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Showing posts from 2017

Its the Little Things

This week has been exhausting. Outside of the normal end of the year stuff; teacher gifts, parties, graduation prep, recycling, organizing, cleaning and prepping for the summer I had tried to reach out and help someone in need. I am the first to admit I LIKE to help others. I live to help others and I feel good helping others but what happens when your can't help anymore and you feel like a failure? You feel guilt. That guilt paired with the fact that our third born was struggling to find her place in the family and causing a disruption at every curve, I was exhausted. When you add in the prep for the upcoming ESY, summer programs, therapies, summer camps, VBS, Swim Lessons and the fact that you wonder how you will maintain the house, maintain a marriage and focus a little on keeping yourself sane, I was overwhelmed.

Lucky for me, I had planned a massage the Friday before school ended. I made the appointment weeks ago and literally was counting down. Monday I was exhausted but kne…

Rocking 4th Quarter Parenting

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This year has brought all kinds of change for the Nutty North's. There was that pesky diagnosis last year of autism and a host of other co-diagnosis'. We spent the summer last year preparing our then 2 year old to attend school and tried to manage the other four and keep them on track beginning school at the school they finished last summer.


It worked. Until it didn't and it seemed we had to change our plan. 

While the oldest began school where they left off, our tiny tot shuttled off to her first day of her school career. She was not yet 3. I bawled my eyes out and realized life as we knew it had changed. I had no idea how much it would change in the coming months. 
While I tried to keep up the 30 minute drive, sometimes 4 times a day, I grew weary. With therapies in and out of school as well as the kids extracurricular sports, I couldn't do it and we made a switch cautiously to public school. I was anxious and afraid. I wondered how it would go? I knew we had already…

Envelopes Do Not Make a Christian

Today I got a letter in the mail. It was from church.

Church since moving here has been ANYTHING but natural.

You see, in Michigan we attended mass. Weekly, sometimes more than that but always weekly. I started a mother's group which was kind of funny at a "Student Parish" in college as only two moms showed. Both of them wanted to raise their children. We were all young but the three of us made it work and though there were no bible studies or faith formation among us, we were together, a small community. I lived for those hours locked in the little playroom nursing my babies and talking mom.  I taught CCD, we chased our little ones around the Narthex and I watched as my husband chose to become Catholic being baptized with our second born child.I also knew I could count on them in a pinch, and one showed up the day we lost our third with a rose scented candle. These were the people Jesus sent to walk along side us as faith filled Catholics.

When we moved here, we visited…

Disgrace?

Months ago, I wrote of my husbands company and its lack of understanding in regards to children with disabilities. You see, my daughter has autism. She is not alone. A number of parents have collaborated to try and get better benefits for their children but it hasn't been done.

Securing therapies for a child with a special need as well as beginning to process a diagnosis is difficult. Emotionally. Spiritually. Financially. When a parent is met with this reality, the least they could experience is ability to have their child succeed with the greatest opportunity.

The community of parents in the organization have gone to Human Resources but have been once again turned away. Tonight I asked for names and numbers and my husband, being a man of honor refused to share as they have a company policy of not sharing information about their employees. If I can find the information on the internet its mine, however here I sit wanting to provide the best for my child but unable to do so withou…

Happy Heavenly Birthday Zoey Grace

It happened in an instant.


I see two lines. I feel it. I know it. You are present. Your presence is real.


You are the third. Always.


You Graced us with your presence for only a few short weeks but you were here. You were someone who changed my life. Completely. Fully. You were a gift.

I remember.

I remember the smell of the house, the fresh air wafting through and I remember the excitement and anxiety that surrounded your coming.

I remember telling him.

Telling them.

Telling everyone.

I remember it and I close my eyes and can see it. I can see my dreams holding you inside. I see you joining us, tiny black ringlets, blue eyes and a smile that light up the room.

I remember my dreams and then.......

I remember your presence leaving as well.

I remember walking, smelling cigar smoke and that nausea I once felt was gone. Was that okay?

What was going on?

Why did I hurt?

Was it physical pain?

Should we go?

Should we stay?

If I didn't move, could I save you?

No.

You were not strong enough…

It Is Finished...but for me it was just beginning....

I felt in giving this talk, I knew my purpose. In reality, God was just beginning to give me direction in life.

"It is finished!" (NLT) Faith in His Sacrifice for Us “It is finished” our Savior, Jesus Christ proclaimed after hanging for hours on the cross. We know it took much effort for any words to leave his lips, however he spoke those words and shortly after, he bowed his head, took his last breath and gave up his spirit here on earth. Each year on Good Friday we have the ability to remind ourselves that although he gave up his earthly spirit, his spirit would forever be carried on in our lives.  He proclaimed these words as a victory over sin and human death and made true the promise of the gift of Salvation.  After his brief life, here on earth, he ascended into Heaven as was planned by God.  His life was lived out in complete accordance with His Father’s plan.  Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew, “If you want to save your own life you will lose it; but if you lose your…

