Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Solstice

Today is the Summer Solstice, otherwise known as the longest day of the year. It will probably be light out until like 9p, which is awesome. This is my season. Living in NJ, we get such a small window of good, outside weather, that summer isn't relaxing in the LEAST for me (or us, because that includes B), but it sure is a good time.

I thought I might reflect on the past school year too, since this is kind of like my "New Years". There's Rosh Hashana, the "real" New Year in January, and then Summer Solstice (for ME). Reminds me of an old friend who used to say, "This is MY Superbowl" about the Emmy, Tony and Oscar awards. This is MY New Years.

I didn't have anything major happen to ME, but we did make and SELL my rainbow PRIDE chandelier. I never thought I'd sell it, but I had this amazingly awesome customer who I felt would really appreciate it as much as I do. I also was able to score an external freezer for twenty dollars from someone in town. Anyone that knows me and how I freeze everything, understands exactly what excitement and happiness this freezer brings.

Instead of just being a behind-the-computer-screen-slacktivist, I went to marches, rallies, and joined groups of likeminded folk who DO stuff. I found groups and an even louder stronger voice than I had before. I helped do important things for people who need help standing up to hate.

I got my DVR down to 62%. I don't know that I've seen such a low percentage before.

It's the last day of second grade for E tomorrow. He's thrilled. Unfortunately, he doesn't like school. Not because he's having a difficult time academically or socially. His own words are just- "I don't think we're meant for have to sit and do work all day. There isn't enough free time for fun stuff". He's not wrong- it's just going to suck to know he has a long time ahead of doing this. It's also no reflection on his teachers or the school- he just decided this year that he plans on being a rockstar, so he doesn't "need" school. Awesome.We told him that he needs to be really good at then and we'd like a shore house when he makes it big.

He had a good year though, all things considered. A year of new things. He started guitar lessons with a great teacher. He took hip hop class with Spex, which he loved. He was on a new (to him) swim team that was a much better experience than last year. He got dropped by one agent and picked up by a new (to him) manager. He worked background on the tv show The Blacklist: Redemption, which was exciting for us since we watch that. He became a TAD more adventurous with food. Not much- I still have a freezer filled with thirty-three peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and twenty-seven single servings of mama's meatloaf.

We gave him a little more physical freedom. He started walking to friends homes in the neighborhood. That was helpful to me because I was storing a brisket at my friend Alex's house and I was able to send him to go retrieve it for me. He felt very grown up setting out to pick up my meat.

Today he walked to school on his own for the first time. When I asked if he wanted to, he practically jumped to the door like a dog seeing his leash. He wanted to leave forty minutes before the bell rang but I put the kibosh on that. He crossed three streets, made it to school and even remembered to text me that he made it there. I didn't expect he wouldn't, but it's just good practice to remember to check in.

I know giving independence can be difficult for many. I've made light of it, but I know not every kid is the same and they're ready at different points. E is definitely an older eight than some others. Part of my insistence of doing this for him is because I strongly believe it's how they gain street smarts. How they get prepared to be set out into the world. The other part though, is having seen a friend the same age as me pass away, at forty. Our boys are the same age. I feel like we always think there is tomorrow to teach them something else- some way to take care of themselves. I know first hand there isn't always tomorrow, so I have this huge pull to make sure I cram him with every skill I can think of to make sure he is as capable as he can be, while I still am here to do it. Maybe that sounds paranoid? 

I just want to know he will be a fully functioning member of society by the time he's expected to be. We just watched this season's episode of Orange Is The New Black where Frieda's dad took her into the woods and left her there to give her a test- to see if she could make it back and in a certain amount of time. He left her the tools she'd need. She was able to do it- albeit covered in leaches at one point, but I totally got his mindset.

The other big thing that happened was that E was finally diagnosed with Tourette's. We got the diagnosis on December 27, 2016. Don't look at me with sad, sympathy face when I tell you in person either. I've never been happier to get a diagnosis for anything in my life and have it be "something". Why? What do I mean? Imagine going on like seven years of knowing something is "wrong" with your kid, but being shuffled from specialist to specialist, getting prescriptions for medications he didn't need, having scary possible diseases and syndromes casually thrown at you, and having seen twenty-three doctors. Well, that was us. Finally doctor twenty-four, recommended by a trustworthy source in the neurological field, was able to give us a definitive diagnosis. Not only that, showed me paperwork defining E and his issues, which is something no doctor prior had ever given me.

Long story short, E's symptoms are mild and present as allergies. Test after test, no allergies were showing up, but there were all these tics that looked like what someone with an allergy would be doing. Knowing it's Tourette's doesn't change what he's doing or any treatment, but it changes OUR mindset. Instead of wanting to tie his hands behind his back because he's rubbing his face raw, or worrying that he needs glasses because he's making a weird eye movement, we can just relax, know it's tics, that they'll wax an wane, and just breathe. It's never easy to watch your kid tic, but it's a lot less worrisome when you know why he's doing it- that he doesn't have a possible brain tumor or some other horrific thing. We can live with Tourette's.

There's nothing for us to do but watch it. The doctor said it could get worse before it gets better, but he gave us the possible light at the end of the tunnel that it could also go away by the later side of the teen years. It's hope. I'll take it. He doesn't fit criteria to medicate, because it doesn't bother him, or affect him negatively academically or socially. Now, we just let him tic, try to get him to notice he's doing it and try to calm it down, but if he can't, he can't. He has slight OCD to go with it, as that often is the case, but so do I. It is not easy to tell what's Tourette's, eight, Aquarius, genes, or asshole. It's all a learning curve.

I'll add that I still give him the magnesium supplement- I found chewables on or Amazon and I, *I* feel it helps. I'm going to continue giving them to him. It can't hurt. It's not an excessive amount of magnesium anyway, and a lot of parents have said they do magnesium as well. It wasn't totally off-base or some crunchy voodoo nonsense.

That's it really. School is going to be out tomorrow. The pool opens daily on Friday. I'm back at my perch and I now have a "crew". We made really good friends this year. Basically, I made sure to make the effort to really connect with people I like and foster those relationships, instead of just becoming the extroverted introvert that I naturally am. Or is it introverted extrovert? In any event, we have people I really love to hang out with, especially this summer. The best part is that they all like each other, which I think is rare. I don't actually know- I have always had friends just here and there, that didn't interact with each other. Now, I have people who can hang together, which is a lot of fun. I never had a "crew" before, besides B and E. I like it. Two of our crew are getting married in a few weeks, to each other, so we're looking forward to that too. I was even able to score a secondhand Sky brand dress to wear to it, which is fabulous.

E starts camp this coming Monday, and while that's been a whirlwind with the end of school and going right into camp, there's nothing like not having to make or deal with lunch for eight weeks. Not having to drop off or pick up is pretty sweet too. Unlike school, he does love camp (what's not to love?!) so he's excited and I'm excited because that means there's extra me-time built in there. I do take a day off here and there to go to the town pool ALONE. That's my happy place- alone, at the pool, with my new chair.

Happy Summer Solstice, friends!

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