Wednesday, December 29, 2010

All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa by Kim Stagliano and "The Day is Done" As Autism Ages

I wrote this post for
. Each week we write on a particular topic. This week was quotes we favor. I hope you'll mark The Deb Ball in your favorites.

I have many quotes I adore. Some poignant, others not so - like Lewis Carroll's gibberish poem Jabberwocky - "Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.." But one stanza of a certain poem sticks with me. My Dad is 88 years old. He was born in "nineteen hundred and twenty two," as he says, in his Boston accent. His memory is still keen. And although day to day he might forget something (don't we all) he recalls dozens of poems learned as a boy in school. Longfellow's "The Day is Done" is one of his favorites. And I know that one day in the future (distant or near) my sister or brother or I will recite it at his funeral. That will be a sad but fine tribute to a good father.

As a mother who struggles with the reality of having children with autism, whom one day I will have to leave behind in a world that may or may not care for them properly, this stanza has a sharper meaning. In fact, for me, it's really a prayer. Sure, I'm a Catholic and I have all the "proper" prayers at my disposal. But this stanza speaks to the yearning ache and daily hope for treatment, recovery, cure I feel every day when I look at my girls, and wonder how, how on earth (or in heaven), can I ever leave them? It speaks to a time of hope when I will not have to worry, and I love that.

And the night shall be filled with music

And the cares, that infest the day,

Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,

And as silently steal away.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Kim Stagliano Meets BOB from Sesame Street - and Bursts into Tears!

I wrote this post for The Debutante Ball today. Our theme was balance. Hope you like it.

Balance and I parted ways many years ago. I don't miss the illusory term, as if I can neatly compartmentalize my life into properly weighted boxes that hold my emotions, family responsibilities, work role, mythical "me time" and of course charity work. (Kidding on that part.) Our household is incapabable of balance because autism times three has made it that way. Now, does that mean we're topsy turvy upside down 24/7? Not at all. We have a lovely life. But picture a ship at sea. In time the sailors begin to ignore the swells and the yawing of the ship. When they are back on land, they need to readjust. Same for us, except there's no dry land in sight. Also OK.

So what helps me stay sane? High points. Moments in time where we sing and rejoice and something wonderful, even if it's fleeting, happens to us. It could be one of the girls using a new sign to communicate. Or acing a spelling test. Or greeting me appropriately at the door. Or it could be this:

That's Bob McGrath, whom you know as Bob from Sesame Street. I was at a book event in NYC, and afterward my husband and agent and I went across the street for dinner at a lovely restaurant called The Crooked Knife. As we were seated, the entertainment was just packing up. Our booth was right next to their equipment and we struck up a conversation, natch, with the two men who call themselves The Dueling Fiddlers. Adam DeGraff gave us a CD. Kim Stagliano gave Adam a signed book. Adam told us that "The Sesame Street execs are here having dinner." My eyebrows shot up faster than Bert's unibrow at a shiny bottlecap collection. We are a Sesame Street family. I watched the first show in 1969. My 40 year old brother grew up on it. And my girls still watch every single day, well into their teens.

I sat down at our table and tried to quell my excitement, after all, I don't know any of the "execs." Then a gentleman turned at the table and I whispered, "Oh, it's BOB!" Yup. Bob McGrath, Bob "Who are the people in your neighborhood," McGrath was feet away from me.

Time for some balance... I asked Adam, "Could I meet him for just a moment?"

Bob agreed and I walked over to their table and promptly burst into tears, "You're B-b-b-bob! You have no idea what you've meant to my family." He was charming and genuinely touched. Everyone at the table had that, "aaaawwww look at the nice crazy woman," face on.

Make your own balance. Don't wait for it. Even when you're walking on Jello - you can find balance and happiness. And it all else fails, turn on Channel 13: Sesame Street.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Kim Stagliano on Good Morning Texas for All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa

This interview was a blast - Rob McCollom is a scream - puts you right at ease.He'd obviously done his homework with the book and I won't tell you what he said to me before we went on air... Oh hell, of course I will! He'd heard I was surprised the male host was interviewing me instead of the usual female/mommy host. I was happy and surprised. So he said, "I'm sorry I have a penis." HA! My Howard Stern chapter clearly influenced him. I love that. He did such a good job the producer gave him some extra time with me, which is the TV equivalent of Johnny Carson inviting a stand up to sit on the chair after his act. I was thrilled. Check out the very end of the interview and tell me what you hear in the comments.