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Showing posts from 2017

Take it In

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Kids are running from ride to ride with sticky fingers anxiously handing the Gillian's  employee their tickets as they jump into seats with sun kissed cheeks and bright smiles. I sit watching, taking it all in, breathing in the joy they feel as their sun screened bodies glisten in the sun. I listen to the laughter, the horns sounding, the bells ringing and try to take it all in.



I am taking it all in for you moms. I see you, tired, lugging bags, counting your change and dolling out tickets to open hands. I see you trying to smile as you add up the cost in your head looking for the nearest ATM. I hear you saying "just one more ride" as your little one prances about begging for more rides on the Frogs or perhaps another spin on the Carousel. You say "yes". I hear an emphatic "yay"  little hands clasped with excitement against your sweet little ones chest.

While I take it all in, I think back to what I didn't notice with my own kids. I realize I didn…

Given Permission to be Ordinary

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I just got my oldest child's login for middle school. I won't lie, I am at a loss as to how we got to middle school so quickly. I still remember carrying her home on the frigid January day in 2005. I remember the first few weeks of raising that colicky baby and the many firsts my firstborn had. I had visions. I had dreams. I had expectations.

Expectations are something that fail me time and time again, yet as a human I fall into the trap of expecting things to happen. In my life, in my husbands life and my children's lives.

When Simone was 6 months old, I eagerly enrolled her in swim lessons. She had long arms and legs and her feet rivaled Michael Phelps. I was certain by kindergarten we would be clocking her times in the pool at swim meets but after the second lesson where my baby squealed and screamed as if she was in pain I was offered my money back--not to come. This could have been foreshadowing of what was to come but instead of being swayed, I continued to have exp…

I Wish I Hadn't Judged, Now I Understand

I wish before my youngest child was born that I knew what parents of children with disabilites were going through, not because I could take away your pain, frustration or sadness but because I could be there like my own village was today.

You see, years ago, I thought I got parenting. I had a child with sensory issues. I thought I knew it all. In reality, I knew nothing. In reality, I still don't. I know the reality of my daughters disabilities and her struggles. I can tell you when she is going to melt down and why. Sometimes I can even prevent her meltdowns or struggles in life. I don't pretend to know the struggle it is to walk in your shoes, because I put on a different pair. We all do as parents. We all have shoes that are filled with struggles. Is it our child's physical, mental, spiritual growth? Does our child not fit in? Is our child the child the school bully? We all wear shoes that have the opportunity to allow us to be more understanding, more open, more lovin…

Bio Medi What?????

This past year has been a whirlwind of emotions that have gotten me to new highs and lows I never dreamed of and in doing so its allowed me to be more understanding, more aware and more open. We all know I am pretty transparent but when I say "open" I mean it in terms of making choices to learn more about alternatives in parenting and medicine.

For years I have been a borderline crunchy mama. I call it crispy or toasty. We use a lot of natural products including essential oils and natural cleaning supplies, but having a husband who is a toxicologist, I am also very aware of the necessary medicines and chemicals that all begin as natural products from our environment that can be detrimental or beneficial depending on how they are used.

As the school year came to a close I was wiped out and exhausted. I felt like our sweet Serrie was at a plateau and though she was moving forward academically, behaviorally I was at a loss. I was at such a loss that I had even told one of her i…

Learning to Let Go

I am a Type A person.

I like control.

I like to be in control. Its one reason I don't fly. I am obviously better equipped (and safer) to fly a plane than a highly trained pilot. Right?

Wrong.

I also don't really want to let others "do my job".

I chose to have all these kids. I dreamed of being a parent but that dream never had clips of a child with a disability. It also never had clips of 5 kids. Sure, growing up I had diaries with baby names. They all began with the letter "K" and I knew I would marry and stay in quaint Ridgefield. None of that came true...except the dream of being a parent sans the disability.

I don't have any "K" names and I don't live in quaint Ridgefield married to my best friend whom I had a pact with if we both didn't find another soul mate (he found a great girl, I found an amazing man).

When we came to New Jersey, that Type A Chick checked in and turned away so many. I was good enough at setting up some crazy …

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 …