Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back to School

Gentle Reader,

So much has been happening lately. When I say lately, I mean for the past 5 years. Cyrus was born and then everything.

As you might know, a few weeks ago I accepted a position at a skilled nursing facility as activity director. It's never something I saw myself doing (or interested in), but a friend pointed me that direction: I needed a job, she knew of a job.

It's hard.

For someone with a sensitive nose, it can be too much at times. From what I've seen, everyone is doing their jobs correctly, but the smells can't be helped. In case you're wondering, my job is to create and plan activities and then try to get the residents to participate. That's really hard when most of them are rolling around in wheel chairs or have suffered a stroke and can't move some limbs. And for whatever reason, many people there are without legs or parts of legs. There are those who cannot feed themselves. There are those who can only grunt. There are those who are completely silent.

Now imagine trying to get all of them into a dining room to bowl.

I don't even hate it. At times, I've fallen in love. There is the child of the 60s who was a freedom rider, the classical pianist, the professor, the one whose child was murdered in front of their eyes. In this case, the brain snapped. I know mine would too.

I can see myself in all of them. And that's the hardest part of the job.

But just a few days ago, in between bingo and a movie, I got an email from MU. Since I've been applying there for various teaching positions for about 8 years, I know the name of the person who sends rejections. When I saw her name in my inbox, I was hurt. They already rejected me in the spring. (and various other colleges rejected me all summer) I didn't see a need to twist the unemployment knife. But I clicked anyway. And then had to leave the building to collect myself. Now, it's not like I've been asked to teach some amazing creative writing class or anything; it's freshmen composition. And it's just two classes. But it's something. And it's what I've been hoping and working for. For a very long time.

When I explained this situation to my boss at the nursing home, he said he was really happy for me. He said it so many times. And he smiled. And I asked if I could still work there some hours a week. And he said he'd love that. It's not official yet, but it seems likely I'll be able to keep directing things and doing administrative stuff there.

But now to Cyrus, the reason for all the words I've written here over the years.

Monday morning Mindy and I had a court date for the adoption. We didn't quite understand what was supposed to happen when we were told to be there. But we went. We sat, individually, on the witness stand in front of a judge while our lawyer asked leading questions. (She mentioned that the adoption process had taken so much time because of money. But, friends, you all made it happen with your donations this spring. I can't thank you enough.) Within 10 minutes it was over and the sperm donor's rights are being terminated (even though, contractually, he had none any way). In six months we go back to court and that's when he officially becomes mine.


Tomorrow he starts kindergarten. He's five years old. He walks and talks and has strong opinions. He plays and runs and hums the Jurassic Park soundtrack. He tells me he loves me a million times a day. He chews food and swallows it. He was born with his eyes closed and no nipples or lips and he fit into the palm of my hand.

Tomorrow he will wear his Ninja Turtle backpack full of glue sticks and crayons and walk down a hallway just like hundreds of other kids. Mindy and I will have to walk away.

We'll all try not to look back.

It's a new dawn. It's a new day. It's a new life...

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Like Sands Through the Hourglass

It's the first week of August, but I feel like summer started in April this year. For me, that's when I got fired from the worst job of my life and started doing archaeology. That's when I started living in hotel rooms and being away from Cyrus. I loved the work. It was the first time in years I loved what I was doing and felt appreciated. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was smart enough, like I knew what I was doing, like I really did have a specialty and a passion in a profession. 

But, just as I left for Cyrus (to have income, to stay sane), I came back for him, too. 

And if you're keeping track, you'll know he and I were in Florida for about two weeks. I hadn't really thought about it before we got in the car, but this was the most time, consecutively, I'd spent with him since January of 2013. It was beautiful. 

Upon seeing the Atlantic, he ran (his wobbly run) toward it and said, "Mom, the ocean!"  It was as if he'd waited his whole life or lifetimes to see it. When the water touched his toes, he didn't stop to contemplate, he just kept going. He spat the salt water and laughed. Without me grabbing him when the waves came, he would've gone on forever. 

