Many friends have asked if they could get my boys something this holiday season.
We have no resources right now (as a result of my mounting legal fees and the amount of time I have had to dedicate to these attacks over the past 18 months), so my response this year is “yes— I concede that we definitely need help!” Presents (consumer goods) are the least of our concerns (being months behind in the mortgage and needing to cover basics like utilities, food and appropriate winter clothing are far more pressing), but it is true that we don’t have $ to get our children anything this year for Chanukah, and it would give them some sort of normalcy to get at least a couple of things each (if at all possible.)
At the urging of so many friends, I asked each of the boys to put together an “Amazon Wish-List” and I am linking them below. The beauty of an Amazon wish-list is that if someone buys the thing for them, then Amazon automagically removes it from the list (like a wedding registry, so they don’t accidentally get the same thing twice)!
All of the items are things the boys would like (or need). Some of the things — like the professional pogo stick on Charlie’s list — might seem on the pricey side for a kiddo, but in each case there’s a legitimate reason for the choice, as in the case of the pogo stick: Charlie has gone through [used for extended periods every day until they were thoroughly, literally worn out (no longer usable)] three toy children’s pogo sticks, and really needs a “professional quality” one that will last. The pogo stick is a therapeutic tool for him (given his mental illness diagnosis and severe ADHD), that safely channels and focuses his extreme restless energy and calms him down while also giving him a sense of accomplishment. Charlie’s last pogo record (before the last one broke), was 3,102 consecutive jumps!
I thought you all also might appreciate looking at the types of presents we would choose for our children (if we were in a position to get them ourselves.)
For me it was a super-fun exercise too (to see what my children might choose if resources were not scarce!) and each list really clearly paints a picture of who each of them is by their particular wish list choices!
Here’s Charlie’s list, he’s nine! He was recently kicked out of school. He is super sweet, but is SUPER intense and chronically bored and restless; he has a mental illness diagnosis of “severe ADHD”. He’s a passionate and wonderful artist and also incredibly athletic – and needs tools to support the things he loves to do. Charlie also loves My Little Pony! His favorite color is pink. We could also use help covering things like gymnastics lessons for Charlie. CHARLIE’S LIST
Here’s Avi’s list, he’s 12 (he’ll be 13 on January 29th.) His acute lead poisoning (12 years ago, when he was 7 months old) is the reason behind my advocacy work. He is a brilliant math & science nerd, is kindhearted, passionate about music — and has a diagnosed brain injury from the impact of his early lead poisoning, with severely impaired visual memory (in the 4th percentile!) Reading & writing have always and continue to be a heroic struggle for him. He has an Autism diagnosis as a result of his poisoning as well (and has many complicated related symptoms – like Dyslexia, Sensory Processing Disorder, and OCD.) He loves science and technology. He lives for science. He plans to be a scientist, and wants tools to help him on his journey exploring science to levels beyond what they teach him in school (Public school cannot keep up with his thirst for scientific knowledge and also – apparently – has no tools to do this while also accommodating his disablities.] His favorite color is blue! Playing music (and singing and listening to music) is his therapy. He is an avid jazz fan and knows the words to many jazz standards by heart! We could also use help covering saxophone lessons for Avi! AVI’S LIST.
Here’s AJ’s list. AJ is 15 years old and is a serious jazz musician, an uncommonly gifted engineering savant, with an insatiable appetite for math, engineering and science — and information of all kinds (he voraciously consumes science-focused YouTube videos!) He is already a “professional” trumpet player (he has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival (2 years in a row) and now has a regular Friday night gig, where he earns money performing and then he uses that money to help pay for more trumpet lessons)! AJ mostly needs clothes (for performing and going to school.) He also has been lusting after a pocket trumpet for forever! His favorite color is green! We also need help covering his college tuition at PSU [At only 15 years old he just completed his fourth semester at PSU and is getting straight A’s!] Tuition, books and fees work out to about $2,500 a semester. He also wants to build a forge for blacksmithing – although we couldn’t find a lot of blacksmithing tools on Amazon! (Blacksmithing classes or forge time at Oak Bottoms Forge or Trackers – which are also right near our home – would be an amazing gift too!) AJ’s LIST.
I don’t yet have a list together for Colescott. Len and I are also working on Amazon wish-lists – (just for fun!)
My list (first and foremost) in this order (what I would like for the holidays) is:
- Paid speaking engagements (so I can cover as much as possible myself!)
- Help with the mortgage
- Help with utilities (water/sewer, gas, electric, garbage, internet).
- Help with groceries
- Help with legal fees!
I’m also digging around on Amazon to see if there is anything I want/want … and I have come up with a few things – things we really need right now… but they are pretty expensive, and I’m NOT expecting anyone to get these for me… it’s just my #WishList (for me to refer to), plus it gives you a good idea of some of the non-toxic things I would buy for my home if I could! [I really need sheets, they have organic sheets at Target for quite a bit less than these, but this list includes the only legit organic cotton sheets I could find on Amazon, and my mattress is like 15 years old and hurting my back now (and I’ve always lusted after these organic mattresses!), and new soft organic bath sheets (really big ones!) would be amazing too, however I don’t know if you can ever tell how soft something will be when shopping on Amazon. #lol!] Here’s my list.
Thanks for reading, everyone! And thank you for asking how you can help make this holiday season a little brighter for my family during what is otherwise one of the darkest and challenging times of our lives.