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2 RIVERS

by Cindee Black |

So, a brief background is needed here. It starts a little rough but ends super optimistic. My great girlfriend Sasha has almost the exact same child I have. They are a few months apart in age, currently almost 5 years old, both residence of our amazing canyon in Orange County CA, hers is a boy, mine is a girl, both super vibrant energies just biding to be a part of the world, both named River. To distinguish them from one another we lovingly call them by first and middle name; Sasha’s boy is River Ray and my girl is River Love. We did not meet till they were infants, but must have been drinking from the same collective conscious cup as we named them, living just houses apart at almost the same exact time.

To get them both to this point in their lives has been a greatly different journey. For Sasha and her River Ray, they know a way a life I cannot imagine. Even though I have witnessed firsthand hospital stays, I know I have little idea of what they have both really experienced. Her son, River Ray, was born with a birth-defect that left him with acute breathing and swallowing problems. He was born 10 weeks premature and had his first surgery two days after birth. A total of 5 surgeries on his esophagus and stomach, including a feeding tube till the age of 4, has given River Ray a shot at normal life. The shot has more than worked and he is thriving. He also has a future as bright as any of his 5-year old counterparts.

In the present day, her River Ray and my River Love bounce around as if nothing has ever been different in their lives. But things are different. I think about my childhood being a sick kid and the repercussions of years of medications that ensued. I think about how River Ray has had numerous procedures and medications and needs less toxins in his little body. I think it’s awesome we know so many ways to help make that happen. On that note: let me introduce Sasha and River Ray.

Sasha, I adore you for your time here and for about a million other reasons. Let’s get into it for a minute, shall we? Do you feel at this point in your journey as a mom to River Ray that you are different than the other moms? Like me and our other mom friend’s?

Kind of feels Like you're living in a parallel universe when you have as kid with special needs. I feel like you guys are different. I feel fiercely protective. River Ray has felt more fragile than the other kids so it has created a dynamic in me as a mom. I know my journey with River as being normal. Since he’s my only kid I have nothing to go off of except what I’ve been through with him. But when I compare mothering tendencies, I feel I have more of that helicopter approach.

Do you feel your home practices are different then other mom’s?

Probably. Just lots of medicine involved on a daily basis. And colds require a lot of breathing treatments. I try to use the most natural adjacent products that I can find, but I think that's most mom’s these days.

As a friend of yours with kids that often play together, I have watched you deal with having to be very careful with River when other kids are sick. What’s that like?

Cindee, the only thing that comes to mind here is how annoyed I get when people bring their kids to the playground when they’re sick and they know it. Or when people drop their kids off at school and they know their kids are sick. Because that means I either have to confront them or I have to leave. You know me well enough to know how that tends to go down. For years every cold landed us in the hospital. It’s getting better though and I am getting more relaxed as he gets bigger and stronger and its more just trips to the doctor and not hospital stays.

Why do you use toxic free products?

I don’t want to add extra burden to my son’s lung condition by using non natural products. And it’s a plus that my cats can step on a floor with your cleaning solution and then lick their paws without being sick.

 Any thoughts on sustainability?

Cindee, I don’t know what you mean by this question LOL. I recycle, use canteens instead of plastic water bottles, bring my own bags to the store, buy eggs from my neighbor. Where we live, we are all on septic systems, so everything we put down our drains stays close, grows through our plants right outside our door. I choose to be environmentally conscious when I can.

What is River Ray’s future?

He’s always going to have acid reflux and he will probably always have breathing problems. I think he has received the best medical care and I have been fortunate enough to be with him everyday to ensure that. I think his future is whatever he wants it to be and is not limited by his medical issues.

One last question. Do you want to have a beer with me on Friday night with the kids at the park?

I thought you’d never ask.