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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Where Jonah is concerned, the best place to be — the most dreamed of, sought-after, wondrous, asked-for place — is Grandma’s House.

For a variety of reasons, it has remained thus since he was a baby.  (Of course the best part of Grandma’s House is grandma herself).

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Jonah’s sitting on grandma’s counter in this picture, taken Christmas Day. I was sick and kind of weak; I tried to get a good picture of them standing side by side, but to no avail.  I wanted to show how Boo’s only a few inches shorter than my mom now, which would make him about 5′ or 5’1″ at not-yet-thirteen.  His growth seems to be happening, somehow, more quickly than before, as if I’d looked away for months and finally turned around to see him.

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I’m kind of wan in this pic, but Jonah’s all smiles.

Here are a few great pics we took in December:

jonah 12-13-14

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I love the way that last one came out, with all things notJonah softened.  It’s almost as if I knew what I were doing when I took the picture; ’twas luck, alas, and nothing more.  (For kickass-quality photography you can visit my sistercousin DiAnna’s website).

Then a few weeks ago Jonah started in a new classroom.  He was aggressing regularly in the other one, even on days when all seemed fine at his house.  His teachers and therapists thought maybe he was bored or unchallenged.  So far he hasn’t had a major aggression in the new room, so they were probably right.  I know Jonah’s bright, but it’s hard to know how much of that light we’re going to be able to coax from behind the clouds.  So far so good.

He’s been a happy kid, mostly, at any rate.  He adores his daddy and got to spend two overnights in a row at his apartment recently, which is right up there with Grandma’s House on Jonah’s list of preferred places to visit.

Lately Jonah’s developed a keen interest in his wardrobe and, more recently, in others’ as well.  He’s got two pair of sneakers at daddy’s place – one blue, one green – and he’ll tell you in no uncertain terms which he wants.

The other night Andy put him on the phone with me.  Jonah’s definitely not one to dominate a conversation, so I asked him a lot of questions he could answer with “yes” or “no.”

Eventually I said bye bye, Boo; mama loves you.  Jonah answered byebyemama and handed the phone back to Andy.  I heard Jonah ask twice: mama comin’ in? to which Andy automatically replied: 13 hours.

It seems to satisfy Jonah to have a number – any number – I think so he feels like what he wants is comin’…and when.

Then, in the background, I heard Jonah say:  Light green shirt? Andy answered no, buddy, This shirt is good.  I guess Boo’s new thing is to decide upon not only his own clothes but his father’s as well.  Sometimes Andy capitulates, allowing Jonah a glimpse into one possible career path toward fashion or wardrobe design.

I can just see him in Hollywood, pulling at a “wrong-colored” costume donned by Jennifer Lawrence, insisting no! no!

A few weeks ago I traveled to Bloomington to see Tim perform in a holiday concert with the Quarryland Men’s Chorus, which was as awesome as it could be.  Tim had a short solo in one song, and after both performances, audience members sought him out to compliment him.  I stood at his side, grinning proudly as if I were the one responsible for Tim’s mellifluous bass.

Tim's in the middle of the back row, with the long blonde hair & awesomely full beard

Tim’s in the middle of the back row, with the long blonde hair & awesomely full beard

Tim also gifted me with the best Christmas present I’ve likely ever received – but for now it’s just between us (and, due to my uncontainable excitement, two friends whom I swore to secrecy).

* 12-29-14 * NOTE:  Now lots of folk are guessing Tim gave me an engagement ring, and I’ll put that rumor to rest.  We’ve been in a long distance relationship for just 5 months.  And this gift is better, presently, than the prospect of marriage — to anyone!

We are happy.

We are happy.

And so life is good.

I am getting used to being cold, bundling up with resignation and maybe even complacency against my chosen 55 degree home temperature.  The no lights thing is actually more difficult – I go through candles like boxes of Tagalongs at Girl Scout cookie time, and I now have an oil lamp.  Since the days are so short, I want to go to bed at around 6 or 7, like an old lady.

