Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I don't know how it works, okay? It's probably one of those weird bees transfer pollen and pistons and stuff kind of concepts. All I know is, I buy one toy and it makes 17. (See: Admonition to the children of Clark) And everybody wants to dump them out and nobody wants to a) play with them or b) pick them up.

There's something in their brains that just short-circuits and tells them that life would be better if every toy they ever had were to be dumped out on the floor and trodden like the grapes of wrath, or something. This means their room always looks like it's been ransacked by chimpanzees who have been injected with PCP and locked in to die. And look, I'm not such the Donna Reed, so I just close the door when I walk by and try to think happy thoughts. But eventually, someone is going to come upstairs and find this chaos, and then I'll be on Oprah, with one tear on my cheek, explaining. (seriously, do you really think she's through with TV? come on)

toy purgatory
Last night I came in their room and it was upside down, as usual, but they had also found a styrofoam board and shattered it everywhere. I just snapped. Not like screaming or crazy, just very calmly snapped and started carrying all their toys away. I removed every toy and every book as they wailed and asked God to open the earth and swallow them up. I mean, wailing, gnashing of teeth, genuine repentance and mourning. I locked everything in a closet and they have 7 days to earn it back or I'll donate it.

Glory to God, my husband is in town. He came home during Hell Hour and helped me move their stuff out, and then today when they emptied every toy bin in the playroom, he made them clean it all up themselves. It took 4 hours (it could have taken 10 minutes) , but he went to the studio downstairs and mixed his CD and just came up on occasion, made vague threats and eventually they finished. I love having a co-parent.

I don't know what's going to happen. My hoarder tendencies make it very hard for me to get rid of their toys, so I have strongly suggested that the MOG spirit the toys away in the dark of night, so it will be done and I'll be off the hook. The only problem is he has like 4 jobs right now, and doing my job is not one of them. Sheesh. Maybe I could get SuperNanny...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sometimes, as I am writing the minutiae of my life, I think to myself: "This is on the internet." And I firmly believe there is no privacy on the internet, as expressed by this diagram. Not that that affects me too much, since my mama told me all my life, "Never write down anything you don't want the whole world to read." And that was way before the internet. So. Headstart.

Anyway, all that to say I am aware that Tristan's birthfamily might read this here blog, and I try to write accordingly, and not say anything I wouldn't say to their faces. That's a good policy anyway, y'all. Just saying.

So we're walking out open adoption, figuring it out as we go along, and it may be redefined a million times before we know how it will really be. After our last visit, they hadn't requested a follow-up visit, but I had a dream that led me to think we should initiate a get-together. So I did, and they seemed really glad for the opportunity. We met at a park for a couple of hours yesterday.

It's tricky, all this. I want to let them see he's happy, settled, okay. I want them to find peace in seeing that. On the other hand, I don't want to cause them more pain, like, if it hurts more to see him, to see me and him. So I have to leave it in their court, but they're walking a tightrope, too, I'm sure. So yeah, tricky. From what I can tell, they don't regret placing him, and they're happy he's so loved and part of us. They seem to be adjusting, carrying on. And really, I have to be okay with that, even if I'm not sure it's true.

So the visit was good. It was easier than last time, because we know each other better and the first-visit jitters were not a factor. It might have been a little weird for them that he's bigger now and not so immediately accepting of them, he took his time warming up. Eventually, though, he crawled and laughed and danced and did all his wonderful stuff. And I was so, so proud of him. It's funny, feeling such a possessive sense of pride and joy for who he is, when he was their baby first.

There were moments where we all were just watching him, enjoying him and laughing together, and it was just family. I hope that dynamic will grow as we continue down this road.

I wrote some sappy poetry about it over yonder.

I am so grateful to God and to these sweet people for my baby. He is pure joy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I was taught to read when I was 4.  As I grew, the questions grew. More than once as a preteen and teen I was flat-out accused of lying when I closed the book. I passed many spontaneous comprehension quizzes and learned to expect to be doubted. In 9th grade they clocked me at 700 words a minute. I'd brag about that if I had anything to do with it, but I inherited it from my dad. So, no credit. 

Today Toby discovered the reading program at the library. "If your mom reads you 24 books," they said, "You will win a free book to keep!" And the lights went on. We came home and he went immediately to work. He has read 17 kid's books in the last 30 minutes. Out loud. 

