Big sis, Middle sis, & Little sis

In less than three weeks my oldest daughter graduates college.  I am not sure how that’s possible.  I’ve spent the last few days in full sappy mom mode. I had flipped through photo albums and cried my eyes out. I have looked through her box of baby clothes and found myself just sitting in her room gazing at her books and old dolls. With my 18 month old daughter in my arms I took a walk (or two) down memory lane. Was it not just yesterday I held Sie in my arms this way?

Last Friday my husband and I made the trip up to her college to watch her present her Capstone presentation (It was on Jane Eyer) and see her receive an award from the English department. We could not be more proud of her if we tried.  As I watched her walk across the stage and interact with her professors my eyes saw the beautiful young woman she has become. My heart however could only think about the first time I saw my 8 pound 13oz blue eyed princess.

I was not prepared to be a mom. I was a week away from turning 19 when she made her grand entrance.  I was scared out of my mind. I felt like I had disappointed my parents and that left me feeling ashamed and isolated. How in the world was I going to be a mom? But then the nurse placed this perfect little person in my arms and all fear was gone. I did not know how things would work out but I knee they would. My world was now all about her.  She was not planned, but she was perfect for our God does not make mistakes. She was beautiful and for the first time in my life I was completely in love. 

Jump forward a few years, ok 16 years, and I find myself with two teenagers. In just a few years they would be out of the house and my husband and I would be free to travel or do whatever we pleased. Ah my husband . He is a terrific man and wonderful dad to my kids. He is such an amazing step dad, all though my kids never call him that. To them he is just dad. So glad God gives us second chances at happiness.  I prayed he could somehow experience all the wonders of parenting not just the teen years.  Be careful what you wish for lol

One of the many joys as foster parents is that every now and then you get to experience the beautiful miracle of adoption. And we have been blessed to experience the joy of adding five little loves through three adoptions. 

Sie has been “sissy” since she was three. Once diva became part of our family sissy became “big sis”. I never thought I would get to experience raising a daughter again, and then diva arrived.    She has brought so much to our family. She is so smart and sassy.  She loves her big sissy.  She wants to be just like her when she grows up.  She loves to dance and plans on being a professional dancer when she grows “big”.  If we had given up of foster care after the first failed adoption attempt she would not be part of our lives. 

And just when we thought we were done, God blessed us with Divas half sister.  So the names changed again. Sie stayed big sis, diva became middle sis and peanut became little sis.  Peanut is such a joy.  Just when I thought I could not possibly love “one more child” she became a piece of my heart. She is learning so much, how to walk and how to talk, I look at her and my heart just melts.

As I flip through the old photos I can’t help but think “If I would have done this would things turned out better for her?”  Did I do my best to teach her right from wrong?  Did my decisions effect her in a positive or negative way?  Did I pray enough for her? Did I worry enough? Did I worry to much? Now that she’s all grown up will she need me anymore? Will she make time to call just to say hello? 

And just as I’m in the middle of a very ugly mom cry, my phone rings. It’s a video message. It’s my girl. She was calling me to let me know she was taking her final draft of her thesis to turn in. She called me.  Out of all the people she could have shared that moment with she called me.  We talked for just a few minutes but it was just what I needed.  I took a few more minutes to finish my ugly mom cry and then went to check on peanut.  She was playing with her toys singing a song as only 18 month olds can do. And I smiled.

God has been so good to me. I have three beautiful daughters. Each uniquely different and brilliant in their own way. I am thankful God has allowed me to be momma a little while longer. My parenting style may have changed some but I am grateful to have this chance again. 

If having a daughter graduating college has taught me anything it’s that life goes by so quickly.  It is important to be in the moment.  Yes I have dishes that need washed, and I always have laundry that needs to be folded, but when my kids are off on their own and think of me I want them to remember I was there for them. I was there pushing the swing just a little bit higher, I was there making silly dinosaurs noises, I was there snuggled on the couch reading their favorite book for a sixth time in one night.  I want them to remember I loved them and enjoyed being their mom.    I hope my oldest two remember that mom too. 

From our beautiful chaos to yours time goes by so fast, make sure those you love know exactly what they mean to you. 

My Great-Grandma

via Daily Prompt: Pleased

 

Last week in small group we discussed wisdom.  We were all asked a simple question, Who is/was the wisest person you know?  As we went around the table we all answered the question and gave reasons as to why we thought the person we chose was wise.  We then watched a video with a message out of James.  At the end of the video we were asked again who was the wisest person we knew?  My answer stayed the same: My Great- Grandma.

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My Beautiful Great-Grandma
Man what I would  give to have one more talk with her.  But I must say I am blessed.  You see my Great-Grandma lived to be 102.  She was born in 1903 and passed away two weeks after her birthday in 2005.  I was fortunate to have her around my enter childhood and then into my adult years.    So in honor of her and her always welcomed wisdom this post is about her.

