Exactly what we’ve needed …

Three days into our Spring Break and I can say that it’s already been a ton of fun. It’s been wonderful hanging out with my sweet girls and spending time with our family … with NO time constraints. We have spent our days doing everything and nothing, HA! Normal bedtimes are out the window. Routines, ditched. Sleeping in, a must. Laughter and laziness, a given. I absolutely LOVE IT!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get exactly what you needed!!!

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Run down …

At the end of another busy day we found ourselves out to dinner AGAIN last night. UGH. To put it into perspective, Libs didn’t finish up at school until 7 pm and she probably could have stayed longer if I had let her. Again, UGH.

Sitting at dinner last night I was abundantly thankful that I didn’t have to cook. I really don’t like eating out during the weekdays, but I was so tired and hungry that I didn’t care. I’d even been feeling a bit sketchy earlier in the day too. Almost like I was about to come down with something. I dismissed it because I’ve been so busy and stressed these past few weeks. Add in the poor night’s sleep that I had the other day when Reese had her growing pains and it wasn’t a good equation. I, however, chose to remain in complete denial. Bad idea. Again, again, UGH.

As we were enjoying our not-homemade blessing of a dinner last night, I caught a glimpse of something on Reese’s face. SNOT. Her nose was dripping ever so slightly. I instantly began claiming that the chill in the air both inside and outside the restaurant must be causing it. As she began to drip more I moved into accusing allergens as the culprit. This was clearly a desperate stretch since the child doesn’t even have allergies! By the time we got home Reese was in full drip mode. Somehow I still managed to give her a bath, dry her hair and get her into bed a few minutes before her bed time. Moments like that, I feel like I have magical powers.

Unfortunately the magic wore off pretty quickly. My poor baby girl was not having a good nights sleep. I rubbed her back, repositioned her and cuddled her all night long. At around 4 am she seemed to be more comfortable than she had been all night and was sound asleep. I was SO THANKFUL!

So what did I do? Sleep, right?!?! NOPE. I got up and rummaged through paperwork. Really Jennifer, REALLY?!?! Oh and I forgot to mention that at some point in the darkness of night, my denial officially wore off. I began to feeling sniffly too.

1000 times, UGH.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t feel run down!!!

Tennis (LOVE) …

Tennis has been a part of my world for a very long time. But I almost NEVER play. My best friend in elementary school and her family played. My boyfriend in high school played. And just before Sidney turned 7 years old she asked if she could learn to play. She loved it so much that she played from age 7 all the way through high school. Libs played when she was really little at about age 4 or 5. Then she returned to it about a year and half ago and is now on her high school team. I’ve literally been around tennis my whole life and I have completely enjoyed my view from the sidelines.

Tonight will be my sixth attendance at a high school tennis banquet. These banquets are always so special. I realized, as the years have passed, that these banquets are not just a time to reflect on the commitment and hard work of the athletes and coaches, but also of a surrogate family who has blessed my daughters beyond measure. I have watched, year after year, as their coaches influenced their lives (and futures) in beautiful and profound ways. They have taught them so much. Lessons that taught them patience, perseverance and humility. They taught them how to win gracefully and how lose even more gracefully. They have celebrated with them and protected them. They have helped them grow into the strong young women they are today. And as a mom, I couldn’t be more grateful for their commitment to them!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you have some big LOVE for some very special people!!!

A chocolate chip …

I have mentioned before these Reese’s biggest delays are in her oral motor development. It’s common among people with Down Syndrome and speech therapy works wonders for them. Reese still only speaks minimally and when she does speak she is often hard to understand. Her family, teachers and caregivers understand her but most everyone else would have a difficult time. This means I have to trust that the people I leave her with will take the time and make the effort to figure out what she needs when she is distressed. Reese also does not chew. She is a choking hazard. All day, every day. Awake or asleep. If this isn’t enough to keep a mother from ever sleeping soundly at night, I don’t know what is. Again. I must trust the people I leave her with to make sure she is safe. That she is watched around food at all times. And that she isn’t forced to eat something that she can’t. It’s terrifying to think of the consequences. Terrifying. Especially on days when I go to clean out her lunchbox and find a chocolate chip.

