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Posts Tagged ‘Rhinebeck’

Got to see my Boo twice last week – on Friday for his JRA doc appointment, and the next day, down in Rhinebeck with my mom.

He was a pisser at his appointment —  but also a weird thing happened both then and again today.  When they first called Jonah in for height and weight, he got on the scale and stood pretty still.  The nurse said “84 pounds,” and I was shocked at how heavy he was.  I mean, he looks skinny and lithe like his mama.  “Wow,” I said.  “When I was 84 pounds, I was in junior high.  And I was skinny!”

Not thinking. 

Not remembering, were Jonah a “normal” boy, he would be in junior high.  He would be  entering 7th grade this year.  To me he is my very little boy, my baby-est angel.   It is so easy to regard him as such.  Like when we lie down together on Andy’s bed, one near each side, sometimes holding hands, and we stare into one another’s eyes – he often sucking his thumb, for “quiet time.”  I think I will always have quiet time with my Boo.  In so many ways he will stay very little.  Can I listen as the watch unwinds?

This is where I suppose I am blessed, for other parents must lament the speed with which their children learn and grow, whereas I may yearn for Jonah to stay small physically, but the learning part is comparatively like molasses, and the rest of him is a poorly engineered roller coaster ride.

No lamentations from us about too-speedy entry into higher schools, middle to junior high to high school, high school to college – all the kids’ birthday parties, little league games, soccer mom hoopla (some of which I’m not sorry I missed out on, truth be told).  All the PlayStation (?) games at $100 each, the must have clothes, proms and clubs and nightmares, worries lies anxiety want-to-fit-in rebellion wisdom questioning making friends.  Jonah won’t have any of that, and usually I feel like that’s okay.  Maybe it means I was supposed to be his mama.

Is autism really just an internal trade, pure innocence for societal functionality?

Today I picked up my new migraine meds at the pharmacy, and the all-time awesome-est pharmacist was there.  She has seen me through all kinds of drama and tears, and we’ve talked lots about Boo.  She asked about him today, and I said,  “He’s good.  He’s loving music.  His two current favorite bands are Prince and Public Enemy.  As loud as it will go,” I added, laughing.

“Well he sounds just like a teenager, that’s for sure,” she replied.

Yeah.  Teenagers like to play their music loud, don’t they?

Earth to Amy:  Jonah’s autism does not define him.  He is also (nearly) a teenager.

Breaking it down and taking it back to the doc appointment.   Took a while for the doc to come in, so Boo’s two caregivers (J and P) and I occupied him through his mischievous, shriek-y, giggling wait time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I brought a package of tic tacs and immediately Jonah held out his hand.  “I hold it?” he asks, when you’re trying to give him just a little bit of something, or dole it out.

Yo yo yo, big pimpin', spendin' G's

Yo yo yo, big pimpin’, spendin’ the G’s. He cares little for paper money, though they’ve been teaching the abstraction of it all at his school and he is learning.

For the doc appointments I comply and hand him the container.  “I want help please?” he asks, trying to open the small box.  I open it and hand it back.  Immediately he shakes it up and down and back and forth, scattering every last tic tac around the room and on the floor.

Now he lazily seeks out approximately 1/3 of the tic tacs he has just scattered and places them back into the box or lines them up in front of him.  Doc says he is fine and we may want to talk to his retina doc to see if it’s time to titrate him off the methotrexate, and eventually, hopefully, the Humira as well.  Both docs are women and I stand in awe of them, so grateful to all they have done for Boo, for their kindness, their intelligence — even strangely, their beauty — as I believe it rises in those full of love and doing good in this world.

Saturday was a forgot-my-camera day, which is sometimes okay.  I don’t always have to play photojournalist.  Jonah wanted to watch train on the computer, loud as all hell.  He asked for freight train and since pretty much any railfanner video out of Voorheesville is of freight train after freight train, I just gave him a 45 minute video of that.  It was a typical-good Jonah visit, complete with swim-up lunch bar and car ride to transfer station. 

When I gave him his bath I even got him to sing some Guster.  He knows Keep it Together best, so I’ll usually begin “When we all….” and then fade out and let him take over.  It’s pretty cool how well he sings, both (mostly) in tune and rhythmically.  Here’s the “famous” video of him singing it when he was 7, on a rare occasion when he allowed me to film him at all.

