Monday, May 25, 2009

The Wall

It's Memorial Day and so I thought I'd post a poem I wrote about the Viet Nam Wall when I was in Washington D.C. about 10 or 11 years ago.

I stood at the wall today and waited for
some feeling to come over me.
Some feeling of pain,
or loss,
or sense of death.
Some frustration for an unjust war.
But none came.

I read a letter a survivor wrote
to the men he served with.
He would not have made it back without them.
Yet he did not come back with them.

They are names on a wall
Unfamiliar to me.
Heroes of whom I have no memories.

The author promised to tell the young people.
To forever keep them alive.

And I believe he will.

Three other men found a name
they had been searching for.
On tip toe they traced it to paper -
a perfect stencil.
They were smiling.
I wondered for a moment who he was to them.

A man walked by missing part of his right arm
and I felt sorry for him.
I thought he would probably hate that
I felt sorry for him.
There were tears in his eyes,
but they were not for his own missing limbs.

A woman stood touching the wall -
for what must have been half an hour.
I noticed her casually as I walked by,
I will never forget how she looked.

I felt left out, as I stood at the wall.
Half-wishing I had a name to look for,
Half-thankful I did not.

They are names on a wall
Unfamiliar to me.
Heroes of whom I have no memories.

I am thankful others do.
For I understand...
we must never forget.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

These Moments in Time

Tonight was celebrate reading and writing night at the twin's school, which is code for 'get-the-parents-in-here-one-last-time-before-school-is-out-to-drop-$30-$40-bucks-at-the-book fair.'

It worked. And Grandma even bought the books.

Even more genius, they had the recorder club play a mini-concert at the beginning of the night. There were all of three rows of chairs set up on the other side of the gym so that the parents of the 15 or so 4th graders could take pictures. I invited my parents because we recently made the executive decision that Maggie and Ryan won't be joining band next year and we thought this might be their only opportunity to see them perform in some musical manner.

I set the expectations pretty low, because honestly...I've heard them practice. Maggie was holding her own at home, but Ryan gave me the impression that the goal was to play as quickly as humanly possible and therefore squeaky notes were par for the course.

Tonight we were stunned. Not only did they sound great - they each had a solo and nailed it. Dan and I looked at each other when Ryan stood up and prepared to smile through the wince, but we never had to fake it. Sometime between rushing into the school with his music in hand and making his way to his seat, the kid transformed. He played one of the more complicated pieces cleanly. At bedtime I told him how proud and impressed we were and how well he did and in true Ryan fashion he said "I had no idea what I was doing."

And then the fact that Maggie didn't run and hide somewhere at the last minute was another miracle. My little living room performer (who has stage fright in public) found the courage to stand up for her solo and play it perfectly. When I talked to her at bedtime she said she messed up on one song at the same place she always does, but she kept moving her fingers and pretending to play and then found her place a minute later. So she won't be playing in the symphony anytime soon, but kudos for pulling this off!

It's these brief moments of pleasure - when I'm watching my kids' brows furrow in concentration as they try to keep time on their little plastic instruments that I will treasure forever. They are pure joy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

No Next Appointment

For the past four months there hasn't been more than three consecutive days that the mail has come without a medical bill and/or insurance claim in the mix.

I guess it's just par for the course after two ER visits, two surgeries, one bout of walking pneumonia, a pinched nerve, and the regular annual check-ups (which are more extensive for those of us over 40) our family has experienced in that time.

So when we left the therapists office today after Caitlin's session and the Doctor smiled and said "That's it, she's doing great, call me if you need me" it was a rather joyous occasion on all fronts.

The biggest joy is truly how much progress Cait has made since she was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome two years ago this month. She has grown in ways and measures far beyond what I would have expected or imagined when this process began. She is comfortable in her own skin and yet willing to be stretched. She is in many ways an example of surrender and stepping up to the plate simultaneously. She has worked hard, listened attentively, taken a step back when necessary, gotten frustrated, remembered what's she learned and applied it. Daily. She is a joy and an inspiration.

She spent her last session interviewing her doctor for a health booth display she's working on as her last project before moving on to Jr. High. She's going to educate her class (and anyone who will stop by her booth) about Asperger's Syndrome. She feels she's in a great position to dispel the myths and inform the masses. Her doctor agreed. She told me how much she had enjoyed getting to know Caitlin and that she really loved her. I smiled because that's what all the people who take the time to really get to know Cait tell me...they just love her! As a mom it's so cool to see your child have such an impact on professionals who often don't see a lot of progress. As a mom whose blown it a bunch of times and often wondered what took me so long to help her in the right way, I am grateful for God's mercy and patience with me.

So while I sort through the medical bills and try to figure out who wants how much by when for what and where to send it, I want to pause and Praise God, thank everyone for their prayers and commend my beautiful daughter Caitlin for this precious gift of not needing a follow-up appointment.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blogger's Block

Can you still call it a blog if you haven't written on it for three weeks? Honestly, I don't know how anyone finds time to sit and write on Facebook 15 times a day.

I don't do Facebook. Like I don't do sleepovers. I've found there are certain things that don't work for me or my family and so I take the hard line. It's not personal. So I hope those of you who have invited me to visit your "page" and check out your pictures understand. Oh, and I should probably admit I don't count girl's weekend away as a sleepover.

My kids are banned from sleeping at other kid's houses or inviting other kids to sleep here. Mostly because I like to sleep. And no one sleeps at a sleepover. Plus, I remember being a kid at a sleepover. I know what we did. And as fun as it was those few times I got that call between 11:00 and midnight to come get them (or maybe not so late, but 20 miles away) I can do without it in the future.

I've grown very attached to my self-imposed rules. They establish really clear boundaries. And I've discovered I love boundaries!

I'm told there aren't a lot of boundaries on Facebook.

So while many seem to think I'm missing out on reconnecting with a ton of people I don't really have time to reconnect with or the chance to monitor my kids accounts (they don't have any) or mastering the art of misspelled abbreviated jargon, I'm happy to be left behind.

Besides, I tell them...."I've got this blog".

So I guess I'd better start writing on it again!!