My heart is full …

Both my “little” girls had a rough day today. Libs is OVER school, testing and college prep. And I don’t blame her! She definitely needed a BIG mama hug when I picked her up from school. My poor Reese fell twice today. She is not clumsy so when she falls it can really upset her. Falling twice had her in tears the second she saw me at the school gate. My poor baby! My heart hurts for both of them them. But today I was also reminded of what all these rough childhood days can lead to. Like seeing both my BIG kids out there adult-ing like champs today. Trust me, Sid and George had their fair share of rough childhood days too but to see them now, you would never know it. They are so ADULT-ISH. HA! I admit that the cuddles and snuggles that this momma gets to give and get from her “Littles” on yucky days like this can’t be beat. But neither can the joy I feel watching my older kids spread their wings and fly. Today reminds me that EVERY season in life has its ups and downs, but if you push through and lean on the ones who love you then there will be brighter days ahead. I also am reminded of how much love I have in my life. Not just to give, but also what I get back. I’m blessed and so incredibly thankful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where your heart is full!!!

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Thankful, grateful and blessed …

I am heading into this Mother’s Day weekend feeling pretty good so I want to write all of this now. It’s always unknown how the actual day will hit me. I can feel fine going to sleep the night before Mother’s Day and then BAM a blanket of sadness is there in the morning. But right now I feel overwhelmingly blessed and I want to stay focused on what I have, not on what I have lost. I truly have SO much to be thankful for. I’m thankful because I am a mom with the best kids in the world. I am thankful that I have been allowed to share so much of their lives with them. I am thankful I have watched almost three of them now grow to be adults. I absolutely LOVE watching them chase their dreams! And I am thankful that God entrusted me with Reese. I think I needed her just as much as she needed me. Of all the things that I have become in my life, MOTHER, is my favorite. Yes, I lost my mom, and that still hurts after 25 years. But being a mom has healed me so much and has eased my grief in a way that nothing else can. So, I want to give a BIG shout out to Sid, George, Libby and Reese (and, of course, Trevor Sid’s boyfriend too). Thank you. Thank you for taking the broken parts of me and putting me back together again. Thank you for understanding my grief and helping me grow through it. Thank you for readily seeing and honoring grandma’s legacy that has been weaved into each of your lives. You are truly my greatest joy. You are the reason I smile so much and why I laugh so hard. You are my hopes and dreams come true. I couldn’t possibly be me, without all of you. And there is absolutely nothing in this world that I love more than all of you!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel thankful, grateful and blessed!!!

The bigger picture …

This is a LONG ONE but it’s about Reese, my 9 year old daughter with Down Syndrome, and since I am her voice I felt it was time to write this all out. So please read with an open heart and mind. This is for the benefit of someone I love more than anything.

We had a situation today and I just want to share a glimpse of the BIGGER picture that sometimes gets overlooked. Reese is scared of animals. She never was, then one day, she decided NO THANK YOU. She never had a bad or scary experience. One day, developmentally, they just became scary. And that is OK. I am confident that one day she will learn to love domesticated animals again. I don’t care if she ever likes wild animals, they can certainly be avoided.

But let’s get back to domesticated animals, specifically dogs. I would absolutely love for Reese’s fears about dogs to fade away. And here’s why: I want Reese to have the benefit of a service dog one day. They can be so specifically trained that she could one day have a furry companion who helps her with her nutritional needs. AND they could help her to live independently.

Now, let me share my experience with dog owners. They absolutely love their dogs, AS THEY SHOULD! Almost every person I know who has a dog, or anyone I have casually come into contact with who has a dog, believes that their dog is “the sweetest” dog ever. This may, in fact, be true. But to Reese, they are all ferocious beasts. Telling her (and I) how good your dog is, isn’t going to change her mind about any of it. Hopefully time will. And most importantly, HER time will. I truly believe that every person who tries to sway her thinking only does so with good intentions. But it’s actually harmful. Forcing it will only delay or deny giving her the benefits of having a service dog one day. And that is why I wrote all of this down. Please don’t “push” a relationship with your adorable, loving and gentle pet on anyone, child or adult. It is disrespectful at its core and you truly don’t know the damage that can happen if you do. For Reese, and other people with disabilities, it could be a huge factor in hindering their ability to one day live independently. When Reese is ready, I want her to be able to feel the joy of having a loving and loyal pet. That day will only come if her fears and feelings are respected now. Thanks for reading.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you see the bigger picture!!!

Someone to walk through life with …

Happy Siblings Day everyone! I am an only child who loved it, but only until I got older. I would have loved to have had a sibling or two to help me through some tough times and to share in all the good. Heck, I still want that! You can’t help but see that there is something special about that bond. I’ll never personally experience it but I can tell you how beautiful it is from a mother’s perspective. I am so thankful that my kids have each other! I love how they experience the world independently yet together. They will ALWAYS have someone on their side, a cheerleader, a defender and a best friend. It gives me so much peace of mind!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you have someone to walk through life with!!!

Far away …

Today my son George officially found out that he will be studying abroad his next school year. He will be heading to Germany, and he will be leaving sometime this summer and he will be returning in late Spring 2020. When he sent me a copy of his acceptance letter I literally stopped and wept. My son’s dream came true. And it’s absolutely beautiful. As much as I struggle with the changes that have come with having adult children and the directions we have all been pulled, I can’t help but feel overjoyed. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunities that have come George’s way. He has worked hard and he has persevered and God has blessed him abundantly. I know that at some point the distance and the time apart will hit me like a ton of bricks. But for now, I’m just going to be happy for my son and grateful that he is living the life that he’s dreamed of.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get to go FAR AWAY!!!

Happily interrupted by the Sunday snuggle factor …

I forgot to factor something into my Sunday morning. It wasn’t a guarantee being so early so I proceeded with my plan. I wanted to wake up before everyone else, do some yoga and some serious stretching and then go for a short run. I don’t normally run on Sunday but I felt I needed it. I thought it was all A GO, but then my favorite 9 year old, who went to sleep really early last night, woke up. I know that Reese is mine, but there is absolutely nothing sweeter than seeing this messy-haired, tired-eyed peanut drag all of her favorite blankets (there are three of them now) and her heavy rice-stuffed lamb, Kellie, into my room to cuddle. My world stops for her. I don’t even know how to not stop it. It just happens naturally and all of my heart and intentions turn to her. Nothing else seems more important. Nothing.

Well, I hope you all have a day where your plans get happily interrupted!!!

Celebrate EXTRA …

Happy World Down Syndrome Day everyone!

March 21 was designated as a global day of awareness that has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. This date was chosen to represent the triplication of the 21st chromosome (3/21) found in individuals with Down Syndrome. As you all know, my daughter Reese has Down Syndrome and she is the most amazing human being that I know. She is strong, smart and beautiful. Anyone who knows Reese will say that she makes the world a lighter and brighter place. Seriously you guys, she is THE BEST. I am truly blessed that God chose me to be her mom!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate EXTRA!!!