Move Along

I took my son to school for the last time this morning.  I won’t lie, I’m not doing well.  We’ll see if I can write a short post with tears streaming down my face.

There was a very dark period in our lives when Landon was around 8 years old.  He was in and out of the pediatric psych ward, for months.  He was not our child during those times, in that space he was in inside his own brain.  Turned out, it was his seizure meds and all the psychiatric drugs the Doctors put into him just made his madness worse.

Out of desperation, we told the Doctor one pivotal morning in a meeting that we wanted him taken off of everything.  Every single little pill they were making him take, we wanted them gone.  They warned us he would have grand mal seizures.  We said we didn’t care.  They had his syringes for that.  Something wasn’t right.  Our boy wasn’t there anymore and we wanted him back.

You may wonder why I’m spilling this dark stuff right now and I’ll get to that.

I told him right before we walked out the door this morning that this was the last time I’d ever take him to school.  He smiled.  I said, “How many times do you think I’ve taken you to school all these years?”  He laughed and said, “About a hundred billion.”

On the way to school, just a few minutes away, memories flooded back of all the people in our lives who have helped with Landon and still do, all the blessed souls who God himself put in our path all these years.

As much as this week is about Landon, it’s also about all those special people.  I could write about the ones who weren’t so special.  The ones who judged us, their kids who reflected their parents and who were the ugliest inside of all, who wouldn’t play with Landon and made fun of him because he was different.  Those people all happened to be in church with us, by the way.  Yeah, swallow that.  But I won’t dwell on that.  This is about the people who helped two stupid parents who were overwhelmed and tired and in mourning that their son wasn’t well and never really would be after he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.

Thank you to my parents who were there from the beginning of his life and continue to be there now.  Countless nights they stayed with us in the hospital, states away from Texas, to be there for us and our son.  Many nights were spent in tears, not knowing what the next day would bring our way.  They kept Gracie for weeks on end during the “dark days” so we could concentrate on Landon and getting him better.  They have loved Landon like no one else could except for us.  My parents talk to him every day on the phone.  Dad has had a rough couple years but he still makes time to talk to Landon multiple times a day and answers super hero questions as best he can.  And there are a lot of super hero questions.  My Mom has made him countless blankets, the latest being a Harry Potter blanket this past Christmas.  She loves to laugh and tease with him and cook his favorite foods when we’re in Texas.  I love you, Mom and Dad.  Thank you for raising me to be the person I am, and for also loving my son, no matter what.

Thank you to my mother in law, who spends an hour on the phone with Landon each and every night.  He looks forward to those phone calls and teasing with her.  Her patience and love for our son and willingness to listen to him is a blessing I will never forget.

Thank you to the teachers, so many over the years.  You made a difference in his life in so many countless ways.  I can’t count how many teachers have sought me out over the years to tell me how bright Landon makes their days.  I wish I could express to you what a difference we have seen in Landon from being around such caring educators and administrative staff.  You are one of the reasons I’m completing my teaching degree.  I wouldn’t be writing this post without all that you have contributed to his life.

Thank you to our friends who brought meals to us so many times while we were in and out of the hospital.  Thank you for the care packages and the hospital visits, the phone calls, and notes of encouragement.  Thank you for keeping Gracie many times while I was dealing with Landon when E was out of town.  Thank you for coming to the psych hospital when I was admitting Landon by myself because E was out of town and on a plane trying to get back to Texas as fast as he could while I was falling apart right along with Landon.  You are loved and your love for us will never be forgotten.

Thank you to our friends who love him so much today.  Gary and Laurie, who welcomed him to their cabin any time on the cruise this past Spring Break.  I’ll never forget the laughter, hearing how he beat you at Uno.  He loved every minute with you.  Thank you to the Quinn family, who are driving in from Florida right this very minute to be at Landon’s graduation.  You are so very special to our family.  Thank you to Connie and Blake, who took E and I under their wing so many years ago when Blake hired E for his first job out of college.  You were and still are such an example to us.

Thank you to E.  Before we even conceived Landon, we decided that I would be a stay at home Mom.  I have been for the last 18 years.  It was our joint decision but you are the one who has worked all these years, supporting our family.  Yes, staying at home can be hard work all in itself, especially when the kids are smaller, but it’s a tough gig knowing you support three whole other lives and having that immense responsibility.  Thank you for the years you have given me to be with our children.  It has been a priceless, priceless gift and I consider it a privilege.

As my life is music and I have to put a song to everything, as I was driving home this morning from the school, I thought of songs that sum up our life so far with Landon.  The one that popped into my head was a song I listened to over and over during those dark psych ward days.  I listened to it like a mantra on days I was so depressed I could barely drive much less make myself get out of bed.  Thank you to all the people who have helped us move along all these years, to the people who continue to help us move along today.  You have not only made such a difference in Landon’s life, but in ours.

