistake and actually asking to be strapped in more securely.  I gave him a ScareMeNot and he stared out the window, watching for deer and the ducks in the pond as we drove off the property and to Andy’s apartment.

I'd brought Valiant Valerie along (a ScareMeNot) and Jonah held her close as he looked out the window...

I’d brought Valiant Valerie along (a ScareMeNot) and Jonah held her close as he looked out the window…

(This was supposed to be a photo of Jonah kissing Valiant Valerie, but the camera was still set on video, so it’s a one-second video instead).

After lunch and a bath, Jonah asked for grandma stay here? and Andy and I brought Jonah to transfer station. I’d queued up Guster’s Easy Wonderful CD but Andy asked him if he wanted Gunther or radio.  Jonah chose radio, which slightly annoyed me because I know Jonah loves Guster and would have been fine with it if we’d just put it in.  Andy calls Guster Gunther because E (who comes with J to bring Jonah to most of his doctor appointments) always calls them Gunther by mistake.  Music on the Top 40 radio stations all sounds the same to me.  I guess I’m a music snob.

Were I in charge of the music my boy is exposed to I’d play all kinds of different stuff, including Guster: all the Beatles CDs, some traditional children’s songs, Marlo Thomas’ Free to Be You and Me, Elton John, Kula Shaker, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Billy Joel’s Glass Houses, songs from Sesame Street, Mozart & Tchaikovsky, 80’s pop music, They Might Be Giants, Simon & Garfunkel, the Grateful Dead, the Hilltop Hoods….all kinds of different things.  And I’d never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever play that dumb Taylor Swift song.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter, so long as he’s not listening to Gangsta rap or death metal.

Jonah’s like me in that his hair grows fast, and already he needs another haircut.  We’d like them to give him a buzz cut at this point, for it is getting to be warm, and that way it’s out of his face and will grow back in soon enough.

I’m anxious to take Boo on walks in the woods, push him on the swings, watch him dive into the pool, smile at his widened eyes when train comes toward us and passes by.  I want to take him to a Guster show and not have to leave.  I want to be with him on the beach, watch him cavort in the ocean and run barefoot along the jetties.

Yesterday M’s daughter J was here; we held hands and ran together to the park, where we kicked and bounced a beach ball around, and went on the slide together, and chased one another, laughing.  M and Jack-dog followed behind while J and I goofed around on the playground.  Later we walked, just J and me, to Stewart’s, where I let her pick out ice cream and a surprise snack for her daddy.  I looked around me and realized people figured I was her mother.  For a moment I knew what it was to be in public as “the mother” of a “normal” kid.

It felt, well….normal.  Which in my world is pretty damn strange.

I have two blooming multicolored tulips in my yard now, and I’ve re-stacked my stone cairns.  Time to oil my Buddha tucked into the bushes out front.  Time to make nature pictures in the woods.  Time to rejoice in the springtime.  May 1st is coming – my favorite day of the year, because it slams the door on winter with the satisfying sound of finality, and who doesn’t love that?

“Ha ha ha ha
People are laughing
Children are singing
Come join the dance

And the walls around us
Which we kept at such a cost
When we turned around
Came tumbling down

Ha ha ha ha
She can’t stop laughing
He can’t stop singing
First day of may!”

First Day of May by James Taylor

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Andy called yesterday to tell me Jonah had a bad tantrum/aggression in the van – not sure where they were going to (or coming from), but Jonah was being all snuggly & lovey with a caregiver one moment, then launched himself at her, grabbing a chunk of her hair.  Another caregiver tried to intervene but Jonah got a chunk of her hair too.  When it was all over, Jonah had two handfuls of hair and a small bruise.

I’d almost rather hear that some kid attacked Jonah and got a hunk of his hair than be told Jonah was the aggressor.

His caregivers are dedicated individuals who deserve to be wealthy, and though I have been assured they are paid better than at some other schools, I still don’t see why they don’t get more for what they endure, and how they love, and why they do what they do…which is essentially to be foster parents for groups of disabled children.

So many things work backwards in our world.  God forgive us all for not caring more about one another.

I know Jonah does not hurt others deliberately, or at least not with malicious intent, and I know he can’t help who he is and what goes on in his little brain…but that knowledge doesn’t fix anything or help the pain I feel when he hurts others.  In all my life I never imagined giving birth to one who harms people.  It’s almost funny.

And in a little more than two weeks he will have his big eye operation to take the Reticert implant out, in a last ditch effort to save what little sight he has remaining in his left eye.  The irreverent thought just came into my mind that if Jonah cannot see as well, perhaps he will at least start missing his targets.  Andy and I will have to be hyper-vigilant to ensure Jonah does not touch his eye shield or try to itch his eye beneath it.

