Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Rejoicing in a Victory

Happy winter!!!

We just got what looks like 8-12" of powdery delight dumped on everything, so that sure makes it feel like winter is here!

What do I have for you today?

A heart melter.

Who is the biggest heart melter I know?

Brady P. Pie Jonesie of love.

Since schools and pretty much everything in this lovely state are taking giant precautions against a contagious virus, the one room schoolhouse did a video program this year.  It was pretty cute.

One of the scenes had Brady P. singing a solo of Jingle Bells.  In the program video, his solo was cut short and finished by his aide singing the line for him.  When I watched it, I didn't know why.  I figured he just got sidetracked or something.

But one day, I saw the original clip of that scene, and I learned why he stopped.

It made me break into absolute tears.  Good tears.  Happy tears. Like, truly the proudest mother on earth tears.

I can't even type about it without crying.

I will let you watch it to see if you got the same thing out of it as I did.

Oh man.

Sorry his voice is a little muffled with the mask and all, but he was saying the words.  His classmates heard him.  And they were proud.  So proud.

They know he has to work hard especially when it comes to speaking long phrases.  I'm not going to lie, I hear him jibber jabber throughout the day lately, so the fact that he sang Jingle Bells did not surprise me all that much.

But the fact that his classmates clapped and shouted so triumphantly lets me know that they are aware of how hard he works and how far he has come.  They were so genuinely proud of him that it made my heart explode.

Let me put it this way.

I am his mama.  I've been with him for over six years immersed in therapies, reading, speaking and all the things.  It's quite the project to help give a little person all the tools they need to be the best they can be.

But that's what I'm doing.

And to see that his classmates feel that they have invested time, energy and that genuine belief that he can do it, and then feel it's a victory to see that he has done it was almost like I was seeing a part of myself through them.  In them.

And it was so stinkin' beautiful!

It meant the world to me.

Thanks for sharing that with me.  I hope every person in the world gets to feel that at some point in their life because, well, there really isn't anything quite like it.

See you in 2021.  I bet you're ready!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Best Lights in Town


Merry Christmas and stuff!

I had to make you wait a little bit longer because I found a real treat for you.

But first, here is a precious picture of Brady P. and Gramma Mary frosting the little cookie men.  He picked purple, and I'm not surprised.  It's his favorite color.

Sorry it's a little glowy -- I think I had smeared something on my lens.

We are having a wonderful time with grandparents this holiday time.  Since I haven't slept anywhere else since August, I decided we better get the heck out of the harbor for a bit and be with family, so we could give actual hugs and laugh in the same room and cheers real glasses.

That is something to be grateful for!

Plus, the light show we saw in little ol' Clintinville, Wisconsin was absolutely stunning.  Maybe it's because I'm just into that sort of thing, but I was floored by the effort these people put in there on Brix Street.  They won the city-wide Christmas light competition, and it's easy to see why!

The first night we checked it out, I was in the back seat, so my video wasn't so good.  I had to go back, so you could see the real thing.

What a treat!


(Please click the link below to visit it on YouTube.  If you are viewing this from the email, you might have to visit Downs By the Bay if it won't click through.)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Taking It All In

I have to tell you about this moment I had with Brady P last week.  Well, Brady P. and the greatest freshwater lake in the world.

The air was chilly and breezy, but I knew we could handle it.  As long as we bundled up... and I brought a blanket to sit on because it snowed a bit that morning.

B loves Hunter's Point, so whenever I tell him we're going there, he complies with all the necessary prep like getting his jacket and boots on and getting into the van.  

I drove to Hunter's Point to get us out of the house for a bit.  And see that beautiful lake.

We walked down the boardwalk to the lakeshore.  At the end, of course, we got hit with a facefull of wind. 

"Brrrrrr!" I shivered.  "Good thing we have a blanket!"

I let him pick our path to the shore.  He likes to make decisions.  And when we got to just the right spot, I laid down our blanket.  I sat on one end and he sat on the other.

You know what we did then?  

We became one with the waves.

You've probably heard me talk about this before.  Brady P. has this fascination with the rhythm of the waves and the force with which they break and splash.  He will sit there mesmerized as his body works into little convulsions with each crash.

I have grown quite fond of this characteristic of his, so I have started doing it too.  I let my body get all excited when a nice looking wave rolls to the shore.  Then I shake and tense up just as it crashes with my eyes and mouth wide open.

It probably looks so silly.

Especially when we both do it.