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, God blessed me. I didn't see or feel the blessing at the time and he began wrapping the package while I carried His daughter in my womb. Her presence in our life was not planned. It was not expected and to be truthful when we found out she was on her way it challenged me and my husband in our individual selves as well as in our marriage. This gift, this tiny little package that is still slowly being opened continues to grace us and bless us and draw us closer in a relationship to Him as well as each other for without our marriage, we couldn't do this alone. As I carefully open each corner, I realize that God isn't simply pouring out his blessings upon me but challenging me to grow as a wife, mother, woman and friend. As I continue to open the package slowly I see things through different eyes. I see my once cold heart is becoming warm. It is understanding others in ways I never dreamed possible. I see that I was judgmental and now the judgment I make is b…

I'm Happy For You, Really, I Am

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To my mom friend who shared a pregnancy. I am happy for you. I love looking at your photos and seeing your children. Our children, the ones we shared a pregnancy for are nearly 4 now. They are little people learning so much and growing so quickly. I watch as you share your videos and photos and I remember back to my own typical kiddos. I think about how they learned and how the rush of joy washed over me.

I am still happy. Happy for you. Happy for what I had and happy for what I have now but I am sorry.

I am sorry if I am quiet.

I am sorry if I don't comment as much as you would like or as much as you expect. You see, that joy I have for you, its there. It truly is but the pain I feel is too.

We are getting into Daddy Daughter Dances and dance recitals. As I dressed my own typical kiddos for a special night with dad, I wondered if my own sweet girl would ever attend? Would the noise be too much? Would the smells be overpowering? Would the foods be too tempting and placing her in …

If You Don't Understand

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If you see my child there and she's acting in a way you have never seen, you may not understand. Its okay. I don't fault you. I don't fault you for not understanding when she screams if someone comes to close to her. I don't fault you for not "getting it" when I share how my whirlwind went through the house destroying every room to look for one specific baby she couldn't find. I don't expect you to understand why my child may have bitten me, kicked me or pulled my hair and how I can be calm and at ease about it. I didn't understand either.

Just a few short years ago, I was in your shoes. I watched as I saw a child spinning like a top outside the playground and shook my head. I didn't understand. Even having a mother who taught special needs children, I didn't get it. I feared the unknown. Even working with disabled children at camps, I didn't really get it. They went home at the end of the day. I was certain I could do it better. I wa…

Worst Daughter In Law Ever...

Survey says?

Ellie.

No joke.

Tonight we spent nearly an hour on Facetime with my mother in law. My mother in law is probably one of the most giving, loving women you will ever meet. She's quirky and eclectic and everything I am not. She raised my husband and to her, I am grateful.

Tonight she asked a number of times to visit. Could she be my "uber" for my kids? Could she sell her house and move to New Jersey to antagonize me? In reality she was kidding but as I sat listening I heard what she needed. She needed to be included and in the last year, I haven't. I have not invited her out. I have not had her at our home...and why? Because Autism.

You see, my Mother In Law, this loving, give you the shirt off her back type of woman is a retired severely mentally and physically impaired teacher and when I told her about Seraphina and her diagnosis, her response was...."I thought so". She said she felt she had trouble connecting with Serrie and thought something wa…

The Feared Word: Regression

Tonight I was out laughing the evening away with some neighbors while my husband was home with four of our kids. It has not been the easiest day.

There were vet visits and therapy moments and trying to understand what our sweet Serrie wanted but the wave came to a crest when my second born was put on the #2 team for travel basketball. This girl who faces so much with strength and stamina sat in my car knowing she was placed correctly but wishing she was placed differently had tears streaming down her. I think the night wouldn't have been so very bad had the mean girl incident in gym never happened. I was ready to go home, settle her into bed after a pep talk about choosing to let losing defeat us or make us stronger but then I wondered could I really be done?

A glass of wine seemed to be the perfect way to end the evening after having just finished comforting said 10 year old I asked my husband, "how was Serrie tonight?" He sighed. I hate when he sighs. He sighs when he …

Its That Time

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When people don blue for all trying to live daily life with autism and though I participated in autism awareness events, I never understood. Honestly? You can't, unless you are wearing those shoes.

In the last year I have laced up, grabbed my best leggings and started trudging up the path that is now my life. A year ago, I was working to prepare a talk for a Mother's Retreat that I helped to organize through our then Church Parish. As I sat, my goal was to focus on clarity in the clutter. In the clutter I knew there was a nagging that something was not right. I knew there was a presence of a dark and dismal path that I needed to follow to find His path for me. What came about that weekend is nothing short of a miracle. I heard Him. For the first time in my life. I knew he had my path planned and a direction for me to follow. As I sat sobbing in a heap in adoration, my friend Gabby sang and played guitar beautifully and I had my answer, when I paused and pushed away the clutter…

Its Almost April

Its almost April, and for all its "Autism Awareness Month" but honestly in the last year every day is autism awareness in this house and how blessed I am to walk beside my daughter on her journey. Today my mentor, Jess posted an article that perfectly fit how I was feeling. As I read it and realized some people "celebrate" Autism Awareness Day, I don't celebrate. As I sit her I try to smile through the tears this year has put another perspective on autism that I never imagined would walk into my life.

