Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Two Birds to the Head

Sometimes an odd event seems so strange that it should indicate something. This Sunday morning (May 27, 07), I took my two sons with my sister and her family to go to church. Now, this is a small town church with a basement that originally had access by going outside and the basement is where the only restroom in the building could be found. Well, my oldest son needed to go to the restroom during mass. We walked outside and found the basement door locked. I tried to get him to go outside in a wooded area next to the church, but he wouldn't do it.

I then asked if he could hold it until the end of mass, and he said he could do that. As we were walking up the steps outside to the church, two birds were diving down from the belltower, their wings seemed to be entangled, and hit my son in the forehead. The two birds untwined in a nearby large flower pot and quickly flew away. Of course, my son was a bit shaken up and I was taken aback by it all, as I right next to him.

It took a couple of minutes before my son regained his composure after the incident, as I gave him a hug and reassured him that everything was okay. Oddly enough, he didn't have any bumps or bird droppings on him after that event, and thankfully he didn't wet himself, even though we weren't able to find a restroom for him.

So, are getting hit by two birds on the forehead on church grounds a sign of anything? I just hope that if so, it is a good sign of great things to come.

Strange Dreams

I've been having strange dreams lately that have intrigued me. One dream, though, stood out from the others. I dreamt that I was with someone who looked just like a girl I went to school with and looked like her current age with shorter hairstyle than I remember her currently having. Anyway, she had been injured, but healed quickly, and I was wondering why I was there with her, as we didn't have a close relationship.

Well, on Saturday morning I was covering Hillary Clinton's visit to our area, and when she came out I recognized the face. It was the woman in my dream the other night. For some reason, Hillary has very similar facial features of my former classmate, but when I saw Hillary's face up close it was unmistakable that it was Hillary in my dream. Hillary was also wearing a turquoise colored suit, which seemed familiar to me, especially that shade of blue. Another dream I had last week had my aunt looking at turquoise jewelry, which she loved to wear; and also in that dream an association with strawberries, as I must have subconsciously linked the two sometime in my childhood, as I love strawberries and the color blue.

I have had weird dreams before, and some of them premonitions of later dejavu experiences where some of the substance of a dream came about in reality. I don't think too much of my dreams, but this one certainly made me remember it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mother's Day Is Every Day

Yesterday was my son's last day at preschool before the summer break. All the emotions some mothers share about great days in their children's lives, well, at first they weren't welling up for me. I'm not really a showy emotional person and it was probably subconsciously trained during my own childhood.

Sure, I was proud of my oldest son's accomplishments and his process of overcoming challenges with Aspergers. He has reached milestones during this year of formal preschool that were such barriers at his child care center. Yes, thinking back to all the parent-teacher-AEA meetings, and all the issues that were preventing my son from being an active and achieving student and all those who worked to make sure he was understood, included and assisted so he could achieve, and my son being able to now do things that seemed frustrating before, I do begin to get all teary-eyed.

Wednesday, the preschoolers came to the front of the church and presented a program after mass. The children lined up sang and many of them fully participating, doing the actions of the songs, and reciting a prayer. There was my son, standing at the end of the back row, swaying, looking around, pulling up his shirt and touching his belly button (nervous trait), doing some actions, not really singing. And I was proud of him.

As the children were called alphabetically by name to receive their certificate of completion, he stood there waiting patiently until his name was called. When they called his name, he walked down just as any other child in his class and received his certificate, and even paused a while as I tried (unsuccessfully as the flash and camera were taking too long to do their thing--apparently I wasn't pushing all the way down on the button, you know, emotions) to get a good snapshot of the moment.

The last day of preschool, the class went to the park for a mini-picnic for the morning. I came to witness his last day with his friends in a fun environment. It was nice to see how the other kids interacted with my son, and how he felt comfortable playing with them. When my son did something odd, some would comment, but from my perspective the comments were never negative or derrogatory. The kids then walked back to the preschool room to finish their day.

I came to pick him up from his last day at preschool at the same door I dropped him off at for the first time. All the preschoolers were outside waiting and it was the first time I saw other kids beside my son hanging around his "favorite tree" just outside the preschool door. His favorite teacher gave him a small, white sack and pointed at me. Then, he gave it to me. A Mother's Day gift. I didn't open it then, because he just doesn't realize that he had already given me a Mother's Day gift of who he is today. Yes, I am very proud of him.

I let my son play with his friends around the tree before we left. After many of them had already gone with their parents, I let him know its time to go and asked him to go and say thank you and goodbye to his teachers. He went over and gave them leg hugs and thanked them. As he came back to me, I saw a girl from his class try to come toward him, arms extended to give him a hug. He didn't see it and he was focused on me. I mentioened to him that she was trying to give him a hug. He turned around, walked toward her, extended his arms, and they shared a long, warm, friendly embrace. This coming from a kid who specialized in no-arm hug-leans before preschool. This was a special moment. I held back my tears, as he came toward me and we hugged, and waved goodbye to his teachers and remaining classmates.

In a society that seems to at least disregard and sometimes highly disrespect anything atypical, for a brief time my son found a group of people who respected him for who he was, and he grew and flourished in their midst.

Every mother's quest is to create a brighter future for their children. It is a quest that goes beyond emotion. Mother's day is every day that we see the twinkle in our child's eye, a stance of positive interest and intrigue in our environment, a look of concern and compassion for others, a smile of sunshine that brightens our day, a glimmer of hope in their soul that the future will bring peace.

"Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears! Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided byirrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reekingwith carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not betaken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. . .

. . .Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to themeans whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God." --Julia Ward Howe, from her Mother's Day Proclamation, 1870

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Terror Strikes Within US

This last weekend we saw terror strike the United States and take lives. It was a natural disaster in the Midwest and especially Kansas. Tornadoes and flood waters that ripped through communities and left a trail of trashed treasures, broken lives and many tears.

We are learning that terror can come from many sources, not just from the generic violent terrorist who wants to kill people for their somehow misguided views. Mother Nature herself has a way of terrorizing us and bringing us to our knees in times violent storms and its consequences. The lessons from Hurricane Katrina apparently have not sunk in to our country’s collective ability to respond to terror.

Again, battered communities look for help from our states’ National Guard units for assistance and find that the Iraq War has left us with less homeland security. This sad reality should be a wake up call for our states to demand our National Guard and our National Guard equipment be returned to their home states in defense of our homeland security.

This may be the best time to demand that our state National Guard troops and equipment come home, as Congress continues to deliberate an acceptable budget and schedule for the Iraq War. Our homeland security and our states’ defenses are being unacceptably compromised by their presence in the Middle East. Now is the time to re-establish our security and defend our home country from terrorists, foreign, domestic and natural.

What will happen if terrorists of a human kind attack again within the United States? How will our armed forces be able to respond? How will we defend ourselves when our resources have been shipped to a foreign region half way around the world? How will we recover from the violence?

How will we be able to respond if the next big earthquake hits California, or the next big flood engulfs the Midwest, or the next big hurricane inundates the coastline?

One thing’s for sure, we will again be brought to our knees. Some will be on our knees in prayer, as others will be begging for their next breath, and others for peace in the midst of chaos.

Now is the time to stand. Now is the time for us to think about our vulnerabilities at home and take action to be a nation of strength within. A nation that is able to defend its homeland against terrors foreign, domestic and natural. Message to Congress: Keep our National Guard at home.