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It was pouring rain (like it has been for most of the past month) and the kids had an impromptu hoedown jam session!

Micah on violin, Mack on ukulele and Moxie with the moves;

I missed Grandma so much while I was sitting on that bench, remembering how Grandma was sitting next to me the last time I was there.

Meriah Nichols-8She kept calling me “Diana,” (I look a lot like my mom now; I’ll take that as a compliment). She wanted me to fetch her a banana from the toy co-op. I said, “Grandma, it’s not a real banana” – she said she didn’t care, she’d still like to have it. I said I couldn’t give it to her because this was part of the play museum. She shook her head, laughed with those dimples popping, and said, “well, I’ll be… what is this?!”

Meriah Nichols-9It’s a different world, Grandma, that’s what it is.

It’s a world where we pay to have things nice and tidy for our kids, things that smack of learning and education and fair play. It’s not the one where you ran free in Oakland with your cousin and some pennies and watched movies in theatres by your own small selves.

It’s also a world with anatomically correct dolls.

Meriah Nichols-7I had gotten a little flustered the last time I was there because Moxie had a blowout in her pullups, Grandma was mad because I was gone (cleaning up Moxie), and she also wanted to go to the bathroom, then I was worried about her in the bathroom alone. I checked on her. Okay. Then Mack had to go, and his was all about poop too. I hadn’t slept much the night before – Grandma needed to get up most of the night – I felt worn at the ends, frazzled, drained, and I didn’t mind it at all because I knew that each moment with Grandma – crazy or not – was a gift.

I am grateful that I felt that.

When I was sitting on the bench last week, I was glad that my memories aren’t laced with any recollections of feeling annoyed with Grandma, or impatient, or anything. I am glad I only remember how much love for her I felt on that day, on every day that I was around her.

My Grandma loved me best.

Oh, okay, maybe she actually didn’t (?), but she always made me feel like I was her favorite, that I was the best thing since sliced bread. There is so much comfort in that. I think more than anything, I want everyone to know what that feels like. To know that there is one person in your world, in your life, who thinks your shit doesn’t stink. Or if your shit does stink, there’s probably some marvelous reason for it stinking, because you are essentially just the most marvelous person, ever. No matter what.

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Last week Moxie bolted out of the Discovery Museum, and of course it was a moment in which I wasn’t looking. This little gaggle of concerned mothers came to me as I was downloading something onto the iphone and said, “your daughter just ran out of the door” (which they had to repeat, like 5 times because I couldn’t hear them or read their lips well). I writhed in shame. Bad mom, horrible no-good, tech-obsessed mom.

Moxie was back in (on her own) by the time they were done being concerned with me, and I took her gently by the shoulders and said, “you just can’t run out, honey.” She said, “why?”, I said “because we are in here – you need to stay with me. We are playing inside here, now. ” She said, “ok” but I have no idea how much she actually understood. I asked her if she wanted to leave. She said, “no.” So then I said that if she didn’t want to leave, she needed to stay inside. If she wanted to go, just tell me; we’ll go. Okay? “Okay.”

But I put the phone completely down and away. Just in case.

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I was proud of how she played and basically covered every living inch out of every single item there. Puppet show? Check

Kaleidescope? Check. Ball-over-blast-of-air? Check. Bike-powered stoplights? Check. Golf-ball-ramp? Check. She didn’t waste time. She literally played with EVERY SINGLE THING. I can’t say that about anyone else there.

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Back to Grandma.

meriah nichols grandma-5The death of someone loved isn’t just a loss; it’s an absence. It’s the not being there, the physical space that was once occupied by them, now empty. It’s my Grandma’s chair blanket that once made her butt warm, it’s her cat, Hester, that is still so sad, looking everywhere for Grandma’s bright smile and kind, petting hands.

