Archive for September, 2010

The End

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Today’s gift:  today is over.

Thank You For Being A Friend

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Today’s gift:  friends. My friends, my husband’s friends, J’s friends, M’s friends.  Thank you. You each mean so much to us.


by Lindsey Shirocky

Friends are there until the end,
They’re always themselves, no pretend.
They’re not afraid to be seen with you,
They will never betray you.
Friends never tell secrets they promise to keep,
they make you feel good about yourself in times of weep.
They come and cheer for you at your games,
In a friend there is no shame.
Friends are there to listen when you’re depressed,
They are the people you should know best.
Friends are like presents you open again and again,
Always are with you through thick and thin.

Author Elaine Hall — Miracle Mom, Miracle Mentor

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

“There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  –Albert Einstein (quoted from Now I See The Moon by Elaine Hall)

Today’s gift:  Now I See The Moon: A Mother, A Son, A Miracle by Elaine Hall (HarperStudio, June 2010).  Elaine Hall’s book is my travel guide, my new handbook, my go-to reference resource.

In her moving and inspiring memoir, Elaine Hall shares the story of her adoption of a Russian boy and their journey to a diagnosis of nonverbal autism.  With courage and passion, Elaine Hall invites readers into both her private and professional worlds (she’s a former child acting coach) and opens up about her emotional journey — one that includes her struggles with infertility, the heartbreaking diagnosis of her son’s autism, divorce and the birth of The Miracle Project (

I devoured the book (several times — which is why this review is late!).  As I read I took copious notes and highlighted key passages until the book resembled a well-loved college text.

Like a tough and gentle coach, Elaine knows when to push and when to let us test our own limits.  Her life is filled with teachable moments and reading the book felt like a virtual support group.   Here, she raves about Dr. Stanley Greenspan and his revolutionary work.  She teaches about Miracle Moms and Dads and The Miracle Project.   Best of all, Elaine’s writing transports the reader:  we wait at the doctor’s office with her and Neal, we play on the floor with Neal, we are on the stage with her miracle kids.

Elaine introduces each chapter (“Phase”) with an inspirational quote and includes “Neal Has Autism,” “Connecting,” “Never Give Up,” and “Celebrations.”   Now I See The Moon also includes a terrific appendix.  At times as I read the book I shivered with delight because many passages perfectly reflected my own experiences,

“Funny, when you have a child with special needs, the prospect of the simplest events takes on huge significance.  We special parents are the fortunate ones because we learn to regard every typical activity with wonder and gratitude.”

Elaine Hall teaches us that life is filled with Miracle Moments.  For me, meeting Elaine was a miracle moment.  Discovering Now I See the Moon was another miracle moment.   And knowing Elaine is now a friend is nothing short of a miracle.

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For more about Elaine Hall and her miraculous work:

The End of the Week

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Today’s gift:

“M is having an awesome day.  He got 100 on his spelling test!  He did great having his school picture taken.  For Reading, he listened to a story, “Frog and Toad are Friends” and wrote a great letter to Toad (independently).  He did well in P.E.  In the afternoon, he played math games with a partner.
These last two days have been wonderful for M.”

–email from school


Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Today’s gift is inside me.

I’ve always trusted my gut even though I haven’t always listened to my inner voice (and so had to learn many lessons the hard way).  Fortunately, motherhood made me wiser.  Over the last several years I learned to rely on my gut instinct (especially when it concerns M and J).

Ever since school started on September 2, my inner voice has been growing louder.  At first, I didn’t hear it.  Today, it was loud and clear: advocate for M  because he is struggling.  Suddenly, I realized I have many of the answers and the ones I don’t have, we will figure out together with Team M at school.

I poured my thoughts, opinions, and emotions into emails and phone calls today.

Trusting your gut takes guts.  It may not always be pretty or easy but it is a gift.

It Takes A Village…

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Got the news today that one of M’s classmates has become very protective and helpful.  He tries to remind M about certain important things and is very caring.  We hope to schedule a play-date soon.  I’m so glad M has other children on his side, cheering him on.

I needed this news today b/c I also learned that M’s really been struggling in the afternoons to hold it together.

He is trying so hard and needs all the support he can get.  (And I do, too.)

Puppy Love!

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Today’s gift: Rocky the Border Terrier.

We’ve been waiting for the right time and the right dog for the twins.  We researched and read a lot and have our fingers crossed that our new Border Terrier is the right choice.  He’s a cute guy and in addition to being a great listener (by breed), these dogs are also great therapy dogs.

Send us good dog karma — I think Rocky will be great for M and J and our family and hopefully, a gift for a long, long time.

Woof! Woof!

Go Banana!

Monday, September 13th, 2010

M is working very hard in school (and so is Team M-thank you!!!!).  We are also working very hard at home.  It’s a waiting game right now as he settles into a new school year with new teachers and with all the new data we have from our doctors about his needs.

It’s an intense time for us all  — especially me.  I have to have my game on all the time.  It’s worth every second especially when I get a gift like I did today:

At dinner tonight M amazed us with this story,

“I sat with my friend H at lunch today.  She told me  her throat hurt and she started to cry.  She didn’t feel well.  I told her it was ok and it was just like when my throat hurt and I tried to cheer her up by using her nickname Banana to make her feel better.”

M took another person’s perspective (in a tough social situation), understood and processed it and then reacted appropriately.  Then shared the story –on his own– at dinner.  Three cheers for M!

Choosing Sides

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Today’s gift:  forgiveness.

Early this morning, my Mom shared words from the 9/11 mass she attended.  The homily was about forgiveness and the priest ended his talk by saying we must ask ourselves “Which side am I on?”  — do I chose God and forgiveness?

I had the chance to test this lesson today with my daughter and I know we both learned something very important.

The Magic Kingdom

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Today, we attended a long overdue reunion with dear friends on  a mysterious and magical island not far from our home.

We traveled by boat to the lunch and had a lovely time on the sea.  Unfortunately, as we neared our destination we had engine trouble and subsequently, a major delay.  When we finally arrived several hours later we were  salty, sea-tossed, and starving but still smiling.

Our friends literally came to our rescue and saved the day (and the reunion) and my husband and I were very grateful.  We didn’t waste any time catching up and enjoying our friends and their fabulous children.

Now, most of you know that changes in schedules or different routines or “unexpected” situations usually result in disasters for M and our family.  Hours later I’m still trying to figure out if it was the island (a la LOST) or simply a miracle that made M an instant BFF with our friends’ son D.

We were all jumbled and woozy when we hit land and the very last thing I ever expected was M’s immediate bonding with D — a delightful boy 6 months younger than M (that M never met before 2pm today unless you count their “play-date” when D was a newborn and M was 7 months old).

D hit a home run when he called M “dude” and the rest is history. Before I knew it, M blurted “Mom we need to have a play-date soon”  and then raced off ignoring his lunch, juice box and dessert.  In fact, when I next saw M and D  were on the couch head to head, hair mingling, shoulders touching and playing the best game ever!  It was as if we were on another planet.  Ninety minutes later, we had to peel the boys away from one another with the promise of a future play-date.

Today on this somber and sober day, I am humbled and moved by the gift of the tiny magical miracle moment that happened on an island so far from the one that I’ve thought about every second today and that still holds my heart.