Thursday, June 13, 2013


We've been so blessed by the people in our lives. Often these people go unsung. You've heard me rave about how awesome my mom is, or my sister, and more recently, M - my fiance.

So in light of Father's Day coming up I wanted to stop and appreciate the men in my life, of which there are three stand-outs so to speak. As in, they are the most important. They are listed in chronological order of appearance. ;)

As you all know, Sparky's (the kiddo, it's easier to call him by something, so a nickname it is!), well, his dad is not around (his choice really). After his outburst when Sparky was 2 about him being "retarded" I quickly washed my hands of that mess. Growing up without my father I knew such a person was overrated anyway. My dad was no winning soul. In fact, I'm pretty sure I am better for not having to deal with him.

Oh no! You cry... How could he (or you) survive without a father or some type of father figure?

Well, for starters, I ended up gaining this pretty stand up guy for my stepdad.

Not anyone could come into a house with a woman and her three growing daughters. Talk about nerves of steel.... My sisters and I, well, we were something of a handful (I'm a middle child, go with that where you will). We'll argue who was worst (the youngest I say!) but all in all, we were quite the trio. He came into this mess, with two kids of his own (b/g, both younger than us), persisted like crazy to get my mom to marry him, and did a pretty decent job of being around. You can imagine that with 5 pretty active kids that there would be a lot to keep up with. He managed to. I get lost keeping up with my one and only Sparky, I can't imagine 5! We all turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Sparky and I lived with my parents while I finished college with my first degree until Sparky was 3. Then we moved out. Today my dad (as I often refer to him) is the proud grandpa of 3 grandkids (Sparky is first, then Z, then Ladybug) that he spoils as best he can. While my little sister has been out of high school for nearly a decade, Grandpa's youngest (g) just graduated. His 'nest' is now empty. More time to spoil the grandkids!

Then there is this other guy, a little known guy, a guy who was (and still is) an important figure in Sparky's life. You may recall references to a random guy, R. We'll call him by a nickname, Ears (long story). I have known him for nearly 20 years (man, that makes me feel old!). He's been my best friend for ages. When Sparky was 2, he came home from Iraq (he was there for about 2 years as a Marine). He visited me at college and (as I say) I haven't been able to get rid of him since! We were together for 5 years. During that time he was such a blessing and pillar of support as I finished my (first) degree and went through getting Sparky's Autism diagnosis.  That was a rough period for sure, just trying to get answers and help. Ears stood with us through it all. As Sparky grew and went to school he started noticing his classmates had this guy in their life. This guy who was with mom and did certain things with and for their kids. Something clicked in his head, he put 2 and 2 together and determined that Ears was his dad. To this day he calls him dad intermittently.  If he sees something that refers to "dad" he thinks of Ears. We have never told him otherwise and really, it doesn't matter. Ears is dad to this kid. To this day Ears and I remain close (and yes M knows and is totally ok with this). I still rely on him for support. There's a lot of history and mutual respect there. I'm sure I'd have lost my mind long ago if it wasn't for him. Even at 2am. Sparky even emails him on occasion and loves having that avenue open to him. Ears considered Sparky his own and I know he does to this day. He would do anything for that kiddo...

Now there's M. I'm going to call him Strike. (He was an Army Ranger before getting hit by lightning. True story.) A dad himself of two absolutely adorable kiddos (4/g and 7/b). Kids he lives for. Being a dad is just in his blood. People always comment on how great he is with them and how he has so much patience. I hear that a lot, "He has such amazing patience!" Yeah. I get it. I have very little. I know. He has a lot. Thanks for reminding me... :) There was a time when I actually was very resistant to him.  I know how hard my son is. I've lost relationships over it. But man, Strike PERSISTED.  He wouldn't leave me be. He kept calling and texting and working his butt on in. I eventually gave in... ;)  He is really good with Sparky though. There are days when I'm just about at the end of my rope but he is no where near it. There are days I can't figure out just what it is Sparky is trying to tell me and he gets it right off the bat. (I'm a little jealous of this... :) ) I saw it right away when I met him. Right away. When Sparky had his first meltdown when Strike was watching him and Strike didn't bat an eye. I knew. When Sparky screams his way through each and every haircut that he gets and Strike doesn't bat an eye. I know. When Sparky is up at 3am, in my bed, talking and wiggling around, and Strike doesn't even peep (aside from the occasional answer to Sparky). I know. When Sparky is absolutely losing his mind over whatever and breaking eardrums. I know. When Sparky tells him how he can't marry me and he needs to go away, and Strike tells him too bad cause he's here to take care of him and his mom. I know. Every other guy (except Ears) has run from it. This kid is a LOT of work. He's a lot of frustration. He is a lot to deal with. He isn't easy. Strike just shrugs it off and keeps going. He knows. He understands. He's resilient. He's patient. Damn I'm blessed!

