That Time I Prayed For The Earth To Swallow Me Whole

“Hey, Lyndse, are you free this weekend?” 

“Um, yes, I am.”

“Great! Wanna come to the concert? I need to be there early, but you can come find me when you get in.”


A guy I had been crushing on (is that a phrase? I’m not good with youth speak…) walked into my workplace and asked me out. I was shocked. And I really didn’t date much, but he was gorgeous and I was surprised he knew my name. 

That weekend, I did my hair and makeup and wore the cutest shirt I owned. I stood in line, bought my ticket, and tried to find my date. 

I spotted him. As always, the cutest guy in the room. I walked over, smiled, and managed a nervous “So good to see you! Thanks for the invite!” And then a drop dead gorgeous blonde woman, who I suspected wasn’t from Earth, smiled a perfect smile and chimed in, “Didn’t he do a great job promoting this event? I think he invited more people than any of the bands did!” 

Then she kissed him. 

Like a Nicolas Sparks’ movie kiss. 

And it dawned on me that she was his girlfriend. 

I had not been asked on a date. I had been asked to attend a multi-artist concert and help sales by buying an overpriced ticket. 

“Yes, he did a great job! It was such a good plan to canvass the mall. That’s where he told me about it.”

I walked away, while they kissed some more, and debated leaving. I didn’t like any of the bands. I was alone. But I had spent my only fun money for the month on that ticket, so I sucked it up and supported my local “musicians” and their dreams. 

A guy I didn’t know walked up and asked if I wanted something to drink. I retorted, “Nope. I already spent all my money getting in. But your concession stand looks great.” Then he said, “I don’t work here, I was kinda asking you out. But I changed my mind.” A few minutes later, he was sipping an outrageously expensive coffee with a supermodel. 

That was the first of many moments when I realized I’m a Tina Fey in a world of Blake Livelys. 

I hadn’t thought of that night in almost a decade. At the time, it was horrific. Now, I’m just glad I didn’t contract mono. Obviously not from kissing, but because I was forced to use the drinking fountain in a place charging $3 for bottled water. 

My 2017 Writing Resolutions

1. Write zero blogposts about something horrible a stranger said or did.

Last year was full of people I’d never even met saying I should’ve aborted Adelaide. Strangers telling me “miscarriage stuff” is too uncomfortable for blogs. Messages saying molestation and abuse are private issues that shouldn’t be discussed online. Someone at Walmart pulling her child away from Adelaide, while hissing, “We don’t talk to people like that.” The woman at an amusement park who whispered, all too loudly, to her husband, “I could never do what she does. All that work with no pay-off. What a waste. And why so many kids?”

I used to become infuriated or dejected from these things. I thought writing about it would help me process. Assist me in being a voice for the voiceless. Or at least give me a chance to stand up for myself, because I was never brave enough to do it in the moment. 

Recently, I realized penning my thoughts and feelings about it was stealing my time. And energy. Both are running fairly low right now, so it seems unwise to continue down that path. 

So you won’t see any posts that start with “Some person I have absolutely no relationship with was a complete jackass today. Here’s what happened…”

2. Write zero blogposts about my shrinking community.

WordPress and Facebook like to notify me when things are at an all-time low. I already shared my thoughts about it, but I wanted to make it official. 

You won’t see any posts where I lament that I have fewer reads than any other time in my 4+ years of blogging. That my engagement shrinks everyday. Because I’ve moved past it. 

I’m glad you’re here. And I wish we could just meet for coffee and over-priced cookies and chat over one another non-stop. I actually like our tiny group. Maybe I will do a real life meet-up someday, where we can get together and be odd. 

3. Write zero blogposts about poop. 

Just kidding. I’m a Special Needs Mom. My life revolves around poop. 

When I was a little girl, I never imagined that I would be out to dinner with my husband for one of our two dates in 2016, and he would ask, “Did Adelaide have a good poop today?” And I would answer, “Yes! But I hope she poops again for my mom.” And Dave would tease, “Sorry, Della, but you offered to babysit. Enjoy the diaper!” And we would both laugh. In a restaurant. 

