Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We Need Back-Up

One thing I know for sure is that Peter has two "loves" in his life.  I would like to say that would be me and Sara or me and Mike, or maybe Mike and Sara, but really, none of us can equate to the love that Peter has for going to church and watching "Cops".  Yes, that is exactly what I just said...cops and church.  Seems like an oxymoron to me, but that is Peter..pure love, pure engagement into church and cops.
So, it was with bated breath that Peter and I sat down the other night to watch his favorite show.  Now me,   not a big fan of the TV show "Cops" had snuggled in further down the couch. Three blankets, several pillows, and I am all tucked in for the next hour.  Laptop statically placed on top of the blankets and pillows for  emails, surfing the net, whatever would keep my occupied during this hour long event while Peter and I were having some Saturday evening bonding.  Just him and I and a few ever present cops arresting various individuals on the telly.  Peter, had also ceremoniously prepared for this event, by strategically placing his gun, his  two pair handcuffs, and walkie talkies on the ottoman near his feet.  So there we sat, Peter, the paraphernalia, and the cops.  Really, close to any Norman Rockwell painting you could imagine. Close to nirvana I am thinking.
Perfectly happy to be catching up on email, and really thrilled to see Peter so entertained by this show, I was feeling quite smug about a nice quiet...okay, make that semi-quiet evening of the couch. It was only when the warmth of the blanket, that really cozy feeling had set in, when I overheard Peter frantically telling some Innocent person on the phone that we needed back-up. Just when I thought I might sneak in a quick snooze, I hear   "HURRY HURRY, We need back up".  Back up?  Back up for....?  His voice was raising and I am now pondering who he is calling. Peering from my side of the couch I am realizing that person is obviously, a very confused person as I could tell Peter was not getting his point across and loudly repeating his plea.  Moving slowly from that nice cushy haven of warmth I am contemplating my next move.  Should I make a diving leap for the phone, grab it and explain our imminent need for backup?  Or do I just let the person remained in a state of confusion.  I lurch, I grab, I explain.....you see we are watching this show about cops and you see they need back up and Peter would like back up, you understand???   Oh, you do...of course...
I return the phone to Peter who hears the words that back up will be here in a few minutes.  And he hangs up content. He  reorganizes his gun collection and quivers with excitement. Back up...is coming.  Life is good......Yes, life is good.  I quiver too, with that warm fuzzy feeling, the one only Peter seems to effect.  Can't remember when I called for back up, but back up can be oh so good! Can't remember when I got so excited about back up.  But we are all smiling, that happy smile!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Taste

As I continue my post operative vigil, I have decided to keep Peter busy tonight by taking him to the Taste of our City.  These popular events seem to be crossing the Midwest,  fairs where the tents line up and the vendors entice you with the idea of good eats.  So, Peter and I went off to our version of the "Taste".  I am feeling quite smug as I am thinking this is a great idea, entertaining for Peter, a mother and son bonding event, no car washing or cleaning involved....why I should go up for mother of the year.  We park and proceed to walk to those white capped tent, and I anticipate the variety of food available, an opportunity to try something new and exciting. I am just feeling so good about this I should be sitting at the back seat of a convertible, waving that wave...look at me..mother and son...isn't this cute.
We enter, along with the scores of other food seekers who are looking sideways in anticipation of their meal. No one really is looking forward or straight ahead, as the tents line the side of the walkway, and one must take in all the menu's before making a decision.  So with twisted necks, we began our bonding walk.  And as I am looking, anticipating my dinner of various ethnic groups, taco's, steak on a stick, no egg rolls.  I notice Peter picking up the pace.  Politely, I remind him to slow down, it's crowded, Peter, and those reminders become louder as he plows along, he of course looking straight ahead, and brushing against those with twisted necks.   Little did I know, he had been there earlier in the day, and obviously had scoped out his fare. My  idea of fine cuisine is fading fast as I pick up the pace.  Now, trying to dodge anyone leisurely enjoying this experience I tail Pete to his final destination. Weaving and winding, with many a near miss of walking bodies, panting and almost out of breath, we arrive at our tent.  Here we are, this will be our dining experience, we have made it, breathless, to the hot dog stand where Peter has already put in his order, and I deciding there is no option of fine dining, add mine.  And so we eat,with again an amazing record pace, but not without the conversation about the ice cream stand next to the hot dog stand.  So, we go over the need to eat the hot dog before the ice cream.  Eat the dog first, Peter which he dutifully consumes within minutes as I am once again, trying to keep up. Swallowing  off we head for Gelato...that magnificent form of ice cream that is next to highway robbery and needed to be eaten with this minuscule spoon before it becomes some form of liquid.  Of course, this wonderful delightful treat only lands on Peter's lap and he gives up.  I, thinking  of the eight dollars I just handed over for this tiny treat, scooped it back into the cup, now consume both his and mine...disregarding any calorie count at this point.Why, we cannot waste this divine form of ice cream, now can we?