But that's what we did!

And then he crawled onto my lap.  I covered his little legs with his end of the blanket and snuggled him in my arms to keep us warm.

Then we watched the waves together.

Oh, I should tell you that the beach that day was carved out pretty low, so the waves broke just below our head height.  We were sitting quite close to the water level, so it almost seemed like we were floating on the lake too.

It was so cool.

But I honestly think that was one of the most special times we had out there together.  He didn't throw a single rock.  We just watched each wave come in with the utmost curiosity, excitement and respect.  Cuz we got sprayed a couple times!

And there I was with the world's sweetest little angel boy in my lap as our bodies shook together with each roll and crash.  Then we would look at each other and silently agree that that was a super good one, and then look out at the lake again to watch the next wave.

Silently.  Respectfully.  Curiously.  Understood.

It was really so magical that I knew I had to tell you about it even when we were still out there.  It was a few days ago, so I can't do the moment justice.

But one of the oddest parts to me was that he did not pick up a single rock to throw.  Not one!  And he's my little rock chucker.  

Not that day!

That day we took it all in.  Sometimes you have to do that.

You know full well that this is not a picture of Hunter's Point.  Nor was it taken last week.  But hey, I had to slap on a picture of her Majesty somehow!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Fast Healer

Sunday was just an ordinary evening.

My mom texted to ask if we could FaceTime for a couple minutes (which my Dad and I joke about because it's never just a couple minutes).

So I called her.

Brady P. was listening to his music, so he wasn't too interested in anything else.  But then I had an idea to engage him.

It was just a normal night, remember.  His first day back to school was the next morning.

"Hey, Braeds!" I interrupted over the "Wash Your Hands" song for the umpteenth time that day.  "Want to show them how you hang?"

"Oh!  Yeah!" he agreed.

He gripped the bar that extends over his little trampoline, pulled his legs over it and clasped it with his knees.  A pretty cool trick! Gramma and Grampy were impressed.

But then he did this flip where he let go with his hands and undid his knees, so he totally let go of the bar.  Kind of like the "penny drop" we did in elementary school or one of those flip dismounts only gymnasts should do.

But that was his first time.

As I shouted, "Woah, cool flip, dude!" I heard the tunk sound of his head hitting the metal rim of the trampoline.  It took him a moment to react.

"I godda go!" I told my parents.  

Then he began to cry.  A wicked cry.  As I gingerly helped him sit, he held his hands over his mouth, muffling his wails.

When I looked down at the surface of the trampoline, I saw all the blood that dumped out of his mouth.  And I watched more blood run down his hands and face.

I have seen enough bloody wrecks to know that when you see blood, especially on an impressionable child, you don't freak out.

Since it was my own child, and I kind of was freaking out on the inside, I took a deep breath, and did what I know you should do to the best of my ability: Stay calm and stop the bleeding.  Major priorities here.

I ran to get a piece of paper towel (but I should have brought the whole roll).  "Here, sweetie.  Hold this up, and spit!"

"Ptu," he spit in little Brady P. not-really-spit way.  But it seemed more effective than when he brushes his teeth!

"Good job!  Can you spit for me again?" I directed as we filled up three more pieces of paper towel.

With blood.

When his mouth was finally draining faster than it was filling, he was able to speak.  He looked down at the trampoline and his hands and shirt and said, "Mummy, that's blood."

"It is blood," I agreed.  Because, that's just what I do when he makes a correct observation.  I was trying to make things feel ordinary.  

"That's your blood, sweets.  You hit your mouth on the trampoline while you were doing that cool flip!  Can I look in your mouth, please?"

He opened a little bit, and I saw this lovely gouge stamped into his tongue.

"Oh, God," I thought.  "That's like three teeth worth of wound.  Good thing tongues heal fast!"

Once I understood the source of the bleeding, I had a decision to make: Drive 40 miles to the ER or take care of it myself.

"Tongues heal fast," I repeated to myself.

Then I did what I always do in a medical emergency.  I called my mom.

She got a look at the wound, and I proudly showed my parents all the blood we had cleaned up.  

She agreed that tongues are vascular and heal quickly, so we could probably stop the blood at home.  She also gave me many more recommendations than I never asked for because she is a nurse.  

A really good nurse.

I tried her ice cube trick and got him to swallow some ice cold water.  Within moments after the second call with my parents, the bleeding stopped.

"Look, Braeden!" I cheered, "You're spitting clear now!  The blood stopped!  You're doing great!"