A chocolate chip.

To most of us when we see a chocolate chip we think YUM. Or SWEET. Or COOKIE. And I admit, I am one of those people.

But Reese, is not.

To her, an innocent chocolate chip is something that could potentially harm her. It is anxiety provoking. It is not a treat. It is a threat to her well-being.

I don’t normally focus on Reese’s delays. To me she is developing just the way God intended. She is capable. She is smart. She is loving. And so so silly. I think she teaches me more than I teach her. She reminds me to slow down. To stay in the moment. That life is precious. Every. Moment. She is a gift. She is a joy. MY JOY. And I love her fiercely. 

Whether you have a typical child or a child with special needs, parenting is not for the faint of heart. There are days when I feel like a warrior for my children. I would walk through fire for them. Literally. Loving them has given me a strength I never knew I had. An invincibility and fearlessness allowing me to protect them against any concern that comes their way. And yet, there are those days when I find myself reduced to tears by a single chocolate chip.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t worry!!!

Where has time gone … 

Reese had her 1st Grade pictures taken today. She simply amazes me. She is so confident in her own skin. Her beauty is unique and angelic. She truly melts my heart. I love that she feels pretty. Every precious little girl should feel this way. Reese also is becoming more and more independent every day. And I’m not sure how, but a whole lot of sass is contained in that tiny body of hers. Her personality is simply loveable. It struck me today that it feels that recently she has grown by leaps and bounds. Much faster than I remember life passing us by. And it all leaves me asking one thing.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you wonder where time has gone!!!

  

Out of order …

Today was ROUGH. This whole surgery thing finally hit Reese like a ton of bricks. She was tired and grumpy. She laid on the couch with her iPad and napped in the same spot all day. She reached for one her Barbies. Once. I have to admit that her behavior has freaked me out.

OK, fine.

I was also freaked out the day of the surgery when she didn’t want to nap and wanted to go outside to play. Yesterday she freaked me out too. Again, she refused to nap. She was playful all day and at one point climbed up the back of the couch and was laughing hysterically as she flipped over to the front. Me? I thought I was having a heart attack!

Her behavior today would have freaked me out less if it had happened the previous two days. And her playful daredevil self would have made WAY more sense had she showed up today. OY.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you aren’t out of order!!!

Complete …

Sid came home from college today. I can’t believe how good it feels to have her back. My heart and soul are at peace. This is how my life feels most right. We are all together again and I feel a sense of relief.

THEY say that when you have children they become a physical extension of you. That your heart is literally walking around outside of your body. I agree, that this is spot on. I have not felt right since the day we left Sidney at school in August. I have missed her. I have felt “off” and like things are not the way they should be. It’s like a piece of me went missing.

I’ve been told that over time, these feelings get better. That their absence gets more tolerable. That life between their visits becomes more normal as the years pass. And although I see glimpses of this now, I am in no way near living in that state full time. I miss my daughter horribly. Every. Single. Day.

Trust be told, I’m OK never accepting that life as we knew it is no longer. Why? Because relationships this powerful deserve the respect of our true feelings. Loving so genuinely comes with a process, and on some levels that means feeling grief. Grief is something I learned to make peace with long ago. And in this particular situation, I find comfort in knowing that my grief stems from something wonderful. My baby girl, out there, chasing her dreams and becoming the woman she wants to be. There is a beauty in that. It makes her absence acceptable. Understandable. And as a mother, it is everything I could ever want for her.

That being said, today, with her here, all is right in my world. Balance has been restored. That part of me that was missing has been found. I feel whole again. And I simply couldn’t be happier.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel complete!!!