My Norman Rockwell experience is near ending.  That "won't this be a wonderful evening" feeling is passing quickly as we have only spent twenty minutes finding, dining, and now what do we do???? Leaving....I am thinking leaving is a great idea.  I am done with the track meet, I am stuffed with ice cream and dogs...yep..time to go.  We walk to car, still at record pace, leisurely, enjoy the night is just not in Peter's vocabulary.  We find the car, still catching my breath, and Peter is just all smiles....he thinking this was just great.  Beautiful night!  And gives me that "whats next on the agenda look'.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

He's upstairs, he downstairs, he's all around stairs...Peter stop, it is only 5:30 AM, you had two wisdom teeth removed, one root canal, various tests, a boatload of anesthesia, are you not in pain, no suffering?  Don't you think you need to rest, lay on the couch.  I know I need to lay on the couch.  I have not had my coffee, I see the coffee pot out of the corner of my eye as I whizz by in an effort to keep up.  Peter, I am not short of breath as I am not used to this much exercise this early in the morning, especially with no coffee on board.

Most individuals who had surgery the day before would be on the couch, surrounded with ice bags. Not Peter, he fresh eyed and bushy tailed and now that surgery is done, he is ready to move on to his old tricks.  Why, my little piles have long disappeared, the large one loom, and he is off doing his thing or that would be things.  Outside, inside, up and down there is no stopping this young man.  A shower...why not....games...sure get all of them out.  The car wash....oh yes, that was on the list of bribes that escaped from my mouth yesterday.  Yes, Peter if you go in this room you can wash my car tomorrow...I promise!  Yes, Peter, I am good with my promise,  but is is 530 AM and it is raining with a bit of thunder and lightening.....later Peter...after coffee...Oh if I could just stop to fill that pot....life would be good!
Thinking he must be in pain, he must be uncomfortable I reach for the narcotic analgesic and give him a shot in juice.  Thinking I need him to be in pain, lay on the couch, sit for a minute.  But the pain killers do not work, I think he now has more energy.  Resigning myself that this will be a long day.....a very long day.  I eventually work my way to the coffee pot, make that coffee, gulp and  put on my game face, grab my sneakers and start the race.  I will survive.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Day I Could Do without.....

Have you ever had one of those days....those moments...those I do not want to be here moments. Or maybe more like....Okay God, I have enough on this plate...wait...life is not fair....c'mon give me a break moment. Oh wait, better yet...how would you like to be doing this moment. Yep...today...this morning...BIG I do not want to be here in my shoes moment.
Peter, had his annual, bi-annual surgery for his teeth cleaning. I do remember now, I skipped  this event last year reconciling that he really did not need to have this done,  which in reality was most likely, I do not need this, I do not  want to do it!
This year, I knew I could not go into denial, the surgery needed to be done.  The plan went into place. Last week the hospital called on a daily basis...the Operating Room head nurse, the Admission's office, anesthesia, security. They all know Pete well, so they had all their eggs in a basket, they had crossed their "T"s and dotted their "I's. No stoned left unturned, all tests in place, all drugs ordered, security on alert, they even were going to shut down part of the floor so Peter would not be intimidated. I gathered comfort in knowing that piece would be handled well.  However, my part, actually getting him there loomed like a huge daunting task.  How would I get him there?  Used the police in the past and that was not option, Wilson...no, I am thinking.  I will come up with a plan, and than the rest is in God's hands. 
The day approached, hush was the word on surgery. I made plans to stay an hour away so I could spend my time driving to the hospital so Peter could be distracted. Early in the morning, off we went for the hospital, pouring rain, and I am thinking good, I can drive really slow, waste more time. Only the unexpected happened, and Peter had major diarrhea. Thank you God for Truck Stops. After a rather large cleaning event, we moved onward, and once I reached the city limits,  I mentioned the "hospital' word, the agitation began, and did not stop. I continued to drive and ignore the loud verbal laments about not going,  and we eventually ended up at the back of the hospital.  The plan was to take Peter in the shortest way, avoiding the lobby, and get right to the dreaded surgical unit.  Meeting us at the  back door were two security guards with idea of swiftly whisking Peter to the floor. Not so swiftly, and with much convincing,  we made it the second floor  only to be met by Curtis  the security guard, who came in on his day off to meet Peter. And than the fun began!  Seeing Curtis must have reminded Peter of past experiences, so at this point, Peter announced his intention that he would not participate and the Mexican standoff began. This standoff  lasted one painfully long hour with 5 security guards, a plethora of nurses and I, of course, trying to convince Peter to at least go into the room. Peter, having nothing to do with that idea, closed down one wing of the hospital. My only prayer...God, do not let him escape! Curtis did a great job by standing in front of the elevator buttons.  It was only when the the anesthesiologist and crew captured him in the hallway, gave a quick sedative via  his arm did he relax...mmmm, I wonder why.  Becoming a bit catatonic, off he went  into the Operating Room.  Relief...the hardest part was over.
Thia is an experience I dread. A why cannot this be easier resounds in my soul. Feeling very sorry for Peter as he must be in dread, but also knowing this must be done. I never really  knowing if he will really make it into the hospital, and now, most grateful when it is done. The hospital staff did a phenomenal job and made an awful experience as good as it could be.  The amount of caring by those individuals was awesome!
It is done...we survived, not without a bit of trauma and drama, but we made it.  The day I have been dreading throughout the summer, arrived and now I can saunter to the cafeteria  for some breakfast. I sit, I eat,  I am thinking maybe  should we go eat at the hospital cafeteria everyday...would that help, maybe Peter would learn to love hospitals ...maybe a group outing....maybe someday he will outgrow this fear...maybe, there is always hope!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Talking to Me