I’m tired.  Almost no sleep last night.  It felt as though time were traveling backward.

“Listen as the watch unwinds….”

(from Come Downstairs and Say Hello)

by Guster

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I felt anger yesterday.  And resentment.  Envy.  Ugly thoughts.  I don’t belong on facebook because of my hyper-sensitivity, but I’m on it to be the Scare-Me-Not mommy.  Facebook, childishly, really hurts.  I look around the site and see things that make me jealous, or left out, or angry.

Sisters on a beach vacation – beautiful, strong sisters I wish with all my heart were my own.  Family at Yankee Stadium – something I’d love to be invited to (and have vocalized this wish to my mother many times when she was one of the crew) but have been left out of over and over again until I gave up.  Young couples with their arms around each other, grinning ear to ear.  Friends who get 3 vacations in one summer.  The beach, the beach, the beach.  Their children playing together, jumping in the waves.  More sisters, four or five, all grinning, all looking like one another, all there for one another, no matter what.

(Oh, to bring Jonah back to the beach.  To hear him gleefully cry “the ocean!” again.  Now, it’s impossible.  Next year I will plan ahead and see if I can hire someone like Joe to go with me to help me with him – and we’ll take him to Cape Cod. )

The young family living in Hawaii.  The really nice rich cousin whose family goes to Rome, or Milan, or wherever else the 1% go for vacation.  The family who has little material possessions yet is drowning in love.

Then, the people fighting diseases, fighting for causes, fighting for their children…trapped in the midst of horrible things – all of them rooted deep in faith, all of them brave and uncomplaining.

And then there is me.

I don’t have the diplomacy to keep my mouth shut and I don’t have the grace to be uncomplaining and I don’t have the faith to hold me up.

For all those who so kindly commented on my last post, you see I am mostly just a little girl, emotionally – frightened and bratty as hell.  The spoiled only child who grew into the downwardly mobile idealistic hippie chick college student, who grew into a married woman who had a baby largely because she knew the child would have an amazing father (never even considering what kind of a mother I would make) who grew yet again into a numbed, dumbed-down version of herself – a broken, tired, jealous, Peri-menopausal mess.

There is no heroism in me and very little strength.

The acts of kindness I like to commit are only a conscious effort to combat what I know about myself…to have something, anything, to put some weight on the other side of the scale.  I like to believe myself a Buddhist, a least a little, and a Christian, a little more, and yet I fall so short of the ideals, the teachings.  I can’t stop these tight, tears-behind-my-eyes, ugly feelings that come roaring up inside me like a sickness.

So yesterday, when all was said and done, I eventually reaped what I had sown – ripe seeds of nasty, intrusive, pissy, uncalled-for emotions.

But I’ll get back to that later.

My mom and I drove down for our Saturday Jonah visit, and, as Andy said later, “he was on his A game.”  He was so amazingly good.  Almost too good.  What do I mean by that?  I guess mostly that it’s easier to leave him behind when he is aggressive and scream-y and difficult.  When he’s so good, I want to hold him close to me and never let go.

I taped a small “conversation” I had with Jonah but I’m not sure how easy it is to hear.  If you listen closely, at the very end, Andy asks, “Jonah, what’s a fart say?” and Jonah blows a raspberry.

And not only did he go swimming at the river,

He dropped his purple “octopus” in the river and then just pointed to it. “Go get it!” I told him…

…so he did.

Jonah and his dad, running back to the car at Jonah’s request to go to “grocery store?”

Andy, strapping Jonah into his car harness as Jonah laughs hysterically and clutches “purple octopus.”

…as visions of grocery stores dance in his head…

…but we also drove to “grocery store” at Jonah’s request to buy waffles and syrup and orange soda.  I watched as my boy got his own cart, spun it around and into the store, expertly steered it past both produce and people, and acted like a good little kid, only occasionally asking for something we weren’t going to buy (and taking it very well when we said “not now” or “tomorrow” or any of the other distraction words — anything but “no.”)    Jonah acted better, even, than some of the other kids there.  Of course we did have to go to the self-check out to avoid any waiting, but still it was so incredibly cool to watch him growing and learning and doing so well.

