Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Day 519


Nov. 4, 2014

Day 519


Election Day...finally. Tomorrow we get to go back to empty mailboxes and watching commercials about bladder control and cleaning products. Yay!   Ben insisted on accompanying me to the polls tonight.  I had thought, time-wise, it might be best for me to do my voting during the day but he would have none of that.  He had to go with me.  He wanted to see how the process works.  So I showed him, step by step.  He stood there, peering over my shoulder at my ballot and then offering suggestions on who I should vote for.  He even wanted to know what LIB stood for  (libertarian).


I think that Ben will probably have to do his voting in the future by absentee ballot.  He's going to need some assistance with filling in ovals and such.  But we can still do it together that way.  Right now Ben's guardianship papers are being drawn up and it was suggested to me today to make sure a line is put in there that retains his voting rights.  I talked to the county auditor a few years ago about Ben and he said that it is only in very rare cases that voting rights are suspended for the mentally handicapped.  But I want to make sure of that so I dropped a note to my attorney today.


Parent teacher conferences this evening...I thought about not going since I feel like I keep in regular contact with Ben's teachers and we have an IEP meeting in two weeks anyway.  But I went.  It was nice.  I stopped in and saw his PE teacher who oversees his weight training.  This guy was one of Will's football coaches.  He told me that Will drops by regularly to see him.  He said one day he was out of his office and when he came back in, there was Will, sitting in his chair, just waiting for him!  Will is very seriously looking at going into coaching and teaching for a career so I think he looks to this man as a mentor.  It helps that he is a Christian, too. 


I had a nice chat with Ben's resource teachers.  I didn't realize that they had moved Ben up to a ninth grade reading level workbook.  I'm shocked!  They were telling me that Ben has some really, really deep thoughts that he expresses in his writing.  I have noticed that when they remember to send me emails with his probes.  They told me that Ben has really latched onto the history of black people in particular.  So they've run with that, really doing a lot with Dr. Martin Luther King in their teaching.  His teacher even seemed a bit hesitant at first but she finally admitted that they've used the fact that Ben has black sisters to make it relatable.  I think that's great.  To a certain extent, the girls' racial history has now become our own.  Ben doesn't really talk much at home so I don't hear these things from him.


And then one of his teachers shocked me by telling me that Ben was very nearly voted onto this year's homecoming court.  What?!  She said she would not be surprised if he makes it next year.  Wow, ok.  Then, she asked me how I felt about prom.  I didn't know I needed to feel anything about prom.  I've been ignoring all the emails sent to me as a junior parent about prom because it didn't even occur to me that Ben would ever go.  But apparently, this teacher has heard talk amongst some girls about the possibility that Ben might be a desirable date.  Really?  My Ben?  I guess they have a big entrance thingy where parents and townspeople gather in the gym and each couple is announced.  The dance isn't really a big deal, but apparently the after-prom party is a big draw.  So...I don't know what to think, really.  I guess we'll wait to see what happens.  Prom must be a really big deal there if people are already talking about it six months before the event. Ben's teachers were repeatedly stressing to me how popular Ben is at school, which is something that kind of floors me to think about. 


I remember when Ben was born the NICU sent home a little booklet with him that had tips for raising a child with special needs.  One was to "always dress your child nicely" because that would help his acceptability levels in the world.  Later, I would also hear to stress teaching politeness above all else to the child.  There's definitely merit to both of those.  The world can be a rough, tough place and it's going to be hard if you go through it being different from everyone else.  That's just the way it is.  But if your child has a pleasing appearance and is a nice, polite person, that's really going to help pave his way. 


I always thought maybe I was too hard on Ben during his younger years.  Often I felt like I was "picking" on him about every single thing.  But you know - maybe that was exactly the right thing to do.  Maybe those training years helped form him into the pleasant young man he is today.  I don't know.  It may just be maturity, too.


You know who needs some maturity?  Ellie.  Last week she was not quite as evil as she had been in previous weeks.  She's making up for it this week.  So far, she has drawn all over the top of the washing machine with a ball point pen (that will NOT scrub off - I've tried a magic eraser, hairspray, everything I can think of), stuffed the toilet with a torn off page from a magazine, spit on several people, snuck the ipad into her bedroom and hid it, and had multiple tantrums.  I spent most of yesterday up at City Hall catching up on things and at one point had to drive home and discipline Ellie after a phone call from a fed-up David.  It's been a rule for several weeks now that she cannot be anywhere in the house unattended.  She was down in the laundry room tonight with Lizzie while Lizzie hunted for some pjs.  She had her back turned on her  sister and in that time, Ellie grabbed the prewash spray and liberally doused loads of clean laundry on the floor.


