Change of Terms

(or Me vs. the Horseshoe Crab)

I walked into my therapist’s office the other day to find that it was all packed up.  The bookcases were empty, the knick-knacks were gone.  There were stacks of boxes and rolls of bubble-wrap.  She had momentarily left the room when I arrived, so I had several minutes to devise a list of worst-case scenarios.  Was she moving to a new office?  In the same suite?  Same building?  Across town?  How would this move impact my journey?  Or worse: was she retiring?  Closing up shop?  Had she had enough?  Had we all driven her completely crazy?

When she returned to the office I immediately demanded to know what was going on.  She seemed shocked that I would ask, as if walking into your therapist’s packed-up office was completely normal.  No, she was not moving or retiring.  Her office was just being repainted and new flooring was to be installed.  And did I really think she would move or retire without giving me months and months of notice so that we could process it together?

In short, yes.

Certainly a move of office would be a much easier scenario to adapt to than losing her to retirement, but even so, I was uneasy with the thought that anything about this therapeutic environment might change.

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(or A Path of My Own)

My son is a tinker-er.  He likes to figure things out for himself.  Just this week he taught himself to dive off the diving board – just by watching other kids do it.  He studied, mimicked, tweaked his form – and then splash! – he was diving in on his own.

I don’t know why this so surprised me. This is, after all, the same kid who potty-trained himself and and taught himself how to tie his shoes and probably taught himself a whole host of other things I’m not even aware of.

And he is my kid, the son of an engineer (by training at least).

Truth is I also need to tinker, but in my own way.  Sometimes it’s to figure out how to use a new technology or to repair a broken toy or solve a problem at work.  I even had to tinker with this blog, and some very early readers got to see that as I played with themes and structure and ideas as I attempted to make this place my own.

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Home Base

(or The Art of Saying Thank You)

Being a parent is hard.  It is so much harder than I realized before becoming a mom.  And I’m not just talking about the disrupted sleep and poopy diapers and projectile vomit and being on-call 24/7.

The first three months are particularly brutal because you don’t get anything back.  You have this beautiful, precious creature who is completely dependent on your for everything, every day.  And then suddenly, one day, after months of feeding, changing, bathing, comforting, loving, you get a smile – a sign that the baby sees you.  Maybe he doesn’t appreciate you (do they ever?) but he sees you and gives you a smile or a coo or even a laugh.  And usually that’s enough to keep you going.  With that little acknowledgement, your energy reserves are topped up and you can keep going.

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In the Pursuit of Perfection

(or So What Did You Eat Today?)

We just got home from a weekend conference where we had hoped that our older son would realize that he is really not so alone in this world.  I’m not sure that this objective was met – it’s hard to get much in-depth emotional processing out of a 6-year-old.  I, however, came away with a whole host of revelations of my own.

But to get to those, I need to start at the beginning.  You see, my son was born with a very rare, very serious metabolic disorder that, if left untreated, causes irreversible damage to the central nervous system.  Or to be exact: brain damage.

It is hard to fathom that the very foods that so many of us eat, and take for granted, are toxic to the hundreds of thousands of people with inherited metabolic disorders.

To protect both his and my anonymity, I’m not going to name the specific metabolic disorder that he has.  His specific diagnosis isn’t all that pertinent, and I hope my own thoughts on this topic apply to anyone raising a special-needs child, far beyond the reaches of our very small metabolic community.

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