Thursday, April 11, 2013

Snow Day and a Special Needs Child

SNOW DAY!  When I was a kid, I can remember being glued to the radio on snowy mornings, waiting for the magical words "Schools in the Baldwin-Cartier school board are closed..." and then we'd head out for a play day in the snow. Snow days are still magical days for kids...unless your kid happens to have OCD and Anxiety and things like a change in schedule can throw her off for days.

It's April in Canada. It's been a weird year. We are currently sitting under a severe freezing rain warning, and the school boards have just closed all the schools for the day. While I think it was the safe decision, I'm not looking forward to the reaction when my little girl wakes up and finds out. You see, today was supposed to be a retreat day in preparation for her First Communion on Saturday. With school being closed today, it will be bumped to tomorrow...

Fridays are the Kid's favorite day of the week. Friday means art, hot lunch, STEAM program and Tumblebus. If the retreat is moved to Friday,  none of these things will happen because the Kid will be at the church all day. And that will be enough to set her off for the weekend.

She will worry about missing STEAM and Tumblebus. She will worry about her hot lunch and what will happen to it. She will be upset that she's missing art and STEAM. All of these worries will distract her from the purpose of the retreat and will make for a challenging day for the teachers.

This is a little kid who can be thrown off if a t-shirt ends up in the wrong drawer. This is a little kid who can't eat soup and pudding with the same spoon even if she washes it in between. This is a little girl who can't walk out the door unless all of her winter clothes are on, and who has to put these clothes on in a specific order. Having two entire days disrupted does not bode well for her anxiety level.

Snow days are supposed to stress out the parent, not the kid. It's just another challenge brought on by OCD and Anxiety.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dear Toronto Blue Jays

Dear Toronto Blue Jays,

Welcome to your new season. With all the activity in the off-season, your fans have high hopes for a return to the successes of the early 1990s.

What you don't know is you have an added advantage this year, because you have an extra angel in the outfield.

My mother, Myrna, was one of your most dedicated and passionate fans. She knew all your stats, all your names, and read the sports page first every day until she got too sick to follow the game any more. She cut out the schedule at the beginning of every season, and watched every game. She worried and fretted about you like you were her own family. When young players with families were traded, she worried and fretted. When you were injured, she worried and fretted, and would call me to tell me you were fine again and playing. When you played badly, she worried and fretted. When you played well, she rejoiced. Did I mention my mom was 86?

Conversations with my mother during baseball season  were peppered with comments like "I don't know what Cito was thinking..." "Jose played well tonight." and an ongoing stream of choice words and commentary for the time that Ricciardi was GM.  I didn't follow baseball, but mom would tell me all about the game anyway. Sometimes, I handed the phone to my husband so she could have a cheerful talk with a like minded soul.

My mom floored her great-nephews with her in-depth knowledge and understanding of the game of baseball.  She could debate the relative merits of the DH rule. She could call a ball and strike better than some umpires, and she knew that RBI and Earned Run Averages didn't matter a fig unless ball connected with bat or glove when it mattered.

We took mom to games in Toronto a few times, but she liked watching the game on television so she could hear the commentary and see the replays. Besides, the stadium music was too loud.

Last year, the skin cancer my mom had been battling started to win. Radiation triggered strokes that caused dementia. My baseball loving mom couldn't remember how to turn on the television, and if I left the game on, she often asked me to turn it off because it was too confusing to follow.

But she still read the sports page...until the very end, my mom read about her Jays.

I know my mom was only one of thousands of fans, but in the last year of her life, when everything was taken from her-her independence, her mind, her health, her dignity, her apartment, her privacy and ultimately, her life, the Toronto Blue Jays was one of the few constants that remained and continued to bring her joy.

My mom and dad were great baseball fans. They  now have seats in the ultimate sky-box, and if there are a couple of odd deflections into foul territory, you can thank your angel in the outfield.

Earrings and Easter Eggs-cross post from the Sandwich Chronicles

Earrings and Easter Eggs.