 

Grandma was a firecracker.  She loved the Lord, and her family with every ounce she had.  She loved to sing praises to our Lord while she cooked or washed dishes.  I remember going to my mamaw’s after grandma moved in with her and hearing the two of them singing songs like, “I’ll Fly Away”, “What a Day that Will Be”, ” How Great thou Art” and “Mansion over the Hilltop” while in the kitchen.  Those songs still ring in my mind as I do the dishes and cook for my own family now.  She always had a warm hug and smile to greet us as we walked in. And there was always food on their table just in case someone stopped by.  She was a homemaker, wife, mother to seven children, grandmother to 29, great-grandmother to 51, and great-great grandmother to 20 (that’s where my two oldest fell in). She was a sister and she was a friend.

She lived through so much while here on earth.  She lost her leg at a young age but that never slowed her down.  I remember one visit with her where my oldest son, maybe three at the time, went to climb up on her lap so he could get some candy, she always had candy.  I told him to be careful and she looked at me and said, “He can’t hurt this old wooden leg(as she knocked on her prosthetic leg), let him get up here and help me eat this candy”  My son laughed and climb on up.  From that day on, every time he went to climb on her lap he knocked on her leg to made sure it was the “old wooden one” and every time she would laugh and say, “yep that’s it now come on up we have M&M’s to eat.”  Her love for my kids, and all of her grand-kid’s was unconditional.  She never complained about not having her leg, she only gave praise to God for allowing her to be where she was at.

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my son and grandma at one of her birthday parties
When I got pregnant at the age of 18, she did not turn her back on me.  While others thought I was way to young, heck I thought I was too young, she never judged me. Many turned their backs on me, she comforted me and let me know things would work out.  She never stopped loving me.  She told me not to worry what the world or other people thought of me, that if this baby was on her way then she was meant to be.  “God does not make mistakes” When I told her I was naming my daughter after her, she made me promise to never call her “Lizzy” like so many people called her. I personally don’t think she liked the nickname but she never said a word.  “Always call her Elizabeth, there’s power in that name young lady…power” she said. And you know what, she was right.  She taught me so many life lessons in the kind caring way only a grandmother can.  If she could only see baby girl now, I know she would be proud.  22, graduating college, moving off to find her place in God’s big plan.  We did good grandma we did good.

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my daughter, my great-grandma, and me
I wonder what she would think about the path we have chosen?  I wonder what she thinks about all the new great-great grand-babies I have added to her legacy?  I wish they could have met her and shared a piece or two of chocolate with her.  I hope when she looks down from heaven I make her happy.   She helped install a love for others in my heart, a love that ultimately led me to become a foster to adopt parent.  I can only hope and pray I became half the woman she was.

 

Her laughter was contagious.  Her heart always full of love.  Her advise always welcomed.  Her stories and jokes always left you wanting more. She always called me baby girl, maybe that’s why I still call Sie baby girl.  Oh, what I would give to have her hug me one more time and tell me things will be alright.

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my babies, great-grandma and me

She loved to cook.  She loved to quilt.  She loved to swing on the front porch and watch the cars go by.  She loved to watch the neighbors come and go. She loved to clean and cut up Ramps for meals in the spring time, then laugh because she thought she stunk.  She loved to see others succeed in life.  She loved to provide comfort when life throw curve balls.  Her hands had made thousands of meals, wiped away billions of tears, and cradled many.  She loved flowers, and watching the rain.  She loved to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.  She loved me.

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The last kiss she gave my at her 102nd birthday party, 2 weeks before she was called to heaven.  I am so thankful I have this photo to remember it by.
The last time I visited her she was laying in a hospital bed.  The nurses and doctors said she was in a deep sleep, coma, and that she come not hear us.  My mamaw, a few of her siblings, and I sat around her bed.  A group of singers came to the room and asked if they could come and sing for her.  Someone asked if they knew any gospel songs, to which they replied yes.  As the group sang and all of us in the room joined in, I saw my great-grandmother’s mouth move slowly.  And I smiled.  Even though the nurses said it was a muscle reaction, I know my she was singing with us one last time.  I know she was. After we sang a few songs it was time for me to go pick up my kids from school.  I kissed her forehead softly and told her I would be back later that evening.  By the time I got the kids picked up and dropped back off to my aunts, she was gone.

 

I am thankful I got to sing one last song with her, I am thankful for all she taught me, I am thankful that despite me flaws she loved me anyway.  I am thankful she was mine. I hope you are pleased with the way I have turned out. Baby girl loves you always, until we met again.

 

From our beautiful chaos to yours, take a walk down memory lane every now and then.  Its good for the soul.

Autism Awareness Month…Why My Son will never be Accepted¬†

Unless you live under a rock you know by know that April is Autism Awareness Month. Many people will be “supporting” awareness by making donations to local organizations or wearing their blue shirts or bragging about how they “one time helped an autistic child carry books to their class” on social media.  And while all of that is well and good, as an autism mom here is what I would have you do if I could. 
I want you to see my son through my eyes.  He is just a child. A wonderful little boy. Treat him as such!

