why you gotta be so mean?

My younger brother called me out of the blue the other day. Actually, he wasn’t calling me. Butt-dialed, miss-dialed, drunk-dialed…whatever it was, he called me. It happens sometimes. But because I am me and he is a part of the toxicity that is most of my family, it was all my fault…all my fault that he called me by mistake and I was the one to waste his time because it took him five minutes to realize that I wasn’t “Louie” but his sister…no, not his younger sister…but the other sister…yeah, that sister. I know this because he told me so…and then continued to blow up my voice mail and text messages, my email and all over my Facebook timeline to make sure that I knew this. This is me. This is my family. This is what they do when I fail them in some real or real only in their mind way. This always was and sometimes occasionally continues to be my life…the toxic family life I try so hard to stay away from, to shield my circus from.

I’m not too much of a fan of Taylor Swift, as cute and adorable as she is but still I find her lyrics to “Mean” circulating through my head lately.

You, with your words like knives and swords and weapons that you use against me
You have knocked me off my feet again got me feeling like I’m nothing
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard, calling me out when I’m wounded
You, pickin’ on the weaker man…

You, with your switching sides and your walk-by lies and your humiliation
You, have pointed out my flaws again as if I don’t already see them
I’ll walk with my head down trying to block you out ’cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again

I have had a lifetime of mean from people whom I share DNA with, people who tell me they love me sometimes but more often will tell me everything, and I do mean everything, that is wrong with me. They point out all my flaws, all my poor choices, my bad parenting decisions, my actions that always serve to disappoint them…because it is indeed all about them.


Yet it isn’t all about them all the time.

I know that much is true even when I apologize and forgive them and keep them at arms length; because although what didn’t kill me and made me stronger doesn’t mean that I have to choose to accept your incessant criticisms to my face, or by phone or by text messages or email or snail mail or anywhere else. When I was a child I could not choose to filter it out. You made it painfully clear that I could not.

But now I can.

Now I do.

Because you haven’t killed me. You made me stronger.

I know, I know. Believe me, I know. In your eyes, in your heart, I suck. I am worthless. I piss you off. I disappoint you. I should be agreeing with you and your criticisms and that I don’t deserve you or your “love”.

But I don’t.

It’s true, all you are going to always be is mean.

I love you still…we are and will remain family and a lifetime of you kicking me down in every way possible doesn’t change the fact that I still love you…oh dysfunction! But thanks to your toxic kind of love, I have been molded and shaped into the person who I am today. The person who sees your kind of love for what it is. Not the kind of love I deserve. No. I am so much more than you see me as.

So much more.

And you don’t deserve me at all.

Note: If you are reading this and are my family and imagine that I am writing this about you well, you are correct. Just know that sometimes to survive you, to forgive you and to try to continue to love you in spite of who you are and how you continue to treat me I have to get your shit off of my chest, out of my head and out of my heart or I just might shatter into a million little pieces…and then who are you going to be mean to? Really? Get over it or better yet just add it to the list you keep of all that is wrong with me. I’m fine with that because I know that is who you are.

my kids are so very lucky

He never looks for praises
He’s never one to boast
He just goes on quietly working
For those he loves the most
His dreams are seldom spoken
His wants are very few
And most of the time his worries
Will go unspoken too
He’s there A firm foundation
Through all our storms of life
A sturdy hand to hold on to
In times of stress and strife
A true friend we can turn to
When times are good and bad
One of our greatest blessings,
The man that we call Dad.

~Karen Boyer

Happy Father’s Day my darling husband and thank you for being exactly the kind of dad I wished and hoped for  for our children and grandchildren.

simply thanks

Mother’s Day has come and gone without much of a mention here. Not to worry. I was appropriately showered with love and thanks and chocolate and breakfast and dinner by my clowns. I also received lots of love and thanks from my darling husband because he thoroughly embraces my blogging friend Kristen’s take on spouses honoring the women who have pushed out their children from their vaginas for them…with the hope that they will continue to get to have sex with that woman.

He is a very wise man!

So yes, Mother’s Day was good. It was very good. It was all the more sweeter to share it with my daughter, Holly, and to shower her with love, some wine and thanks. Bill and I would not be grandparents were it not for this child of ours being a mother. Mother’s Day was a good day to thank her for that. But it isn’t the only day to thank her. Any chance I get I tell her thank you and express my belief that she is a great mother.

She is. She does do things differently than I do. Sometimes I don’t necessarily agree with the way that she does things too. I’m sure that I could offer advice and critiques with the hopes of helping her. After all I have so much more years of experience and wisdom. I could. And I am quite certain how that would play out too.

Not good.

Not good at all.

No, all that she needs…all that she will ever need from her parent is my love, my acceptance, my confidence in her abilities in all that she does and my gratitude because she is the best mother for my granddaughters Hazel and Fallon.

