Adam Dzialo

Adam Dzialo
Our son, Adam Dzialo, age 30

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Life is Short and assorted other Bullshit"isms"

       Life caring for a severely disabled son is not a cake walk, nor a stroll in the park.  Neither is it analogous to caring for an old dog, a rebellious normal teenager, or a demented, elderly parent.  Why might you ask?  Well, old dogs are supposed to be incontinent, regular kids are often all-consuming pains in the ass, and the old folks are supposed to act like old folks.  A twenty five year old who is non-verbal and non-ambulatory and a lot of other "non" stuff falls into a totally different category which defies typical definition.
       People who should be sociologically close often avoid all attempts to be useful or helpful.  They view you as strong, and capable and able to handle any emergency, be it a long term or short term emergency.  Their view is skewed in this inept direction because it provides a convenient rationale for never stepping up to the plate.  The one thing that these "people who should be sociologically close"  have and readily offer is a litany of platitudes and meaningless expressions which serve only to piss ya the f..k off.  Here are some of big offenders:
       Pray for miracles & Ask and you shall receive:  Yeah, right!  First, you have to believe in a personal god and I don't.  Second, you have to believe in miracles, and I don't.  Did you ever hear about the miracle where god re-grew an arm that was amputated above the elbow?  Or how about the eye that was poked out by a stick and re-grew?  And the asking/receiving thing?  I've been asking to hit the big lottery for years even promising to give money away...haven't received anything yet.  Is 13 years of asking not long enough?
       I don't know how you do it, they'd have to put me in a rubber room:  You do it because you love your son and because it's the right thing to do.  You sociologically close people could learn to do it for a few days, so that we could get away without the kid for a weekend.  We could teach you, you could learn, it's not rocket science.  How's this: Get Over It! Stop being a marshmallow 'fraidy cat and step up, we deserve  a weekend off every thirteen years.  Don't we, sociologically related people?
       Well, it could be a lot worse!:  You're right on this score.  The kid could be more crooked than he is, he could never smile, he could seize and vomit all day!  So right, it could be worse, but still it's pretty tough for parents in their 60's.  We could have had to make a decision about pulling a plug, but didn't have to, although some people have said it would have been better if he just checked out.  A preponderance of idiots on a small planet?  This paper if just for you. (on the right!)

       Calm down, Time heals all wounds, Life is short!  The trinity of phrases which are often offered when people's blatant indifference toward you and your son rankles your soul.  You either confront them or walk away from the negative energy. Everyone wants everything to be mellow and superficial.  Well, I have not the time for mellow, superficial folk.  I have no time to gossip or spread rumors about sociologically bonded people.  I will not calm down in the face of indifference; time will not heal the wounds of indifference; and, life is not is endless.   So be a part of the journey and move forward with us or get the hell out of the way.  Help, be positive and be supportive.  If you can't do all three, stay away.
       God helps those who help themselves!    Not true....
       You need to get more help!  So right, my sociologically bonded get off your ass, come down for a week and take care of us so we can take better and more relaxed care of Adam. You have no idea about finding, hiring, training, trusting someone to care for a kid who can't move nor speak.  Applicants are often dirty, stupid and chronically unemployed and chemically dependent.  It's easier to get a dog-sitter, but not by much.  We have gone through more care-givers than you have moles.
       I know how you feel! I know what it's like!  Unless you are part of that .05% of the population who walks in "our shoes" or "moccasins" you do not have a clue nor will you ever.  I would, however, like to give you a brief experience.  Please ask.....
       Blood is thicker than water! Blood means family and relatives, I guess.  Well, blood coagulates, blood thins, blood clots, clots cause strokes, blood gets infected, blood gets sucked by vampires (real or psychic).....water, on the other hand just gently  flows....I'll take a long, cool drink of water, thanks.
       You should join a support group!  Ok, will you mind my son while I am commiserating with other parents of severely disabled kids?
        Every cloud has a silver lining! Look on the bright side! Yes, I have become a deeply spiritual, god-fearing, humble, loving, compassionate human being because of the depth of my experience.  Actually, my silver lining is the development of a keen bullshit detector with regards to the hearts of others, especially my sociological unit.
        Get over it! Get on with you life!  Up yours, and I wouldn't trade my life for anyone's. I am moving on with my life daily.  I could just use a periodic reprieve.  We all need a break from ourselves.
         I'm sure that parents of severely disabled kids have faced these and many other platitudes as excuses for avoidance of involvement with people like us.  It's probably better to say nothing that to say something which triggers and irritates.  So just to be on the up and up, this is a partial list.  You can help me by adding more.

