Tag Archives: dinner

I know I’m okay as long as I don’t make pancakes for dinner.

21 Oct

“Close the door Michael. I can still hear them.”

Michael obediently pauses Zelda and walks over to the lightweight door, closing it on the sounds of my parent’s argument.

“Now turn up the sound on the TV and just ignore them.”

Michael again complies without protest, spinning the volume control on the old 32” TV. He picks up the remote control of the Nintendo and scrunches up his little face in concentration.

He is probably about 7 years old.

I am probably about 10.

This is not the first time we have performed this ritual.

It will not be the last time either.

About an hour later my mother knocks softly on our bedroom door.

I get up, reluctantly pausing Link mid stride across his never ending quest through the green maze, and open the door.

Michael looks at me worriedly.

I look up and into my mother’s red rimmed, glassy eyes.

I see the tears still pooling in the corners of them just about ready to spill over. Just about, but not quite.

My mother will rein them in, sparing me from having to wipe them from her cheeks.

My mom will pretend to be strong for me.

Even though I know she’s not.

Even though I know that she has once again been defeated.

“Are you okay?” I ask although I already know what her response will be.

“Yes. I’m fine.” She answers in a voice that is too high, too cheery, to be anything but fake.

It is only now that I notice that she is carrying two plates in her hands. She lifts them up towards my face.

“I’ve made pancakes for dinner!” She says this like someone would announce that they are going to Disneyland.

She says it like she’s just given me exceptional news.

I’VE MADE PANCAKES FOR DINNER!!

“Thanks mom.” I respond quietly. I try to pretend that this is good news. Pancakes. I love pancakes and so does my brother Michael.

I know what those pancakes mean though.

My eyes cast around her to the doorway and towards the silence that sits awkwardly beyond it.

My mother is confused at first by my sad expression. Then she meets my gaze with eyes pooling with tears once again.

She knows that I know.

She knows that even though I am only 10 years old, I now understand that pancakes for dinner is never a good thing.

Pancakes for dinner means that my mother is not okay.

I’ve kept that memory since childhood. I still associate pancakes and dinner as a very bad thing. I’ve had my own children now. Three of them. And guess what?

I’ve made them pancakes for dinner a few times.

Very few times, but I have and I cringe at that memory too.

I told the young child me that I would never do it.

I would never turn those light, fluffy, syrupy plates of deliciousness into a dripping plate of sorrow…but I have.

I have fought against instinct and upbringing and tried to swim against the tide that tries to push me in the direction of my mother’s life.

To no avail.

Points in my life have begun to mirror my mother’s despite my every attempt to fight it.

Of course it doesn’t all look the same. But a lot of it does.

More than I’d probably like to admit.

And so when my life falls apart and the tears stream down my face and my sobs threaten to choke me… I do what feels right. What feels comfortable.

I make pancakes for dinner.

That’s how I’ve come to measure my sadness and my coping skills.

Am I making pancakes for dinner?

If I am?

It’s bad.

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Can You See Me? I’m Here In The Darkness. (Part 4)

24 Feb

I spent the last two days attending the Blind Cafe and then the 2013 TX Deaf-Blind Symposium. Because of these two events my perception of Oli and some preconceived notions of her abilities/disabilities have completely been swung around and turned on their heads.

Where I have focused a lot of my time on what she cannot do because of or what she will not do because of .I am now seeing exactly what she is capable of and what is possible if I give her the chance. Although I really felt like I had given her lots of opportunities to explore the world and chances to communicate, after talking with blind adults and listening to experts in the field, now I feel like. . . Holy shit! I still have been regarding her learning opportunities in terms of what I see as limitations because of her disabilities.

While I was sitting in the darkness at the cafe a striking realization came to me when the wait staff started answering questions. I hate to say that when I first see a person with a disability, I see a disability. I’m not supposed to see that right? Because my daughter has a disability? But I still do. I don’t like that about me and I really try not to. I realized that one of the things that was so wonderful about listening to the blind adults speak in the cafe was. . . I didn’t see a disability. I couldn’t! And it was great. All I heard were intelligent, funny, nice people speaking. And then I started thinking about what an advantage they have over all of the rest of us. They honestly get to know people in a fast, genuine, real way bypassing all of the visual judgemental nonsense that sighted people have.

Always aspiring to be one of those “good” people who doesn’t judge people by what they look like, what they’re wearing, or how clean they are (although I’ll bet blind people notice that one even quicker than me) I suddenly started thinking of Oli as. . .lucky. I stopped viewing blindness as something I would never want for her and although I still wish she wasn’t, I started looking at all of the good things about blindness. Like seeing people by way of her heart and judging them by the truth in their words and the honesty in their voices.

