Happy Father’s Day …

Whether they are near or far. Even if they are in Heaven. Enjoy your time together. Cherish the memories. Feel the love.

Well, I hope you all have a day where find a special way to celebrate your dad!!!

A glimmer of hope and a Joe’s O …

I’ve mentioned before that Reese’s biggest delay is in her oral motor development. One significant issue we have is that she doesn’t chew. Despite years of therapy and trying to teach her how nothing has “turned-on” that ability for her. Nothing. And no amounting of testing, evaluations and specialists can tell us why. So I purée, mash and grind all her food. She’s a great eater but she is choking hazard. And that’s just scary. Really, really scary.

As a parent, you do what you have to do. Therapy, puréeing, whatever. If your child has a special need, you just meet it. You change and do what you have to do to help your child thrive. The changes soon become part of your daily activities and a part of your normal routine. But in addition to these adaptions a slow disappearance of hope occurs too. You start to forget what you had originally wanted for your child. You mourn and move on.

Until this morning I wasn’t even aware of the amount of hope I had lost in this area of Reese’s development. We have adapted well to her limits and her nutritional needs are met quiet well if I do say so myself. Let’s be honest, it was no coincidence that I chose to become a certified nutrition and wellness consultant. I’ve always loved nutrition but my Reese was a huge motivator for me to get my certification.

Anyway, I say that I “realized” all this this morning because twice today Reese picked up 1/4 size pieces of Trader Joe’s Os and put them in her mouth. She needed help getting them to her molars to “chew” them but she totally got the concept. WHOA. This is HUGE.

And IT all came flooding back to me. The hope and dreams I have for my little girl.

Perhaps I’m being selfish but I also want those things for me too. Simple things that parents don’t think twice about are things that Reese and I have never experienced together. I have never seen my daughter delight in eating her birthday cake. I have never seen a smile come across her face when she was given her favorite cookie. And I’ve never not worried that she would choke if I wasn’t there to meticulously monitor her food intake. Yes, I selfishly want all that … for her.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are given a glimmer of hope!!!

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!!!

Alike …

This morning as I walked Reese into school she was hopping over all the painted lines on the ground. She was carefully timing her steps and was jumping and having a great time. Boy oh boy, that took me back! I did the same thing when I was a kid. Reese also loves to twirl around. I could do that for hours! She and I are so similar when it comes to childlike play. I didn’t notice this as much with my older kids. They played differently. But Reese and my 7-year old self are like reflections in a mirror. This totally warms my heart. She had me smiling ear-to-ear watching her this morning and I said to her cheerfully, “You’re just like mommy!”

And then it happened.

She said … NO. With the expression of a HECK NO. 

Oh goodness. This child just tells you how she sees it. She’s very matter-of-fact in her delivery and expresses exactly how she feels. I hate to tell her … but that is also just like her mommy. HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are ALIKE!!!

A wonderful Mother’s Day …

Having lost my mom over 23 years ago Mother’s Day has always been a bit of a struggle for me. Some years are worse than others. This year I seem to be doing pretty good with all of it. I’ve had a lot to overcome these past 7 months and I guess it just has me feeling straight up appreciative. Although her time here was cut far too short, I am blessed to have had such a wonderful mother. A relationship that has blessed me far beyond our physical time together. I also have beautiful healthy children whom I love immeasurably. I am here. I am healthy and I am able to enjoy this day with them. It is a gift. I feel this in my soul. And I simply couldn’t be more thankful.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day!!!

Living lovingly in denial …

I absolutely love having all of my kids at home. The laughter and conversations. The loudness and busyness. Listening to them “catch up” with each other. I love it ALL! Being a parent who was only child I wanted so much so to have a home filled with lots of children. I have been blessed to live that dream.

This may sound silly, but as my kids where growing up it never occurred to me how much it would affect me when they left home to go to college. At minimum, I WAY underestimated those feelings. It has been terribly hard to be so far away from Sidney. I miss her very much when she is gone. And the worry! Let’s not even discuss THAT one! YIKES!

Anyway, I remember when Sid’s second semester of her senior year rolled around, my emotions where similar to that of a roller coaster on steroids. I was utterly shocked at myself. Even I didn’t know it could be THAT emotional, HA! And now, with G3 just a few weeks shy of graduating, I have been overwhelmed with all the same emotions. The same feelings of loss and elation all over again. I’m tearful one minute and excited the next. How is this possible?!?! Isn’t this process supposed to get easier?!?! Because it’s not, at least not for me. And that’s OK. These feelings remind me of just how blessed I am to love so deeply these wonderful beings I get to call my children. I am thankful that our close bonds have made these milestones emotionally charged. Love really does crazy things with your heart. I have written before, that as painful as this growing-up process is, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I have found no greater joy than loving my children and watching them plan to leave home to chase their dreams. It truly is beautiful.

I am so thankful that we are all together again. I know it’s not going to last very long. But for now, for the next few months while they are all home, I’m going to pretend that I don’t know that times like these will become fewer and farther between. I’m going to love them like always and relish in the joy I feel just being their mom … appreciating every precious second.

Well, I hope you all have day where you live lovingly in denial!!!

Tucked in …

There is something about making my children’s beds (no matter what age they may be) that never gets old for me. Don’t get me wrong, I DO NOT make all of their beds for them every day! NO WAY, NO HOW. But there are moments in life, especially when we are in a period of transition, when making a bed just pulls at my heart strings.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get tucked in!!!