He also loved the sand. He crushed a friend's sandcastle and laughed as she cried. He packed buckets full and scooped it with his little plastic shovel. 

He ate. And ate. And chewed and swallowed. Homemade paella, black beans, and yuca. He took down three small bag of Cheetos in about 15 minutes. He ate, forgive me, bites of a McDonald's cheeseburger, including onions and pickles. He swallowed it all and asked for more. He drank and drank. 

He made sophisticated jokes from the back seat of the car and sat happily, looking out the window or singing. Like we all did on road trips growing up. 

He became a more mature version of himself on this trip. I'm grateful I got to watch. 

Did I mention he starts kindergarten in a few weeks?

And I start a new job next week. I'll be creating an activity program for a nursing home. Besides teaching, I've never done anything like it in my life. I'm ready for something new. For something challenging.  

I guess I'm looking forward to my own road trip. Here's hoping I don't drown. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Horrible Bitch at the Park

I came home this weekend to be with Cyrus. We had a wonderful time playing and watching Ghostbusters. Until today.

You see, we were up at Art in the Park. He was tired, and it was balls hot outside. So, we headed toward the playground where exactly 1 million sweaty kids and 2 million sweaty parents crowded into the shade of trees and play equipment.

Cyrus was running around, like (totally fucking normal) kids do. I was admiring his ability to climb and slide and not fall over anymore when he runs. Just a year ago, this park would've been scary for both of us. He had trouble negotiating uneven surfaces, and little bumps from some other kid might send him reeling sideways and onto the ground.

Since he was wearing a neon yellow shirt, I let my eyes look away for a moment or two then heard some dad yelling, "that kid's kicking him!"  I could tell by his voice he meant someone was injuring his child, so I looked for the horrible thing that could be happening. I see a kid and Cyrus behind him on the slide. They're both sort of inching their way down, on their butts. I guess it might look like a kick at first glance, but you know, if you wait just a second, you can see what's happening.


Both kids were smiling.

And suddenly, the Horrible Bitch echo's her husband,, "He's kicking him!"  And she runs, with her hand raised and her voice raised, toward Cyrus. I sprinted over in front of him. But it was too late. This Horrible Bitch was yelling at my son, "YOU DON'T KICK!" And she grabbed her kid (who was clueless).  I looked right at her and yelled, "I'll yell at my son."  To which she replied, "Then, maybe you need to."

The rage in her voice and face was just...awful. So, I picked up Cyrus from the bottom of the slide. And started to walk away. This Horrible Bitch was white. And wearing one of those workout baseball hats and running shorts and a matching tank top and had on sunglasses and pony tail. You know the kind.

As I walked past her with son in my arms I said, "He's special needs."
And she said, "Then maybe you should watch him better."

I kept walking and heard her husband say, "I understand."

The only thing for me to do was burst into tears. Mom and Aunt Judy were off getting some food, so I just stood there holding in sobs. Cyrus noticed and asked if I was sad. Then he pulled up my sunglasses, "Let me see your tears, Mom."

This happened at Noon today. Since then, I've packed up and driven back here to Arkansas for work. I had 5 hours in a car to think about all this. And just cry. Here's what I came up with:

1. Why did I say he was special needs?
      Because he is, isn't he? He has a feeding tube, he's practically legally blind, and he runs funny. Like I said before, I was standing in amazement earlier as he looked like a normal kid playing. I said that to hurt her. To make her feel shame for trying to parent someone else's kids. To say it in front of the myriad of people watching our interaction. (I remember her face when I said it. I was looking right at her, but she didn't look at me. Just clenched her mouth and jaw and nodded her head just a bit. Just trying to think of the next horrible bitch thing to say) And he's been a super dick lately, really. I'm sure he's just going through something, like kids do, but every time something happens with him, we always assume the worst. Maybe his behavioral issues are in his brain and he can't control them because...

