Sunday, June 6, 2010

Time passes so quickly, time passes so slowly

We had our annual block party this weekend, and it was spectacular, thanks to a guest appearance by Justin Bieber. Well, OK, he didn't come but the party still rocked. We live on a dead end and every year, come early June, nearly everyone in the neighborhood (which spans a half-mile or so) sets up tables and chairs on our street and we bring in a couple of those those blow-up bouncy things and kegs and the adults all hang and the kids run around like lunatics.

This year, there was also a dessert contest. In honor of it, I went to this outstanding Southern food place in our 'hood and bought a sweet potato pie. Not that I tried to pass it off as my own; breaking it out of the plastic sleeve as I approached the judging table pretty much gave me away.

Every year, a firetruck comes by and stays for an hour. The firemen are so great with the kids.

"Mommmmmmmy, I'm juuuuuuuumping, take my picture!"

Max got a kick out of bouncing around with Sabrina...

...and raking the sand pits on the golf course at the end of our street.

He did an outstanding job of navigating the crowd in his tractor. Look closely at the gas tank—he tucked a piece of purple chalk in there.

Sabrina with our neighbor's dog, the aptly named Barkley.

In some ways, this block party makes me aware of how fast time flies. Another year, another block party. Wow, all of the kids are getting so BIG! And look at all the new babies!

And in some ways, the block party makes me aware of how much I ache for Max to keep progressing. It's a little difficult to see the other kids growing up so fast while Max stays in the slow lane, moving at his own pace. Yes, he is doing so much more now than he was last year at this time, and that's beyond incredible. Yes, as long as he keeps progressing, that's what matters most. But this is one of those instances when I can so clearly see the gap between him and other kids widening, and it gives me pause. Not in an excruciatingly sad way or anything. Just one of those "Oh" moments.

Mostly, it made me happy to see him enjoying himself so much.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my store-bought sweet potato pie did not win the bake-off.

Recognize these kids, circa block party 2007?


  1. Hi Ellen,

    I'm a special education teacher of preschoolers with severe disabilities. I found your blog as a link from an article on ParentDish.Com.

    I get sad when I see "my" kids as the years go by, and the gap between them and their ordinary/typically developing peers has widened. They are more alike than different in preschool. I'm on summer break now, but my mission is to get my class mingling with the state preschool daily. I think making friends can close the gap in the years to come. If not, we will all have fun trying!

  2. Yeah, I know.

    I forced myself to give up on that "compare and contrast" crap years ago. All it does is rip you up, and I refuse to let an arbitrary and clearly unachievable standard rule me or my family. OR make me feel sad/bad/blue. I figure my two adorable little monsters are just unique, and that's that. My oldest will never be mistaken for typical, and my youngest makes Billy Elliot look like a linebacker, and that is just FINE with me. If they're healthy and happy, what more can we ask? Well, we can ASK for the moon, but we're not gonna get it. So the best thing to do is just deal with it--live in your reality, here, in the present, and love it for what it is. Sigh, shake it off, and move on, girl. There's really no other alternative, save fretting over stuff that will not change no matter what. And also, you've just got to tell yourself (repeat, if necessary) that no one has the power to make you feel bad--unless you give that power to them.

    Now, let's face facts--all I see of your family, Ellen, is this delicious slice of your life you are so wonderful to share with us on the internet, so my observations are based on this small view you're so kind to give us....but damn, since I have become addicted to your blog, all I can say is that I have seen Max do REALLY INCREDIBLE THINGS, and it seems to me like his progress is nothing short of astounding at times. Every time you mention something that he's done (like that march into Starbucks the other day that I read about with a mix of joy and envy--we deal with meltdowns and balks on a daily basis) my mind keeps going back to your stem cell adventure. It just seems to me like Max got turbocharged after that event, became more engaged, more verbal, more outgoing, less shy, less "balky," more ... PURPLE (hee hee)... but hey, that's just my perspective from where I sit based on reading what you share. I mean, would he have driven his tractor through the crowd with such abandon like that a year or so ago? I know you're seeing him in the slow lane, but I get the sense that he's moved into the fast lane of the slower highway in the past year or so. I dunno--I get a real sense of an INSISTENT onward/upward trajectory when you tell us of his achievements, so maybe you need to step back and reread your own wonderful chapters!

    I know that we can't always see things clearly from up close, and it is helpful to pull out the old pictures and stand back and look and see where you were and how far you've come every so often. I think Max is a miracle, and he's a lucky miracle too, to have such a wonderful family that surrounds him with so much support and love. I'm pretty sure he knows how lucky he is, too.

    That block party sounds like so much fun--I live in an antisocial neighborhood, I swear, some of my more snooty neighbors would sooner eat dirt than have fun like that! Oh, well, good thing we have family that love to get together and have our own fun! And as for that dessert contest, you did good bringing that pie--I'll bet it got devoured!

  3. Oh, what a wonderful neighborhood.

    I was just talking about this at work yesterday, people lucky enough to live in great neighborhoods. And last night a show on HGTV had a neighborhood block party.

