Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I will always...

Ethan, at bedtime this evening was not quite ready to let go of the day. He was in a talkative mood, rare recently as he has been reading until deep drowsiness sets in, sometimes even falling asleep on the sofa, a seven-hundred-plus page tome of Harry Potter's exploits resting spread open upon his slowly rising and falling chest. A comforting weight, perhaps.

But tonight something had him stirred up, and thus my need to talk him back down.

"Mom, will you always love me?" he asked. (Not a chit-chat night, then. Alright.)

Although he has heard the answer a thousand times, he somehow needed to hear it anew tonight, for the thousand and first: "Ethan, these two things are absolutely true: I will always be your Mom, and I will always love you."

"Well," he says being practical about it, "we will love each other until whoever dies first."

(Love AND death. Stirred up, indeed.)

"That had better be me!" I tell him, "But preferably not until I'm an old, old lady."

"A hundred and two?" he suggests.

"Yes, that would do, nicely. And with plenty of grandchildren at my knee." (It's never too early to plant the seeds.)

I tell him the old joke: "Do you know how to live to be 102 years old? Get to 101, and then be very, VERY careful."

(Possibly one of the best unforeseen benefits of having kids: old jokes are new to them and considered hilarious; I get to trot out all my favorite shopworn groaners to an appreciative audience. Win!)

He laughs, but then I round the corner back to serious again.

"And also... you do know, love goes on after death. I still love your Grandpa, my Dad, and he is dead."

"Yes," he nods solemnly, contemplating his blanket, and then looks up, breaks out in a big grin.

"But hugs don't, so hug me now, Mama!" and he opens his arms wide. He opens his arms wide, to me.

In honor of today being the very last day of NaBloPoMo November, I decided to sift through my drafts, resurrect one more post from my zombie files. I had thought of this as a snippet, not quite a full post for wordy, rambling me. But reading it over I realized: "yes, it could be enough." 

And thus... it is done. 30 posts in 30 days. Goodnight!  

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011


"I hope I'm not leaning on you too heavily." my mother said, taking my arm as we slowly made our way through the bustling streets of New York City.

I had just brought my Mom to the doctor for an injection to ease the ache of her arthritic knees. "Of course not," I said "I'm a big, strong woman."

But inside I felt her weight; light on my body, heavy on my soul.

She leans more and more these days. And that's all right, I can bear it; am just weighed down by what it presages, that she is moving farther from independence, closer towards an ending.

We were on our way to the hot chocolate shop just around the corner from her doctor's office, a block, a block and a half away. A short stroll. But for my mother now, taxing.

She has been limited for so long it's easy to forget the energetic middle-aged mother of my youth, the athletic young woman I have heard she once was.

I was just reminded of that this weekend. We were all gathered at her brother, my uncle's house for the holidays, and my cousin Jessie had unearthed my uncle's journal from 1941.

Jess had gone down to the basement storeroom, looking for a bottle of seltzer and instead found an artifact from 70 years ago, from Uncle Walter's 8th grade year, from when he was on the man-boy cusp of 14. (I'm going to blink and my boys will be there, too.)

He hadn't written in it much. Noting the significant year, we went to look up December 7th, the day that will live in infamy, and found... nothing. Entries filled January, trickled into February, and then petered out, an undertaking abandoned.

But in those few short entries at the beginning of the book, there lay a treasure trove.

He wrote of his joy at having walked a pretty girl home after school; musings on the nature of love, sports, and friendship.

And then these two entries about my mother, his beloved big sister:

"I feel lost with out my big sister around. I wait in the store every day just to see and speak to her"

(At this time my mother was 19, had graduated high school and was busy working, but she still came back to her parents' candy store in the evenings.)

"My older sister is a swell gal. My ideal. I wish she was born a boy then we could have some real fun."

As we read these journal entries aloud my mother teared up, as did my uncle. He reminded her of how athletic she had been in her youth. What an influence she had had on him.

"I looked up to you." Walter said. "And whatever you did. I did too: ice skating, tennis, track, basketball, volleyball...  I did all that because you did, I followed in your footsteps. I wanted to be like you."  His ideal.

My Mom & her "little brother" Walter last spring
It's so hard to picture my frail, slow-moving 89 year-old mother as an athletic teenage girl, but I know she was.

