the tell

Save your indignation. When confronted, she didn’t betray you, a courtesy you denied me. Pretending to be a lady, she demurred.

Unfortunately for us, her flaming cheeks revealed what her sealed lips did not. I torture myself by imagining the salacious details.



“Will you hang up the damn phone and drive?”

Peter’s eyes widened, but he didn’t respond in words. Instead, he closed his cell phone and drove on to the hospital. I wasn’t surprised that my parents hadn’t answered. It was almost 2:00 am. I didn’t want Peter trying to leave a message when he needed to focus on driving. I knew we had plenty of time to try to call them later.

Peter offered to drop me off at the Emergency Room entrance, but I told him I could walk from the parking lot. I said the same thing to the attendant at the door when he offered me a wheelchair.

“I’ll be fine.”

It was true. I was fine. Sure, I led us the wrong way at first, but we eventually found the elevators that took us to the birthing unit. I was in discomfort, but I wasn’t positive I was having contractions.

I’m going to be one of those first-timers they send home because she overreacted, I thought.

We got checked in. I was taken back to one of the monitoring rooms. I changed into a gown and sat in a chair. The nurse asked me to get up on the bed so she could examine me. She moved calmly and deliberately, taking her time hooking me up to the monitoring equipment.

“Okay, let’s take a look.”

And then the tempo picked up.

Suddenly there were more nurses. I was told to lay back and the bed was being moved to the delivery room.

I was hooked up to an IV. The nurse kept asking where the OB was. The discomfort was turning into pain. I was told to push.

“I think I’d like some drugs now,” I told the nurse.

“I’m sorry, honey,” she said, “it’s too late.”

There I was, the world’s biggest wimp, about to go through natural childbirth. There was no time to try to call my parents again. Peter was busy holding my leg on one side, a nurse was on the other. Finally the OB was the there. I was pushing, I was tired, but there was no going back.

Just a few minutes past 4:00 am, less than two hours after arriving at the hospital, Philip was born. Six years ago today, I was calling into work to say I wouldn’t be showing up because I had just had a baby.

Happy birthday, Philip. Thanks for being the best excuse for calling off from work ever.


Sunday Slideshow: the county fair

Last Sunday, Philip and I went to the opening day of our county fair. The weather was perfect: warmth from the sun balanced by a slight breeze. We walked around for an hour checking out the livestock and vendors. We ended our visit by sitting on a bench to watch the rides, the highlight of the visit for Philip.


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We ordered two tons of pea-sized gravel for our driveway in May. When it was delivered, I smugly said to Peter, “This is so much nicer-looking than those larger rocks.”

Four months later, I sit, one hip resting on my dew-damp lawn, hunting for small, displaced stones and regretting my choice. I discover that grass does not grow like a five-year-old’s drawing, all straight green lines evenly spaced on a paper-flat horizon. Instead, grass and weeds sprout up intertwined from uneven ground. The rocks that should be in my driveway hide in crevices, and my searching fingers catch in the roots of clovers.

I locate a stone and toss it back into the driveway. Meanwhile, Philip scoops up rocks from the drive, runs past me, and flings them across the yard.

I can’t keep up.

The rule “Rocks stay in the driveway,” is of no concern to Philip. “Let’s go to the backyard,” sends him running to the backyard, but he doesn’t stop running until he has circled back to the front of the house. He doesn’t answer when I ask, “Why are you throwing rocks in my yard?!”

I make up my own answers to the question. He loves the feel of the rough, dusty rocks on his fingers. He wants to watch them resist gravity when he throws them in the air. He enjoys hearing the soft thud as the gravel hits the ground.

Philip’s sensory-seeking shot through the roof as soon as he started kindergarten. He has been upending the boxes and shelves in his basement playroom. I catch him dismounting like a gymnast from the dresser in his room. He whirls like a Dervish in our living room, head tilted back, eyes closed, giggling in delight, unwinding from the day. Afraid that he will crash into the TV or aquarium, I take him outside to burn off energy. I imagine he invented the gravel-in-the-grass game as kindergarten stress relief. That’s why I don’t make him stop. At least that’s what I tell myself.

I collect several pieces of gravel in my palm before dumping them in their rightful place. In the same amount of time, Philip has already distributed two more handfuls in the grass and still had the chance to trace shapes in the rocks that remain in the driveway.

I ask myself more questions: Would a better parent know how to stop Philip?  Am I creating bigger discipline problems down the road by allowing this to continue? Am I using autism as an excuse for both him and me?

I don’t answer my own questions. Instead, I punish myself by picking up the tiny boulders scattered in my yard, knowing there will always be more to pick up.


Sunday Slideshow: Buckeye Iron Will Tractor Show

Last Sunday afternoon, Peter, Philip, and I went to the 17th Annual Tractor & Gas Engine Show presented by the Buckeye Iron Will Club. I had seen an advertisement for the event when we attended another antique tractor event this summer. We got there shortly before the final event, a parade of participants. Rather than stay for the parade in the hot sun, we watched as owners loaded up and lined up their tractors and then we headed home.

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