HOMETOWN Ft. Lauderdale, FL
ON THE WEB One Thousand Words or More.com
NUMBER OF CHILDREN One
DAY JOB Director of Communications, Broward County Police Benevolent Association
RELATIONSHIP STATUS : D Married
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK When my son was little, “Green Eggs & Ham”, “Go, Dogs, Go” by P.D. Eastman, and “Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams, were the favorites. Now it’s anything Harry Potter, but we’ve managed to work “To Kill A Mockingbird” into the mix as well.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
I’m a writer, so I have been fortunate to have the flexibility to first work for someone else from home, then freelance from home, and now work part-time outside of the house and freelance from home.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
I used to be a control freak; after losing my first pregnancy and then having an emergency c-section at 31 weeks and taking home a baby with special needs, I completely let go the need to control everything. It’s been very freeing. I am more relaxed and happy than I was before.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
The events surrounding our son’s birth and the discovery of his disability affected us profoundly. We both suffered from depression and PTSD. We went through periods when only one of us was fully present at a time in our own relationship because caring for our child was so draining. We got through that part together because we never gave up. We are in a rebuilding/transition phase now; our son is a teenager and becoming more independent every day, and we are re-dreaming our lives together. We are working on the next chapter.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
My strengths: Good instincts, good research skills and a sense of humor. My weaknesses: I can be impatient and my expectations are probably too high at times.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
We are so fortunate to have both sets of grandparents close by, as well as aunts and uncles and close friends. They have saved our sanity on many, many occasions.
DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?
Yes, he has what’s known as hemparagic Cerebral Palsy. He had a stroke in utero; it affected the left side of his brain, which controls the right side of his body. He has muscle weakness on the entire right side, particularly with his hand. It comes with a whole litany of other, hidden conditions that need to be managed, like seizures. For me, his condition has given me laser focus on what my job as a parent is: to prepare him to live in the world. Nothing is easy where he is concerned, but the goal is elegantly simple.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
Today? Or ever? My son has Cerebral Palsy. When he was younger, I did a lot of at-home therapy with him (as prescribed by his doctors). When he was 2 and 3, I would have to lean him up against the wall, standing up, to help strengthen his legs to prepare for walking. He would scream the entire time, but I had to leave him there for a couple of minutes a day. It was awful. Worse yet, when he finally did walk (at 3 ½), I wasn’t even there.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
That’s harder, I think. There are so many tiny little moments of triumph when your child has a physical disability: the day he walked (even without me); when I was able to teach him to dress himself with one hand, the day—after extensive at-home therapy—that he was finally able to eat pastina.
My favorite moment was when, after his father told him, “I made you,” he answered, “No, Mom did most of that. You just provided the semen.” That was a total win.