We are about a year into her diagnosis and my friend Jess always reminds me the first year has the craziest ups and downs. Everything and anything you ever thought you knew about parenting, marriage, relationships and friendships is thrown out the window and you must wipe away and rebuild. You say hello to therapies, diagnosis' and hopefully new friends. You mourn, you laugh, you cry--the ugly cry. You research, you dig into as much as you can to best support …

The Fork in the Road

They say there are forks in the road and while I have an insane memory and ability to recall just about everything that happens in my life. I guess that is a warning...kidding.

In any case this week I came upon yet another fork.

Last year at this time I was asking anyone and everyone if Seraphina had autism and no matter who I asked, the answer was the same, or generally the same, don't worry about it. She will catch up. There was still this nagging feeling that resided within me and something seemed not right. I tried to pull all the memories I had of Seraphina in the months leading up to last spring and she seemed different.

We all know the story plays out with her diagnosis after a number of doctors, evaluations by early intervention and of course that Mother's Retreat where I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to keep pushing that my intuition was right. How I sobbed as my friend strummed her guitar in adoration and how I buckled under the immense weight knowing that that diagn…

Dear Teachers

I am that mom. I am the mom who calls and emails questioning everything that happens in your classroom. I want a birds eye view of what my little one does each day. I want to understand. I want to know. I wish I still had my little one home with me as I did with my older children, playing, working with them, living life as a toddler should. Instead, I shipped her off. I watched her step on a bus as I walked up to my house, tears streaming down my face. I couldn't look back as the bus honked because as it drove away, so did my dreams of having a typical child, a typical family.

I am the mom who is up at night. I wonder what my little one does at school. Is she scared? She can't tell you if she is. Is she hungry? She's just learning to say "I want a snack". I packed up my little love and trust that you will love her as only a mother could until she is safe in my arms.

Dear Teacher, I never meant to be this mom. I never chose to have a child with special needs that …

They Are Happy. Am I?

Last night I attended another SEPAC Meeting. What is SEPAC? Its the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. They meet in the school a couple times a year and yesterday we listened as Seraphina's in home therapist spoke. She talked about autism. She talked about ABA (my favorite therapy) and she talked about children.

Autism has changed my life in ways I never expected. As I sat with my kiddos today I reminded them how this year has changed us all. Its asked a lot from us. Changes that we never anticipated and yet those changes have been put in place seamlessly and I believe that it was a greater plan than we can begin to understand.

Daily I comb Seraphina's communication "log". Its a PEC chart that has circles and as of our last IEP includes two daily notes about what our Serrie does each day so I can begin working on recall with her. Since her diagnosis, I have focused on her. I focused with intensity. I focused with drive. I focused with the desire of success …

You Are Enough

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Recently there have been a number of viral posts for mothers. They begin something like...."you are enough". I have read them. All of them because quite frankly, being a mom today leads us to believe no matter what we do, we are NOT good enough. 
It is apparent to me with the number of posts circulating this must be a growing trend of mothers questioning themselves, questioning who they are for their kids and questioning other mothers as well.
Today, unlike in days past mothers are balancing so much. In the quiet moments of the night many sit awake wondering if they are making the best decision for their children. Many work. Many stay home. Both have their challenges. Do you find yourself a better mother working? Can you make it on one income? Are you willing to give your entire self to being home? There is so much in that one single decision that I believe we all second guess ourselves. For me, its often seasonally if not monthly, weekly or even daily. Some question more t…

Autism Solidified Our Team

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I have always been steadfast in my belief that God gives us challenges not just to make us understand ourselves but to grow ourselves in life. Prior to Simone's birth, exceptionally pregnant, God placed a cross in our path that almost broke us. Through prayer and faith we grew. Our marriage strengthened and we became renewed. There was no magic, there was no trick, it was hard work, evident on both our parts.

Fast forward there was the loss of Zoe. Again, as I wept in bed my husband labored caring for our kids just long enough for me to emotionally return and then when a few days had passed he reminded me I had to get up, I had to move forward and I had to find the good in each day.

Colin and I met when we were young. He was a carefree frat boy who loved partying and I was an emotional sorority girl. We have changed a lot but not more than we have in the last year. There have been nights we have gone to bed and my emotion consumed me as I wondered why he didn't feel the pain a…

There's Something About Felicity

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I have always said, there is something about Felicity. Not sure what it is. Perhaps she's an old soul who when arriving on this planet fussed to no end because she wasn't content in just being a baby. Perhaps she is pure. Simple and unaware. Felicity always surprises me...sometimes in ways that try my patience.

Last week Felicity turned 8 and without the loss of her sister, she wouldn't be here. My life as I know it would be different and I know I wouldn't be as lucky as I am for having her and raising her. I have shared how Felicity started out struggling. I shared how neighbors would check to see if I was okay because her colic had her crying from dawn til dusk and I shared how she's truly the meaning of her name, happiness.

Today, as I rushed around trying to get dinner cooked, homework complete and make sure that we had all we needed for the next day she appeared. She stood before me and asked to create. You see, Felicity also creates...a lot...and often leaves…