Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Anatomy of a low.


He was peaceful.

His long blond eyelashes framed his round eyelids. 

Pink cheeks.  Full, soft, relaxed lips.

Peace.

As I picked up his black freckled fingertip, I paused to give him one more moment of calm.

His breathing was slow and shallow.  His entire body relaxed in its slumber.

SHUNK.

I pricked his fingertip, laying another dot on the landscape.  A bead of bright crimson blood appeared. I quickly pressed the test strip against it and watched it suck up most of the red.  I smeared away the remaining blood from his finger, wiping it on the inside pocket of my jeans.  The countdown ensued...the result was a surprise.

It is always a surprise.

59.  With insulin on board no less.

This meant a couple of things.  First, a temp basal.  I followed his pump tubing with my fingers, only to discover the pump rested securely beneath the weight of his body.  I adjusted my position.  Teetering on the edge of the mattress below him I immediately questioned my decision to let him have the top bunk.  Retrieving the pump meant moving my 8 year old son and disturbing his respite from the storm. 

I hoisted his arm towards me, and the whole of his torso followed.  Fishing blindly in the blankets I finally retrieve my prize...a blue Medtronic pump.

He stirred only slightly, turning his head to a more comfortable position.

My fingers found their familiar rhythm on the pump buttons.  It took seconds to change the settings.  I made my way down from my perch and walked purposefully towards the kitchen.

Opening up the low cupboard door, I let out a big sigh.  Which carb to pick?

Apple juice?

Fruit Snacks?

Banana?

Pudding?

I grab an apple juice box and a banana and head back to the bunk bed.  Breaking the seal on the apple juice box, I slip in the straw and touch the end of it to L's lower lip.

"Drink, baby."

His body goes into survival mode as he anxiously grabs the box and takes a long, encouraging sip.  He pushes out the straw with his tongue and rolls over the opposite direction of me.

I rub his arm.  "L, you need to drink sweetheart."  I gently turn his head back towards me and press the straw to his lips again.

He takes a small sip and turns his head away again.  We repeat the process a good six times before I give up.  He's drank 3/4 of the box.  We'll move on to the banana.

I break off half of the banana and rub it against his full sleeping lips.  He anxiously takes a bite and chomps contentedly in his sleep.  His hands grasp the air as if trying to find another bite of the banana.  He eagerly eats what I offer him, and when I am finished he brings his hands to his face and continues to eat the imaginary banana in his hands.

I gently hold his hands to make the charade stop, and rub his forehead to relax his body and help him return to his deep sleep.

I check the other two boys and find them to be in range with no IOB.  A battle won within the war.

Gently closing the door to my room I turn to knell at my bed to pray.  I offer an earnest prayer, praying for joy.  Praying for understanding.  Praying for peace. 

And most importantly...praying for my boys safety until I check them again in a few hours.

Dream my dear boys.  Dream and escape your diabetic life.

I'll live it for you, for now.

Gladly. 

Relish your escape while you can.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Rescued.


When you are having a bad time...

When you are lost and trying to find yourself...

When you need something to look forward to...

When you need to talk, but with someone who you know understands where you are coming from, because they know where you have been...

When you need a friend...

When you are struggling to sleep...

When you're stuck on pause...

When blood sugars reign and routine saves the day...

When you are looking for your smile...

There is no better cure than a visit from people far away.

People who share your heart.

People who love you despite your imperfections.

People who in many ways are your "same."

This last weekend Wendy from Candy Hearts, Kris from My Sugar Bugs, and Joanne from Death of a Pancreas flew in to see me and hang with my local D Mama friends, April, mom of 1 Type 1 son, and Susan, who has two boys with T1.

My heart is full.

If only for a weekend, my spirit was replenished.

If you are alone, find someone who is same.

And if you find that someone on the internet, don't think that the relationship has any less value than the ones that are right in front of you.

Because these woman who came to town embodied everything true friends are.  Our friendship was a real as the sunset.  As real as the ocean.  As real as the pie we relished.

The online community has once again saved me.  What would I do without you?

I am blessed.  Despite all the hurt, the grief and the confusion...

I am blessed.

Thank you girls for coming to my rescue. 

I hope one day to return the favor.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's theirs.


I've always thought of diabetes as mine.  

