Tag Archives: children

My baby’s feet #babies #memoir

 

image by Deanna Schrayer
image by Deanna Schrayer
When I held my babies, whether to please them or to please me – usually both – I was fascinated with their feet. Not only were they tiny enough to hold in the palm of my hand, they were also tattooed with lines that I read like a fortune teller would read your palm to determine your future.
I could barely see the creases in my youngest son, Noah’s, feet, so faint were they, and I knew they’d never touch the ground.
I couldn’t keep Noah’s feet covered for anything in the world. Shoes? No – no matter how many times I picked them up off the floor and put them tightly back on his feet, off they’d come again in a giggling rage of escape. Covering his feet with a blanket was just as difficult.
My husband and I took turns walking Noah around the block in the middle of the night to get him to go to sleep. I always put socks on him, knowing the blanket we’d swaddled him in would be unwound and flapping in the wind with the first punch of his strong little fists. Still, wide awake and squawking, he knocked the blanket off his feet and for a moment all was quiet. Oh, yes! He’s finally asleep! I thought, careful not to announce it. But no, the moment he realized his feet were not bare his scream grew louder than ever.
Attempting to cover him back up, I rocked and rocked and rocked Noah as I walked like a drunk down the street. His red face hit my shoulder in rhythm to the beat of my heavy footsteps as he bashed his little legs together, rubbing at his ankles in an attempt to free himself of the socks.
For fifteen, twenty minutes the furious fit jarred the entire neighborhood until I’d reached our house for the twelfth time and, seeing our front door wide open at two AM, and plum exhausted, I imagined the ecstasy of the bed I desperately needed to be in. Noah’s temper finally beat out my patience and, back in the house, standing by our bed, I held on to my screaming son as tightly as he’d allow, kicked off my own shoes, laid down with him on my chest, took a deep breath and rolled over to lay him beside me.
But it wasn’t until I reached down and pulled his socks off that Noah stopped crying. Relieved, I pulled the covers up to my chest and, consequently, to Noah’s. The warning sob reached my ears quicker than it could leave his little mouth. Before the sob became a scream I jerked the blanket back off both of us. A heavy contented sigh escaped my son’s mouth.
As I lay my head on the pillow and tucked my baby into the crook of my arm, his free feet kicking at thin air, he laughed, a great baby belly laugh. In the next second he was sound asleep.
*
I came across this snippet, (when gathering stories for memoirs I’m working on), and wanted to share, in the hopes it brings the same smile to you that it brought to me.

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Surviving New Year’s Eve with teenage sons = ONE resolution

Have you made your 2014 resolutions or have you been procrastinating as I have? At least I was…until last night….Now I have defined my one resolution for this glorious new year: on December 31, 2014, I will either sleep through the day and go out that night or I will sleep through the entire day and night, period.

Oh yea, I may miss the first twenty-seven seconds of 2015, unlike the first twenty-seven seconds of 1997 – 2013 when I roamed between rooms trying to find something less painful than toothpicks to hold my eyes open with while my sons cranked up the music and bounced wall-to-wall between those same rooms. But – it will be worth it.

Yesterday, (after an hour of scraping the remains of what was supposed to be my infamous butter-pecan cake for Christmas from my oven), I spent approximately eighteen hours in my [small] kitchen creating glorious dips and appetizers, slicing veggies, fruit, cheese, and, eventually, my finger, while my 14-and-16-year old sons seemed to be waiting patiently to consume all these heavenly dishes, the youngest battling with his friends on his PS3 while the oldest downloaded seventeen editing programs, and quite probably a virus, to my computer in order to slow it further down than it already was.

After loading the dining room table up with this beautiful food and giving the signal for them to dig in, they didn’t move. Not an inch. Okay, fine. “I’ll eat it all myself,” I told them, and proceeded to load my plate up.