When my mom and I left, it was with the hope we always have when Boo is good – that he will continue in this direction, steadily learning patience and life skills as well as academics, gradually improving, progressively making his way out of aggression and into verbalization.  Socialization.  Happiness.  It never happens, of course – there is always the backslide, but every time, we hope – we have learned its necessity.

When I returned home from our visit, I drove up to the Rensselaerville Falls and made a large nature art creation.  Nobody was around.  Nobody almost ever is…even when the parking lot is full, most people are on the ridiculously steep trails.  I hefted rocks that I looked at after I was done, wondering how I’d lifted some of them at all — then, with my rock-circle-wall sufficiently constructed, I began decorating it, first with two branches to make a cross, then with fallen leaves I could find on the ground or trapped swirling around a stick in the water.

I sat on a rock shelf nearby and listened to the waterfall, always rushing, never-ending, as calming and reassuring a sound I’d ever heard.  I first searched for patterns in the sound, and for a while I opened myself further and let them enter me.  When I arose from my reverie, I realized I had made this creation for Liam the Brave –  The sweet, suffering toddler for whom I made the box.

And I walked fully clothed into the area of water surrounding me, into the middle toward the next waterfall level, feet groping as the water rose higher and higher on me.  To my calves.  My mid-thighs.  My waist.  Close enough to the drop of the falls for the sound to swallow my screams, loud and long and enraged.  I screamed and thrashed around in the water as if dousing Wicked Witches into melting pools.  I cried and I sobbed.  I yelled primal, awful AAAAAHHHHHs, and, finally, raised my body tall and straight.

I walked purposefully up and out of the pool of water, back over to my rock creation, and felt the rage rise again.  I barely stopped myself from deconstructing the creation, rock by rock, and shot-putting the smaller ones into the water, smashing them against rocks, pitching them at the falls.

But I didn’t.  It isn’t mine anymore, I thought.  It’s Liam’s now.

I picked up my things – my bug repellent, my camera, my sandals – and carried them up the hill, along the trail, and back to the car.

It was not until the moment I reached for the driver’s door handle that I realized I’d locked the doors (something I almost never, ever do).

With a sinking heart, I realized I’d left my purse (with my cell phone and my keys) in the trunk.

And what did I do?  I smiled.  The karmic slap.  You reap what you sow, you jealous, angry bitch.

Instead of finding someone in the Huyck Preserve office (I was sure it was closed anyway) or knocking on a neighbor’s door to ask if I could use their phone to call AAA, I just smiled again.

I know what I’ll do.

I searched around the parking lot for a little while until I found what I thought was a hefty, perfect, pointed rock.  Then I walked over to the driver’s side way-back triangle-window, and brought down the rock as hard as I could, right in the middle of the glass.  Instead of hearing a satisfying shatter, I watched a white scratch appear as the rock bounced off.  It was loud as hell, though, echoing throughout the park.  Again and again I brought the rock down on the glass.  More and more and more white scratches appeared.  Some small nicks.  Nothing much else.  By now the glass would need replacing anyway, I realized, whether I broke it or not.

So I reached down, grabbed up the uncomplaining rock, and walked maybe two feet away from the car.  I aimed as best I could and threw the rock at the window with all the strength I had.  Rock bounced off window.  I picked it up and threw it again, where it bashed in the silver trim halfway between the way-back-triangle window and the back window.  Still I threw it again, this time making the familiar white-mark-scratch, only this time even further off mark, on the back window.

At this point I was half in tears at my stupidity and half-laughing at the strange fun of trying to bash a window in with a heavy, sharp rock.

Finally, I walked to the office, which was actually open, and found a young man inside.  “Did you just hear all that noise?”  I asked him.  “Yeah,”  he answered.  “I was about to come out and see what’s going on.”

“What’s going on,” I said, “is  I’m trying to bash out my back window because I locked my keys in the car.  Do you happen to have a hammer?”

He did.  Both a sledgehammer and a pick-axe.  He chose the sledgehammer and held it out to me.  “Do you want to do it or do you want me to do it?” he asked.  “You do it, please,” I answered, not wanting to make a wild swing and cave in the roof or something.

“Well I’ve never done this before,” he said before giving the window just a wee more than a tap with his giant sledgehammer.  The result was my anticipated, satisfying SMASH, glass all over the inside of my car.

If you look closely you can see where I white-scratched the back window and dented the trim.

