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Guest Post #2 – Shannon of Mommy Has Issues

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Guest post by Shannon of Mommy Has Issues
 
 
I slip quietly into my 6 year old daughter’s room and avoid turning on the light. Before I wake her up for school, I peer through the darkness to stare at her peaceful sleeping form. Her eyes are closed and she has one hand resting gently on the side of her face. She’s kicked off all of the covers and is lying on her stomach with her knees tucked up underneath her body. She’s so still, so quiet, so lovely.

I bend down and place my hand on her back, whispering close to her ear “Oli. Oli. It’s time to wake up now.”

Slowly her eyes begin to flutter open. She puts her hand over her face and moans softly.

“I know honey. It’s time to get up.”

I sit her up in bed and lift her up and over the baby gate that keeps her from falling off the bed at night. She rests her head on my shoulder as I carry her down the stairs. Her body relaxes against mine as I talk quietly into her ear and ask her about her dreams.

“Did you sleep well baby girl? Did you have nice, happy dreams? You did, didn’t you?! You had nice, happy dreams and you woke up with smiles and are going to have a great day today. Today is going to be a fantastic day. Aren’t you excited?!”

I set her down at the bottom of the stairs and hold her hand as she walks into the living room. I guide her around the furniture and push random toys, which are lying in her path, away. When we reach her favorite maroon colored chair in the living room, I ask her to reach out her other hand.

“Here’s your chair Oli. Here it is. Now turn around and sit down while I go make your breakfast.”

She turns around slowly, scoots back, and curls up in the chair. I continue talking to her, telling her about the day, and asking her questions.

But Oli doesn’t talk back to me.


She doesn’t answer my questions or tell me about her dreams. She doesn’t complain about being tired or say that she doesn’t want to go to school. She never says that she doesn’t like her outfit or the way I’ve done her hair. She doesn’t wake up in the morning and run down the stairs, demanding breakfast or fighting with her siblings. She never wanders into my room to wake me up first, even though she’s six.

Oli doesn’t say anything. Oli doesn’t walk or run around on her own.

Because she’s nonverbal.

Because she’s autistic.

Because she’s globally developmentally delayed and has seizures.

Because she is also totally blind.

Oli was born without eyes.

Severe bilateral microphthalmia. That’s what her eye condition is called.

Blind. No eyes. Severe bilateral microphthalmia. Those words ran through my head a million times in the first few months…no that’s a lie, the first few YEARS after she was born. My baby girl was blind.

I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea anything was wrong with her before she was born. I had no idea until an emotionless doctor walked into my hospital room on her second day of life, while I was sitting on a bed with crisp white sheets, all alone, and announced that he didn’t think she had eyes and was going to be blind for the rest of her life.  

What? What did he just say? Blind. No. No! That couldn’t be right! I didn’t sign up for this! No one told me that this was a possibility when I decided to have children. I was supposed to have healthy children! My life was supposed to be filled with roses and rainbows and beautiful sunsets. Blind? How could she be blind? I had never even met a blind person! What the hell was I supposed to do now?

No one could tell me. No one really knew. We went to LOTS of doctors and specialists and sat through TONS of evaluations and examinations. We were told that she would NEVER do this and that she MIGHT do that. I cried, I pleaded, I screamed at God. I prayed that things were different. I wished that it had been me that had been born blind and not her. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t understand why. Why did this happen? I dreamed in fantasy lands where my life made sense and I recognized myself in the mirror again. I pressured myself into exhaustion worrying about what she would be able to do. I lied to my friends at work and bragged about things that she wasn’t even doing yet.

“How’s Oli? Oh she’s great! She’s 18 months and learning to walk. That’s exceptional for a blind child! She’s doing so well! She’s right on track!” This is what I told everyone. This is what I WANTED for her. The truth? She wasn’t walking at all. Not even close. Unless you count me carrying her around with her feet brushing the floor and me moving her legs back and forth. Is that walking? No? I don’t think so either.

I used to think that her slower progress was somehow a reflection on me as a mother. I thought that if she didn’t do all of the “normal” childhood things and hit those milestones in a timely fashion that I had somehow failed her.

Turns out? I was wrong. What she is able or not able to do has nothing to do with my abilities as her mother. She will do what she will do regardless of how much time I spend worrying about it. Regardless of how much time I spend crying over it. Regardless of how much time I waste wishing it was different.

