• Grandma Mary

    Dear Jax, It’s Gotcha Day, little dude. We adopted you eleven years ago today. I love this day, but this year’s celebration is bittersweet. Your grandmother died on Friday night. Your dad’s mom, Grandma Mary. This year’s Gotcha Day will be a little less inflatable water slide and a little more holding space for your grandma today. You’re grieving. This isn’t an obituary – you’ll be much better at that, kiddo – but what I will remember about your grandmother was how accepting she was. From day one, eleven years ago, she accepted you completely and without hesitation, exactly as…

  • maybe-this-time-rebecca-masterson

    Maybe This Time

    A day or two ago, Jax had an appointment with a psychiatrist. Jax has never met this man before, but I have, and I like him a lot. He regurgitates mountains of stuff from memory, has a Harvard degree, and is smart, smart, smart. All good stuff when you’re a mom seeking advice for your child, but I like him because he’s a helper and he takes it very seriously. Jax has been hanging out in, what he calls, the “dark mind.” This isn’t new, but it’s not something we ignore. We’ve seen psychs before, but they have deferred to…

  • brothers-by-rebecca-masterson

    Brothers

    Johnny, I’ve been down at the Capitol this past week fighting for a bill that would expedite the adoption of older kids. I’m pretty invested in it because you and I went through this. We had nine months to make your adoption happen, and had I not already had a giant home study to adopt Jax, you’d have aged out of foster care even though I was jumping up and down on the sidelines, begging to bring you into my family. It defied common sense so, cue the patriotic music, we drafted a law that would fix this. There is…

  • Dear Person Who Hurt My Child.

    I’ve spent the last few days outlining an open letter to the person who hurt Jax. A real doozy of a piece, cleverly called “Dear Person Who Hurt My Child.” I was going to write and publish it this morning, throw it all out there and let the internet lovelies react to an adult who intentionally hurt a kid with autism and cognitive delays and who spent his first three years of life in an orphanage. It would have been shared and liked and tweeted. What do I need the burden of our criminal system for when I have this?…

  • Not the Best Witness

    The adult who hurt my son will not be charged. I’m a lawyer. I get it. There are no witnesses, no physical evidence, and Jax …well, Jax isn’t the best witness.  At 13, Jax still believes that Noelle the Naughty Elf stole my car keys and tried to take my SUV for a spin. He tells the same joke over and over (and over), processes every single thought he has out loud, and is lost in most conversations that aren’t about airplanes. He doesn’t understand nuance, social cues, or consequences. Jax is a child. Jax will always be a child. This makes…

  • When the Flashing Lights Fail.

    I am a Helicopter Mom. No shame here, no self-deprecating humor, there is really no other option for this child tornado of mine. Maybe helicopter isn’t the right word, I think I’m more like the car with the flashing lights that travels behind the Wide Load truck on the freeway. You know when some brave soul picks their flipping house up, places it on a truck, and moves it across country? The other drivers can see the trailer coming with a freaking house on it, it’s unexpected and a tad out of the ordinary, but there is always a car…

  • The Opposite of Yelling

    I was sick this week. Throwing up throughout the night, curled up in fetal position at the base of the toilet, not sure how clean the bath mat is, I do not even care, I will never eat blue cheese in a salad again, SICK. Being sick as an adult is lousy. Being sick as a mom is just not fair. Usually, with a head cold or slight fever, we moms power through by tossing the child-wolves some technology, pouring some cereal in a bowl and calling it dinner, and announcing bedtime at 7pm. Not this go-round. Leaving my bed was…

  • Out of the Way, Mom.

    I had a moment recently. My son, Jax, and I had been in the car running errands for a few hours. I was singing along to the Beatles channel when Jax said, “Mom, I’m hungry.” Well, yeah, breakfast was a hurried cup of yogurt three hours ago so that’s reasonable. There is no shortage of food options in the strip-malled mecca of Scottsdale, and we chose Chipotle. We ordered, we got our food, we sat. We were finishing up and Jax got up to refill his soda. He took the lid off, said excuse me to me the man who was…

  • The Santa Exit Plan

    It was late-September of 2008 when we brought my son home from China, just two months before December and our sparkly, over-the-top, American-style Christmas season. My little boy had no idea what Christmas was. He had no idea who Santa was. Hell, he had no idea what protein was. Time, as it does, marched on and my son acclimated to Christmas quickly. The tree, the lights, the presents, the added traffic, the fact that I will not step foot in a Costco or Target during the month of December. I added in some religious overtones, some lessons about giving, and gave myself a pat on…

  • …Except That It’s Christmas

    This time of year, man. It’s stressful and chaotic and my annual intention of providing a Pinterest-perfect Christmas lasts about a day and a half until I decide that F-bombs will definitely help me assemble the gingerbread house. Ahhh, December. This year, the sparkly exterior strands of house lights worked perfectly on the ground, but after a four hour installation, decided to offer a non-working section of fifteen lights right over my front window.  And I have to tilt my head to the left, like I’m pondering something serious, for my Christmas tree to look straight. If the devil is…