Will they believe him? Heck if I know. But if they try to deny him his prize, I figure it should only take about 45 minutes to prove it to them...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Disclaimer: I don't talk about poop. It's just not something we talk about. But today, I'm going to, in a fairly vague way. Has to be done. I took Tristan to the pediatrician, because he's been crying occasionally, and for Mr. Sunshine, that indicates that something is wrong. Every Wednesday he gets an ear infection. That's an exaggeration, but he's had 3, and he's 7 months old.

And I hear you hippies muttering "rosemary, garlic oil, eye of newt, Ron Paul, blah, antibiotics, Satan, valerian root," or whatever, but that's not my game, yo? You try having a couple of 1 pound babies and see if you don't get all medical and interventionalist. No, don't. Don't do that, but I did. See what I did there?

Anyway, so I knew he had another ear infection, or that the last round of Amoxicillin hadn't done the job, and I was right.

So here's the thing. I knew Amoxil was, to put it gently, an irrigant. I mean, I've had kids for 12 years now. Sure enough, a couple syringes of the pink stuff and next thing you know, it's Poopathon. Break out the Ferris Wheel and funnel cake. For weeks. So I knew that, and I've dealt with it, all right?

But when a kid doesn't respond to one antibiotic, they try another. So today, the pedi tells me we're moving to Augmentin.

"It can be upsetting to the GI tract," she says, brow furrowed.

"Oh, yeah," I say, causually. "The Amoxil was bad news..."

"Well.... Augmentin is like the big guns, compared to Amoxil." she tells me. "I'm going to recommend a probiotic to go along with it, to help with the tummy stuff." I agree, and say maybe yogurt? Like Activia? Because I believe commercials.

"Yeah, that'd be good," she says. "Maybe start with that first, because this stuff is brutal." I am afeared.

So we go to Target and I get the same spiel from the pharmacist. I'm practically advised to tarp the house, bring in the water hose, triple diaper, maybe. Invest in Oxiclean. Purchase latex gloves in bulk. Let him sleep in  the bathtub, stuff like that. Don't wear light colors. Purell by the gallon. Nose bleach. Put a sign on the door, "All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here."

Sigh. They have spoken. Poopocalypse is coming. I must heed the signs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Today was the first day of summer. In celebration, I went outside, like, 3 times.

I'm the youngest of 5, and was the treasured baby of my parents, who were considered old parents back then at 35. Now 70 year olds are having twins all the time, but it was the 70's, you know. Barely. Anyway, my old genius parents kept me pretty close, so I wouldn't get sullied by the antichrist or get a boyfriend or anything, plus, they liked having me around. So I liked staying inside, curling up with a nice book, maybe enjoying a plate of cheese and apples and some Kate Hepburn, if I had a taste for a movie, or some Elvis, from when he was pretty. Listening to Rush Limbaugh while designing my Jessica Stanley for 4th Grade President posters, you know?

And every now and then I'd spend the night at someone's house, and they'd watch a movie in color and then they'd go outside. For hours. And I'd sweat and get sunburned and the mosquitoes would bite me, and I would think "What is the POINT of this nonsense?" but I wouldn't say that, because old parents teach you to be polite. But really I was biding my time to get back to my couch, my cat and my Charles Dickens.

So now I have these kids, and Brynn likes to play outside. She'll go out there for the whole day, despite snow or flames or what have you. So I bought a pool and we collected all 12 of her hand-me-down swimsuits, and she goes through several wardrobe changes a day, and spends most of her time standing in her pool. Toby is not so much for this. He'll go out for a little and try to direct as much water as possible at our house, but very soon his legs are cold and he's getting bitten by bugs despite being carefully coated with toxic chemicals. Today I tried to make Toby eat lunch out there and it was a whole screaming meltdown about bugs eating his food.

And what can I say? He is totally right. Bugs stink. It is hot out there, and bright, and hard. So I gave in and let him eat his picnic at the kitchen table. Shoot, we have windows. He'll probably turn out just fine.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"It's funny," he says on the phone. "You don't really start missing me until you're sick of the kids...."

Which is not entirely true, mind you. For the new reader, my husband travels with a rock/worship/prayer ministry and he goes on these short-ish tours frequently, in which he is gone for about 2 weeks and I stay home with the kids. So.