I also never told anyone how broken my heart was. I never said that once the sun went down and my family went to sleep, I sat out in my living room for hours crying and sobbing until I had no more tears. I never told anyone how much I hated it. I thought that if I said “This is really hard” you would hear “I don’t love my daughter.” You never heard that at all. You heard “This is really hard”. It was all in my head. I was wrong about that too.

Eventually, ahem…5 years later…I learned that I had to accept her for who she is. I had to come to terms with the fact that this was HER life, HER struggle. It was who she was. No matter how much it felt like this had happened to ME in the beginning, it hadn’t. It had happened to Oli. My only job was to love her and support her in any way that I could.

I stopped listening to doctors and therapists who told me that she would NEVER do ______.  They don’t really know. How could they know for sure? Oli is the only one who gets to decide what she will or won’t do. Only her. No one else. The absolute best doctor we ever went to was an oculoplastic surgeon at UCLA that when we asked him if she would ever have light perception said this, “Based on the MRI evidence that she is missing her optic chiasm, the possibility is unlikely. If it truly is missing, she will not see anything at all. However, I am only a doctor and the MRI is only a machine. We get it wrong sometimes. Oli will have to be the one to answer that question with any absolute positivity.”

I know right?! The BEST answer. And you know what? He was right. He was right in regards to all aspects of her life. You never know what a child will or won’t do until they show you what they are capable of.
 As parents…all we have to do is keep believing in them.

Summer Guest Post #1 Beth Navarro of Mother-naked

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Guest post by Beth Navarro of Mother-naked. She is a mom, an author and a hula-hoop champion! Check out all of her awesome sites all linked at the bottom of the post. 
 
 
 
 
I don’t know what I thought parenting would be like. I don’t remember that pre-baby brain of mine. I do know I could not have  possibly imagined all that has happened these last six years since becoming a mom. No amount of parenting books will prepare you. Not really.  And every parent you know will tell you some version of: “It’s hard. It’s amazing. There is no love like it.” Which is true, but until you experience it, they are just words. So I had no idea what to expect, but I did find a life preserver, writing about it.
A big reason why I write my raw and sometimes silly blog, Mother-naked, is because sometimes I have to see it in writing to believe that the shit that happened, happened. Yes, Beth, you really did worry for a good week that your six-year-old, Love Monster, would become a stripper because she dug poles so much and loved to be naked. And I made peace with it dammit. If I had to pay twenty bucks for a lap dance to spend quality time with my girl, I’d do it.
You have to laugh at your worries. And being a parent is naturally ridiculous. The shit you have to do. The shit you say. You can’t make it up. Running out of material is impossible. It’s REDICULOUS. Here you are barely hanging on to what you’ve figured out life is to be so far and you’re expected to raise this new human who looks up to you like you know everything. It’s a crazy situation. You go from rule enforcer to chef to butt wiper to their pet pony in a matter of minutes. You better know how to roll with that.
I stuck with writing  the more comedic side for a while until last year. I decided to follow my gut and write whatever felt true. If it came out serious, well damn, my readers would deal. I wrote about going through a silent internal war thinking I’m a bad mom and found I was not the only one. Though my next blogs on the docket are about how Love Monster huffs her teddy bear so hard it rivals an addict and their Scotch Guard static cling spray and how I’ve realized I’m  letting myself get bullied by my three-year-old, Smirker, for candy. Anything goes on my blog.
My other life preserver is all the amazing mom and dad bloggers out there. Being a parent really is like being in a club. The common ground is comforting. “Holy shit, your kid got kicked out of preschool once??? Mine too!” That rush of maybe-I’m-not-totally-fucking-this-up is addictive.
One of the first times I purused The Crumb Diaries on facebook, I was looking at a picture of Logan. I wish I could remember which one, not that it would matter, because all have the quality Love Monster noticed.
 “I love his smile,” Love Monster said looking over my shoulder.
That is what she saw. No differences. Just love and happiness.
Well that just made my sarcastic, sometimes-cynical self all warm and fuzzy. Though this didn’t surprise me concerning her. She’s always been so open. She herself is in a special ed class. She has ADHD and some sensory issues, but she is doing well. She just finished her first year of Kindergarten after a very rough start. I’ll never forget looking at her one day with worry in my eyes: Is she going to be okay? Will she catch up? Will she make friends? The look she gave me was startling. It said volumes, “Mama, It’s all good. I’m going to do it all. At my own pace. I’m doing just fine. You’re doing just fine.” I learn a lot from my girls. That is what parenting is. Learning. All of us. Learning.
What have I learned from Logan? To not judge. I thought I did this already, but I don’t think I really did. I look for his smile in everyone now.
What have I learned from Ally? To write and share with complete honesty. She feels like a soul sister. Thanks for the inspiration, Honeynugget. You are the real deal.
I must also add my girls and Logan would have a seriously good time playing ponies. The girl’s collection is getting out of control. And I’ve seen all 60 episodes of My Little Pony. More then once. Oy.
I will press on trying to figure out this Rubik’s cube parenting puzzle I’ve been given. Maybe one day all the colors will align. Or maybe I’ll realize that the mixed-up colors are just as beautiful.
 