Thank you Holly, simply thank you!

he hears you, he understands you

A few years ago, our family circus found ourselves at our kids’ high school football game because that is what we have done in support of our daughter, Abby, while she would cheer for her high school. It was always guaranteed to be a fun Friday night because the cheer squad was awesome, the band was great, the Wolf Pack was spirited and our high school team was pretty good…they still are pretty good. Seated behind us, at this particular game, was a group of high school aged boys engaged in conversation that included calling one another stupid retards, the visiting team’s uniforms retarded, a particular teacher  was most definitely a retard…and on and on.

At one point, Daniel turned to me and pointedly asked me, “Am I a retard?

I replied asking him what did he think that word meant. Thinking for a minute, he answered that people he knew used it to talk about stupid people and sometimes people called him that at school so he was wondering if he was a retard.

No, son. No you are not. You are a very bright, hard-working, amazing kid. Anyone and everyone who knows you would agree. No, you are not stupid.

Daniel sat there for a moment pondering what I just told him. He hugged me and then asked if he could go and hang out with Abby’s boyfriend.

Of course, Daniel.

Yes, my heart broke just a little during our conversation. How could it not? I looked down at Daniel hanging out with Jon and smiled and waved. Must maintain a happy, strong face I told myself. How else could I support my child against such attacks, even if they are indirect? It was then that my thoughts were broken by the boy directly behind me laughing over his friend tripping and spilling food everywhere. “Dude! You are such a fucking retard!

I whipped my head around and looked the kid square in the eye and asked him, “Is he (the friend) really mentally retarded?

What? No!

Do you see that little boy down there?

The one standing next to Jon?

Yeah. Do you know Jon? So do I. He’s a good friend of my family. He happens to be friends with that little boy. That little boy who just so happens to be developmentally disabled…a retard as you put it…that little boy is my son.

I wasn’t talking about your kid…

No? Then what did you mean by that word when you called your friend that?

The kid started to say something, then stopped, then started again, then stopped, then he muttered his apologies saying that he didn’t really mean it and had no idea that it would hurt someone like my child.

Perhaps next time you say it you will realize and you will get it.

After our exchange, the boys got up and slunk off to the snack bar. Later on during the game I spied that kid hanging out with Jon and even talking to Daniel. I won’t pretend that my conversation with him made too much of a difference because, after all he was just a smart-alecky kid; but I’d like to think that watching the game and interacting with Daniel made him appreciate all the more just how awesome and even normal a kid like Daniel is. I can only hope that that kid would get it.

Anyone who has read this Adventures in Juggling of mine for any length of time knows that I do not like the usage of the word “retard”. Anyone who knows me even more closely perhaps gets why…I am the mother of a child living with cognitive and developmental disabilities. But, truth be told, I have never cared for the use of the word “retard”. In my opinion, there are more better ways to articulate when one finds a situation, a thing or even a person to be frustrating, stupid, foolish, dense, futile, idiotic, inane, ludicrous, clumsy, pointless, irrelevant, simple, slow, sluggish, thick, trivial, ignorant, vacuous….and on …and on. I am so much smarter than to resort to the use of one word when describing anything or anyone I find to match any of the above words. At least that is how I see it. Add to that belief is the fact that through the years, long before I became Daniel’s mother, I saw how a word like that used so casually could hurt someone. I have known many families with children living with physical, developmental, cognitive disabilities. I saw how people’s words and attitudes hurt. I got it…or at least I thought I did. Then through that short conversation with my child I realized all the more just how hurtful it really was. Whether people use that word to my son’s face or not it hurts…pure and simple, it hurts.

I get it.

Do you?

Everywhere around me, I am surrounded by people who use that word with seemingly no thought at all…at the mall, at the football games, at the dance studio, at school, at the tae-kwon-do studio at the coffee shop, in polite conversation with me…everywhere. No, I don’t believe that most of them would ever intend to hurt my child…yet they do…every time they use  that word.

He hears you.

He understands you.

Today is Spread The Word To End The Word Day, part of an ongoing campaign against the r-word created by The Special Olympics. Close to 250,000 people have signed a pledge against the word “retard.” Today I call everyone out who uses that word who reads this blog…who knows Daniel, whether personally or through this blog.

Ellen, writer of “Love That Max and mom of Max, wrote today, “People would never call a kid with cognitive disabilities a “retard” to his face (and if you are a person who would do that, step away from this blog and go search for your soul). If you wouldn’t say the word to my child because you know it’s offensive, you should avoid using it elsewhere, too. Either way, it’s demeaning. Either way, it hurts my child.” Ellen also created this amazing video that explains in the simplest of ways what is wrong with this word…you know, for the kajillion more or so out there who don’t get what is wrong with it.

Think of Max.

Think of Daniel.

Think Respect.

And don’t say it.

Thank you.