Monday, June 28, 2010

A Sonnet

So today for my creative writing class I needed to write a Sonnet. I know I do not have the rhythm quite down, but here is my sonnet:
The child that is a gift from our God
The beginning of smile, a wink or a nod
The hopes and the dreams that you wish will come true
That is the gift a child gives you

This gift that holds so many good things
These gifts that can make your heart truly sing
Can also bring tears, oh, it is so true
This gift, not so perfect, that came from you

A child when born fills your heart with joy
This child in the form of a girl or a boy
This form, when the mold did not come quite right
This child will still be lovely in your very own sight

Whatever the challenges that may lie ahead
There really is no reason to be sad or to dread
For as God gave this gift so precious and true
God will every day, be right there with you

For everything there is a reason, you may not see it now
But clearly, down the road, you mind will allow
To see the beautiful lessons that you will learn
From this child with whom you now will sojourn

From this child, the lessons will be awesome and great
You will learn more to love and less to hate
You will learn of great blessing, unknown before
You will thank God for the great gift you truly adore

The days will fly fast and before you are done
You will remember the task of this child of one
And thank them both, your God and your son
Because you are really the one who has won

You won patience and kindness and love all around
Your empathy for others is left unbound
And those lessons of love the you learned everyday
You only have two people to thank and to say

God gave me a challenge, He gave me a gift
I didn’t understand it, at first I was miffed
But my eyes are now open, I really do see
God knew all along what the best gift would be

This child, this special boy in the form of a son
Not so perfect, but loving, my heart he has won
And simply, he taught me the importance in life
Of counting my blessings and not all the strife

He taught me to laugh and to dance and to sing
He taught me to not care about everything
He taught me humility, and patience and such
And, if I have not said it, I love him so much

