Graduating With A Big Heart… Dedicated to my beautiful son Christopher!
* * *I lovingly dedicate this blog to all the little boys in the world (even if you’ve already grow up), may you never lose sight of the magic in your heart.
For the last 12 years I’ve been totally in love with him. His name? Christopher Stone Schmidt, but I like to call him ‘Christophino’, my special nickname for him. At the time, I was living in San Francisco, California but was in Boston for a business trip. A friend of mine invited me to a stranger’s birthday party in Dedham, Massachusetts at Joe’s American Bar & Grill. August 24, 2001 was the day that Christophino’s beautiful father Doug and I magically connected at a birthday party neither of us were supposed to be at.
When Doug and I were on our first date he (as the 80’s song goes) “dropped a bomb on me”. He shared that he had been divorced for a year and that he had a son who lived with him every other week. A son?! Wow! Well, ok then. Although I adored kids and could not wait to have my own I had never thought about having this scenario. I had never dated anyone with kids so this was a new world. It’s one thing to love playing with other people’s kids, but it’s another to be an almost instant parent to someone else’s child. Things moved pretty quickly and a few days later I met the adorable little boy Christophino. Even at the ripe old age of just having turned the big six he had a magical presence about him. His energy filled the room with playful curiosity. In their Ashland condo, as his Doug introduced us, Christophino and I instantly clicked.
I was so smitten by these two, that within two months I had put my house in San Francisco, California up for sale and moved back to Massachusetts. It was one big giant play date for Christophino because we all loved being around him! We had very strong boundaries but Christophino rarely needed to be disciplined. He has always had such a love of life. When you are with him you are the only person in the world to him. Part of why he is as mature as he is because he understand the fragility of life. In his short life he has lost his baby sister, cousin Mandy (exactly two years ago today), grandmother June, great-uncle and great-grandmother Amanda (Oma Becker).
We also have a lot of fond memories! I remember once in line at a grocery store we were play fighting in slow motion and the little boy in front of us was looking longingly at us. We did talent shows in front of the huge bathroom mirror after his baths. We crushed peanuts and threw them on the floor at that Florida restaurant that was famous for that. We drove to Long Island as much as possible to see family. My boys slamming into me with their go-carts, over and over and over again at Disney. We built snowmen. We raised chickens. Our traditions around the holidays. We adopted Shakespeare. We took our dogs London and Oscar for walks by the reservoir. We told bad knock-knock jokes…(Ok it was not us. It was Christophino ;). We built forts.
We went fishing. We walked him to school as a family every time he started a new school (even when it was embarrassing because it was always more loving than embarrassing). We did things around the house together. We sat by the fireplace watching movies and eating something really yummy that Doug made. We drove cross-country to visit family in New Mexico and Arizona playing license plate games the whole way. We went to three Superbowls for his Holliston High football team. We tricker-treated together as a family. We spent a summer at Martha’s Vineyard where we had the infamous air conditioner mishap. We all were there for prom photos. We did daylong trips to our favorite Newport Beach and then restaurants. Sooooo many wonderful memories!!!
There have been times, when I did not know where I fit in as a parent because of a number of factors neither of us could control. Through the years he and I have further deepened our bond even in the face of such unfairness.
Many people don’t know that Christophino was the one who the one who began the butterfly legacy. When our daughter Sophia was born, Doug and I were shocked and devastated to find that she had down syndrome. We were in dark, icky place mentally and emotionally. Our healing really first began with Christophino. To us Sophia looked like a bloated Asian football player but in the innocence of his beautiful heart, when he saw her he blurted out, “Oh she is so cute! Hey she looks like a butterfly!” A ‘butterfly”??? Doug and I looked at each other and smiled, our healing had begun. The name stuck and Sophia became the ‘butterfly’. That symbol has been instrumental in discovering my life’s purpose. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Over the years I have helped Christophino with homework. I even learned math better than I knew it when I was in school! (If you knew me with my math history you would be REALLY impressed right now 😉 I made a point to teach him some cool life lessons. I’ve gone to his soccer, baseball, football and lacrosse games, driven him to school and bought him clothes. I have cooked, played, planned, warned, washed, taught, traveled, joked, imagined, dreamed, kissed and hugged this beautiful little boy who grew up in front of my disbelieving eyes. The days are long but the years are short is what I have said before, but with Christopher the days were never long.
Even with an IEP, he still excelled in many areas. At 11 Christophino started his own (real) landscaping company, “Stone Works”. He even got business cards. I could not write this without including a mention for his passion for shoveling/plowing and snow. You have NEVER seen someone soooooo incredibly passionate about it. Even from a very early age he talked about snow like kids talk about Disney or candy! Christophino has been entrepreneurial his whole life and continues to this day. He does his work with a respect and precision that most 50 year olds don’t even possess. It’s a natural flow for him and he excels at it.
There were times where I simply let go so that Christophino could grow the way he wanted to and not the way I wanted him to. He is my only boy and I love him from the bottom of my heart, not like a stepson, but I love him simply as a son.
Sunday is my beautiful Christophino’s graduation. My heart breaks for not being there on his very special day, as we are 3,000 miles away. In hindsight I wish I had done this differently and that I were there. Sometimes we make choices that we think are a good idea when we make them. This is one of those times.
To you beautiful Christophino, I am soooooo proud of the young man you have become! You followed no one’s rulebook other than your own and all those years that I told you always have the choice of two roads, one closer to your heart and the other further. Over time you saw how this happens in life. You made choices on both sides of the road and learned from them. So at
17 years of age, with special needs that you have completely outgrown, with the love of both sets of your parents, with the adoration of your sisters, with the respect of your teammates, with the biggest hug I can muster…I wish you a very happy graduation and entrance into adulthood. I know you are going to have a very magical ride! We are always here for you! WE WUV YOU!!!!
Knowing you has helped make me a better person. THANK YOU for coming into my life!
CALL TO ACTION…
If you like this blog for goodness sakes hit the LIKE button and SHARE IT! What are the boys in your life who have made a difference to your heart?
Great big hugs,
Mariaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aka Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
ELSE IS GOING ON? MORE WAYS TO FEED YOUR SOUL…
√ FACEBOOK: For daily soul-feeding at the Facebook ButterflyMoms group… https://www.facebook.com/groups/93661017326/
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√ INTERVIEW: Here is the magnificent ButteflyMoms interview on Nancy L. Cantor‘s Dream Factory Television Show… I hope you watch it and that it feeds your soul! ! http://vimeo.com/30095902. If you know anyone who would like to do an interview I can be reached at email@example.com to set up a time.
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WHAT IS BUTTERFLYMOMS?
ButterflyMoms is a community of people who realize they are souls first and human being second. They want to explore more about themselves, to find out what makes them happy and how they can lead a life of purpose. It is simply about FEEDING YOUR SOUL. Although it has the name “MOMS” in the title it is more about being nurturing to your own transformation, as the butterfly is to its own metamorphosis. This community is led by Maria Salomão-Schmidt whose transformation was ignited by the birth and death of her BELOVED thirteen month old daughter Sophia (Sophalicious), the original butterfly.
*Every Friday Morning, as a way of honoring her daughter Sophia’s soul, Maria writes the weekly BUTTERFLYMOMS BLOG. Hundreds of people read it every week to feed their souls. Maria started writing the blog in May 2009 and has written EVERY Friday since. Maria is a Reiki master and every time you read it you are showered with healing love. Tell your friends… http://butterflymoms.wordpress.com and spread the love!!! FEED YOUR SOUL!!!!!
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