Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010
Clouds, May 2010: This picture was taken from the car window on Route 80 in NJ. The lines in the sky are obviously from planes, but the fact that they form an "x" caught my attention. And after I snapped the pic, I noticed the cloud to the left as it looks like a boy's face.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

the e-word

In less than a decade I will endure the lengthy, costly, emotionally difficult process of legal guardianship.

Hold that thought for a minute...

So it used to be that gay & lesbian couples didn't have the right to marry, while plenty of heterosexual couples took it for granted & in some instances, abused the privilege altogether.


I would hope that most people want to marry for the same reasons-- whoever they are-- for love & commitment. This is a rite of passage that my son will likely never know. I am not saying this out of self pity or feeling sorry for him-- I don't feel sorry for him because he enjoys the most that he can out of life every day & he is happy. There are plenty of people in this world who do not enjoy the most out of life & never do get married even though legally they can (I am not stating that as one related thought, though-- I am just saying...)

That being said, do I still think it sucks that certain decisions were already outlined for Hayden (before he was even born)? Yes. But I also believe there is a power much greater than all of us, who trusted me & my husband with the privilege of raising Hayden. And that is why he was granted to us.


If the debate over marriage equality was just limited to emotional & social aspects, then this would not be an issue of civil rights. People who marry have the privilege of more legal protections & benefits than I can list. The piece of paper we call a marriage license essentially safeguards us & our families.

For the first time in history married gay couples (who, first of all, can be called married gay couples regardless what state they live in...) are now legally entitled to: hospital visitations, child custody, adoption, parenting rights, medical decision-making power, automatic inheritance, standing to sue for wrongful death of a spouse, spouse & child support, access to family insurance policies, & exemption from property tax upon death of a spouse... to name just a few.

I do not think about rainbows when I ponder this landmark Supreme Court ruling, although maybe the bright colors help. I simply believe the government made a decision to give others a chance to make their own decisions.

As far as I'm concerned it translates to nothing more than basic human rights.

I had no choice over the fact that I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with a man. But at least I knew that some day I could.
In less than a decade I will endure the lengthy, costly, emotionally difficult process of legal guardianship. Most of the time I use my blog (in one way or another) to communicate why I am endlessly advocating for equal dignity in the eyes of the law for my son. For someone I love. Albeit differently than a spouse, but does it matter?

Do you have any idea how much I wish that my son's basic human rights were a non-issue?


I will not insult people who disagree with me. But I will forever stand behind the government's decision in favor of something so sacred. Marriage? Yes. But more importantly: equality.  


--

Monday, June 22, 2015

the big ten

Double digits. The big 1-0. 

My not-so-little guy... 


He is ten.


I have always said Hayden's most prominent feature is definitely his smile. He wears it often & he wears it well.

I may not be able to expect that every person he comes in contact with is going to understand everything about him, but I do expect people to continue to notice how he is just like them. And I do expect his uniqueness to be viewed as opportunities of acceptance. Hayden is someone worth getting to know & my hope is that he always continues to be thought of & included.

And I wish for those who are close to Hayden to realize this privilege.


I pray that he will grow to understand that every time I think I can not possibly love him more, I still do.


Even through all of the frustrating struggles when I feel drained.  Especially after those immeasurably tough days,
or a weak moment of mourning over what could have been... I not only remind myself how far we've come, but that there will never be a cap on his progress. And I do believe he is aware of this, & that is why he is so content with this life he knows.

It all comes down the fact that I only wish for Hayden a life of endless comfort & effortless happiness. So far in his first ten years on this earth, he has damn near mastered the latter (may that never, ever change).

My Hayden. My love. He might be the reason sometimes I can barely wait to put my head on my pillow at night... but he is also the number one reason I want to get up every day.





Hayden, you're just a cool kid. I love your interest in tools, & cars, & trucks, & hitches, & tires, & fixing things... I love your interest in money & I hope that you have a lot of it... & I love that there are so many different genres of music that really speak to you... & I love your attention to detail... & I love that you still get excited about wearing something new & that you not only take pride in looking nice, but also insist on play clothes when you're doing your thing outside with your shed... I love your favorite uniform of choice when you mean business-- jeans, a white T, & work boots... I love that you appreciate a really great doughnut but couldn't care less about candy, chocolate bars, ice cream, or cupcakes... I think it's funny the way you eat meatballs sometimes as if they're keeping you alive but you have zero interest in a hamburger... & how you looove pizza, yet you will not go near macaroni & cheese if I paid you...