Without these three guys I'd probably be lost. I am very lucky to have them. I'm even luckier that they want to be around. So while I have mixed emotions about Father's Day (you can read about it here), all in all, I'd say we are truly blessed.

Sparky and Grandpa:

Sparky and Ears:

Sparky and Strike:

Yep. Blessed. :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Just A Day in the Life...

We had a pretty epic day last Saturday. It was just one of those days where the kiddo was himself in the truest form he could be. I'm still laughing about it.

Saturday mornings he plays baseball on his adapted team. This team is actually managed by a couple of friends of mine who have this amazing daughter with Down. She is seriously some awesome stuff, but I digress..... The league was actually thoughtful enough this year to schedule in games with other teams so the kids could actually play a true game (still no score/everybody bats/fields/ect). The kiddo has a real competitive streak in him. He knows how to play and wants everyone to be just as good. The team is a mix of kids from age 5 to 14. We have Autistic, Down Syndrome, MR, a couple I'm not 100% sure on, and even one awesome kiddo in wheelchair. There are about 18 total this year and all but 5 are new. As you know, the kiddo is Autistic and very capable and aware and has been playing for 5 years.

The game started, our kids were up at bat. My kiddo went first. He hit the ball on first pitch then proceeded to run all the bases, escaping the other team (all girls, about 11-12 yrs old), and screaming, "Take that you losers!" as he streaked on by.

Yep. He's my kid alright. :)

He came over, plopped down in his chair next to me and proceeded to chatter on about his hit, yelling at the girls, etc. He's so funny....

Then it was time for the to field. This is where things went a little.... Off? Wrong? Something?

He goes out and does what he usually does. Runs after the ball, takes it from his teammates and runs after whoever is running the bases. Sometimes they humor him (these girls did) sometimes they give him a run for his money (but my kiddo is pretty speedy). He will then hit them with the ball and tell them they are out. It's hilarious!

Not quite what happened for this game... It started off well. But as usual at some point his lesser abled teammates who are new to the game and don't really know how to play, started ticking him off. When a girl made it to base he'd get mad and throw the ball...

After the 2nd or 3rd ball bounce I called him over, told him to not throw the ball anymore, he walked away still rattling off something.... Next batter hit.... Makes it to base.... And his mitt goes flying and bounces off the dirt.

Sigh.... I should have been more specific.

I call him over, tell him to quit throwing things period or I'd pull him from the game (it actually isn't that unusual for me to toss his 80+ pound 4'7 frame over my should and take him off, keep in mind he's 3/4 my size....).

Next batter hits... He runs to get the ball... Hits the outfield and.... slips in the mud and falls. Now he's screaming even louder. He's frustrated and now he's dirty. He HATES being dirty. He starts yelling, "I QUIT, I QUIT!!!"

Then I hear.....


His one coach and I about split in half. It got reeeeeeeaaaaal quiet. She was standing right next to me and we just kind of looked at each other, hands over our mouths going, "Oh shit......."

Well, he's already walking towards me so I pull him off, sit him down, take the iPad, and tell him he can't say that. I get him somewhat calmed down while the game resumes.

I looked at the coach's dad, who was sitting next to us, and say how I have no idea where he got that word.... Coach's dad looks at me and goes, "Well, at least he used it appropriately."

HAHAHAHAHA!!! I know, right? My kid knows what's up!

Ok, ok. Still not appropriate.... It's hard to yell at him when it's so funny, though. You know?

The kiddo never went back out to field but he did bat again. They only play two innings so the game only lasts about an hour.

On the way home he picked up the iPad and went to use it. I told him he couldn't have it.  This is the conversation that ensued:

K: Oh no.... I think I'm grounded off the iPad.
M: Yeah, yeah you are buddy.
K: Do I need to hit my head on the wall? (He's SIB.)
M: I wouldn't recommend it, you might get a headache.
K: But I apologized.
M: I know, and it's good that you did.
K: So why no iPad?
M: Because that wasn't good. Maybe after lunch.
K: After lunch?! (pause) I think I'm hungry for lunch now. Can I have it early? My stomach really needs some lunch now...

Always remorseful after the fact. Gotta love it!

The rest of the ride home was full of apologies, how he was really upset and couldn't help himself (I know, he really couldn't), and how was he ever going to survive without his iPad. I'm happy to report that he survived. He got it back after dinner before heading off to Grandma's for the night.

A day in the life of the kiddo. Never a dull moment!! ;)