The following are my rebuttals to those who have incensed me with trivial statements about life:

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
 Bible - Proverbs 26:11

Every ass loves to hear himself bray.
 Proverb of Unknown Origin


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pond Scum...updated AUGUST 31, 2011


Dr. John Barranco, Ed.D
UPDATE: August 31, 2011    Here is another update.  The 10 million dollar alleged fraud could actually be as high as 37 million.  Let's trust Sped Collaboratives and Superintendents to care for the most vulnerable school aged populations and not line their pockets.  Anxiously waiting for indictments!!!  Are school systems places where Sped students are valued and cared for or are they secret bank accounts for school superintendents!  The filth in Massachusetts makes me want to vomit!

UPDATE: AUGUST 18, 2011 Here is another update where pond scum becomes slime.  A big conflict of interest between John Barranco, MEC and a convicted lobbyist.  They are, of course, both in hiding.

UPDATE: AUGUST 10, 2011 
     HERE is a newer update from the state auditor...up to $30 million of bogus charges.   Booze, lavish parties, hotels, etc.  at the expense of the most vulnerable people in society.  Every Superintendent and Administrator on the Board of Directors and higher up employee should be FIRED and JAILED.  They should have known as it was their job. The high life at the expense of disabled wonder everyone is hiding and not speaking.
     HERE is a copy of the grand jury jury subpoena for payroll records for our superintendent friends in the Merrimack Education Center scandal....see who is being looked at.  These people were supposed to be the guardians of tne most GK Chesterton said: "...the young demand justice, the rest of us beg for mercy.:
     HERE is the news report of the federal district court investigation of pond scum...betrayers of the children with special needs.  Many more chips will fall!

       Special needs students are the most vulnerable population in schools and in society.  They appear imperfect in their physical appearance, in their motor skills, in their cognition, in their ability to get voted "most likely to succeed" .  They compete for scant public dollars with Advanced Placement programs, meterology courses and school musical productions.  In the educational scheme of things, special needs programs should be fully funded first and then regular education students should receive a fair share.  It's not the way things happen because special populations have NO voice.  Parents and students are so beaten down by life and non-responsive agencies that they have little fight to give them VOICE.
      Then, along comes a piece of dog-shit like John Barranco, the former head of the Merrimack Education Center and the Merrimack Special Needs Collaborative in Northeastern Massachusetts.  He is accused (good word) of fleecing money from special education funds to the tune of over $10 million dollars
over the past years.  That would buy a hell of a lot of diapers and g-tube sets.
      Some years he received a half-million in salary and bonuses, some years he was a no show, some years he hired his live in girlfriend as a director for one hundred grand , some years he hired his superintendent buddies on his board to six figure positions.  Some years he fixed up his vacation homes, some years he paid for days at the Kentucky Derby with cigars, many years he hosted lavish parties and paid for all his gasoline with the center's monies.  Some years, he bought his daughter a mahogany table for a present.  Oh yeah, and there was a robotic swimming pool cleaner.  He also hired Richard McDonough as a no-show lobbyist/PR person for $80,000.  Oh, by the way, McDonough was just convicted of theft of honest services, etc with the former speaker of the Massachusetts House (Sal DiMasi) a week or so ago for pushing a software contract with Cognos and getting a kickback.  Guess which software the Collaborative and Center use.
       Yes, there is outrage in Massachusetts from the Governor, the Attorney General, the Inspector General, the State Auditor and every other hack in government.  Who was minding the store and providing oversight for the past ten years?  And what about the kids?  With the fleecing of 10 million, what needed services did handicapped kids not receive?  What services were not provided in schools as local districts paid an additional 10 million for nothing....And, people had to know.  Boards of Directors?  Accountants?  Bookkeepers?  Directors of Programs?  They are all equally responsible and equally guilty.  Frankly they should all be fired and all jailed.  Every penny of their assets should be liquidated and given to programs for kids with special needs.  Their indifference is reprehensible.
      So my humble opinion leads me to believe that Dr. Barranco is a piece of shit which needs to be rapidly flushed because the stench pervades the surroundings.  Frankly, I wish that his "privates" would drop into my VitaMix.  Of course, the Center has hired a PR firm to mitigate the blow-out...things, they say in the  Inspector General's report are inaccurate (but, they aren't specific).  Ok, they weren't real Cuban cigars and the amount wasn't 10 million, it was 9.99 million.  I hope Dr. John rots.
     Oh, here's an update: three local superintendents who help steer the money to the Merrimack Ed Center that olde Dr. John headed were rewarded with lucrative jobs there upon retirement.
      "The superintendents who approved the money transfers -- former Billerica Superintendent Robert Calabrese, former Tyngsboro Superintendent David Hawkins and former North Middlesex Regional School Superintendent James McCormick -- were rewarded with six-figure jobs at MEC and extravagant bonuses, according to state Inspector General Gregory W. Sullivan.
"The superintendents taking part in his scheme betrayed the trust of parents, students and taxpayers," Sullivan said in an emailed statement to the Lowell Sun."