And I miss him and there's kind of a general things-are-not-right ache, being alone, but you know, I like my life and my kids and I can soldier on pretty happily, typically, until about day 11, when I melt down and scream at everyone and cry and then we order pizza. That's when I really start missing having a companion, another adult that I can lean on. Even if he's recording, or super busy or whatever, I can close the bathroom door or put on headphones without having to worry so much about the 4 souls I am accountable for, and if they are, in fact, feeding chalk to the baby. And there's something very lonely about not talking, just normal day-talking to your husband, in person, shared experience and relationship to lean on. I talk to friends and it's not the same.

Then he gets home and I'm like, whew, relief, and I tell him all of the thoughts I have stored up during the weeks and I plan day trips to Lowes and the zoo, and painting the house in our spare time, and I am blindsided for YEARS now by how tired he is, post-tour. It takes a couple of days to get his land legs, so to speak, and in the meantime, he's here but not here.

I, of course, am the model of patience and maturity, bringing him coffee and not making too many plans. (That is all lies.) It does take grace on my part to back down and let him decompress, to realize that he's been working, too, even if also he got to parasail or something in addition to working. But doggone it, as soon as his eyes stop looking bloodshot, he's watching these kids. I have some tamales to catch up with.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm a bit of a chauvinist. The Google tells me that actually chauvinists are either way, i.e. a feminist could be a chauvinist, just pro-female. That's not what I am. I'm more like a male chauvinist.

Don't get me wrong. I like being a woman, and enjoy the company of female friends and sisters and moms and whatnot. It's just I don't trust us, so much, to be reasonable. It's okay with me if you're rolling your eyes way up in your head, that's typical female histrionics. Kidding. We women are beautiful and complex and designed by God. We are great.

But, I mean, who better to judge the instability of a gender than a member of said gender? Disclaimer: every woman is different, and I'm probably not talking about you.

Just sometimes, the fact that emotions are so powerful, and that I can really want to DIE (not really, Mom) an hour before being blissfully and completely content, makes me a little bit concerned that I, and some other women, (not you) are a little nuts. What kind of person almost cries at a dirty floor? A wacky one, that's what kind.

And sometimes it seems so simple to be a man. Again, I'm making blanket statements, and that's what I want to do, because I don't feel like being all thorough here on my free blog I write 4 days a week. So guys get together, do an activity, talk a fairly minimum amount, and seem pretty content. If one guy does something that totally bugs another guy, they might say something about it, or get over it, and carry on. It is rare, in my experience, for guys to have spats and break up with other guys, in a heterosexual bro kind of way.

And if a guy wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, figuratively speaking, they just take their grumpies to a deep place and then later they feel better. They don't need 40,000 words and a therapeutic friend consult + Sandra Bullock movie to recover. Or a few weeks.  Guys don't write 3 page emails trying to articulate WHY they feel the way they do. Again, blanket statement. Keep up.

Guys don't cry when they try on a swimsuit or eat a half-gallon of ice cream to try to cope with how fat they are. They just go to the beach with their gut sticking out and think, really, they look pretty. darn. good.

Anyway. I am just going stream-of-consciousness here because I mostly talk to people who wear superhero underpants and stick fruit snacks in their nostrils. It was blog or finish off the cookies.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This will make the 3rd time in a couple of weeks that I've blogged about blood, but I'm not a one-trick pony, y'all. I also renovate refrigerators with no workable exit strategy, so don't pigeonhole me. 

Anyway, today Toby ran up the stairs helter-skelter, as he is wont to do, and at the top of the stair there was a resounding slam followed by banshee screaming. I could tell it was an actual injury, and not the normal kind where they point to the wrong leg while they're telling you about it.

So I'm running up the stairs and trying to summon courage for the task and then there's blood running down his face. I mean, bad. And he's screaming like Faust and I am thinking fast, because I'm not allowed to pass out. "Head wounds bleed a lot," I tell myself. "I probably won't see his brains when he moves his hand..." And sure enough, no brains. Just lots of blood and hair and screaming. And in the corner, a nekkid and ashamed Brynn, who slammed the door ON Toby for privacy whilst she changed. Sigh.

I cleaned him up with a washcloth while speaking sternly to myself in my mind, and then made him hold the cloth on his head while I found the first aid kit. He occupied himself by screaming at Brynn, who was nowhere to be found. "WHY DID YOU DO THIS? WHY CAN YOU SLAMMED THE DOOR ON MY HEAD? BRYNN. I DON'T LIKE THAT!" And then, he-who-will-not-be-napping woke up and joined the fracas, because Tristan always likes to be part of the action.

