Snow

Snow

I have two children who ride buses. I am the first one on my street to start shoveling snow. I must otherwise I cannot get my son on the bus. By the time the second bus arrived I had shoveled a second time. Two shoveling trips before noon meant we got plenty of snow for fun.

Snow also means towels all over my floor to soak up all the melted snow  that gets tracked in on boots and the wheelchair. Not to mention whatever comes in on the winter clothes which pile up at the doorway.

After helping three of my children into all their snow gear and then back out again after they came back inside I contemplated on my mother. How in the world she did this with so many children I do not know. I respect her efforts.  I am sure it was probably very tiring to go through this process many times a day with her children during the winter months.

This is what makes memories though. Playing in the snow, eating it too, hot chocolate, snow angels, shoveling and all thing associated with fun in the snow.

Sweet Support

I recently had some dental work done. In order to accomplish the task I had to take one of my children with me. My sweet three year old. She came willingly. She even brought along her small backpack filled with toys that she felt were special.

When we were led to the room where my teeth would be worked on she promptly took a seat in nearby. She grabbed a magazine and handed it to me. At that moment I was seated and the work began there was no reading that magazine. From where I lay in the dentist chair I could not see her, but I could hear her.

She was quiet most of the time but every once in awhile she spoke up. She made sure the dentist knew her name. She joked with him and filled him in on her happenings. At one point I heard her talking about reading the magazine. At another point she did get her toys out even though she did not really play with them. However it was the other stuff she did that brought out her cuteness and sweetness.

About half-way through the work I heard my daughter tell me, “you are doing good Mom. I love you.” Although I couldn’t smile my heart was warned. Everyone else in the room gushed at the adorableness that just came out from that little girl. Before long she was standing by my side trying get a glimpse at what was going on. She didn’t say anything except one, “I love you.”  When I put my arm to help prevent her from getting to close to the dentist she put her hand out and began rubbing my arm to reassure me that all was well.

I couldn’t ask for a better experience that day. I couldn’t ask for a better daughter. Her actions made me contemplate my parenting and reassured me that I was not doing a bad job. I knew that she was learning such kindness and compassion because it is taught in our home and what we do as a family. She was learning and she reminded me just how beautiful a sweet child can be. Proud mommy moment? Sure. Why not? She did good and she showed love.

Car rides

I have joked for years that I am cursed. Without fail it seems as though the night before I need to travel I struggle to go to sleep. Some may think I am anxious or nervous, but I am not. Sometimes I get to sleep but my children keep waking me up and other times sleep just doesn’t want to come. This happened recently. I really wanted to sleep, but it just was not happening.

Since I lacked sleep I went back to bed after putting my son on the bus the next morning. Yes that did mean that I put on a television show to (gasp) babysit my children. Actually, it turned out nicely that they slept for most of that as well. Yay.

Several hours later, after errands and searching for everything (not finding it all) to tracked with we were finally on the road. We made all out usual stops. Bathroom break one, two, and three. All our usual stops. The only new stop was to get some beef jerky to keep me awake. Yup, chewy beef jerky that costs a bundle.

I don’t know why I even bothered buying the jerky though. It was about that time that I regretted moving the children from the far back to the middle of the van. What was I thinking? Screaming, yelling, and more screaming–directly behind me. I wondered if my children even knew how to do anything but scream or fight. I even began to plan out how to put a partition in between the two youngest girls. They wouldn’t be able to get to each other that way.

One of the hardest things about long drives with children is the high pitched screaming of little kids-or any kid. Eventually, without realizing it, your foot begins to push down on the gas pedal a little harder.  Eventually you start going faster. I noticed this of myself and wondered what a police officer would think if I got pulled over. Would he have pity on me and send me on my way (happened to my mom once)? Or…would my children be perfect angels and I would look like a crazed woman about to explode? My guess is it would be the latter. I am sure I would even have tears of frustration, or from the pain in my ears, and the officer would likely think I was crying because he pulled me over. Serves me right for traveling with children.

This trip I really did not end up going too fast too often because of the screaming. I wished I could have. Instead I quietly cursed every vehicle in front of me that decided going ten to twenty miles under the speed limit was fun. Didn’t they know I had screaming children in the car and there was a tired mom behind the wheel doing everything to keep sane?

On another note: I did understand how someone could go off the road when a spider scares them while driving (recent news story). I had a large bug startle me and it took every ounce of me to keep from freaking out as I could not tell what it was. I pulled over and let the sucker out. My oldest was about to join it. She was so creeped out that she was literally half way out the car already. Good thing I pulled over.

regular life

regular life

We invited a few people over to our home to eat cake and ice cream in celebration of my oldest daughter’s birthday. Prior to their arrival I thought to myself that I needed to invite people over more often as it would definitely inspire me to get the house clean.