2. Why did I cry?
      I know sometimes people cry when they're mad. I'm not usually one of those, so what happened? I still see him as fragile and special. By special I mean a fucking miracle of science and love. When she yelled, with her hand in the air, I didn't see my 5 year old son on that yellow slide, but a tiny fetus attached to all those tubes. How dare she threaten such a little, precious being. It was repulsive.

3. Who the fuck does she think she is?
    There is no way I would yell at someone else's kid like that unless someone was about to be seriously injured. Again, the rage in her voice, in her whole body. The way she moved toward him, too, so deliberate and aggressive.

So that's what I cried about and obsessed over for most of my day. I've replayed it in my head a million times. The revisions I've added are as follows:

1. She touches me, in any way, I tackle her so hard her body makes that horrible noise
2. She touches Cyrus, in any way, I punch her in her fucking nose and the crowd around us cheers
3. I walk up to her and get right in her face and say, Fuck. You.
4. My dad's there. We all end up in jail.
5. The crowd, seeing it all happen, jump in an humiliate her until she cries and has to leave.
6. Her husband actually has someone in his family who is also special needs. He sees her true character and divorces her ass, taking the nice kids and raising them to be wonderful humans.

I guess this is helicopter parenting at its finest. Just hovering, waiting for some perceived threat to happen, so she can jump in and defend her child. Or maybe she's just a sad housewife who has nothing else to do but buy those matching outfits and tell other people what a shitty job they're doing of parenting.

Or maybe, and I think this may be it, she's a horrible fucking bitch who leads a miserable life.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Second Spring

Not too many days ago I got an email about joining an archaeology project in Springdale, Arkansas. They wanted me in just a few days.I talked to Mindy about a plan for Cyrus, quit my dish washing job, and here I am.

This dig isn't like the archaeology I did just a few weeks ago in Springfield, Illinois. That ws diggin small holes all over the place (in a controlled manner) and looking to see if anything was there. This dig is knowing there is stuff there and trying to find as much as we can before a road goes through. This dig is more like what you're using to seeing on t.v. But, Gentle Reader,  Archaeology isn't as glamorous as t.v. would lead you to believe. Most people employed in this field are doing manual labor all day, myself included. There is a lot of shoveling, but not the kind you might think. We don't just shove it into the ground and pop out some dirt. We dig in 10cm levels and that is skimmed with a sharpened shovel. 
This is our unit at 10 cm deep.

It takes quite a while to dig, but it sometimes takes more time to look through all of that dirt. At this site, we're digging 2x2 meter holes. Someone with math skills can figure that out, I'm sure. It's a lot of dirt to push through a 1/4 inch mesh screen. And the ease of pushing it through has to do with how wet the dirt is, what type it is (sand, silt, silt loam, clay, clay loam, silty clay loam), the type of the screen, and the sturdiness of the screen. 

Shaker Screen, not someone I know
That's what we're using. So, imagine it's lying on the ground, you dump a bucket of dirt in. That bucket weighs about 40 pounds. You learn ways to lift the screen. Then comes the fun part: you shake it back and forth about 20 times.  Some dirt will fall out, maybe, like, 10%. The rest of it you have to shove through with your hands. You do this pretty much all day. It's hard on all the body parts: hands (skin and muscle), wrists, back, arms. But what you might not expect is the pain in your thighs. You see, you have to rest the screen somewhere in order to push the dirt though, so you'll just put it on your thigh. I have bruises after two days. 

This is from my dig. See how she's got that thing propped on her leg? That's what I'm talking about.
Of course, most of you ask, "Did you find anything!?"  Yes. We sure did. In two days my unit, which is now 50 cm deep, has found, in total, 5 pieces of beer bottle glass, 2 rusty wires, and a large tarp. 

The next thing you might ask is, "What are you looking for?"  I'll tell you, "anything we find."  But if you really want to know, the site is Archaic. We look for pointsflakes, and features.  There. Now you'll never be interested enough to ask again. 

I love working outside. I love sweating for my money. I like meeting new people and seeing new places. In a way, I feel like part of me is being reborn. 