My boy cheering on our favorite football teamūüíõūüíöūüŹą

Don’t whisper things like “I bet life at home is hard with that one.” Or “She should bust his ass, my child would never act that way in public” Or the all famous “Control your kid, what a terrible mother she must be” line.   First off life at our home is just fine. At home our son is not judge for his actions that are out of his control, he has autism he does not see things they way you or I do therefore his behavior is different. Second, I’m thrilled your child behaves for you while you are out where everyone can see.  Truly I am. As for me, I don’t get to pick when or what will cause my son to have a meltdown, but I know busting his ass will Not make the situation any easier on any of us.  And third, I am controlling my kid, trust me on this one.

Me and my little guy enjoying some playtime a few years back

Don’t stare at him at the playground or make your children play somewhere else. As his mom all I want is for him to have the best childhood he can, just like you want for your child.  And while he will not notice that you are pointing at him and shaking your head…. I will notice.  He will not see that you quickly gathered your children up and moved them away from the swings and over to the sandbox…..but I will see and it hurts.  Playgrounds are suppose to be safe places where children can be just that… kids. Please help me help me child be “just a kid” for just a few minutes out of the day.

Wild man and his Papaw laughing at one of his airplane video’s

Don’t ask me if I’ve tried this or that to help with his eating habits or his outburst.  I know you mean well, I do, but autism is my life 24/7 if we thought it could help we have tried it.  As his mom do I want to see my almost six year old eat only yogurts, Barbecue potato chips, and stage two Gerber peas, the answer is no. Babies don’t even want to eat stage two peas. But I want him to eat so we take what we can get.  We have tried dairy free diets and gluten free diets and we have taken ideas from them and other diets to come up with what works best for him.

Wild man loved to pet sit Bacon Bit more than anything

“Why is he still not toilet trained, there is no way I would be changing crap diapers at his age.  If he can pee in the toilet he can poop in it”.  There again if it were your son and he needed you to change his diaper at the age of 6 or at 30 you would do so, because you love him just as I love my son.  And no just because he can pee in the toilet (most days) does not mean he can poop in it. With his limited diet he does not “poo” like everyone else. It’s hard and painful for him.  And before you ask, yes he is on medicine to help and he still only goes once every 8 to 10 days.  Autism moms are painful poo experts.

Me and my boy doing what he loves best
Game day. Go Pack Go

You should take him out more places, that way he would learn how to behave around others”. Don’t you think I want to take my child out? I want more than anything to be able to go to the store or out to eat as a family without the noise or the lights sending him into a major meltdown. I want to take him to an amusement park to ride rides but know the crowd and the lines would overstimulate him and led to more harm than good.  I want to enjoy family get togthers and family reunions just as much as the next person, but I know as soon as he tries to get a snack that he saw hanging out of cousin Karries bag things will get heated because those were not his but for her daughter and she does not want to share.  They will not care that he does not understand personal space or personal belongs. I know school plays and class parties are to much for him, and seeing all of the other kids enjoy them hurts. I want a normal life for him but know his limitations better than anyone.  So I stay home where I know he is safe.

Morning cuddles with this guy ‚̧ԳŹ

My son hates clothes so if you get offended by an almost six year old running around in our house in only a pull-up or underwear, please do use a favor and don’t come around.  He has to keep clothes on while he is at school or at church, but as soon as he is home he knows he is safe and the clothes come off. Sensory issues at their finest. Remember this is his home not yours. My job as his mom is to make him feel safe, especially at his house. I’m not trying to be mean but I use up all my patience and love on him (and our other kiddos) I don’t have time to entertain your ignorance about my sons disabilities. If it bothers you don’t come around. You can just call.  You can always reach me on the phone and this will be less hurtful for all of us.

My son is not unruly or a mistake or nuisance or the monster-child uneducated society portrays him as.  He is a sweet, loving, adorable kid that I’m blessed to have call me “momma”  

In Our world we celebrate autism awareness every month, every day, and every minute. I do appreciate the thought of bringing awareness to something that many people deal with day in and day out but the fact is this my son will never be accepted in the social norm of things and that is something I am still trying to process and accept myself. He is loud and he chirps at different things. He looks just like any “normal child” but his meltdowns set him apart. He screams. He sits and lines cars up for hours while he rocks in place. He talks about the same airplanes for hours.  He has a room “his office” where, although a cluttered mess, he knows where every lego or every piece of paper is because they are ALL his “treats” aka treasures.  He plays on his tablet more than I’m sure you think he should, but that keeps him engaged for more than two minutes, in his games and videos he is in control of his otherwise out of control world.  He is so smart and so funny, his laugh lights up my world more than a few times daily.  He did not choose this life but it is what was given to him and he is making them most of it. So as an autism mom I ask this of you.  The next time you see a child don’t be so quick to judge their behavior. If you know a family who has an autistic child offer to watch their child so they can go out to dinner or on a date with their spouse. Encourage not discourage your own child to play with them, laugh with them and be friendly with them. Treat that child with love and respect just as you treat other kids.  Kids with autism are just like other kids trying to make it in this difficult world. They just have to find a way as unique as they are.