But my favorite thing is when the people closest to you are really excited to see you, because you tend to reciprocate their enthusiasm. It is genuine & shows the purity of your heart.


Our life with you may be different, but it is never boring. You are an interesting & loving person. I could not be more proud to be your mom.
Happy Birthday H-Man! 

--



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

a perfect ten

Yesterday was Hayden's last progress meeting of the 2014-2015 school year. We spoke about his general trend of non-compliance lately (more so in the morning vs the afternoon), task avoidance, & so forth. The interesting thing is that his treatment regimen this year has been helping very well... but for whatever reason(s) he is also going through a phase of simply not wanting to do work.
But I need to put yesterday's progress meeting into perspective. Because the truth is, H has also made some amazing strides that are not to be dismissed.

When I got to the school I stopped at the front office & had the best greeting ever. Apparently one day, recently, a certain third grader took it upon himself to fill in for the secretary when she was away from her desk. He was only supposed to be delivering something to the front office, but he had bigger plans. The child was caught on camera & I had the pleasure of watching said video on the secretary's cell phone... of my son pretending to do her job. One of the aides captured a couple of stills, as well:




I am telling you he has nearly all of the faculty over there wrapped around his finger (naturally I am perfectly fine with this). I can't count how many times we randomly run into people from school-- just around town for example-- & we're told how much they love our son & that his picture is on their refrigerator. Over the years I have given many thank you notes & many holiday cards, to many people who work with him. And it's beyond heartwarming to know how many kitchens are adorned with his contagious smile.

So anyway, back to yesterday morning at the school... next stop was to the Child Study Team room where we were meeting. Fast-forward near the end as we were wrapping up our conversation, & I heard the most fascinating story...

Apparently H's third grade classmates from Gen Ed were in the library giving mini presentations about books they read. H wanted a turn too, but instead of giving any sort of book report he stood in front of the room & (so I was told) spoke about friendship... or the importance of friendship... & about his buddy J who he had brunch with the day before. They said he was articulate & confident, & that even the librarian herself practically had her jaw on the floor. He thanked his audience when he was done, & the 20 or so students that he was speaking to clapped for him.

There are about 50 levels of amazing right there in that one update.

But without even listing them, the other little background piece is that we ended up having a scheduling conflict for this brunch date (that he spoke so well of), which we had planned many weeks prior. It turns out that the t-ball program H joined with his cousin was going to be giving out awards that day, as well as taking a team picture, & enjoying a snack together after their game. There is still one more game scheduled for this Sunday, but long story short it was decided they would do all of this at the second-to-last game instead of the last game.

I knew that he would be missing t-ball, but my heart sank when I found out everything else he would be missing too. An email went out just a couple of days prior & that's when we learned all of this. But as quickly as I felt bad about it, I also got over it... because the bottom line is that I knew we would not be able to reschedule brunch before the prepaid ticket expired. (The children's brunch tickets had been donated for our location Education Foundation fundraiser, so they were purchased back in March at the time of the event.) And this kid from school is such a gem of a friend to Hayden that I really did not want to cancel anyway.

Brunch was amazing... our little family of three with their big family of five... & the kids were nothing short of awesome. And the fact that this little event ultimately led to my son standing up & speaking in front of his whole class...

I can't even. Absolutely priceless.

So like I said,
yesterday was Hayden's last progress meeting of the school year. We spoke about his general trend of non-compliance lately & recent task avoidance.

But as you can see, as far as I'm concerned the meeting was a perfect ten.
--

Monday, May 4, 2015

happy tears

I do not have the faintest idea why I am so emotional-- good or not so good-- in response to most things Hayden... (said no parent of a child with fx, ever)

Well as of late, our Sundays have been no exception to this pattern. Hayden recently joined a t-ball group with his cousin Kaitlyn. In her township, this is one of various activities available through a recreation program called PEAK (Parents of ExtrAordinary Kids). She has participated previous years as well, but we have never been in a hurry to sign Hayden up for sports (his interests tend to lean towards cars, trucks, & tools to name a few). 

Well needless to say we decided to give this a try & our expectations were to get him there. Period.


So, here we go with the emotional response... because as soon as H got to the ball field, my eyes welled up with pride... the way he immediately ran ahead of us & was anxious to participate.. & when I saw him go up to other kids, extend his hand, & say, "I'm Hayden"... I can barely put into words how wonderful that was to witness. For me this was already a positive memory, regardless how the rest turned out. 

