Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Better Half

Wil has two weeks of school left. After today, only 4 academic days, then he is done being the student, sitting in the chair, being asked to do the last thing on earth he wants to do, forever.

He's a bear every year at this time, but this year it's bear squared. It's allergies. It's spring. It's being done. It's had-enough-yet-can't-get-enough. It's endings and beginnings and transitions and the great unknown. It's being left behind and wanting to spread his wings. It's needing help and wanting to be independent. It's being almost-nineteen in body and about half that in most other ways.

We're both fried, overly emotional and easily upset. In general, we're quite companionable and when we do get on each other's nerves, it's brief and we move on almost instantly.

The last several days we've been at each other's throats. He's being so extra defiant, bossy, demanding, difficult, that it brings out the hard ass in me. Wrong combo.

Yesterday, I picked him and his friend up from school and we were driving home. I asked some innocuous question along the lines of, "Do you have your phone?" and he lost it. Maybe it was reminding him of what he needed to do when we got home. Maybe it was asking that when he take a shower, he remember to wash his hair. Whatever it was, he was not happy with me, and I was not happy with him.

"That's it! We need to break up! We need to spend some time apart! You don't need to worry about me! You worry too much! You don't need to know all my business! We need a divorce! "

His friend chuckled from the backseat, "Wil, are you guys married?"

"We're not married!" he shouted, raising an arm with index finger extended for emphasis, "we're sidekicks!"

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friendship Bracelets

In a city known for it's weirdness, there are areas that are weirder than others. The Hawthorne District is certainly one of the best if weird is what you're after, and although Wil isn't, he's drawn to that area over and over again. In particular, The Gold Door. I have no idea what enticed him into that store in the first place, as it's heavy-laden with incense and stuff, totally over-stimulating and he's not a shopper. But, into The Gold Door we went, and back again and again have we been. He now knows one of the shopkeepers by name, Ariana. Not Ariana Grande, he's quick to point out to all whom he drags with us to The Gold Door. The Gold Door has one of those Zoltar machines, like in the movie "Big." He insists all our guests get a reading as his treat, and they are eerily dead on.

He has bought different rocks and stones, purchased earrings for friends, and bought a little bag to put the treasures in, which he keeps next to his TV watching area for easy access. The last time we were in The Gold Door, we took two of his student assistants with us. We first went to lunch, then to froyo, then to The Gold Door, where he decided the three of them needed friendship bracelets.

And he was right.

They needed friendship bracelets. Not because he will ever in a million years wear his, but because it's a physical tie to two people about to leave and move on to college and exciting and promising lives beyond that.

"I love our friendship bracelets," he told the girls as we were walking out of the shop.

"I love our friendship," one of them said.

Me, too.
             Photo: Gold Door Jewelry & Art by: Yogic Traveler - Courtesy: Gogobot

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Top 10 Ways to Avoid "Prama"

For those of you not living with a teen, you may not be familiar with the apt term, prama, or prom drama.

For those of you not living with a special-needs teen, you may not be familiar with the additional angst, while at the same time, the freedom, from all things prama-related.

For those of you not living in prama-land, let me tell you the quick and easy way to avoid it, and dare I say, have a great time at prom:

10. Have a really great human tell you and your special-needs teen a year in advance, that they will be attending prom together

 9. Hold them to it

 8. Pay for everything

 7. Get a favorite teacher to chaperone

 6. Get said favorite teacher to drive one of the school-owned mini-buses, and take a group of kids to prom

 5. And dinner

 4. At Spaghetti Factory

 3. Make sure said group is made up of kids that are unlikely to create, or take part in, prama

 2. Make the picture-taking session super-brief

 1. Just go and shake your booty and laugh with your friends, then come home, no after-prom nonsense

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Lottery

Apparently, a lot of people have been asking Wil how he was going to fund his RV. He finally came up with the rock-solid plan that someone would give him a million dollars. When making a list of the millionaires we knew that were likely to give him a million dollars, we came up short, so he revised his plan: he would win the lottery.

For him to play the lottery, I had to, and I have never so much as bought a "scratch-it." Our friendly neighborhood 7-Eleven proved just the place, and as luck would have it, we got the nicest clerk in the world, who made it his mission in life to help us navigate the world of Quick Picks vs. selecting your own numbers, and choosing from a variety of lottery options. I had no idea.

$3.00 later we walked out of there with what he felt sure, were the winning numbers.

They were not.

We've since been back a couple more times to try our luck again. Because he's so weirdly good at predicting things, I half expect to win. Because I'm so weirdly one to project the smallest thing into an impending catastrophe, I've got myself into a total state of how my life will change for the worse, when we win the lottery. Because life is so weirdly full of no accidents, I also know if we are meant to win the lottery, we will, and if we aren't, we won't.

In the meantime, plans for life inside the RV continue to develop. He will shower at 10:00 PM and go to bed at 11:00. He will watch a lot of bad TV and pretty much do whatever he wants, whenever he wants to do it. He already has a roommate lined up, and they are both super excited to live in the RV, where there are no rules and nothing but all their favorite things in and around it. Plus, Care will be right next door, to "get it," whatever "it" is.

The plan is sounding better and better to me, too.

RV= Real Victory

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Moving On

Her hair was a little more grey, her face had a few more lines, but the rest was the same as two years ago. Same glasses, same smile, same tiny little body. When our pediatric eye doctor of 13 years (17 years at that clinic) came in, it was like seeing an old friend. She knows Wil and laughs at his jokes. She knows what he can see, and how to get him to respond, even when he says with conviction, "I can't see a damn thing!"