This morning I cleaned the living room and moved onto the kitchen. My goal was to clean myself up after these two rooms were clean. Before long my daughter was telling me that someone was here for a visit. What?! Already! I forgot they had planned to visit earlier in the day. I was grateful that our friendship was not based on looks as I was still in my pajamas and sans bra. That’s attractive.  Not only that but when I walked into the living room it was back to its prior messy state. Great.

My friend offered to help clean and I let her know I was almost done. I really was as on a tiny home a small mess looks terrifyingly large.

After our guests left I was pretty much done. I didn’t want to clean again (I did just finish dishes), so I tried to procrastinate. While doing that-right before dish starting-I had a kid take applesauce to the table. Really?! Really?! Why dump the applesauce? To play in, of course. It was an “oh well” moment.

Before the “oh well” moment, my son shed his diaper and stripped the bed. Into the tub he went and I did attempt to clean the mattress. I am sure it will smell for days. It could have been worse. My daughter suggested using duct tape to keep his diaper on. I told her I had tried that once before. He outsmarted the duct tape and still managed to free himself from all that was on him. It may not have been close to bedtime but be earned himself the right to wear his footy pajamas-his favorite. That keeps the diaper on.

The day was good. I got on here because I had something to say, but as I started typing I forgot the main purpose of my post. Go figure. That’s my life. I share most of my aha moments with my sister over the phone. Sometimes I remember. Maybe it is it good I forget so that I can continually be inspired everyday-even if it is the same thing.

This is life. Take it or leave it. My life consists of the many messes that I clean up but most of all it is full of love. Now that is something I cannot argue.

this is the life

this is the life

Life as a parent is not always easy. It gets frustrating and repetitive. There are, however, many unexpected beautiful moments. Tonight was filled with those unexpected special moments that meant giving in to joy.

One of those joys came during a rain storm. We do not get much rain and a storm has been pretty rare lately. It was a good enough storm that I opened the doors and we sat on the threshold and just watched the rain come down. Before long the youngest was outside, under the carport, playing in a puddle.

I had a choice. I could freak out and pull her back in or I could embrace the moment and watch how happy she was. For quite some time she stomped and played around in the rain. She was as pleased as could be. She was happy and safe. It was worth it.

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After the storm the girls wanted to go on a walk. I got everyone ready to go-we used the wagon-and we went on our walk. They were disappointed we did not go to the park but eventually they gave up on the walk and began to play in a parking lot full of puddles.

For a moment I tried to hold them off, but before long I was enjoying watching them. I was even laughing and having fun with them. It was worth it. Sure, I could have stopped them. I could have taken them straight home, but I didn’t. Creating good memories was far better than not.

Following our outdoor, and very wet, adventure it was time for bed. Once I had the youngest in bed I walked out to my three year old telling me to close my eyes. She verbally guided me, while I peaked, to walk forward. When I opened my eyes she had two bowls of strawberries. One for me and one for her. She even suggested watching Star Trek.

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I let her choose which Star Trek series to watch, and we ate and talked. She expressed her enjoyment of the activity. She mentioned how we were spending our alone time together. She talked about us. It was a good surprise, even if well passed bedtime.

There are enough things in this life to keep us on schedule and in line with our perception of what has to or cannot be done. However, periodically we need to break away and live. We need to experience life and unscripted beauty. We need to be willing to give in to the unexpected things that happens.

 

the unexpected child

When my oldest child was two her younger brother was born. Complications began minutes before he was born when his heart rate began to drop. He was born a week late. My doctor told me he was grateful he induced labor.

At that moment, during labor, I was not so pleased that I was induced. I was begging for the pain to stop. I was lucky I had a good doctor.

I do not believe I will ever forget the first moments of my son’s life. It was very very quiet. I waited for them to hand me my son. It took a few minutes, nurses checked him over, but they let me hold him long enough to say “hello” and get a few pictures. After that they took him away. I did not worry though, or maybe I did but I do not remember. Things seemed calm and I had hope.

We spent four days in the hospital and I was so very happy to bring him home. He struggled to eat, but that was expected. That first night we kept him in our room because we were terrified something might happen. We wanted to be there for him. Even though I do not remember his breathing before that night I do recall that his breathing was so loud we had to take him into another room so we could go to sleep.

We were not surprised by what was happening. The pediatrician had explained what he thought our son had so we were prepared enough to know he was breathing okay.