    Awesome. How good for the kids.

    Our neighborhood is cold. NO one talks, they gossip and they call the police if you put your garbage cans out before 5:30 p.m.

    Yeah, you're lucky...

  4. Looks like everyone had a great time at the block party! Nice neighborhood! I can relate to how you feel when you see the progress of other children compared to your own child. My son is only 18 months old, but I have started to notice the gap between him & his peers widening. I know that my son has made incredible progress this past year, especially considering how ill he was. And Yes, I know that he will meet his developmental milestones in his own time. Still, I can't help feeling a little melancholy when I see children 6 months younger than him walking right past him, while he struggles to stand. Just being honest.

  5. As always, I love your honesty and willingness to share.The block party sounds like a blast!

  6. Hi Ellen, I don't know the situation with Max but I see that he has a warm nurturing environment in which to thrive. I think that your own belief in Max, and your willingness to adapt to his particular need will allow him to develop to his fullest potential. I also have a child, who is a young man now, who had difficulities. We had many years of struggling and it has been worth it to see him move forward. Wishing you much love and success in your life...and many more block parties!

  7. Ellen, one day Sabrina is going to hate you for that last picture! LOL! I get those same pains of sadness at social events too

  8. Hello! I just found your blog through the happiness project newsletter. Loved the reading! We have a beautiful 12-year-old with extensive special needs. (Three more beautiful children, as well!) Life with Acadia does keep us busy. She also brings us extraordinary joy :o) I very much connected with your "parent hell" post. Yes... there are days when I regress slightly into that feeling sorry for myself place. And so many, many more days when I count my blessings and am glad for this wonderful life with these great kids :o) Thanks for the great reading! I'll be back!

  9. I know what you mean, and at the same time, you think oh I shouldn't do that. But then it's too late, because we have. I wonder if I or(we) could learn to counteract that with a positive way that special needs kids are different?
    I am an adult with mild CP, and I look at what kids are able to do and what I may have missed out on, and for a moment I feel like I am from a foreign country. Just thought I would share .

  10. I had one of those moments this weekend when I saw a boy about my son's age. A little tears but I kept a positive attitude, well kind of. Anyway, Paula Deen's sweet potato pie recipe is the best.

  11. Hey girl! I love your traditional block party! I want to have one but not 'HOST' one.. you know?

    Do you all potluck?

    And wow a golf course at the end of your street!! cool? :)

    I love max's smile!

  12. I just had to comment on how darling your children look. What beautiful little faces!

  13. I completely understand. I had my own 'time concept' moment the other day. The Mango and I were out and about, and someone asked how old he was. I honestly drew a blank. I had no idea and had to stop, pulled my hands out of my pockets to count. The lady said "You must not be the mother!" I froze - mid count - and just managed to stop myself from telling her to go spit up a rope.

    We live day to day to day. If he's happy and healthy, I'm happy. That's our normal. I stoped thinking of his age and what milestones we were missing. I figure, we've got plenty of doctors and therapists to keep track of that for us - all it does for me is cause pain, and angst. I love my boy. It is what it is, we can do what we can do, and we try everyday to gain more. That's it. That's what we've got. And he's my world. Period.

  14. Thanks for all the support and feedback, as always. Yes, Felicia, oh voice of eternal wisdom, Max sure has made great progress this past year! He is his own miracle. I just can't help it, these events with all the kids running around penetrate my Max blinders. Suddenly, I no longer see just him, as I typically do, I see him compared to the other kids. But mostly, as you know, I am looking at him and him only, and I'm in awe of what he is up to.

    And yes, I am grateful to have such a nice neighborhood...especially considering what some of you have to deal with!

  15. Awww how fun! I wish our neighborhood had a block party, but everyone really keeps to themselves.

  16. Agreeing with the Empress - your neighborhood contributes greatly to the lifestyle of your children. Talk about inclusion. The neighborhood children also benefit from growing up Max and Sabrina. When they are older and meet people with differences, they will remember your family and realize how little the differences make.

  17. These "Oh" moments can be hard...especially when you're surrounded by a neighborhood full of "typical" kids...there are times when I could "Oh" myself into oblivion...and other times when it is just a blip.

  18. The block party sounds wonderful. I love the pictures (especially that last one!).

    I think we will always have "oh" moments. They may creep up on us or they may smack us in the head, but they will come. I think the key is not to linger there (and I know that you don't).

    Max has done some amazing things in the past year that definitely deserve to be celebrated. And that reminds me to look for those things in my daughter's life that I need to celebrate. Sometimes I will have to look really hard, but it is worth it!


  19. Love the block party - I've been toying with the idea of throwing one for our neighborhood. But would like a little insight in the "how to's" - I'm an event planner by trade, so I've got the basics covered. How do you divvy up expenses? Choose families to attend? An email would be greatly appreciated at rebeccamazz AT gmail DOT com



Thanks for sharing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...