A few days ago, I had a house full of painters, not quite sure why it takes so many painters to spread a coat of paint on an entry way, but they all showed up and made themselves quite at home during their short stay. Their presence was not only in the foyer, as they needed to rinse their plethora of brushes, they would saunter down the hallway, through the kitchen and find their way to the laundry room. It was during these short trips that they would suddenly appear in front of me, catching me unaware of another human being in my space, as after all, I am quite used to living in a quiet environment, and having no one to talk to but myself. As I am silently mouthing words, they would stop, as if I had something to say to them, but.....no, it just me and my own conversation in which I am quite involved. Previous to their visit, I would tell you that I do not talk to myself, that is definitely not something I do. However, by about the third episode of their surprised confrontation, their question of did you want something?, it became quite evident to me that, yes, I do carry on conversations with me...and only me.
Thinking, maybe I should be embarrassed, feel skirmish, consult a psychiatrist, I think of Peter. You know, the man of wisdom. the one who really knows. Not that long ago, I was riding with him in the car and he started to carry on a conversation. I immediately thought this conversation must involved me, so I start probing..."what Peter"....."what did you say"? He looks at me simply, honestly, with a "what is wrong with you look", and informs that he is just talking to himself. HELLO!! What don't you get about this. I am just having a conversation with me and you are not involved! And, I get the subtle message and say, "Oh, right"! Peter, of course, continues on with his own personal conversation until he is quite finished. Speaking that is, speaking and dialoging with himself and feeling quite comfortable about the conversation. I now proceed cautiously when he starts to speak as I do not want to interrupt this conversation, that there are just moments he is talking with himself, and he is just fine with that and if I have a problem with that....get over it!
So, looking at these painters bewildered looks, I decide to put a "lid on it" while they walk through my corridors. I also attempt to make myself aware of these one sided conversations and possibly, carry them on only in the bathroom. But really, who did set the standard on personal one way conversations. There is this part of me that fully believes that Peter has it right. Carrying on one's own conversation can at times be quite fulfilling, stress relieving, funny. So, maybe not when the painters are visiting, but I know, I will speaking again...to myself, and I will have Peter to thank for providing me with the opportunity to speak..without guilt, and know, I am still okay!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Driving the Cart

And, it got even better! When our golf game was rained out and the only way I could participate was to bring Peter, he joined in the fun! At first, Peter absolutely refused to get in the cart. Nope, he would walk. Understand, it is ninety degrees and the first hot humid day of summer, so I am remain quite hopeful that walking may not seem like so much fun soon. So he walked. Happy, never having been on a golf course, and most likely not having any understanding that this walking would be an all day event, he set out with vigor. Only to realize that walking was only fun for a short distance, when he decided to lean on the cart,just lean and take a rest. Leaning led to sitting in the cart and taking a short rest. And than, I felt this foot on mine, nonchalantly trying to push the gas petal...and within the hour, Peter was in the driver seat...my chauffeur. Hey Peter, would you like to drive, was answered with a big smile. Now, driving did not come without some near mishaps. This is a person who has never had a steering wheel, in hand. And, I am still suffering from shaken mother syndrome as whenever I said the word stop, we stopped with such vigor, right on the money...just slam those brakes and all centrifugal force brought us to a screeching stop. Peter, did give a new meaning to stop, yes, STOP, and stop we did!. Having never held a steeling wheel in his hand, he did the usual slice to the right and than the left all within seconds. And, I kept a quick hand on the wheel to point it in the right direction. The feeling of bumpers cars overtaking my mind, but only open grass to catch the experience. But the joy, the bliss, the accomplishment, the comfort I felt in knowing he was fully capable of handling this situation. Awesome! Could I ever have imagined that he would be capable of going with me on a golf course. That he could participate, sit quietly, and wait to drive to the next hole. Who is this person, this young man who is cooperating. Who is loving every minute of being? Oh yes, Peter...he just gave me another freebie, another gift that years ago would have been unimaginable. The pure excitement I experienced driving down fairway number nine...him laughing, I squealing, to the right, no, to the left...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Who is this person?

I have to admit, it was with trepidation when I picked up Peter for the four day weekend. How was I going to keep Peter busy for four days? Better stated, how I was going to keep Peter from keeping so busy in the house, that it would take me weeks to find my piles, sort through the laundry, you know the story. Even more concern, as I was hosting a dinner following a golfing event. But this weekend, Peter came with surprises. This young man, who in his earlier years, when I had friends over for dinner, would do just about anything to get them to leave. I being of the stronger will, usually outlasted him, but not before he turned on the music so loud no one could talk, started all known machinery during our dinner hour,including the dishwasher,the washer and dryer,and if all this did not gather attention, grabbed his CD player complete with headphones, and loudly, very loudly sang some song in his loudest, monotone voice, really, any activity that would draw attention and get them to leave....now, that would be Right Now. At times, shoes would go flying, doors slamming, and I just looked at my friends and said, "Oh, just ignore him, he be fine!" I am sure at times, these guest questioned my state of mind, but truly believing ignorance is bliss, we dined and chatted and Peter slammed, and washed, and flung. No Peter, they are not leaving! And after their departure, hours, maybe days would be spent in the clean-up. Of course, to me, an evening with friends is divine, even if it involves chaos.