In the end, it was a small-ish gash, one Band-Aid did the job. Tristan is back asleep and I am a woozy Queen of the World.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Sometimes I wish there were cameras following my life. Not so much the part where I'm eating half a bag of Oreos in my bed and yelling, "I. SAID. GO. TO. SLEEP. IN. THERE." but you know, some of the other parts, when I have eyeliner on and my kids are being hilarious. Or this week, when Liz and I moved a refrigerator outside all by our female selves.

At the time, I couldn't really take pictures, because we were busy devising ways to almost make a refrigerator fall on us. It had wheels, which is awesome, but we had to move it through 2 doorways and down the stairs to the front porch. I can't say how awesome we are, it's too much. We put it on a dolly with a flat tire and leaned it over, way over, down the steps and finally landed it on the concrete. Then we plugged it in for a few minutes, because we were pretty sure we broke it. But it still worked. So, win.

So, now I will be like a crafty craft blogger and tell you the steps to painting your refrigerator.

1.) unplug refrigerator and move it to well ventilated dropclothed area, because your husband will FREAK if you paint the concrete again.

2.) stop a couple dozen times to retrieve very dusty magnets and Valentine's pizza coupons that were stuck underneath.

3.) stop and MARVEL at the crushed dyed Easter egg shell that has evidently been under said fridge for YEARS, since you have lived here for 2 years and never dyed an Easter Egg. Wow.

4.) Don't die, moving fridge down stairs while neighbors chuckle inside their houses. Tape rubbery bits of fridge.

5.) Spray primer. Run out of spray primer. Go buy more. Spray primer. Read instructions on appliance paint, "Priming not recommended."

6.) Wait. Wait all night. Lay awake, wondering if junebugs are leaving their nasty legs in your wet, unnecessary primer.

7.) Paint the fridge. It took me 2.5 cans of Appliance Epoxy before it looked fully covered. ($4.50 apiece) (Also fully covered, my weird feet.) Round 2, wear gloves and a hat, put iPhone in baggie. Still, black specks in your nose and a strange, "I snorted gum" sensation.

8.) Wait at least 24 hours to let epoxy dry. Try to think of a way to get the refrigerator back inside the house. Give serious thought to leaving it on the porch, with an extension cord. It's not that nice of a neighborhood, anyway...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why don't she blog? maybe you're asking, a little hitch in your voice. Don't she love us no more?

Let me start by saying double negatives are not going to bring me back. You're gonna have to try harder than that. Or not. I'll blog, even if you use the wrong your you're their there they're and I HATE that. But no judgment. 

Once a year or so, for a week, or a few weeks, I have this productive streak where I do homemaker-y things like organize stuff and paint stuff and then, all of the sudden, the streak ends and I just barely keep up with putting the laundry in the basement to ignore. I don't know what that is. It's like I'm tri-polar, if one pole was slightly lazy 3/4 of the time and the other pole was slightly productive every now and then, and maybe another pole that just kept up with the basics like laundry, dishes and trash. Kind of. So, moderate poles, which I think defeats the purpose of poles. 

Oh, and it doesn't extend to housecleaning. I have never had a burst of energy that made me want to clean for longer than it takes to clean a toilet. Burst over. I clean stuff for parties and basic maintenance, which makes some people I'm married to crazy, but mostly because they have a window hangup and want to windex stuff 3 times a day. (this is an exaggeration)

So anyways, I've been busy painting various areas of my house, mostly with leftover paint from other projects. And I'm pretty proud of myself, although maybe I painted the floor a bit and whatnot. All this productivity is hurting my blogging cred, but it will be over soon and I'll be back to sitting with my laptop next to a giant mound of clothes, with good intentions. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Classic story. Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Girl and boy have a bunch of kids. Boy hits the road with a band of missionary zealots. Tale as old as time.

How do you raise children that are happy and healthy with one parent gone frequently? How do you keep your sons from pulling the wings off butterflies and burning down doghouses? How do you stay sane when little people need you 24 hours a day? Heck if I know. Kidding. But seriously, I don't know.

Here's what I do. Keep in mind that my "oldest" (developmentally) is 5, and so I don't have actual results yet, as far as how screwed up my strategies might make them.