No, I don't have diabetes per se, but I live it...and I take full responsibility for it times three.

My head is in the game 24/7.  I put so much work into diabetes...the diabetes hamster wheel in my brain is still running full tilt after all these years.  But lately it has become very clear that my boys have diabetes hamster wheels too, and they too have theirs running at a good clip.

I'm not super happy about that.

I always ran my hamster wheel so they wouldn't have to run theirs.  But as they have gotten older, they have begun to give their wheels more steam, and in effect, given diabetes more room in their brain for processing.

They are taking over their care slowly...but absolutely, surely.

The other day I was going to be out of town, in a meeting.  As a result, I wasn't going to be available for the boys calls during the day.  My sister in law, my back up pancreas, was subbing all day and wasn't able to field their calls either.  I spoke to the boys about it, and they all confidently assured me they knew exactly what to do.  They knew how many carbs to bolus for snack and lunch, and when to give a free snack if their blood sugar was low.  They knew what to eat for each specific low number, and they knew if they were high that they needed to bolus.

That day my boys didn't call me once, and each and every one did everything, perfectly, all on their own.

On the way home from school I praised them for their awesomeness, for which J replied, "What do you expect Mom?  This morning at breakfast you prepared us for every situation, including Armageddon." 

Then my baby L piped in, "Mom, we totally got this.  We don't even need to call you anymore."

Brain.  Explosion.

"No sweetheart, you need to call me.  Just in case."

It was then I realized I was having them call me every day for MY peace of mind.  Could they really do this without always checking in with me?  That would require me slowing down my hamster wheel.  It hasn't slowed down for fourteen years...is that even doable?

A couple nights ago I changed the insulin sensitivity on the two littles.  I checked them hourly for a good part of the night, making sure my changes weren't too strong.  L, my littlest, began to go low.  As I fed him a snack like a mother bird to her young, I realized that my boys were going to be on their own someday, and that someday was coming quickly. 

Who will feed them then?

I've always known one day I would set them free, but the thought overwhelmed me in that moment.  I freely run my hamster wheel for my boys.  Knowing that one day there will be steam coming out of their ears all the time?

I hate the thought. 

It is such a large stone to carry around. 

So much responsibility.

But here I am, knowing that they will willingly take all the responsibility one day...and they'll somehow be ok.

They will be ok.

We have come so far in this past decade.  Change is life's way of saying, "keep moving."

And I'm moving...even though I would rather freeze time and work through my own demons.

Like I said, I knew the day would come.  It just hurts knowing I can't shield them any longer.  They've passed their diabetes permit tests, I need to let go and let them drive...full on knowing there are going to be small dents and even big accidents along the way.  The hard truth is, they can't become able drivers without having a turn at the wheel. 

Good thing I'm a brilliant backseat driver.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The lie.


I see it all the time on Facebook.

I live with the mantra all day long in my own reality.

Oh yeah, I say it to myself.

And yeah, I know you say it to yourself, too.

As parents, as humans, we are brilliant at a lot of things, but one thing we are most brilliant at is finding fault with ourselves.

It all hinges on one giant lie.  And it is such a good lie that we often believe it.  We let it eat at us, and some days we even let it define us.

What are the words that have so much power?

"I'm not good enough."

"I fall short."

"Epic fail."

Do we all have areas to work on?  Absolutely.  No one is perfect.  Me?  <----- far from perfect.

But I think we let that little notion work itself into our swelly brains all too often.   For myself, the thought has crawled in, made its nest and settled down to hibernate for the winter.

How do I wake the beast and scurry it out of my head?  I can only imagine I need to start by saying to the universe, "I AM enough."

Just because I'm not perfect, doesn't mean I don't try my best.

Just because I fail sometimes, doesn't mean it doesn't kill me every time I let my child down.

Unfortunately for me...and most of you who read this blog...Diabetes only exasperates the problem. There are so many opportunities to fail with this disease.  Let me see...three boys with Type 1 Diabetes X 8 blood sugar tests a day...that equals 24 opportunities for failure a day.

And we all know that is the tip of the iceberg. 