Read more:

And more filth rises to the surface;
Perhaps we should start an ex-education superintendents WALL OF SHAME.


All facts and data are from Boston Globe, Boston Herald, NECN and the Lowell Sun (links are in body of blog text); opinions are mine!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adam's Sox...

A pic for all you Sox fans!

       In 1998, just weeks before Adam's near-drowning accident, he attended his first Boston Red Sox Game with his Little League All-Star Team.  When he returned that evening, he told us it was the best day of his life.  So, thirteen years later, we decided to return to Fenway to recreate the experience for him and jog the old memory banks.  This certainly was a great day.  This certainly was a traumatic day. We have recovered.
      We were prepared to be in Boston for a 1:00 pm game.  Of course, at the last minute the Bruins won the Stanley Cup (like I care, but many of my Canadian friends probably are mortally wounded) and scheduled their victory parade for the same day and same time as the game (duh!). The Sox, not thinking of our predicament at all, moved the game until 7:10.  Mind you, Adam is usually in bed by 8:30.
       So we went...Adam in the van on an inflatable bed to avoid prolonged sitting in the damned wheelchair. Almost fell off the bed several times on the way (Mom was practically sitting on him to keep him secure), Dad couldn't find the parking lot that we had reserved a space for the van (at only a 60.00 fee), and daughter was giving incoherent direction by cell to Dad who was flipping out.  Made it there just on time.

Adam, bearer of the borrowed rings.

         Our host was super gracious.  Carl Beane, the Red Sox announcer since 2003, met us at the players' gate and gave Adam his two World Championship rings from 2004 and 2007 to wear.  Pictures of course, but we had to give the rings back.
         We were given a tour of Fenway Park including all the back alleys and the green monster (the wall for  all you non-Sox fans).  Viewed years of memorabilia and  I suppose a lot of people would find this cool.  I would rather have a beer!
Adam, Carl Beane (our uber-gracious host) on the field.
Aimee, feigning an interest in the wall of heroes.
       Then it was on to the old autograph frenzy.  Thank god, Ken Lynes was with us.  Also, Joanne Stafford worked hard behind the scenes to make this all happen for Adam.  Ken had no problem calling some of those players over to sign balls and cards for Adam.  This is not an easy trick during batting practice, but he was not to be over-looked and kept pointing out the kid in wheelchair.  That tactic always works.  I'll have to remember this strategy for the future.
Ken badgering Adrian Gonzalez for autographs for Adam as me and the kid watched in awe.

Ken cajoling Adrian Gonzalez to sign THREE cards and a ball for Adam.
I gotta learn from this guy!

       Having started the tour at 4:00 and the game wasn't till 7:00, we had time to kill and sweat in the heat.  Adam sweated despite all our efforts to hydrate and keep him cool.  Since the accident, his temperature gauge has never served him well.  He's cold when it's hot, hot when it's cold....aarhh!
Made Adam a tent to keep him out of the sun....didn't work well, in fact, not at all.
       So by 6:00, the kid was moaning like something was wrong.  He was soaked with sweat and probably other stuff and needed a change of clothes.  So we're sitting at field level in pricey seats and asked an usher or security person (really an idiot) which bathroom or utility room we could use to change him.  Uh?  "Do you both have to been in the bathroom with him?"  Yes, dumbass, try to change a spastic 25 year old who is in a wheelchair alone.  Well, he tells me, there are handicapped stalls in the women's room, but you can't go in there.  Close your eyes, asshole, and we won't tell if you don't.  He walked away and the three of us used the women's room to some uncool looks.  He said, "I didn't see anything!"  Great!
       We lasted until the 5th inning when the boy started to moan incessantly with mournful looks at Mom ... too much chair time.  You know, non-verbal kids can moan and whine quite articulately. The high point was that his most favorite player was on the field two feet away from him the whole game.  It's not like Adam was interested in the game, but he didn't take his eyes off this player for 5 innings and the player fully engaged him. This was the high point of his day.
Our hero, the Red Sox bat girl chatting with the boy!

