Baseball Season Is Here! Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

Growing up some of my fondest memories surround baseball. In the cool summer Ohio nights, my dad could often be found playing catch with us. As the sun set the game would get harder, transitioning from 500 to practicing our grounders. This was not just on the weekends. There were days that my dad would come home from work, and just after dinner we would head outside.

There were a few times when I was having a bad day, that he would take just me outside to play catch. We would talk about what was bothering me, and find solutions to make it better. All while tossing this little white ball with red laces back and forth. The smack of the impact in the leather gloves punctuating our thoughts. Baseball found itself firmly in a group of activities that promoted bonding, growing up and development.

baseball

Baseball was one of the many sports that I played growing up.  Mixed in with soccer, swimming, tennis and football, my parents did an awesome job of cheering us on, and letting us be active. Of course, things were simpler then. The streetlights were are alarm clocks, and passing notes was our texting. It was also something that we enjoyed watching or listening to as a family. Be it on the radio, tv, or the awesome time we were able to go to a game, it was part of life.

Why am I writing about baseball?

This past weekend, and through most of this week is opening day. Baseball season has started. I realize that for many this means little. There has been a steady decline in attendance and viewership over the years for my beloved sport. However, there are many out there that hold this time, this season, near and dear. I, for one, cannot wait for another season of ‘stadium nights’ with the family.  Were we grill hot dogs, fry pickles, and put the game on.  It is also possible that we will get to a few Richmond Flying Squirrels games as a family. Watching their eyes light up as the distinctive crack of the bat fills the air means the world to me.  If we are really lucky, perhaps we will be able to make it to a Washington Nationals game as well.

Baseball holds a space in my heart that reminds me of countless good times as a kid. It hearkens back to all the things that my dad did to take care of us, and how awesome of a job he did. It should be no surprise that baseball is a love that I hope to share with my kids as they grow. A bond, a season, a team, a rivalry, all as a chance to remember the simpler times in life. Baseball is a great medium for me to teach my kids how to…

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

An Eye Procedure

Tuesday morning Zoey had her ninth procedure, which corrected a few eye muscles to encourage her eyes to realign and work together more often. We left the house shortly after 6am and the anesthesiologist began his job around 7:30. We couldn’t believe it when we saw Zoey again before 9:30. So rarely do these procedures end this quickly for us. Even with the best of specialists, Z has some pretty unique anatomy and there tends to be a few surprises once they start working. This time the eyes muscles were in a little bit of an unusual position, however, Dr Wortham seemed very pleased with the outcome when he talked to us immediately following the surgery. We are excited to see how Zoey is affected as she recovers. For now she is sleeping on the couch while the rest of us finally grab some breakfast.

    Celebrating Holland- I’m Home

    (my follow-up to the original Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley)
    I have been in Holland for over a decade now. It has become home. I have had time to catch my breath, to settle and adjust, to accept something different than I’d planned. I reflect back on those years of past when I had first landed in Holland. I remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger, the pain and uncertainty. In those first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey. I have learned so much more. But, this too has been a journey of time.

    I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. I learned a new language and I slowly found my way around this new land. I have met others whose plans had changed like mine, and who could share my experience. We supported one another and some have become very special friends.
    Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me. Many have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land. I have discovered a community of caring. Holland wasn’t so bad.
    I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and grew to become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, to assist and to support newcomers like me in this new land. Over the years, I’ve wondered what life would have been like if I’d landed in Italy as planned. Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned some of the important lessons I hold today?

    Sure, this journey has been more challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest. And, yes, Holland is slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but this too has been an unexpected gift. I have learned to slow down in ways too and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland with its tulips, windmills and Rembrandts.

    I have come to love Holland and call it Home.

    I have become a world traveler and discovered that it doesn’t matter where you land. What’s more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special, the very lovely, things that Holland, or any land, has to offer.

    Yes, over a decade ago I landed in a place I hadn’t planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!

    By Cathy Anthony

     

      Your Judgement is…

      Locked in a body not of my choosing
      locked in a mind, both lost and confusing,

      living a life that others think sad,
      but inside I’m alive, both smiling and glad.

      My hands yes, they wave on their own,
      but I cuddle and love, I’m never alone.

      Sounds and tastes are a great reason to laugh,
      and remember I’m friends with all members of staff.

      Yes I’m a child, left in a body much older,
      and your judgement
      it lays in the eye of the beholder.

      I get frustrated and angry when simple things fail,
      yet with help and support I’m sure I’ll prevail.

      My body may be different,
      my mind can be slow,
      But I’m very human inside
      and together we’ll grow!!

      Mark Sawtell

        To You, My Sisters

        Many of you I have never even met face to face, but I’ve searched you out every day. I’ve looked for you on the internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores.

        I’ve become an expert at identifying you. You are well worn. You are stronger than you ever wanted to be. Your words ring experience, experience you culled with your very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyond the expectations of this world. You are my “sisters.”

        Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority. A very elite sorority. We are special. Just like any other sorority, we were chosen to be members. Some of us were invited to join immediately, some not for months or even years. Some of us even tried to refuse membership, but to no avail.

        We were initiated in neurologist’s offices and NICU units, in obstetrician’s offices, in emergency rooms, and during ultrasounds.  We were initiated with somber telephone calls, consultations, evaluations, blood tests, x-rays, MRI films, and heart surgeries.

        All of us have one thing in common. One day things were fine. We were pregnant, or we had just given birth, or we were nursing our newborn, or we were playing with our toddler. Yes, one minute everything was fine. Then, whether it happened in an instant, as it often does, or over the course of a few weeks or months, our entire lives changed.  Something wasn’t quite right. Then we found ourselves mothers of children with special needs.