Lately, especially, I'm having a hard time seeing my value.  Ryan was always my cheerleader.  When I was down, he was the one that lifted me up.  He wore a magical pair of glasses that saw me in a near perfect state.  My extra pounds?  He didn't see them.  My little rants?  He thought they were hilarious.  Do I really need validation to function every day?  No...I'm functioning.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for accolades...I'm just coming to the realization that I need to find a way to love myself.  Ryan did the loving for me.  His love was what got me through.  Now I need to start doing the believing on my own behalf, and that is turning out to be a bit more complicated than I thought.

It's true.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm enough for the boys.

But as I look around at a world of imperfect people, I realize I love so many people despite their imperfections.  No one is perfect, and everyone that tries their best is enough for their family, and enough for me.  I can be enough for mine...

Wait.

I AM enough for mine.

Believing there is more to me than what I see in the mirror is a start.  Believing I'm only scratching the surface of my potential is the next step.

I need to close my drawers full of doubts.  I need to tidy up my brain cluttered with self deprecating mantras.  I need to clean house.

I turned in my first job application/resume packet yesterday.  As I laid my packet on the pile, I was surprised at my immediate sense of defeat.  Jumping back into the work force, putting myself out there...it going to be a rough road.  It is not going to help anything if I don't have self confidence.  Do I think I can do the job?  Absolutely!  It is the selling myself that makes me itch all over.

The core of my confidence volcano has been dormant.  It is time to light the fire...find my confidence, and own it.  Maybe it won't be a super nova right off the bat, but my points of light can put on quite a show.  I need to allow the world see.

Accepting who I am.  (Working on myself...but accepting that I am unique and have something to offer...) THAT is my next adventure.

Today I take that first step.

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it...people like me!" ~ Stuart Smalley



Friday, October 12, 2012

Alice in Diabetesland


11:00pm

I was Alice.  I was naive, and curious.  When I ventured towards the bedroom I had no idea what would be on the other side of the monitor.  I sat comfortably on B's bedside and stroked his cheek gently.  Oh how I wish I could know peace like that.  What a wonderful adventure his life is at 10 years old.  I envied his ablity to sleep so soundly.  Growing curiouser and curiouser I brought the blood sugar monitor to his sweet hand and squeezed out the precious blood from his finger tip.

"Hi."

In an instant, I fell directly down the rabbit hole.

11:30pm

I was the rabbit.  Chasing the number down, never stopping to think straight.  Rushing.  Worried.  Insulin is what he needed.  Insulin!  I checked his blood sugar.  591.  Progress!  I'm going in the right direction!  I bolused nimbly as that is what I do best!  Rush rush rush.  It's late!  It's late!  I check the clock.  I'm going to be late for my sleep.

12:30am

I was a guard.  Just one more check in the deck of cards this game diabetes has to throw at me.  I will do my duty and check!  I will put off sleep to make sure he is safe.  Diabetes is my master.  I will obey.  I dutifully check his sugar.  440.  Bolus again.  I know the protocol.

1:30am

I was the Red Queen.  I'd fallen asleep and my alarm was going off.  I rage snooze three times.  I'm angry.  A queen shouldn't have to lose sleep!  I throw my covers off in regal fashion and make my way defiantly to B's bedside.  The meter says 380.  I bolus and immediately I am met with heresy!   "No delivery."  How dare that pump defy me!  I will bolus again, and this time it will LISTEN!  But yet again it dares to mock me with its "No delivery!" 

OFF WITH THE SET!

I burst to the supply closet and nimbly grab a new quick set.  It is put on efficiently, as stabbing children with needles is second nature to me now.  I'm numb from it all.  A queen does what she has to do and doesn't look back.  Hard decisions must be made.  I rage bolus.  I am wide awake so I take a Tylenol PM.  I will sleep now.  I am the queen here, I will not allow diabetes to take away my sleep!

2:30am

I am the caterpillar.  My sleeping pill has made me a bit woozy.  My alarm goes off...I can't find the snooze.  I'm high on sleeping agents and like a drunkard make my way to B.  He is 373.  Almost what he was an hour before.  I dreamily bolus and add a bit for good measure.  I don't remember how I got back to bed.  But I remember being confident in my bolusing decision.

