Monday, July 4, 2011


Katy Perry now takes up real estate in my brainspace. Whether this is for better or worse? Doesn't really matter, it just IS.

Every time I see, hear, think of fireworks - there's Katy belting out "Baby you're a firework..." Pretty much unavoidable this time of year, being the Fourth of July and all.

It's a damn catchy popsong. Plus there's that amazing, moving, meaningful video. It's old news certainly, out since last fall, but I catch on slow, being such an old lady. (You HAVE seen the video right? If not, head to the bottom of this post immediately.)

What really cemented it in my mind was hearing the graduating middle school kids singing the song at Jake's Special Ed school's end of year celebration. To hear these amazing kids, who have faced such deep learning challenges and persevered, singing this anthem of self-worth: "'s always been inside of you, and now it's time to let it through..."?

Well, I fell in love with the song a little (and bawled my eyes out a lot, thanking the gods of waterproof mascara).

Sadly, we didn't get to see actual fireworks this Fourth of July.  I'm feeling kind of bad for depriving my almost 9 year old boys of this thrill, but it's just so hard to get to see them here in New York without spending insane amounts of time in insane crowds and for 2 out of 4 of our family members that would be sheer torture.

I was about to write "I have always loved fireworks" but then realized this is so NOT true. As a teenager and adult? Yes. Even as an older child, yes.

But as a little kid? Fireworks were a big problem for me. One of my earliest memories is watching them out the window of our Riverside Drive apartment and being shocked, baffled and TERRIFIED because I was in physical pain, and everyone else around me seemed unharmed; pleased, even.

And fire CRACKERS? Don't let me go there. As a child I was truly terrified of firecrackers to the point of being thoroughly phobic. They scared the everloving shit out of me.

One time, after we'd moved to the suburbs, my family had come into the city to go out to dinner with another family in Chinatown. No one quite realized it was Chinese New Year, or what that might mean for me.

When we went in to eat it was still daytime, and relatively quiet. But by the time we emerged in the evening, it was a full-blown firecracker inferno. I had to be carried, screaming and blubbering, down the stairs, through the exploding streets, to the car.

The memory is etched into my psyche. I thought I was going to die.

In hindsight? I can unequivocally diagnose my child-self with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), hyper-sensitive variety. Yes, as a child loud sounds were actually physically painful to me. Very.

And as I had outgrown it as I got older, I had just completely forgotten about my childhood sound/pain connection. Until I was reading up about SPD issues after Jacob's autism diagnosis. Then it all came flooding back.

Well, I've always said the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

We know so much about this stuff now, how it is neurologically based. But back then I was just "weird" and often teased by my peers for being "sensitive." I was also hyperlexic.

But these are other stories for other days (and other posts).

Tonight? I leave you with fireworks. Thanks, Katy!

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