Beth Navarro writes a blog, Mother-naked and is a children’s book author. Check out her facebook page and website!

Our date night

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We went and saw Straight No Chaser last night (most fun I’ve had watching a show in a while). Logan is as big a music fan as he is a pony fan, but he can be particular. He prefers Ozzy or Metallica, and I wasn’t really sure how he’d like this group.

We got to the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, parked and walked up toward the venue. The beach strip was rockin’, wall to wall people, live music, lights flashing, video games blaring, alarms from winning pinball, men shouting about testing your pitching speed. Cotton candy here, corndogs there, the sights and smells overwhelming.

I look over at Logan and he’s just taking it all in, grinning away.

We enter the Ballroom and I get carded, which he finds hysterical. I’m always catching myself wanting to jump in and answer questions for him, but when the lady asked him for his hands to X and directs him to the stairs, he doesn’t need me. We get up to the box seats. He is overlooking the sea of people, still not sure what we are were there for. The last time we were there we saw Hollywood Undead, and this would be very, very different.

We sit for about 15 minutes before the lights dim. Spot lights come on, the 10 member group appears on stage. They start to sing. I look at Logan and he is expressionless, just watching. There are no instruments, and he seems perplexed. He glances at me like “this is it?” He goes back to watching.

Around song 3 I notice a tapping foot. Song 4 a broad smile. The group is FUNNY, which I didn’t expect. I had really only heard a few of their songs, mostly Christmas stuff. I didn’t expect them to be so engaging and entertaining- which really won Logan over. He was on the edge of his seat, anticipating what might happen next. It was really late for him, he’d been up since 5 am, so he was starting to fade during intermission- but as soon as those lights dimmed again he was totally wrapped up in the show. He kept whacking me on the knee saying something I couldn’t hear over the music and crowd. I think he wanted me to pay attention- I was!!

They announced their last song, performed, then left the stage. Logan starts to push his chair back to stand up. I knew they would probably do one encore, but he didn’t. When they walked back out, his face stretched into the widest smile I’ve seen in a while. After they were finally really finished, he turned to me and said “Bogan sing it dose duys”. He wanted to get on stage and sing with them!

He was still thrilled the whole ride home and mentioned more than once that it was “fun Al!” He didn’t go to bed until after midnight.

I had no reason to worry about him liking the show, I don’t know why it even crossed my mind. Logan is just happy to be. Happy to be out and about and doing typical stuff. He was happy to be in the midst of that crazy summer crush at the beach. He was happy to be munching on appetizers, sipping a non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri. He was happy to be out at midnight.

So simple, but so important to him.

Paper Clouds Apparel for Windrush Farm

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One of the first pages I recall reading and loving on Facebook is Paper Clouds Apparel. I checked out their website and thought ‘wow…I would love my kid to be part of something like that’. Since that time, Logan has been asked to be part of their fundraising efforts by being invited to be a guest artist for June.  I will come back to them after I explain the drawings and the charity we are working so hard for.

Some of you may know the story of his horse drawing. Logan, having developmental delays, was never comfortable or confident in his drawing or writing abilities. He refused for years. One day while cleaning his room a few years ago, I found a drawing of a horse under his pillow and my heart soared. I fell deeply in love with this picture. So in love, in fact, I had it tattooed onto my arm, then added more of his artwork.