My autism awareness ūüíô

Buying a tshirt or donating money to an organization is great, but getting it actually know someone with autism is a much brighter beautiful action.  And by doing so it could just be the first step to making our world a better place for everyone to live it.   

So this month I will flood my social media with facts about autism and pictures of my amazing little guy in the hopes that one, just one person takes the “awesomeness” to heart and takes time to actually get to know someone with autism.  They might be surprised to see just how bright that person shines.     

From our beautiful chaos to yours God does not create junk. We are all beautifully made in His image. Remember that. Much love

The Seven Wonders of My World

My world is made up of many things.  Good things, bad things, big things and small things. But nothing holds more value than my seven wonders that call me mom.  Each one unique and different but yet still the same.

Sphinx and Khephren Pyramid
Sphinx and Khephren Pyramid
It is only fitting we start with the one that started it all, almost 22 years ago.  I was a young 18 year old scared out of my mind.  How in the world was I going to be a good mom to this precious girl when I was but a kid myself?  But the moment she was placed in my arms I knew my goal in life was to make sure her life was the best it could be.  Her early years were filled with laughter and joy, trips to grandpa’s, and movie nights with grandma.  She has always been “an old soul” and she has a beautiful heart for helping others.  She is my gift from heaven.  She made me want to be a better person, she continues to make me a better person.  Her school years were made up of cheer leading, piano, dance, taekwondo (she is now a 4th degree black belt) , honors classes, color guard, and winter guard.  She is a fighter for what she believes in and a friend that will stand by your side when everyone else has walked away.  She tries to find the good in the darkest of places, but if you hurt her or someone she loves watch out.  It seems little only yesterday I was bringing her home from the hospital, how can it be she is about to graduate college in just a few short weeks?  The first in our family to achieve this accomplishment. True to her overachiever fashion she is graduating with a double major in Political Science and English with minors in Religion and History.  Proud momma is an understatement.

Statue of Zeus, Olympia
Statue of Zeus, Olymipa
Next comes my boy, 18 and full of life.  His sister wanted a puppy but got a baby brother instead.  His first year was touch and go.  Filled with hospital stays and surgeries (almost nine full months we spent in the hospital his first year) We lost him more than once that year but by God’s grace and the doctors He provided my boy, my miracle made it back to us. I am blessed to be his momma.  His school years were challenging to say the least but we made it through. He played T-ball when he was little but taekwondo quickly became his life( he is now a 3rd degree black belt, not quite old enough to test for his 4th degree). He became a gifted saxophone player in high school and marching band, concert band and jazz band filled our weekends and evenings.  He can make me laugh harder than anyone else with his silly jokes and corny puns. He will always be my baby. He is the perfect gentleman, opening up doors, pulling out chairs, and quick to give a complement. He goes above and beyond not to do the things his father done, he strives to be more like his step dad.  I know he is nothing like the man who helped create him. He is good and loving and kind, wish I could take the fear away. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is slow to anger. He protects/ guards his siblings with everything he has. He worries about others and is the best big brother anyone could ask for.  He works hard at his job and goes to college, while still trying to figure out what path he wants to take.  He knows me better than I know myself and can make my darkest day bright with a phone call or text.  Love being his momma.

 

 

I have worried about them for more than I should.  There were a few dark years where I was not sure if I was doing what was best for them.  Part of me feels guilty that their father and I divorced but the logical side of me knows if I would have stayed I would be died and they would be on their own.  I hope they can forgive me for the tough choices that had to be made back then.  I think they have turned out pretty perfect given the darkest we escaped.

 

Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Next we come to diva, six and sassy and everything in between.  Her past is clouded with darkness but she shines so bright.  At sixteen months she made her way to us, in a t-shirt three times to big and jeans that could not button for they were two sizes to small.  She did not talk, she did not walk, but she did warm our hearts.  With her situation comes baggage that did not surface until two years ago, long after we fell in love with her.  She was RAD or Reactive attachment disorder, ADD/ADHD and FASD or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  None of which are her fault, that lies with her birth mom’s poor life choices.  When she is good things are beautiful and bright, but more days than not we struggle to figure out what is making her so angry.  Her imaginary world where her life is perfect with her birth mom crosses over to our world some days making reasoning with her impossible, but we love her anyway.  I wish I could go back and change the things that happened to her.  I wish she could see what I see in her. Her behavior may not always be great but she is gifted with knowledge.  She is so smart.  Spelling and reading come easy to her and she can do math in her sleep.   She is so eager to learn and try new things, and she loves going to church and singing God’s praise.  I am thankful to be her momma.

temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis
Wild man, my spunky five year old.  Oh how my world changed when he come into my life.  At two months and four and a half pounds, he redirected my path the moment he was placed in my arms.  It is because of my love for him diva came to live with us, siblings (in their case half siblings) the department tries to keep together.  He, like my oldest son, spent much of his first year in and out of hospitals.  Surgeries and sickness consumed his early days.  He too is a fighter.  Innocent victim of a drug addicted mom that wanted nothing to do with him. He survived the drugs in his system and being shaken then thrown across the room. He is destined to do great and mighty things. He has proven doctors wrong time after time.  When they said he would not walk or talk he showed them he could and would.  He was diagnosed with autism at 3 but that has not stopped him. Autism does not defy who he is.  He makes me see the beauty in everything.  Through his eyes the world is such a kinder nicer place.  He does not judge others and does not notice when others judge him.  His laugh is contagious and he can melt my heart with his smile.  God knew what He was doing when He had the caseworker call me.  I am blessed to be his momma.

