Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The" HONOR" able Riley Freeman

As the mother of a special needs son, our bragging rights often take a different form and a different timetable than other parents are prone too.

When he finally started walking at 18 months, I kept it pretty close to the cuff and pretending he had been walking for as long as other toddlers his age.

When he finally attempted to write his name when he was 5, again this was a milestone quietly Hoorayed at home.

We are as equally proud of his accomplishments as other parents and have never felt short changed in that area ever in his life.

In fact, I think a blessing in my life that comes with parenting an exceptional child is that I really stop and savor all of those moments and never take anything for granted.

So, this past Thursday was one of those days. It was also one of those rare times that a moment like that shared with others who mean so much to my son and to me and they also understood the celebration of that moment.

My son, for the first time made the A/B Honor Roll. So what if it is an adapted curriculum, to him it is just as challenging as everyone else's and just as rewarding to succeed in it. Our school does a really great awards ceremony each 9 weeks for the Honor Roll students. Each grade gathers in the auditorium and they call each student by name one by one, announce their accomplishment and present them with a certificate, a gold ribbon and ticket for a free meal at Chic-Fil-et.

There was no prouder child in that auditorium than my son.

There was no prouder parent than I watching.

There were also many proud teachers cheering him on.

And I can venture to say, several teary eyes.

How much of this does my son really understand I do not know. I do know that he was very proud of himself and so were his classmates. I also know that it was boost to his pride and self esteem.

It was also important in our family in another way too.

My daughter,who is a very bright and aware 6 year old, has begun asking a question here and there about her brother, what is autism and why he behaves in some ways like he does. Some of her classmates have asked her these questions,which is quite natural. I am always diligent in making sure she knows that her brother is smart and able he just sees the world, hears the world and communicates with the world in his own way. Different is OK. That he learns at his own pace and this is just fine. It was really good for her to see him make the Honor Roll and get this award. She was a little jealous because they do not start this until 2nd grade. She sees him in just a little different light now. He has set a standard for her to live up to at school for the first time.

And I have overheard her tell a few people quite proudly that her brother made the Honor Roll.

It is so important for kids with special needs to be honored and singled out for accomplishments in front of their peers at school. Maybe more important than the regular kids. Even if you have to make something up, Give them an award for something at least once during the year. You cannot imagine what it does for that child, for his parents and for his world.

I hope that no parent takes any honor their child earns for granted. I noticed there were many more kids getting honored than parents there watching. I know because of the single parents and two working parents that it is hard to make every program during the day.But I hope that their child knows that it is no small feat to make the honor roll. That their parents are as pround and offer up as many kudos as we did.So many kids go through school and never get singled out for anything good. So many never have a proud moment in front of their normal peers.

We cheer our son on daily in our home.
......Our daughter too.

It was priceless to hear him cheered on in front of his schoolmates and teachers.

A more genuine grin full of pride has never been seen before.

So Thank you to my son and Thank You to all of his teachers.

Thank You for a really giving me a really Great Proud Mom moment that will go down in our family history books.

Look Out Pumpkins, Here we COME!

Since my son was a year old, every Halloween season we venture about an hour north and visit the Pumpkin Patch. A necessary ritual for my scrapbook and a nice day in great fall weather. The day usually involves-

1) My having to pick out symbiotic clothing for all of us to wear

2) The uncountable times my daughter will ask, When will we be there?

3) Riding the hay wagon being pulled by the exhaust spewing tractor out to the pumpkin field

4) The staging of my "spontaneous" pics of my kiddos looking for and find the perfect future Jack-O-Lantern

5) Us waiting for dear old Dad to carry our prizes to the car

6) Eating some good old Beans, Greens and Cornbread while the kids chow on that ever elusive

Chicken fingers and Fries

7) 30 minutes playing in the Inflatable Playground, the Petting Zoo and the Horse Ride

8) The ride back home with again the question "When will we be home?" reverberating in the air.

This year we had the added excitement of

9) Stopping for cokes on the way home and realizing my daughter was missing a shoe.

You ask, how does one lose a shoe between getting in a car and closing the door and driving off?We have yet to figure that out.

But, since it was her nice and not cheap Gold Mary Jane Croc with the personally meaningful collection of Jibbitz, we returned to the Pumpkin Patch to find it.

10) Looking under parked cars for the missing shoe was fun. (I found It)

11) The now quite drive home with daughter sniffling and Dad fuming and Mom sighing.

Which now has lead to the asking of our daughter each time we get in the car-

DO YOU HAVE BOTH SHOES????????????????????

Late September Road Trip

Ok I have been a little lax lately and have been properly reprimanded by a few loyal readers. So I am going to catch up on the last few weeks in our lives,exciting as that may be.

We ( us and extended family) took a long weekend trip to Jacksonville Florida to the FSU/AL football game. Since my family is equally fans of both teams it was a win/win game for us.

And a WIN WIN for FSU.