Of course I was taking pictures every minute or so, & when I saw the X in the sky my heart skipped a beat. For anyone who knows me & knows how this has been my thing for about five years now-- (possibly) obsessed when I spot an X in the sky-- I look at these pictures of H at the tee with that beautiful sign above him & it just warms my heart.





On that note, without going into every detail of every ten minutes, I will say the second week was amazing as well. A couple of people from the school expressed interest in wanting to see him play, but I didn't say anything to H in case one or both of them couldn't make it. And when we showed up the following week for his second game, he had an entire cheering section waiting for him-- literally. Over by one of the picnic tables there was an entire group ready to root him on.


(Cue more happy tears...) 


I still get choked up every time I look at that picture & the pure joy on his face.

I missed yesterday's game-- week three-- but had a very good reason which I'll get to in a moment. (It actually turns out we have multiple scheduling conflicts with the t-ball games, & despite our best efforts he is going to miss more than one but I am glad we tried.) Hayden still had a wonderful cheering section... both sets of grandparents were there, both of his Aunts, & all of his younger cousins (his second older cousin, Kaitlyn's brother, was at the last game) :) I wish I had been there to spend time with my sister & nieces who schlepped out from NY... but I also heard when they were at lunch after, Hayden tried a smidgen of chocolate ice cream! (And so did his jersey which I spot-bleached, but didn't know what the heck the stains were from.) Sensory issues frequently interfere with his diet so I love when he tries something out of his comfort zone! It does happen occasionally! Here is an adorable picture of Miss Flora happily encouraging him:




Anyway, the reason I missed it...
The NJ Community Support Group (CSG) is part of the National Fragile X Foundation's (NFXF) parent volunteer program, & as most people know I co-lead the NJ CSG alongside my friend Paula... (here we are if you ever need us...)
We had set the date for yesterday's Planning Meeting before I knew about t-ball. But we had a very fun, productive meeting which Paula graciously hosted in her lovely home.



Amazing mamas <3 
I learn new things every single time I am with other parents within the fragile x community. Like they say, hands-down the very best & most incredible club that we would not have wished to be a part of.

--
The next bit of good news I've been anxious to share ever since we had Hayden's annual IEP (never thought I'd say that one...), is an unexpected change that I successfully FIXED. 

So when I got the revised draft of Hayden's IEP & I saw the summary under "Parent Concerns"... there went those happy tears sneaking up on me again. It states:

"Mrs. Capela is very happy with Hayden's growth in all areas. She was concerned with the changes to [something something]. Hayden performs significantly better when there is structure and routine. After the conclusion of the IEP meeting [in other words, upon receipt of my letter] the Andover district made changes to the school's [something something]. Hayden will now be eligible to [have things the way they should be ;) ]."

All because I spoke up, & supported my concern with specific reasons why it should be fixed. Advocating works!
Okay, well, maybe not every single time... but even if you don't achieve the exact outcome you were striving for... it is still VERY important for decision makers to hear your voice. That much I can promise.

--
Speaking of advocating, last but certainly not least...
One year ago I met with Senator Oroho to discuss National Fragile X Awareness Day being recognized in the state of NJ. The date would be aligned with the official national date of July 22nd... which by the way has been recognized by Congress since 2010, & was also adopted in various states both before & since that time... with July 22nd being the majority date of observance.

Senator Oroho & Senator Vitale are both Primary Sponsors & today, May 4, 2015 the bill was reviewed by Senator Vitale's Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committee
When we have the official word that it has passed, the world will know :) 

This concludes my long overdue blog update for now... stay tuned, I will return... <3


--

Monday, March 9, 2015

AD in DC for H

Last week Dan & I participated in the 10th annual Advocacy Day (AD) hosted by the National Fragile X Foundation. The two-day event in Washington, DC begins on the first Tuesday in March, & this is when the NFXF provides training for all constituents. The next day, on Wednesday, is when we go to Capitol Hill.