Paper Clouds chose the horse, and the skull & crossbones to put onto shirts they create, and they give 50% of proceeds to our choice of charity- which is Windrush Farm. Windrush is an incredible therapeutic riding center that expands and enriches the personal, emotional and physical abilities of all those they serve by partnering with their horses and the environment. Logan has been riding at Windrush for many, many years and it has helped develop his love for horses, as well as confidence, balance, language and responsibility. If you have never heard of therapy horseback riding, you need to check out their site.
We were also asked if we would like a co-artist to join us for this campaign- and that awesome artist is Connor aka “Bug” at Rockin Autism Mom. He submitted some art too and you can see his on his mom’s blog. ( I love the owl and I am soooo glad we are teamed up with them!) 
Okay- back to Paper Clouds. This company works with a different special needs school or organization every 2 weeks. ALL artwork used by Paper Clouds Apparel is created by individuals with special needs, like Logan and Connor. Paper Clouds takes that art and transfers it onto Earth friendly, super soft, bamboo shirts. (I have one, they are suuuuuuper soft). Paper Clouds Apparel hires individuals with special needs to package up all of their goods. 50% of the profits of these sales goes to the organization that created the art, or the artists choice of approved charity/organization. 
When you purchase a shirt from Paper Clouds Apparel on June 10th, you will: 1) Help raise funds that will help students with special needs continue to enjoy horseback riding. 2) Make jobs for individuals with special needs at the Paper Clouds Apparel facility 3) have a kickass super soft shirt that you will love- with Logan or Connor’s artwork on it! This is a win/win!! 
**Bonus info**
2 more things! The first, when you get your shirt, send us a picture of you or your kids wearing it! The photos will go into a “Paper Clouds Apparel” folder on the crumb diaries page and the photo with the most “likes” will receive a gift from Logan and I. 
Second, every purchase will get you an entry into a raffle. If you buy one shirt, you are entered once. If you buy two shirts, your name goes in twice, and so on. We will select a winner in a random drawing and send them a special gift. Maybe a Slombie!

Don’t worry- I will be sharing the heck out of this campaign once they go on sale. You will have all of the info you need, I will make sure! Thank you guys!! Love, Ally

It’s here

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I don’t know that I was what you would consider a ‘girly-girl’, but I definitely looked forward to attending my junior prom. I wanted to get dressed up, and to see my friends dressed up. I was eager to see who might win Prom King and Queen, and who was going where afterwards. I was the oldest grandchild and my grandfather started his tradition of buying the granddaughters their prom gowns the year I attended my prom.

I remember buying that red dress, borrowing the shoes, and doing my own hair. I think my dress cost $99 and that was the only expense I had. I don’t really recall much else about the whole thing. I don’t know what I ate, I don’t know who danced with whom, I don’t know who sat at my table. But I remember the spark in the air of the whole night. It was glittery, sparkly, magical and everything I’d hoped it would be.

When I had a daughter, the prom eventually crossed my mind. I had as much fun watching Abby attend prom as I had at my own. Dresses were more expensive and girls no longer did their own hair, but the feel was the same. In our town all of the kids meet at our library, slip in the back door and the crowd gathers in front at the bottom of the staircase. Couple by couple they are announced and come down those stairs for everyone to oooh and aaaaah at the gorgeous girls in their dresses and the handsome guys in their tuxes.

Abby attended again the following year and it was just as much fun for me. I love the whole idea of it, seeing these kids who are typically in jeans and ponytails all glamorous for the night. I can see the magic in their eyes and the excitement in their smiles.

When Logan became a freshman it dawned on me..he is in highschool..there will be a prom. At that time I pushed it out of my head. Why worry, its so far away. Sophomore year I realized we’d become a year closer to this and I started to wonder about it. Would he go? Who would he go with? Why worry..its a year away.

This year, his junior year. Prom year. Here we go. No more pushing it out of my mind, time to figure stuff out. Okay, I will….I promised myself. But I didn’t. I procrastinated, and went back and forth with the idea. We made a couple of tentative plans and they fell through. I stressed over it, I beat myself up over it. He couldn’t miss this night, this milestone, this tradition. I was asking him if he wanted to go, and he would just shrug. He could go with buddies, but part of the fun is having the girl in the pretty dress by your side, and I wanted the whole shebang for him. I wanted him to have the full experience, considering this might be the only prom he attends.

After multiple conversations with Abby about what to do, she called me and simply said “Kevin bought me a flight home. Pick out a dress that Logan likes, I am taking him to prom.” A weight lifted off of my shoulders as I said that out loud.

Logan. Is. Going. To. Prom.

I know it seems like a small, insignificant thing to some people. Some people don’t care about the prom either way. But for me, it means everything. It symbolizes so much. It was the first time I looked at my date, who would later be my husband and the father to my children, and felt love for him. It was the first time I got to feel like a princess, and the first time I got to help my daughter to feel like a princess. It is a rite of passage, a small town tradition, a coming of age type of thing that is special to us.

I don’t care if he owns the dance floor. I don’t care if he doesn’t understand what a Prom King is. I don’t care if he spills his drink down the front of his rented tux. My kid. Is going to PROM.

