A BIG SIGH of relief …

I woke up this morning feeling something I hadn’t in a very long time. RELAXED. Sidney has been home from college for about a month now. George graduated from high school last night. Libs and Reese have their last day of school today. Our absolutely exhausting, unpredictable, and stressful school year is OVER. There were many times when I wondered if we were going to make it out of this one unscathed by our circumstances. It was a tough one. This past week one particularly memory has come to mind time and time again.

I was just recently out of the hospital. On top of everything else my vision was terrible even with my glasses on. Between the medications and being so sick everything was just a blur. But there George and I were, sitting in front of his computer finishing up his college applications. I remember thinking HOW? How exactly are we going to get from HERE to THERE? And what if we didn’t? The worry was incredible. So much “hinged on” those applications. Too much to even imagine the loss. He needed my guidance. He needed my help. No excuse was good enough. It all had to get done and it had to get done then. His future wasn’t going to wait for me to feel better and for me to see clearly again. So we did what we had to do and got them done despite our obstacles.

And here we are. Many months later. Sid home for summer and soon to be entering her Junior year in college. Libs with a Distinguished Scholar Award for keeping a 4.0 her Freshman year. My Reese thriving and ready to take on 2nd Grade. And George, a high school graduate leaving for college in just two short months. I can’t believe we got from THERE to HERE. Their resilience amazes me. They persisted and it all paid off. We made it. THEY made it.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you breathe a BIG SIGH of relief!!!

It’s surreal … 

Today is George’s last day of high school classes. Forever. He graduates next Wednesday. Watching him leave the house this morning filled my heart with all sorts of emotions and flooded my mind with memories. How is this possible? Where did my baby boy go? It seems like just yesterday that I found out I was pregnant with him. That moment, still so vivid. And here we are … I can’t believe it.

Well, I hope you all have a day that seems surreal!!!

An early start (and LOOK, I’m not crying) …

I am so excited that my son George is graduating from high school! This is a nice reprieve from my cry-fest. It’s an emotional roller coaster having your child graduate. At least it is for me. I reacted the same way when Sid graduated two years ago. Ecstatic one minute and crying the next. I was NUTS! And I am NO better this time around. With excitement driving my mental status today I decided that it was a great day to decorate for George’ special day. Graduation isn’t for over a week but I just had to get this celebration started … ya know, until the hysterically sobbing starts again when I think about how my baby boy is all grown up.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get an early start on it!!!

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!!!

I cried my eyes out …

I booked the restaurant for George’s graduation party.

I bought decorations for George’s graduation party.

I bought a dress for George’s graduation ceremony and party.

I looked through dorm room supply catalogs.

BIG SIGH.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t cry your eyes out!!!

Parent-ly surprised and The Lip Balm Saga of 2017 …

Reese gets terrible chapped lips. Sadly, I know that she gets this tendency from me. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life avoiding chapped lips. So much so that my kids think it’s funny to hide my Burts Bees lip balm (my favorite). For the record, it’s NOT. And I stash them EVERYWHERE. It’s a little obsessive but if you battled chapped lips like I have you would completely understand. 

Anyway, it was pretty windy at the Lemon Festival yesterday and despite putting on lip balm Reese’s lips still got chapped. In an effort to prevent them from getting worse I wanted to send her to school this morning with lip balm. To my dismay, I couldn’t without a doctors note. WHO KNEW?!?!

This is where the LIP BALM SAGA of 2017 began. First I waited patiently for the school to print out the form that I needed to have filled out by Reese’s doctor. I then left school and emailed her teacher. I told her that if her lips appeared to be getting worse that I would come down and I would put lip balm on her myself. Reese’s teacher was equally as concerned as I was that her lips could get worse so she invited me down at recess and lunch time to reapply the lip balm. I thought this was a great idea! However, about halfway through my day of dealing with lip balm applications I became wildly aware of how crazy the whole thing seemed. I wrote several emails, went to school a total of four times today, filled out a form and made a trip to Reese’s doctor’s office. Now don’t get me wrong, I would run barefoot on a treadmill that had Lego pieces glued to it for this child of mine. But as I started to calculate the hours I spent on just this one task I realized something. Never, in my wildest parenting dreams, did I expect that one day I would spend so much time just trying to apply lip balm to my child’s lips!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you parent-ly surprised!!!