Here’s to 2017! A year where I give zero spotlight to haters and statisticians, but more time to bowel movements! 

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So long, 2016

I’ve decided not to do a recap blog post this year. All my most-read posts were about losing Laurence and Flannery. All other posts had fewer than 60 reads, so they didn’t seem worth sharing again. I tend to be a free market person. I don’t often write about things that people want to read, which is fine, but I’m not going to throw them back out there a second time. 

I’ve also decided not to do a looking forward post. I don’t have a word or verse or song for 2017.

I’m not making any goals for the new year. Scratch that. My goal is to carry Lewis full-term, but that’s out of my control. So no use listing it. 

I don’t have any expectations for my writing next year. I’ll just keep writing when I feel like it. And posting photos to Instagram. And sharing daily stuff on Facebook. 

Sorry, it’s a pretty anticlimactic way to end 2016. 

Thanks for traveling this road with us. We’ll see you sometime in 2017. XX

Grahamism | Bad Things

“Mama, I know da Bible says God will use all da bad fings in our lives to turn em to good. Like in Joseph’s life. How his brovvers meant harm, but it ended up good. And how Moses was gonna get killed when he was a baby, but he got picked up by Pharoah’s daughter and saved God’s people. But I don’t fink it counts so much when you are just doing stupid fings. Cuz Samson was always just doing stupid fings he wasn’t supposed to do, like loving women he wasn’t supposed to love, and breaking all da fings God said not to do. Even dough Samson used his last strengf to destroy wicked Philistines, he kinda spent his whole life backwards. He made lots of bad choices for himself. So I fink da working good fings from bad fings doesn’t count if you keep marrying bad ladies who you know are bad. Dat should be in da Bible or somefing. ‘Do not expect God to make good fings come from marrying bad ladies.’ Dis is just da fings I fink about when I’m not trying to figure out how to be a real life Mario or how Black Holes work or how I’m gonna make mine own turkey dinner when I can’t use da oven yet.” 

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I Think I Checked The Wrong Box | Raw Thoughts About Intellectual Disability 

“Do you want to teach kids with Learning Disabilities or Mental Retardation?” I was an 18-year-old at Freshman Orientation. I had just added a Special Education emphasis to my Elementary Education coursework. It would add close to 25 extra hours, but I knew I wanted to become a Special Education teacher. I just had no idea which kind. I hadn’t thought that much about it. I had lots of experience with learning disabilities. But I had some experience with complex medical needs and mental retardation. I looked at the boxes and just checked one. It took 15 seconds. 

At Adelaide’s IEP meeting in the Fall, I asked for additional testing. Dave and I wanted to ensure that Adelaide ended up in the right placement for kindergarten in 2017. I’ve had lots of experience with IEP meetings, evaluations, and progress reports. It’s different when it’s your own child. Everything feels slightly fuzzy. I wanted some hard numbers on Adelaide, not just how I feel things go at home. It’s difficult to assess a nonverbal child, but I signed off on the district doing what it could. 

I filled out some different assessments at home. Ones I had only done as a teacher. Checking the parent box this time around. I cried. Even without knowing the percentiles, I knew the raw scores were already low. 

I sat at the meeting and got my first glimpse of Adelaide’s results. I knew what each subscore meant. I knew what the language meant. I knew that I had been right. Adelaide needed a completely self-contained kindergarten class. It wasn’t just a hunch. It was fact. I saw Intellectually Disabled and knew it was basically the new term for Mental Retardation. The box I didn’t check in college. 

Back before 9/11 or meeting her husband or being old enough to drink, a childless teenager checked the Learning Disabilities box. Altering my 4 1/2 years of college. And I don’t know if I checked the right box. 

I’m the mother of a child who scored lower than any student I ever worked with. I’m inexperienced in all of this. Everything I did with Intellectually Disabled children was volunteer work as an assistant. 

The person delivering the new testing information almost whispered the words Intellectually Disabled. I think we all hoped there was a mistake somewhere. But the truth was there. Adelaide uses very few words and signs meaningfully. She drinks from a bottle. She loves BabyFirst TV and other toddler shows. She doesn’t play with toys, but chews on them. She doesn’t enjoy big kid books. 