And wasn't she lovely as a young woman?

My mom, Sylvia, at about 20
Since my mother did not have me until she was 38, I never knew her like this. Thank goodness for old photographs.

And journals, left laying around in basement storerooms near soda bottles, waiting to be rediscovered, words reaching out across decades. Words of love, family, friendship.

As I write this post, my son Ethan is reading over my shoulder. "Let me see those diary pages again, Mom" he says. "Is that really something your Uncle Walter wrote about Grandma, so many years ago? She's really his big sister?"

And he reads them again, laughs out loud at the line: "I wish she was born a boy then we could have some real fun."

The past reaching out towards the future. Words traveling across decades, generations.

Words of love, family, friendship.

My son, reading, leans on my shoulder.

I will probably (hopefully) someday lean on him.

Hopefully, not too heavily.

Just Write

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Listicles: 10 Photos

This week's Monday Listicles assignment seemed EASY: 10 favorite photos. Piece of cake, I thought. Simple. (But with me, of course, nothing ever is, dip below the surface I must, EVERY. freaking. time.)

Because for me "Photos" brings up my late father, the photographer. Heavy. And also I have such a hard time with the concept "favorite"... favorite for content? For aesthetics? And what if there is one more favored photo of one child than another? That just cannot be. My head spins.

So I have made a decision to STOP the torture (you're welcome) and state unequivocally that these are NOT my all time 10 favorite photos. They are merely 10 that I like a lot and that happened to conveniently and handily reside in my blog's web album or my iPhoto library.

Because I REALLY want to get to bed before midnight tonight, dammit!

So, in NO particular order (oh, this is killing me, but I will be strong and not over-think - for ONCE in my life!) 10 photos that I really like:

My Dad, Jim Steinhardt, around 20
1. My Dad as a young man. Yes, this is also in my sidebar. Here it is again. I really DO love this photo, as I never knew this young man. He was 43 when I was born, already bearded and balding.

My Mom, Sylvia Heimer Steinhardt, around 20
2. My Mother, likewise uncannily (to me) young.

July 29, 2002
3. Me, deliriously happy, holding Ethan on the day my twin boys were born. (Also just plain delirious on morphine for my c-section pain.)

The boys' first big snow day, January 2003
4. Me, Danny & the boys, out enjoying their first big snowfall. They were about 6 months old, and we were near zombies from sleep deprivation. But happy zombies, clearly.

"Mother & Child" 1960, by Jim Steinhardt
5. Yes, of course that's my beautiful raven haired mother and me. I think I'm about 3 months old here. Mom is 38. Still gorgeous, of course.

A bunch of Heimers, Ellis Island, 1920-ish
6. I love this photo of some of my mother's relatives, LITERALLY just off the boat, coming to America. This is two of her father's sisters, a brother, and their father, my mother's grandfather whose name she never knew, she just called him "Zayde" (Yiddish for grandpa).

Jim Steinhardt, 1961 by Bruce Steinhardt
7. This is the most amazing photo my father, taken by my brother who was 19 at the time. I believe it was taken in my father's photo studio. This is how he looks in my earliest memories.

Spanish-American Barber Shop, NYC, 1948 by Jim Steinhardt
8. A photo of my father's. Not one of his more famous or iconic ones, but one of my favorites. I couldn't tell you why. I have a print of this one hanging in my apartment. If you look closely you can see my father, fuzzily, in the mirror, taking the shot.

Lake Champlain, Burlington Vt. 2005
9. I love this picture of 3 year-old Jake by the lake. For a while we went to Vermont every summer to see my cousin Jess and her family. We haven't been in 2 years and I miss those visits terribly

Me at BlogHer11
10. And, just because all these photos have all been sooooooooo meaningful, I thought I would go from the sublime to the ridiculous for my last photo here. Have a laugh. Because this caught my eye as I was scrolling through my options in the "upload" window.

This was taken this summer at the BlogHer11 conference, in the Temple of Swag (I think the official name was the Exposition Hall). At the time Ethan was expressing his utter disdain for all things Bieber, and I took this photo with the JB cutout just to yank his chain.

But then this AMAZING thing happened just last weekend with Anna See (the blogger who lost her son in a tragic accident this fall) involving her surviving daughter getting to meet Justin Bieber on an all expense paid trip to to the AMA awards in LA.

