Sunday, November 16, 2014


November 2013:

I took this picture last summer as a sort of farewell to "The Bonicher":

And then I bought some harnesses:

Sturdy ones:

600 lbs. of pull weight is nothing to sneeze at:

My children may or may not have provided free entertainment in a major shopping mall while wearing them. At the time it felt like 1200 lbs. off my shoulders:

We have used "The Bonicher" since then, but not as much as we used to. We can mostly walk everywhere we need to these days with our feet or take transit or get a ride in a car which is at least 96 lbs. off my shoulders. Fully loaded, "The Bonicher" with all passengers aboard weighs more than I do.

In a little under four years, we've been through 4 double-wide strollers. We wore out two, one got stolen, and we still have the one featured up above (which has been refurbished at least once), but this is more or less what our ride looked like for a long time.

This is the important part:

3 steps can halt you in your tracks if you also have to pull it through a doorway. There are stores I cannot shop at because of their restricted access, and there are people and places I will always remember that extended an arm to help us out when they saw me struggling. There wasn't always someone to help. A couple of winters ago we circled around the block on foot 4 times making larger circles each time trying to find a sidewalk or road that we could manage just to get home because of snow and garbage bins and the load was half as light back then.

We aren't superheroes in case you thought this post was about us.

• • • • • • •

This is Wade, and as far as I can tell he's not a superhero either:

He's a pretty regular boy who happens to be in a wheelchair some of the time. He has a brother and they get up to shenanigans and mischief whenever possible. Also, Wade has a lot of girlfriends.

Wade has a great mom and dad who advocate for him even when they feel like throwing in the towel, but they aren't super heroes either.* They do regular things like regular people in a world that sometimes has a step that gets in the way and then they figure out how to get over it or under it or around it.

And even though Wade's mom and dad would figure out a way around it, under it or over it while they are busy being perfectly regular people, they might have had a harder time without Variety Club.

• • • • • • •

November, 2014:

This is the REALLY important part:

I wrote all of the above last year and privately made a donation to Variety Texas last Christmas. Listen: a bicycle for Wade costs $3400. I can't get my children to ride a bike, even though theirs cost $85, but Wade was excited about his. He is finding his voice with the use of technology. More importantly, there are many "Wades" in the world that don't have access to things that should be accessible. His family hasn't asked for anything. I would like to think I'm of Wade's girlfriends, although he has many. He is a handsome boy.

• • • • • • •

There is a lot going on behind those eyes of his, even though Wade is non-verbal and will always require care. At birth, he suffered from a lack of oxygen and was on a life-flight plane within the hour. His mom got to touch him briefly before the helicopter left with her most precious cargo. She wondered how she would tell her family that she went into the hospital to have a baby and would go home with no baby. Imagine that. I always say a prayer when I see one of the life-flight helicopters flying overhead. You never know who is on board, but I can promise you that you never want to be on that chopper.

• • • • • • •

When I was a little girl, the girl who lived up the street and I went collecting door-to-door for Variety Club. This was in Vancouver, and every year Jerry Lewis would perform at the Variety Club Telethon, which was probably more like a marathon (for him). We personally went and handed in our donations that year, but as a family we always donated while I was growing up, and would watch the Telethon on television. It was what you did back then and it was a little bit goofy, but also a lot of fun.

• • • • • • •

The reason I'd be happy to be one of Wade's girlfriends is because he seems a little goofy, but like a lot of fun too. As I said, Wade is no superhero. He's a regular boy who needs access to things that most of us take for granted. We needed access to things once too, and the level of frustration trying to do those things gave me a whole new level of awareness, even though we are able bodied at the OP.

• • • • • • •

Here is Wade at age 5:

There is a lot going on behind those eyes of Wade's. I'm not easily charmed, but I was hooked by this one. He's a smart cookie and he'll probably be taking over the world any day now, even though he's a fairly regular boy.

You can donate to Texas Variety Club here, an organization that personally helped Wade.

You can donate within Canada here, or in the upper left hand corner until Christmas.

Recommended reading: you can read Wade's dad's 3E interview here, the mission statement for Wade written on his mom's blog, or see Wade in action (this is the best part, really).

- L.

PS. I'm sorry I wasn't a very good girlfriend last year Wade, but I hope I came through this year. Look me up when it's time for the prom. I'm an old lady so it's not a great offer, but I'd be on your arm anytime. Of course, I might have to fight off Callie for the chance.

PPS. When I was a little older and found out my best boy friend had met Jerry Lewis on stage, I was pretty awestruck. This charitable organization holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons.

*I secretly suspect Wade's mom and dad are superheroes, but don't tell them I said so. They would probably really hate that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Songs For Audrey

– "Singing for a girl made Nate sleepy, but not me!"
– "I'm not really sleepy... just recharging so I can keep Mommy up all night."

Songs for Audrey would be hard to explain. A simple version: my boys are singing songs for a little girl named Audrey, who lives very far away and who sang them a song also. No one knew what the other would send, so it was amusing that The Beatles ended up in both. She sang "Hello, Goodbye" – which is a new favourite with Seth at least (the girl might have had something to do with it. She's pretty sweet). Hope you enjoyed your serenade from the hooligans, Audrey.

Video is here for the rest of you.

My favourite moments are a toss-up between:

"This might be a think", around :36.

– AND –

Nate conducting Seth into a one-word solo, around 1:28.

Honorable mention goes to:

"With my hands, I'll make it I swear".*

Audrey's opinion may differ. These are her songs, and not mine (this time).

- L.

*The edit is me singing "Living On A Prayer" because Nate forgot the words. It was best left out. His new rendition was not too shabby though.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

Thank you to the servicemen and women who fought for our safety and our freedom. When I was a little girl, we memorized this poem by heart. Even though I'd forgotten much of it since then, we have always remembered and have never forgotten those who have served. Sleep, and be at peace, good sirs and gentlewomen. You are remembered.

Practicing our first salute.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

– Major John McCrae.
- L.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Mommy, Can I Sing You A Song?"

– Still working on my rock star pose, everyone!
Maybe this one would have been better suited for the Monster Mash.

N: Mommy, can I sing you a song?
Me: Of course – I always love it when you sing me songs.
N: OK. Here it is!

"Oh, we're halfway there;
Whoa-oh, we're livin' on a prayer.
Take my hand – we'll make it, I swear.
We're livin' on a prayer...

"I think I forgot the rest right now".
– Nate

"Oh, that's OK. I remember the next part."

"We've got to hold on to what we've got;
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not.
We've got each other and that's a lot.
For love, we'll give it a shot".
– Mommy

Back when I was a difficult teenager, I never would have imagined that those same words to a Bon Jovi song would sound so sweet to my ears someday. Having my little one hold my hand while singing me that song was worth giving it a shot, and then some.

Thank you, Nate. You sure know how to cut a mean rug and sweep a girl off her feet all at the same time. You're not a half-bad crooner either!

- L.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

After The Bath

M. found this at Great-Grandma Edna's house yesterday and took a photo. Great-Grandma Edna has had this picture since she was a 16 year old girl. She held onto it for a long time. The things we carry are precious, and sometimes if you carry them long enough, you end up with the picture you carried looking back at you in real life (or at least a rear-view).

The painting is called "After The Bath" and was rendered by Paul Peel, who apparently knew my children before anyone else did. On the other hand, maybe it's true what they say about everyone having a doppelgänger.

- L.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Slightly Less Happy November...

... due to too much snow too early. Mommy is a West Coast girl, so feel free to ignore me. The boys, on the other hand, had a blast.

- L.