The mother I’ve become

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I’ve been a mom for lots of years. Almost 21 now. I’ve been a “special needs mom” for over 17. These are different kinds of moms, but the same in lots of ways.

I never in a million years thought I would be a mom of a kid who needed extra help. You don’t plan for that in your head. You don’t look at your toddler, who is doing everything right on target and perfect in your eyes, then rub your pregnant belly and think “yea, this next one will be completely different and need extra help for the rest of his life”. You think things will go just like they did the first time. You will have a nice easy birth, go home and start writing milestones in the baby book. You will have play dates and dress the kid up cute and take it to the park and have coffee with moms while you all smile dreamily at your perfect little rugrats, while sharing the cute things they say and how high they can count.

Sesame Street will help you out, teaching your kid to count to 10 in Spanish, and Barney will teach it how to share. You think of all the stuff your kid is going to do, and wonder if he’d like baseball or soccer or maybe a skateboard. You look at the kids his age and wonder which ones his friends might be, or which girl may eventually be his first crush. Who will he sit with on the bus or at lunch? Will he be a good student? Or will he be a rebel? Maybe class president giving a speech in front of his class in the auditorium while you beam with pride in the front row.

You think of all the things that will happen…and then they don’t. The milestones don’t come, the playdates become less, the moms don’t understand. You are a different kind of mother, thrust into a parallel universe and instead of football practice you are at physical therapy. Instead of speeches, you attend speech therapy..but you still beam proudly.

As a mother, I have goals for my children. The first time around Abby was hitting milestones left and right, mastering every goal set in front of her. She learned quickly, spoke early and well. She was a sweetheart, always chattering away happily, carefree and loving.

Logan was not. He was missing milestones left and right, struggling to master the basics. He didn’t speak. At all. He became frustrated and hard to handle. He would scratch or bite or flail when angry, and you would never know what would set him off, because he couldn’t communicate what he needed or what he was feeling.

I didn’t know how to be this kind of mother. My kids were going to be right on target. They were going to be sweet, smart, well behaved and I would show how good I was at this mothering gig. I couldn’t understand what went wrong, or how to fix it. I was no longer anchored, I was floating out into space with nothing to hold onto, and unable to catch my breath.

This was an odd time for me in my life, having one child who was so close to perfect and another who was struggling and so hard to help. I was very young, and had no idea what I was in for. I had no way of knowing how long of a journey I had just started, or how difficult it would be. I had no clue I would spend days on end at doctors appointments and my child would endure endless tests, pokes and prods.

I also had no idea how hard I would fall for this kid. My hard to handle, impossible to tame, difficult to help son. My wordless, biting, scratching, flailing kid, who I couldn’t get to know because I couldn’t communicate with him.

I am a different mother than I would have been, but as hard as its been, I love the mother that I am and the child that I have helped Logan become. It was worth every single frigging second. Every sleepless night, every long afternoon in therapy, every mile traveled to specialists office. Even though my child was not anything that I expected him to be, the day he was born I gave my life over to him and buckled down for the long haul. He owns my heart, and I would do anything I can to help him. He has become an amazing, inspiring young man and although he may not be the class president or football captain- I could not possibly be any more proud of him than I am.

I am so lucky to be his mom. I reflect each Mother’s Day and look back on how far we’ve come. We’re a damn good team.

Happy Mother’s Day no matter what kind of mother you are. It’s not always easy, we’re not always perfect, but every day is a new day, a chance to try again. You can’t predict or control the path you will travel with your child, but you can hold his hand while he jumps the hurdles, and cheer for him every time, no matter how small.

Mom-spirational Guest Post

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Earlier today I had a discussion with Mom-spirational. I read her most recent blog and asked her if it would be okay that I post on my blog as a guest post. I was moved by her honesty and her insight into herself to admit her faults, and her decision to make them right.

 I think we have all judged someone without all of the facts at least once in our lives.  

 Guest Post- Mom-spirational

                      Her Blog 

 

Please go check out her blog and get to know her better.

 

Special Needs Child Meets “Me” The Asshole

I hope that most of you will read beyond the title, before berating me for what I realize now was discrimination against a special needs child. 
This is a story about awakening, about being re-acquainted with my value for each and every human – regardless (and sometimes despite) their behavior.  But mostly, this is a tale of understanding.  About never forgetting.

