Billy has a fish named Eric. It's a homicidal maniac that killed its three tank-mates, but that's a Halloween story. Or maybe a Christmas story, since he got the tank and fish for Christmas.

But anyway, this is a heart-warming Valentine's Day tale.

Today, Billy had group therapy. A wonderful program at the FSU Speech and Hearing Clinic, group therapy allows him to get together with two other guys about his same age, and each of them have a grad student speech therapist assigned to them, and together they work on group interactions. They play games together, share snacks, complete projects.

Because Monday is the big V-day, they made Valentine's cards together. Great idea!

And this scene, worthy of a Hallmark movie, unfolds ...


Moms wait, purses in lap, staring at the clock as the final minutes of group therapy tick away. (Actually, we just barely made it back from Starbucks around the corner in time to pick up our kids before they locked the building.)

Beautiful Boy #1 – we'll call him CUPID – comes barreling into the room. He spots his mom and hands her his home-made card.

CUPID: I love you, Mom!

All the moms are choked up as she gives him a big hug and they admire his handiwork together. Heck, I want to hug Cupid.


Expectant grin on my face.


As Billy comes barreling in.



Expectant grin is wider. It's my turn. MY TURN!


As he drops his home-made card on the floor and heads for the water fountain.


Grin falters... but then I take a deep breath. It's OK. I've still got the card. I plaster the grin back on my face and reach for the card.


As I pick it up and see this:



I swear to you I saw that evil fish laughing at me tonight.

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The Valentine's Day card I got from my husband was heartfelt. And the picture that my son Sam drew for me at daycare was sweet. But to be honest, this post is what kept me smiling all day long - and knowing that I wasn't alone. God bless Eric.

Whose side are those therapists on?

Really? They couldn't have intervened on that? I'll give them the benefit of the doubt...maybe they thought that Billy's "mommy" was named Eric.

So funny!

I've just been catching up, and am laughing hysterically at Eric the fish and the Tina Fey story! So funny! The Disney story, however, is upsetting...even though I don't have a child on the spectrum, that bullying scene should have been stopped. I'm hoping the copious notes the rep on the phone took will actually be used to help Disney's policies!

Agree with Maura

nobody can take the place of a boy's momma!

Cute card! Nothin' says love like pipe cleaners.

I do hear the undercurrent of an "ouch," though. Chin up, friend. I'm sure Eric's one hell of a fish, but we all know you're Billy's girl.

(Tina Fey only comes in second.)

Oh My Goodness!

Oh Amanda! I feel your pain and I KNOW that had to hurt but ... I am literally laughing out loud! I'm glad you found some humor there! :)

Total 13 comments

I'm a celebrator. While others scoff and roll their eyes at Valentine's Day, I get a secret thrill walking through a grocery store overstocked


with candy hearts, teddy bear-shaped balloons and roses wrapped in plastic. I believe in true love and believe it is perfectly reasonable to celebrate it by wearing matching T-shirts, eating a heart-shaped steak and making one another mix tapes.

But the holiday doesn't have to be as well-established as V-day to get me interested. I'll break out the streamers and party hats at the slightest provocation. Flag Day, Earth Day, International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day (Feb. 23 - save the date!) -- if it were up to me, we would have a special song and an imaginary creature delivering gifts for each one of them.

I'm sure it was because of the way I was brought up. My parents were celebrators. Each of us received a card and a present for every holiday, birthday, special celebration. I have drawers full of cards from my 14th birthday, my high school graduation, the day I got my first apartment (I'm also a saver, the nice way to say "pack rat"), and of course, Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, you name it. We made a big deal out of any given opportunity. We decorated the yard and the house for Christmas. We packed our house full of children at every birthday -- when my mom wasn't ferrying a van-load of them to a water park, amusement park or special event.

One of the greatest things about having kids is rediscovering the simple joy of celebrating. Billy comes home from school with special crafts he's made, smeared with cupcake icing singing, "Happy Birthday, Dr. King! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, Dr. King! We honor you today!" Awesome. A birthday party for Dr. King - why didn't I think of that? (Actually, as it turned out, he got a couple of things muddled up. The cupcakes were for his classmate Luca's birthday, but his heart was in the right place.)

What's the downside? If you don't like the ridiculous pink-and-red commercialism of Valentine's Day, you can always celebrate by writing a letter -- a real letter with a pen and paper -- to someone you love. Or dump Valentine's Day altogether and take a child (or adult) you love somewhere to celebrate Ferris Wheel Day, which also falls on February 14. Or National Organ Donor Day (also Feb. 14), a bit more of a celebratory challenge, I'll grant you, but I would LOVE to hear about your efforts.

February is chock-full of reasons to kick up your heels and bake cupcakes. We've got Tooth Fairy Day (Feb. 28), Pistol Patent Day (Feb. 25), Tell a Fairy Tale Day (Feb. 26) and Polar Bear Day (Feb. 27). How could the satisfaction of eye-rolling possibly compare with the joy of celebrating National Random Acts of Kindness Day (Feb. 17) or the simple pleasure of rewarding yourself on National Chocolate Mint Day (Feb. 19) and Cherry Pie Day (Feb. 20).

In fact, Feb. 20 could become the greatest holiday ever if you celebrated cherry pies, loving your pet and National Hoodie Hoo Day. This last holiday is apparently celebrated by walking outside at noon, raising your hands over your head and shouting "Hoodie Hoo!" at the top of your lungs, in the hopes of chasing away winter. I guess this is in case the whole groundhog thing didn't work out.

Just be aware, if you keep rolling your eyes, expect a visit from me on February 16: "National Do A Grouch a Favor Day." We can join hands and sing a song I made up for "Public Sleeping Day" (Feb. 28) before writing our letters to the Tooth Fairy.

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I am a celebrator too. Especially birthdays, When Wayne & I got married he couldn't understand why I went to all the expense, time & work to pull it all together. I always made a big party every year for Jennifer & Keith and tried to think of everything I could to make it special for them. I told him It brought me such joy to see them happy. I appreciate my mom for making my birthday, Christmas, and holidays special, because that me feel special. It's just apart of loving I think.


I agree! No matter how you do it, taking time out to make a big deal over a special day for the people you love is a way to show them how special they are. I know that Jennifer and Keith appreciated that too and will pass that love on to their kids :-)

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