4:00am

I am the Mad Hatter.  I'm not all there.  I grin vivaciously at the alarm clock.  I clank down the hall, bumping doors open...I don't care who I wake.  Come to the party!  We are bolusing!  Have some tea with me as we check B's sugar AGAIN!  I live my life at this table, and it is where my crazy shines!  I flip the overhead light on in the boys bedroom.  So what if they wake up.  I'm up!  Let's do this thing!  It takes me some time to figure the meter out.  I put the strip in backwards and giggle a little bit.  277.  FINALLY some progress.  The pump says to give a bit more insulin.  I grin and do as I am told.  My brain is made up of wet noodles at this point.  I shrug hoping I did the right thing, and fall face first back into bed.  I'm not in my right mind.  The next alarm will be 6:30am when I must wake up for the day.  I take off my nurses hat and dive into a vivid drug induced dreamland.

6:30am

It is over.  Was it all a dream?  B's blood sugar is 112.  Did I imagine the crazy?  From the corner of my eye I see the aftermath on B's dresser from the night before.  Bloody test strips.  Needles, a box of quick sets...insulin.

It was all real.  The wonderland of craziness and real life merged together in my conscience and created my reality once more.

What character am I now? 

I am all of them. 

I am a D Mother. 

I am me.


And most of all...I am tired.
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Diabetes is a Sailboat


14 years ago I was told to put my child in a sailboat, alone. He was to journey out to sea and I was not allowed to escort him.

You can imagine the fight I put up. I yelled and pleaded. I dropped to my knees and bargained with God. I had a fit. But alas, my flailing was fruitless...he was literally taken out of my arms and thrown into the boat. I was given no choice. He had Type 1 Diabetes and there was no going back. He could not stay on shore. He could not live without the boat...it was part of him now.

I watched the boat go out to sea and I cried anguished crocodile tears. The world seemed to be in constant motion, while I was stuck on pause...mourning his separation from the shore.

The viciousness of the waves were horrifying.

My child was helpless.

I was helpless.

I would have done anything to be on that boat. I willed his diabetes to enter my body so I could switch places with him. But apparently, that isn't how it works.

Unfortunately.

I was given two tools to help my son. A telescope and limited control over the weather.

I have vigilantly had my eye set to that telescope for 14 years. There have been long stretches when I wouldn't leave the scope. I wouldn't shower. I wouldn't eat.

I have had comments throughout the years that my attention would be better placed somewhere other than the boat.

What they don't understand is that my child is on that boat. My heart. My soul. How could I ever walk away from my scope?

My one advantage is, with insulin and food, I can sometimes control the weather. I can smooth the waves and bring him close to shore. On those days it almost feels he is on land with me. On those days we dance together and laugh, and joke that the ocean has nothing on us.

But other days the storms come in out of nowhere. The black clouds close in and the numbers ebb and flow with the powerful tide. On those days, I watch my son ride those waves and I spend the day at my scope...determined to change the color of the clouds. If his boat capsized...I don't know what I would do.

Sure...he is above water. Sure...he is surviving. But on the stormier days his sea sickness weighs so heavy on my shoulders, I'm sure I am going to run out of strength, and one day drown in despair myself.

My son has grown up on his boat. I am in awe every day of his constant vigilance, and his nimble control of his craft. He is an able captain now. He can hoist the sail, he can watch for the storm clouds. He can batten down the hatches. He can steer that boat away from immediate danger...he FEELS the sea. His intuition is inspiring.

Three boats I have set out to sea. It does not get easier. Every boat I have released has killed me a little bit inside. I live my life on the shore waiting for storms, hoping for sun...watching each and every wave.



It is exhausting. It is tedious.

But on the summerlike days, when the boys drift closer to our reality...they hitch their boats together. With their boats abreast, we can sit together and watch the sun set on the horizon and know that we can do this. We see the other boats adrift in the ocean, and their resolve and optimism lifts our spirits.

A bit ironic that the most amazing views...the most amazing perspectives...can be seen only from a boat.

No, it isn't easy. It isn't fair. The children with their feet on land are behind us, ever present...running around with no cares.

They don't have an entire craft to navigate. If a storm comes in they can simply get in their cars and their parents can drive them home. They are not required to have constant courage or patience. They are not required to grow up quickly to take on captaining their own ship.

They are free to run.

Freedom. A gift my boys yearn for.

Freedom from navigating. Freedom from weather.

Diabetes is a sailboat.

Adrift in the sea.

The boats rock gently tonight. I can see my sons at the helms. Their silhouettes against the nights sky.