As humans – we tend to find fault or anger or make false judgment against things we don’t understand. That doesn’t make it right, or valuable.  We cannot just go around saying, “Well, I didn’t know all that,” and then find comfort in our belief systems that anyone who is different is not ‘right.’  And we certainly cannot expect to know each and every childs (persons) story – or think we have a right to knowing their story, before we can excuse or accept them for who they are.
I make no excuses for myself, except for sheer ignorance.  I tend to believe that I am an extremely understanding individual, and have tried to teach my kids that there are all sorts of people in this world and that we have to try to accept them all.

When it comes to the human beings that land on this planet, I do not believe there are any mistakes.  They are ALL here, WE are all HERE for a reason.  There is not ONE singular exception to this rule…. 

I am bit embarrassed to admit however, that I too – have unknowingly discriminated against a special needs child.  Not outwardly of course, but inwardly – within the confines of my mind and in conversations with my young daughter.

There is a particular child in my daughters kindergarten class who seems to be constantly out of sync.  On the multiple times that I have visited the classroom, all I notice is his bizarre and impulsive behavior and his lack of self-control.  My daughter comes home every day and tells me yet another story about this ‘little boy in her class’ who has once again, done ‘such and such.’
I always tell her shaking my head with disgust, “Well just stay away from him,” or “Maybe there is something wrong with him.”

I have told her that there are just some kids in this world that aren’t disciplined, and that have problems and that some kids just act badly at school.  Bad.  Badly.  (Words that I am ashamed to admit I used about a 6-year-old boy).  Rotten bananas are bad, not kids.
And yes, I will shamefully admit that I have felt sorry for his parents, have wondered what was wrong with his mother and father – and been curious about what atrocious things must be going in his home for him to act so strangely at school.  And, YES, I will further admit that I have felt resentment that this one child has taken up so much time in the conventional classroom, time away from the kids who did fit into the perfect mold of kindergarten academia.

Here’s the thing.  I didn’t know one thing about this boy.  Not one.  Just his name.  And yet I saw him as a ‘threat’ a ‘detriment’ and a person that “normal” kids should not have to deal with on a daily basis.  Yes, I did just write that sentence.  And yes, I feel like a complete and total asshole for admitting that here on a public blog. 
 
One of my all time favorite Facebook Pages/Blog is The Crumb Diaries.  I look forward to her posts everyday about her son Logan, who is a special needs teen.  I know all about indigo children (as I have one of my own), and I have fallen in love with Logan and his mother (they have no idea who I am) by reading her daily posts about life with Logan.  I have grown to see him as not special needs, but simply special. 

When I was young I wanted to be a writer AND a special needs teacher? 
I have always been able to pick out the kids in this world with a broken wing and extend my hand and my heart openly to give them wings.  So what the hell was wrong with me?  When did I become such a bitch? 

In a short conversation with someone who knew this child well and knew HIS story  I was swallowed whole with guilt and remorse for my feelings toward a child.  A child!   A fewllow human being.  I was guilty for words that I used to describe him without knowing HIS story.  Here I am writing a blog segment called Stories of Us on this blog, and yet I was forgetting that even children have stories that don’t necessarily read like an open book.  They are thrown into this world of standards and rules and when they don’t seem to fit into the puzzle – they are discarded or judged.

Had I really stepped so far off my moral and spiritual road to think that my thoughts were EVER okay?  Apparently, I had.  And apparently the Universe was going to remind me that although my kids may ‘look and act perfect’ on the outside – human perfection and love comes in all different wrappers.

Here’s what I didn’t know.  (Not that it should matter)
But, this boy was found in a dog crate at the age of 18 months while living with his drug addicted mothers home.  He had never had anything to eat at that point in his life – except a bottle.  He spoke not a word.  There’s more to the story that I wont share now, but you can rest assured that he is now in a loving and healthy home.

Here he was 4 1/2 years later, a handsome and healthy young boy with some developmental delays and some emotional problems.  I skimmed the playground to find him and saw him hugging a classmate.  When he accidentally got bark in another child’s face, he ran to the teacher to immediately confess and get a hug.  In fact, he hugged his teacher many times during that short 30 minutes.
There wasnt a ‘mean’ or ‘bad’ bone in this childs body and his heart, when I was really looking at HIM, not his differences – was as honest and pure as crystal.  C.R.Y.S.T.A.L!  And perhaps that is exactly what made him different.

As we walked back to class, me still reeling from my own guilt and horror – I stood back to walk with him as he seemed distracted following the line of students headed back to the building.  He accepted me as a friend without apprehension or shyness.  I looked into his eyes and wondered if he was ever held as a baby,  ever rocked to sleep.  There aren’t words to describe the despair I felt for him.  I grabbed his hand, and he told me – a perfect stranger – that he loved me.  And I think that he meant it.