So it is not a completely ridiculous photo after all, but rather, suddenly holds major significance. Reminding me that this big star took time out to meet a little girl grieving for her beloved brother, whose one big wish was to meet the Biebster.

So there it is. 10. Done. And it ain't even midnight yet. (Only 11:30) So, goodnight!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

SOC Sunday: Nothing

No intro, this week, this just is what it is....


It's late on Sunday night, and I must admit, I got nothing for you. Four days of Thanksgiving "break" this week have nearly done me in. We had a very full Thursday and Friday and then a nearly empty Saturday & Sunday. Because all of Ethan's friends were away or otherwise busy, he had no playdates and was miserable. Jake spent far too much time on his DS and both kids spent far too much time watching TV. But somehow we survived.

And I would normally just have skipped posting today, but its so close to the end of NaBloPoMo I am not going to stumble and fall mere yards from the finish line. So yeah, I'm picking up that "marathon" metaphor I nearly beat to death in a post comparing special needs parenting to running a marathon at the beginning of this month, and running further with it tonight.

I was hoping I would feel more up, less beaten down by now. Ha! And this is making me realize I need to figure something out before the Winter / New Year's break is upon us, because 10 days cooped up in the apartment with the boys cranky and fighting and glued to loud screens will drive me over the edge.

I might have to take up running - the kind like in the old joke: "Doctor you told me to run 5 miles a day? Yes... well, It's been a week and I'm now 35 miles from home, what do I do?" Because right now 35 miles from home and on my own sounds like heaven.

Of course perspective will return when I've gotten the kids sent off to school and I can go home and get things for me done again... but Oh, Crap, I just remembered I have to take my mother to a doctor's appointment at 11AM tomorrow.

So much for me time.

and so it goes.....


New to SOCS?  It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump.  Want to try it?  Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spell-checking. This is writing in the raw.
You can do it, too!  Click on the picture link and let's hear your 5 minutes of brilliance...

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

SNSS: New Baby and New Beginnings

Today's guest, Jessica Severson, of the blog Don't Mind the Mess, is unique as she only has one child. Yet. She is, however, at the time of this posting, pregnant with child number 2, a girl. 

Jessica's two and a half year-old son is on the Autism Spectrum, and thus when her daughter is born this winter, she will be born a special needs sibling.

Jessica writes about her parenting journey in blog, both as it pertains to autism and all the usual toddlerish stuff, too. She also writes about the other interesting and entertaining things that cross her mind, including popular culture and yummy recipes. She is funny and intelligent and is a pleasure to read.

Come experience that here, now, as she talks about the hopes and fears that come with the expansion of a family that already includes autism:


New Baby and New Beginnings - by Jessica Severson

I used to want 4 kids. In the early months after my son was born, I thought 3 wouldn’t be so bad. By the time he was diagnosed with Autism at 17 months, I didn’t know if I could handle 2.

I used to be jealous of families where the Special Needs child was born 2nd or 3rd and it would be easier for them to make family planning decisions. For us, with our first child diagnosed with Special Needs and a heightened risk of any other children also having Special Needs, the decision to have more children was fraught with worry.

I used to think that if I had another child, I would want to wait until my son was in school. I didn’t think I could handle two young children where at least one had Special Needs.

And yet despite all of that, here I am, 6 months pregnant with my second child. My son will be just past 2 and a half when his sister is born.

Even stranger, despite the years I spent worrying about having more children, I feel really happy about it.

The best I can tell is that I have worried about as much as I can. I’ve reached the point where I know I want to try at least one more time. I’ve stopped looking for the perfect time just like I’ve stopped waiting for a perfect child.

It is happening. And if we find ourselves in a worst-case scenario, at least it won’t be anything really new. We have been around the block. We have handled it. We can do it again.

That’s not to say I haven’t worried at all. An early test showed an increased risk of chromosomal defects. Those first few hours after I heard the news were some of the darkest I’ve had. The truth is, no matter how ready I feel to handle another child with Special Needs, the hypothetical idea of it is so different than the actual truth of it.

My amniocentesis came back perfect. But it was a bit of a wake-up call. I was idealizing the prospect of my second child. I was already imagining her as neurotypical and normal. She isn’t an opportunity to do things better, she’s a child just like any other with her own unique set of needs.