Today I am going to visit my therapist and I will talk to him about my struggle with this ever-cyclic aggressive behavior I can’t accept and have no power to control.  I know better than to hold on to the wish to control it, and I know better than to place blame upon myself, or upon Jonah, or upon God, or upon anything at all.  I know better.  I just can’t help the tears that always come, the feelings that always arise, the frustration I always feel.  The fear that as he gets older and bigger it will only get worse.  Hopefully Dr. A. can help me with all that.

I know when there is a situation I cannot change, I can only change how I react to it.  And so I am making changes.  Now I exercise, eat better, meditate, pray, and take long walks in the woods.  I breathe deeply, in and out.  In and out.

I’m counting on the spring to bring new life, new hope, and new health, body-mind-spirit all working together to find the place inside where things are quiet and still.  Where music plays and my heart rejoices.  Where there is peace.

No one gives their dreams away too lightly
They hold them tightly warm against cold
One more year of traveling ’round this circuit
Then you can work it into gold

They say, “Jonah, he was swallowed by a whale”, hmm
But I say, “There’s no truth to that tale”
I know Jonah, he was swallowed by a song

Here’s to all the boys who came along
Carrying soft guitars in cardboard cases all night long
An’ do you wonder where those boys have gone?
Do you wonder where those boys have gone?

Jonah by Paul Simon

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“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.”
~ Erma Bombeck

There remains inside me, despite every effort to squash its useless purpose, an ugly envy when I see beautiful photos of families – husband, wife, child/children, smiling, caught in a snapshot of happiness.  The knowledge that these parents may tuck their little ones in at night, or cheer them on at sports games, or watch them proudly in the spelling bee.  The realization that they have the opportunity to guide and teach and comfort their kids, to gather together in their own family unit, tucked into time itself with undying memories.

Of course this is foolish, imagining idyllic problem-free lives.  It is never so.  Behind every smile is pain, and in every life falls the rain of sorrow.  Yet I have but one child, too far away from me, and I am unable to guide him anywhere against the wilfulness of autism itself which cages him in its unrelenting grasp.  Jonah’s father is gone from me – and as necessary as it was, it is too often cause for feelings of inadequacy, of failure, of loss.

The mornings are hardest.  Awakenings.  In sleep we are all embraced by the quiet wellspring of a dark, unknown possibility and promise. Saturdays are question marks, when every week my mother and I punctuate the ride to Boo with silent queries and fervent prayers.

When we first picked him up at his residence, he was happy and excited.  The caregivers told us he ate two breakfasts and was behaving well.  He was calm on the ride to Andy’s apartment.

Jonah and his "octopus."

Jonah and his “octopus.”

Just a few days ago I phone-conferenced in to his IEP (individualized educational plan) meeting.  I heard encouraging news about his progression in verbal communication – he is learning to say “I like” and “I see” (etc.) to begin sentences, instead of just “I want.”  He is not yet generalizing this beyond the classroom, but I am confident he will.  They tell me he is most anxious (and therefore likely to aggress) when he is in large crowds or feels encroached upon by someone sitting too close – which is most likely why he only tolerates anyone in backseat for the short duration of the ride to Andy’s apartment.  Often he will ask for daddy in backseat, but I can’t drive Andy’s stick shift and neither can my mom.  I suppose I should learn.  How hard can it be?

They told me he has a rash on his penis which they are treating, and they are beginning to recognize it as a recurring cyclic seasonal thing.  He will have been there for two years in August.

The mind reels.

This last Saturday brought change, as Saturdays often do. He ate lunch on his garbage can perch, and had his bath.

???????????????????????????????

Whereas usually Jonah will ask for mama to ride with daddy to transfer station, instead he held his palm up to me when it was time to go.  No mama, he declared.  Mama stay here.

I smiled weakly and stayed behind, briefly playing with Andy’s landlord’s kids, Manny and Isabella.  They are cute kids, and Andy’s landlord looks like George Clooney:

I call him George

I call him George

Sweet Isabella with Protector Patty, a ScareMeNot.

Sweet Isabella with Protector Patty, a ScareMeNot.

I pulled Andy’s copy of Clan of the Cave Bear off his bookshelf and read a few pages about Brun and Broud, Creb and Ayla, until they all returned.  Jonah came flying in the door, and my mother and Andy said he did not want to come back to the apartment at all.  He wanted park.