I had a moment when I was sitting in the dark, listening to the band play, that I was overcome by sadness. Silent tears poured down my face as I sat there thinking about how hard it was. Walking around not knowing where I was going, trying to find my food and not knowing what I was eating because nobody told me. Tasting food that I HATE and not knowing if I had a drink. Wanting to wipe off my hands and not being able to find my napkin. I felt helpless. I felt alone.

But as I sat there crying quietly so no one would know, I started to recognize that feeling. I remember spending a lot of my time feeling that exact same way in the first years of Oli’s life. Lost and alone, crying silently in the dark. I welcomed that feeling like an old friend and greeted her with open arms without even realizing who she is. Who she really is… is my own self pity. My own fear, ignorance, and judgement.

I opened my eyes, dried my tears and sat up straight in my chair.

NO! No more!

I will not allow this twisted friendship to continue! I will not welcome you into my heart! I will not pretend anymore that you will stay for a short visit and then let you live on my couch for years!

You Miss. . . are no longer allowed in my front door.

I am not helpless, weak, alone, unheard, unloved, or in this by myself. More importantly, this is not about me.

This is about Oli and she is none of those things either.

(Thank you for reading about my experience at the Blind Café! If you want to know more about it or want to know if it will be coming to a city near you go to www.theblindcafe.com The End.)

Can You See Me? I’m Here In The Darkness. (Part 2)

23 Feb

As I continued my experience randomly selecting food and taking small fearful bites (you never know when they would sneak in another olive, or infinitely worse, a bit of cilantro) I start listening to the conversations around me. I turn my head to the left and listen.

Perk. No one could see that I was eavesdropping.

They were talking about what brought them here tonight. Most people had just heard about it and thought it would be an interesting thing to try. I speak up and say that I have a blind daughter. They start asking me questions about her and want to know what she has to say about blindness. I explain that Oli has autism and doesn’t talk. A woman across from me and to my left starts to tell me about her friends daughter who is also autistic. We are interrupted by a loud voice behind me.

“Seth’s wife? Seth’s wife?”

“I’m here!” I call out.

Were you wondering where my husband was during my first moments in the café?

Where else?

In the bathroom. Minutes before we followed the waitress behind the curtain and stumbled into the darkness, Seth decides he has to pee.

I guess the line was really long because he hadn’t returned when it was our turn to be seated. I knew he would find me eventually.

I grab his hand, well. . .I try to grab his hand, but really just keep grabbing our waitress Faith’s hand.

“Nope. Your still holding onto Faith.” She tells me as she tries to guide me to Seth’s hand.

“See? Woman hand.” I touch her smooth hand. “Man hand” She laughs as I finally grasp hold of Seth.

“Ahhh. . .very important detail. Smooth soft girlie hands and rough man hands.” I say giggling about my complete ignorance.

I really need to concentrate and let me other senses take over. I am focusing on the blackness with my eyes. Opening them wide and trying to discern any tiny shape, form or different shade of darkness. There was nothing and I am disoriented.

After Seth is seated I turn back to my left and try to speak to the woman about her friends daughter again.

“So your friend’s daughter has autism?” I speak in the direction I had before.

There is no reply.

My voice seems small and gets lost amidst the other conversations. I have no other way to get her attention because I cannot make eye contact with her and don’t know where she is to touch her arm. I don’t even know her name.

All of a sudden I feel very alone and lost. I feel unseen and unnoticed.

Is this what it is like for Oli? She can’t see me and she can’t talk to me.

Does this sweet little girl feel unnoticed, unheard, lost and afraid in her world of darkness?

I slump in my chair as my heart begins to feel unbearably heavy. I sit back as those startling realizations hit me and think about that moment.

I think about how I am feeling at that exact point in time and try to burn it into my brain. I don’t want to forget it because I am learning. I am finally learning a very small part about what it is really like living in Oli’s world.

(Check back later. I have more to tell you!)

Can You See Me? I’m Here In The Darkness. (Part 1)

22 Feb

I had the AMAZING opportunity to eat dinner last night at the Blind Café. Dinner and music in the complete darkness.

“Hold on to the shoulder of the person standing in front of you. Okay. Everyone ready to experience the Blind Café?” The woman at the front of the line leading us into the darkness has an advantage. An advantage that normally, in the sighted world she lives in, is a disadvantage. The woman in the black dress, holding a long white cane…is blind.

I quickly introduce myself to the woman in front of me and hold tightly to her slim shoulder.