Each one, every bit a hero.

We pray that one day they may set their feet on the sandy shore and rest.

That one day they may find respite from their journey.

Type 1 Diabetes is a sailboat.

And 40 new sailboats take off from the shore, every day.

They aren't just boats underway with numbers in their wake...they are families lives, changed forever.

They are significant.

Every single sailboat is significant.

And every captain, an inspiration.


(I felt the need to revisit this post from July 2011.  Last night at the midnight check, the waves were smooth for the first time in awhile.  I looked at their sleeping faces and thought of all the storms we have weathered lately.  My boys are my heroes.  All four of them.)


Monday, October 8, 2012

The ten year quandary


I read an article a couple weeks ago that Houston's MD Anderson's Cancer center announced they are going to shoot for the moon and attempt to cure eight types of cancer within the next ten years.

One of those types of cancer is Melanoma. 

How do I feel about this?

Surprisingly conflicted.

On the one hand, WOW!  Good for them for going for the gold!  What a huge blessing it would be to know not another family would need to suffer like ours.  What an amazing gift to know that in the future my children wouldn't have to fear such a disease!  It is such a hopeful statement.  Bold and exciting!  Can you imagine?  I certainly can!

Then there is this tiny selfish, angry part of me that says, "What the what????  Why couldn't they have announced this ten years ago?"  I feel like an awful person thinking this way.  What's happened has happened...but if they think they can cure it, why has it taken so long for eyes to be opened?  If they think they actually can achieve this...why now?  Why not before?  Why not for my Ryan?

We can't go back in time.

I know that.

Then there is the D Mama bear inside me roaring at the idea of telling others, "Ten years."

When J was diagnosed with diabetes we were told there would be a cure within ten years.  We were newbies then...and a bit naive I suppose.  We honestly believed them, and left the office thinking Our Diabetic Life would be a temporary thing...

Seven years later when L was diagnosed we were told the same thing.  "Ten years and there will be a cure for sure.  They are getting closer!"

And a year later when another nurse tried to tell us the same phrase after B was diagnosed I stopped her and made her promise never to say those words again.

Conflicted. 

I feel like I'm in the twilight zone.  Ten years from any point we are currently at, there will be a cure for everything.  Impossible, right?  We'll never get to that point because the time is always determined from this exact point.  And this exact point changes minute by minute.

Curing Melanoma in a ten year time frame?  Damn, I'm glad they are trying.

But I hate that I lack faith in the outcome.

I hope I'm proven wrong.  I PRAY I am proven wrong.  PROVE ME WRONG MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER!  Please!

It's about time this world started curing things.  It's about time we stopped putting band aids on the problems and patting ourselves on the back for putting off the solution. 

Maybe a cure will come for these deadly cancers because the people who have them don't live long.  The money made off them is limited.  I don't know.  I know of people who believe that pharma is making millions off Diabetes, and is hurting our cause for a cure by blocking any progress towards it.

Yeah...maybe I'm one of the people that feels that way too...sometimes.

Can progress really be made on any disease?  Has society really cured a disease yet?

Regardless of my hesitation.  Regardless of my sadness.  Regardless of my tainted view of miraculous future cures...

Regardless of everything, I'm glad they are trying.  And I support them 100% in their noble efforts.

Even if it is too late for Ryan, maybe it won't be too late for someone else I love.  <---- and that's worth putting all my conflictions asides, and allowing myself to once again feel a pang of HOPE inside my heart.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dreaming forward.


When I was a little girl my family would vacation every summer.  It usually entailed a long miserable road trip with the destination being a relative of some kind.   Imagine six kids in the back of a two toned 1970 Chevy Beauville G20 Van with nothing more than tumbleweed to keep them occupied.  Yeah, it wasn't pretty. 

But my mother would always say, "Look out the window and dream about something."  So, I would look out the window and dream I was a princess trapped in the dessert with a bunch of monkeys trying to attack me.  The prince would always save me, and I always lived happily ever after.

Daydreaming isn't something I've done in a long time.  I'm out of practice, and now more of a realist than anything else.

As an adult, it's hard for me to sit back and imagine something new.  I'm comfortable with the old.  But here I am forced into a new world, and forced to try new things.

Forced to dream. 