        We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our children’s special needs. Some of our children ungergo chemotherapy.  Some need respirators and ventilators. Some are unable to talk, some are unable to walk. Some eat through feeding tubes. Some live in a different world. We do not discriminate against those mothers whose children’s needs are not as “special” as our child’s. We have mutual respect and empathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.

        We are knowledgeable. We have educated ourselves with whatever materials we could find. We know “the” specialists in the field. We know “the” neurologists, “the” hospitals, “the” wonder drugs, “the” treatments. We know “the” tests that need to be done, we know “the” degenerative and progressive diseases and we hold our breath while our children are tested for them. Without formal education, we could become board certified in neurology, endocrinology, and physiatry.

        We have taken on our insurance companies and school boards to get what our children need to survive, and to flourish. We have prevailed upon the State to include augmentative communication devices in special education classes and mainstream schools for our children with cerebral palsy. We have labored to prove to insurance companies the medical necessity of gait trainers and other adaptive equipment for our children with spinal cord defects. We have sued municipalities to have our children properly classified so they could receive education and evaluation commensurate with their diagnosis.

        We have learned to deal with the rest of the world, even if that means walking away from it. We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during “tantrums” and gritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person behind us on line. We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-meaning strangers. We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs complaining about chicken pox and ear infections. We have learned that many of our closest friends can’t understand what it’s like to be in our sorority, and don’t even want to try.

        We have our own personal copies of Emily Perl Kingsley’s “A Trip To Holland” and Erma Bombeck’s “The Special Mother.” We keep them by our bedside and read and reread them during our toughest hours.

        We have coped with holidays. We have found ways to get our physically handicapped children to the neighbors’ front doors on Halloween, and we have found ways to help our deaf children form the words, “trick or treat.” We have accepted that our children with sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace on Christmas. We have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing yule log with our words for our blind children. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving. We have bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter. And all the while, we have tried to create a festive atmosphere for the rest of our family.

        We’ve gotten up every morning since our journey began wondering how we’d make it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not sure how we did it.

        We’ve mourned the fact that we never got to relax and sip red wine in Italy. We’ve mourned the fact that our trip to Holland has required much more baggage than we ever imagined when we first visited the travel agent. And we’ve mourned because we left for the airport without most of the things we needed for the trip.

        But we, sisters, we keep the faith always. We never stop believing.  Our love for our special children and our belief in all that they will achieve in life knows no bounds. We dream of them scoring touchdowns and extra points and home runs.  We visualize them running sprints and marathons. We dream of them planting vegetable seeds, riding horses and chopping down trees. We hear their angelic voices singing Christmas carols. We see their palettes smeared with watercolors, and their fingers flying over ivory keys in a concert hall. We are amazed at the grace of their pirouettes. We never, never stop believing in all they will accomplish as they pass through this world.

        But in the meantime, my sisters, the most important thing we do, is hold tight to their little hands as together, we special mothers and our special children, reach for the stars.

        Maureen K. Higgins

         

          What you should know about my child.

          Remember that he is, first of all, my child.

          Let me see him smiling in his sleep and let me think about how handsome he is
          and not about how delayed that smile was in coming.
          Help me not lose sight of my son in the shadow of his limitations
          I know that you care for my child and that you work hard with him.
          I need your expertise to help him become all that he is capable of being.
          You need my help in understanding who he really is
          and in following through at home with things that are important.
          Remember, though, that you send him home at night and have weekends off and paid vacations.
          Let me have the luxury of having a vacation, sometimes physically,
          sometimes just emotionally, for a day, a week, a month, without your judging me.
          I will be there for him when you are long gone.
          I love my child with an intensity that you can only imagine.
          If on a given day I am tired or cross with him, listen to me,
          lighten my burden, but do not judge me.
          Celebrate with me, rejoice in who he is and who he will become
          but forgive me if from time to time I shed a tear for who he might have been.

          Author Unknown

           

            Stroll

            A simple stroll some may say;
            Is more than pleasant on a nice sunny day!

            So out we go sun cream and all,
            We’re off to the beach we’ll have a ball.

            When we arrive, it’s busy we see,
            But it’s a while to wait for baby and me.

            Out comes the chair for my baby to ride,
            And people are at it, there’s no where to hide!

            They look with pity and then they stare,
            Are you concerned do you actually care?

            Then come the ones who point and chat,
            What’s wrong with him? Why’s he in that?

            My son has a disability it’s not your concern! It takes him a while longer to walk, talk and learn.

            But he is a person although he is small, so next time you look please be mindful!

            A great little man with a mind of his own, glared at at times for a chair on loan!

            When out and about this is what we see. maybe you should wonder, what if this were me?

            The struggle he has just to stand straight, he’s my amazing son not your glaring bait!

            He likes to stroll, play and see, your looks, and remarks don’t bother me.

            So if this is you and your reading this, the chair’s what you see, the person you miss!

            Emma Richards

              Going to Holland

              I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability–To try and help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It is like this …

              When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous trip–to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, Michelangelo’s David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

              After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags, and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland!”

              “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy!  I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

              The important thing is that they haven’t sent you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

              It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy, than Italy. But after you’ve been there awhile you catch your breath, you look around … and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills … and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy … and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was suppose to go. That’s what I had planned.”

              And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, go away … because the loss of that dream is a very Significant loss.

              But if you spend the rest of your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

              Emily Perl Kingsley

                Big Girl Stuff

                We scored a few great deals at a local consignment sale this week, including this little art desk. It’s bittersweet how big she’s getting.  She spent the first 5 minutes coloring and the next 20 dumping and putting back her crayons in the box.  Somehow the dumping/pick-up cycle always ends on the dumping phase: legos, blocks, crayons…