About Me

My photo
I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, December 05, 2014

A Slight Detour

Last weekend I promised Robby and my niece Tiffany that I would take them to New York City this Friday (today) to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. They were so excited all week, grinning ear to ear and utilizing their very best behavior for fear of having the trip yanked away. We never anticipated that it would be the misbehavior of others that would thwart our Big Apple adventure.

Upon reflection, and after discussing the situation with family and friends, we decided that today is not the appropriate time to schlep some wide-eyed youngsters into the city. The protests, although peaceful at the moment, could change tone without notice. I really don't want to put my son and niece in their path should it become destructive. Although I knew that they would be disappointed, my need to keep them safe superseded their pleas.

I know that they felt deflated because I felt just as disappointed that our great adventure was postponed. I had wonderful visions of peeking into the store windows, running through the revolving doors like Buddy the Elf, and watching the cousins ice skate in a quintessential holiday moment. The fact that my vision had been marred by protests was starting to drain my festive spirit. 

I decided to try to salvage the weekend and quickly began to brainstorm other options. A quick internet search led me to the perfect Plan B. Today we're heading to the Baltimore Aquarium where they happen to be kicking off their Christmas season. We'll see the aquatic life (Robby tends to run past the fish in his zeal to get to the turtle tanks) and participate in a few animal encounters. That is certainly enough to satisfy my little animal lover. 

But of course I have more surprises up my sleeve. Right before lunch, we will see an IMAX presentation of the Polar Express (I'm assuming a modified version of the movie since it is only 45 minutes) which, according to the internet, will end by elves passing out cookies and hot chocolate to the audience members. We will then be ushered out of the auditorium into Santa's lounge where we will enjoy more cookies and time alone with the Jolly one.  I know that the kids will be absolutely over-the-moon with this surprise.

After our allotted 25 minutes with Santa expires, I'm going to treat the pair to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (Robby's very favorite restaurant).  I read that a pop-up holiday market has been set up along the water which I think they will enjoy exploring. According to the website, many of the stores have elaborate window displays for the holidays.

I realize that it is Baltimore and not New York City, but I think that the cousins will have a great time.  My goal was to create a wonderfully festive and fun experience. Hopefully this will fit the bill!

Thursday, December 04, 2014


Little Timmy is fighting his first cold, and it is safe to say that he is not handling the blow gracefully. Despite trying every Mom trick I could muster, yesterday I could do nothing to soothe my little guy. He was cranky from the moment he woke up until he finally fell asleep (after screaming in my arms for an hour.)

I feel horrible for not being able to adequately comfort my baby. I also feel guilty for becoming annoyed with his grumpy demeanor. Logically I know that he is only seven months old, but I swear at times it felt like he was deliberately being difficult. 

I spent much of yesterday holding him, walking with him and rocking him. He spent the majority of his day wiping his nose into my shoulder, spitting his food all over me, and screaming in my ear while pulling my hair.  The exchanges were most definitely unbalanced. Of course, there is no such thing as reciprocity when it comes to parenthood.

By the time Scott came home from work I was beyond frazzled. Unfortunately Timmy didn't want his Daddy, voicing his displeasure of being handed over by screaming with more gusto. He might have been feeling yucky, but his cold certainly did nothing to impair his volume output. For a little baby he can certainly be loud!

Perhaps sensing the neediness of his baby brother and not wanting to be overshadowed, Robby was extremely high maintenance last night. I love my little Koopa dearly, but he definitely tested my patience. He wasn't ill-behaved, he just required constant attention. I found myself hiding in the bathroom just so I could have a moment without a snotty nosed screaming baby and a chatty, seemingly nonsensical eight year old.  I'm definitely not getting mother of the year for yesterday's maternal showing!

I'm hoping that today is a better day and that my little guy is feeling better. I miss his gummy little smiles and squeals of happiness. I'm tired of being used as a giant kleenex and punching bag. I am fairly certain I am suffering the most with his cold.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Flash Mob!

Yesterday turned out to be one of those days I will never forget. The weather was abysmal, dreary with the moist cold that cuts through clothing and attacks the bones. Typically I would curl up in front of the wood stove and work all afternoon, but I had plans with my little Koopa. We were going to the Air and Space Museum.

A few days ago I received an email announcing a holiday flash mob at the museum. Witnessing a flash mob has been on my bucket list since I discovered the concept on YouTube several years ago. I vowed that, should the opportunity ever arise, I would jump on board.  I was initially a little hesitant about Robby missing school, but since the performance was scheduled at the museum, I took it as a sign from the cosmos that we should definitely attend. After all, museums are educational, right? 

Monday afternoon Robby revealed his plans to his friends who immediately asked if they could go. What was going to be a small little family excursion turned into an impromptu field trip. After clearing the trip through their parents and the school, we were all set for our big adventure. Needless to say, everybody was all smiles Tuesday morning.

I had forgotten how much Robby loves the Air and Space museum. He seemed to remember everything he learned from our previous visit, excitedly offering the tour to his friends. (It's strange, he can remember types of planes and engines, yet always seems to forget to put his socks and dirty underwear in the hamper.) 