I thanked the dude, stuck my lanky arm through the hole, unlocked the back door, opened it, stuck my body in the car, used my lanky arm to reach the front door lock and unlock it, popped the trunk, grabbed my purse, slammed the trunk shut and the back door closed, and drove the hell home.

Another view of my happy little car

And so, in one of the longest posts I’ve written in quite some time, there lies the moral of the karmic smash:

Don’t waste time being angry, or jealous, or resentful.  You’ll end up falling under the illusion of surface-sight and misunderstanding.  You’ll end up making assumptions that may not be true.  You’ll end up a grasping fool, unhappy and repellent.  There is no good in any of it.  Let it all go. 

Learn it, Amy.  And right quick.

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“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”

~ Joseph Campbell

Me & Boo

Window

by Guster

A gaping wound tells the story of it all
A man lost only to find
What was left of his mind
With no hope of a scar at all
You say, “Go slow”
But something’s right behind me
I can run away for only so long
It will not stop
I will come down
Oh no
Let me find my way
I’ll take you to the edge
Go across that window
And I’ll carry you there
Oh when nothing goes right
Oh when days don’t come tonight
Oh when all I see is the error of my own enemy
A man alone and cut and torn for it
His whole life friend after friend
They’re all a flash in the pan
With no hope of rejoice at all
Let me find my way
(Don’t be scared of what you might be thinking)
I’ll take you to the edge
Go across that window
And I’ll carry you….

I love how you can see his reflection in the car window here

What a beautiful weekend this is.  What a happy boy was Boo yesterday.  He is the dawn after my darkest.   Jonah is such a joy…clever and curious…a mischievous boy with a sometimes silly, sometimes subtle, sense of humor.

And this time when we visited the river/train he really wanted to dip his feet in the water.    (The whole thing was my fault because I took off my sandals and dipped my feet in, and then he wanted to also, so we both did).

We splashed around together and giggled and got pretty wet – the kind of wet you don”t worry that much about because it’s sunny and warm enough to dry you pretty quickly.

Jonah, splashing around with Knockout Ned

Captain Jonah surveying the land

for Boo there’s nothing better than water

A patriotic Jonah sports a shirt from “Pa”

Jonah, watching them take a boat out of the water near the dock where he usually sits

After my mom and I left, Jonah stayed with his dad and they likely played some more, hit some of Jonah’s favorite hot-spots.   Again today Andy went to pick up Boo, bring him back to his apartment, give him lunch, a bath,  and spend time with him.

Maybe he will be able to take him overnight some day.  It is enough to have small steps.  It is enough.  Seeds, sprouting slowly, but sprouting nonetheless.

Jonah meditates under his daddy’s careful watch

Today I gardened and gardened and gardened.  I found all the little pots I could and filled them with soil and impatiens, and I dug in the earth and planted some.  Things are about as pretty as they’ve ever been in both my front and back yards.  I weeded as much as I could, and M mowed the front and back, and then we were hot and tired, so we came in and I decided to sit in front of my fan and blog.

My lovely flowers…the key to flowers is perennials, I think.  More perennials.  I am so not a gardener, but when I garden I feel joy.  I don’t use gloves…I need to feel the soil and let the earth move through my fingers.  (You get very, very under-the-fingernails dirty and usually a whole lot of scratches this way, but still it is the only way I can do it).

I’m going outside to take pictures of the friendly flowers and prickly plants and prickly flowers and friendly plants I played with today.

somehow the focus is on that bud off to the right…

I think Emily was correct:

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.” ~ Emily Dickinson

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I love Guster in the same inexplicably passionate way I love very few other things.  Laura Ingalls WilderElfquest.  My beloved books, some that I’ve read dozens of times.

I’ll never forget the winter of 2002-2003, the first time I heard Guster – in the car, rounding the bend of Buckingham Pond, on EQX: the song was Barrel of a Gun.  I forgot about wherever it was that I was headed and went straight to the closest music shop.  I didn’t know the name of the band or the song, so I sang it to the guy behind the counter.  “I have to have this,” I demanded.  He nodded in an okay, just please don’t hurt me way and, luckily, knew just what I was singing, so was able to provide my first Guster CD:  Lost and Gone Forever.  I’ve been hooked ever since and have, quite unapologetically, seen 9 or 10 shows now.