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I get out every day, when I can motivate, and I fight winter blues/being alone/stagnation, reminding myself that every day now, the days are lengthening. There is much to do and plenty to look forward to with the excitement of this new year coming – 2015 rising like a glorious dawn.

I know the journey truly is the destination, and this one feels really right.

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So I allowed myself a break from telling the story of Jonah and our ups and downs…the roller coaster twisting racing in turns of joy and aggression, stopping at the station for deep breaths of still, of peace, but the safety bar won’t raise – it never lets us out – and then after a day a week a month the announcement to keep hands and feet inside the vehicle, and we’re off again and climbing that hill from which comes the fall the fright the feelings, stop the ride I want to get off please.

It’s the same shit I always spout and am tired of spouting.  How about this year I turn my metaphor around, into a river…not round and round but journeying somewhere, rocks and rapids notwithstanding?  Not so much dizziness but the radical acceptance of a fluid situation.  Change not as an event but as a constancy.  Journeying not with a destination but as the destination.

Yeah, like I’m gonna turn all Zen.  Well I can give it a shot, anyway.

First the third wake:  my friend K’s father passed away from the lung cancer that killed him on Friday the 13th of December.  Her bravery and strength, the way she carries this burden like a strong woman of faith with a will of iron and a heart of truth and beauty…she is the only child, like me.  Now she slams the door shut on 2013 and perhaps is still in shock that her father will not be there in this new year.  How strange is grief, and the different ways it works its necessary, surgical-like job inside each one of us when we mourn.  I have tried to be a good friend but still feel helpless.  Through it all she managed to make batches of Christmas cookies and gift them to me along with a Willie Wonka shirt for Jonah with Oompa Loompas on it.  I am proud to call her one of my closest friends.

My real-life-friends have whittled down to a few, but they are gems who have stuck with me no matter what – without judgement or competitive bullshit or cattiness.  That feels right.   In 2013 I have given and forgiven; I have risen to the occasion and I have fallen apart.  I’ve slipped and stayed lying on the ground for a while.  I’ve crawled and danced and risked everything and lost my shit it felt so good to smash that glass all for a better way to get through this life, for better things to do, for more important goals, more impactful work.   I’ve soared higher than ever on the warmest winds of change and beauty.  I’ve cried my eyes out both in sorrow and laughter.  I’ve lived. 

During the month of December I also allowed myself to feel the angry, awful pull in my heart every time I saw kids waiting for Santa, counting days, getting excited, dressed for photos, new babies joining bigger siblings by the fireside as mom bakes cookies, the whole Christmas scene and winter family fun I envy.

Then I take the time to realize half of what we see is illusion anyway, and the other half probably would envy my ability to give my boy bubbles, tangle toys, and a Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory DVD for Christmas while they are faced with kids who want iPads and gaming systems – the right sneakers and the cool outfits, hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars of presents.  Of course this is all conjecture and generalization, but you get the idea.

There are no right outfits for Jonah, unless you count the fact that comfort is king.  In fact, Andy drove Jonah up to my mother and me on Christmas in jammie bottoms and an unmatched shirt, because that’s what Boo wanted to wear.

Jonah Boo, playing on my mom's floor with a flashing turnabout radio-controlled car

Jonah Boo, playing for a few minutes on my mom’s floor with a flashing turnabout radio-controlled car

My mother had cooked a ham & pre-prepared it all into containers for us and, just like Thanksgiving, we spent Christmas on car ride seeking a train that once again refused to come because it was a holiday.

I caught the little bugger for a Christmas pic with mama

I caught the little bugger for a Christmas pic with his mama

My mama and me

And one of MY mama and me

When Jonah loves a particular scene in a movie or show, he'll run up to the TV with a happy screech

When Jonah loves a scene on TV or in a movie he will run to the screen with a happy screech.  Here’s another example, taken a few days later:

Still Willie Wonka on the screen

Still Willie Wonka on the screen

And the coolest pic of all, methinks, because Jonah is watching on one side and a kid IN the movie is watching on another:

I love this pic

Here comes the falling somersault

So I may not have a lot of details to share, some because I chose to forget and some because I am too lazy to type out a month’s worth of details….but there are many moments of Jonah being his repititious-yet-never-boring self.

