Basic Training

Camp Easter Seals was cray. zee. Not really, it was pretty low-key and relaxing, but Joe had a terrific time and that’s all that matters. We went for a family weekend, sort of a try-it-before-you-buy-it intro to the camp. One day we might send Joe off on his own for a week or two in the summer. Not anytime soon, we aren’t ready. He is. We aren’t.

It all started with fire. Then art with pieces of plate glass. Then arrows. Then climbing. Then horses. It was a little paramilitary (no, no it wasn’t).

Camp Easter Seals
The pros call it “practical effects.”

Camp Easter Seals
The original 1957 merry-go-round may have been Joe’s favorite part.

Camp Easter Seals
Not totally cool with the horse, but still totally cool.

Camp Easter Seals
Adaptive bow. Who know?

Camp Easter Seals
Our barracks were designed for 24 troops. For our visit they replaced the regular beds with tiny cots. Joe brought his tent because he thought we were going to rough it. “Milquetoasts!” he said, and slept in his tent anyway.

Camp Easter Seals

MONDAY! NIGHT! FOOTBALL!

It was our second elementary school night at a Colonial Heights High School football game! Joe was all about seeing friends and was totally digging the band. Some new friend gave him a C.H. t-shirt, that was really neat. And there was a football game or something, too.

Plus, we know the principal of Joe’s school reads this blog – how cool is that?! Hi Mr. Staples! Go Tussing!

Colonial Heights Football!
Tussing Tigers ready to take the field.

Colonial Heights Football!
Joe catching up with Mrs. Resnick, his terrific kindergarten teacher.

Colonial Heights Football!
Zebras, unaware that tigers are lurking about. Watch out zebras.

Colonial Heights Football!
The Colonial and Cheerleader ready to watch the carnage unfold.

Colonial Heights Football!
Not a football fan. Kinda boring. None of the intense action of a, say, Kidz Bop or Daniel Tiger episode.

Lights and music

Joe’s brilliant mom surprised him with his new favorite thing tonight – a wireless disco light and speaker. We’ll get video next time, because Joe was in awe of the light itself and on the walls and ceiling. He’s so great.

Disco lights!

Disco lights!

Disco lights!

Disco lights!

Hey! We went bowling.

We had a terrific weekend – museum, picnic, running, swimming and finally a couple of games of bowling. Not much to say because I’m tired (from the terrific weekend), but thanks as always to Tracy and the greater Lowery family for all you do through Special Olympics and by just being good people.

And welcome to the team, Jordan! There’s always room for a home-girl, the South needs more Western New Yorkers.

Bowling

Bowling

Bowling

Bowling

Bowling

Bowling
Thanks Tracy!

Not going to Rio

Joe has decided to skip the 2016 Rio games. He made the decision a couple of weeks ago, just before the Virginia Special Olympics at the University of Richmond. It was partly the whole Zinka thing (makes his nose look funny), but mostly it was the lack of competition now that the Russians are out. He’s been waiting for this moment since he saw Rocky IV, and embarrassing all the Usain Phelps in the world won’t give him the same gut-level satisfaction as kickin’ some drugged-out commie ass. Joe gets so angry sometimes.

But we did go to the Virginia games, thank goodness, as it calmed him down a lot. He quickly compartmentalized those nesting-doll-loving pinkos and laser-focused on his four events.

First was the 25-meter dash, where he ran triumphantly! The crowd on their feet. A tear on Vangelis’ cheek as we collectively realized the majesty we were witnessing. It’s not slow motion …

Joe is actually running that fast!

Next, the two-person tennis ball toss, where Joe and his throwing coach Carleigh put some stank on it and almost cleared an unmeasured distance of grass. It went so far! Poetry in motion, as ol’ Johnny Tillotson used to say.

Then the team of Mama-Joe-Carleigh combined for the double-assisted-lift standing long jump, rocketing Joe to a personal best. Mama Joe Carleigh would also be my name if I was a drag queen who specialized in country music. Is that a thing? Just googled it, and sure enough!

Joe focused his real energy on the unsanctioned event he’s dominated since getting into the game – making friends with random folks, mostly the ladies. Like this first place effort …
Special Olympics 2016
These former strangers followed Joe from the field to the awards, offering to babysit, asking for photos, and making all the college boys that much more insecure. How did this tiny man, with mismatched teeth and a balding dad, snag this caliber of women … without even saying a word? Because you smell like Axe and you trying to hard.

Special Olympics 2016
Coach Carleigh took the podium with Joe, rightfully so. Helping people are good people. Thanks Carleigh!

Special Olympics 2016
By now he’d forgotten about the Russians. Felt sorry for them even. “I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”

Special Olympics 2016
Not Joe, I just like this photo. The streak of a lone athlete as he celebrates personal victory. Faceless every-man spectators, maybe coaches, watch with awe and love as he passes. That’s Special Olympics.

Birthday Tradition

Joe just turned 8. We had a fun day, capped off by the traditional cupcake. What a great kid!
We can’t thank everyone enough for the wonderful gifts, cards and well-wishes Joe received. He’s a lucky guy to have family and friends like you. Thanks!

8th Birthday

8th Birthday

8th Birthday

birthday_cupcakes

Be happy for this moment …

Just over eight years ago, I was hoping Joe – more than a week late already – would be born on June 6. He’d have the coolest nickname, D-Day, this side of Faber College. In true Joe fashion he came along a few days later. Once when Lia was pregnant the doctor was doing an ultrasound, and said to finish we just had to wait for the baby to move. We waited. And waited. Even then, as an expectant dad, I don’t think I was nervous, but rather amused and annoyed. I never liked to be told what to do either. He eventually shrugged, we did too, then we all went home.

Joe used to lay on the floor wherever you put him. Just lay there and look around. That was our first clue that something was up, but it was also when the calm started to creep into our house.

The first time Joe really fed himself, the time it took to move one piece of food from plate to mouth felt like an hour. We applauded. He turns eight today, and seeing him stand up from sitting on the floor is still like seeing a unicorn. Pack a lunch if you’re accompanying him up a flight of stairs.

I mean all of this in a most positive way, because I know he’s only slow because the alternative is fast, and either way he’s happy. We’ve seen him gobble food, sprint (relatively) up steps, and chase after certain toys. He can totally do all of these things, but his motivation isn’t to get somewhere, it’s to be somewhere. And “oh hey, look … I’m already here.”

When you’ve got a kid like Joe, you spend a lot of time trying to speed him up to match your pace, and you fail. Your Hobsonesque choice is to slow yourself down. Talk about an egg in your beer! For the past eight years we’ve been forced to take it easy.

Lia and I went to dinner the other night. It was just the two of us, but when the hostess asked for a name I said Joe. She said “that’s simple enough,” and Lia and I smiled. Because it is.

Happy birthday Joe – how did eight years go so fast?

Eight Years Old

Since 2008