It would be a few months later before the pediatrician said he did not think his diagnosis was correct and that he wanted to call some specialists. It seemed he was always calling a new specialist every time we went in. He was an old man, he was experienced and he had no problem asking for help.  That first year there was an appointment at least every week, usually more than that.

Every time I took my son to a doctor appointment I would reassure my husband that everything would be okay, but it did seem that every time I came back to report on the appointment it was always one more thing wrong. Eventually there was a long list of symptoms and no answers.

It has been several years since that first year. There are still no answers, and there is still a long list of symptoms. Some things he has overcome but there is always another thing to be added. There has been so much that I often find myself forgetting what is wrong. I sum it all up now the best I can for those that ask.

During the first year my husband told me something to the effect of, “I never wanted a disabled child.” Not too many years later he asked me if I wished my son were normal. That was a tricky question. Wishing for a more normal child felt like I would I would not be appreciating who he was and wishing away the son I had grown to love. I could never wish that away and I fully accepted what and who he was, despite the difficulties.

I have had many opportunities to ponder and think about those two things my son’s father brought up to me. One thing that really struck me was the “never” comment.

Never is something I hear quite often. Many people have said to me, “How do you do it? I could never do that.” I know they are trying to be nice and compliment me, but I remind them that they could if they had to. I tell them I have no choice. Okay, so I do have a choice, but I made my choice and that was to eliminate the other choice. I either do or I don’t. There are many times I feel inadequate and not capable, but I am doing it the best I can.

It is that never thing that really hits me though. It is a mindset.  It is quite a bit more difficult to believe you can do something that is unexpected if you have already made up your mind before hand that you could not do it. There is a big difference between “I could never” and “I don’t think I could.” One shuts down the whole possibility of success before you even try.

I also find that, for me, it is also easier because of my religious faith. My faith keeps me going and helps me to see the miracles. It takes away the despair that could easily overwhelm me.

So, I tell people that they can, and they will. My son’s disabilities and needs were completely unexpected but I would not change a thing.

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Why was I so calm when he was born? When I was pregnant I had many friends who were also expecting that same year. My son would be one of the last in that group. A few months before he was born I was thinking about how all of the babies born so far were very healthy and there were no complications. I thought, for some odd reason, with that many babies being born one would be bound to have something wrong. A morbid thought, I know. However, that was followed with a clear thought of, “if anything is wrong with any of those babies it will be mine.” It was a rather odd thought. I did not pay too much attention to it, but it prepared me for what was to come. Maybe he was not so unexpected after all.

fair time

fair time

The fair is in town this week. I decided that since we did not live far from the grounds we could take a simple adventure. Right after I got done explaining that there would be no rides, due to lack of funds, my daughter’s friend called.

How in the world she knew we were going to the fair I will never know. My daughter had not talked to her all summer. Her mom said that if I took her then she, the mom, would pay for both girls to ride. I figured it would be okay. It meant my oldest could have more fun.

Once the friend arrived, it took me plenty of time to get everything arranged in the stroller and wheelchair–including children. Then we were off. On the way we stopped to pick up a hot dog lunch at a sidewalk sale. Before long we were at the fair.

I shooed the older girls off to have fun and get all the use out of their wristbands as possible. For thirty bucks and only four hours I wanted them to be worn out having been on every ride possible. The last thing I wanted was for them to ride a few and then complain afterward that they didn’t get to do all the rides.

With only me left to push a double stroller and a wheelchair I went on my way. First stop: the horse race. My first horse race, free for all fair goers.  I manage to find the wheelchair ramp leading to a platform. Of course, someone was sitting directly at the top of the ramp. He was kind enough to move, but I did wonder why he sat there. Each time anyone would get on or off he was going to have to move.

By the time the race began I had one kid screaming and another wanting to use the bathroom. I figured they would have enjoyed watching horses, but we packed up and left just a few minutes after arriving. The poor guy sitting by the ramp had to move again.

The rest of the day was spent walking around, going through buildings and turning salesmen down. I did enjoy the offer one made that was “only” for those who said they needed to think about it. I was told I couldn’t find them online, then that they were more expensive online and that I should act now. Sorry, but not sorry. No.

Throughout the day people must have felt pity for me. I received many offers of help. Near the end a man asked if he could help me. I declined because I didn’t understand if he intended to help me for the duration or just for in that building. I then felt bad for declining because I think he may have followed me for awhile to work up the guts to ask. I didn’t see him again.

After several hours I was done and my children were exhausted. The only problem with walking somewhere is that you have to walk back. So much for trying to be smart about things.