The NFXF works with an agency which schedules all of our appointments for us, & they're all held throughout the day on Wednesday. So each of us meets with our respective Members of Congress (MOC) based on where we live. Occasionally we do meet with an actual Senator or Congressman or Congresswoman, but often times our appointments are with staff members such as Legislative Aides. During the approximate 15-minute meetings, we tell our story, present our "asks", & provide them a leave-behind folder with all the specifics:


Every year the first ask is for continued funding of Fragile X research from the NIH, CDC & DoD. Each budget year as funding is set, our goal is to get our MOC to sign a letter to the Appropriations Committee. The letter asks them to support Fragile X as a priority... & this is how millions of dollars are secured for research funding.

Our second ask is for the co-sponsorship of the T.I.M.E. Act. This stands for Transitioning to Integrated & Meaningful Employment Act. The bill is designed to gradually transition people with disabilities from working in sheltered, segregated employment-- & sometimes for far below minimum wage-- into integrated employment positions with much better wages. 

Our third ask is for the co-sponsorship of the K.A.S.S. Act. This stands for the Keeping All Students Safe Act. The bill addresses unacceptable harmful restraint & seclusion of students with special needs. NFXF constituents have advocated for similar bills in the past & we continue to advocate & hope that our MOC will pass this crucial bill.

Collectively, our asks will not only benefit the community of people affected by Fragile x but far beyond. Even the research funding, considering the overlap of so many other disorders with the various fragile x-associated disorders-- science has taught us that treatments developed for one, can & will benefit many.  

For me personally, this was my fourth time attending AD (although not consecutively). Every year the experience never ceases to be special from beginning to end. This year was no exception as Dan & I were joined by Dr. & Mrs. Irl Rosner from Maine... a.k.a. my Uncle Irl & Aunt Gail.

Having the opportunity to attend the Maine appointments this year was an excellent experience in itself. Every year Advocacy Day begins with a picture of all the advocates on the steps of the Capitol building, followed by a tour inside led by Congressman Harper from Mississippi. His son Livingston has fragile x syndrome & he is a powerful voice for our community. Funny thing, by the way, my hometown is Livingston & my parents had bought a Livingston sweatshirt for Congressman Harper's son. It is green with white lettering, too-- could not be any more fx appropriate! I finally gave the sweatshirt to him this year :)

Anyway our special tour led by Harper includes the Hall of Columns, the breathtaking Rotunda, the Statuary Hall, & most amazing... we get to sit in the actual seats of the House Chamber. It's pretty incredible. One year we also took turns, in small groups, experiencing the view of Washington Monument from the balcony. After the tour, a staff member led us to the underground subway which is another privilege we otherwise would not have access to. 


This year our first appointment was with Senator Angus King's office. My aunt & uncle know him from back home, & it was a wonderful experience to walk into an office & have people know the people you are with. I certainly got a kick out of it-- even some of the young staffers knew my aunt & uncle, because they're the same age as my cousins. Following a coffee reception which they do on Wednesday mornings when the Senate is in session, we met with a staff member to discuss "business". But before heading to our next appointment, the Senator gave us a tour of his private office which was a separate treat in itself.

After that we were off to the House side where we met with Representative Bruce Poliquin. This man is also a friend to my aunt & uncle, & that was about the only reason he saw us that day... because apparently he just had eye surgery (I think the day before) & therefore his staff canceled all of his appointments. Poliquin was so welcoming though, & very receptive... the meeting could not have been more encouraging.

We had three more appointments that day-- two in Maine offices & one for New Jersey. But aside from the obvious detail of how incredible this was to experience Advocacy Day in a different way with my aunt & uncle, I want to share another perspective of why this was so meaningful... 


About a year & a half after Dan & I were married, we went for genetic counseling because we wanted to start a family. We had specific reasons for doing so, which I'll get to in a moment, but the fact is each of us carries 
certain genetic risks common to our heritage. (And approximately two years later we would learn of another type of genetic risk that doesn't "discriminate".)

Following the carrier screening specific to my Jewish ancestry though, we learned I have a gene for one of those disorders. 
Another reason we went to see a genetics counselor was because my niece was born with Down syndrome.

As far as the results of my genetic screening, in order for that particular disease to be passed on, both parents have to be carriers & then there is a 25% chance. However since Dan is Portuguese & Italian, & does not have any Jewish ancestry, the probability was greatly reduced to say the least. 


As far as my niece is concerned, even though Down syndrome is not inherited, my doctor felt we should educate ourselves since it is genetic. Furthermore, meeting with a genetics counselor allowed us the appropriate opportunity to review our family trees to make sure there was nothing else to discuss. One of the many questions they asked us about family history, was if there was any mental impairment.