 

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Wonder number five we find Big Al.  Its funny how after we decided we were finished being foster parents God puts His plan in motion.  At two days old he was in my arms. He has the biggest smile and the most gorgeous brown eyes I have ever seen.  His hair is as wild as he is.  He is one of few words but his facial expressions do his talking for him.  He loves to set with me in the mornings and share a cup of coffee.  He is beautiful both inside and out.  He is the peace maker in the family.  If someone needs a playmate he is the one to drop whatever he is doing and go play so that the other child is not upset.  He has a calmness about him that is unique and welcomed on days of complete chaos.  I am grateful for  my grandfathers advice the night the call came in about the “little boy who needed a temporary home” Rest In Peace grandfather and know I still hear your voice of reason. He makes my days more enjoyable by just being here.  I can’t imagine my life without him in it.  I miss him running around during the days now that he is in preschool.  Its so quiet here now.   I am honored to be his momma.

colossus of Rhodes
Colossus of Rhodes
Our Elmo is wonder number six.  Just thinking about him brings a smile to my face.  Three and a half and full of energy.  He is definitely our class clown. He can make you laugh like no other.  His silly faces and sweet little voice warm my heart daily.   He too had a rough start but has overcome those sicknesses and is growing leaps and bounds.  His eyes are are blue as the ocean and his heart is even bigger.  He is not afraid to tell you he is “momma’s baby” and he proudly wears that imaginary badge.    He brings much needed laughter to our home.  He is the cuddlier on rainy days and the “come lay with me till I fall asleep” at night boy.  He loves to learn the names of things and is always carrying a book around and asking “Whats this things name?”  His imagination has dinosaurs running in our yard most days and with race cars chasing them away.  Oh what an exciting world he gives us to live in.   It is my joy to be his momma.

lighthouse of Alexandria
Lighthouse of Alexandria 
Last but certainly not least is our wonder number seven, our precious unexpected peanut.  In the mist of our already crazy lives God saw fit to bless us one more time, this time a sister to our three little blonde cuties.  She was so tiny but healthier than the rest (Praise God) She is the one we did not know we needed until she was placed in our arms.  In her I get to redo all the joys that make up being a mom.  I get to be mom one last time.  The late night feedings and the early morning wake ups don’t bother me like they did 20 plus years ago, for I know when I blink she will be off and going to college.  I was not as hurried for her to walk or talk as I was with the others,  though she did both early.  In her short 18 months she has changed our lives more than she will ever know.  I am so thankful for the caseworker that took the time to locate her half brothers and sister, it would have been so easy to just place her somewhere else.  But now, even though they are not with their birth mom they are together and with me.  Her sweet dimples when she smiles take over her little face.  Her hair so thin but we manage to get those big bows in.  For now she is a girly girly but I know in time she will be out in the mud and riding bikes with the rest of our pack.  I am thankful God gave me one more chance to get this mothering thing down right.  I am overjoyed to be her momma.

 

These seven wonders have made me the mother/person I am today.  I can only hope that I have given them the love and guidance they need for this world.  I know we do not always see eye to eye on things but I hope they understand that I only say and do what I do because I love them so much.  My two oldest laid the foundation for the type of mom I wanted to be, with the five youngest I get to do the things I wish I had done with them.  I am older and wiser and my choices are much easier these days than back then.  I am happier now than I have ever been, which is completely crazy seeing I get every little sleep.  I treasure both the memories made and those to come.  I would love to see the Seven Wonders of the World someday, but until then my seven wonders are all I need.

 

From our beautiful chaos to ours make today better than yesterday and the foundation for a greater tomorrow.

much love my friends

A Mother’s Instinct

via Daily Prompt: Instinct

 

From the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, her first instinct is to protect and love her unborn child.

As a mom of five adopted little loves, I did not have those first few months to bond with my children as he or she grew inside of me.  Our bonding started the day the caseworker handed them over to me with their trash bag filled with all of their belongings.  The healing starts as soon as they feel safe and loved.

With wild man the bond was instantaneous.  The worker handed me his car seat and I took him in the house. As I unbuckled his car seat and pulled his tiny little body up into my arms he made the sweetest noise.  As I held him tight and listened to the worker explain his case I fell in love.  The bond we share could not be stronger if I had given birth to him.