We'd been through the rig-a-ma-roll a million times. When Wil first started there, he was non-verbal and had an eye that crossed (he still does). We had to go every three months, then every six months, eventually every year, and the last time we were there she said we didn't need to come back for two years.

We've had countless pairs of glasses. I've held him down and forced eye drops into his good eye, to make the weaker eye work harder, a billion brutal times. Three days before Wil's eye appointment he started getting very anxious, "There are going to be tears! A lot of tears! I am going to cry when they put the eye drops in my eyes!"

The whole thing is traumatic and PTSD-causing for all involved.

We'd had horrible traffic and then she was running behind, so the eye appointment was taking up our whole morning. We'd left our house at 8:15 and Wil "needed" to be back to school at 11:00, and it wasn't going to happen.

Anxiety increased. Irritation was high. General I-have-got-to-get-out-of-here was through the roof. For both of us. As I looked around the waiting room of young mothers, young children, toys, videos for preschoolers, I knew that neither of us could take it one more time. We'd originally planned to stay until he was 21, but I knew this would be it. This would be our last visit with our beloved friend and doctor. We were moving on.

Even when it's time. Even when it's your idea. Even when it's obvious and necessary and the only thing to do, moving on is hard to do.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Spent all morning preparing Wil's high school graduation announcements. Had to clear the calendar. Had to clear the mind. Had to clear the distractions. Had to decide this was how I was going to spend my morning, and get psyched up for it.

Today at school, Wil and one of his assistants, will pick up his cap and gown, and the assistant will lovingly and loyally, make sure it gets in his backpack. I'll receive an email later asking if it made it home.

I had to cut off the list of people to send the announcement to, because I could send it to hundreds. His list of friends and family, neighbors and parishioners invested in his education, his path, his future, are innumerable, but number them I did.

While expressing how hard this season is for me, and how I'm dreading graduation day, one person suggested I treat it all as a celebration.

It is a celebration. There is much to celebrate. A whole book's worth, and in fact, that book has been written. But life is a paradox, and the impending graduation punctuates that fact all too well. While a celebration, it is also the closing of a long chapter. A chapter that has been, at many times, an uphill battle, but also one that has offered sanctuary for him, and respite for me.

To announce is to make a formal statement of fact or intention. The only way I'm going to get through the graduation is to focus less on the former, and more on the latter. What is my intention for this next period of life?

The intentions are not any different from any other time, when you think about it:

* To remain open
* To see the good
* To have a positive expectancy
* To believe in the kindness of others
* To remain loving
* To believe and move as though there are no accidents

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day to All Whom Mother

Wil sits beside a wonderful woman every Saturday night at 5:30 Mass. She is not, technically, a "mother." She is, however, a Mother. She nurtures and gives, hugs and holds, advises, stands behind, and doesn't flinch. She makes me laugh. If you can do all that, you're a mother, in my book.

 (Happy Mother's Day love Wilson I love all the things we do
together thank you you make me laugh love Wilson)

(From STM)

I raise my glass to all of you that mother. All of you that make others laugh. All of you that are inspiring and inspired. All of you that give and give and give some more. All of you that love mothering and all of you that don't. All of you that wish you had one more, and those that wish they had one less. All of you that have lost and grieved, been denied, and mourned. All of you that got more than you bargained for. And less. All of you that have been teachers and have been taught. All of you that got your asses handed to you and all that have been blessed. And both. All of you that wouldn't change a thing, and all of you that would change everything. But can't.

Happy Mother's Day to all whom mother.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Back Story

Rest assured, talk of the RV continues and the plans grow more elaborate by the day. For those of you that live in my neighborhood, don't you worry. The RV isn't going to be in the backyard anymore, it's going to be out in front so you can all really enjoy all it has to offer.

One faithful reader was curious as to the back story on the required pawn shop in the RV. I have been negligent in reporting Wil's long and strong fascination with the show, "Hardcore Pawn." He loves Les, Seth and Ashley, whom he calls, "Debbie Downer." Whenever I dare to tell him no, he calls me "Ashley." "Stop being like Ashley, stop being a Debbie Downer. Just say yes." I've been forced to watch a few episodes of the show, and that's plenty for me. However, Wil cannot get enough, and in his true spirit, has recruited several people to watch the new episodes on Monday, and report back on Tuesday. There is zero chance of them forgetting, as he reminds them via text over and over and over, and whatever they originally had planned for 7:00 PM on a Monday, has since been rescheduled.

"Care, how are we going to get things for our pawn shop in the RV? I've been thinking about it. I think we need to find a pawn shop that's going out-of-business, and buy all their stuff to sell in my RV."

The whole question of "back story" has gotten me thinking. Really, isn't everything we think, do, believe and act on, based on a back story? What we want? Don't want? Need? Don't need? Seek? Avoid? Work towards or run from? All are due to the back stories we have.

When one spends hours going through their crap, one's back story is quite evident. I used to value this. I used to fear not having this, "in case." I used to believe someone I know and love would want this because it was of value to me. I used to believe that what and who I am, is tied to the possessions in this box. I used to believe my back story was represented by concrete items, and not the intangible.

What is my back story?

How is it serving me now?

What is my future story?

How do I move towards that in a loving, healthy way?

Sorry Not Sorry

I'm sorry I keep pointing you towards BrenĂ© Brown's podcast,  Unlocking Us , but I'm not that  sorry.* I've appreciated ever...