But this time, with friends at the dinner table, he kept himself busy, not wishing to join us, but allowing us to enjoy the evening. He was helpful with the cleaning, but all within reason. Who is this person? This calm, well behaved young man? I did sit on the edge of my chair, kept one eye on him and the other on my guests. But he, maintained a sense of calm. Okay, not perfect...but enough to get through the evening, enjoy the conversation, and go to bed without a search for all missing piles. Who is this person? Who is occupying this body? I think I could get used to this! I think I will plan another party....one that includes Peter. I am thinking apron his size would fit nicely, so he can truly partake in the clean-up!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Good Morning

Why didn't I listen to that little voice stirring in my head, the one that told me to get up now, that would be RIGHT NOW as Peter just made his way down the stairs to start his daily events. Peering at the clock that Saturday morning, realizing it was only 5:45 I really, really wanted to add just a few more minutes of shut-eye on my first morning that I could actually "sleep in". So ignoring that voice, the one that was making a major attempt to warn me of impending doom, I chose to catch a few more winks, allowing Peter to have enough time to become involved all sorts of activities. It was only when my sense of smell detected something overheating, possibly burning that I shook off the need for sleep, and charged downstairs to determine the potential damage. Barefoot, I walked to the coffee pot and noticed that previously "Spic and span" cleaned floor, was now starting to feel a bit as if I was walking seaside. Not really believing that those wet sensations had any association with my feet, I walked again across the floor to catch the full meaning. Yep, some event had taken place on my floor, something that involved drops, large drops of water. Making the towel, my new found slippers, I mop as I walk to the coffee pot to make the much needed coffee to start the day.
That first jolt of coffee was all I need to realize there was a major party going on in this house. Why, every light in the entire downstairs is shining brightly, so much, I am thinking sunglasses. The television, no that that would be the one located in the family room and the tiny one is the kitchen are simultaneously blaring Peter's favorite church show, only not quite in unison, sounding as if there is an echo....an irritating loud echo at this early morning hour. Oh, wait, over the preacher's voice, I do believe I hear that washer and dryer buzzing away! Yep, they are loaded to the max, almost rocking and rolling under the strain of it's contents. Television shouting, washers spewing,lights shining, I move my towel slipper over to the stove,where Peter is preparing breakfast which included pancakes, waffles, cereal..why it is a breakfast buffet!
Grabbing my sunglasses, I gulp down my first cup of coffee, I finish mopping the floor, relieve the washing machine of it's contents, and put on my mental jogging suit, much needed to keep up with Peter. Good morning Peter, I say, why you would think it is noon, the amount he has accomplished in so little time and it is only 6:30 AM. He looks at me, with a wink and a smile and says "You know, I am just trying to help!. Yep, I know this, so with a smile and a wink....I join in the breakfast feast, take in another cup of Jo, and know, Ho Ho Ho. it will be a good day!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

It is here, yes, the annual day to honor Mom's. One thing I know for sure, we all have a mother. So, today, we honor that person with calls, visits, or possibly, through remembering. But, somehow, Hallmark has made this a day to honor. In years past, quite past, I remember brunches, and corsages, and gifts. And along with good of that, the bad of evaluating the day, the gift, the experience. And than, I got smarter. Today, is now a day I expect nothing. I already have my gifts, they came wrapped as Sara, Mike, and Peter along time ago. I already knew a great mom, who is looking down from above. So, what ever comes my way on Mother's Day is a freebie, an extra, a surprise.
So, today, I here are some of my gifts. Today at church, Peter's junior high school teacher offered to bring Peter to church whenever I could not. The kind man at church who bought an extra rose, trailed Peter out the door, and trust me, you need to be fast to trail Peter after church, and told him to give this to his mom. How thoughtful, how kind! That was followed by a handful of smooched dandelions....in case the rose was not enough. Peter, as proud as one is when one gives dandelions as a gift!
And if that was not enough, Peter taking Mike and I to lunch. Of course, that had to be Red Robin as he is quite fixated on the place. And yes, there was a gift card that he had from his sister Sara, and a donation by Mike, but the rest of the meal was going to be paid by Peter....with his own charge card. This is a child when growing up, I had no idea what would be. I knew there would be no college, I knew there would be no technical schools, I just did not know what the future would hold. I only knew during those formative years, that I would go day by day, and when ask about the future from some well-meaning friend, I had no answer as I truly did not know, and I considered worrying about it a big waste of time. Remember, my mantra, when God closes a door, he opens a window. It was not in my hands. So, did I appear ignorant, or possibly a bit naive...maybe. It worked for me.
And today, here I sit twenty three years later....Peter taking me to lunch on Mother's Day. Peter, paying the bill with his money he earned at Lakeside Curative. Peter, signing his own credit card . Before you get to excited...that would be Peter signing his own credit card with help and tip and strongly advised to write as small as you can. Wow, I am thinking! Could I ever have imagined it.
Mother's Day, a day to count my blessings....a time to thank my children...for without them...I would not be a mother and that is a gift that just keeps on giving!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Did you know he smokes.....

