My happy heart …

I took a few days off from writing to focus on the rest of our Spring Break. I got to see ALL FOUR of my kiddos AT THE SAME TIME! It was WONDERFUL! There is truly no other place in the world I’d rather be than with them. And although we all parted ways again yesterday afternoon, I’m still feeling the joy that came from being together.

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

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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!!!

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!!!

Stay humble, work hard and relax harder …

Yesterday was my son’s first full day at home in 2 months. I am so HAPPY he is back! He has been very busy at school, so keeping in touch this semester has seemed different. Not difficult and not distant, just different. George has created a nice life for himself at school with friends, clubs, sports and church. And he’s a good student. It’s really all a mom could ever ask for. I honestly couldn’t be happy for him. The thing that blows my mind though, is that he handles almost everything on his own now. Shopping, scheduling, meetings, appointments, etc. It has been such relief to see him take these responsibilities over easily and master being an adult. We have always had a great relationship so thankfully he balances all of that out, still asking for advice and assistance when he really feels he needs it. As a mom, I needed him to get to THIS place in his life NOW. Why? WeIl, if it all works out George will be studying abroad the entire next school year. This is also something he’s handled all on his own. Which has shown me so much about my son. He is driven. He is responsible. He knows what he wants and he is capable of making it all happen. And somehow he maintains an air of humility that is rare to see these days.

Yesterday, we had fun. George loves to cook so we shopped at his favorite butcher’s market to get food for his week home. We planned out our week ahead. And we also started researching and shopping for some of the bigger items he may need for his year abroad. It’s all very exciting! I am so thankful that he includes me in all of that when he can and I am grateful that there are pieces of it that I can still help him with. And it really helps me have a better understanding of what his year away will be like. A familiarity of sorts. I think he knows that including me in what he can somehow makes it all a little easier for me knowing he will be so far away for so long.

If I had to describe my son in one word (it’s really impossible to do that) I would choose KIND. He knows that I will never let my fears hold any of my children back from chasing their dreams. So he does his best to ease my nerves when he can. Even if he has no time in his day, he will find the time to reach out to me if he thinks I’m worried. I appreciate his compassion. And I appreciate him so much.

Yesterday I surprised George by sending him off for his first day spa visit. This was DEFINITELY not something he would have ever planned for himself. Not. At. All. But I sure think he deserved it.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you stay humble, work hard and relax harder!!!

Peace of mind (ain’t happening around here today) …

As a parent, you worry. I am pretty sure that my kids think that I worry more than the average mom. I tell them, JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE CHILDREN! Anyway, early this morning Sidney headed back to college … in her new car. Although I’m extremely thankful that she has a new and reliable car, that drive back to school still gets me. She’s got over 6 hours of driving ahead of her. Not including breaks. And that just makes me nervous. I am not sure if I’ll ever get UN-nervous about things like this. Again, I worry. A LOT. And I LOVE my kids A TON. So today I’m just going to try to keep myself busy and not check her location 473 times. I’ll try to keep that to about 307. HA and UGH.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you find some peace of mind!!!

Time changed much but not us …

I work up early this morning, despite being up way too late. The house was quiet and I began feeling a bit nostalgic. I always do this time of year. With summer break ending and the new school year starting in a few weeks I tend to feel similar to how I do on New Years Eve. It’s my time to reflect and I look back on summers past. With two adult children off to college I feel even more emotional than I normally do. And it all came out this morning! I spent much of my early morning looking through old pictures of my kids. I laughed, I cried and I soaked in every wonderful memory. It is like time stood still for a moment, but also flashed by in an instant. It’s all a blur but I remember almost every second of it. It sort of makes me sad yet I also delight in knowing that so much has changed but not the love we share and the memories we keep. They are our constant and they are our story. And they are what makes us … US. I am comforted in knowing that no amount of time or distance can ever change that.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you can say that time changed much but not us!!!

Special …

Last night Sid, George and Libs (my three oldest children) took me to see Imagine Dragons at The Forum. It was incredible! I LOVE Imagine Dragons but it didn’t occur to me until last night how many songs of theirs I actually run to. HA! I guess their songs really speak to me. And they certainly got me up and dancing last night. The performance itself was absolutely phenomenal. The band really puts on quite a show visually and sends some beautiful and authentic messages throughout about acceptance, suicide, depression and mental health just to name a few. And if you thought Dan Reynolds’ voice is powerful when you hear it on your earbuds, JUST WAIT, until you hear it live. WHOA! I am no expert but I will tell you that this man can sing!

But what I loved most about last night, is who I got to share it with. My kids. They started planning this 50th birthday celebration for me a long time ago. The effort it took to pull it all off and to keep it a secret from me until my actual birthday took a village. They certainly surprised the heck out of me and made me feel loved. I know I say this a lot but I really do have the greatest kids in the world.

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