This was also a nostalgic trip for me in other ways.

We spent a day exploring St. Augustine. This is where my parents went on their honeymoon.

This is also a place where my parents took us several times when we were children. I so love taking my kids to places that I remember going as a child. We had a a great time exploring the old fort(is it smaller than I remembered), learning how to shoot a cannon and eating some great Spanish/Cuban food. And yes I did have 2 1/2 Mojitos-so yummy. They came with peeled sugar cane in them and I was able to introduce another treat from my childhood to my children.

I spent several years of my younger days in Miami and our neighbors were from Cuba. I remember them peeling sugar cane sticks for us and we would chew them into a mangled mess.

I really have learned how to sit back and savor every moment with my kids and with my Mom and this trip was one that was a real family outing. My Mom and step Dad rode down with us, so 20 hours in a car with them was actually very nice and the kids and I loved hanging out at the pool and swimming,while the others went to the game.

All in all - time well spent.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Rejuvenate and Regenerate
Is it just me or do most women over 35 snap to attention at the mere mention of these words.

When did so many of the products in my bathroom start including these words?

OK, All the products in my bathroom have a reference to turning back the clock or an age demographic of some sort.

It began as a slow invasion of 1 or 2 products and then another and then another.The ones that just smelled good or felt good just faded away.

For me it did not start when I was 30 or 35, it started at about age 13. The age when I officially became a women. I blame it not on my entrance into the world of female maintainance but rather my grandfather.

As far as my memory goes back, I remember my grandfather slathering Pond's Cold cream on his face morning and night. He wasn't using it to clean his face, he was using it as a moisturizer. He always smelled of Ponds and Listerine. I think he was one of the world's first Metrosexual's.

He was a pastor and Evangelist and his appearance was very important to him. His calling and life's work took place in front of an audience mostly.After one trip to Jerusalem, he took to wearing a big silver cross in an ancient form on a long black leather strap. He also took to wearing a white mock turtle neck under a black polo shirt and coupled with that cross, many mistook him for a Catholic Priest. He was a bit of a prankster and loved to introduce his grandchildren to these people and see the look of confusion on their faces, a priest with grandchildren. Of course this was about 35-40 years ago when priests and hanky panky wasn't as common as it is today.

But I think his dedication to the daily application of the Pond's really sunk into my psyche. Around age 13, I began slathering creams, lotions and potions on my own face and neck. Not only was I crazy about Grandpa, but the proof of his wisdom was in his face. He always had the softest and unwrinkled skin. And until the day he died as a very old man, he still had the softest wrinkle free skin I have ever seen on a man, or women of that age either.

For the first 25 years my criteria for buying these things was 1)how it smelled and 2) how it smelled and 3) how the package looked.Maybe a little of how it felt.
I noticed the other day that I buy nothing now because of the way it smells, unless its only purpose is to smell nice. In my shower I have Skin Re hydration Shower Gel, Sugar scrub to slough off the dead skin on my body and Apricot Scrub for my face. I would venture that an aging or dead cell has about a 24hour lifespan on my being.
It's out with the Dead and in with the New!
Once out of the shower then its on to Detoxifying with Vitamin B, Green Tea and Vitamin E.
Followed by antioxidants and anti free radicals and collegen boosters.
I will attempt to restore my face to the vital and luminous skin of my youth.T
he Anti Fatigue Eye cream, followed by the Daily Regenerating Serum and then a final layer of Anti Wrinkle Firming Moisture Lotion.
Special attention is given to the neck, that measuring stick of age on women.
And since I gag at the mere thought of a turtleneck or scarf, they both make me feel like I am strangling, my neck will always be out there for the world to see.
Now the territory below the collarbone is slathered and sheathed in Pro Age Cream oil at night and Pro Age Body lotion during the day. The feet get sanded down and anointed with Burt's Bee's Coconut Foot Cream. The one thing that I use that does smell good. Sadly, its on my feet.
Even my eyes have had their own youthful recharge. After two years of needing both my contacts and reading glasses and being too chicken for LASIX, technology has finally given me a non surgical helping hand. One eye has a multi focal lens and the other a torque lens and TA DA! I have the vision of my youth sans glasses.Because no matter how wrinkle free and rejuvenated you look, whipping out those little specs to read the menu is a dead on age beacon.
But you know I have never been one who was bothered at all about whatever number my age was currently on.
Never lied about it.
Never wanted to go back to being 20 or 30 or even 40.
I love being 47.
I love everyday that has gotten me here. I love being probably the oldest Mom of a 1st grader at our school.
It makes me feel younger to have young kiddos. It forces me to be younger and it gives me the excuse to act younger also.
So I guess I buy these products and engage in my daily ritual, not to look younger but just not to look any older. At least for a while anyway.
I guess they must be working.
I've never been mistaken for my son or daughter's grandmother.
Not yet anyway.
But just to be on the safe side, I think a shopping expedition for something that just smells good and does nothing else is in order.