When the youngest finally did glance up and saw that I was eating his favorite food, (that he specifically asked me to make) – sausage and pepperoni Stromboli – he said “Oh,” and grabbed a plate and placed two slices on it. I was happy. Then he sat his plate on the coffee table and picked his game controller back up and commenced to slaughter zombies with his buds. The Stromboli sat unloved on his plate for hours while my oldest swore, when I asked him every ten minutes if he’d eaten anything, that yes, he’d been grabbing stuff here and there. But I could see he was not telling the truth – the fruit and veggies and Stromboli, even the banana pound cake, was wilting on the table.

But I let it pass. They both normally eat like the teenage boys they are and I figured that when they finally did get hungry they’d eat.

And I was right. About an hour later the oldest says to me, “Can I make Ramen noodles?”

Are you kidding me?! “Absolutely not,” I said, and continued with a tirade of “after I spent all dang day in the kitchen cooking for you guys” and “If you’re hungry you’ll eat what I cooked for you,” and yadayadayada…..But of course I gave in, though he did have to make the noodles himself.

At twenty-seven-after-midnight, I had no energy at all to clean up, so this morning my kitchen and dining room were loaded down with all manner of dishes, (how the boys can seemingly not eat a thing but dirty every plate, bowl and glass in the house is beyond me), and I sit here writing while my home begs for attention.

I’ve heard tell that whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you’ll do every day for the rest of the year. In that case, for the remaining 364 days of 2014, I will ignore my poor neglected home, and I will write, write, write! Sounds like a good resolution to me!

So how’s your year thus far?

Deanna on New Year's Eve 2014 image via wallcg.com
Deanna on New Year’s Eve 2014
image via wallcg.com

P.S. The truth: I would frankly be lost without having my sons to cook for and I’m fairly certain that this one small resolution will be shattered. I am beyond grateful that God has given me such kind, loving gentlemen to share my life with. I am blessed.

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Ah, the memories….. #fridayflash #Christmas #holiday

Image by Deanna Schrayer
Image by Deanna Schrayer

I love to flip through memories as a way to relax during this hectic time of year. As I reflect in my essay, There are Stories to be Told, if we don’t capture the myriad memories of our lives by writing them down, they could too easily fade into the distant past and be forever lost. Had I not jotted down the conversation [below] with my youngest son, Noah, eleven-years-old at the time, I may have forgotten it. I stumbled upon this from a past blog and just had to share, again. I hope you get as much of a kick out of it as I have.

Conversation between mother and son, Christmas time

Noah: I want a power scooter for Christmas, and that’s all.

Noah: I want a skateboard for Christmas, and that’s all.

Noah: And I want swords like Tyler and Skyler, and that’s all.

Noah: I want a flashlight and batteries to make it work, and that’s all. That’s all I want for Christmas.

Me: Do you know what I want for Christmas?

Noah: What?

Me: I want all my family to be happy.

Noah: *rolls eyes*

Me: And I want tickets to see Bruce Springsteen, and tickets to see Keith Urban, and tickets to see the Tennessee Vols play football, and a new car, and someone to remodel my house, and a new wardrobe and a make-up artist, and a hair dresser, and a new bathroom, and a mud pit, and…

Noah: I’m sorry, I don’t want to listen anymore.

Me: But I didn’t say that to you.

Noah: That’s because I was done!

********

During that same time, in 2010, I wrote a Friday Flash inspired by something my oldest son had said when he was four-years-old. I hope you get a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the story Christmas is Over!, on my former fiction site The Other Side of Deanna, here.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas and fantastic New Year!

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The Protector: A Middle of the Night Excursion #fridayflash #amwriting #fiction

frdayflashbadge02

Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

I have been working on a group of short stories about the adventures – and epiphanies – I’ve experienced in the middle of the night [throughout my life]. When this particular memory came to me last week I felt it would be more fun to write it as a flash piece rather than the creative nonfiction the other stories have been.

I hope you enjoy this Middle of the Night Excursion: The Protector, rated PG, according to my standards.

 

The Protector, a Middle of the Night Excursion by Deanna Schrayer

My two younger sisters and I shared a bedroom and though each of us had our own bed – a bunk bed and a single – I preferred sleeping against the cool glass of the bay window, sprawled across the sill with only a sheet wrapped around my skinny legs. I needed to feel the dark of night, to watch the moon as it made its way from one side of the charcoal sky to the other, (though I was usually asleep before the corner of the moon was chopped off by Iron Mountain). But there were also the times I’d awaken to find the moon was not there at all.

