Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, My Love

I met my husband in the fall of 1994, when we were both students at Florida Atlantic University. I saw him before he saw me, and I remember turning to my friend asking "Who is that?" Let me just say --I was not a boy crazy girl. I was friends with a lot of guys, and had a boyfriend or two, but I did not swoon for any boy, but I did when I saw him and it scared me to death. I was sharp and brittle on the inside, but had mastered the appearance of someone soft and genial on the outside. When Steve smiled at me from across the quad, it felt like every inch of my facade was exposed. I wish I could say that I marched right up to him to introduce myself, but I didn't. However, my friend did and while she chatted him up, I slunk away like the coward I was. Later that evening she told me his name was Steve Myers and he'd just transferred from Palm Beach Community College. He was a junior, majoring in engineering. She told me what an idiot I was being, and how I should just talk to him. In my heart, I knew that talking to this boy would be the end of my hiding, and I doubted he'd want much to do with the broken girl he'd find.
The next day, I was rollerblading through the halls of Algonquin Hall, and literally ran right into him. God has a sick sense of humor. Unable to stop my momentum, I knocked him flat on his back and landed sprawled across the top of him. I admit, I laid there longer than I probably should have. From across the quad, he'd made my heart stutter. Up close, he made it stop all together. He was beautiful, with strawberry blonde hair and green eyes, and I wanted him to be mine. So much for hiding. I stood up and said "Hi, I'm Maggi," and he smiled when he said "I know." I swooned, dammit, and I'm pretty sure I blushed, too. That day is one of my favorite memories.
Steve became everything I knew he would-- the best friend I've ever had and the absolute love of my life. There isn't a single thing he doesn't know about me. While I once would have found that terrifying, it now brings me immeasurable peace. No matter what happens in life, or how far off course I stray, I have someone who knows me - heart and soul. Twenty years later, I'm so grateful for his gentle persistence. It's still a source of profound wonderment, that he thought I was worth the grief I put him through. I don't deserve it, but I'm so very grateful for his love.
Steve, you are the very best thing that ever happened to me. Everything, and everyone else pales in comparison.

You. Are. My. Heart.

Happy Birthday, My Love.

Christmas 1994

Friday, October 10, 2014

Super Cam


If ever there were a nickname befitting my son, it is most certainly Super Cam. His first act of heroism was saving my life in utero. His tiny kidneys filtered blood for both us, when my own were failing. He rushed into the world ahead of doctors and nurses, who were woefully unprepared for his arrival. We haven't been able to slow him down since. He's a force of nature, a charming flirt, a boisterous clown, and the most compassionate child I've ever met. I know I'm biased, but consider the people whose lives he's changed:

-There was a woman he met in the grocery store who was going through chemotherapy, and had lost her hair. When he asked her why she was bald (to the chagrin and mortification of his mother), she said she was sick and the the medicine she took made her hair fall out. Cameron didn't hesitate to wrap his little arms around her and tell her "I have seizures," followed closely by "take your hat off, the sun helps things grow."

-There was a little girl in his class who wouldn't engage with other children. He didn't care, he talked to her anyway. He figured out the things she liked and slowly got her to smile at him. It seems so simple, but it was a first for this little girl and the most natural thing in the world to Cameron.

I believe that he has the purest heart of anyone I'll ever know in my lifetime. I've watched in awe, his ability to draw someone in with his charm, and change the way they see the world before they ever know what's hit them. That's not to say that he doesn't get frustrated, have tantrums, and drive me to the brink of my sanity every single day. He can't help it, just like he can't help but make everyone he touches a little better than they were before him.

Cameron has his own set of challenges. He's autistic and suffers from epilepsy. As his mom, and most avid advocate, I've worked hard at establishing an environment in which he and his big brother can thrive. I've got to say, we've done remarkably well. Cameron is a very happy little boy, and so is his brother. At the end of the day, that's all that matters to me and my husband. We've had to remind ourselves to focus on that this week. Like everything in life, nothing stays the same for long. Change is a guarantee. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is a choice.

On Monday Cameron was diagnosed with Myoclonic Epilepsy, a far cry from the Childhood Absence Epilepsy he'd been diagnosed with at two years old. We weren't prepared to hear what a diagnosis like that meant. We always knew that Cameron would face limitations that other children his age would never face, due to autism. We never expected that epilepsy would dwarf what autism did to our family. Children with epilepsy typically outgrow it. Not Cameron. His seizures morphed into the kind of seizures that are hardest to treat. The kind that are drug resistant, and uncontrollable. The ones that often lead to SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). We can change his medication, but we'll never be able to stop the seizures entirely. Eventually the drugs will stop working, and I can't even let myself think about what will happen then. I'm not supposed to outlive my son.

1 in 58 boys have autism.
1 in 30 autistic children develop epilepsy.
1 in 100 epileptics who suffer from drug resistant seizure disorders die from SUDEP.
1 in 1,000,000 - Super Cam.

Here is my pitiful cliché: Life is too short to waste on anything less than joy. My goal for Cameron is the same: Happiness. The goal I have for myself: Gratitude. I'm trying to find a way not think about how long we have left with him. No one can predict that. Even when someone's life expectancy is abbreviated, it's a crapshoot. In the middle of this nightmare, I'm reminding myself how blessed I am God chose me to be the mother of the most extraordinary little boy. I'm continuously in awe that he is mine. Our future is far from certain but I'm looking to the forward with a grateful heart, because I know that every single moment left is a gift.  xoxo- Maggi


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mama, You Catched Me.