By that time I had him in my lap and arms, rocking him gently and still soaking up his slightly-tinged drool from his sweet little ever-drooling mouth.

I just kept telling him how he was going to be all better soon, and that he was doing really well.

I think that was key.  Because I think he believed me.  Because that's was happened.

Sure, I mean, he was in a lot of pain that night, so I had to give him something stronger than Tylenol.  I conferred with my nurse on that, and he slept soundly for a while.

I did not sleep, however.  I lied next to him with this Dear Santa song we both love stuck in my head while I listened to make sure he was breathing.  

You know, typical mom stuff.

And in the morning, he woke up way more chipper than I would have thought.  And way earlier.

"Mummy, lets' get up!" he urged at 6:45 am (which was earlier than if I had set his alarm for school!).

"Nope, " I replied.  "I'm still tired."

"Okay.  I'll go play.  You stay sleeping."

Did I ever tell you that I have the coolest did in the world???

So I turned on a light for him and laid down in my own bed for a bit.  Being unsure of how he would feel in the morning, I notified the school during the wee hours that he needed a day to heal.

Eating breakfast was a bit rough for him, but he seemed pretty good otherwise.  And when I looked in his mouth, I was surprised how it looked the next day.

What a great healer!  Even all the other teeth piercing marks were gone!

And within minutes, he was back to listening to music and... jumping on his trampoline.

But I lined the rim with a foam pool noodle, so he can keep practicing his flips.

And when I picked him up from school yesterday, his wonderful aide said, "He healed up so fast!  Mouths are amazing."

Yup.  That's what I thought!  Whew!

P.S.  Copper Harbor Vitality is having a holiday sale!  If you are interested in checking out the new sale items, new artwork and getting an extra 20% off of all products (with the code GRATEFUL), click here to shop!  Thanks!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Just Perfect

I guess that something pretty wonderful has been on my mind.

I remember my internal debate about if I really wanted to ever have kids.  Since I was little, to when I was in my 20's, to when I was married with a blossoming career, I debated.

"I think a kid would get in the way of all this traveling I have to do for my job," I told myself when I was an active outdoor freelance writer.

And that assumption was correct.

But you know what?

After little Brady P. was born with all the extras that came with him, I didn't want to be an outdoor freelance travel writer anymore.  It seemed so... trite.

The experiences that caved my world in, and the journey I was on with my son told me that there was more to my life than writing articles about outdoor life (not knocking it at all.  Somebody else can do it!).

Nope, my path changed dramatically in a few months.  And six years later, as that little boy turns into a charming, smart, well-behaved, compassionate, heart-melting human being, I know I was right about the switch.

Maybe I have already written about this lately, but I'll write it again:

Little Brady P. Pie Jones is an absolutely beautiful, captivating human being.

When people see him or meet him, they just know.  They know he is not just special, but enchanting.  I tell people his superhero name would be The Heart Melter.

Because he is.

If you are angry, you won't be angry if Brady P. enters the room. If you are sad, and he gives you a hug, you will find a reason to smile.  If you get a boo boo, he will try to make it better.  If you see him in his element, he will try to make you laugh... and when you laugh, he will make you laugh harder!

On Monday I brought him in for his well-child checkup.  He did everything so nice for the nurse, and he sat so sweetly in his flirtatious way while the nurses asked me the routine questions.

On her way out the door, the first nurse said, "You are a very well-behaved young man."  Then she turned to me and said, "Great job, Mom!"

That made my heart feel so good.  People really notice what a little gentleman he is.

He always says hello to a passerby, and he often blows a kiss when somebody leaves the room.

What a little love!

Okay, so here's the wonderful thing that's been on my mind.


I am this little boy's Mom!

I get to be with him almost everyday of his life!  I get all the laughs, the kisses, the jokes, the sweetness, the goofiness, the tricks, the magic, the amazement -- everything!

I get to be there when he starts to ask more questions.  When he uses more words in his sentences.  When he shows me how he understands more abstract concepts.  When he reaches new milestones.

I get to be there to see it all!

It is quite possible that I am the luckiest person on the planet.

When I think back to those days of internal debates about whether or not I should have a kid, I just shake my head.

There is no way I could have possibly fathomed how my life would change once the greatest gift a person can receive on this earth came into my life.

And I'm glad I never tried to plan for it any certain way.

Because things are working out perfectly.

No words needed

Enjoy your day!