I try not to think of her absence. It sounds really cheesy and all new-agey to say this, but I try and focus on the fact that I lost her in her physical form, but I’ve gained the best damn angel-protector-guardian anyone could ever have. Nobody’s going to watch over me like my Grandma!

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Who loved me best, haha!

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PS

For those of you who like my kinda-controversial disability-related posts, I have a new one up on Two Thirds of the Planet – “Hey ‘Special Needs Parents’! Where’s the Outrage Over “Me Before You”?”

Catching up right here and now involves a whole lot of stuff like snot coming out of my kids, as well as raspy voices and big, splashy sneezes – the kind that explode right in your face, dousing you with all their germtastic glory.

Keeping Mack and Micah relatively snot-free isn’t that bad, but Moxie?! Oh man. Miss Independent gets down and throws tantrums if I try to wipe her nose for her. She’s got to do it by herself and that means she swipes her nose and rubs the stuff all around so her face becomes a mantle, if you will, of Cruste de Mucus.

I try to accept these things as badges of motherhood and be graceful and nurturing in the face of all this…drip but honestly? The stuff grosses me out and it’s a real struggle. I can’t even handle the snot sucker – Mikey is the sole manipulator of that tubular blessing.

So here we are and it’s Monday morning and it’s glorious outside. Mack’s nursing on me as I type over his head. Moxie is slumped down, crusted. Micah talks to everyone as he engages in his morning craftastic activity (I think he’s building a monster). I’m wondering what we can do that will engage everyone and yet not infect the outside world. I’m not sure if such a thing is even possible.

I want to write something really deep and meaningful for World Down Syndrome Day coming up – this Thursday (the 21st) but I’m not sure I have anything very deep and meaningful in me right now. I’m just trying to keep the snot at bay and not drink as much coffee as I want (- which is far, far more than a nursing mother should, I’ll tell you that!).

I’m also casting a lot of long, lingering looks at my painting that I’m working on. My One True Darling got it all set up for me and I find that’s all I want to do anymore: paint. And I’m reminded of the fact that I only continued blogging to the degree that I have because of the difficulty in painting (– with little kids running around, demanding time, with acrylics drying out quickly, with easels getting knocked over, and with concentration getting shattered). My heart really longs to paint though. I’m finding that even a few brush strokes applied here and there perks me up and sets my world much righter.

So here we are. The bookclub is polling a first book to read now – it might be fun for you to join. Here’s the embedded piece that goodreads encourages me to add!

Poll

I’m sorry, you guys. New poll. “Don’t Call Me Inspirational” costs over $60! The kindle version is $12 but I don’t think it’s fair to have only one affordable option (if someone doesn’t have a kindle, they would have to shell out a lot to participate…). Let’s hit the drawing board again. Thanks!

 

It’s Monday morning. Micah’s now belting out “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” in his gravelly, sick (and highly off key) little voice. It simultaneously breaks my heart and makes me smile.

Have a wonderful day.

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The gods of Sick finally decided to come on down and pay us a visit. I suppose they thought it had been too long or something.

I guess they didn’t want to leave anyone out either – because it’s like they had a party with each and every one of us.

They’ve totally outstayed their welcome.

I’ve asked them to leave.

I’ve even pulled out the repellants on them.

It’s frickin’ high time they listened to me, because let me tell you: I’m one Mean Mama when I pull up my sleeves and whack those Beasties back to Sickdom where they belong.

Photos follow.

The past few days.

Send us your love, okay?

Okay, thanks.

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On the bright side: Tea Collection:

Springtime is just around the corner and Tea Collection has just released new party styles for boys and girls! Browse adorable new dresses like the Blooming Lily Shift Dress or the Sethunya Floral Dress. These dresses are perfect for special occasions or a picnic in the park. Shopping for boys? The Dance Print Shirt is perfect for spring holidays or layered with a tee for a cool surf-inspired look. The Two Oceans Sweater Vest can be worn over a woven shirt or tee. Best of all, save 10% when you shop today! Happy Springtime to you!

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