Our journey has not been easy.  Early on we knew he was not developing at what society calls a”normal” rate.  By the age of three we were given the diagnosis of autism with sensory issues.  We were told that he would never talk in full sentences, he would most likely never run or climb, and that his abilities would be limited.  Our world changed drastically inside that 45 minute office visit. We were just getting use to be parents of little ones again, and now we were told we were the parents of a child with autism.  I was not prepared.  But I had no choice, I would move mountains for him, he was my son.

Now he is six.  In the last three years we have figured out how to do things in order to give him the best possible life.  We have moved and the school he attends now is nothing less than a God send. He is not only doing well, he is excelling.  He can now hold a pencil, write his name, and is learning to count and even read, YES READ!!!! For all these things I am thankful.  But there is still the other side of autism not many talk about.  We still have daily food battles.  I have been told by teachers and family he needs to eat a better diet.  With his sensory issues a good diet is not something in our reach.  You name it we have tried it. Everything from gluten free to all organic, but the fact is if I can’t get it in his mouth then its not going to work.  What works, well this week he is eating popcorn, bread sticks, strawberry yogurt, strawberry pop-tarts, KFC mash potatoes, cheese curls, and his all time favorite food Stage two Gerber peas(these he only eats at the house now because some boy at his school told him it was for babies)  Is it a healthy diet? Probably not, but at least he is eating and to me that’s all that matters.  We also deal with the fact that with his diet we have poop issues.  In the past six months we have managed to get him potty trained (thanks to his awesome teachers) well by that I mean he pee’s in the potty during the day.  At night we are still in pull-ups because he has not mastered overnight bladder control and there is no bowel control. So when he needs to poop lets just say its still a mess.  His system does not operate as yours or mine so it can be days, 7 to 14 days, without him going.  Yes, he takes medicine daily to help out in this area, but his average is one good poo every 8 days.  It’s painful and it’s massive!!! No one talks about this side of autism.

So this past weekend I will admit I was more than nervous about taking him with me while I went to visit my grandmother in WV.  She has been ill and I knew taking all the little loves would be to much for her. My husband had made plans to take wild man up to his parents but seeing that my grandmother was ill, he agreed he would watch all of our other little loves while I took wild man with me.  Wild man would get to see all of his grandparents and he was excited.  He does not do well with change so the trip made me anxious.  What if he refused to sleep? What if he would not eat? What if the car ride was to much? What is the surroundings were to much?  I had hundreds of what if questions running through my head.  We never know what will happen when we have him out.  In fact we have secluded ourselves from many things,(family nights at school, trips to the mall, large family gatherings) because we know the stimulation will surely cause him a meltdown and its just not worth it if he will be in pain.  But sometimes life can not be helped. And just when you think the worst, God gives you the best.

I can not believe the weekend we had.  Wild man did such an amazing job.  I had several people I wanted to met up with while I was in so I dropped wild man off to my in-laws. We sat and had a visit before I headed off to my next destination and when I got up to leave, guess what? He didn’t even scream. Praise Jesus. Not only did he spend the whole night with my in-laws he actually slept. I knew taking him place to place would be to much for him but thankfully my in-laws were able to watch him while I did.  When I went to pick him up he showed me everything he had done while there.  He showed me his “new office” and his race track that he had beat papaw on many times.  He showed me his new cars and even his new favorite snack (pickled flavored chips) When it came time to leave, he did not cry instead he kissed them goodbye and said  See you laters.  We loaded up and went to met my parents and brother for breakfast, where he sat and ate his chips.

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Wild man cuddled up to my dad aka papaw  (don’t mind my dad he hates pictures lol)

There was a baby that started to cry, but instead of having a meltdown he covered his ears until she stopped then said Shew that baby to loud.  From there we went to my aunts to visit with her and my grandmother. He told me he was excited and that he could not wait to jump on her and give mamaw a big hug.  I told him he would have to be easy.   He took his lunchbox full of cars and freddy figures and followed my oldest daughter in the house.  He quickly made his way over to grandma and very easily gave her a hug.  My aunt was wonderful and let him roam from room to room exploring all the new wonders his eyes saw.  He felt at home and that made me happy.  He played with my cousins little ones and made his way over to set on my dad’s lap a time or two.  For the first time in a long time I was not nervous about what he would do, he had this calmness about him that I don’t get to see often. Maybe he could sense mamaw was not feeling the greatest who knows. Or maybe the difference was that here, no one was looking at him and judging him, they were all just happy to see him.  There he was not “the kid being loud” he was just my son.  He was surrounded by people who love him all weekend long.  He did not have to try and fit in with the social norm for there at my in-laws and at my aunts it was OK for him to just be himself. As our visit winded down and we started to say our goodbyes, wild man made it back over to my grandma.  Before anyone could catch him he jumped (just as he said he was going too) into her arms and hugged her.  I found myself apologizing and asking her if she was okay, and she just laughed.  She smiled and said “He is fine don’t make a fuss”  And you know what, she’s right.  He is fine.  Her smile said it all.  He had made her happy.