A friend of mine recently told me I need to dream big.  She urged me not to sell myself short, and encouraged me to believe in myself.   She said she believed there was really something to saying what you want out loud, to the universe.  Sending your intentions out seems to make dreams come to fruition.

"Like my magic rainbow tunnel?" I asked like a three year old.  "On the way to the Endo in the city we pass through the rainbow tunnel and I always hold my breath and wish as many wishes as possible in the short time we are inside.   It's crazy awesome. "

"Yes like that," She said humoring me..."Except, all the time."

And then the epiphany hit.   I need to live my life as if I'm always in the tunnel.

I need to be constantly praying and living out loud...sending what I hope my life will become up to higher powers.

As I sit here now reflecting on what I dream for the future, it's hard to find a clear picture.  I already thought all my dreams came true.  Finding new ones doesn't seem right...or fair.

Dreaming of a future without Ryan by my side is like watching TV in black and white.  There is no vibrancy.  It is flat,  and lackluster at best.

Will my future ever be in HD?

I hope so. 

If Dorothy can go from black and white to color,  can't I?

Dorothy escaped those monkeys,  and all she needed was her own intentions  to move on.  She always had it in her power to get where she needed to go...she didn't know it until the end, but it was inside her.

Is it inside me? 

I'm not a character in a movie. 

I'm not a princess in the desert being chased by monkeys either.

 I'm just a woman, with four children, who is in search of her own Yellow Brick Road.

The storm has come.

I'm flying in the eye of the tornado. 

What I really need to do now,  is find a way to steer this thing.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The sunset.


I'm trying hard not to be selfish, and remember that Ryan is in an miraculous place.

I'm trying hard to remember he deserves this rest.

I'm trying hard to remember he is happy, busy, and closer than we think.

But my emotions get in the way.  I want him physically here with me.  I know that is just part of the process, but it doesn't change the fact that my soul feels ripped in half.  I want him here. <--- insert tantrum.

It's been a daily struggle as I try to remember he is in paradise.  My soul feels as though it is recovering from surgery, and now it seems I'm just watching a giant scar of missed opportunities form.  This last week has been the hardest for me emotionally.  I'm trying to sort through all the feelings and finding that I'm landing short on any kind of organization at all.  My emotions are like a teenagers bedroom...everything strewn all over.  I never know what emotion I'm going to pick up, or even why.

But last night my soul was soothed...if only for a few minutes.

It was quiet, it was peaceful, and it was amazing.

I had an appointment just north of town.  As I began my drive I immediately saw the brilliant sunset.  It was an especially hot day, and the sunset was especially breathtaking.

As I entered the freeway I had this inexplicable feeling of awe and peace.  The sky painted with streaks of orange, red, yellow...and purple?  Yes, purple!  The thin clouds luminescent as the backdrop unfolded before me.  What word describes it?  Astounding, maybe?

The freeway has just been repaved and I felt as if I was floating, taking in the amazing scene. 

And then it hit me.

This awe, and peace I was feeling?  This sense of complete surrender to gods beauty?  I was being afforded only a small taste of what Ryan gets to experience every day.   As the more brilliant parts of the sunset moved to my left I kept my eye on it as long as I could.  Mouth agape, my body weightless...I tried to put my finger on the gravity of the moment.

And then the peace surged into excitement.  It took me a couple minutes to realize, I was excited for him.  In that moment I knew he was living, and thriving.  In that moment I knew he was with his grandfather, and all his family...and I knew he had the benefit of the bigger picture...and he wanted me to have it too.

Ryan always loved an adventure. 
 
I'm overwhelmingly blessed to know he is experiencing his greatest adventure yet. 

I won't ever stop missing him...but when I miss him most, I'll remember the 10 minutes I was granted a glimpse of his life, and know that when my journey is through I will be able to stand beside him and tell him I always tried hard to be happy for him.

He deserves this time. 

It doesn't make everything ok.  But it makes it better.  And better soothes the scar, and fades it just enough to make a difference.


Monday, October 1, 2012

No D, but a lot of M



There is something about him that is just good.  He was born this way, and I'm sure his father's genes have a lot to do with it.

M was a colicky baby.  We spent many hours walking and bouncing trying to keep him happy.  But once he hit one year old, his sweet spirit instantly shown.
 

He has never been mean spirited.  He's never been one to push back.  He's never understood teasing...it just has never been funny to him.