My ability to expound on Guster in an uncool fashion really warrants its very own blog, so I won’t torture you too much about it here.  Suffice it to say that I was incredibly excited to be able to see them 2 nights in a row, on Black Friday and Whatever They Call The Saturday After That, in Montclair, NJ at the Wellmont Theatre.

First, though, was Thanksgiving.  My mom, God bless her, made a whole dinner – some for M and me and some for Andy.  We drove down together to see Boo and bring him to Andy’s apartment, where we all had turkey sandwiches and black soda for lunch.  Jonah took his usual two baths while we were there…

Jonah, of the water

…and then we took Boo for his regularly requested car ride? and came back to the apartment.  My mom and I left after Jonah’s second bath and another request for car ride.  During car ride I asked Andy to put Guster’s Easy Wonderful in the CD player, and Jonah and I sang songs in the backseat, moving our clasped safe hands up and down to the rhythm, singing the oooo-oooo-oooo-oooo-oooo part of Architects and Engineers like two little grinning goofballs… Jonah bursting out in a laugh every so often.  He loves Guster too now.  Score.

I like to joke that I have a bachelor’s degree in Guster and am working on my Master’s.  I know to bring canned food and ping pong balls to their shows, and I know better than to try to win the “meet and greet the band” prize after the show.  One time when I set out to win (and did win, by bringing box after box of food) the opportunity to meet and greet the band, I brought them a gift bag full of cookies and goodies, a mix-CD, and a letter that undoubtedly said something very very geeky.  Brian-the-drummer came out first after the show, and tears came to my eyes.  I was barely able to choke out “Your music makes me so happy” before I abandoned all hope of appearing normal, shoved the gift bag at him, began to cry, and ran away.  Fail.

But the shows were both fantastic, each featuring a different song off their first album, Parachute.  They almost never play songs off Parachute live, and they said it had been something like 18 years since they’d played either song.  To those of you who may be reading and knew me in high school:  nothing’s changed.  I’m still the geeky girl.

So here are some pictures of the shows.  At one point Ryan put a disco ball on his head; all the lights hitting it made the whole place a big disco – always the whole band and crowd laughing, dancing, joyful, energized by some cool twist on every song.

Adam on the horn

Ryan singing and jamming

All the Gusters

…and Ryan with his disco ball head.

I want to bring Jonah to a show.  I hope someday I can.  If not we’ll just keep on singing Guster songs.

While I was in New Jersey I was contacted by A.H., another beautiful singer from Shaker High School.  She said that a group was getting together that night (Saturday) to reminisce about Mr. Fleischer – but I was a state away.  Shit.  I would’ve loved to see everyone (and beg two or three people to sing).  I am so touched by the comments my old peeps, and Ned’s old peeps,  have left me.

Lives intertwined.  It’s all so amazing, this world and how it works.

P.S.  Jack and Almanzo are buddies now.

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So on Saturday my mom and I drove to Andy’s cool little apartment in Rhinebeck, then followed him to the school.  To be honest I didn’t really want to go just yet.  I’d imagined Boo happy, playing, eating good food and watching videos, walking around the campus with one of the direct care workers, swimming in the pool, riding his scooter.  I didn’t want him to see us and remember – to cry mama, to ask for home or daddy – not yet.  I didn’t want to have to drive away from him

My mother, though, wanted to see her grandson so much she swayed me.  And after all, I missed Jonah lots too.  I tried not to focus on the chaotic scenario I secretly feared as the three of us arrived.  When he first saw us, Jonah ran away toward his room, then came forward smiling and happy to see us.  We set up a little picnic outside the visitor’s center and as he looked from one of us to the next, grandma pulled out a bottle of black soda!

Heaven.  He’s a walking commercial for the black soda, just like his mama.  Not bragging, just saying.

He didn’t drink much of it, actually.  We all ate sandwiches and chips, Jonah alternately sitting down and walking a few feet away, a little unnerved but not upset:

He asked for playground and we brought him there – it’s right next to his house.  He loves that playground and has taken interest in things like swings again.  For so long we couldn’t take him to playgrounds for fear he’d hurt other kids, and it was really cool to see him able to play again, smiling and laughing.

Then we went for a short ride in brown car, Jonah grinning and thrilled to be next to grandma.