I love you all.

Thank God And Learn To Keep Your Shirt On

I just ordered E not to make eye contact with me and to not speak to me unless spoken to.  Luckily, he laughed.

I sat down to start this blog about an hour ago and have had to get up multiple times to make another cup of coffee, find Landon an Alabama shirt to wear, get my headphones out of my computer bag, and make fun of Bo Wallace (known as Bro Ballace in my house) in the Ole Miss/TCU game on the TV right now.  Ignoring the TV is much harder than it used to be because I bought E surround sound for Christmas and it’s, well, distracting, especially when wonderful football sounds are emanating from it.

I always write when the kids are at school and E is at work or after everyone’s in bed for the night so this has been very difficult but here we go.  Martial law has been enforced in my house.  God be with them as I write this.

I haven’t written in a while because E’s Dad, Bob, died on December 12th.  Bob fell in October and broke his hip, leading to the discovery of advanced lung cancer.  E spent some quality time with his Dad during those last days, including watching Alabama win their 24th SEC Championship with him.  All of Bob’s family is from Alabama and one of his brothers was buried in his beloved Alabama Crocs.  We were at that funeral and I can vouch for that fact.

There are many great memories of Bob but these are mine.  He was a quiet man so when he talked, I knew to listen because what came out was usually pretty insightful.  He worked hard for his family, always.  He loved to garden and always had fresh produce either ready to be picked or growing when I first met E.  He loved to travel with his camper and he loved his demon cat McKenzie, who is immortalized in a huge picture in E’s parent’s bedroom to this day.  He loved his beer.  When we arrived in Arizona, we drove straight to my in-law’s house.  My nephew was watching Monday night football and drinking a Miller High Life, which was Bob’s beer of choice.  There was a new 30 pack in the kitchen.  I watched football and drank a Miller High Life in honor of Bob.   R.I.P., Bob.  Thank you for your hand in raising the man I have called my husband for the last 23 years.

Everything holiday related was accelerated, gift deliveries were missed because we were supposed to be here in Bama a week longer.  I was just outside on a Monday, putting up 1200 more Christmas lights to piss my neighbor off and by Friday, I was frantically packing for a funeral in Arizona and then immediate cold Texas Christmas.  I had sweet friends who stopped by to get very valuable presents off my front porch in Bama, stored the gifts I had with me in Dallas so they wouldn’t be stolen out of the truck at DFW airport, took concert tickets for me so they wouldn’t go to waste, and played the best ever last minute Santa on the phone to my kids.

As I look back on 2014, the overwhelming theme for me seems to be friends.  The good ones, the bad ones, the downright toxic ones, and how I should handle each of those categories.

I seem to have finally attained the ability this past year to simply walk away and that’s a good thing.  My zodiac sign, Capricorn, is wrong about my actual traits on so many levels that sometimes I’d swear I wasn’t born in January.  One of those Capricorn traits is the ability to walk away from a “bad” friend, emotionally and literally, without a thought or a backward glance.  I didn’t seem to acquire that ability until just this year and it’s actually quite freeing.

I can’t control other people’s behavior, as much as I have tried, but I can control mine.  I control my reactions, my decisions, who I keep in my life, who I need to lower expectations of in order to keep in my life, whose shitty behavior is worth putting up with, who contributes absolutely nothing to my life and is just an onlooker or judge, who influences me and makes me either feel fucking awesome about myself and everything in life, or who makes me feel worthless and full of doubts.

On the other side of the coin, I want my friends to hold me accountable.  Call me on my own bullshit.  Do it with love and call me a taint stain, but hold me accountable.  I don’t want “yes” friends because those aren’t true friends.  You can tell me anything with true affection and love and I can take it.  It will be hard and I’ll probably kick you in the crotch repeatedly and possibly shank you, but if it’s said with love, it will get through to my dense brain eventually.

I have no New Year’s resolutions.  I should have some, trust me.  I’m eating everything in sight like an alcoholic drinks the entire liquor cabinet after being mistakenly included in the text about their own intervention scheduled for the following night.  If you don’t hear from me for a few days, it’s because I am in a sugar coma somewhere in Birmingham.

Resolutions are pretty much bullshit anyway.  This year, I just vow to do better, on every level.  That’s all anyone can do.  Be a better significant other, mother, daughter, sister, friend, person.  I just want to be a better chick.  Period.

Happy New Year!  Thank you so much for reading my blog this year.  It still amazes me that anyone reads my shit.  I got my end of year stat report yesterday and it blew me away.  My counter at the bottom of each blog has been way off these past couple months and it bothered me, even though I knew it was wrong.  The end of year report confirmed that I’m not alone and that there are more than 7 people who read this shit.  I love you all and I wish you the very best in 2015.  Now, go do better.