Teaching my son to prepare for his sister’s arrival has been more fun than I expected. He has learned the word “baby” and even knows to associate it with my belly. His therapists have included programs where he hugs and kisses a baby doll. We are working on treating things gently. A lot of it is pretty typical 2-year-old stuff.

If anything, I feel lucky that my son will still have the comforting rituals of his therapy hours to get through the early transitions. I feel lucky that my family will be there to provide him with play and structure.

And our decision to have the baby this early means my son will still have his Early Intervention therapy for 5 more months after the baby is born.

There’s never a perfect time to provide your Special Needs child with a sibling. Especially if they bristle at change. But that is what family is for. And knowing that my children will be able to be a support for one another comforts me.

Maybe it won’t happen for decades, but someday they will understand each other. Someday they will be able to stick up for one another. And disability or not, they will be able to relate to each other.

So far I haven’t let my son’s needs get in the way of a vision for the future of my family. What do I really want for all of us? I want us to be close to each other. I want us to trust each other. I want family gatherings to be joyous occasions. I am comforted knowing that my son’s needs don’t have to get in the way of any of that.

I’ve learned from my son that taking things a little bit at a time is the way to go. I don’t expect that to change when his sister comes. If anything, I think I’ll be able to treasure both of them more.

I hope that having two different children means I can appreciate two different personalities. Of course that means two different sets of weaknesses and frustrations, but it also means two different sets of strengths and joys.


I love how Jessica is sailing forth into this brave new world of parenting more than one child with optimism and a heart full of love, knowing there will be challenges, but preparing to meet them with good cheer and fortitude. It is inspiring.

Also, full disclosure, I actually met Jessica in person at the Boston Bloggy Bootcamp conference last May and she is just as delightful in person as she is on the internet.

Now that you have read Jessica here, you are clearly going to want to follow her home to her blog Don't Mind the Mess and dig in.

You may want to start here, with how the stresses related to parenting and her son's autism lead to a spiraling depression

Try this post about the guilt that can come on when you and your child are actually doing better, or this one about the day Jessica got the results of her amniocentesis back and found out the new baby was a girl, and OK chromosomally.

Also, go follow her on Twitter where she tweets as @jessicaesquire, go like her (I know you do) on her Facebook fan page, and finally, go see the stuff SHE likes on her Pinterest boards.

Jessica, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us here at SNSS, and wishing you much happiness and joy as you bring your new baby girl into your lovely, loving family.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Post Turkey Day Post

Today I loaded my 9 year-old boys and my 89 year-old mother into the old jalopy and drove us out to Long Island, my ancestral stomping ground. We were headed to my aunt and uncle, my mother's brother's home in Port Washington, scene of countless hours of cousinly frolic throughout my childhood.

Cousin Jessie and my Mom
They live in a sweet little house at the end of a dead end block with nothing but fields and gentle woods just beyond. My cousins' old elementary school's ball-fields and playgrounds are kitty-corner to their backyard. In short, the perfect place for a family to enjoy a warm November day.

The house, from the path in the fields
My mother loves Autumn leaves
Ephemeral leaf art
I love Autumn leaves, too
We hugged and talked and sat in the yard and walked in the woods and played in the schoolyard and ate delicious leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner (always better the next day, somehow).

Jake loves basketball
So does Ethan

We played guitar and sang songs and recited poetry and talked in silly character voices and made up stories on the spot to entertain each other. Jessie and Annette and I performed yet another rendition of "We Are Juvenile Delinquents," a song that's been in our repertoire since we were 10 and 12.

Jess, Annette & I in 1973 at their house
We stuffed ourselves to the gills and beyond on the amazing desserts mostly made by Annette's 13 year-old daughter Greta, a fantastic cook and aspiring food blogger. (I'm working to get her set up with a blog soon, my Bat Mitzvah gift to her.)

Annette & the beautiful Greta, who is also an amazing baker
 A table full of amazing, Greta-made desserts

And then, most amazingly, some documents from deep in my mother and uncle's past were found and examined: my uncle's diary from 1941, when he was a boy of fourteen, and their mother, my grandmother's passport from 1920, the year she fled her native Eastern Europe for America.

Grandma Dunia's Polish passport
Uncle Walter's diary
Wow. There is WAY too much story contained in these two amazing little items for this simple "I'm home tired and happy from spending a day with my family" post.

