Why "Running with Bunions"?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Taking Mama's Place

“Ain’t a woman alive that could take my mama’s place.”
-Tupac Shakur

Your children wait by the open door, the air thick with anticipation. It’s been weeks since you last picked the children up for a scheduled visit yourself. When the car pulls into the driveway, will you be behind the wheel?

You’ve already missed so much!

Holiday celebrations. Birthdays. Back to School Nights, Open Houses, assemblies, award ceremonies and the second grade Mother’s Day poem reading. You were nowhere to be found at the school musical, no showed family therapy sessions, teacher and counselor meetings. You’re elsewhere for doctor appointments and unresponsive in emergencies. You weren’t in the waiting room when your 7-year-old had surgery or at the doctor’s office when your 8-year old was prescribed long term medication.

You’ve never been to the bus stop or chatted with parents at a birthday party. Your current partner drives the kids to school when it’s your turn. Teachers and doctors have not met you. You’ve never been a field trip volunteer, classroom parent or participated in a single party. You’ve slept through your child’s visit to your home, zoned out the school’s annual festival and cookout. You defer co-parenting responsibilities and refuse to speak to your children’s primary custodial parent, who, in the absence of your communication, participation or cooperation, raises your children alone.

When they’re in your care, the kids attend school exhausted, loaded with pop tarts and sugar cereal, homework not done, communication devices returned uncharged.

“(Children) need both parents. But they need the best you.”
-Guardian ad Litem, 2016

I get it: you don’t know what to do. It’s hard. You have a job. You can’t be expected to do every(any)thing. Your ex thinks you’re a bad parent anyway. It’s not true, not fair, not right.

It’s not your fault.

From the age of three, Cole was raised by his father and aunt. At 18, Cole asked tv psychologist, Dr. Phil, to help him repair his relationship with his mother.

She “walked out of my life twice a year, every year, since I was a child,” said Cole. She wasn’t present for birthdays, holidays, school functions or important events. She betrayed his confidence in a million different ways and repeatedly abandoned him.

Dr. Phil nodded. She was the non-custodial parent. What would you have had her do?

Cole responded: “She could’ve gotten involved…She could’ve moved right down the street. She could’ve found a way to see us every day even if it was me walking to the school bus. She could’ve found a way.

Now, your children scamper optimistically to your relative, friend or lover’s car. Knowing that, as long as they go, there’s at least a chance they’ll see you.

Because no one can take your place! Your DNA is hardwired into their little bodies. They resemble you. Together with your ex, you gave them life. Today, they love you simply because you exist.

But tomorrow? When they’re older? They’ll wonder. Where were you at the school showcase, class musical, festival, doctor’s office, hospital, birthday?

And why didn’t you find a way…?

Sunday, September 16, 2018


What it looks like to come together again after a few days apart. Cuddles, snuggles, great joy.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Quiet Time

It’s 6:40am and Super Daddy wakes you from a sound sleep. You emerge from under your heavy blanket with its pellets in quilted squares that hug your body in all the right places. Toss Buzz Lightyear to the side. Climb the bunk ladder to the cold carpet. Where you dis- and re- robe in garments you select, with direction from Super Daddy.

Everything, it seems, is a lesson: pottying on command, making your bed, tying your shoes, sitting at a table, staying in your seat, using silverware, brushing teeth. Plus, there’s piano, reading, learning to use your talker.

Everywhere is expectation, conversation, communication; words.

By 8:05am you’re outside, waiting for the school bus to arrive. Now, there’s “greeting the driver,” “high five,” “swiping your badge.” A red light flashes as a machine acknowledges the identification card worn on a lanyard around your neck. You like the high-pitched beep the machine makes.

For the next seven hours, you’re in school.

Morning meeting: “What’s today’s date?” “What’s the weather like?” “What clothes do you wear when it’s sunny/rainy/cold/hot?”

There’s finding words on your talker, asking, answering, sitting, standing, looking here, looking there. You match pictures with combinations of letters, read, write, engage. In social time, physical education, music, history, current affairs, math, a library activity, speech, occupational therapy.

You ride a scooter in the hallway, plant seeds in dirt, count leaves, play catch. Talk, listen, interact.

Recess is clattering swings, screeching, shouting, laughter, people and more conversation. You “wait your turn,” “play together,” “share.” You grab a ball and a student objects, “That’s mine!” You pause at the top of the slide and a student shouts, “Hurry up!”

You’re comforted by routine: the reassuring knowledge of what happens next. But today something is different: a fire drill, your favorite aide is sick, there’s a visitor in the classroom, teacher’s hairstyle is altered, a stuffed toy is in the wrong place. You hit a file cabinet, scream, point, flail, object.

Finally, it’s 3:20pm. You complete closing tasks, don your backpack, board the bus. Again, you “greet the driver,” “high five,” “swipe your badge.” The red light flashes and the machine beeps.

Time to go home.

Your person waits. There are hugs, squeezes, kisses. “Did you have a good day?” she says, and waits.

But your words are all used up. You shake your head, moan, flail, point, scream.

“Do you want quiet time?” she says.

You tug her hand and repeat, “Quiet time.”

You hang up your backpack, remove wet socks, change your clothes, retreat.

Now, alone in your room, you choose a book. You sit on the floor, lounge on your bed. Later, you’ll request a popsicle, apple, crackers. You’ll bounce on the trampoline and laugh. Your therapist will arrive for three more hours of “saying hi/bye,” matching, identification, conversation, expectation; words.

Followed, in quick succession, by dinner, bath and bed.

Communication is exhausting.

But for now, in this moment? You revel, relax, rejuvenate. In the solitary silence that is Quiet Time.