Time sure flies around the holidays...but not writing in a month has been hard. I like to put my stories down and develop them but instead they are fluttering around in my brain taking up space but losing their nuance and details. I know, I know, I should just carry that little notebook with me and jot things down but it is never satisfying enough. If I start I will want to finish and there is just so much other stuff I am supposed to be doing. "Supposed to"...a phrase I sure need less of.
In any case, as I race around town checking out all the local toy stores in between my usual medical rounds my mind keeps wandering back to a feeling of gratitude. Thanksgiving is several weeks past but still...
Every single day I'm grateful for Oscar's school (which was also Abe's and will be Ruby's), which supports and loves him, providing "just right" challenges and somehow fostering continued, even mounting, enthusiasm about school. Each morning, as he walks into the classroom, he checks the schedule on the board and has been known to jump up and down upon seeing that writer's workshop, or Native American posters, math centers or a spelling challenge is on the list for the day. The teachers, his aides, and the staff really know what they are doing and it really works for Oscar. Four years in and I still pinch myself every day. This stuff is hard for him...he's just barely (and often not) keeping up and yet he is learning and loves it.
I'm grateful for Oscar's friends who know, really know and like him. It took me a long time to believe he had friends and even when I would say it out loud there would be a big "but...." lingering on the tip of my tongue. I'm catching myself now, admitting that these kids want to play with him, are choosing to talk to him. The other day his friend Lara was supposed to come over. He hadn't seen her in 6 months because she switched schools and both kids were so excited to finally get together. The playdate ended up getting canceled (for good reasons) and both kids were devastated. Lara called on the phone instead and I could hear her enthusiastic "OSCAR!!!" booming through the phone as I stepped out of the room. The smile on Oscar's face was precious -- he said she just kept asking him question after question and he could hardly answer before she asked another, let alone ask her anything. And then there's Angie who shares Oscar love of animals and will scheme for hours with him about the zoo they're going to run when they grow up. She's patient, kind, so mature and talks to Oscar in the most matter of fact, non-alarmist way. She even orchestrated his Halloween costume, passing tips to me through her mom. I didn't know Oscar wanted to be a cow till I heard it from Angie's mom! And I can't forget Ben, his first friend at school. Ben was Oscar's de facto aide in kindergarten, before we'd convinced the school district he needed a real one. Ben is the one who nicknamed Oscar "Oskie" and now all the kids call him that, even Angie. Ben always knows what Oscar needs and can pull him into just about any social situation with his enthusiasm. Oscar knows he is safe with Ben. I think that's really it, with these kids and all the others in his class, he feels safe. Safe enough to contribute to class discussions, safe enough to do his best and not worry too much about messing up. He knows he belongs and it makes all the difference to him.
And, finally, I'm grateful for this community of bloggers and readers. I started off here a little less than a year ago and though I'm not writing nearly as much as I would like I am loving the new connections, the cyber friendships, and the wonderful writing I am reading on your sites. I am constantly moved by your stories, your struggles and your triumphs and can't believe it took me so long to get here!
So with that I'm hoping that I've ended my unintended month of silence and can get back to a more regular blogging schedule!