I think that he really meant it, as tingles shuttered through my body as if I had just touched an angel. I knew I didn’t deserve to be loved in that moment, especially by him – a perfectly beautiful child, who I had written off as a ‘bad egg’ so to speak. 
 
Our teachers come in all shapes and forms.  This day, my teacher, my messenger from the Universe was a small boy with warm hands and a big heart that I may have missed out on seeing due to my own close-mindedness.

I have never once considered myself close minded until this moment in my life.
The truth is, I shouldn’t have had to learn his story to be accepting.  That is our responsibility from the get go, to accept others.

No one has a responsibility to share with us the reasons, or diagnoses, or unexplained history, or medical definitions of why anyone is the way they are.  We (I) cannot walk around this world with a box to compartmentalize people by shape, size, or color as if we are all Legos. 

Sure, we are all one small part of a bigger plan – a larger picture, a massive and tall Lego tower, where each of us has a place to belong – but none of us have any right to make decisions about where that place is.  Not ever.

In the end, it was me with the special need – not this little boy.  And I am grateful, that he was there to teach me, to put me back on the path of real human acceptance and love.

Bad Moms

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Fun Fact Friday revealed more than one mother admitting she worries she isn’t a good mom.

Ladies…Really?? The fact that you worry about that in itself says you care enough about your child, that you probably are a good mom. We ALL worry at times. I know I do. I know I always have, the worries have just changed over time.

At 18 bringing home my daughter I worried about keeping her alive! I worried I wouldn’t know what to do, or pick up on her signals when she needed something. As she got older I worried I wouldn’t be able to provide everything I wanted for her…then what about college? A wedding? Would I teach her everything she needed to know to live a good life?

With Logan I felt more comfortable bringing him home, but then worried about a whole different set of issues when he got a bit older. Could I teach him? Would I be able to fight for him? Not miss anything? How the hell am I going to do this??

Truthfully, I probably haven’t been the ideal, perfect mom- but in reality, I have been a great mom for MY kids, and things have fallen into place. Yes, it took effort, and changes and sacrifices, but most parents are willing to make those for their child.

You might miss a night out with friends to attend an award ceremony. You might miss sleeping late for soccer practice. You might sacrifice a clean dining room table for a science project.

These are the things our kids will remember. Not your perfection.

                                                                  THIS is a bad mom..

So, you don’t always make them brush their teeth. Maybe you could have pushed harder on homework or studying. Your teenager doesn’t have the cell phone she wants. You couldn’t afford to take them on vacation this year. You forgot your sons favorite cereal…These are not a huge deal in the long run.

We, as parents, beat ourselves up. We compare ourselves to our peers, and our kids to theirs. It’s not fair to ourselves.

No matter what your situation- if you have your child’s well being at the top of your priority list, and that child knows he is loved, you are a good mom.

Who Are You?

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Who are you?
 
 
 
Well. Now Slice of Humble (her blog), Adventures of NinjaMama (her blog) and The Plucky Procrastinator (her blog) ALL tagged me in this Who are you blog so enough dragging my feet and getting on with it!!
 
 
1. Where were you born? Born & raised in Massachusetts
 
2. Were you named after someone? No, but my mother took the spelling from June Allyson the actress.
 
3. How many children do you have? 2
 

 4. How many pets do you have? A barn cat, Delaney. 3 dogs, Jack, Crickett & Boo. A bull, Moo Montana.

 

 
 
 
5. Your worst injury? Left arm broken 3 times, ankle, torn achilles tendon, stitches
 
6. Do you have a special talent? Painting is my favorite hobby
 


7. Favorite thing to bake? Have to be honest, baking and cooking are not my specialty.

8. Favorite fast food? McDonald’s french fries

9. Would you bungee jump? No way in hell

10. What is the first thing you notice about people? How they treat others. If they are snarky, judgemental and rude they are not someone I want to know.

11. When was the last time you cried? Last week during Donna Day, more than once.

12. Any current worries? Typically I am extremely laid back and don’t worry about much, but one thing that always weighs heavily on me is Logan’s future. My husband and I work very hard to make sure he’s going to be okay.

13. Name 3 drinks you drink regularly. Coffee, water. That’s it…maybe some crystal light or beer here and there but not regularly.