Instead, heavy threatening clouds hung from the sky, wrinkles of gray fog slithering through the pines on the mountaintop like startled snakes. These were the nights I slid from the windowsill and crept outside, quiet as a midnight cat. I tiptoed out of our room, cracked the front screen door just enough to squeeze through, and inched my way around the trailer to stand beneath our bedroom window, somehow feeling that I was protecting my sisters from the coming storm.

There was a hitch on this end of the trailer, (our home was stationary but designed for mobility, in case we ever felt the need, I guessed, to latch onto a passing truck and take off). I climbed up onto the hitch and stood with my feet perched firmly on either side of the rails that formed a triangle pointing south.

I heard the wind rustling through the full summer oaks before it lifted my stringy hair and tickled it across my sun-burned cheeks. Then the wind stood still, calm, before nearly jostling me off the triangle with its heady rush.

Just as I spread my arms to brace myself, to steel my body for the sting of the slashing rain, I heard it. And the power behind it was stronger than any storm I’d ever faced.

“Savannah Leighann! Get your hind-end in this house right now!”

I hesitated only long enough to glance up and telepathically tell the vast sky goodnight before jumping from my pedestal and dragging myself inside to face the wrath of my momma.

The Protector-innocent

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Can we rid the world of Down’s Syndrome, of Pervasive Developmental Disorders? Would we want to? #autism #autismawareness

It’s been several years since I read Elizabeth Moon’s The Speed of Dark but it’s the first thing I thought of when reading this article about the forthcoming possibility of curing Down’s Syndrome. The Speed of Dark is about a man’s struggle with whether or not to participate in a study to “cure” his autism. Here’s the blurb from The Speed of Dark, via Elizabeth Moon’s website:

“Lou is a high-functioning autistic adult who has made a good life for himself and is, he thinks, content. But a new manager in the pharmaceutical firm for which he works decides to put pressure on the unit that employs autistic persons. Lou is pressured to undergo an experimental treatment that might “cure” the autism he doesn’t think needs curing, or risk losing his job–and certainly the accommodations the company has put in place for its autistic employees.”

The ethical question that both the article and The Speed of Dark poses is: If you could cure the disease would you be willing to risk the possibility of basically erasing [the person’s] personality?

To be short and to the point, I wouldn’t. My son has High Functioning Autism, which is basically the mildest form of autism under the “umbrella” of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Although his autism caused many difficulties for him throughout his early school years, especially in social situations, with continual therapy and much hard work he overcame those challenges, and along that journey he became one of the most kind-hearted and intelligent people I’ve ever known. (Yes, the possibility of exaggerating that, as his mother, exists but others have expressed this opinion too).

One of the characteristics I love most about my son is his insistence at questioning everything, and when I say everything I mean everything. At times that can be frustrating of course, (mainly when I don’t know the answer and am unable to explain something to him), but I am rather proud of his persistence in investigating until he finds the answers he seeks. This trait makes for terrific philosophical discussions, something I’ve always enjoyed, even when the particular subject shoots way over my head. (He is 16-years-old now and as he discovers more and more about life this is often the case).

Because of this “need to know” my son has developed a dogged patience that I quite envy. When he wants to learn something, (he is very interested in software design and such), he sits down, he studies, and he learns it, no matter how long it takes. He is also quite a talented artist, not only using software tools but also with nothing more than pencil and paper, (something else I’m proud of considering how many teenagers are averse to doing anything that doesn’t require a computer).

If this sounds like a “mommy brag post”, well, I suppose it is, but the point is: should a cure for autism suddenly be discovered and offered to all people diagnosed [with a form of autism] I would not want my son to take advantage of it, I would not be willing to sacrifice the personality traits that make him the wonderful person he is.

What about you? If your child is living with autism, Down’s Syndrome, Asperger’s, etc., or if you know someone who is, would you be willing to risk the loss of their personality to “remove the parts of them” that present the challenges of living with such an illness?

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