First thing: lighten up on yourself. One parent cannot accomplish everything two parents could. You're gonna have to make some trades. They don't have to have home-cooked meals every night, the house doesn't have to look company-ready all the time, and they might watch more movies than usual. You are going to like your kids more if you don't try to be everything at once.  I'm not saying cease parenting, I'm just saying cut yourself a break somewhere. When Billy Graham gets back in town you can kick back into your Martha Stewart mode.

Listen to your kids, hug them, talk about everything with them and make them a priority, but don't run yourself ragged. Time is important, not activities.

Another thing I think is vital is having a family sense of ownership in what Daddy's doing. Talk about what's happening out there, watch videos or webstreams of ministry times, based on how long of a clip they're willing to watch. We talk about what states he's in and track maps to keep up, and pray for him at dinner. You can raise them with an understanding of giving sacrificially to help people, and that's a valuable lesson. If you're able to video-chat, that's really good, to be able to see each other and talk about what's going on on the road and at home. If you don't have that capability, talk on the phone. Let them be connected to it all. We get to be a part of something amazing, eternal!

It's hard not to feel frustrated and alone sometimes, to resent cleaning poop off the wall while he has sno cones with the President or whatever. I won't tell you not to feel that way (although if it becomes a consistent issue, y'all need to talk), but I will tell you to try not to pass that feeling on to your kids. Make your at-home time fun and celebrate the fun that Dad's having, too. Then eat ice cream and think dark thoughts after they're in bed, or do something spiritual, whatever.

I can't give much advice about having a devotional life while solo parenting, because I'm pretty much a slacker. The best I've ever done is keeping up with a Bible reading plan first thing in the morning and trying to enforce a quiet playtime until 8 every morning. If you have some killer tip for that, chime in.

Enforce bedtime, take your evening break seriously. That is a key time to recharge. If you have family or trusted friends, take breaks and let them help.

You're gonna make it. You are making a difference. Keep up the good work.

Part I here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A while back (in Texan, that can mean moments or years), I wrote a couple "chapters" in this fiction story... I still like it, maybe I'll write some more.

Chapter 1: I Seen Mama on TV

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm gonna lighten it up again soon, folks. Just gotta get through this week.

My twins would be 7 today. In my mind, they're all arms and legs and sandy blonde hair. For some reason, my mind gives them kind of a bowl cut... they look like the MOG at that age. Of course, they are fraternal twins, not identical, so there are differences between them. I don't have a clear image of who they'd be, who they are in heaven. Just boys, blonde hair, tank tops and gangly legs.

Despite it being the beginning of the end, and an all-around crisis, today was a good day, 7 years ago. For a moment in time I had twin sons, my babies that I could see and dream about. Their story is here.

It's still surprising to me, the ache, the empty space left by babies I never knew. You never, ever get over your children. In the space of 7 years, I feel like I've lived a lifetime. I think I turned 40 the year they died, and I was 25. I remember thinking back then, there is no redemption. Nothing good can ever come out of this, it is only bad. I was wrong about that, too.

First, the whole "better to have loved and lost" is true. I am richer for having carried them for 6 months, for having them in front of me for 2 days, for the impact their short lives had on me, on the MOG, on Radiant. In addition to that, I feel like the whole world opened up to us, the shared weight of human suffering. That's not as bad as it sounds, because it's shared. I'm part of a community of loss, of grief and hope and rebuilding. Richy and I have a perspective we never understood from the safer zones, and it has made our love for people deeper, I think, as well as our love for each other and our living kids.

I miss Evan and Rees. For weeks before their birth/death dates and their due dates, I have a physical ache in my chest. I feel tired and heavy and slow. Once these 3 days are over, the weight lifts a little and I can get back to "normal". It's right to grieve them, because they're my sons.

Happy birthday, boys.

Monday, June 6, 2011

24 weeks and 1 day
12 years ago, I was scared out of my mind with a newborn the size of a Beanie Baby. You can read the story of R2 here. 

A friend of mine tweeted today "Would you trade your memories for the ability to see the future?", and you know, that is deep and has many levels, but my immediate thought was, if someone had told me the future back in the day, I would have run like heck. 

You don't know what you're capable of until it stares you in the face. And the last 12 years of loving my son, serving my son, have been rich. I wouldn't have known that. I would have said I couldn't handle it, the medical stuff, the fear, the recurring sadness of having a brain-damaged child. I would have been so wrong. 