Yes, it happened rather suddenly, unexpectedly, the day I noticed that Peter had taken up smoking. It was a Saturday morning, the kind where I like to start out slowly, get up, pour my coffee and stare obliviously at the television, or just into space, actually, space works fine for me as I am just staring, grasping the caffeine and acting as a complete non functioning human being for about thirty minutes. Sitting quietly until that first jolt of caffeine kicks in, and then it is all over. Up to that point, do not ask me any question of importance, as there will be no answer. Once caffeinated, the motor starts running. Peter, on the other hand, has been up for hours doing his thing. By this time he has done the Internet, and the Outernet, made piles, picked up piles, filled the washer and dryer to bulging, and put everything on the counter in the dishwasher, so he now is starting to become a bit edgy about life. Not sure why, probably could not smash ten more towels in the washer, or the dishwasher does not quite shut. So, he is pacing around my oblivion, when he mentions, no that is mutters, that he needs a smoke and off he goes into the garage. I, still in my stupor.....am thinking, did he say smoke?...No way, not even something I can comprehend. So, considering I am only half listening, I blow it off that he went out there to load items into the garbage...of course, items I will search for later. He returns, smelling just fine, and we continue our day. This incidence, this "I need a smoke", does not occur again until later in the day, when he starts revving up, mutters and lands in the garage. I still do not catch on...I am a slow learner after all, or maybe it is my fine art of denial. Off he goes, and I am thinking garbage can. It was not until he came home the following week, when I was informed by Mike that Peter was smoking in the garage. WHAT? NO WAY! ABSOLUTELY NO WAY! So, I sneak to the door, peer out, and there stands Peter with his imaginary cigarette "smoking" away. He has the drag perfected, he puffs, he stands there for the allotted smoke time, and even he disposes this unseen white stick into my flower pot. These actions come complete with several exclamations of "I cannot take this anymore", they are driving me nuts, and so on. And then, he walked in, passed me by, as if nothing happened, more relaxed, and ready to pick up his business. I have to admit at that moment I was still trying to replace my jaw that seem to have found it's way to the ground. Smoking??? Peter??? Okay, so it is only imaginary and knowing Peter, it will be replaced by another habit.
Turning from the door, I reflect...You know that Peter, sometimes he is right on the money! I have had those moments, those they are driving me nuts, I cannot handle this anymore moments......Mmmmmm......... maybe, imaginary smoking, stress relieving....mmmm......
So, if driving by you notice Peter and I waving our hands in the air, blowing, puffing, just wave and know that life is good!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Gift

Besides pure entertainment, the train ride also served the purpose of allowing Peter to spend his birthday money. Peter, who is a man of few means rarely makes any gift requests for any holiday which always sends me into a head scratching event of what should I buy this kid? Birthdays and Christmas routinely have been the time to replace the lost or damaged previously owned gifts that Peter conveniently disposes of when he deems these items are no longer functional. He actually was on his third pair of headphones in three weeks prior to his birthday, so I am thinking at least one of the pairs qualifies for a gift. Lets me off the hook of trying to decide what all to buy. Fortunately, Peter was blessed with dollars from gracious aunts, uncles, and friends who sent cards in the mail and add to Peter's thorough enjoyment of his birthday. Ching, ching! He now has dollars to spend.
In the town we have chosen to celebrate the day is a great little breakfast place, so pancakes are covered, and, better yet, an old fashion toy store. The one that carries those unique, yes, and often pricey items, that one cannot locate at the Target. So with full tummies, in we go to the toy store with the charge to Peter to spend his money. We look, we scour all the shelves, we go row by row, looking up and down for that special item, I suggest, I attempt to find anything train related, yet nothing is rocking Peter's boat. And yes, I must admit, I am becoming momentarily sweaty because we are coming close to the end of the store and our task is not complete, no birthday item in hand. Puzzles, Peter...No, I'm good. How about these nice books...good, mom. Connect four...no thanks. Oh darn, I am thinking we are going to leave empty handed when I see Peter on all fours, scrunched way way down on the floor and looking up onto a few items hanging by a hook. I hear a mutter, Yes, he is saying to himself, Yes! This will do. I am so excited that as I round the corner, I trip momentarily before I land on the floor and join in the scrunch. What has he found? What a joyous monumental occasion, for he has found something he wants, he picked out a gift on his own. I am just delighted!! So I peer, wondering what this could be?
And there we sit, on the floor, with his coveted gift....... A gun! Yes, that would be a hand pistol, AKA cap gun. Really, Peter a gun. A child who never could fathom the concept of cowboys and Indians...a gun. You sure Peter? Yep, this is what he wants and there is no going back. So we buy, and Peter continues to enjoy the day..why a train ride and a gun, could life get any better??? And I am wondering how many days will pass before I hear from his work counselors why he has a need for a gun and handcuffs in his book bag.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Birthday