At one point he had a little aggression, but it only lasted a few seconds and then we drove back to the school.  Everyone working in his house seemed to like him, and the kids seem pretty cool.  When we first walked into his house, one boy led me by the arm over to a computer, smiling up at me as if I were his best friend immediately. We briefly met some of the caregivers before going outside with Jonah for our visit.

At the end of our visit, my mom wanted she and I to leave a few minutes before Andy, “so we wouldn’t all be leaving at once,” but I think she wanted to spare us the possible scene of Jonah crying and calling for us.   I don’t know how much Andy was downplaying it when he told me afterward it wasn’t too awful, but I’m grateful he took on the emotional burden of being the last one to leave Boo behind.

It was strange; all three of us broke down at one point or another, but not at the same times, and none of us for very long.  We kept it together pretty admirably, I’d say.  It is taking a lot of getting used to, this strange, new path.

Yesterday M and I were almost laughing from our snug basement apartment about how hurricane Irene turned out to be not much at all – just a day of endless rain and wind.  We stayed in and didn’t think much about it.  This morning, though, I had to detour to get around a huge tree that’d fallen across both lanes of Western Avenue.  By the time I got to work and saw the branches all over our parking lot, it occurred to me that maybe I should stop home on my lunch hour, just to check on things.

Here’s what had happened to my back yard while I was laughing at the storm:

Our next door neighbor’s enormous maple tree uprooted and fell at an angle, smashing the fence & laying in my yard.

This is the view of the root of the uprooted tree, which pried their patio up at an angle and set their picnic table askew.

Tree everywhere!  I guess Irene didn’t appreciate us laughing at her.  Instant karma, kinda…

Everyone is grateful the tree fell in the direction it did and that no one was hurt.  M and I are slowly moving back into the house over the next month or so.  It will be nice when that’s all done.

My mom and I are planning to go back and see Jonah, by ourselves this time, this Saturday.  So far so good – even Irene spared us her worst.

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Everyone in my office felt it, even way up here in Albany, NY.   I thought of Jonah and wondered if he was feeling it too –  the wavy, hula-hoop, on-a-boat feeling I’d never felt so strongly before, not ever having been a California girl.  They’re already selling t-shirts about it.  One picture I saw depicted the D.C. “earthquake devastation” – that one made me laugh out loud.

Yesterday was also Andy’s birthday.  I  made him a photo frame set with a bunch of pictures of he and Jonah.  He’s moved down to an apartment in Rhinebeck already; yesterday I called a bank and locked in a 3.5% interest refinance on a mortgage so I can keep the house and give Andy his share.  I am glad, and a little jealous, that he is so close to Boo. 

My mom and I and Andy are all going to go to Jonah’s school on Saturday and visit him for the first time since he was admitted on the 16th.  I hope it goes okay and he doesn’t want to come home with us.  Either Andy or I call every day to ask questions about how he’s doing.  If he’s crying for daddy or mama they do not tell me, and I don’t ask.  They generally tell me about aggressions, if there were any (yesterday he had none at all) and what he ate, and how he ate, and what he did.

Most of the direct care workers sound almost nonchalant when they tell me about his day, which is both comforting and unsettling.  I guess he is blending in well and yesterday I even asked “do you guys like him?”  They say yes, we do – he’s a great little boy.  I want so much for them to like him, hug him, teach him, nurture him.  I want warmer weather so he can swim, diving deep to undulate along at the bottom of the pool like he does so expertly.  I want them to cover his face in kisses, chase him on the playground, play music for him, and put lots of bubbles in his bath.  I want them to grow to love him.

There are no new pictures today so I’ll dig into his babyhood to post two cute ones:

Pissed off Boo

Charmer Boo

Everything remains surreal.  I am, for all intents and purposes, abruptly unmarried and childless.  I know I am still Jonah’s mother but no longer am I involved in his daily care at all.  It takes an enormous amount of trust to remain calm and collected about the placement of his little body, mind, and soul to a group of strangers, albeit professionals in the field of autism.  I trust and hope and believe this is right, this is the right thing, he will get better there, he will thrive.

There are no atheists in foxholes, and this is mine.  Not that I was an atheist before, but I’m sure praying more and calling on my peeps gone before me – all those hawks and deer, my grandparents, God, Mary, “and all the angels and saints,” as we Catholics say, to watch over Boo and keep him safe and happy.

Please.

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