We were all glad, since usually he only wants car ride. But once again he wanted no mama.  My mother felt so bad for me.  “Mama is coming too,” she told him.  “No…no,” he answered.  My mother decided to be the one to stay behind anyway, and I brought along some root beer for Jonah to sip in the backseat of the car, as incentive for him to let me come along.  He was not appeased.

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“I hold it,” he declared as soon as he was strapped to his safety harness.  Andy opened the can and poured most of it into a cup, which he gave to me, then he handed Jonah the small can with just a bit of soda inside.

Laughing, Jonah chucked it at us, splattering the dash and control panel of the car’s radio.

sticky mess

sticky mess

I cleaned up while Andy removed Jonah from the car and took off his harness, telling him “You blew it.  No park.  Quiet time.”

looks like an arrest

looks like an arrest

After this we went back inside, where Andy and I got Jonah to lie down on blue bed and each of us lay on either side of him.  He was quiet for a few minutes and then turned to me and held out his little hand.  I kissed his palm.  He lifted his leg out from under the covers and I held his little foot and kissed a toe.  More kiss?  he wanted.  Of course more kiss.  I kissed each toe, his ankle, his fingers…the softest place on his neck.

“I love you,” I  whispered.  “I love you.”

And then it was time for my mother and me to drive home.

Yesterday Andy asked me to play an online Texas Hold’em poker tournament he had won an entry into but could not play (actually he’d had to place high in several tournaments to get into this one).  There were 750 people in the tournament and nine prizes, the top prize being either $2,000 or an entry into the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas (which usually carries a 10k entry fee).  After two hours of playing I came in 6th place and won a whopping $40.  I do like to play and am fairly good at it.  It was a fun distraction to my weekend.

The world events of this past week are a shadow-cloud over my microcosmic thoughts.  Too much too much.  My therapist tells me not to listen, but it is impossible not to hear.  While I was sitting on the steps outside his office the day before, reading and waiting for my appointment, a blonde woman with a gold cross necklace asked if I minded if she set her coffee cup down.  I told her it was not my building and even if it was, of course she could.  We chatted a bit as she pulled out a cigarette and lit it, telling me things about herself – she was from NYC.  She didn’t like Albany.  She had been mugged twice.  A man from the Troy Record newspaper approached us to do a “man on the street” interview about the Boston marathon explosions.  I politely declined, but the woman was all excited to talk and have her picture taken for the paper.

“It’s those damn Moos-lums,” she declared.  “We have to ship them all back to their own country.  (And what country would that be? I thought to myself).  “It’s going to keep happening,” she added with certainly, pointing her cigarette at the dark-coffee-skinned interviewer.  He grew visibly uncomfortable and told her he could not use her comment about the Muslims.  She was unhappy about this, accusing him of being part of the liberal media agenda.  When she walked away, he and I talked for a bit.  I could tell he wanted to interview me instead, and again I declined, saying “I think it’s sad that the only time we seem able to be able to come together in solidarity is when there is terrorism or disaster.”  He nodded in understanding, and I stood up and went inside.

Boston.  Texas.  Seattle.  Denver.  China.  India. Japan…North Korea…etc. etc. etc.  The suffering is everywhere now, every day.  If nothing else, it helps remove the envy I spoke about at the beginning of this post, replacing it with gratitude and sympathy.  God help us all.

“One way or another, this darkness got to give.”  ~The Grateful Dead

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“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
~ Corrie Ten Boom

On Saturday Boo was his reliable, predictable self, and yet he never ceases to amaze me.  Andy had taken him overnight and so he was there when we arrived.  He had been asking for “grandma” and “mama” all morning, yet when we arrived he was more interested in the food my mother had brought him.  This time she’d added a new item:  a small container of mini-Oreos.  Jonah’s not the type to eat things in what others might consider a “logical order” – food, then dessert.  His banquet must be presented all at once, and though he did eat most of his sandwich, the Oreos were a big attraction.

Jonah enjoys the stuff in the middle — the meat and cheese inside the bread, his fingers first tap-tap-tapping against the sandwich and then, usually, discarding the bread altogether to get to whatever is the middle.  It was no different with the Oreos.  He held each mini Oreo carefully in his little hands and pulled it apart, scraping the creamy white stuffing out of the middle, then discarding the two outer cookie pieces.

cookie fun

cookie fun

He gleefully attacked his lunch with fervor.

cookie mouth

cookie mouth

YAY!

YAY!

We are waiting for warmer weather but offered to take him to the park anyway, or the train, or the Poet’s Walk.  When we asked him if he wanted to do any of these things he answered “no,” sweetly but firmly, to each one.  “Transfer station?” he asked, which is a recycling facility where Andy takes his paper and cans, etc. every Saturday.  It is car ride Jonah wants, and he almost always says “grandma stay here.”  I think it’s because he wants the whole backseat to himself.  So my poor mother is stuck watching QVC and Fox News on Andy’s TV until we return for a bath and then another request for car ride.