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Wall-eyed. That is what I am when I am with Peter. It is the opposite of cross-eyed and means that instead of my eyes crossing, that are actually looking outward, in two different directions.
Having just spent the last 12 hours with Peter, I am now very wall-eyed, and attempting to cross my eyes to get them back in the right direction. How does one become wall-eyed..that would be Peter walleyed. Well, it started in the grocery store where Peter and I ventured shortly after I picked him up. I, knowing I would be accompanied by Peter had made a list. Now, I am not a list person, but knowing I would need to acutely aware of Peter and those items I needed to put in my cart, I, planning ahead, made a list. Thinking I was so smart, as I already knew we would not be visiting the Speedy Zone, been there, done that, and won't be repeating that act again went grocery shopping with a purpose. In and out, I am thinking. We were doing just fine, until Peter announced that we needed bagels. Really? Peter has never eaten a bagel in his life, and now the boy wants bagels? Not only did he announce he needed bagels, but he insisted that we find the bagels immediately. Did you know that the bagels are located at the opposite, farthest away, going from northeast to southwest in the store? And this is no White Hen we are visiting. I, however, pointed out to Peter that I needed to find the things on my list, before we went to the the North Pole to find the bagels. That did not sit really well with him, but he very hesitantly agreed, stating every fifteen seconds that we really needed the bagels. He was really trying hard to cooperate, but the agititaiton was increasing as I was frantically running down the various aisles to find my listed items. Afterall, I am thinking, this list is kind of cool and I really wanted to stay on task!
Finally, we get the bagel land, and things were a new calm. After studying every kind of bagel available for us shoppers, we decided that plain is the one for us. So, off we went to finish gathering the groceries on my list, when I ran into my friend, my friend who I have not seen for years, and of course, we really did want to catch know, how are the kids, and are you still...and that is where I became very walleyed. As I tried very pleasantly to fill her in with the data and really intently looked at her with one eye while the other eye was watching Peter filling up the cart with items that I knew he would insist were quite necessary. I really did try keeping the conversation going, and shouted out a few "Peter, we really do not need that", which went unnoticed by Peter who was now adding tens of dollars on the bill with various kinds of juices and milks. Finally, when both eyes were really out of whack, and the panic looked was emerging onto my face, my friend realized that our catching up needed to take place at another time, and offering my apologies for not being able to converse, I rescued the cart and moved along.
As I was finishing fulfilling the list of necessities and making a few more quick stops, I noticed when I turned around, Peter had vanished. where is he. Knowing he still has that loving feeling for automatic doors, I rushed to the front of the store and there is he stood, patiently watching the doors open and close, wringing his hands, and laughing in sheer delight over the whole affair.
At this point I decided my shopping experience had ended and whatever items were in that cart now belonged to me, and whatever was missing, well there was just no going back. So, I waited patiently in the long check out line, daring not to step over to Speedy as I knew that would only announce to Peter that I needed his help checking out, and unlike Silent Night...I am over that one!
The checking complete and Peter still focuing on the door experience, I let him know we could leave and yes, I have the bagels. So, out the store we went, Peter nicely holding onto the cart..the angelic person that he is and I unscrewing my eyes and refocusing for the next event... whatever that may be!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Peter loves Ravinia. Attending a concert at Ravinia Park tops his list of "favs". And incredibly, overall he is well behaved, for the most part....
When I decided that Peter might enjoy Ravinia, and tired of finding Peter sitters, I devised a plan. Peter and I would take the train to the concert park where we would meet my friends. The picnic supplies, food, blanket, and table were left in the hands of those who chose to drive some type of van or SUV in order to accommodate all the supplies. These supplies almost fit into one of those metal grocery carts that you sometime see a person of another generation pulling behind them following a trip to the grocery store. Knowing I would need to keep a close eye on Peter, I announced I would send my "part' with the van, and bring only Peter and our chairs on the train. Why did Peter and I take the train, because for Peter there is no other mode of transportation that brings sheer joy than the Metra. And the Metra drops one off right at the entrance to Ravinia.
