Friday, April 3, 2009

Wish for Simple: Granted

I got it. Just finished taking delivery.

The ebb and flow of general parenthood is plenty itself, but then add the layer of having a child with a disability and you're mixing in additional sacks of details: IEPs, assistive technology, medical and therapeutic interventions, activism, advocacy, trainings, meetings, various swamps of fiscal quicksand, etc. On the whole I feel up to the challenge, but there are times when so many gusts are swirling at once it gets overwhelming.

This is one of those times. Without getting into particulars, there's a lot going on. This week I've been up later each night crafting messages that likely will need to be morphed into arguments, solving problems, trying to figure out alternative ways of doing things, reacting, planning, planning and reacting.

I walked into Winkies (mentioned here often, an emporium meant to meet all manner of needs and wants) the other morning just for the chance to think about unimportant things for few minutes. I bee-lined downstairs to the toy aisles for no reason at all. The girlie row summoned me - baby dolls, barbies, jewelry boxes, dress up clothes, etc. As soon as I honed in on the magic wands, that hot feeling in my throat came just as my eyeballs started to float. I was jerked back to when Cate was a little younger than Addie, when we'd stop in to Winkies and I'd be 100% present, in the here and now, as she deliberated about which $2.99 magic wand could handle the specific magic she needed to perform. After her decision, we'd take this new instrument of change home and make it worth the $2.99 and then some with our imaginations.

Cate's older now and suffice it to say, it takes more than $2.99 and flights of fancy to dazzle her at this point. Love her blue-eye dotted head, but things are a bit more granular as we approach puberty (and yes, I mean we - wish she could cross over without dragging me through as well, but no dice).

And Addie? Well, I don't know much about her imagination, to be honest. And she doesn't really play with toys. So my time with her is a little more complicated, even when we are just goofing around, it's a feat of analysis - figure out what she wants to do, for how long, can I turn it into a learning experience, what is she thinking, can she do this on her own, what communication is she motivated to use, how can I engage her on another level, what if I were a peer and not a mother, how would this work... Endless, really.

So I maybe cried in the Winkies lower level because the pink sparkly aisle doesn't apply to us anymore. We shop for our amusements at Best Buy or the therapy product catalogs. Not simple.

I am working on order, simplification. I have decided that if I'm to be on top of all the details mentioned above, I need to shell out and reorganize our house, and the office in particular. Our home is very small. Belongings of all kinds are in plain sight, even when it's "clean." That distracts me and keeps me a bit on edge. So. I'll get organized to aide my focus on each of the thousands of details that take us through a day.

I tore apart the "office" today. It's really a junk room with a computer and a desk in it. And about 7 million other odds and ends.

In doing so, I found a rocking chair - the rocking chair that Michael gave me for Christmas the first year we dated. Its simple, antique squeakiness is a beacon to me. Many thought it was an odd courtship gift as we'd only been dating a few months when he gave it to me, but neither Michael nor I found it strange at all. Not strange today either when I unearthed it from under chaos.

I cleared the clutter from its seat and dusted it. With each swipe the wood gained richness and dimension. I sang louder along to the music. I cleared the room enough to find a place for the rocker where it could actually rock without meeting obstacles (difficult in a room filled with everything that doesn't fit elsewhere). Oh, to rock without meeting obstacles - refreshing. But I did not sit down yet.

Addie came home mid afternoon. She had been on a play date with Mrs. Bautista. She saw the rocking chair and froze. Addie is a rocker if ever there was one. I imagined her climbing up and leaving me as she entered her own world of repetitive movement bliss. But she didn't leave me. Instead, she grabbed me by the hips - this means "your body needs to be somewhere other than where it is right now," and gently nudged me backwards until I had no choice but to sit on the rocking chair. She waited. I was sure I was supposed to rock and so I did. Yes, that was right. Once that met her approval, her tiny arms lifted up, making clear her intentions to join me.

After a bit of shifting, she found her sweet spot and settled in. There was no logistical need to hold on, gravity would take care of everything. But hold on she did - actively. And we rocked for a few minutes. Then a few more. Every so often her blond noggin tipped up to meet my locked down-turned gaze. Sometimes smiling, sometimes just checking on me. We were listening to Gomez. At times she wanted me to sing along, at others, she put her hand over my mouth with as much sensitivity as one can when they non-verbally insist that you please shut up for a minute.

We rocked and hugged. The room was chaos around us - piles here and there. Cords all over, dust clouds, things to be done looming. But all of that was decisively dumped off the rocker earlier. We were occupied with here. With now. With simple.

Addie looked up at me and briefly snickered. She signed sad and cry when she noticed the pools threatening to bail from my lower lids. Naming emotions is one of our games. But I said and signed "No, not sad. Happy and thankful."

Oh, I get it. Simple is underneath complicated. It's there all along so I need never fret its absence. Ok. Again, my wordless child, I appreciate your patience in doling out your messages at a pace in accordance with my ability to receive them.


Jacqui said...

Beautiful..your words and your daughter

Kelly said...

What a beautiful story. I am impressed by Addie being sensitive of your emotions. Kelly F

Cindy said...

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful moment. Our kids continue to amaze us at their ability to perceive what others don't, because the rest of the world is moving too quickly.

angie said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your moment. I am also attempting the organization in my house (attempting to have control of something:).

The simple moments in life truly are the sweetest:).

Amy said...

You've done it again, Terri. Stopped me dead in my tracks and brought the world sharply into focus. Beautiful.

Kristi said...

Terri, The beautiful way you write brings tears to my eyes (happy ones). You are a amazing writer truly.

Tarah said...

Thanks for sharing this moment with us. The way you write always makes me feel at peace.