Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Home Sweet Home


Twenty thirteen is proving challenging on many fronts: personal, financial, family, emotional. In the spate of recent blows - two job rejections, health insurance denial (me, not Jasper), a complicated relationship, bleak financial landscape - the hardest was learning that we will be forced out of our apartment come July.

Since October 2011, Jasper and I have lived in a triplex in a century old house in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. An old house is not without problems - old kitchen, old plumbing, drafty. To that add barely functioning appliances, too few kitchen cabinets, and no storage space. But our apartment is charming, bright, safe and within walking distance to most everything one could need. I especially love Jasper's room, with one wall of built in shelving, flanking the window, and full with stuffed animals, books, music, and a growing collection of toys "for later." I constantly rearrange the animals, and Jasper promptly tosses them to the floor.

Last fall, the house was purchased by a new landlord, who resides in Arizona, my native state, for most of the year. Our lease expires in July, so a few weeks ago, I contacted the landlord to ask about our options, would it be possible to go month to month once our lease is up? At first, she replied, No, we couldn't modify our current lease to be month to month. Realizing her misunderstanding, I clarified I meant after our current lease ends. She responded: Construction improvements are scheduled to begin on August 1, the apartment will not be available for rent after that. But we live here, was my first thought, this is our home. I had considered moving several times. But it is a harsh, belittling feeling, being told you have to move. You have no choice, it is not your decision. I thought of all the work involved in moving, the expense, the fierce competition for a decent apartment in a desirable neighborhood, packing, cleaning, trying to recruit moving help and most of all...Jasper.

Moving, transition is hard on any kid. I can only imagine how hard it will be for a little boy who is vision impaired and has worked so hard to map out this little world we call home. Jasper learned to crawl, pull to stand, cruise, walk, run, and backward walk in this house. His home is the most familiar, comfortable place in the world for him. Whenever we return from a trip, even when away at a friend's house for a few days to avoid toxic construction fumes from downstairs, I delight in watching Jasper come home, hurrying around, going from room to room, checking on his toys, reacquainting, reconnecting. As a parent of a child with cortical vision impairment, it has been drilled into me - by books, therapists, but mostly by Jasper himself - how children with CVI prefer the familiar to the new. Familiar toys, people, environments - we are still working on breaking in holiday and birthday toys. It is hard to comprehend how profoundly moving will rock his world, turn it upside down. Thinking about it breaks my heart. And reinforces my goal of finding a permanent address for Jasper and me. I am realistic enough to realize that such a goal is at least two moves away.

There are plenty of problems to work out between now and July. Details, like how to find a new home without a job, without help?

This was written during the night. I am increasingly losing sleep to worrying. I have developed the bad habit of leaving my phone next to the bed at night, something I have never done. I pick up the phone, and search the internet for jobs, housing, solutions to my problems. Unfortunately there is no "dream job" listing on craigslist. Jasper, who sleeps next to me, suddenly sits up, half asleep. I put the phone down, take his small hand in mine, and cuddle, soothing him back to sleep, hoping he takes me along with him.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Today was about peer parents. Talking to other moms in the observation room at school during Jasper's class - learning their names, getting to know them, sharing our stories. Knowing you are not going through it alone. Then, later this evening, attending parent education class for kiddos with speech delays, when all I really wanted to do was sit and hang out with Jasper. Driving to class thinking, I need to laugh more. Other parents in class - mostly dads - being funny at role playing, or talking about their kids, entertaining the rest of us, helping us to stay attentive, alert at the end of another long day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Birth Day

Jasper is two years old today. His birth day is still such a raw, emotional time for me. Sometimes it is hard to believe it has only been two years, considering everything that has happened, beginning with the words “it’s a boy” and “infant stroke.” In spite of all the neurology appointments that first year, the doctor appointments, the increasing number of therapy appointments these days - every day I look at Jasper and know we are incredibly lucky. His glowing smile, deep laughter, radiant energy, his delight at the world immediately around him, Jasper is not aware of his stroke, and that is how he lives his life.

Nothing prepared me for the way your child simply steals your heart away. Happy birthday to the love of my life, Jasper. Thank you for choosing me for your momma.