Oh, my dear friends! I have so much to tell you! You know how the negative just piles on, and it becomes harder and harder until you think that your back will break under the weight of it? You think about given up until you finally stand up and shout, "Bring it on, Universe! I can take ya?" And then suddenly the clouds part and all of these magical wonders fall from the sky. It's a direct reward for surviving, I think. Let me tell you about the rewards that we're enjoying.
The most important is that Niko's magic switch has flipped. I attribute a lot of this to his school teacher this year (who, unfortunately, isn't going to be there next year) but I attribute it even more to his summer school teacher. To recap, Niko has had a terrible time at school, and especially summer school. Last year we learned that he had cried all day every day, and the teacher had set him aside to focus on the kids who behaved better. We didn't even know he had a problem until his report card came. But this year? A woman from my church walks up to me and says, "Hey, I'm Niko's teacher this summer!" I couldn't believe it. Somebody who knew him and his needs was going to be his teacher?! It was a direct answer to my prayers. She and the other teachers were so wonderful! Niko was excited to go to school and he came home just beaming. They reinforced everything that we were teaching him at home, and what's more, they made a big push for potty training with us. NIKO IS POTTY TRAINED!! I didn't ever see this day coming, and it's so delightful! Lots of high fives and smiles all around, I have to tell you. His language is getting better and better. He can say things like, "Hi Mama," "apple", "water", "I love you", "Daddy", "cheese" (for cheese crackers) and "Nina". They're not spot on, but they're consistent and we treat them as words. Can you imagine the relief that all of us feel now that he can ask for a drink of water when he's thirsty?
Also, we took him to the hospital for his sedated heart echo, which was much better than the nightmare that I posted about last year. Niko's care was wonderful, and his heart looked so fantastic that we don't have to come back for two years! I am not afraid to admit that my eyes were tearing up as I hugged the cardiologist.
Next: my writing. Oh my goodness, it couldn't be going any better! I have finally found a wonderful agent who hit the ground running before the ink on our contract even dried. I announced my happy agent news a week ago today on A Broken Laptop, and I am so excited! For those of you who are curious as to the process, I now send the agent my completed manuscript and he uses his connections to send it to publishing houses. That means that A) I don't have to spend the time researching and sending it to people who most likely won't look at it without an agent anyway and B) I get to use this new-found time to work on a new manuscript. This opens doors for me that wouldn't be opened any other way, and I'm simply thrilled.
Also! I'm going to a writer's conference in Las Vegas called KillerCon, and I am going to be on two panels there! That means I'll sit on stage with a handful of other writers and answer questions that the audience asks. I'm quite humbled and excited to be there. It's a privelage.
The magazine just reopened to submissions so I'm quite busy with that. It's my husband's busy season, so I took the kids and fled to my parent's house for two weeks. Vegas is too hot and Nina's seizures started up again, so we bolted. We see her neurologist in a few weeks. It can't come too soon. Nina is so sweet that I think she's made of sugar, sometimes. When she isn't made of spice. She's everything that I always wanted in a daughter. Today my mother gave her a doll for her birthday, and she immediately named her Bird. Life is pretty sweet for us. :)