Yesterday, Peter turned 23 years old. Twenty three years of my life with Peter Labanowsky...how time flies!. I wanted to do something special on his birthday, something he wanted to do, not me...so aboard we went on the Metra to Chicago. The Metra for Peter ranks close to Nirvana. Peter, was aware of this event about four days before the big day, so he was happy. Happy, happy, happy!! A huge smile evolved on his face when I mentioned the word train and stayed there for the next days. He danced, he wiggled, he rejoiced...a train ride. This was definitely a mood changing event and nothing..nada..was going to get in his way of savoring the moment, anticipating the ride.
The big day arrived, and off we went to the train station. Peter's overjoy to be riding on this commuter train was easily observed as he skipped, hopped, and spoke to all those he passed on the boarding platform. He found the conductor standing there and started firing the questions, Is this train going to Chicago, Is this going the right way, When can we get on? The sleepy eyed conductor managed to break a smile, opened the doors, and Peter plowed into the car, taking the first seat so he could watch the doors open and close.
Off we went, in our own little world, Peter sighing every few minutes with delight. Body shaking, hands wringing as the automated voice reminded us, "The doors are about to close". Lacking sleep, my intention was to take a quick cat nap while Peter engaged in the door experience, but his behavior was infectious. Cracking one eye open, I could see the smile, his arm touching mine, I could feel the quiver, and that is all it took to snap me out of sleep mood and immerse myself in the experience. Soon, I was joining in with my best conductor voice, simultaneously Peter and I let everyone in hearing distance know..."The next stop will be Lake Bluff". "Caution, the doors are about to close". The joy of him watching the doors open and close, the sheer delight, the laughter opened my eyes...when have I taken time in the last few days, weeks, months, just to slow down and experience life, nothing fancy, just take in the moment. When I I stopped to just laugh, that down in your stomach, that over all feel good laugh?. When I have stopped to appreciate the small things in life that go by unnoticed? Why, it has been awhile. Peter, in his own way just opened my eyes.
We continue down the tracks as the train fills to the brim with many Saturday morning travelers. Feeling a bit crushed, I make an executive decision to stop and have breakfast in a town on the way to Chicago. Peter does not mind, he has had a train fix and we will be returning shortly. So off we jumped and onto to breakfast. The sun warming our faces as we walk this happy walk and I think, "Thank you Peter for inviting me on the train ride. Thank you for the laughter, and reminding me of the small things in life that evokes such happiness. Thank you Peter for the free high!" The warm sunny day, this happy young man experiencing the start of his 23rd year. Yep, it was a good day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

His Evil Twin Brother Pedro

Those little piles, the ones that disappear with a quick motor movement of the Peter's hand, well, when Peter brings home his evil twin brother "Pedro", that disappearing act takes on a new look. Oh, those little piles, they disappear alright, but not into a drawer or the garbage, no soon you may find them deep underneath the "rock collection".
For some odd reason, when Peter comes home for a night, that would be a stay of less than 24 hours, he has this need to pack his green duffel bag and book bag to more than capacity, bulging at the seams, ready to explode. Begging, asking, pleading, to please do not pack your bags as I have clothes for you, just does not deter him from what I call packing and bringing his rock collection. When I pick up Peter and while he bounds out of his house and into my car, I am the one left struggling, barely able to lift the duffel and the book bag, muttering about his need to bring home his all his earthly belongings for the duration of one night, as I am dragging these bags to the car. Knowing that these coveted items will only be quickly disperse throughout the first floor, I slowly lift and than plunge these two bags in the back seat, convinced I will soon need back surgery or at least bed rest. Wearily, I climb into the driver seat and we start our little weekend adventure. This adventure includes several stops, the grocery store, the hardware store, the drug store. Of course, this is done to ensure that I will have even more bags to carry into the house allowing more time for Pedro to do his things.
Finishing the errands, we arrive in the garage and Peter jumps from the car, and now of course is fully capable of carrying his rock collection inside. I, burying my body into the back seat of the car I grab as many bags as humanly possible as I know what is now occurring on my island, on top of my table, and across the family room floor. You see, that is when Pedro arrives,the evil twin brother is not into picking or cleaning, his job is to unload, unload all those items within less than 60 seconds and make sure that they are distributed evenly throughout the first floor. Within these seconds, the contents are strewn, five t-shirts, two pairs of pants, pair of socks, sandals...did I say sandals in January, an extra pair of shoes, one sweatshirt and one pair of pajamas have now found their new home on the family room floor. But that is only the beginning, as that book bag, that bulging book bag, the one ready to explode is begging Pedro to empty it's coffers and so, five or six coloring books, a box of puzzles, two large quart sized bags, of markers, a football, a teddy bear, several various awards gathered over the years, a harmonica, a sheriffs badge and not one, but two pairs of handcuffs, how those handcuffs keep multiplying remains a mystery. And all of this occurs before I have placed one foot inside the door. Upon my arrival, I see the Pedro's artwork, the piles, the belongings scattered throughout the first floor.Long ago, I gave the idea of putting these coveted belongings in one place and came to the realization that I would just learn to adjust, to walk around, to incorporate the items that are now piled high on my island and table top. There is this inner peace for Peter following the scattering event. If disrupted, I know Pedro will be visitng again soon. And those little piles, long gone and lost among the handcuffs and crayons, I do hope to be found when Pedro leaves. My kitchen that once appeared somewhat organized, lies in disarray. To be honest, if a burglar happened on the scene, he or she would leave convinced the house had already been hit.
So the night is spent with now large piles covering those underneath. Peter sends Pedro off, his job is done. Life is good, Peter has moved onto his computer, Pedro is gone, and I am thinking a glass of wine while I nest amongst the clothes and cuffs.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Silence is Golden

