Take My Hand

posted by Momo Fali on July 5, 2016

As a best friend’s father lay dying last winter we gathered around the edge of his bed and I grabbed one of his hands. I held it in mine and traced the lines and sun spots dotting his skin. Those hands were like a glimpse into his past; of a life well-lived. And, it was one of the first times I’ve talked out loud about how special I think a person’s hands are.

Mine are typing this post right now. They have typed, or handwritten, thousands of stories, letters and postcards to friends and family all over the world. They have held crying babies, laughing babies, and a dying baby. They have cooked countless meals and, in the case of tonight’s dinner, burned a few as well.

I used to watch my grandmother’s as she rolled out her own noodles, or carried my handicapped cousin through the house. My children have used theirs to make me homemade cards. My dad used his for manual labor. My mom uses hers to work logic problems, or wrap her loving arms around the back of her very dirty grandson.

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Hands create, they comfort, they caress and they betray. I can’t help but think of the love they promised, the ring mine wore for 18 years, and how they held the pen that signed that all away. I remember another relationship when they were used to hurt me. I think of the guns they fire and the harm they can do.

And, I can’t help but think of the new hands I hold; stronger than any I know, calloused and worn, but gentle and giving. They have rubbed my shoulders during tense times, held me in the midst of darkness and danced with me in the light. They have been quite wonderful at prodding me to do new things in this new life. I love them.

They say eyes are the window to the soul, but I think it’s the hands. Next time I see you, take my hand and give me a glimpse into yours.

They Aren’t Here

posted by Momo Fali on June 2, 2016

It never gets any easier. This is not how it is supposed to be.

They are often silent, watching shows on a tablet with headphones or reading in bed. But, they are here.

They frequently argue about silly things to the point you think you can’t take it anymore. They make messes. They use all the hot water. They leave their shoes and balls by the front door where everyone trips over them. But, they are here.

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And, it never gets any easier when they aren’t. It doesn’t matter that life is really good; work is fulfilling, school is going well, you’re in a great relationship, you have friends and family you can always lean on. None of that matters when they aren’t here.

So, you tell yourself you’ll stay busy. You go to the gym, you study, you run errands you’ve been putting off and end up at Target trying to spend the $75 you always spend.

Instead you come home with empty hands and an emptier heart and there are the shoes, and the ball, and the messes. Now the ordinary silence is deafening because they aren’t here.

And it never, ever, gets any easier.

Fourteen

posted by Momo Fali on May 9, 2016

Your birthday crept up on me this year because things have been a little crazy around here. Not that we don’t know crazy, because you and I have been doing crazy for 13 years and 364 days. Give or take a few leap years.

You, alone, have been through a lifetime of trials, but lately your trials have outweighed your triumphs. Having health problems is hard. Wearing hearing aids is hard. Being on the spectrum is hard. Having surgeries, getting blood drawn, switching schools, starting new medications, your mom starting a new job, and your parents getting divorced? All hard. And, that’s just the last nine months.

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When you put it all together, it’s clear that you are the same kid you’ve always been. You roll with the punches and always come back. Slowly, but I like to think that’s because you want it to be perfect.

And, even with all the chaos you made such strides in your 13th year. You learned how to swim without vomiting! (The other people in the pool appreciate that very much.)

You learned to smell vinegar without vomiting, too! And, you even LIKE pickles now. That was a big one. Of all the advances you’ve made, I think I like not vomiting the most.

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You did other amazing things too, like hiking nine miles through the mountains in California, going for a dirtbike ride, riding waves in North Carolina and seeing your first concert. It was a joy to see you experience new things. Like when you pulled the fire alarm in the hotel at midnight. Good times. Good times.

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I am so proud of how resilient you are. I’m so happy you were born. Happy 14th birthday, buddy. And, just so you know, you are totally not driving anytime soon.

No Resentment

posted by Momo Fali on April 2, 2016

It’s no secret that life has changed a lot around here. Many days are still hard – there’s a lot of anger and resentment, and having a child with special needs who goes through major life trauma isn’t as easy as it sounds. As a matter of fact, it sounds a lot like a screaming cat. In heat. Dying.

But, some days are beautiful. There have been so many new experiences that were possible and yet, not possible, in my former life. I’m specifically referring to an eight year period in which I didn’t travel more than a couple of hundred miles away from home.

I love to travel. I’m sure there are people who would say I didn’t sacrifice enough during 18 years of marriage, but I would beg to differ. I think deep inside I knew what I was missing. Maybe that resentment manifested itself in little ways I wasn’t even aware of. Related: My new relationship mantra is, “No resentment.” There will be no more of that.

In the past 13 months, I have traveled to 11 states. I may have been meant to be a trucker, because my heart is really happy on the road. If I had a CB and an orangutan, I’d be all set. Also, I just made a reference that no one under 42 years old understands.

My latest adventure was on the west coast experiencing the northern California and Nevada I’ve only seen rushing by in taxis on the way to conferences. The best part? I got to take my kids.

This is the picture where I crossed #4 off of my Life List. Stand under a giant sequoia. Check.

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Here’s my daughter, on the edge of a cliff at Lands End park. This child of mine, who is almost a woman (GULP) was quite the risk-taker on this trip; literally living on the edge.

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What you can’t see in this picture is the mighty Pacific and fields of green so vibrant I was sure we were actually in Ireland. So, here you go…

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This is my son sitting inside the roots of a fallen tree in Lake Tahoe.

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What you can’t see is the waterfall to the left, or the bluest lake I’ve ever seen, or the snow-capped mountains dotted with fir trees. Oh, wait…THERE they are.

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And, this? This was when we pulled the van over on the side of the road at a completely random spot, scrambled over some rocks and found a perfect view. You know the feeling when the wind gets knocked out of you? This did that to me. I’m sure it was partly the altitude, but it was also this view. Undoubtedly.

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There was so much more to this trip – dear old friends, Alcatraz, swimming pools and sushi. And, there was the memory created when my son pulled a fire alarm in the hotel at midnight. Sigh…good times, good times.

Mostly, though, there was so much beauty and happiness and I’m thankful to have moments like these in my life again. The bonus is that it’s really hard to be resentful when you experience goodness like that.