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wild man with my oldest daughter and my grandmother
As his mom my instinct is to protect him, as an autism mom my guard is always up.  People judge him without knowing him and that makes me both mad and sad.  They will never know the joy it is to be him mom.  They will never know the endless love I have for him and all of his uniqueness.  But my grandmother showed me something this weekend.  She loved him for his heart, my whole family did.  They did not care that he got a little loud, they were just happy to see him.  I am thankful for their loving ways.  What a great weekend we had.

From our beautiful chaos to ours when life is not going exactly like you pictured it, in the words of my wise grandmother Don’t fuss.  Take time to enjoy the good for the bad days will get better, life is to precious to fuss about the small stuff.   Smile and laugh your way through it all.

 

 

Thy Will be Done

Valentines Day, the day of love. ¬†I’ve thought about this post over the last few days so forgive me if its a jumbled mess.

Valentines Day has a different meaning to me now than it did when I was in my early twenties and early thirties. ¬†As I was getting our little loves gifts prepared I could not help but to think back to my two oldest kids last Valentine’s Day with their father (my ex-husband) ¬†He was not around much leading up to the end of our marriage. ¬†He was a nurse and was always “working” so he spent many nights away from home. ¬†I knew what was going on, I just didn’t want to admit that my marriage was over. ¬†So when he was not around the first few weeks in February that year, I didn’t think much of it. ¬†I remember making the kids baskets that year, almost as large as the ones kids get on Easter. ¬†I made sure they had candy, and movies, coloring books, and even a new outfits. ¬†I wanted them to know that I loved them, they needed to know someone loved them. ¬†So I went overboard. ¬†At that point I was still covering up for him and that even included all things involving our kids. ¬†I finished up the baskets and had them setting in the middle of the living room floor so the kids would see them first thing as the came in from school. ¬†I went to take a shower before they came in so we could spend the evening doing whatever they wanted. ¬†When I was finished and came back into the living room, there he sat. ¬†The kids walked in and immediately ran to the baskets. ¬†They were all excited when they opened up their gifts and then they opened the cards and read “Happy Valentines Day Love Dad” ¬†He had placed cards in the baskets while I was gone. ¬† I had not bought cards for them. ¬†In their eyes he had come home with these amazing gifts for them just in time for Valentines Day. I was so angry with him, but never said a word to the kids. ¬†He packed a bag a few hours later and was gone again. ¬†Later that month the kids and I moved out, and I filed for divorce, not because of that but for many other reasons.

 

Jump forward a few years and I am now married to my husband. ¬†I love him dearly, however he is not one to celebrate birthdays much less holidays. Every now and then he will surprise me on a holiday, take this past Christmas for example. ¬†We had agreed to not get each other anything, but I knew he needed a new coffee pot. ¬†Not a great Christmas gift I know, but I knew he would use it. ¬†So when he told me to open up my gifts ( that’s gifts not gift)¬†I was completely shocked. ¬†He had bought me a new laptop (which I am typing on now) and an autographed Brett Favre jersey¬†¬†(I’m a huge Green Bay Packer Fan) to hang in my Green Bay Room. ¬†He didn’t have to but he did out of love. ¬†Kind of made the coffee pot look a little silly but hey he loved it. And then there was last Sunday where I needed some me time, so he watched the kids while I went and seen the movie Lion.¬† It’s the little things.¬†So when Valentines Day rolled around and I only got a kiss on the forehead with a “Love you more” that was okay.

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Back to the kids, Diva and wild man were both excited for their class parties at their new schools. ¬†My husband had went and picked up Valentine’s Day treats for their classes because our little Elmo was sick and I didn’t want to take him out. ¬†The kids worked on their boxes and signed the cards to make sure they fit the right friend. ¬†They worked on their Valentine’s Day things for two days.

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Diva’s box

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Wild Man’s Box

Then the county school board calls. ” Classes in the county will be closed Monday and Tuesday next week due to the number of kids out with the flu” The kids were heartbroken. ¬†They really wanted to give out their Valentines to their new friends. ¬†So on Tuesday I got up and we made cupcakes for their daddy, something to keep their mind off of not being at school celebrating with their friends. ¬†We had frosting all over the place, but they had fun. ¬†The school board called that evening and said that school would be back on a regular schedule the next day and all parties would take place Wednesday. ¬†They were excited. ¬†They got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and headed to school. ¬†By noon wild man was sent home with a high fever, his party was scheduled for 2 he was heartbroken again. ¬†He came home and fell asleep on the couch.