Everyday, or almost everyday, around 5ish I receive a telephone call from Peter. Thanks to caller ID, I know who is on the other end, so I generally start my conversation with a robust "Hi Peter" which is followed by silence. Thinking he did not hear my very enthusiastic greeting I repeat myself and add "are you there?" Of course, he is there and I quickly visualize that smile, that crunched up, eyes closed, lips upturned expression that has taken over not only his face, but his whole being. It is as if he is in Nirvana.
Now, I, not being accustomed to silence have this overwhelming need to fill the airways with my voice. I actually become a bit uncomfortable with these long pauses of empty airwaves. There is this need in me to have those filled, I just cannot stop myself. So while Peter is just soaking in the connection he has just made and is quite happy, I begin the chatter. 'Peter, what is new?"...nothing.."Peter, what did you do today?....idunknow...."Peter, did you have supper" "Peter, what did you eat for supper" Peter, what is everyone else doing?" "Peter"....I think you get the picture. My quickly fired off questions with the intent to spark a conversation is only answered in one maybe two syllable words which you may take your pick and are "idunknow, yes, no, or nothing". Of course, does that stop me from pursuing my need to have answers, my need to know. Nope! Of course, not! Why, I am the master of open ended question or so I think, so I start the dialogue again.
Why Peter, you know what you did at work today, I give hints, and yes I do finally with much coaxing get an answer which I already know will consist of Pledge, gloves or triggers. I also know that any further inquiry will only start the idunknow cycle again, so I move onto a dinner conversation or what are you doing tonight.
So this ten minute conversation to me evokes this feeling of work, of effort, of pulling the words or thoughts from Peter's brain to his tongue so that I can feel we have accomplished some sort of task or meaningful conversation.
Recently, the thought crossed my mind, and why it has taken me so long, so many conversations, so many years to understand this concept, I do not know as I really think I am an intuitive type person. My realization is that Peter, is absolutely fine with silence. Peter is just happy to be sitting on the phone with me. He does not need words to connect, he already made the connection at "Hi Peter". Why he is still scrunching and smiling, and wringing his hands, because he is just so happy to be. I on the other hand have this need to fill the space, that quiet.
Based on my new found realization, I have now resolved that when I pick up that phone, I will leave space, silent, no talking space. I will sit and take in the silence. Now, this is a monumental task for someone who has a need, a need to fill the quiet, a need to speak. But I am trying, fidgeting, feeling quite uncomfortable, but working really hard on the nonverbal part.
Silence...it is precious, the unspoken. The feeling of just being, enjoying the moment, the sounds and feelings that one absorbs during those unspoken moments. It is golden, and I do believe Peter has just reminded me of something very valuable. The peace, the lessons, the love that fills the silence.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Little Piles

Peter is not just extremely efficient with loading the dishwasher. Oh no! He has his eye on my little piles the minute he walks in the door. Now, I am the queen of little piles which in my mind are all stacked neatly across, around, and on top of my island in the kitchen. This is where I sort the bills, in one little pile, and the coupons, in another, and the magazines and catalogs, and pictures, and recipes, and charity obligations, and my to do list, and..you get the idea. It is all there, waiting to be addressed. And I know, it will be addressed someday, maybe, when needed. So, my little piles sit, waiting for someone to a least appear interested in their well-being. And to be honest, those who do get addressed, whose well-being is meaningful to me are the bills, the ones with the deadlines, the ones that charge an enormous, no that would be obnoxious late fee, now those little piles feel the touch of my hand on a fairly regular basis. The rest, well, those coupons when addressed are usually expired and the catalogs, well by summer those winter items are not quite as interesting. But, I love my little piles, and in this disorganized organization I firmly believe that I have control over my life and I will someday conquer them and have a purely clean and exquisite island.
Now, Peter, seeing these piles believes that when I am not looking it is his responsibility to fulfill my dream of a spotless counter top. However, he would never discuss this matter with me, no, it is his secret. So, Peter, in his normal Peter like behavior, carries on as if those little piles have no meaning to him at all. He never looks at them in my presence. Why, there are more important things to do, like the dishes or the laundry so why deal with little piles. He appears to not even notice these piles, until, of course, SHE leaves the rooms. Now, SHE, aka ME, occasionally has a need for a shower, so I leave. Now, did you know that I have the one and a half minute shower down to perfection. There is no wasting time on my part, just lather, rinse, and run. Run downstairs as fast as I can to ward off any well-meaning cleaning event that Peter will participate in while my presence in missing.
It is during that tiny time frame of my car wash shower that Peter seizes the moment. Peter, who was totally absorbed into You Tube or a song, is now into his role, his Mr. Clean, Mr. I gotta clean that island before she returns, swiftly, without a sound takes those little piles, the ones that have sat there undisturbed for weeks, and with a quick "Whosh", he eliminates them from sight and returns to You Tube as if nothing has occurred. I, on the other hand, running into the kitchen and still a bit drippy and not quite dry, notice I can now see the counter top which belongs to my island. Not only is it empty, but it sparkles. Mr. Clean always includes a free wash in his cleaning cycle.
Panic spreads throughout my body, where have they gone those precious little piles that laid undisturbed for weeks. I begin my search into the various drawers, garbage bins, recycle containers to find the lost articles. Retrieving some, and reconciling the lost of the others.
And so, the process will begin again soon, I will forget Peter's love to remove, his love of a spotless island, and I will again begin to build the piles. Will I learn, no, there must be something in this challenge that keeps giving. Maybe it is the opportunity to see the top of the counter, maybe it is my way of cleaning the counter? I do know that their will be piles and there will be elimination and somehow, through some miracle all the bills will get paid and those coupons...oh well!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The White Tornado