The line begins to move. I walk behind a heavy white curtain and am immediately plunged into pitch blackness. As I took my first blind steps into the café my heart started pounding in my chest. I didn’t know where I was and I didn’t know where I was going. I simply had to trust the woman in front of me and hope that I didn’t walk into anything or fall over.

“Watch your head!” the woman in front of me suddenly shouts.

“What? Where?” I am ducking my head and swerving to avoid an unseen attacker.

“Left? Right? Where is it? What am I watching out for?”

No details are given. Those were the beginning moments that made me acutely aware of the importance of descriptive details when speaking to Oli about her surroundings.

We all follow in line until we reach our table. Our blind waiter begins to help each of us find our seat. We were told that our food would already be waiting for us on the table. I cautiously sit down and move my hands across the table.

What am I touching?

I have no idea.

There’s some squishy stuff to my left at 10 o’clock. There is a bowl of little balls and a short, fat, cone shaped object beneath the squishy stuff. The plate in front of me has a large, papery thing on it with a stick poking out of its center. Above that is more wet squishy stuff on little flat circles. Someone at my table said that there was bread in the middle of the table. I slowly reach my hand out and above my plate. I find more little balls. I move to the right. What is this? It’s slimy and wet. Now my fingers are dripping with a slimy oily substance. Where is my napkin? Did they give us napkins? Do we have utensils?

I search to the right of my plate and thankfully find my napkin. I also find a plastic fork. I contemplate using my fork to try and stab at some of my food and then quickly realize how pointless that seems. It will be way more efficient to use my fingers. Beside how will I know what I am eating unless I actually pick it up with my fingers? I find the bowl of little balls again and search for the cone shaped thing. I find it and decide to pick it up and smell it. My senses should be enhanced right? Since my vision is gone. Wrong. Total myth! I can’t smell it at all. It smells like something, but I have no idea what? It smells like my fingers and whatever that slimy stuff was.

After touching everything on my plate and probably everything on my neighbor’s plate too, I couldn’t tell where my food stopped and hers started, I decided to taste something. I find the squishy stuff on the flat circles and pick one up. I identified the circles to be crackers. I could feel the salt and circles. I raise it to my lips and take an apprehensive bite. Olives! Aaaccckkkk!! I HATE olives. The squishy stuff was some kind of spread. I don’t know what else was in it, but I could taste olives. I put the cracker down. Do I have a drink somewhere around here to wash the nasty olive taste from my mouth? I feel my way a little farther to my left, past my plate. I find a water bottle. Of course, I didn’t know it was water until I took a sip.

Moving on.

I’m really getting brave with my hands now. I find the bowl of balls again. I pick one up and pop it in my mouth. A grape. Yay! Win!

I pick up another ball. I think it’s another grape. Wrong. Olive! What-Is-With-The-OLIVES!! Tricky, sneaky, blind café.

FYI. An olive feels like a grape.

10 Things my mother forgot to tell me about being a mom

30 Jan

1. I will never eat a hot meal again.

2. Strike that. I will never eat a meal again. I will be forced to eat random snacks I find at the bottom of my purse or in the car because I will continually be too busy and forget to eat.

3. I will be expected to be available at all times during my child’s shower to adjust the temperature with the faucet because it is always too hot or too cold and can change multiple times during a 10 minute shower. (Seriously when do they learn to adjust the temperature themselves?)

4. The main sentences in my house will be the following:

• Stop picking your nose.
• Don’t stick your toy in that.
• You need to poop INSIDE the potty.
• No you can’t build a rocket ship out of crap in the random crap drawer.
• Stop picking your nose. (I say that one a lot)
• Eat your dinner.
• Sit down and eat your dinner.
• Stop crying and eat your dinner.
• No I did not make that to torture you.

6. If I get rid of the one toy that they haven’t play with in 2 years that is the one toy they will ask me about the day after I get rid of it. And then I will have to go to the store and spend $50 replacing it because I crumble like gluten-free bread under my children’s guilt trips.

7. Bedtime is actually hours after I put them in bed.

8. “Go to bed and stay there” means absolutely nothing in my children’s language. I may as well be speaking Chinese after they hear the words “It’s bedtime”

9. There are such days as Pee on the floor day. Where everyone in my house somehow manages to pee on the floor. Including the cat.

10. I will never pee or shower alone again. Someone will always barge in, bring their drama, expect me to referee from the shower stall, find a toy behind the toilet, need juice, a snack, fall down, cry, have to pee, or have a poop emergency while I am using the bathroom. Including the cat.

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