In another, more important way, I fucking miss my kid. He's not here. I'm not there. I've been gone just a few days. I try to remind myself that I'm doing this for him; if I have money to live, he has money to live. We're still paying for daycare. He still has bills. I still have to adopt him. There is good news, too. I'm not that far from home, so I can see him every weekend. It's not close to enough. I hate not being there. I feel like I'm missing everything, like he'll never forgive me for being gone. 

I have teaching applications in. I'm hoping one calls soon, interviews me, and gives me job. I hope that job pays enough for me to be at home with Cyrus.  

Right now, propped up in a hotel bed, my back aching, I feel like that might never happen. Like I've never had all that at the same time. 

But tomorrow is another hot day and another level of dirt to sift through.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Most of you know where I grew up. If not, my hometown can be expressed by lyrics from most country songs, "A little bit of chicken, fried. Cold beer on a Friday night."  Or any part from "Fishin' in the dark." Or "Country folks can survive."

And if you ain't into that, I don't give a damn.

I grew up understanding that a person's worth was dependent on his work, not the money he had. That anyone who comes home sweaty and sunburnt has done real work. Someone who has callused hands and a tired back is someone you can depend on.  Of course no one ever said this to me. But I saw my dad come home from his days at MoDot. His shirt sleeves ripped off at the shoulders and the smell of road tar, burned skin, and sweat filling the house when he slammed the door, poured an ice tea,  and asked about dinner. 

And though Mom didn't work outside, she taught me that working hard every day, no matter what, is what makes a person a whole, dependable person. She never really took a day off, and when she did, she felt guilty about it. For nine years she worked at the school's kitchen, a hot and horrible place, so she could be off with me in the summers.

My parents never took time off from work unless it had to do with me. Never a sick day. Never a "mental health" day. They both went in early and took shorter breaks than everyone, if they took breaks at all. 

Because of those lessons, I started working when I was sixteen. It was out at the Readsville store. This place was opened sometime in the 20's, and when I worked there, it looked about the same except for a t.v., and phone. My job was to check out customers, fish out the minnows for bait, make ham sandwiches, and sometimes pump gas. There were days when just a few people stopped by., so my day was filled with watching videos (on VHS) or soap operas (since those were the stations that came in). There were days when old men would slap my ass and and tell me to make a sandwich for them. "You know what I want."

I've had a job since. Even in college, I worked 30-40 hours a week. I think the longest I've been without work is 3 weeks. I'm lucky that way. Very lucky. 

But since I learned that the most important thing is a job that pays any kind of money, I've taken any kind of job. I collected pee at the nuclear plant for a while. The last  job I had as an office manager/receptionist was awful, but I hung in there because I have a kid and it paid more than any job I've ever had. Yes. Including teaching at universities. 

And that's really what I'm writing about. My parents had shitty jobs. Or jobs they hated... for me. To feed me and clothe me and take me to ball games and dance and all that. Since Cyrus, I've tried to think of jobs that way, too. I can't have any 'ole job because I have to pay for his daycare and the food that goes in his tube, and the medical bills are stacking up. I have to have work all the time to support him. And I've stayed longer at jobs that made me feel horrible because it was more important that I have a job than be happy. The fact that I quit what most would consider a cushy job teaching (and having summers off) was confusing to my parents. It took the Holzhauser in me one year to talk myself into leaving because I didn't really like it. After working just a few weeks at an office job, I nearly quit, but the Holzhauser in me made me stay. For Cyrus. Because, Christina, having a job is what is important. Your happiness doesn't matter. Cyrus' happiness is what matters.

When I took this last archaeology job, I was elated. I was never as happy as when I sweat for my money, digging holes all over. The job was supposed to last a month, 60 hours a week. Lots of over time. My plan was to work hard so I could come home and spend a whole month with Cyrus without work. Unfortunately, the job didn't last as long as it was supposed to. I was offered other archaeology jobs, but being away from Cyrus, well, it's not easy on anyone.  But right now, it's really my only way of earning enough money for him. 