I can still see Mr. Clean, the "White Tornado" spinning around the house through the screen on my black and white television. There was something special about that man, and of all my childhood memories, he remains. Not quite sure why, but in a heartbeat, I can drum him up in my mind, that cross-armed man with the mermaid like body, only his tail was a tornado. Maybe through osmosis, or positive ""vibs", as I really did like Mr. Clean, Peter somehow managed to inherit some of his tornadic like cleaning skills. Maybe somewhere in that intricate set of DNA, he got the White Tornado gene, because Peter has certainly learned the fine art of white tornadoing.
Take the dishwasher for instance. The cleaning that goes on there is simply mind-blowing. If there in any indication that the dishwasher needs to be run, and that indication could be a lonely cereal dish, Peter starts with the dishwasher experience. He begins with the rinsing, and rinsing, did I say rinsing which makes one wonder do these dishes really need to be washed? Once the rinsing is done, which usually comes with a reminder that "Peter, those dishes are rinsed, than those dishes located closest to the sink are loaded. However, he has only just began. For really, Peter wants to include everything and anything in sight. He moves on to those items that are placed on the counter possibly for decor or some utilitarian kind of experience. Now Peter being a fair minded soul, does not discriminate between good china and bad, new or antique, Waterford or Kmart, no, he is really an equal opportunity kind of guy. If it is on the counter, it belongs in the dishwasher. And so, in go those items, loaded next to, close to, and on top of the cleanly rinsed dishes that really do not need to be in the dishwasher. Then, when one would think the dishwasher is near, no that would be way overloaded to capacity, he makes one last sweep and collects any remaining items within the vicinity and adds them to his menagerie of dishes. As in normal Peter fashion, with his keen sense of no one is watching, he starts that machine which will run at way over the limits capacity. Rocking and rolling, clinging and clattering, a sound one could assimilate to a finger running down a chalkboard. And so, the collectibles, the crystal, the cookie jar, the dog dish, the pots, the pans, are now best friends as they are getting a bath, hoping to survive the wash as they rub, crash, and clang hoping to make it through the experience without a dent. And Peter, stands, contemplating, what needs to be cleaned next. Why, I Mr. Clean Peter have just begun. I am only in the kitchen. His legs start moving, taking on a new whitish cone shaped look and off he goes to another room. I contemplating, do I stop the work of art created by this young man, do I unload before it is too late, as I am wondering what piece of glass I will need to replace following the washing experience, I think I best grab my sneakers and follow the storm.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


"You never know when you need a good pair of handcuffs"...yes, those words slipped from my mouth and into the ears of an innocent young staff member of the Therapeutic Recreational program that Peter attended when he was in high school. This young man, most likely about the same age of Peter was hired to help with the special needs children who attended the after school program. And fortunately or unfortunately, he was given the task of asking me, the mom ,why her son was carrying around a pair of handcuffs in his book bag. I still remember his approach, he quietly pulled me aside, and ask if he could speak to me, Mrs. Mom, about a concern we have about your son, Peter. I reeling in from a long day at work and ready to adventure into the evening with Peter, agreed, thinking in the back of my mind...okay now what...I hope he makes it short....I am really, really hungry, at bit on the crabby side, and now, you want to talk. Okay, I am thinking, spill the beans, let me know what hurdle I need to handle, and let's get on with it.
So there he stood in all his innocence, standing up to the call, quietly, almost in a whisper, he informed me that my son Peter was carrying around a pair of handcuffs in his book bag and do I think that really is a good idea?, he asked. I, the mother, the responsible adult, the caretaker, had no idea where or when these handcuffs showed up in his bag. I did not know who gave Peter these handcuffs, when he was the recipient of this gift, but I know this particular item had some meaning to Peter. I, the mother of this child, also knew that Peter had absolutely no small motor movement dexterity that would enable him ever to place this cuffs on anyone or even use them. So there, out of my mouth, with a smile on my face, I said to this innocent young teen, who is only trying to do his job..."You never know when you need a good pair of handcuffs!!" and I smiled, retrieved my son, and moved on for the day. And yes, the young staffer just stood there with a look of shock and amazement, eyes wide open, jaw dropping, never in his wildest dreams did he expect that answer coming from any mature adult who had a child with special needs.
Did I remove the cuffs..nope! Reflecting, it was probably a small stand in saying "Get a grip, he is not holding some S and M type event, he just likes these silver things that seem to have made a home in his book bag." And so, the handcuffs remained in his book bag for years, carrying them through graduation and into his work world, until this weekend when Peter told me he needed to leave the handcuffs home.."Ann said..." And so they lay, lonely in his kitchen drawer.
The curious thing about these cuffs is that Peter never lost them. Now we are talking about a person who loses everything! The black stocking hat, the one I paid the extra 20 dollars because it said "JUMP AROUND"..gone, in a day. The number of hats and mittens that have been lost and been replaced. The hundreds of dollars I have spent on buying the coveted Cd's that seem to disappear overnight. Just recently, I hunted down the last of "High School Musical Three" because Peter has lost the previous 4 or 5 or was that 6 copies of that particular movie. If Peter likes it, he loses it. But not these handcuffs! These items have remained his constant companion for years, until today. He told me he had to leave them home.."Ann said". So, there they lay, lonely in his kitchen drawer.
I must admit, I have grown accustomed to their presence, and no, I will not be throwing them out. They will stay in the drawer, a reminder of Peter, the part of Peter I do not understand, the part I can't explain. What attracted him to these things in the first place, and why, he never managed to lose them for years. I will never understand. However,....I am now thinking..... shadow box...hang them in his room...it just seems fitting after all!!