More stories to come; to come soon, I promise. And now? Goodnight. I hope you, too, are all going to sleep with a belly full of leftover pumpkin pie and a heart full of familial love.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past

Thanksgiving is such a peculiar holiday, actually all about food and family gathering, as opposed to some other thing that is the excuse for that stuff, that is really at the core of most holidays anyway.

Also, it's impossible to approach this day without reflecting on Thanksgivings past, especially if you are someone who is as prone to rumination as I am. (What? Don't tell me you haven't noticed that about me.)

Two years ago, Thanksgiving Day, 2009, was the last time my father came to my home. He was clearly ailing, not himself at all.

The deterioration from September to November was stark, startling. He spent most all of the day sleeping on the sofa, didn't come to the dinner table, woke only to accept a slice of pumpkin pie.

Dad, asleep on our sofa, Thanksgiving 2009.
Dad in a borrowed wheelchair, too weak to walk
Less than two weeks after these pictures were taken, he was in the hospital, and it was the beginning of the end.

Last year was the first Thanksgiving after my father (and my husband's mother) had died. I wrote a post about it on Thanksgiving morning, Regarding a Table Half Full, anticipating a difficult day ahead of us, working hard to find the glass-half-full perspective, connect to my optimist self.

Three generations at Thanksgiving 2011
The day played out pretty much as I had expected it to, was mostly about about getting through it, with a few lovely moments.

The drive was hellish, dinner was delicious. Jake was very well behaved, Ethan was only occasionally obnoxious, and only spilled water.  I had my one glass of good red wine and took my post-turkey sofa nap.

My Mom only looked lost and teared up once or twice, was glad overall she came. But she was missing Dad something fierce, I know. I was too.

But I have also been thinking of Thanksgivings past; the distant past of my own childhood, my early years with Danny, the many Thanksgivings we have had with the boys...

One particular Thanksgiving stands out in my memory: Thanksgiving 2001. It was a tense, intense time for a couple of reasons. First, we live in New York City and a scant two months had passed since the destruction of the twin towers on 9-11.

And on a personal front, I was in the middle of the notorious "two week wait" after our first ever IVF attempt. To say I was on an emotional roller coaster, sitting on pins and needles that month would be a massive understatement.

After an initial bout of optimistic euphoria, I was then feeling anxious and worried that the IVF hadn't taken and growing more and more concerned that I wasn't in fact pregnant. I couldn't count on how I was feeling, as nightly injections of progesterone were masking any hormones my body might be producing (or so I had thought).

And then on that Thanksgiving morning? I committed a big no-no. I snuck a home pregnancy test into the bathroom with me and peed on the stick. Never mind that it was ridiculously early, my retrieval and transfer having taken place just the week prior. I couldn't help myself.

Nothing. The same one line I had been seeing monthly for over a year. I was deeply disappointed.

Part of my brain knew it could easily be a false negative, but I took it to heart nevertheless. Lay around on the sofa moping all day, barely dragging my ass into the shower in time to get dressed for dinner at the in-laws.

Somehow I did manage to toss my favorite crushed green velvet dress onto my body and cab crosstown with my husband. But it was hard to shake my funk. I'm sure I was not the most gracious guest. And right after dinner? I parked myself on the second sofa, kitty-corner to the one my elderly father had claimed after the meal for his traditional postprandial nap, and took one myself, thinking I needed to sleep off my bad mood. 

In the perfect 20/20 vision of hindsight, I can see: it was the pregnancy hormones kicking in. Because two days later on Saturday morning? I cheated again.

And this time... TWO pink lines! The most beautiful pee-saturated piece of plastic encased fiber the world has ever known, the first time ever I saw that fabulous sight.

And the following year? Twin baby boys at Thanksgiving.

Also? Bringing up Thanksgivings past?  A chance to throw in some gratuitous photos of my beautiful children at Thanksgiving.  Here's a few from 2006 when the boys were four and my father still a sprightly 89 (same age my mother is now):

E & J getting silly with cousins
Jake, commandeering my rain hat
Mom, Dad & Ethan on the sofa
I am expecting this year it will be a little easier than last, the grief tempered by time, by the now normalcy of my mother being the sole representative of the elder generation at the table. And we will raise our glasses in a toast of remembrance of those no longer among us.

