11 September 2012


It's hard to believe its been 11 years since terrorists highjacked those 4 planes, destroying the Twin Towers, scarring the Pentagon, and forever leaving their mark on a quiet field in Pennsylvania.
An entire lifetime has passed in those 11yrs.
I was a student, finishing up my time at my school, preparing for the next chapter. What we didnt know was that it wasn't a new chapter that day.
It was a brand new book, one underwritten with fear, anger, pride, sorrow, guilt, and so many other thoughts and emotions.
I was young. I didn't fully grasp the effects of those attacks at the time. How they changed the entire world, in just a few short hours. How much the next decade, or two, would be completely and utterly effected by those few hours. Those dark hours.

We now have an entire generation to contend with. One that doesn't know the sheer terror of watching the towers collapse, for days on end, as it was a constant stream on every channel. These kids will not know what it's like to watch as thousands of lives are snuffed out, as you watched in horror, unable to do anything but remain frozen, eyes glued to the screen as you prayed to wake up from the nightmare, you family, friends, and world intact and unscathed.

When the nightmare didn't end, we moved into action. We took our anger, our sorrow, and turned it towards helping the survivors, remembering the victims, and punishing the offenders.
We came together as a nation, and as a world, to rally against the pure evil that could take all those without a second thought.
We wore our pride for our country, our fellow citizens, and ourselves, as Americans, and as righters of wrongs. We became closer than this country has been in decades. Strangers helped strangers, neighbors supported each other, and brave men and women stepped up to defend it all.

And now we have so many who could not understand the depth of it all. Anyone, 17 or younger, who remembers it all would be a rarity.
Those kids are the future of our country, and they have less than 10yrs before they start taking charge. In a world where apathy has taken hold of so many who do remember, what do we have to look for with an "unaffected" generation?

09 September 2012

Topolino- talking to my parents about ASD

I have sought support and guidance from my parents, my husband, and his parents, in the hopes of finding the best ways to help Boy. My parents, raised in the poetry of their native tongues (my father borne of an Italian mother, my mother borne of Parisian parents) bemuse themselves in guiding us with old sayings, many of which were repeated throughout their upbringings. And here I have combined a detail of part of our struggle with pitters of their "old world" words of wisdom.

Topolino- Little mouse.
He is vastly different than Trottola (spinning top), and they are a pair for generations to awe at, the serenity that flows between them, the peace that descends when they are together.
When Boy and Girl are together, it is the ultimate gift of siblinghood, and something we have been so honored to give them. They understand each other, and Girl, our Chatty Cathy knows, instinctively, all of her brother's needs.
A buon intenditor poche parole.
They don't need words to know each other.

Girl is patient with her brother, something uncommon for a 2 year old, and usually uncommon for her. He trusts her, and us, implicitly.
It wasn't until recently that the extent of this situation became clear.
Speaking to the teachers at their school, we discovered something we were hardly in a position to notice. Something that made his loving nickname ring a little more true.
Topolino is completely out of his depth without us. Without Mommy, Daddy, Sissy, or one of the family there, he disappears inside himself.
Human security blankets.
We don't even have to be with him! Just seeing us, sitting on the far side of the yard, or even through the window, he is an open and social little boy, like most others around him.
But, you take that security blanket away, and he crumbles in on himself, losing that confidence that radiates otherwise. He will sit there, legs curled, just watching what goes on around.
Almost no amount of coaxing will resolve his problem. No amount of invitations will get him joyfully involved. He will get "involved", because he has been taught that ignoring requests is rude, but he is the disinterested teenager, on the edge of the crowd, acting as if playing with toy cars (one of his FAVORITE activities) is equivalent to forcing his hand into an acid wash.

He is quite a peculiar tot.
My father has ventured:
Che sarà sarà.
What is to be, will be.

But how will this effect our little mouse?
We want him to blossom, no matter what the season, hoping that it is not asking too much.
If only he could speak his needs to us, but it doesn't work quite that way, now does it?
Fatti maschi, parole femmine. Basically: what he needs and what he can say don't match.

We want him to be able to have a life apart from us. To be able to take a weekend trip with a friend and enjoy it, even if none of us are there. We never imagined the idea of coddling that he is almost never without all of us. It is a fact, being the same age as his sister, they do the same things, and when they are apart, he has some sort of adult supervision. A parent, his aunt or uncles, or big sister.
We never imagined sending them to separate nannies, or leaving him with a stranger when he has family at home to watch him.

Noi non potemo avere perfetta vita senza amici.
Or can he? Can he be happy without friends (who aren't family)?
I hope to not find out.

My mother, (switching languages, but not direction) said to me:
J’ay ma foi tenu à ma puissance. Vise en espoir.
I have kept my faith as far as I am able. Look to the future.

He will come as far as he wills, and we must patiently wait for the turnover in that journey.

Chi sta bene non si muove.'
The aim for perfection might slow down progress.
But what about aiming for progress? We don't need any more perfection than he already is. But we'd like for him to ba able to spread his wings and catch the air.

May Gods will become ever clearer as we seek his guidance, and may we always remember:

Chi più sa, meno parla.

07 September 2012


I've decided not to vote.... Because then, whoever wins, when people blame them for every little thing that is wrong with their lives,I can say "don't look at me for sympathy, I didn't vote for them". And I will continue paying my taxes, and living my middle class life, without much effect from the election....