The worst part?  It's only Tuesday.


She did crack me up the other day.  I was putting some jello in the fridge and she very seriously asked me, "Mommy, is that alcohol?"  What?  I don't drink!  Where did she even learn that very grown-up word?


Lizzie came into the kitchen a few days ago, sighing.  She said, "I want to be a cheerleader SO bad, Mom..."  That's no secret.  Ever since she came to me, I have noticed the absolute fascination Lizzie has with cheerleaders.  We go to football games to watch a game and enjoy the atmosphere.  Lizzie creeps down to the ground and stands gazing, awe-struck at the pretty teenagers jumping around and shaking their pom poms.  And then she added pitifully, "But I can't, because I'm black and don't have smooth hair!"


What?  So I immediately took her to my bedroom computer and googled "black cheerleader images."  There was no shortage of those, although most were bursting out of their too-tight outfits and a lot of them seemed to have straightened their hair.  But we finally did find some bushy-haired cheerleaders and that fact seemed to greatly encourage Lizzie.  I should get her some pom poms for Christmas.


  I imagine that Ellie would have great fun destroying them, though...


The other day I asked David to throw a load of clothes from the washer into the dryer. 


"Ok, Mom!"


Later, I was in the laundry room and went to get the clothes out of the dryer.  I opened the door and found the clothes still very soggy.  I asked David about that and he looked surprised.


"Oh - you wanted me to start the dryer?  You only said to put the clothes in the dryer."


If I keep banging my head on the washing machine lid will I dent it one of these days?


Will turned 20 on Sunday.  Now I can no longer say I have three teenage sons or refer to my Littles and my Teenagers.  It's going to be more awkward to refer to them as a group.  Anyway, he came home Sat. evening after he got done working and spent the night.  The next day he went to church with us, both services.  In the evening there was a SNAG for the teens and college-agers so he got to go to that, too.


Birthdays aren't quite as exciting when you get to be 20.  He already knew what he was getting from me.  Although David did surprise him by buying him a sonic screwdriver (Dr. Who).  But he must have had a good day because he put the most incredibly touching post on FB later.  Maybe it was just touching because he is not one to drop compliments freely - ever, really.


Thanks for the birthday wishes all. It was a good day. Some of my favorite cooking from my mom(who just happens to be probably the best cook ever) and fun time spent with my church family. Now, less than one year until I can have my carry permit.

"Best cook ever"?  Wow...

We had frozen pizza tonight, by the way.  Even the Best Cook Ever needs a quick meal from time to time.

Like about every third night.


They've started Christmas program practices at church already - 4 pm every Sunday until Christmas with a couple of Saturdays in there, too.  That's going to be a bit of a pain.  Sure wish David already knew and could drive.  But I'll do it.  David was asked to be a wise man.  He's got a number of lines.  Ben is Joseph.  I'm looking forward to the pictures I'll be able to snap of the two of them during the program.


Sunday, an 11 year old boy at church called out to me as I was passing through the fellowship hall, "You sure look nice today, Mrs. Heywood!"  That tickled me.  There aren't too many 11 year olds with that much gumption.  And I guess I'm vain enough to appreciate the compliment, no matter where it comes from.  That's one thing I really miss about being married - the constant affirmation of my looks from Paul.  Granted, he would have thought I was hot even with a bag over my head, but it was still nice to hear it.


I'm feeling good these days.  It occurred to me last week maybe that  I am doing really, really well right now.  I have not felt this good since before Paul died.  I am wondering if perhaps I have turned a corner in this grieving?  I don't know.

Here's what's almost reassuring to me: the sadness is still there.  It's not that I don't think of Paul anymore.  And it's not that I do not have any moments of sadness.  They're there, but they lack the power they used to have.  I don't feel overwhelmed by them anymore.

Is this permanent?  I have no idea.  The holidays are coming.  I will spend them without Paul.  His birthday is coming.  We will celebrate without him.  Then, it will be time for Valentine's Day and I won't receive one from him.  A week later will be our wedding anniversary and there will be no one to tell me he'd marry me all over again if he could.  And then a month later I will have a birthday and receive all kinds of greetings but there won't be one from the person I'd most like to wish me a happy birthday.

On top of that, it's going to be winter. 



So these good feelings may very well be very, very temporary.

It's ok.  I have already lived through the worst.  I can survive more.  I'm fairly confident that one does not wrap up a season of grieving in less than 17 months.

Just the same, things are changing.

I sense it.

 I welcome it.




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