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Hubby’s cupcake bouquet we made

 

My husband called around 4 and said he was stuck at a job sight and he would not be able to pick up diva from dance practice, so I loaded all the kids up and went to get her. ¬†When I got their her instructor told me that diva was not acting like herself. ¬†By 6 last night all five of our little loves were sick. ¬†Three with high fevers and two with diarrhea. By 6:15 one of our new friends from church was texting me asking what was going on? ¬†We were not at small group at church, obviously so she knew something was wrong. ¬†Our new group of friends started praying for us as soon as they heard what was going on. I called my husband and gave him a list of “must haves” from the store before he came home. ¬†He walked in around 8 and jumped into help with bath time and bed times. The night was long and the kids were sleepless. ¬†The fevers went up and down, a two of the five were up throwing up here and there, and I felt like crying and did so. ¬†Then at 2:48 this morning I heard a noise coming from our daughters room. ¬†At first I thought the baby was babbling in her sleep but then I realized it was someone singing. ¬†I went in to see what was going on. ¬†Diva was laying in her bed ¬†singing along with the radio “Thy Will be done, Thy Will be done, Thy Will be done” ¬† The song¬†Thy Will by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family.¬† I asked what she was doing and she said “I’m practicing so I can sing as pretty as you do in the car”¬†¬†And I cried again.

 

Even through her sickness she was was praising God. ¬†Some of the lyrics of that song: “It’s hard to count it all joy distracted by the noise just trying to make sense of all your promises”and “I know you see me, I know you hear me, Lord Your plans are for me Goodness you have in store” ¬†As she sang the words rang so true. If she could praise God at almost three in the morning, so could I. ¬† I thought about life, my life. Ten years ago I did not see myself celebrating love on Valentines Day, I felt no one loved me and all alone. I did not see God’s Will for my life. ¬†This year I have a husband who adores me, kids for love me, friends who worry about me, and a Lord that died for me. ¬†I am blessed so blessed. So what if Valentine’s Day did not turn out the way I had wanted. ¬†I am exactly where He planned on me being. ¬†I did not know that my life would be like this ten years ago. I did not know the true meaning of love. ¬†It’s not about the gifts or how much you spend, its about the simple things like forehead kisses, running to the store after an extra long shift at work to pick up Gatorade for the little ones, its calling or texting a friend just to check to see if they are okay, and being dead tired but running a bubble bath at 11pm because your sick little one¬†needs one.¬† My daughters sweet angelic voice reminded me of that. ¬†Yes the day was overwhelming and I was stressed. ¬†Yes I felt helpless and alone while my husband was at work and I was here with all my sick little loves, but the truth is we are never alone. ¬†God is always with us. ¬†And He reminded me of that through her singing.

 

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. ¬†Love from your spouse, love from your kids, love from your friends, but most importantly its about the love from God. ¬†Even if you are alone or feel alone on days like Valentine’s day we are not, He is always with us. ¬†He will never leave us. ¬† When we feel unwanted or unloved or unappreciated that’s when He loves us most Go to Him and let Him show you. ¬†We are all worthy of His love. ¬†In our darkest times we must look for His light. ¬†Father God, thank you for the sweet music in the wee hours this morning. ¬†Thank you for allowing diva and I to share that precious moment together. ¬†Thank you for your strength and comfort but mostly thank you for your unfailing love.

 

From our beautiful chaos to yours Let His Will be done in your life. ¬†You may not understand why you are going through a storm in life right now, but in ten years you will look back and say ” Thank you Jesus for your Will on my life. Thank you for getting in through the storms and delivering me here. ”

 

 

 

Who am I?

In the beginning I was just a dream of my mother’s. Then I became a daughter, first born child, to my parent’s.They are truly like no other’s.

As a child I was a granddaughter, apple of their eyes, stay and play with me awhile, card playing, garden helper, and slumber night at grandpa and grandmas kind of gal. 

I am a big sister, though sometimes not the best but siblings argue from time to time I guess.

I am an aunt of two spunky teens, they make me smile oh how I miss seeing them it’s been quite awhile.

For awhile I was Dave’s wife, mother of two, then I became his ex-wife if people really only knew.

 I am a survivor of domestic violence. It took years to escape, I had it search within to figure out this was not my fate. 

But who am I?

I am a Christian. I love my Jesus, the hallelujah host, I am not perfect not even close, so thankful for the times God love me most.

I am a friend, been both a good one and a bad. I have been there for some at their weakest moments, yet lost some because I was to consumed with life events. 

I am now Todd’s wife, mother of seven. I really miss living in WV “almost heaven”

There I was wife, mom, foster mom, adoptive mom, and so much more. Here I feel a loneliness  like nothing before. 

I miss my foster group meetings and dinners with the family. I miss my best friend’s girls night outs and and surprised bags of peanut M&M candies.

Don’t get me wrong I love my kids, our new house and state, I just wish I was adjusting faster and could have an occasional husband date.

Here I am only mom and wife, and half the time I don’t feel I am even getting that right.

I am now a Tennessean, Mountaineer at heart, Packers are my Pro team after all I am smart. 

I still hate frogs and stormy nights, but love to held around bonfire lights.

I am a kisser of boo-boo’s, a taxi, and a toilet bowl cleaner, sometimes life maked me just a little meaner. 

I am who I am, I’m lucky and blessed sometimes though I wish I knew who “just me” was I guess.