       So we got Adam back in the van and laid him out on his air mattress...relief for all of us.  The moaning stopped and we crossed the bridge back to our beloved island at 10:30.  I'm not leaving the Cape again...ever.
Family time in an empty Fenway Park....farewell!

Photography: through the kind assistance of Tony Iannotti (except the more crappy pictures taken  by me)

The ball......


Saturday, June 18, 2011

To The Man of the Day...

 Well, the man couldn’t really be expected to write his own Father’s Day blog so I surreptitiously took it over for the day.  Phil has been a bit stuck on the whole concept of “indifference” lately and I certainly understand and do not want to be included with those who don’t bother to take notice of others – sad, sad statement about our culture.  So, today I want to express my deep appreciation for Philip, the father of the day.   I can’t count on our young man, dearest Adam, to help by channeling adulation and humor about his father because he is too tuckered out.  Big, big day yesterday – Adam went to a Red Sox game for the first time in thirteen years.  He had only been once before when he was twelve years old and declared it to be “the best night of his life.”  On that night he traveled with his baseball team and coaches sans parents.  He woke us up when he returned that evening, so excited to show us his trinkets – the Red Sox keychain and the signed baseball card.  He loved things like that.  Well, this trip was different and I just know that Phil will write an absolutely compelling and truthful blog about our recent experience at Fenway Park.  Phil brought a camera so stay tuned.
     Now the topic of the day is about honoring the father in the family.  To be perfectly honest, Philip deserves it many times over.  Adam, Aimee and I all understand his strengths and we know that life would be very different had he not stepped up to the plate (like the baseball analogy?) and shouldered this life challenge with such amazing competence.  A quick disclaimer – I am not saying nice things about Philip because he just wrote two loving (and funny) blogs for Mother’s Day and my birthday.  He honestly works hard every day.  He does hours of therapy with Adam and cooks wonderful soups.  He’s quite domesticated.    For fun he has been painting the exterior of the house (looks  lovely – I picked out the color) and grows vegetables on our deck which overlooks a pond filled with wildlife.  Just an aside – he loves to grow lettuce and I can’t figure out why the rabbits aren’t chewing away at it.  I think that Phil might have put a spell on them.  He tends to all of the plants and flowers, inside and out.  Every time I turn around another hanging plant or flower arrangement has appeared.  Maybe he conjures those up too.  Anyway he has lovingly created a beautiful home for us where we nest and take care of our handsome son.  Oh, and he  bakes bread!  We have been together for over 30 years and I don’t believe that I have prepared one meal.  I call it our “division of labor”. Our chores are evenly divided, trust me. Don’t want to give you the impression that I am a lady of leisure.  I won’t let him near the washing machine – he just doesn’t understand sorting clothes .  And, most importantly, he makes our life work financially by juggling, advocating, and, yes, sometimes bullying to help us get what we need.  He does not take “no” for an answer.
     Phil declared himself my business manager when I published my book  - CERAMIC TO CLAY – no , it’s not about arts and crafts.  The book which Phil painstakingly  listened to as I was writing it, chapter by chapter, with a nod and a “go for it” is,  OUR STORY – how we move through this big life challenge we were given and accepted.
He's not really this bad!!
     It’s hard to figure out what to buy this man who seems to have everything he needs and wants.  He loves Amazon and uses it frequently.  I try to replenish his wardrobe (he doesn’t care one bit about clothes) and they look nice for a bit but he always, and I mean always, manages to get paint, oil, floor polish and food stains on everything.  He also wears slippers everywhere. . .
     We really are true partners in this life we have created.  We adore both of our children, each so different in their needs and wants.  I could not have chosen a better father for my kids. He’s loyal, compassionate, a little quirky and, at times, very funny.    Happy Father’s Day, Philip!!!   Have a beer, water your flowers and plants, open your presents and know that you are loved and appreciated.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Whatever Became of Sin?

     In 1973, psychiatrist Karl Menninger wrote a book which he entitled, "Whatever Became of Sin?".  Earlier in 1960, Thomas Szasz (1960) wrote "The Myth of Mental Illness."  Both psychiatrists bonded in a vaguely similar belief that the pseudo-sciences of psychiatry and psychology do far too much to explain away wrong and evil and that they underplay the role of free will in human interaction and society.
      Conceptually, both would agree that psychology and psychiatry actively obscure the difference between wrong, (mis)behavior, evil and disease  in a quest to help or harm parties to conflict.  By calling people "diseased" or mentally ill or incompetent, these fields of study attempt to deny people responsibility as moral agents.  Have we continued to explain away wrong, bullying, murder, discrimination and a host of evils by maintaining a psycho-social belief that we are solely the product of nature and nurture, devoid of free will and responsibility to our every action.  Isn't it a choice to hurt someone or to be indifferent to their angst?