Happy Thanksgiving, Dad. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Beautiful Boys

Ethan and his Dad
Yes, I now have Instagram and I (sort of) know how to use it, making me armed & dangerous, shooting everyone and everything in sight and then making my pictures infinitely cooler with the magic filter thingies.

Jake and ball in B&W
So I thought I'd share some of my favorite recent shots of the boys, including Ethan's de-shaggification this past weekend.

Ethan had been growing his hair for a while by now, his last cut just before his birthday in July.  It was an experiment, he wanted to see how it would look longer, he also was appreciating the extra warmth as fall was progressing towards winter.

But then last week he told me "Mom, I need a haircut by next Monday." Seems he was about to be videotaped for his drama class at school and the character he's playing needed to look tidier.

Ethan before haircut, shaggy as all get out
Ethan, being shorn
Haircut Managed

Jake didn't really NEED a cut, but on Saturday I had both boys to myself. And there was no way he was going to go to the haircut place and stand around while Ethan got one and NOT have one himself. So he got one too.
Jake mid-cut
Jake admiring his 'do
Ethan & Jake: After
And, as usual, I’m linking up to Wordless / Wordful Wednesdays... at Angry Julie Monday... at 5 Minutes for Mom... at live and love...out loud... at Dagmar*s momsense... at Parenting by Dummies.
Taming Insanity
And here too!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ass Forwards Days

Jacob has put his underwear on backwards again this morning. It doesn’t happen often anymore, but still, occasionally I will come into the living room prompted by Jake’s “I’m dressed Mommy!” shout-out, to find them on the wrong way.

Then, like this morning, I have to tell him “No, Jake, they’re backwards, let’s get that fixed” and not just the usual “That’s a good start, Jake, how about the shirt and pants, too?”

And it reminded me of last Thanksgiving when I had watched my husband squirming a bit too much in his seat on the way-long car ride up to Putnam county where we were to be feasting at my sister-in-law’s house.

I asked him why he was acting like he has shpilkes and he confessed that HE had put his underwear on backwards that morning, and they were a bit shy of comfortable. He hadn’t noticed until he was taking a quick final pee before setting out. And, as we were running late (as usual), he hadn't wanted to take the time to remove his shoes, get undressed and redressed again.

And I had to laugh. I had thought the whole backwards underwear thing was a factor of Jake's autistic distractedness, I hadn’t realized it was a family tradition.

And, because I never let an opportunity to gently tease my husband go to waste, all day long I kept referring to his awesomely ass forward undershorts. It helped to have a joke running, to undercut the sad that ran through the day on that Thanksgiving, in that shitty year of loss, the first without my father and Dan's mother.

I also took the occasion this morning to notice how tight Jake’s size 10 to 12 underpants are becoming, same as nearly all his clothing. Time soon for my still nine year-old son, my gentle giant, to move up to the next, full-on teenager's size.

I look at Jacob now and so often see parts of my husband's face looking back at me. I did not know Dan as a child, or even a young man; we met when we were shuffling into middle age, and have well grown deeper grizzled in the thirteen years we have been together.

But in the photos of his childhood I see Jacob, as Ethan so recapitulates my youthful visage. Uncanny really, how one is nearly all mine, the other his.

This morning once again watching my son dressing, eating, drawing yet another picture of his beloved Dragon Ball Z Kai characters, I see shades of the teen he is on the precipice of becoming, the man's body he will inhabit in the fast blink of an eye.

This manly illusion broken by his lilting voice: "Mommy can I pet Cocoa now?" His mind and spirit clearly remain so firmly still in the grasp of childhood, of autism; his obsession with the family cat waxing not waning.

"Cocoa, you're my best friend" he tells her, as he hugs her goodbye for the day. And it's true. She is. And I don't let him see the tears that well in my eyes as we don coats, trudge outside in the semi-darkness to await his school bus.

Thankfully they are gone by the time I sweep my hand across his cheek, kissing his tousled head while intoning my daily admonishment: "Listen to your teachers, work hard, no growling in school!"

I start to walk back inside, and then I turn; I turn and wave.

I wave at the darkened windows of the bus, knowing that inside sits my sweet, gentle giant.

My Jacob.

Just Write

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