I found out about an open swimming program at Bard College on the weekends, but Andy seems reluctant to take him, lest he throw a fit.  I want to try, though.  Perhaps M will come down with me some Sunday and we can take him.  Jonah loves the water so much!  I was ready to book a 3-night stay in Cape Cod this summer, to take him to the ocean with Andy, to watch him frolic in the waves, to hear his little voice cry gleefully for ocean!  It is a word we do not use, for if we cannot take him it would be mean to plant the idea in his head.  Now it looks like I may be hard-pressed to take him at all.  I will find a way, for I am a determined mom and want to give the gift of ocean to my Boo.

I would like to end this post with some quotes and passages upon which I have been reflecting.  There are discoveries to make, and self-improvements to make, and faith to build.  There is self-awareness and I am attempting to step away from myself and see myself as others see me.  I am looking deep into a metaphorical mirror to ensure I can remain true to myself and to everything I have ever wanted to be…a great mother, a loyal friend, a good person.  Most of all I am seeking to be kind to all I encounter, to forgive, to understand (and not only to be understood),  as in the prayer of St. Francis, perhaps my favorite prayer/hymn.  I am praying it with everything inside me and turning things over to the certain God in which I believe.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Oh Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

– – –

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

~C. S. Lewis

– – –

Matthew 5:44-45 says, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”  Thus, now go on your knees and pray for the person who has hurt you.
– – –

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”

~ Buddha

– – –

“Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.”

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

– – –

“To thine own self be true,
and it shall follow, as the night the day,
thou canst not then be false to any man.”

~Shakespeare

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When I was pregnant, I imagined a baby who’d grow into a reader like me.  So as my belly swelled, I read my favorite books aloud to him.   I’ll read to my baby every night, I thought.  He will grow surrounded by books, and we will love them together.

I bought him lots of books from The Book Barn in Latham, my favorite used book store, where it didn’t cost me a mortgage payment to create a child’s library.   And I did read to him every night, until it became apparent he wasn’t enjoying it at all.  He ripped up lots of books, my Boo.  He mangled them.  Jonah only wanted books if they played music, or had buttons to press and make sounds.  The rest of his library sat untouched.  Some of the books I gave to Jonah’s classrooms, and some to other kids.  Some I still have, here in the house.  They have his bite marks; some are torn.  I love them all.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t sleep so I got out of bed at 2am and ordered 7 or 8 books on www.amazon.com.  (When it is not 2am, I prefer to get my new books from The Book House, an independently owned local book store). So when I speak of these books I mean actual books, you understand.   Mockingbird and Out of My Mind were the first two I read, and both were amazing; remarkable.  Now I’m starting Wonder.  I am reading books again.  I read in cycles. For months I’d stopped, reading only newspapers, and now again I am voracious for books.

I like to hold print objects in my hands.  Books, magazines, newspapers.  There are the many unique papery smells, of course…musty & woody, shiny-new & linen-clean – and that same uniqueness in the feel of the pages –  recycled-rough, factory smooth, stained with coffee, crisp or yellow-thin…but there is also the added element of holding.  Print does not disappear at the touch of a button.  You don’t turn it off.   It is unsettling to me that print media is stored in cyberspace, an imaginary land where there is no semblance of anything sensory at all.   Hell, there isn’t even the pretense of it.   You hold a never-altering device, missing all these wonderful sights, smells, feelings.   I just won’t do it.

This blog is nowhere to be found in print, and that irony is not lost on me.

There are still people who don’t “get” (or perhaps have never even stopped to consider) the significance of the names Kindle and Kindle Fire.  They may as well have called the damned thing the Fahrenheit 451.  I do not have one and don’t plan to get one.  In fact I’m seriously considering a backwards move in the land of technology.  No cell phone, then no cable.   I’ll buy a Victrola and play 78s all day while reading in my rocking chair.  I’ll hold a book to my chest and hug it close, by my fireplace, glancing up to walls full of volumes, of albums, of plants.  I’ll be on 10 acres of woods, smack in the middle in a small cabin.  Animals everywhere.  The deer will eat out of my hands.  Okay, maybe not all those things.  But I shall have my books.

Boo never wanted bound pieces of paper that did nothing and meant nothing to him.  The most colorful, amazing illustrations couldn’t capture his attention.  I brought him to the library reading room toddler times.  As the other tots gathered ’round, criss cross applesauce, for The Cat in The Hat, Jonah ran up and down the long aisles of books, touching their spines, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap, screeching every so often.  I was an alien suddenly, thrust onto Jonah’s planet in a rocket I didn’t ask to get on and didn’t know how to steer.