While Robby was explaining the "Nazi planes" to his friends, I started to chat with some Air Force wives casually standing nearby. After a few minutes of mild chit chat they let me know the best places to stand to view the performance. On their cue I ushered the boys to our prime location and waited for the performance to start.

Wow! It was simply amazing. I got chills watching them perform and tears started to stream down my cheeks towards the end of the performance. It was absolutely beautiful. Robby and his friends seemed just as impressed, yet not nearly as emotionally moved as I. Timmy even enjoyed the show, saving his crying for the drive home.

I am so glad that I pulled Robby from class for this experience. He was able to visit the museum and witness something that few people ever experience. (And so did I!) I understand that the Air Force Band will be producing their own video, but here was my view of the action.  Timmy enjoyed the performance, you can hear him cooing along with the bells at the beginning of the show.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

25 Trash Bags of Christmas

Saturday afternoon I arrived back home in VA, driving an SUV stuffed with shopping bags.  Scott and I had a great time with our traditional Black Friday shopping spree. One might think we enjoyed it a little too much when looking at the sheer mass of our loot. (In our defense, the packaging for baby toys is considerably larger than the plastic or plush trinket inside!) Schlepping everything inside the house, it became abundantly clear: we have too much stuff.

Surveying the tables, counter tops and book shelves in my living room and kitchen quickly revealed the issue.  While we are not outlandish consumers, we do tend hold onto things far past their prime. We certainly aren't hoarders, but neither Scott nor I (and now Robby) are particularly good at purging "collections."

Our kitchen counter tops, spacious and beautiful, are concealed beneath the mountains of papers. Most are paper copies of bills we pay and receive electronically. We have another three stacks of catalogs, carefully separated into piles determined by my enjoyment of the publication. I don't know why I save them. Despite my intentions of running a hot bath, pouring a mug of hot chocolate to sip while leisurely paging through them during a long hot soak, I know it will never happen.  I'm lucky if I can rummage through one or two in the bathroom. 

The desks in our dining room have been converted into a real life Jenga board with items teetering on the brink of collapse. Expired snack sized bags of Cheetos that were never eaten because I no sooner found them in bulk, that Robby declared himself to be more of a "Pringles" man are scattered helter-skelter. I have several half used cans of powdered baby formula in assorted brands and sizes that cannot be donated because they have been opened. I have held onto them in case we need to switch brands again. 

And the art supplies--don't even get me started!  I have shoe boxes full of unwrapped and broken crayons, kept because someday we might melt them into molds. Scraps of paper holding Robby's doodles (primarily happy faces) are everywhere. Markers without lids, lids without markers, and old glue sticks have filled at least four mason jars.  (There are probably more jars but I haven't yet attacked the pile of construction paper in the corner. 

We bought new towels on Black Friday because the last time I acquired new towels was when I graduated from high school in 1992. I tried to put them away in our linen closet to be met by an avalanche of linens. Pushing my shoulder against the door to keep it from opening because of the force of the pile, I realized we needed to change. Christmas is right around the corner which is going to add to the clutter.

I have decided that every day from now until Christmas, I will throw out at least one bag of trash or donate a bagful to charity. Slowly we'll make a dent in our clutter. I'm hoping that, in this case, slow and steady will clean the house! 

Monday, December 01, 2014


Today is my brother's birthday and this morning I find myself missing him dearly. He is celebrating his birthday in Texas where he is in the midst of a personal war with addiction. Although I haven't seen him years, we used to be close. I have scores of precious childhood memories shared with him. Then addictive substances entered into his life, and the brother that I knew growing up vanished, leaving a monster in his wake.

I  haven't written about my brother in the past, telling myself that it was out of a quest to reserve his privacy. It is only recently that I realized that my silence was stemmed in shame. He should have known better; he should have been stronger; we should have intervened sooner.  In some situations, hindsight only increases the pain. Letting go and letting him battle his demons has changed everybody in our family.

I have come to accept that I need to let him fight his battle and hope that someday he will return to my life. I will always keep my arms open but my heart guarded. The pain of watching him slip into relapse is torturous. I will never give up hope because in this situation, that is really my only option.

I turned 40 and realized that I no longer have a need to hide behind social conventions. So many are living through similar battles in our families, yet we are mute on the issue. In my situation the silence stemmed from embarrassment. I'm not embarrassed by my brother. I have seen him journey through hell as he fought to become and remain sober.  I realized that the embarrassment rose from the desire to convey a mythical vision of family life.

Our family is not perfect. We are a group of flawed individuals who are trying to muddle our way through life.  We are most certainly not the Cunningham's (from Happy Days, my standard of familial perfection as a child.) I'm tired of trying to conceal our dysfunction. Hiding in shame and embarrassment is only perpetuating the isolation that those who love an addict suffer. 

My brother is fighting addiction, and I still I love him dearly. Sometimes I am so angry at him I want to pull my hair out. At other times my heart breaks when I reflect on the potential that is lost.  Through all the tears shed and sleepless nights, I will always hope that this time he will find his way to recovery. I doubt he'll have a birthday cake this year, so I'll make his birthday wish on his behalf. May this year be the one in which he recovers.