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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lots to be grateful for

 Picture description: Ellie, with pigtails flying high, signing butterfly, which she makes fly over her head. Like I said, so much to be grateful for.  Happy Thanksgiving Blogosphere!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yesterday a child came out to wonder...

Ellie turned 6 yesterday.

I can't believe that much time has gone by since that rainy, scary Saturday when she was born in 2002. She has come so far and I have learned so much about love. My heart always get choked up on her birthday because images of her birth and that day are still so very vivid in my mind. Like flashbacks they were popping up throughout the day as I watched my daughter, my beautiful Ellie as she is today I couldn't help but see the tiny blue body lifted out of me 3 months too soon. Dave pacing outside the door of my recovery room tears streaming, and frantic as I massaged my legs trying to get the feeling to come back into them quicker so I could go see her as he raved outside the door into the abyss as our lives changed forever. Not feeling the pain of the emergency C-section and the adrenalin to get to my baby.

And that first moment seeing her in the incubator with 3 wires coming out of her belly button, breathing tube down, IV's in each leg, raw fragile skin, baby white hair on her perfect round head. The on the spot breakdown, feeling that I had failed her horribly. Pain. She was in pain. I could feel it. My poor baby thrown into the world too soon, too fast without air. I don't think I will ever really get over that. I think that's just the way it is. It servers as a dark contrast to all the good that has gone after. A reminder to appreciate everything and anything that is good in the moment and know that everything she accomplishes is against the odds and a blessing.

We choose to celebrate her birthday each year with gusto. Celebrate her life and the fact that she is still here with us. We like to have a party for all her friends, teachers, therapists, nurses and care givers, family, and other parents from whom we have learned so much, to say thank you. Without all of these wonderful people we would be lost.

Ellie, who started with so many challenges has achieved so much and there is no stopping her. She reads, she dances, she sings, she signs, she laughs and tickles, and does subtraction and addition, and loves and loves some more. I am so lucky to have her in my life as she brings me so much joy. This birthday I was really struck by how many people love Ellie and us and who are in our lives supporting us and taking us along. We have our village and it's a great one. We are truly blessed and grateful.

Too all of you who called and could not be there yesterday, we missed you and love you and had the vanilla cake with the vanilla icing, and it wasn't the same without you. ;-) Scroll down and see the montage for more pictures of the day.

Special thank you to Carla, the lovely lady by the key board in the picture above, who volunteers every day at Ellie's school to conduct music classes for the children. Thank you for coming to Ellie's birthday party and playing all her favorite songs. Ellie LOVES music more than anything in the world and your being there to play the songs that she knows and loves made a huge difference. Seeing all her classmates and their siblings dancing and rocking out together was pure joy and could not have happened without you. Thank you doesn't even cover it!

Thank you too to Bonnie whose help in the morning and during the party allowed us to keep our sanity and get all ready and for doing Ellie's hair. The french braids were perfect with the flower crown. Ellie looked lovely. Thanks for all your help and love you give Ellie on a regular basis (and for "hiding guy" and new and improved Bear Hunt both of which she won't put down!)  

Thank you as well to Liz and Marla for all the balloons and signing and "water bottle smiley" and keeping more than one child from near immanent self destruction with all our open shelving as well as all the love you give Ellie regularly. I still can't believe you found a new "raggedy" which is a feat beyond OTT and Ellie has not put her down since. Between Raggedy, "hiding guy" and new and improved Bear Hunt (the last two thanks to Bonnie) we had trouble getting Ellie to stop playing and go to sleep last night! 

Thanks to everyone who attended and for all the gifts for Ellie. It was great to share with you this happy day.  

Happy 6th Birthday Ellie-luv!!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Get out and Vote!

I am away again in the great state of Wisconsin. It's very dry here as the bad lands are not far away and all moisture gets sucked into them like a big burning dry vortex. I will be here all week. I was worried about how to vote. I called my town hall and they said come on down, but of course, not in as friendly a tone. Did I mention I live in Eastern Massachusetts where people are all business all the time? They don't feel the need for friendliness and niceness is something that was lost on the Mayflower. Maybe they are still feeling the repressive effects of the Puritans?

It took me all of 12 minutes to vote (see all that time saved by foregoing all the niceties). 12 minutes. In and out. I had to draw a line between two boxes with a special felt tipped pen. There were five other people voting at the same time and a steady stream of people coming and going for the same purpose. The atmosphere was brisk and efficient - a thing I do love about doing business in New England. There is none of the languid carelessness found in LA. 

I handed my ballot to the poker faced lady at the counter and said, "No hanging chads with that!" 

She brightened and said, "No they've made it a lot easier this year." 

"Thanks!" I said leaving. It never fails to make a person feel good by noticing their work. 

I think I just may have to vote early every election. No waiting, no lines, no stress - just exercising my constitutional privilege.  

Go exercise yours! It's important. 

If you suspect that things are not as they seem and your vote is in jeopardy - report the town clerk who may be violating the constitution and all that our nation was built on. CNN has a hotline you can find on their site. 

I want my candidate to win but even more than that I want everyones' vote to be counted. I want our system to not be as broken as it is.