All he's ever wanted is to make people happy, and most especially, make people laugh.

With his innocence and naivety it was hard to get the other kids to laugh. He never made jokes at other peoples expense, and that is what little boys like to do best.  They didn't think he was very funny.  At seven years old, his jokes were juvenile...(although totally age appropriate,) but children those days/these days gain a bit of street smarts early on from their siblings.  M, being the oldest, never had the benefit of an older brother to educate/tarnish his innocence.

Instead he had two very young parents who adored him and laughed at everything he said.  He would walk into a room and they would applaud, because to them, he was perfect and charming in every way.

I think back to that little boy who struggled in his early elementary school years and marvel at what he has become today.

M, if anything...is an entertainer.

He found music in 5th grade.  He started with the clarinet, because my mother had my sister's in the closet.  He instantly connected with the music and soon wanted to take private lessons to play songs more complicated than Mary had a Little Lamb.  In the final concert in 6th grade M played a solo of the Mission Impossible theme song.  It was epic.  It was one of those movie moments where the entire crowd jumped to their feet and applauded in awe.  He was amazing...and happier in that moment than ever in his entire life.  In the talent show a few weeks later he played again, and was such a driving force in the show he received a school spirit award that had been on hiatus for many years.  He was so wonderful they resurrected it, and put a name on a plaque in his honor. 

In Jr. High his Omi bought him a Saxophone, and the rest is history.  He is now in the Varsity Jazz band and plays first chair.  He's pretty amazing.  He has such beautiful tone, and so fun to listen to.

A few years ago Ryan took a volunteer job as cook at the Weblos scout camp.  All the boys have gone with him every year to volunteer as staff.  It was there M was able to show his true colors.  His kindness and camaraderie with the other campers was a breath of fresh air, but more than that...they had a stage...and M began his legacy as an amazing comedic performer.  He is SO funny.  The audience is brought to tears by his jokes and skits, and I am brought to tears that my little boy who always wanted to make other kids laugh, is now doing it on such a big stage.

This weekend he volunteered at a band camp as a mentor.  On Facebook I was able to watch my son sing and make the audience roar with laughter.  The video was taken from behind and you couldn't see his face, but at the very end he turned around and had the greatest look of joy.  I was never more proud of him.  Not because he was good, but because he never gave up on what he wanted to do.  He is finding his path, and it is all him.

Last year when M sat Ryan and I down to tell us he wanted to find a career in film, we were a bit unconvinced, and completely nervous for him.  Why not become an engineer, or a dentist?  But as he explained he doesn't want to be in front of the camera, but rather behind the scenes editing film, our hearts began to soften to the idea.  M has no problem letting others take the limelight.  If he is part of the smile in any way...he is happy. This year he began taking a film class and he is in love.  He spends his breaks editing film, he finished his first project weeks before it was due, (and if you know my procrastinator M, then you know what a big deal that is.)  Ryan and I both know that making a living at something you love to do is best.  Ryan loved being a baker, and later working with other bakers selling them supplies and helping them run product...I know he wants the same thing for his boys.

I can't tell you that M won't change his mind.  But I can tell you that I see him in the future finding ways to make other people smile.  If he does anything in life...it will be that.  Whether he is working with film, being a teacher, a plumber, or a rocket scientist.

He is still the same soft hearted little boy, but these days he glows with happiness.  He walks around the house humming jazz tunes and has the biggest, best smile.  Both his first and second grade teachers told me that they thought he was going to be an amazing father when he grew up.  What a peculiar thing to say about such a young boy, but looking back, it makes perfect sense.

He IS going to be an amazing husband and father one day.  My greatest prayer is that he finds someone with a heart as big as his...and more than anything...someone that will laugh at his jokes, and make him feel like the star that he is.

I am so proud of the man he has become.  17 and a half is a pretty big number...being in his Senior year is a pretty big deal.  His future isn't written out, but all I see ahead for him is exciting and wonderful. 

I might be biased, but what else do you expect from one of his biggest fans?  I say, "one of," because his father shares that title with me.  Ryan always marveled at what a great kid M was.  How did we get so lucky? 

I suspect that M took the best traits from both of us, and mixed them up into a magic potion of happy goodness.

Watch out world.

He's coming.