I wouldn't have understood what it means to learn to love someone who can't really give back. I wouldn't have learned how to cling to Jesus in the very darkest moments, perched in a hard plastic chair while all the doctors came running and the alarms exploded. I wouldn't have known how Jesus could be so real, so tangible when I came to the end of myself. 

I wouldn't have known the pain and the sweetness of dying to myself as I laid down my plans and expectations for my child, and accepted his "normal". 

I wouldn't have known that joy is so rich when you work so hard for it, that a single word, first steps at 4 years old, just his being able to identify his plate and cup, could thrill me. 

I wouldn't have known, so I'm glad nobody asked me. I'm not special or chosen, I'm just a mom, and I'm learning how to live and love in this new reality. Like I said, you don't know what you're capable of. 

Happy 12th birthday to my little miracle. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I wouldn't say I'm uncompassionate. Okay? I'm just.... a) squeamish and b) practical. So let's say, for example, that you, or anyone, have a back injury. I will assess the situation. Since I am neither a trained medical professional, a masseuse, or a faith healer (well, I kinda am that, but not always), I will say, practically, "Do you want to go the ER or take some aspirin?" Practical, right?

Over the years, Richy and I have reached an uneasy impasse over this. He will lay in misery and grumble, and I will google his symptoms and offer him ibuprofen. I'm not the foot-rubbing type, see? And when I get sick, I just want to be alone. I want to go over to Bin Laden's place, because I heard it's super empty, and lie on a rug and suffer, alone. So I never really know what to say. "I'm sorry you got run over," I'll say, browsing the sale papers. "Want an aspirin?"

Once every few years, I tell him to suck it up and get on with his life, and then it turns out he really does have severe strep throat, or something else legit.  The rest of the time I tell him to suck it up and get on with his life, and he's okay, and he eventually gets on with his life. 

So today while I was neglecting my motherly duties and hanging out at the library, he texts me that he a) has cut himself b) is fainting c) not super bad cut but d) really fainting. I drive home to find him laid out on the couch like an Irish wake, whiter than white. From the couch to the kitchen, a sequence of bloody footprints. "Maybe this is legit!" I think. "^$%." I think.

I ask him what I should do, and he is inconclusive, because he is in the valley of the shadow, so I call Liz, who is medical, (you should ask her out). She comes straight over and immediately determines that the MOG and I are both weak, weak people, and takes pictures of us fainting around as we try to discuss the injury.

He's okay, although he did have to pull glass out of his foot, which is truly awful. He's back in the basement now, probably writing a song about seeing a tunnel of light. Maybe I should bring him some aspirin. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A few days ago, the MOG and I took the whole crew to Target. At the end of a fairly lengthy shopping trip (like Momologue), we came out with a tub of spackling and a new towel rack for the bathroom, but that's not the point, stay focused. The thing I'm actually talking about is R2, who had a crazy screaming hair-pulling meltdown when I was taking the potty-trained half of our offspring to the bathroom.

I was in the handicapped stall with Brynn, who had spent 30-45 minutes deciding which toilet was "just right" when I heard the door open and the screeching of my firstborn. Toby reassured a lady at the sink, "Oh, that's just my brother. He freaks out."

Eventually we were on our way, with the towel rack and the spackling and R2, minus a few hairs. As the smaller kids got in the car, it struck me how normal this is to them. I spent the first 20 years of my life without ever getting very close to a special-needs kid, but for them, he's been there since the beginning. They have a natural grace and patience with him, and an uncanny understanding of what he can and can't do, as well as a casual acceptance of all kinds of people with disabilities. Some people just freak out, they think. Some people just need help getting around. It's simple.

I went to a special needs mom's support group a couple of weeks ago, and it was awesome and emotional, and I almost wrote about it, but I was on a string of emotional blog posts and felt the need to lighten it up. When I told Toby I had been to a meeting for mommies whose children had "hurt brains", he lit up. "You can take Richy there!" he exclaimed. "Those kids could play with Richy!" I don't know, that just got my heart a little, his excitement for something for Richy, just for Richy.

You know, if you have a special kid, or you're thinking about adopting a special kid, don't be afraid of how your "normal" kids, born or unborn will deal with "having" to grow up with an atypical sibling. Instead, understand and embrace that you are giving them an education in unconditional love, acceptance, unselfishness and compassion. One doctor told us that siblings of special kids often go into "helping" professions. Kids have big hearts, and we can learn a lot from their example.
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