JFK screwed up the Bay of Pigs, he got assassinated, and he is now a hero.
Nixon had Watergate, now he's peachy.
Bush Sr. had Desert Storm and everyone loves him now.
Abraham Lincoln had an all out WAR, the country divided, but him getting assassinated was the propulsion needed to end slavery.
Clinton had an affair, but the deficit was minimalized.
Everybody and their mother hated Bush Jr, but suddenly he ain't so bad.

The point being: every president gets blamed for everything when they are in office, but give it a few years, and they are suddenly folk heroes!
No matter who wins the election, 6 months down the road, most everyone will be blaming the president for their problems.
And you know what?
In a decade or two, the President will be hailed an amazing person, and everyone will be like "yeah, son, I voted for him!"

No matter what a president does, half the country is going to hate their guts from the getgo. And no president is ever going to win a popularity contest.
And they are stuck with death threats, no privacy, more work than one resin can handle, social-political obligations, and the inability to tell people to "go to hell!" because it isn't politically correct.
The president is stuck working someone else's agenda, and never knowing who they can trust, who's working against them, and who's hanging around just to get their name noticed.
They endure long nights, worrying how every little decision will impact 700,000,000 people, and how even an opposing minority will gain the ground of a majority, just because of the age of social media.
Every action scrutinized, every expression analyzed, and every article of clothing judged by people who have nothing better to do than judge what they view as someone else's inadequacies.
I would never want to be the president.
I don't think my mind, body, or spirit could stand the faceless hate and unrewarding stress.
I'd rather be deployed a year than spend a month doing the president's job. Because, even though I could spout off, all day every day, what I would change about our country, trying to actually create that change is a bureaucratic nightmare!
So, I will sit back patiently, and wait for the results. Then, I will, without hesitation, follow any and all lawful and moral orders passed down by my Commander ind Chief.
And, as always, I would take a bullet for them, because they have taken on one of the greatest challenges of all, they are my boss, and I respect what they are trying to do.

No president sets out to make the country a worse place.

A year apart

So, the subject of today's blog is how Wife and I cope with being apart.
My last deployment, right after we got married, only took me away for two months. And my only other deployment occurred when I had no one so special in my life. We have been apart about 8 months now, the longer time since we met.

I am fortunate for the modern world we live in. For cell phones, Internet, air mail, and email. I don't know how I'd survive otherwise.
1 year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. Give or take a few.
I've missed an 18th birthday, high school graduation, college orientation, first day of college, Aspergers diagnosis, first day of preschool, many milestones, all but one sonogram (in person), baby's first kicks, the morning sickness, the amazing changes, the building of the nursery.
I've missed the chances to be there for all of that, but I have survived, because my wife has been there for both of us. And she documents every little thing, from new achievements to "boring" routines. And it helps me feel like I'm there!
There's nothing like getting to chat with your kids, them not truly knowing why you aren't with them, but understanding that you haven't abandoned them.
It takes great patience for my wife to do that. To give each child an opportunity alone with Daddy, even if it means we don't get to chat that day. She keeps my presence there, and keeps their presences with me.
She extends bedtimes, and shuffles plans to accommodate the 8.5hr time difference. She is patient always, with the internet, the schedule changes, and the time limitations.
My wife sends pictures just about every day. They range from morning cuddles, to bedhead breakfasts, exciting playdates, tv time, grocery shopping, bath time, story time, naptime, or any other spur of the moment she manages to snap a picture.
She'll patiently recount an entire day if I ask, just so I can feel the least bit like I was there, flipping the pancakes, playing the games, listening to the jokes, and reading the stories.
Just as I will recount my days for her, so she can remind herself what I do, because she loves that I do what I love, but sometimes long absences can make us forget.
We get our alone time, too. We laugh, we cry, we talk, we argue, and sometimes we just see each other, not a single word needed between us.
We remind ourselves that we are a couple, even worlds away, she is my one and only, my shining star. We are not just a mother and father, sister and brother, we are husband and wife, and it's okay to be selfish sometimes.
We are each others confidants, we can confess our weaknesses without judgement, and we draw our strength from each other. Neither of us has the harder of both worlds, because we both have our challenges and our rewards, and we are gracious for both, because it is all a test of our endurance. And we will endure!

Others go out of their way for us, too
Our OB/GYN accommodates us, so that I can Skype into appointments and sonograms. I got to see my baby's heartbeat for the first time, the same time my wife did. I got to see our baby grow, and watch it grow from a little bean, to an alien, to a baby. Got to track their progress and health, and get the peace of mind that everything is running smoothly, straight from the doctor's mouth.
I've gotten to talk, "face to face" with our son's physical therapist/occupational therapist, cardiologist, and soon, his new therapist. I get to be involved as much as I can bear, so I am not left lost and confused when I return.
I get personalized tours of campus, and the dorms, and get to hear about all the excitement of being a college student. And all the amazing things they have discovered in their new city.
Ive helped make decisions, financially, familially, decoratively, etc, that most wives wouldnt think twice to include their husbands in. And it means so much to me, as almost a compensation for what I do miss being over here.
By the time I go on R&R, I'll have a brand new little boy or girl. I will have missed out on feeling the kicks, talking to the belly, helping the mother of my children as she progresses, and simple things become more difficult. I won't get to stand there and hold my child as soon as it comes into the world, but I'll be watching, with an aching heart, knowing I will be there soon.