I was sitting there, feeding her Cheerios, realizing that this could be it. The neuro team mentioned plateauing. “One day, Adelaide will start to level out.” She has already done so much more than her MRIs would suggest she’s capable of, but maybe we’re starting to see Adelaide doing her best. 

Or she could surprise everyone and use a communication device to tell us paragraphs. She could learn to read. We have no idea.

But, at least for now, we’re working on adaptive skills. Learning to use a cup or straw. Possibly potty-training on a schedule. Completing two piece puzzles. Stacking blocks. Identifying colors and objects. 

I loved teaching the classes I did for those five years before birthing Graham, but I sometimes lie awake at night thinking about that one box. How I could help Adelaide now if I had a background in her disability. Why didn’t I choose Mental Retardation? Or why didn’t I add the 12 hours of night school to get my Speech training? My advisor practically begged me to do it, but my scholarships wouldn’t cover it and I was working 40 hours a week. How would I keep my job? I should’ve made it work.

I use what I learned in my elementary education classes to teach Graham, but maybe I should’ve studied something else. Physical therapy or occupational therapy or a hundred other things that would help me help my own daughter. Or maybe even something that I could do now from home to make money. Accounting, editing, copywriting, and on and on and on. Being a single income family has its difficulties. I literally bring no money to our family finances. Because I have no marketable skills. 

I obviously can’t change anything about my Bachelor’s degree. And I can’t change Adelaide’s brain. The scores don’t change Adelaide’s worth at all. They are just numbers. And I have a transcript full of classes I never use. May never use again. We’ve always known it was unlikely Adelaide would live on her own. She’s our lifelong roommate. We’re slowly preparing for that reality.

Dave says I ramble. I think it helps me process everything. These thoughts and tears are just mine to deal with…not even sure why I’m typing them here. They are part of my special needs mom journey. I just wish I would’ve prepared better for all of this. Since I can’t, I eat some ice cream and binge watch Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie as Anne and Gil and then cry in the shower. 

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Elizabethan Quips | What Mommies and Daddies Do

“Hello, Mommy! How was your day? I worked on a computer and drawed things! And I eated food.”

“I changed diapers and washed laundry. And did Graham’s school. And played and rested on the couch for Baby Brother Lewis not to die.”

“Let’s make dinner, Mommy! We cook together and laugh and I spank yours butt!”

“Okay! I spank yours butt, too! We are so silly!”

“We will feed the kids and play with them and brush teeth and pray for them!”

“Okay, Daddy! Then we can watch a movie and do laundry and drink Sprite and eat crackers!”

“Mommy, I’m glad I love you! I love my family!”

“I’m happy! And I love robots!”

Editor’s Note: maybe Dave and I playfully slap one another’s butts too often. 


And Then She Was Five

Adelaide turned five. She was supposed to have a Jelly Bean birthday party over the weekend. I made a banner and table decorations, had everything ready for cupcakes, and plans to make my mom’s famous Broccoli Cheese Potato Soup. We had supplies and gifts and ornaments and outfits ready to go. It was the first birthday party I haven’t wanted to cancel. 

I sound like a monster, but Adelaide’s birthday is a difficult time for me. In years past, the highchair prep and suggested gift list and lack of friends made it so hard to get excited. So I talked to Dave about canceling, and he supported it. Then I changed my mind, and he supported it. And we did that a few (dozen) times every year. But then we had her family party and loved it. 

This year, I was ready! Emotionally and physically. Dave teased that I jinxed it. 

Since I had the party plan and the heart behind it, our kids ended up with fevers and vomiting. At 4 am, on a Friday, I knew we had to cancel. It was so disappointing. Her 5th birthday. Cancelled. 

On her actual birthday, she was still sick. No school. No cute clothes. No fun anything. She took two naps and wore her boy pajamas from a yard sale. All her cute girly pajamas were dirty. Because I was, and still am, horribly behind on laundry. That’s what happens when you end up with 3 loads of vomit laundry on the first day of a stomach bug. 