      Asking whatever happened to sin may appear to be a strange topic in a blog on disability and healing and empowerment.  Nonetheless, the central question directly relates to society's excuse about the lack of full embrace of the severely disabled and their protection.
       Yesterday, I read an article in the Boston newspapers about  a Bridgewater, Massachusetts middle school where three students cornered a special education student in a bathroom.  He was held down and pummeled.  This is in the context of Massachusetts recent anti-bullying laws in schools.  There are no facts in controversy as the incident was recorded on a security camera.  The consequence was a suspension for the three students.  Neither the victim's parent, the school administration nor the police would file criminal charges.  Doesn't an attack on a special needs child warrant an appearance in a court and punishment?  When is an assault not an assault?  When does no one learn a lesson and punishment become a deterrent?  Whatever happened to sin?
       This week in two blogs, readers wrote of the death of an autistic boy in a group home when he was killed by intentional asphyxiation by a worker.  Others there were beaten with sticks and the abuse went unreported.  Whatever happened to sin?
       Several months ago, I posted a blog about rampant unreported abuse in New York groups homes for the severely disabled.  Part of the blog excoriated unions for their protection of perpetrators because of union contract protections.  What ever happened to the concept of wrong and punishment?  Is it possible to rehabilitate those who abuse the most fragile in our society?  I do not believe that rehabilitation is possible nor should it even be an option.  Who will stand up for the disabled?  Unions?
      And then again in Massachusetts we have the Judge Rotenberg Center which houses many people with developmental and behavioral disabilities.  The preferred method of behavior modification:  electroshock to skin areas.  When is abuse not abuse?  Is abuse allowable when it it is a form of behavior modification?  Why have Massachusetts legislators and judges and parents allowed institutional abuse to continue?
       Stories like these are legion and a daily occurrence. Reports surface on a regular basis.  Abuse of children, the disabled, the elderly, the infirm, the group, except the powerful or the perfect, are exempt.  We use the psychology of genetic predisposition and early learning experience to explain away evil.  We use poverty, unemployment, the ghetto, the race, etc to explain away evil acts.  Counseling is too often a response  to wrong doing and it does not work.  Imprisonment often results in high rates of recidivism.  What has become of sin?
       I am not a religious person and do not use sin in a religious sense. I do not believe in a personal god, because a god would not allow this evil to exist.  Sin is an objective act of wrong against a person or humanity.  Sin can be a free purposeful act or an act of indifference to the plight of others.  Can a person have millions of dollars, vacation monthly and have his neighbors be homeless and hungry and not sin?  Can a Massachusetts governor  give raises to his state managers when day habilitation hours for the disabled are reduced  and not sin?  Can a school superintendent provide generous raises to his central office staff and reduce services to students with disabilities and not sin?  Can a student bully another student and not sin?  Can a student bully a special needs student and not mortally sin?
       We, as a society, flee from the notion of objective wrong and work hard to explain why things are the way they are.  Should we, based upon a simple belief in our inter-connectedness simply devote life to overcoming injustice and oppression and simply doing good?  Whatever became of sin?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Adam's New Toys . . .

    Everybody needs toys...big boys, little boys, boy doggies and boy fishies.  Dad has toys: big screen tv's, Wii, laptops, tablets, smart phones.  Ollie has his dead skunk, dead moose and a variety of other unstuffed animals with squeekers.  My boy koi (not sure if koi has a plural and I'm to lazy to research) have new plants and summer foods.
     Adam also has more toys than god.  He has a bigger flat screen, home theater system. loads of Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, and Mighty Ducks DVD's, also all sorts of media players, two ABR machines, nebulizers, suction machines, wheelchairs, bath lifts, and on and on.  Certainly more stuff than god, but she probably doesn't need all this stuff, nor would she enjoy it.
       Well, we just got another cool toy on the heels of a week of respiratory distress...very distressing to mom and dad.  Adam collects mucous (yeah, that word!) in his throat and when he's tired or whatever, it stays there and migrates into his upper airways which in turns makes him feel like he can't breathe and then he hyperventilates.  So, his doctor says this makes sense.  If you almost drowned (25 minutes under water without breathing) and if you couldn't breathe well because your airways were full of junk, you would hyperventilate also (duh, she says).  The good news, she says, is that his heart won't burst from the strain, but that he probably will pass out.  After passing out, his CO2 will increase and he will come to....this is all very consoling to a set of PTSD'd parents.
        Not an acceptable scenario, so something needs to be fixed!!