I have to give a shout-out to Jonah’s dad, Andy, who as usual has come through in his amazing father way.  Since he lives so close to Jonah he sees him more than I do — but that doesn’t mean he has to pick him up for visits as much as he does, or withstand the aggressions, the emotional strain, and the exhaustion which nearly almost follows a visit — he has picked Jonah up for a visit whenever he can, whenever he is not working.  Always he is patient and takes Jonah on all the car rides our boy so loves, playing Prince CDs for Jonah (which is kind of like me playing Guster CDs for him, because Andy loves Prince like I love Guster).

Always he is a wonderful father.  The best parent with the strongest constitution and all the love in the world for his precious son, his only child.

Here is Jonah crying because we forgot to bring his favorite Prince CD on the car ride.  Luckily we were not far away and were able to return to the apartment to retrieve the longed-for CD.

"Diamonds and Pearls?!"

“Diamonds and Pearls?!”

This is not a boy with autism having an aggression.  This is a kid who wants his Prince and ain’t afraid to cry about it.

Oh the humanity

Oh the humanity

Poor Boo.  The aggressions I thought might be gone for good have returned.  I have no idea how many times the pendulum has to swing before I get it through my head:  pendulums swing – it’s what they do.  Perhaps I can incorporate this into my head as well this year. Or, better yet, find a way to blow up the pendulum.  Smash it all to hell.

I’m gonna learn play my new acoustic guitar (thank you Richie, who came to visit from Japan, for teaching me the 1-4-5 progression, which means I can play about 10,000 songs very poorly so far)…and maybe try a song or two for Jonah…

yes I asked for this specific one because I am a DUMMY with an acoustic guitar

Yes I asked for this specific one because I am a DUMMY with an acoustic guitar

So here is a 2013 pictorial to usher in what I pray will be a better year – for everyone!

The Year of The Eye: January 2013

The Year of The Eye:
January 2013

March:  more eye doctor

March: more eye doctor

April:  thumb-sucking contemplative Boo

April: thumb-sucking contemplative Boo

May:  waking up from the eye operation to try & save the sight in his left eye

May: waking up from the eye operation to try & save the sight in his left eye

June: The endless wearing of the eye shield

June: The endless wearing of the eye shield

July:  a smile through the eye shield

July: a smile through the eye shield

More daddy-love in August

More daddy-love in August

No more eye shield.  The operation didn't save his sight.  Thank God for Boo's healthy right eye!

September:  Happy Boo, rocking back and forth to a tune in the car. The operation didn’t save his left eye’s sight, though. Thank God for Boo’s healthy right eye!

October:  visit to the juvenile arthritis doc - everything looks great!

October: visit to the juvenile arthritis doc – everything looks great!

November:  Boo asks if the nonexistent "Thanksgiving train" is coming, and points to where he thinks it'll come from.

November: Boo asks if the nonexistent “Thanksgiving train” is coming & points to where he thinks it’ll come from.  He looks hopeful.  Sorry Boo!

Rockin' his Almanzo Wilder Homestead shirt & eating some chips and dip...

December: Rockin’ his Almanzo Wilder Homestead shirt & eating some chips and dip…

Boo’s ready for 2014.  We’re three days in already and “Snowstorm Hercules” (I guess they’re naming all the snowstorms now) has dropped maybe 7 or 8 inches here in Albany.  Hercules my ass.  They should have named it Deep Freeze — it’s about negative 4 outside and even opening a curtain feels like I’m subjecting myself to snow-blindness from all the white-bright.

P.S.  My biological family does not want anything to do with me.  Surprise surprise.  It was a bee sting, really – for a short while it hurt, burned, stank of rejection and things not right or fair.  I cried.  Then I got up off my ass and put some calamine lotion on the whole mess and flicked the bee off my arm.  That bee died stinging me, just as this biological-relative bullshit is dead to me now.  I am blood-related to Boo, and that’s all I need.  That, and the family I already have and love – including those outside my adoptive family whom I have chosen to adopt as sisters or brothers or cousins, DNA be damned.

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