14. What’s your favorite book? I used to have a book going constantly, now I don’t have as much time, but I do admit- I read all of the Twilight books, the Hunger Games books and the first 50 Shades of Grey (hated that). I’m reading some random novel right now, not that into it. I can’t name a favorite.

15. Would you like to be a pirate? I am a part time pirate.

16. Favorite smells? So easy. Laundry just washed with Gain & bleach.

17. Why do you blog? I blog to vent, I like to write. I have had a bit of writers block lately though.

18. What song do you want played at your funeral? Bagpipes

19. What is your favorite thing about yourself? Probably my height. If I were 5′ tall I would be obese. I get to weigh more but its stretched out.

20. Favorite hobby? See #6

21. Name something you’ve done, you never thought you would do? Become a mom people admire. I started this journey as a clueless teen mother, I never imagined someday I’d be here, having gone through all that I have with Logan. To get messages saying I give people hope for their own child’s future, or that someone reads what I write and has a different outlook blows my mind.

22. What do you look for in a friend? Understanding and trust

23. Favorite fun things to do? Figure out ways to repurpose old stuff. Love taking something discarded and making it worth something

24. Pet Peeves? People who judge you when they have no clue what you’re about

25. What’s the last thing that made you laugh? Logan being a typical teen jerk this morning. I LOVE IT.

Now tag some bloggers to pass along this quiz to!

Scarred for Life
Its Cool To Be OCD
Fodder 4 Fathers

 
 
 

Me? Let Go?….maybe someday

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**Cough cough sniffle** My ninja-like immune system failed miserably at fending off the germs. I can feel them invading my body and head as I sit here contemplating going to work. I was sooooo convinced I would not catch this- even pushing my luck by kissing that little cold-ridden boy dangerously close to his germy breath. I simply cannot help myself.

So I am asking myself..When will I be able to help myself? Ever? He’s 17 for crying out loud. He’s BIG, he’s GROWN! At thirty will I still be chasing him around for a quick squeeze? I need to get a grip here…

The problem is, its NOT me. Its him- he is simply too freaking cute, too damn sweet and extremely frigging lovable. It’s literally his one and only fault.. Totally not my issue, I mean no human, especially a mom could be expected to resist that combination of charming. Even when he’s being a jackwagon, he really isn’t. It must just be how I am interpreting his behavior, because he is far too adorable to be a jerk. It’s something I deal with, and need to check myself every now and then..Okay daily, but I am working on it. There are so many things in the world that really need some work before I can be expected to let go. I don’t know how any kid can expect to grow up and get out of the nest these days..

The mess in his room, I would have to admit that’s just a freedom of expression and a way to be creative on his part. Folded clothing?  So rigid and ordinary.. And if there is one thing we all want, its for our kids to be independent and creative-am I right? And I know for a fact all the stuff of mine that I find in his room when I clean it? He’s looking out for me, keeping it safe. If anything disappears, I usually know just where to find it, safe and sound.

The little stuffed ponies. Why would you make a pony, put it into a 50cent grab machine, but not make it durable enough to cram into a backpack with 10 other ponies? You should be able to love and shove as many ponies into a small space as you want, without the seams ripping. Stuffing coming from your beloved pony can be traumatizing. They need to rethink this design. Pisses me off.

Another total conformist type BS we don’t adhere to? Pee, all in the toilet. I mean, if bathroom designers really expected no sign of back splash- all bathrooms would be wall to wall carpeting. And on the subject of toilets- who the hell decided we need these low water pressure commodes? They simply cannot handle the amount of toilet paper my baby needs to use, and overflow is a constant threat. Horrible design.

Oh, and while I’m thinking of it- who the hell would design a laptop that can’t handle a good stepping on? I mean how cheaply made are these things? You’d think they’d factor that in to the design. You can’t expect people to realize there’s a laptop on the floor covered in clothes, that’s just crazy….Electronics in general are really inconsiderate as a whole. Did you know if you repeatedly remove a battery and SIM card from a cell phone eventually it locks you out?? Wtf is that about? Oh, and Xbox360- it’s stupid how easy it is to change the whole thing to Japanese. You need Google Translate and a YouTube tutorial to get it back. Unreal.

Seriously, this is what I’m dealing with. Are you F’ing kidding me??

So, someday my baby will be grown, and I will have to maybe..MAYBE lighten up on the hugging and kissing and force cuddles, but with all of these other issues, how can I expect him to manage on his own? There’s so much work for this world to do before it’s ready for Logan unleashed. Until then, I will be here making sure none of these ridiculous issues impact him negatively. God this is a tough job…