25 November 2009


I used to hate Thanksgiving.

For the life of me, I couldn't understand why we would celebrate a fairy tale, while ignoring how the indigenous people of this land suffered at our hands.  When it was my turn to say grace at the table, I always said a prayer remembering the people we displaced, segregated, dehumanized in the name of our own "freedom." Needless to say, I was the downer at the table.

Many, many years later, I am still not crazy about this holiday. I would rather we have an Indigenous People's Day or a Harvest Celebration and just be rid of these holidays that discount the experience of those who were here first.  But, I have been able to find personal meaning in this day as I become more aware of the politics of food, and the importance of supporting local farmers. I am thankful for my local CSA and the bounty of food that we have been blessed with this past season, despite many challenges. I can celebrate the harvests of the farmers on Long Island who provided my family with fresh, organic produce over the past six months.

And there's the other part of this equation - my family. I can finally feel real thanks and appreciation for family. Growing up, my family life was challenging. So while I did love my family, we weren't close. Today, though, I have that feeling of true gratitude and unconditional love. I owe that to Diego - my sweet baby - and all of the challenges that have come along with him.

Diego has Sensory Processing Disorder, which in general makes me alternately crazy and sad. But SPD has actually given me a gift. To help Diego, I have had to slow down in a way that would not have happened with a neurotypical child. It was forced upon me. I had to slow down so he could be ok. When you can do this, and really meet your child at their level - special needs or not - it is an amazing gift, an opportunity to understand love - to truly give love to another person. However I have had to get to this place, to this bond with my child, I can honestly say that I am grateful.  And that is what I will celebrate on Thanksgiving.

22 November 2009

Zyrtec = One Crazy Kid

Yesterday, I took my son to the doctor. He has had a cold since he started back at school again in September. I have taken him now to three different doctors. All the same diagnosis. It's a cold. Well, thanks I already knew that. At least the doctor we saw yesterday told me to do something more than saline spray.  Now, I don't like medicine. I am anti-medicine most of the time.  But nothing seems to he making a difference in Diego's cold. So, now my options are antihistamines, antibiotics, or albuterol.

I decided to start with the antihistamines. (I had already given him benadryl with little to no effect.) As I stood in CVS weighing my options, I took Diego's food sensitivities into account. I chose dye-free, sugar-free zyrtec - for indoor and outdoor allergies. I figured I had all my bases covered. So, off we went to our lunch date - a mama and the light of her life.

As the day went on Diego became antsy. He was snappy, almost obnoxious. He is not a kid who answers back unless something is going on with him. I assumed it was because we hadn't been to the playground. We got through the day and I was glad for bedtime.

21 November 2009


The psychologist I spoke with this week, told me to make an appointment for my son with a pediatric neurologist. She said that the episodes of zoning out could be petit mal (absence) seizures. I’ve been up and down emotionally in handling all of his issues. Things aren’t too serious; let’s face it, it could be much worse. But since I made the neurologist appointment, all I feel like doing is crying.

I shouldn’t be surprised with all of the neurological issues in our family – adhd on both sides, depression, anxiety, tourette’s, dysgraphia – I thought I had prepared myself for the reality the Diego might have some challenges. I’m thankful it’s not more serious. But I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that this is his reality.

My beautiful, sweet, and oh so smart boy – why should he have to deal with these things?  Why can’t his body stop moving, why can’t his father pick him up for a hug, why can’t I get a picture of anything but the back of his head? Maybe it’s because we’re moving towards getting a true diagnosis for him, that I am feeling so sad for him. Sad for us. His life won’t be what I envisioned. I’m not talking about some fantasy that my kid will be the president or a famous doctor, or anything like that. I never wanted to plot out his career path. I’m talking about a life where living up to his potential isn’t a daily struggle, where he can do things that other kids get to do; have a spontaneous, whimsical day; eat pizza, be able to sit down and read a book.

I know that I'm grieving. I want him to have the world at his fingertips. Everything is just so much work. Even simple tasks. Go get your shoes. Time to go. Walk to school. I know life isn’t easy. But childhood should be. And for my beautiful boy, it is not.