What a different perspective I had back in 2004... I could have almost giggled at that one...

But truth be told, little did I know, my mother had an Uncle Hymie who was described as being kind of "off". Yet considering circumstances of him being born during the Depression in an orthodox home, on a table with forceps (so I was told), all logic pointed to birth trauma. Hymie had two siblings-- my grandfather Francis & my great aunt Beverly. My grandfather was exceptionally bright, as is my Aunt Bevy, but then there was Hymie. There was a clear difference between him & siblings.

Francis, a.k.a. Poppy Freddy, went on to become a physician after not only graduating high school on an accelerated timeline, but also finishing medical school early. He married my grandmother & they had four children: my Aunt Judi, my Aunt Lois, my mom, & my Uncle Irl.

Their Uncle Hymie passed away when my Uncle Irl was about the same age as Hayden is now. I was told he died instantly in a truck accident-- he worked for some sort of delivery company & he rode on the back or the side of whatever the vehicle was.

Fast-forwarding to present day... the NFXF Advocacy Event is attended annually by parents, siblings, self advocates, or anyone with a big heart who wants to help make a difference. On Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at the NFXF training session the day before Advocacy Day, we were all together in one of the hotel banquet rooms-- tables organized by state-- seated among various constituents present for the same reason. Among those advocating, many individuals with fragile x syndrome-- children & adults alike. A couple of tables away from where we were seated was a young man & self advocate from Missouri. But my Uncle Irl saw this man & said to me, figuratively, "That's my Uncle Hymie." This was the first time in 50 years that he ever even saw someone who reminded him so much of his late uncle.

He paused with his hands beneath his face, lowered his head, & with a closed-mouth smile & eyes welling up... the experience became significantly more than being there for his great nephew Hayden.

One of the interesting facts that gave all of us chills so-to-speak, following Hayden's diagnosis & then consequently tracing the gene back in my family... was the unbelievable detail that my maternal grandfather's first two initials were FX. His full name was Francis X. Rosner... no middle name, just the initial (the idea came from a well-known actor from the early 1900s). Such an unusual combination of letters, though, & I can't believe he not only carried the gene, but literally carried FX in his very own name.

Hayden Zem, by the way, was named for my late paternal grandfather Harvey Zamelsky, whose nickname was Zemsinn. But it's pretty interesting because after we got home from Washington, I suddenly realized that Hayden having an H name turned out to be even more appropriate than we could have ever known. He carries his H but his X makes him unique-- just like someone else.

I hope my great grandma Anna-- who was still around when I was a young child & I do remember-- now knows that her beloved Hymie who she lost entirely too soon, lives on through my son & will always be remembered.

--

Saturday, February 28, 2015

different but okay

I have three amazing updates to share.

First, Hayden earned another Random Act of Kindness Award for helping a classmate in the special ed room :)

Yeah. He's awesome.

The second one needs a little bit of explanation but here goes...

So, in our world many things are a measure of progress, including scribble. Which is exactly what the picture below probably looks like to most people. However on February 25th Hayden wrote the first three letters of his name, for the very first time. Although they do not appear to be in the correct order on the page, they actually ended up that way simply because he fit them wherever there was room. But he did appropriately write the "H" first & then the "a" & then the "y".

You have to see through some extra marks but if you look at the picture without staring too intently... notice the "H" is to the far right (it's sort of crooked)... the "a" is near the center (looks like a lowercase "e" in script, but he drew the round part & then deliberately added a line to the right of the circle)... & the "y" is on the left:


Here they are separated out, in the correct order:





That is hands-down the most amazing thing I have seen in a long time. Difficult for me to express my pride in words.

Third... (I have saved the best update for last
...)

During today's progress meeting at school the teacher mentioned that one day just a couple of weeks ago, a buddy at school brought H something from another classroom. One of the aides or the teacher who was with Hayden at the time said, "Why don't you invite (the buddy) to see your classroom?"

Hayden is with Gen Ed peers too, but the context here was that he was walking back into the Special Ed room.

Well, as Hayden & his buddy entered the classroom H said very matter-of-fact (apparently):
"Things are a little different in here."

The other child was more than fine with this, which is wonderfully amazing in itself, but what I'm talking about is the amount of incredibleness that is squished into that single statement...

"Things are a little different in here"

...
not to mention the maturity & appropriateness of what Hayden said... & the timing... & the fact that he is becoming self-aware enough to notice this... & most importantly... that he just wanted to help the other student understand.