The train ride to Ravinia went smooth, as Peter was quite entertained by the train experience. Anxiously awaiting the announcement of our destination, Peter was ready to jump as soon as the doors opened, and, in anticipation had gathered our belongings. Following the major leap off the train, even though Peter had no idea of his final destination, he maintained a 10 foot lead, and I, ignorant of my behavior, shouted for him to stay with me. He, of course, had no intention of listening to my pleas, went through the entrance without the ticket, and I explaining briefly about my situation... and please just let me go through, I need to find my son, in this one acre park that is now filled with thousands of people, got into the park and continued my search for Peter.
Having located Peter who did finally stop as he did not have a clue as where to go, we headed to our home for the next four hours. That would be an extremely large blanket filled with a table, chairs, people, food, and the coveted candle. Need the candle at Ravinia to light the table after the food has been consumed, and the music begins.
So Peter, now thinking he is in Nirvana, sat quietly, ate everything ounce of food that was packed for him, and when the symphony commenced, Peter reminded all of us in the Home to please be quiet and listen to the music. So under the sky filled with stars, we laid on our backs or sat in our collapsible chairs, breathed in the fresh air, and calmly listened to some version of Mozart. Really is Nirvana, a little space in time to relax in a atmosphere of music, candlelit tables and friends.
Feeling quite comfortable with how the evening was progressing, I was so proud of Peter who sat like an angel throughout the event. Hours later, the concert was ending and we, the train goers needed to head out to catch the only train headed north to reach our destination. Actually, there are two trains located outside the park, one heading south and one, situated on the other side of the tracks heading north.
Somewhere in Nirvana I forgot about the part where Peter really loves trains and really was only sitting patiently waiting for the concert to end, so he could ride that train again. At the first sign of the last song, the erupting claps, and the pleads to do an encore, Peter decided it was time to leave, and off he went. I, trying to disassemble the chairs, grabbing the pieces, and attempted to catch up with Peter who was now lost in the mass of those trying to get to the parking lot first, so they would not be caught in the parking lot of a traffic jam later. Fighting the crowds, and weakly apologizing for my behavior I ran as fast as I could. My fear, Peter would get on the same train that we disembarked, the train that would be filled to the brim and heading south. How could I get to him to tell him it was on the other side?
Approaching the tracks and seeing no sign of Peter, I conjured thoughts of Peter on the wrong train, thinking how would I find him, do I call 911, do I jump on that train and look for him? Panic slowly creeping in to all parts of my body.
I made a quick decision to check the other sides of the tracks and maybe, just maybe, and I do not know how, Peter would be on the right side of the train. Maneuvering across the tracks, running through the small spot of woods, and up the hill, I breathlessly approached the platform, praying all the way that Peter would be there. And miraculously there he stood, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the train. I counting my blessings that it had not arrived, because I knew he would board one of the many cars and I again would be at a loss.
How Peter knew...I do not know. How this ending did not turn into some disastrous event, I do not know. Peter happily boarded the train without a care in the world, I had just lost another ten years off my life from the momentary panic that had set in. Talking to know the story.
Did this event stop me from taking Peter to Ravinia. Nope! We just have one assigned to be glued to his hip post concert. It is their only job, they do not need to participate in any cleaning up of the momentary blanket home. Just stay close to Peter and follow him on the train, if necessary. It works!! And we can still enjoy a moment of Nirvana on a starry night.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Poem