So, there's my struggle. I'm washing dishes right now at a nice restaurant in town. Three days a week. The dinner shift. It's not enough to even pay my rent and hurts like archaeology. I like it, though. I wish it came with more money. 

I've applied to a lot of jobs. Jobs that require no experience, jobs that are just perfect for me and my career, jobs that look awful. I blew one phone interview just a month or so ago because I had the flu and thought I was fine to talk on the phone. 

Something I always struggled to explain to my students is that having a degree or two doesn't automatically improve your income or your chances of finding a job. I've considered lying on some applications. I could say I just have a high school diploma or maybe just a bachelors. Being over educated can be a problem, you know.  

I know, boo-hoo, Christina, you have an education. First world problems. All that. But I'm still paying monthly for that education, and so far the jobs I've landed with that degree haven't been able to pay me enough for me to pay all that off. The Holzhauser in me tells me I shouldn't've quit teaching, even though I was miserable with my job there. The Holzhauser in me says I shouldn't've quit this last office job (well, I actually got fired at the last minute, but that's another story). The Holzhauser in me tells me to take more archaeology jobs to pay for my kid, but it also says to work any job so I can spend more time with him.

It's incredibly frustrating because I've worked hard my whole life. I went out and got educated, just like society told me to do. Just like my former students were trying to do.

We're taught that more education means more money. I was never good at math, so I need someone to explain to me how that formula works. 

Of course, I don't think that my job is my life. That's why I held on to the last one for 6 months. To me, it was a place to go to get money. I know that's how most of us function in our jobs.  But, there is always a point where it becomes too much. When we'd like those 40+ hours a week to be meaningful and fulfilling.

I guess that's another formula I'll have to figure out.

UAF Museum of the North, 2005.
(Author note: The Holzhauser in me has held on to this blog for a week or two. I keep thinking about posting and then quitting because I sound like such a little dick. Ultimately, I've decided to go ahead because maybe there are others out there who feel the same way.)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

If It's Not One Thing, It's About Five Things

I'm currently watching The First 48 while listening to the dishwasher here in this hotel room in Springfield, Illinois. As I type, there are pink flakes of calamine lotion falling onto the keyboard from my right forearm. In fact, the itching I feel is overwhelming. It's on my neck and chin, too. Right beside my eye. My ear. My boob. It's intense, really.

I've been living here since last Tuesday and doing archaeology in the day. It's been nearly five years since I last packed all of my khaki pants into a suitcase and lived out of hotel room. It feels good, really. Working in the field is sometimes like living in a monastery. You work all day, spend nights alone (if you choose, or if you don't really know your co-workers), and have fewer distractions. It's a great time to contemplate life and choices and the years gone by.

I'm here to make a little bit of money and regain my sanity after the last job I had. So far, so good.

The part I don't like about being here is not getting to see Cyrus. We skyped on Sunday, though, and we talk on the phone occasionally. It sucks to not cuddle him, but it's even worse when he's feeling bad and I can't be there.

He had an appointment today because he's been retching lately. Apparently, he ate a strawberry the other day and then said he was full. When I asked tonight how he was feeling he said, " I feel sick." When I asked what was going on he said, "My mouth is too full."  Even just a little bit of food makes him retch. This just started a day or two ago. His pediatrician said he needs to see the gastroenterologist who put his feeding tube in and did the Nissen Fundoplication. The point of the procedure, so many years ago, was to keep his reflux from being so bad he couldn't eat. We thought maybe he just had a virus lately. He can't throw up, so when he gets those, he just kind of retches and spits up spit. But he's able to take his tube food without getting sick, so it must be something else. It must be something strange that has to do with a procedure that was supposed to fix him. Once we figure something out, some strange, new malady comes along. This is our life.

I was too busy to tell you all about Cyrus' kindergarten registration process. Mindy and I sat in a room with 10 professionals as they told us Cyrus would need a "para" for kindergarten. That means, I guess, someone to watch him all day and help him walk up and down stairs, help him remember how to eat, help him not get knocked over by other kids. The good news, or what seemed good, is that he'll be in "normal" classes for about 80% of the day. They even said, "Sped," when speaking about his education.

