Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Now is so much better!

Megan Goates is a Westminster College and USU alumnus, a mother, and a blogger at Here's to Our Survival.Description: http://beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif?cid=103971&pid=4  This article written by her was on KSL today, and I loved what, and how, this woman wrote.  I highlighted some of the passages;  the red print are thoughts I've always thought about how our family changed with having a special needs child in our family.  The blue print is me.  Now.  When our kids were younger our house was cleaner.  The meals were more diverse.  Our yard was perfection.  Now?  I really don't care.  Perfection really can be drop-kicked down the street.  I have my family and friends and I have the gospel in my life.  I can't ask for anything more.

I used to be a perfect mom, but my special-needs kids taught me otherwise
SALT LAKE CITY — Ten years ago I was the perfect mom. I mean it — I really had the parenting business buttoned up.
I was a 26-year-old stay-at-home mom doing just what I had always wanted. I had finished college and graduate school and after five years of married life, I was getting down to business in the field of my dreams. I lived in a little World War II-era bungalow near Sugarhouse Park where my engineer husband worked out of his office in the basement and I spent my days caring for our darling 1-year-old son.
Every morning I brisk-walked to the park with a group of my friends. We pushed our toddlers in jogging strollers while discussing baby milestones and post-pregnancy recovery.
I started a playgroup and a book club. I canned my own strawberry jam. I volunteered at the church cannery. I handcrafted our Christmas cards. I learned to piece a patchwork quilt and hand quilted a small masterpiece. I cleaned my tiny house every Monday, took my child to the zoo every Wednesday, and visited story time at the library every Friday.
I was the president of the Young Women's organization at my church. I hiked nearby trails with my baby on my back. I took a 30-minute power nap every afternoon while he slept.
It seemed every time I left the house with my precocious strawberry-blond son, friends and strangers alike complimented me on my adorable little boy. I mean seriously, when it came to motherhood, I had nailed it.
A lot can happen in 10 years.
We now live in a bigger house and I drive a bigger car. We have four sons instead of one. I no longer can jam or hand stitch quilts or handcraft cards. I definitely do not take a nap every afternoon. But it's not just the trappings that have changed in my life.
With my second son's birth nine years ago, my family's trajectory changed in a big way. Our baby was diagnosed with a rare syndrome and autism. Beginning then, we entered the realm of different. We learned about developmental delay. We met with oodles of pediatric specialists. We aligned ourselves with Early Intervention and a support group. We stopped going out in public much because of our second child's meltdowns. Our focus turned to survival.
Everything became harder.
This year we learned that our third child also has special needs, albeit in a very different manifestation than his big brother. This turn of events has not been easier than the last diagnosis because we have done it before. If anything, it is more traumatic because we have done it before. And now there are two.
But with these diagnoses, my clan has become more of what we started to become nine years ago when the second boy arrived. We are less apt to judge people who look or act differently. We are vastly more tolerant of messes because they are our constant companions, no matter how hard we try to eradicate them.
We know the embarrassment of being a frequent public spectacle with a tantruming child. We have had practice looking past people's quirks to see the person at the core. We understand that "destruction of property" takes on a whole new meaning when special-needs children are around.
We (meaning me) are way less smug. In fact, we (me) acknowledge that most of the time, we don't know what the heck we are doing.
We have more patience with people. We have less patience for unnecessary activities, which deplete our time and energy. We've learned to sometimes say no when we are asked to do things because anything extra usually takes us past the tipping point.
We care less about stuff. We are gentler. We feel genuine empathy for someone else's hardship.
We aren't anywhere near perfect. We don't even care about perfect. We think perfect should be dropkicked down the street.
This isn't the family I envisioned as a newlywed or as a young know-it-all mom of one kid. But it's my family. And they're making me into someone I like much more than that smug 26-six-year-old who thought she had it all figured out.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Counting my blessings...

Enough of the blues!  No more whining and complaining.  I'm gonna pull up my big girl panties and tell you some things that make me happy! 

Yup!  This little girl's Papa makes me happy, too.  Funny thing is, I had to make sure and not put her face in the pic because she was crying.  But she loves her Papa, and I love him, too and he makes me so very, very happy!

Turtles.  Why not?  They make me happy.  It's so fun to watch how the kids react to a turtle.  This turtle lives in Brandon and Taylor's front yard.  He's lived there for 40+ years!  He's survived many kids loving him and feeding him, and I hope he lasts another 40!

 Castles.  Especially castles with a porta potty in the front yard...
The castle and this cute pic of me and Al are actually at a dinner and dance provided by a company in Heber.  They served us turkey legs - each and every one of us, along with a buffet of salads and rolls and desserts.  They have this party every year for people with special needs and we crashed the party!  It was a lot of fun and I'm so grateful for people like this company who give people with special needs an opportunity to have fun.  Especially at a castle with a porta potty!!  Pure happiness.

Conveniences.  I could make a list a mile long about this.  The button on the car keys so it unlocks, locks the doors or even opens them...  can openeners... socks... make-up, make-up remover... paper towels...
 These are pictures of Taylor mowing with C and me getting ready to edge with N.  Taylor and Brandon hosted a baby shower for Cali, Josh, O and baby CR.  They did such a good job and things worked out beautifully, even though it down-poured for 2 hours right before the shower was supposed to start.  But this was us the day before sprucing up their yard.... 
...and this is Taylor holding CR, Cali and I under Taylor and Brandon's patio the night of the shower.  It was a great night, with good friends and a special occasion to celebrate!  Happiness!!

Ducks and geese.  Wheeler Farm - the fact that it's FREE! 
The sound the geese make when they are so happy to see us!  The sound the kids make when the geese are getting a little too close!
And the bravery of this one goose who allowed N to pet him for a good solid minute.  Until she decided to smack him on the beak.  Yeah.  Even that made me smile!

 ...and hugs and cuddles.  I am so blessed to be able to see my grandkids often!  And I steal all the kisses, hugs and cuddles I can!
 Come on!  Cute, old men!  How can they NOT make you happy?!  So, this isn't an old man, but he sure is pulling off the old man look in this pic.  What I want to know is, why are old men cute and old women aren't?  Don't deny it!  It's true!!

 Rainbows!!  And double rainbows make you giggle!
 Ummm...  ???
A went through a faze where she put on any piece of clothing she could find; hence the swimming diaper around her ankle.  And N is in the car seat, so A HAD to kiss her.  Even the random "Ummm"s make me so happy!
 Smiles.  Giggles.  Laughs.  Guffaws. 
Yup.  All on my happy list...
 And I will end this list with a beautiful sunset.  This picture doesn't do it justice, but the sun this night was blood red!  Too many wild fires about, but it made for a gorgeous evening! 
And last but not least, I have to thank my Heavenly Father for all of these blessings, for I know that all I have, or all I will ever receive is because of Him.  Even comfort;  when I was so down about  - well, a lot of things - I sat in church trying not to cry and just opened the Hymn book to read to calm my heart.  The book opened to hymn number 110.  I didn't know the tune so I couldn't sing it in my head, but the words were of such comfort and peace;
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.  He never will suffer the righteous to fall.  He is at thy right hand.  Thy mercy, Lord, is great and far above the heavens.  Let none be made ashamed that wait upon thee.
So, look around and see the glories that we have been blessed with.  Smile.  Hug.  Pet a goose or hold a turtle.  Read a hymn.  Whatever it takes, find that happy place and hold on tight!!!