We didn’t try the reading room toddler times again.

“Back then” (2004 or so) they didn’t have autism-toddler-time around here, which would have maybe been cool –to climb into a leaky boat with other parents who feel just like me and whose kids also want to tap-tap-tap on the books.  To not feel so scared and alone.

I feel scared and alone again.  I feel tired.  The tired of a waning moon.

Yet Andy drove Jonah up today and we had a good visit; Boo was lovey, laughing, and demanding all at once.  Two baths, two attempts at driving to train (neither successful), many kisses.  Jonah’s laughter at jokes of which he is both author and audience.  It was a good day.

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Andy drove Jonah up to the glaucoma doc this morning and I met them there.  The good part of that is I got to sleep an extra half hour and I got to see my Boo.  The bad part was the damned operation they’ve scheduled to take the Reticert implant out of Jonah’s eye on the off chance that it’s still emitting steroids, in which case we need that to stop.  Jonah, as usual, was very good through all the exams and procedures, the eye drops and pressure gauge.  But his left eye is 20/400 (20/200 is legally blind).  And so May 14th he’ll have his 5th? 6th? eye operation.

After today’s appointment Andy brought Jonah outside and I stayed behind to talk to the doc and do the paperwork.

“Is there anything we can do to treat that eye…to improve the vision?”  I ask doc S.

“Well, if he were a normal boy…”  he starts.

That’s all I hear.  Yeah.  If he were a ‘normal’ boy he could wear glasses that he wouldn’t throw and smash, and he could have the permanent operation to redirect the drainage in his eye, but he can’t…he’d rub his eyes and crush the whole mechanism before it healed. 

Why can’t this doctor just answer the question?

He gives me a brochure about glaucoma.  It’s the brochure I read months (a year?) ago – the one that says glaucoma is an eye disease that gradually steals your vision and glaucoma usually occurs in both eyes, but extra fluid pressure often starts to build up in one eye first.

I tell him I have read the brochure.  I ask him about that first sentence – the steals your vision part.  He smiles at me, answers “if left untreated,” and is already out of the room before I can respond.

If left untreated. 

Well you just told me we can’t treat it, I want to yell after his retreating figure.

I realize I’m painting an unfairly poor picture of Dr. S. here, but what I want is the bedside manner of that rare, wonderful doctor who will sit, listen, and speak to you as though you are an intelligent human being (instead of aiming medical terms over your head then ushering you out the door).  But people rave about this guy.  He has “Best Doctor” awards all over his office.  (Today I noticed he’d re-arranged them). I’m sure he is a fantastic glaucoma specialist who’s great with the demographic of the majority of his patients:  an aging, docile population of ‘normal’ people.   He is kind to Jonah in an off-hand way but never learns that Boo does not converse and is never going to answer his questions about whether or not Santa came or what kind of Easter he had.  It isn’t like Jonah hadn’t been there 10 times or so before.

Grandma?  Jonah answers when the doc asks him one of these questions – and where can the doctor go from there?  I smirk, turn my head.  Way to shut him down, Boo.

And so after the doc appointment Andy brought Jonah to see grandma.  They all drove to the train in grey car and my mom told me later that Boo was good; they saw a very long train which pleased him very much.

Easter was kind of a blur.  Andy drove Jonah up and I met them at grandma’s.

Easter Boo
                        Easter Boo

My mom made delicious food but now it is always pre-packaged up, one for Andy, one for M and me.   There is no pretense of sitting down to eat and there hasn’t been for some time.  It’s better this way.  I love my mom for making the delicious food anyway and for getting Boo a beautiful Easter basket anyway, but I also fight to stay grateful – especially, for some reason, on Easter.  I see little kids all dressed up and going to church after their Easter Egg hunts…I am jealous of that whole piece.

I didn’t even go to church on Easter myself.  My favorite priest is retired and gone, and I wanted his Easter homily only.  I am a one-priest-Catholic, I guess. And now, I love Pope Francis.  His humility and simplicity – his gentle ways, his appeal for peace, for the poor, for the helpless.  It’s not as if I am a good Catholic – or a good anything, for that matter.  But this pope makes me want to identify myself with Catholicism more than any pope before him that I can remember.  I like to keep abreast of what he’s doing and I’m so happy that, whether people are Catholic or not, what he says and does will be a big influence on the world.  We could all use a leader with a little humility, if you ask me.

Anyway.  I don’t really like holidays anymore.  My favorite holiday is sleep.

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