Now, I know you've heard me whine and cry about this before, but it never fails that every time we start to think everything is going okay, something happens. All the therapies and doctors. All the seizures. All the random problems that we just deal with.

Besides all the medical stuff, I'm still working on the adoption. Your money has been incredibly helpful and appreciated. So far, I've spent $502.50 for the cost of filing some papers, and 350$ for the update to the home study. That leaves about 1300. I'm hoping that will cover the cost of the lawyer (who bills at 200 an hour), but I've heard that can be upwards of 2,000. If I get enough over time here, I might be able to save for that.

It was just a month or two ago that Gaby said, "Your life is so hard."  At first I was offended, like she was saying that Cyrus was a burden. But then, I just cried and cried. Because it seemed, for the first time, that someone really saw me, saw all of what we go through, and understood.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Make a Wish

Well, it's 4:44 in the morning. I've been awake for two hours. You see, when I'm stressed out, I tend to wake up around three. Since starting my latest job, the anxiety that I worked so hard to kill is starting to form a hard, skittery lump in my chest again. So, these dreams I have are always fearful: a tornado is threatening to blow my house off its foundation. I'm naked and late for some presentation. My car is careening down a steep embankment. I can't find Cyrus. I wake up with my heart pounding. To soothe myself, I count all the things I've done wrong in my life. Chastise myself for bad decisions. Count all the money I don't have. You know how it goes.

Luckily, I know exactly where Cyrus is; he's asleep in my bed. And I'm covered in a Ninja Turtle bed set because it was the most remote place to come where the light wouldn't bother him.

Besides all of the above mentioned things that have all the gears cranking in my head, today is Cyrus' birthday. He's 5. Five fucking years old.

In those five years, I know both he and I have aged incredibly. He's already the wisest person I know. And I'm very serious when I tell you that I go to him for honest, unfiltered advice. He is my spiritual guide.

You all know the things he's endured: living in a plastic cube while being kept alive by machines, surgeries, and seizures. The one year of house arrest when you wanted to meet him but were told you couldn't because of his immune system. (It took us another year to realize that the three of us could all leave the house at the same time.) His average of 5 appointments a week with doctors and therapists. The feeding pump that we once wheeled around the house. The little button still in his stomach. That fucking seizure just last week. And the newest addition, besides the eye-patch he wears for four hours a day (maybe you didn't know about that) is the brace we'll have to put his leg in at night to stretch his muscles. For at least six months.

Of all of those things, what he hates most is a blood pressure cuff.

I strive to be like him.

This is parenthood as I know it. It's a mix of medical knowledge, love, and whiskey.

Just last week when we were in the hospital, the ER doctor, who had some deep, booming voice and an east coast accent, told Mindy and me that he and his wife had a 27 weeker, so he understood. It was all I could to do to keep from throwing myself into his arms. Here was a doctor and a preemie parent. Here was someone who understood everything. And the way he treated us, like we were people. Like intelligent people. It was so new and wonderful. And he said to us, "I know what you've been through, and I know you're more sophisticated than other parents, that you know your child better than I, so I'm going to tell you something I wouldn't tell other parents..."  It's a fucked up little club I never knew existed or wanted wanted to be a part of, but to be recognized like that--well, it's like winning a goddamn award.

A social worker visited Cyrus and me last week to update the "home study."  Mindy and I started this part of the adoption when we were still together. She was nice, but asked a lot of personal questions. Like why we are no longer together. If Cyrus saw us fight (no. never. because we never fought). How our relationship is now. You probably wonder that, too. It's good. We're friends. We're amazing co-parents. From the outside, I hear, it seems very intimate still. Well, look at all we've shared. Such joys. Such sadness. How many other separated parents have to make a couple of medical decisions nearly every week?

We have to do one more home study on March 30th. The social worker said it was to see if Mindy and I really did get along. Then, in six months, I can apply to adopt him. I mean. I can start the process in six months. Who know when it will end.


