A Recipe For The Special Needs Child: Derek the Younger

I’m reading Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg. This is a book of writing prompts for jogging the memory in some humorous way or from an emotional tangent. The prompt “Recipe” (P 283 )caught my eye which you’d think would be about including a family recipe in your memoir. Goldberg didn’t suggest we write about our favorite Christmas cookie. Instead she suggests readers write a recipe for innocuous things like making a rock or buying clothes. I was blank, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued. A week passed and still the prompt haunted me. This morning, I woke mentally writing a recipe for the emotional climate I often felt in dealing with my younger son. I ran and got the pen and here it is. I found myself roaring aloud with laughter at the memories and smiling at my sentimental emotions about raising my wonderful son of my heart.


  • Gum under tables
  • Holes nervously picked in wall paper and horsehair plaster.
  • Frustration “Jeez! If  you don’t go to bed soon I’m going to go bald.”
  • Wrinkled clothes Me: “Derek put your clothes in your bureau please?” D: “What’s a bureau?”
  • Chip crumbs under the table (Paul says that was likely me.)
  • A dash of vigilance. “Where did Derek go?”
  • Impatience “Why oh why must we do this again?”
  • Repetition until it’s a mantra in your sleep. “Pick up your ____!”
  • Too many rocks. “Here’s a pail. It must be full. Hoe out your room!”
  • Show him a video of himself. (Watches it repeatedly laughing. That backfired.)
  • Considerable Variety (Not enough attention.)
  • In company with cats (The Husky will get them both in trouble; guaranteed.)
  • A smidge of biting my tongue. (He’s determined to learn the hard way.)
  • Counterproductive distractions “Oy! The TV will hold him while I regroup.”
  • Bragging “My kid is a wonderful musician and artist!”
  • Yodeling (It keeps the drill Sergeant voice in proper tone.)

Mix in various measures to get a smoothie of “epic” condolences from all my friends about how hard I have it I have it compared to their child. That or a rivalry that theirs is the harder.  Either way, curse him with kids of his own. It adds spice to the mix. Please note, turn on the rear-facing observation equipment every single day or you’ll regret it. Pulse twice. Serve at room temperature. Remember to top it with Derek-style whipped cream which is his amazing hugs and his ever-present kindness in nearly all he does. This makes it all sweet. And don’t forget the nuts which are all his wonderfully corny jokes. At the bottom of the glass, sigh with the contentment of a job well done.

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