This week for my Creative Writing class, we get to write a poem. Having never done this, I did not and still do not have a clue, I came up with this. So, here is my idea of a rhetorical poem....

A Special Gift
Writing about having a child with special needs,
There is so much to say, so much to tell
Do I start when he was born, the feelings of love?
The feeling of profound sadness when we thought he was blind
Do I tell the story of the many doctors?
Of those who built hope and those who destroyed?
Or the looks, the looks of those who could not comprehend,
Or those who knew and wanted to wrap their arms around the experience
Do I tell of the siblings, and their need to love and be loved
Or do I tell of the stories of those who promoted growth
Who sometimes understood themselves and sometimes judged?
Do I tell of the sadness of realizing that he would not develop a pincer grasp?
And who really thought that was all that important anyway?
Or that he would never read or grow quite tall or act much older than a six year old.
Possibly I should tell about the love, the unconditional love that belongs to any child
The lessons that he has taught me that one cannot learn from a book
The amount patience one acquires when given this special gift.
Or maybe I should tell of his siblings who have been given the gift of understanding like no others
It’s free, you know.
It came with the package.
So, I will tell of the great blessing that I received the day he was born. The one, I did not quite realize
The blessing that came so quietly into my world and still works wonders in my heart.
That gift, that package that has brought both joy and sadness,
But most of all a it’s love, it’s a free high.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Silent Night