My mom dropped off balloons and a miniature cake for her birthday girl. We put Adelaide in some real clothes and sang Happy Birthday. We took a few minutes to celebrate our first daughter. The one with the unknown life expectancy. The one with a combination of abnormalities her geneticists haven’t seen in anyone else. Our rare snowflake. The one who brings us joy every single day. 

We let her eat a few bites, then put it away. Stomach bugs and birthday cake don’t mix. But we couldn’t let the day go by without her knowing just how much she means to us. And she’s been begging for cake since she saw Christmas lights go up in November. She knows that Christmas means birthday.

We won’t get to reschedule. December is such a busy month and we already had only half the invitees coming that day. But we’re going to take Jelly Bean cupcakes and a banner to our family Christmas celebrations. And she’ll wear her special outfit and eat cake and clap when we sing. Our beautiful December Baby is getting her day…and I don’t think Jesus will mind one bit that He’s sharing his with Miss Adelaide. 

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The Olde Blogge

I recently did a survey over at the Little House In The City Facebook page. The results supported what I had already guessed: more people follow the snippets on the page than read these blog posts. 

I can’t blame people. Reading blogs takes time. Most of us don’t have that time. I read a couple blogs, and not even regularly. 

My last several posts have had fewer than 20 reads each. The Facebook page gets between 10 and 100 reads on each post. So I’m in a weird place. I don’t want to use Facebook for long form stuff, but I want you, our friends, to actually see what I’m posting. 

I was going to make changes after the survey. Then I decided not to make changes. I’ll still post stuff here. I’ll still post on Facebook. I’ll still post on Instagram

The numbers don’t really mean anything to me anymore. I wouldn’t even notice, except WordPress and Facebook want to constantly remind me about current stats. They want me to pay for you to see more. Pay to have a fancier page. Pay to be noticed. Since the blog doesn’t make us any income, I can’t justify paying for any of that stuff. I don’t care to either. 

I’ve been blogging four+ years, and knew I’d never get rich or go viral or become famous or any of that jazz. This blog is just a place for me to share my heart. For a couple dozen people. And I’m okay with that. 

If you want to see photos of our daily life, you might want to follow the Facebook page. Or our Instagram. It’s all kinds of random. Our life is a mix of special needs, miscarriage, pregnancy, food allergies, public school, homeschool, abuse survival, and memes I like. That’s basically what you find on our other platforms. 

I guess all this is to say: 2017 will be more of the same. For whatever that’s worth. I won’t close it all down, but I’m not adding anything awesome either. Unless you find this awesome…which I do. Because I’m a gigantic word nerd. 

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Walking Hand In Hand

I opened the van door and Adelaide shouted, “WALK! READY!” I removed her from the car seat and assumed our normal position: me in front, walking backwards, holding onto both of her hands. “NO!” She wouldn’t hold my hands, she kept letting go of one. She wanted me next to her. 

We had tried it earlier in November. She had taken a few steps, crunching the leaves, and then collapsed. I could tell she just wasn’t ready for it, but she had laughed all the way through our trial run.

But on the last Tuesday in November, she was ready to walk hand in hand. Twelve blissful steps. 

Just days before her 5th birthday, Adelaide and I walked the way I had imagined we would at her 1-year-old birthday photo session. I waited 4 years for those precious seconds with my girl. It was a dream come true. 

She collapsed onto the ground, giggling all the way down. 

But she didn’t stay there for long. “WALK! WALK!” I carried her back to the van, got behind her, planted her feet on the sidewalk, and placed my hands under her armpits. I could tell she was exhausted, but wanted to walk into the house. 

She took more than 100 supported steps, then walked up our porch’s three stairs. She kept going, as we walked over the threshold. She shouted, “WALK! WALK!” as we made our way to the carpet. Then she collapsed onto the carpet laughing and clapping. So proud of herself. 

Still not sure how these years have simultaneously felt like one fleeting hour and an eon. It’s the paradox of parenting. 

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