Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Progress, In Spite of It All

The Book marches forward, despite sickness, new dog, and an ever-inflating calendar of events and activities. We spent the weekend doing absolutely nothing in order to recharge our family batteries.
But I did manage to meet with my editor last night, and I feel more in order this morning.

Go check out the Book Blog, why don't you, and see why I love my editor.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's a Lazy, Crazy, Winter in Alaska

This is how we all feel, today. What a crazy, crazy week.

Riley was "fixed" yesterday, so he's spending the day relaxing in the luxury of his crate. Jasper is wildly excited to have his new companion home, so much so,  he spends quality time staring into Riley's crate, wagging his stubby tail.

I am homebound with a cold, but still intercepting phone calls from Mountain High Facility and the Anchorage School District to try and figure out a way (c'mon, people, this just shouldn't be so complicated) to graduate Wolf from high school.

Yukon is still playing catch up from our trip to Hawaii, but now has planned a business trip to Barrow next week (I think I'd rather go back to Hawaii) to meet with the tribal college.

Bear is anxious about spring, and seems to relish driving us nuts lately. His teacher says all first graders become wild animals in February. I will choose to cling to her wisdom, and hope "this too, shall pass."

Maybe I'd really, really like to be shut up in my own crate for the solitude such a position will afford.

Monday, February 20, 2012

We Needed Each Other

That's what I keep telling myself. But he's really, really cute, isn't he?
Meet Riley: Part dog, part squirrel, all personality.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"...We've Got All the Strength We Need In the Shape of Us"

I'm following the journey of so many families in crisis over their children.  Some I have known intimately since childhood, some only recently.  All of them, however, involve children on one spectrum or another, suffer from one disability or another - and parents agonize about their futures, down on their very knees tonight, hoping and praying for life to look just a little bit different tomorrow.

Our children's disabilities have shaped not only they, personally, but everyone around them, and not entirely in a negative way. Please, please, understand this. What is most chaotic and sad about families like ours and yours and others who I cannot name, is also the most beautiful.

The shape of Us. Twisted, but smooth. Narrow, but strong. Complex, but clear.

"Hold my hand
  hold my heart
  let go your fears
  I will always be here."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day: All We Need is Love (and Bacon)

As I stumbled around the kitchen this morning, waiting for my coffee to deliver its promised get-up-and-go, I noticed a pyramid on the counter. Centered around a lovely bouquet of irises were (in order of priority), a new jar of Nutella, a pound of bacon, and the latest Tony Bennet CD, "Duets."

My husband so gets me. I'm even more impressed some days that he stays with me.....

Happy Valentine's Day. All we need is love, and bacon.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It is Done, Should We Send Announcements? Update From the Wolf Den

As Yukon, Bear, and I were departing Nesbitt Courthouse in downtown Anchorage yesterday, a funny feeling of anticipation welled up inside my shaken mother-body. I'm not exactly sure how to explain it, but with the banging of the magistrate's gavel at 11:24 a.m., Yukon and I entered into a brand new world of parenting. A birth, of sorts.

Of course we're still Wolf's mom and step-dad; that sort of relationship will never change, as it will never change for any of us. Parents are parents no matter how old our kids grow to be. But this is different. Somebody is telling us, and him, we are in charge. Now, and for the duration of our lives.

We fill out a form for a birth certificate a day or so after our children are physically born to us, usually in the hospital. Yesterday's stack of forms felt the same, but attached was an overwhelming sense of relief (and anxiety) that Wolf has to rely on us for guidance in his near and far future (at least, for now).

Remember when you walked in the door with your newborn and just sort of stared at him or her, unsure of what exactly to do next? We feel that way today; carrying this new responsibility around with us the same as if it were a 7lb baby. It's crazy.

We're now (re) parents to a 6' 2", 167lb 18 year-old.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guardian: An Update From the Wolf Den

The clock has tick-tocked its way from 1994 to 2012. According to the United States of America, that means Wolf is an adult. But we know he is not.

According to the Selective Service, he is required to register, as an adult. But, we know, he will never serve.

According to the University of Alaska Anchorage, and a wide range of other instutitions of higher learning, he is soon to be a college freshman. But we know, right now, he will not.

Tomorrow, we are hopeful that the Superior Court of the State of Alaska will agree, and grant Yukon and I guardianship of our adult (but not) son.

Hoops have been jumped through, volumes of reports have been written, conversations have occurred, and tears have ensued. The ramifications of what we are about to do are not lost on us; we understand that with one sweep of a pen, the presiding judge will, in effect, take away many of Wolf's independent, adult rights to choose his own life's direction, at least for now. He will be on the phone to hear this.

The appointed Court Visitor asked, during our initial phone conversation, why I wanted to pursue guardianship. With all due respect, I replied, I don't think any parent would "want" to take away the rights of their adult child, necessary or not.

I don't want to do this, I said. But after 18 years of trying to raise a disbled child, there is one thing I have learned:

It's not ever going to be about what I want.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Visiting Pearl Harbor was pretty special for us. From different military branches and for different reasons, both Yukon and I knew people who served, fought, and subesquently were able to share their experiences with family. An opportunity to walk on the same soil was, for Yukon in particular, sacred.

My great aunt was a nurse in Honolulu's Catholic hospital on December 7, 1941. A free spirited lady, born and raised in Montana but wanting to see the world (wonder where I got the wanderbug; look no further), she had married a native Hawaii'an and settled in the city. When the planes flew over and bombs began to fall, she busied herself with getting over to the bases and helping wherever she could, though not enlisted in the armed forces; not yet. After things settled down, she flew home to Montana, "borrowed" her younger sister's birth certificate (Aunt H was considered too old to enlist at the age of 30), and became an Army Lt., eventually becoming one of the first medical personnel to accompany Gen. Eisenhower into Dachau to liberate thousands of concentration camp prisoners. And all because of one day that, indeed, lived in infamy.

Yukon's father was a lowly navigator for the Submarine Service, and traveled in and out of Pearl Harbor frequently. He joined up the day of the attacks, and was sent to Pearl to help with the salvage of the many ships destroyed on December 7, before spending the majority of time encountering Japanese ships in the South Pacific, returning to Pearl for resupplying. We toured the USS Bowfin, a sub exactly like those Yukon's father sailed.

Then there was Bear. Like most kids, a historical site like the ones at the WWII Valor in the Pacific is full of things to see, touch, and soak up. With such deep military roots, Bear was anxious to know about submarines and wars and the people who fought them. Especially at the USS Arizona memorial, his understanding became clear as he peered below the stark, white monument to the oily depths below, where hundreds of souls still lay. He got it.

We spent the entire day at Pearl Harbor. For me, it was a chance to quietly honor those I know, and those I never did. We took a lot of photos, but in them no one is smiling. And that was how we felt it should be.