I don't mind admitting that hearing this was the first time I nearly cried at a progress meeting. Welling eyes further encouraged by learning that Hayden's schedule is once again being refined, to increase his participation in the Gen Ed setting with same-age peers. Thanks to technology combined with Hayden's ever-improving speech, his academic progression is clearly evident. And socially I am beyond grateful for the kind, patient, & understanding kids... like his buddy who enjoyed the tour of Hayden's other classroom & is completely accepting of things being a little different in there.

Next week by the way is the National Fragile X Foundation's annual Advocacy Day. Constituents from around the country travel to Washington, DC & attend meetings with their Members of Congress. (I strongly encourage you to learn more.) Not that I ever need extra motivation to attend Advocacy Day to share our story with legislatures, along with many other awesome constituents from the fragile x community, but if I did... this not-so-little update on Hayden's progress would just about push me the rest of the way to Capitol Hill.

#awareness #understanding

Amen.


--






 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

a knock at the door

Many parents within the fragile x community have truly incredible blogs. Reading some of them is almost as compelling as watching a show you're hooked on, only they're not acting.

A couple of friends recently shared blog posts which stirred familiar thoughts in me. And furthermore, relatable challenges which have been on the forefront of my mind lately (funny how that happens).


Holly is a mom of two from Illinois, & here is her most recent update :)
Cindi is also a mom of two & she is from Colorado. This is her latest blog post :)


While one is a present challenge & another is a recollection from the past, both experiences are insightful, educational, & brave. I would encourage anyone to read them. Their words help shape assumptions into understanding.


I was going to discuss that it's no surprise how maintaining schedules & adhering to routine are definitely near the top of the list of priorities for most kids with fragile x syndrome. I have been working on this blog post on & off for a couple of weeks now (literally). Partly revising the draft because there are so many different points I wish to emphasize, & partly just a side effect of recent computer issues. But one thing rings predominantly true-- that many of the challenges we have, carry over to aspects of life that I wouldn't have expected them to.


Most of the time the routine of the day is mutually comforting because we all know it works. But that being said, there is not any one approach that will always be successful for any one challenge. It may depend on the day, the hour, the mood, the environment... as with any person.

Possibly amplified with a child who has fragile x.

But after an occurrence from just last night, I have one incident in particular that I wish to share. This happened to someone we know-- for real, not in quotations-- but the family experienced a situation that COULD happen to any one of us.

With respect to privacy I am not going to specify friend, relative, near, or far--
but I will say, it's a family with two children. I won't even mention son, daughter, both of one, or one of each. I will only tell you that the younger child is Hayden's age, has autism, but is high functioning. The older sibling is in middle school & has some behavioral challenges.

It was that sibling who happened to have a behavior episode at home last night, & long story short around 7- 7:30PM the family was startled by sudden, strong knocks at their door. A male voice exclaimed, "This is the police." The homeowners responded immediately & found two officers standing on their doorstep.

Dan & I have often admitted amongst ourselves that if anyone ever heard what goes on in our house when we are trying to trim Hayden's nails, one might suspect a murder scene. I don't believe we would ever be able to live in any type of building that has a shared wall (or walls) with others. And that's just nail trimming-- which by the way when we're done, is like an off-switch. H simply returns to a completely unphased state, immediately after the last clip of the clippers. I don't even want to help you imagine what it's like when he has a meltdown over something less controlled.

What ultimately happened with this family with the two children, is that someone down the street from them called for help because they suspected a domestic violence dispute-- this is as much as the police told them.

We should all be so lucky to live near at least one person who wouldn't ignore unusual signs or signs of a struggle. At the same time it's very difficult to be thankful for such neighbors during this type of instance-- who were hopefully just concerned & not disguising a noise complaint.

The officers were kind & understanding, but the humiliation & invasion of privacy during a vulnerable moment will leave its mark. The mom said the scene the officers walked into, was similar to something on a reality cop show-- one child reeling from their meltdown & the other running around in nothing but underwear, with two devastated & drained parents at arm's length.

But this is why I insist on talking about difficult subjects-- not only because sometimes we need to see both sides to gain a better understanding, but also because the only thing worse than our absolute toughest days would be feeling as if we're going through them alone.

Please keep the conversation going. And when appropriate please offer support, or even just an ear, to those who need it.

A tad different hearing a knock at the door & seeing a friend on the other side.

Thank you.

--