I've heard those words from Monkey #2 a lot this summer. Those words raise the hair on my arms, and not because of his grammar, but because too often I can't...catch him, that is. Cameron has epilepsy, and up until July, I thought ten-ish absence seizures was a tough day for my little man, then something in his brain's chemistry changed. One morning, he paused in the driveway, half way to the car. I looked ahead of him to try and see what had caught his attention, and in my periphery I watched him collapse, face first onto the pavement. I screamed for help, but all the neighbors around us had long left for work. He didn't shake, twitch or stiffen, he lay limp and unresponsive in my arms for the longest ten seconds of my life. Then he cried, and my heart started to beat again.

I couldn't catch him that day, and the scrapes on his chin, hands and knees were a painful reminder of that. After trips to the ER, and pediatric neurologist came news I didn't want to hear: his epilepsy is getting worse. While many children outgrow their seizures, some don't and Cam is one of those kids. He still has ten-ish seizures a day, now they vary from absence (a lapse of awareness/ staring spell) to atonic (abrupt loss of muscle tone/ collapsing in a boneless heap) seizures. I haven't left his side for weeks. I can't bear the thought of him hitting the ground like that again, and that is the very painful reality until we can find a medication that works. I catch him a lot, thank God. In fact, the other day I let go of my shopping cart to catch him in the grocery store. My cart accidentally bumped into another cart, which brought stares from the couple it belonged to. "What's wrong with your boy?" They asked. "He has epilepsy," I grunted under the force of 85 lbs. of limp monkey. They looked on in horror, then pity, once Monkey #2 was upright and speaking "Mama, you catched me." The gentleman tried to ease the awkwardness by cracking a joke, "You ought get him a helmet," he chuckled at himself. Sadly, he's not far off the mark. Our neurologist wants him in a helmet, but my monkey also suffers from autism and sensory integration disorder. He won't let anyone close enough to trim his shoulder length hair, let alone strap on a helmet. How much can one kid handle, right? Apparently, a whole lot, because none of this slows him down a bit. Not even a little...even though I find myself wishing he would.

The silver lining has been the time I've been able to spend with Cam. Time away from the fray of the publishing world, away from social media and the demands that my career places on me. In turn, I've spent less time scolding and more time snuggling, less time banging my head in frustration and more time simply playing. At the end of the day, I find myself more thankful than I've been in a really long time, and not because my books are doing well or someone left a stellar review of my writing. I'm thankful for each and every time I'm there to catch my son. That is more precious than anything in life.

Ugga Mugga Super Cam, I love you. xoxo- Mama.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Lily Love...more than I could've imagined

When I wrote the first lines of Lily Love over a year ago, I was certain of only one thing: People were going to resonate with the story and love Caroline, or people would loathe the story and vilify Caroline. Boy, was I ever right about that. 

The reviews for Lily Love have been the best of my career, and I'm so grateful for the people who've taken the time to leave their thoughts on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews are an author's life blood, so if you've read a book lately, consider taking a moment to leave a review. Just a sentence or two will suffice. Thank you, ahead of time.

If you're out and about this summer, look under the appearances tab to see if I'll be in your area. I'd love to see you!


Saturday, May 24, 2014

LILY LOVE

Have you ever noticed how time's ebb and flow is directly tied to what you don't want it to do? This winter dragged on forever, and now that we're getting ready to move & I'm getting ready to release LILY LOVE, it's flying faster than I can handle.

Four weeks until LILY LOVE arrives. Two weeks until we move home. I'm overwhelmed in the most delicious way possible. All good things. Nothing but love and good vibes coming from my end.

Coming June 24, 2014


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Home






Life is weird. Is that the understatement of the year or what? If it's taught anything at all, it's taught me to roll with the punches and grasp opportunity when it presents itself. If you look at challenges as just another burden to bear along way, you miss out on the sweetest bits of life. My husband and I moved to Maryland a year ago with a plan to grow roots and settle in to life nestled between The Severn River and  Chesapeake Bay. Life had other plans for us, and we have found ourselves in the rather surprising position of having to move again. The silver lining for us is for the first time in our lives we get to go anywhere we want, because I can write in any city we choose. You'd think we'd be scouring maps, looking at neighborhood demographics, but the decision was so easy to make. We're moving to where our family is. If you read The Final Piece, you know where. It's the place where nothing else in the world matters except the love of the family and friends you're surrounded by. So thank you, all of you who've read and recommended my books. Thank you for making it possible for us to choose. This girl can't wait to go home.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Take it all in...

I was talking to my mom on the phone this morning and that's what she said to me "Maggi, don't forget to stop and take it all in." She is as wise as she is beautiful.

There are so many things on the cusp of happening, I find myself impatient. It's hard not to want to rush into this summer and bypass the next four months, but I know that I would miss a lot the "now" moments that truly make life amazing. In the wise words of Jonathan Shestack, co-founder of the now defunct Cure Autism Now, "Give thanks for blessings that are already on their way." So, I will discipline myself to slow down, breathe more, enjoy the present, and simply be grateful there are blessings ahead.

Please look for my latest book LILY LOVE coming June 24, 2014. You can read more about it here , and pre-order it here .