Before the last of the Christmas decorations are stored, while those tiny white bulbs are still sited in my neighbor's yard, and while thoughts of Christmas still linger in my head, I will tell the tale of Silent Night. Now, in most families the mention of Silent Night conjures up happy thoughts of Christmas, a beautiful church filled with candles, a song sweetly sung. Not in the Labanowsky household. Those two simple words puts one in a heightened state of awareness and sends that prickly feeling up your spine that goes into to your head and alerts you to "Danger ahead". Why, it was only several months ago, that I was calling churches asking "Do you sing Silent Night on Christmas Eve". When we heard that the church we normally attend was singing Silent Night in the beginning of the service, it was unanimous....sure disaster. So, this year we chose the contemporary church with hopes we might "rock" to Silent Night". Upon entering the church, with new hopes for a good Christmas Eve experience, Mike noticed the candle in my, the eternal optimist that this would be the year we would do Silent Night, and he said.."Mom we are not doing this" which if interpreted meant..."Mom, what don't you get about Silent Night???" Once again, the heightened awareness began as we awaited the first sign of the lighting of the candles, we kept our belongings in hand, and mentally found the nearest exit. This year we were ready for a quick escape. Actually, the good news, this year we did get out rather smoothly!
So, what elicits the Flight or Fight feeling when one knows that Silent Night will be occurring. Well, it all began many years ago, when Peter would play his CD of Christmas songs well into July. We were the only family in the neighborhood, loudly playing Jingle Bells on the Fourth of July. You know, it is that Christmas year around feeling. Peter's favorite was Silent Night, and if it was dark, he would turn off all the lights and invite you to sing along. You would think that on Christmas Eve this was his favorite song, after all, he sang it everyday, and several times a day with the lights off.
Several years ago, maybe five..eight..I have lost count, on Christmas eve, we went to church, sang Silent Night, the service ended and as I was leaving and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Sara ran back into church and literally grab my arm, pleading for a quick exit. I found this rather strange, as Sara was always second in command and could change Peter's behavior rather easily if needed. So, listening to her pleas, I left, only to find Peter closing the big iron gate on the parishioners, and trust me, he was not wishing them a Merry Christmas....his words included ##**XX..words I will not write, but words he had emulated from another parent who set less than quality standards. We rushed him along, trying hard to quiet him down, Peter not willing to let go of his feelings was hurried into the car. At that point, we did not realize that was the beginning of the end to Silent Night and a quiet Christmas Eve service.
The following year, now quite believing that Silent Night would again cause such an uproar, I took him to the children's service. We discussed that at the end of the service the children would sing Silent Night. Peter reassured me he would be fine and he would sit quietly during the song. and than it happened. The candles were lit, he jumped up, swearing loudly, ran out of church and, yes slammed that heavy door as loud as he could during that song. That night, pouring my self a large glass of wine, we sat and discussed Silent Night and all he could say was that he just could not handled. And whatever he could not handled, unearthed some really bad behavior that brought Peter to tears mixed with anger, and a bit of door slamming.
Again, being the eternal optimist, and after all, another year had past, I truly believed this was the year Peter was over Silent Night. Life had settled down at my house, less trauma and drama, so I was totally convinced this was the year we would make it through Silent Night. I even incorporated the help of the ministers, one who actually came back to the church entrance, to give Peter reassuring looks and provide moral support . We made it through the first verse. Then came the second verse, and Peter decided he had enough! His goal now would be to turn UP the lights in the in the darkened candle-lit church. The pastor spent the next two verses dodging Peter and keeping his back on the light switch while I tried to convince Peter to leave. And we did...of course, with the heavy door slam and a large mental note to myself...give it up Diane.
So, if you asked Sara or Mike about Silent Night, you will receive a wide eyed look of terror that only belongs to one who lives with Peter Labanowsky. During this years service, the minister mentioned that we would be singing Silent Night, and all of us turned with that "Oh No, he said the word!!". Peter who was reverently bowing his head, looked up and said, Silent Night...stupid silent night....and we left. That was our cue, as if we had practiced our escape, we were out of there in seconds. Running as fast as we could before those lights were turned down and the candles were lit. Counting our blessings that would were no heavy oak doors to slam.
If anyone who knows of a Silent Nightless church on Christmas Eve...please let me know. My children will eternally be grateful!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thanksgiving and other such cooking days

Thanksgiving is one of those special holidays in my mind. Rather simple, no major gift giving taking place, and the menu, as far as I am concerned....a no brainer. Your family wants the same thing every year....tradition, and if it is missing from the menu, their is a professed loss among the crowd as to where are the green beans this year. So, I, in order to maintain tradition, change nothing. Simple as that. I like to hold the Thanksgiving dinner at my house as it is easy, I have it down to a science, and I like the warmth of family that Thanksgiving provides. So, this is on holiday, where we are all around, maybe watching a football game, or just chatting while I cook the same standard Better Homes and Garden Thanksgiving meal.
Now cooking with Peter has and still remains a challenge. During the course of the preparations, I need to keep one eye on those items in the oven, and one eye on Peter. For Peter, for whatever reason....likes to help with maintaining the heat of these items.
More that one Thanksgiving has passed, when other family members have arrived and we become engaged in conversation. I, thinking, I have this all under control, have all the main dishes safely tucked in the oven at 350 degrees, and all I need to do is wait to hear the buzz of the timer...and Presto...a Thanksgiving dinner will commence to proceed from the coffers of the oven and unto the table. Magic! Just like that. And most likely in an ordinary household that is how it works. But, in this house, where Peter always makes a move...quietly, when no one is watching, when one thinks she has it all under control...will unobserved, sneak up to the oven and, yes, turn it off! Just like that! And for some reason, time will pass, and I will think, everything will be done at 300 PM, right on time to serve this ravenous crowd, will than notice that the oven is no longer in a functioning capacity. Now here is the long was that oven off?? I know my recipe says to cook for 4 was if off one or two hours....mmmm? When will we actually eat this turkey?
Yes, Peter has the fine knack of turning food off in the midst of the cooking cycle and walking away as if nothing occurred. Many a dinner has been served at this house and at a newly appointed time, as we wait until we start the recooking mode. Peter, my dear son, is also quite sneaky with the grill. The gas grill, which sits steps outside the back door is conveniently located for Peter, so in this case, when no one is watching, he will turn it up! Now, if I had a choice in the matter, off works much better for me. At least in off, we would not be consuming the remains of charbroiled meat.
So company, and family dinner are always an entertaining time in this household. We are entertained by our company, at times we are our own entertainment, and if that is not enough, Peter will provide a bit more excitement with his cooking antics. In all this excitement, we will eat. Maybe we will not eat on time, oh too bad...just will need a bit more wine or maybe our steaks will be very well done..another good excuse to serve more wine, but we will eat, and we will laugh, and we will enjoy the day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