       So, here is the new toy...The Vest: An Airway Clearance Device.  Given the fact that mucous is good, at least so I'm told and given the fact that retained mucous and secretions in the airways isn't good, there is an answer which is neither invasive nor time consuming.  A pulsing air generator, two hoses and a Vest.  Simple.  Pressure is created in the vest which then oscillates up to 25 times per special breathing, nothing else.  And, you only need to do the therapy twice a day for 10 minutes at a time.  So. in a nutshell, it loosens old, sticky secretions, moves them up and out which produces an irritation and a good healthy cough.
So far, we have a boy with clear lungs, clear throat and mucous going in the right direction (down the throat to lubricate the olde bowel).
       I like the new toy.  Adam tolerates the new toy.  He breathes more deeply and more clearly all day long.  Hopefully, this will allow us to get rid of the nebulizer with the albuterol and symbicort.  My boy, again, all natural, organic and no drugs!!!  Love these toys and only $10,000.00.  Thank you Mr. Insurance Company.  Someone is making a hell of an effing profit on these kids.
       I'm not getting a promotional kick-back!!!  Just letting ya know!
       Also, he didn't get the pink vest!

The guy is an idiot...but you get the point..
"Cough it up, kid!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy, Happy Birthday Sharon....

       June 3, 2011 and you are 39 once again!  Your secret is safe with me!!!  It's a great day to celebrate the birth of a very, very special person.  While you weren't born in stable with adoring baby animals, angels and wise men around who were guided by a star, your effect on the people whose life you have touched is remarkably similar.  You are wife, mother, ABR therapist, counselor, consoler of a periodically forlorn daughter, mainstay of a somewhat neurotic husband, unconditional care giver to a disabled son.  You also are a homemaker for a chihuahua who is more neurotic than your husband and a poochon who gives the word "dependent" new meaning.  I could make a long list, but later.....first a song which says it all on your birthday.  It's Iz and  "Over the Rainbow/It's a Wonderful World!"  Great lullaby to put your kids to sleep....among other things.

       Well, let me say that it's difficult to sing your praises on your birthday and Mother's Day which are less than 30 days apart.  I think that you could have planned better.  This is a drain on my limited reservoir of emotion and my wallet.  But what the hell, we have learned to take life together as it comes to us.  For 30 years we have been partners and soul mates on one incredible journey.  No smooth sailing by any means, but we have learned to depend on each other's wisdom.
       Together, we have spawned two beautiful children: an accomplished daughter and a son who is in the process of accomplishing.  I wish he would hurry up, don't you?  On the other hand, I wish she would hurry up too.  Notice how you have to fill in the blanks on these statements of our dreams?  Your role in their development is inexplicable and short of miraculous.  This selfless, unconditional love is what I admire most about you.  I probably fall short, but you know woman who are saints are often attracted to men who are sinners.  I am happy to have you along on this ride.
       Ollie and Chloe are also happy to have you along on their ride.  They, however, are in the driver's seat.  Finicky, demanding, neurotic, periodically incontinent (runs in the family), always hungry for a gourmet meal....and you cater to their every whim even to the point of allowing Chloe to sleep snoring in your ear all night.  Now, the ear plugs make sense.  My wife, for whom "no" is not a word in her vocabulary, is the ultimate care taker...even of the beasts, even of the children.
        You have accomplished a lot in .... years.  Completed several graduate degrees, worked as a teacher and counselor in education, continue to be great mother when time would dictate that retirement is sitting on the deck with a brew, cleaner,  carer of a handicapped kid, author of a book, learning the piano (again), and learning to be skilled in the fine art of blowing off indifferent people.  (The latter I taught you, but probably will not be given the credit.)  So much is such a short period of time, only....years.
        Anyways, it's your birthday to enjoy, but that doesn't mean that you get the day off...there are no days off in this house.  It does means that you get to know that you are loved, appreciated and admired by adults, children and beasts.  Happy, happy birthday.  I am looking forward to our 30th anniversary (again)!  Oh, by the way, in our next lifetime in the world of normality, keep a reasonable spread between your birthday and Mother's Day.

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