Mindy, Cyrus, and I are going to have a birthday breakfast together. We're going out, but right now I'm worried. All of the thoughts of five years ago today will come back. We'll lose it right in the middle of the restaurant. We'll just weep for all that we've been through. All that the three of us are still recovering from.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Five Years. What a Surprise.

We're preparing for Cyrus' 5th birthday. Yes. It's been five years since we all started this journey.
So far, he's gotten a Ninja Turtle bike, a knight costume (with gauntlets, which he asked for specifically), super awesome knight books, and a trailer he can sit in while I pull him with my bike. He's really obsessed with knights. "Mom, do knights ice skate?" "Do knights wear armor?" "Is armor heavy?" "Can knights not ice skate because of the metal armor?"  "Mom, am I being curious?"

Some updates for you:

He still gets most calories through his feeding tube. No. We don't know how long he'll need it.

He still has at least three appointments a week: Speech Therapy (to help with eating), Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. He also does adapted gymnastics once a week. And pretty soon, he'll have horse therapy again. That's five a week. Five a appointments to help him develop. To be normal. Since he can walk, talk, and take himself to the bathroom, these things have gotten a lot easier for us to handle. We still forget, though, that most parents and kids don't go through this routine every week.

Today Mindy took him to another one of his many dates. He went to see the...well, I'm not sure of her title, but she's the one who fit the helmet he wore, the leg braces he wore, and the insoles he currently has.  Well, basically she said she can't help us anymore. Cyrus needs to have Botox shots in his legs to help him loosen up. OR he can wear splints at night that stretch his legs. OR he can wear a cast for five days, have it removed for two, then put back on again for another five.

The truth is, he walks and runs funny. We forget so easily because we're still amazed that he can walk (after being told he probably never would). Every day we're in awe of how much our son has grown. And then every so often we're reminded he doesn't look like other kids.

I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk. 

Tomorrow he has to get some vaccines so he can start kindergarten. Tomorrow night he registers for kindergarten. Kindergarten. We weren't sure if he'd be ready. When I got the call a month ago that he no longer needed Special Education, I cried. And cried. And told all of my co-workers who barely know me. I mean, don't know anything about Cyrus' struggle.

Friday night, Cyrus and I have a home study. That means a social worker will come into my house and decide if I'm a good parent to the child. You know, so that I can adopt him.

Because of all of you, I can now afford to do this. Thank you.

I never thought I'd need so many people.

Cyrus is growing up, and nothing makes me happier. I've heard parents say they wish their kids were babies again. That time flies. Well, I'm grateful Cyrus is now a child. I know the days when he won't want to cuddle ("Mom, will you cuddle me on the couch?") will too soon be over. But I want nothing more than for my kid to become an asshole teenager who can drive (did I mention he's almost legally blind?). I love our conversations and look forward to our fights, too. Gone are the days of waking up in the middle of the night to switch with Mindy (the bed for the couch) and hook him up to a feeding machine where the tube would come undone, spray him with milk, make him freeze all night, and then beep so fucking loud when it was done.

Gone, too, are those doctor's appointments when we're told he won't walk. Or talk. Or be able to go to a regular school. I don't miss anything from that time except my ignorance of things to come.

My brain hurt like a warehouse. It had no room to spare. I had to cram so many things to get everything in there. 

I know I usually tell you all the sad things. I'm not sorry about that that. The truth is, Cyrus is very happy. So am I. My son is funny and smart. He loves music "Mom, is that a stand-up bass?" In fact, yesterday we were on our way home from daycare when Montel Jordan's 1994 classic "This is How We Do It" came on the radio. I heard him, from his car seat, singing, so quietly, "this is how we do it."  Later last night he took a bath. Out of nowhere, "Mom, am I washing myself?"  And then he sang, "This is how I wash it."  I laughed. I cried. I held him all night long.

He is the kind of kid who laughs in his sleep and then wakes up to tell me, "Mom, I love you because you're an athletic football player."

I say to him, "I love you because you are Cyrus."