The culmination of a great Fourth of July ends in Fireworks. Following the parade, the picnic, the looking for Peter in neighbor's doorways, the camaraderie of friends, who helped us locate Peter, we would gather the children and head to the Fireworks. Now in our area, that meant heading to the lakefront where various parks were located, and one could choose the park of their liking to scout out a good seat. That seat being one where the fireworks could be fully taken in and along with your new friends seated on the blanket next to you, one could "ooh and ahh" as loudly as possible.
Being creatures of habit, we usually chose the same park every year and the same location where we would plant the blanket, haul out the cooler filled with drinks, and gather for an evening of laughter and fun. Knowing friends who lived in the neighborhood near the park, we usually secured a parking spot in their driveway, or at least close to their house. Little did I know that feature of habit would turn out to be to my benefit in the future.
As the years past, the children grew older, we became less important, and the number of those attendees on our blanket grew smaller, until eventually only four members were left in the original group, that being Peter, myself, and the Ehlers. Several years ago, the Ehlers, Peter and I ventured down to the lakefront ready to end our day with a good dose of that good patriotic feeling one receives after watching the sky light up. We, again, parked close to our friends home and walked the mile to the park. Parking there also gave us the option of a quick getaway after the fireworks, as the hundreds of others heading west would get caught up in virtual parking lot of a traffic jam and we would head south to avoid that particular lot.
We parked, we observed, we loved the sky show and the fireworks ended with a bang...literally! As we were gathering our belongings, Peter decided to get a head start, and in his usual method did not announce his plans. He took off while we were bending over the blankets and coolers, discussing the last of the fireworks.
It did not take long for me to realize Peter was AWOL and even though my eyes scanned the crowd, he was no where to be found. That crowd of hundreds were all madly rushing to their cars to get first in line for the traffic jam, and somewhere embedded in them was Peter. The crowd was enveloped in darkness, as without the fireworks, and except for a few street lights, one could not see beyond a few feet. We took off full speed ahead, trying to out maneuver the crowd and find Peter. Hoping he was standing near a tree or light, we continued on to where the crowd forked. Appearing as a herd of cattle, one group headed west and one south, Peter was no where to be found. Always in the background post fireworks, if one notices, you can hear the sound of sirens. Those sounds, only invoked a feeling of helplessness in me, wondering if that emergency vehicle was heading towards Peter. At that point, 10 minutes into a lost Peter, my heart was racing. Did he head south, did he head west? Where was this child that would not be able to tell anyone his name or where he lived? That child, who would most likely run from anyone trying to assess that information.
Calling 911, I asked if they had found a child. The 911 operators, although very kind, at this point were being inundated with calls. I gave them my number and they promised they would let me know. We walked, we searched and hoped. The mile walk to the car, among the crowds seemed interminable. I called 911 again. Nope, no child.
Finally, after what seemed like hours we turned the onto the block where we had parked. Midway down the block, standing next to the Ehler's car, stood one young man nonchalantly waiting for us. Not a concern in the world. He knew where he was going. He had no idea that I had just lost ten years off my life stressing over his location. He had no idea that 911 was involved, and expressing these thoughts to Peter would only waste my time and breath. Telling Peter not to run.......yeah right!!
So, Peter, that Fourth created his own Fireworks in my heart. The next year he was given fair warning and was told he must hold my hand following the Fireworks...and he did. Me and my twenty year old, hand in hand, until we reached our destination.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Yesterday, Peter and I ran into Peter's favorite hairstylist while grabbing a quick bite to eat at McDonald's. Peter, who refuses to go to anyone else, has been going to Kelly since he was a baby. Peter was born with a really nice head of hair, that even at birth was relatively long. And Peter, along with Mike got the good hair gene in the family. Nice think dark brown hair that has a bit of a wave and grows rather quickly, if you ask me! When Peter was little, I used my unskill of hair cutting and kept Peter fairly recognizable with a somewhat short hairstyle. However, as Peter grew, I knew it was best to keep my real day job, that would not be a stylist, and find someone who would have the patience and understanding when cutting his hair.
At the saloon where I went, my stylist's younger sister, Kelly had just entered the world of the beauty saloon, so I asked her if she was up for the challenge. Kelly, young, wide eyed, and ready to take on the world, agreed. Little did she know what she was getting into.
Peter's haircuts went like this. I stood and held him...first of all, he was too floppy to sit, and Kelly cut. But Peter, possibly fearing the unknown, although he did not cry, made a great effort to "wag" his head while she cut. So, the three of appeared as if we had some dance going on. She danced around us, I tried to stabilize and Peter wagged. After a good forty five minutes of the act, we usually agreed that was about as good as it would get for this time around and off we went. This little performance went on for years, until one day Kelly suggested I put him in chair. Being quite apprehensive, and have dentist visits visions flashing in my head, I agreed. And what to my amazement happened, but he sat. Not only did he sit, he sat incredibly still and acted as if he really enjoyed this.
Time passed and one day I made a decision that Peter really did not need to go to the expensive saloon, but he would do just fine at one of those store front clipper places, the $9.95 haircut. Thinking he had matured enough to try a new place, we went off on a sunny afternoon to get Peter a much needed haircut. .....Forty five minutes later, and a definite Mexican Standoff occurring, Peter continued to refuse to get off the chair in the entry of this clipper joint and move to the back. Again...yes, you know the story, no amount of coercing, bribery, demands on my part would convince the young man that he needed to go from place A to B to get a haircut. Finally, after this scenario had been observed by many around us, I decided to leave. Yep, he won. Why change a good thing, why not go to the spa for a haircut, if one can! Peter knows a good thing when it happens.
Today, Peter just loves going and getting his haircut, he is so relaxed he usually falls asleep in the chair, and I would venture to say, that is the time Peter is totally still. Not a movement takes place. He has even been told he sits the best of anyone who gets their haircut.
Seeing Kelly today, Peter immediately lets her know he is in need of a's getting kinda long, he says. Walking away, he tells me that she is so nice, such a nice person, she is way up there, pointing to the sky. I cannot remember Peter ever being that verbose about anyone thing or anybody.
Whatever she did or does, for Peter it is special. For the rest of his life, Peter will be going to see Kelly until she retires...hopefully, not for a really long time. Until then, Peter will continue to have a spa experience every time he gets a cut.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Fourth of July

