Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Mother At The Swings


I have a nightly ritual. It involves my blogging obsession. Yes, I have reached a point where I can comfortably say that it border lines obsession. Obsession, therapy, escape. Call it what you may but often it works for me. Each night I sit down after the kids have been put to bed, laundry has been done and house picked up. You know, those necessary evils completed. Once I grab the laptop, I am lost to all for awhile. Whether it's to post or check on our friends, that's usually how I wind down my day. I seldom get lost jumping from one place to another. I visit our new found friends, who now are old and dear friends, post a comment or two, find out what prayers they may need, see what support we might be able to give, be it sometimes and often thousands of miles away but support nonetheless.Not much wandering,pretty routine and methodical. That is until tonight. Tonight one click led me to another, which led me to another and so on until finally I headed back to post for a second time today. I didn't plan on posting again today. The earthquake and subsequent events of the day left me spent. However, once I checked on our Brave Little Hero Parker, well, it was a whole different story. Tammy, Parker's very cool mommy, posts over at 5 Minutes For Special Needs. Her post today moved me for so many reasons. Spoke to me and nudged me to get lost a little bit longer in "blogosphere". Tonight I share about a boy and a mom whom I have never met. A little boy Evan and his mom Vicki. A mom who loved her son more than words, even her eloquent, honest words, could ever convey. She lost her little guy this past week. Sad beyond most of our comprehension. Vicki blogged about her life with Evan, his disabilities, their life as a family and so much more. She is a talented writer who wrote a piece called The Mother At The Swings. This story was me this week. This story was me on Monday.This story is me almost everyday. Please take the time to read it . It may give some of you a brief glimpse into, how we, mother's of Special Needs Children, sometimes view the world around us. Because honestly we do feel, I do feel often, I am on the outskirts looking in. It is words such as Vicki's, that we feel deep in our hearts but lack the ability to articulate it to those around us so that they might understand, if ever so briefly and momentary. This exact situation happened to me on Monday. A mom right next to me, with her son, on the swings. Singing, laughing, talking to each other. Not much older then Zoey was this little guy. His mom was really trying to interact with Zoey and I. Commenting on how cute she was. Trying to be comfortable with us but not quite knowing what to say to us as I struggled to keep Zoey upright in the baby swing,to no avail. Not quite able to find the words. I wish she did. Or could have. I tried to tell Zoey's story a bit, I always do, but she just didn't quite get it. I couldn't blame her. I felt bad but I couldn't blame her. She tried. Maybe in the end she took something away that day from our brief encounter. Vicki also talks about gingerbread men in our lives. You know,as she put it, the ones you thought at the beginning of this life changing event, would be "rocks" but somewhere along the way became "gingerbread men"," run,run,run as fast as you can you can't catch me...."You know how the rest of the story goes. I actually had a discussion with Presleys mom today about this very thing. Vicki's words so accurately described the transformation of our families friendships with many, over the last 17 months. Sad and very accurate. A strangers story that instantly could have been mine. As a tribute to her son and the love he had of swinging, we are encouraged to place flowers on a swing of our choice, take a picture and send it to a flickr account that has been setup, letting Vicki and her family know that Evan will not soon be forgotten. Evan's family is also asking that if you are so compelled, you may make a donation in his honor to The UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Fund or to a pay pal account where monies will be spent on things Evan would have enjoyed in his lifetime, like swings or trees for shade at parks. Today was a reminder to me that this blog, that was initially started to vent a bit and pass on events of Zoey's day to day life to far away family, has become so much more. In fact the vast majority that visit us daily are not our flesh and blood but you have all become family. A child such as Evan touches countless others because his courageous mom, an advocate for those with disabilities, chose to share her intimate, personal journey and through that unselfish act, Evan and his life touched us. Leaving his mark on our hearts. Tonight kiss your babies of all ages, tell those you love, how much you love them. And next time you are at the park or pass a park with swings think beyond the tangible object and step outside the comfortable place you find yourself. I intend to. Reach out to that mom behind her child on the swing. She wants you to. Trust me, then thank Vicki and remember Evan. Always.

5 comments:

just jean said...

Your words really touched me again today. I am that mother on the swing. I want to understand. I have learned so much via the sites I visit, but I know that I am on the outside, too....just the other outside, looking in. That is why I find myself responding to the more "woman feeling" blogs, where I can identify. But I envy the love, the closeness, and the gifts that Zoey brings. I pray that it is the trying and caring that might be the connection between the two outsides. It is worth the journey.

Mia hat eins mehr said...

Thanks for that Heather, it really touched my heart. Thanks for sharing.

Kelly said...

Beautiful!! I also am a Mother at the swing. Thanks for sharing this. I get it!!!

Monica, James, Connor McGuire said...

Hi I found your blog through Dawson's blog. My son Connor (2years old) was diagnosed with IS at 8 months of age. This post brought me to tears. I plan on posting this beautiful story on my blog. So many people don't truly understand what it is like being the mother of a special needs child and how isolating it can be sometimes. I've definitely had my share of gingerbread men. Your little Zoey is sooo adorable! Your family will be in my prayers.

Aunt Kim said...

Heather, I am Kele's sister and Presley's aunt. I have been reading your blog for a while after seeing your comments on my sister's blog. First, you are an amazing woman and I want to thank you very much for reaching out to my sister. Your words of comfort have been inspiring to not just her but for those of us who love her and Presley so much and know that we do not possess the words to bring the comfort she needs at certain times. But you do and I am grateful for you in Kele's life. Second, Zoey and your family are beautiful and it is clear that you are also an amazing mother. Third, you and Zoey and your family are in my daily prayers. I can't wait until we can make a video of Presley's life at home with all of us, but most especially with Kele, Mike, Mikah and Jett. God Bless you, Kim Devlin (aka Aunt Kim)