The Fourth of July, that special day when we are most grateful for living in this fine country, no matter the politics, this remains a great place to be located. On the Fourth of July, our day started with a neighborhood parade where the local kids decorated their bikes, scooters, and wagons with the traditional red, white, and blue crepe paper and multi-layers of flags. Really, it was the parents who used their talents to intertwine those colorful strands in and out of the spokes. The parade, which actually started at our house, went around the neighborhood block and ended up at the Gourley's where the participants received ice cream and soda.

Peter's participation in this parade varied, as when he was young, he had no choice but to ride in the wagon. Following the years the Peter would have been considered a toddler, well beyond the "norm", Peter took up scooter riding, so his method of transportation in this patriotic parade became his scooter. I, always thinking Peter would follow the rules just as his siblings, thought this child would walk as the other children, moving slowly along, waving at those cheering on the sidelines, smiling and taking in the event as it unfolded down the tree strewn street. Wrong!!! Long before the parade began, he would sneak outside and remove my neatly placed star spangled bannered crepe paper and throw it away. Once he was in the parade, he made the decision to do the parade in typical Peter fashion. Never one to follow directions, but still wanting to be a part of the action, Peter, using his well built quadriceps, pushed that scooter full speed ahead, and completed the parade route within minutes, leaving the rest of paradees well behind. Was it that he wanted to be first in line for the ice cream that awaited the participants at the completion of the parade? Most likely not, Peter not being a big foodie really never had a concern about getting served first. Was it, because the "crowds" of twenty made him feel not think so. I can philosophize and ponder the why. I can reason and come up with answers. It really did not matter, if Peter was going to participate, he was going to do it quickly and expediently. And that's the way he liked it. Always happy to be a part and feeling quite accomplished that he finished.

Living in the area that we did, we never feared that Peter was in any danger. We know that the neighbors were keeping an eye on Peter until we arrived. The security of the neighborhood, the comfort of knowing the neighbors were taking charge until we caught up with the youngster allowed us to complete the parade with the rest of the gang. He remained safe at the Gourleys, awaiting our arrival.

Recently, I made the decision that we would be really good on the sidelines. The parade has increased twentyfold with motorized vehicles involved, firetrucks and ambulances, a plethora of decorated baby strollers, those on Rollerblades, and the usual and customary bikes and walkers. Handing Peter small flags and turning up the patriotic vibes on the CD player, we do well cheering on those in the parade. I know he is safe. And, if we are lucky...maybe we will score on some candy!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Motherhood 101

So, did you ever have those days when you thought you flunked Motherhood 101? I did, just yesterday. Peter had arrived home for the weekend, and either I forgot how quick and fast he was or I was low in the patience bank, but he came, he conquered, and he left.

I seemed to forget that when I have guests over, Peter takes it as an opportunity to clean, to be as busy as possible. I know he means well, and he has a real need to keep busy, so I entertaining, somehow managed to organize and make a meal and keep one eye on Peter. Fortunately, the guests, well aware of Peter behavior, totally understood when I jumped up approximately every minute, chewing on my dinner, to corral Peter and convince him to try another task that would keep him busy. They kept the conversation going, and I tried to catch up, returning each time to a new topic. I will begin the scavenger hunt to find all the lost items that were "cleaned up' at another time.

That was the first day of the weekend. As the days progressed, I realized I needed to be one on one with the man. Yet, somehow, while I was sitting right next to him, having given up the idea of doing anything but just abiding my time glued to his hip, or at least I thought he was glued to my hip, he managed to fill a large bucket with soapy water and in his attempt to take that bucket from the laundry room to the broke...not sure how, it made a very large noise which made me jump, and there it was, all two gallons, on the floor in the laundry room, seeping into the bathroom, and running down the garage steps. Peter, knowing this was not good, was attempting to sup up the water with the rugs. I, asking him to please stop, was at the end of my patience bank. Now, I should know, 22 years later, that raising my voice, showing my frustration, only makes matters worse. When did I forget?? Peter, only more agitated, chose to waddle through the water with soaking wet feet, and into the carpeted family room.....Peter, I asked, what did you not understand about not walking through the house with soaking wet feet.

Peter, when he knows he messed up, only becomes more agitated. I, knowing this, should have been one step ahead of the game to outsmart him and to get him to work. I did not. Cleaning up the mess, I started thinking that I really failed in my motherhood classes today. I really did not promote the sense of well being that I could of or should of!! The guilt! The feeling of how I could have done better. Do we not all do this to ourselves? Do we not second guess what could have been done differently?

I guess the good is the opportunity to try again, and in raising children, any children, that is good. Children are also very forgiving, so we get alot of second chances. The bad, is the guilt, the beating yourself over the head feeling that one gets when one thinks the outcome should have been different. For many years, I second guessed. I tried to think what could have been different. Then I came to the conclusion, it is what it is. I will do my best, and my best may not always be good enough. There will be days when I will be more tired than my kids. As for Peter who was told he was not coming home next weekend, just called me two days later and asked when I was picking him up...gotta love that short term memory.