Monthly Archives: July 2013

Labels are coming off

I had a conversation today that was a confirmation of what I have been thinking lately. We are going from a family of children with “challenges” or special needs to a family of quirky kids (and adults). A friend of mine told me that she doesn’t see what I am talking about when I mention the issues we face and I told her that I have been thinking the same things lately. Things are changing.

We have always known our kids are all very different from each other. Some of them have taken longer than the average child to catch onto some things. Others have done those same things sooner than the average. We first sought “labels” to get support for the issues we saw. I didn’t want to live by the labels but it definitely helped me understand some of the needs our kids had.

In the last year, I have seen J-man mature and grow as a person. I have always seen his potential and I believe he is now coming into that. He is a unique and wonderful personality. His emotions, though they run deep and sometimes wild, have become more mellow and mature. He is letting go of me as his safety net and is now standing on his own feet, so to speak. Like a young bird learning how to fly he has made the choice to leave the nest in a few circumstances and the change I see is spectacular!

Honey Bear (our youngest) struggled with hearing and sight for the first few years of life. While this may have slowed her down a few steps, she is rapidly gaining ground. Her sense of humor is by far the best quirk about her. Someone said today that she’s always smiling. It was so great to hear something that I hadn’t really noticed. I know she has a great sense of humor about her but the smiling I didn’t notice. Maybe I am used to it.

Although Ninja has always had quick reflexes and a strong body, he’s struggled with sensory issues. He continues to struggle with some of those sensory overloads but has sought athletic excellence as the summer months roll along. That kid can make baskets that would make a basketball player weep. He can hardly wait to do slam dunks, although he may lack the height in the end…but you never know!

Belle was obviously a bright mind from the start. I used to think she was bored as a newborn and I was probably right. I would wonder if in her head she was thinking “I can hardly wait to read or walk or do something!” She and I are both strong willed so we would clash, but recently we’ve created a bond that is amazing for me. I didn’t think it would ever happen. We’ll see what the teenaged years bring.

It is exciting to see kids overcome adversity as they grow and mature. Life always seems to throw curve balls but I am thankful I have the family that God has given me to go through life with.

Coming down from Summer Camp high

I forgot how much that kid can talk!  He was only gone five days but I guess it was five days that found my other children able to actually get a word in edgewise. I knew something was different.

Despite J-man having a few issues that I thought may make summer camp a difficult experience, he had an absolutely fabulous time! He can’t stop talking about it, telling me the same stories over and over with a few new ones tossed in every now and then.

Apparently, what made it fun was that his whole cabin loved talking about farts. I mean, what 10-11 year-old boy doesn’t? I think farts are funny and I’m a forty-something woman. I come by it honestly. My whole family thinks bathroom humor is hilarious. The irony is that now that I’m a parent of a fart-loving boy, I have to pull the plug on potty humor when it gets out of hand, which is pretty much always. It may seem to my boy that I am a farty pooper, but it simply isn’t true.

When I dropped him off at camp, I “warned” the cabin leader that J-man could get carried away with potty humor so he could tell him to cut the crap if needed. The adult-looking camp counsellor was all “Oh, I will…I’m not afraid to tell the boys like it is.” What he didn’t know is that J-man is an inherent truth-teller that tells everything. This character trait has bit me in the hind end  a few times. The cabin leader was totally in on the action.

Pillow fights and fart talk. That’s what Bible camp is all about, right?

I asked if he learned anything about God. He said he did, although the cabin leader did have to call in the Head Director Guy at one point to tell the boys to knock it (potty mouth) off during Bible time. Probably didn’t help that the Director Guy was totally down with some of the humor and instigated a time or two. It’s hard to play both sides of the humor mill. Trust me. I’ve tried. The Director Guy was just shooting himself in the foot by being “cool”.

Why was I so worried again? Oh yeah. I thought J-man would miss me. Riiii-ight.

Turns out he was crying tonight because he couldn’t go back to camp right away. He missed the guys so much. He’s already asked me 5 times if he can go back next summer.

Moment of dread

Yesterday I was having an intense conversation with a good friend when the call waiting (generally a nuisance feature) indicated the camp was calling. The camp where I sent my son this week. My heart did a triple take and I told my friend I needed to go b/c it was the camp. Immediately, she understood and hung up. I could not figure out how to hang up and pick up quickly enough as my fingers trembled a bit.

“Hello? Is this Judy?” Said the voice.

Inside my head I am wondering how bad is it that they are trying to contact my Mother-in-Law? She was one of the emergency contacts on the form.

“No this is Marcy, Josh’s mom.” I replied, keeping my cool.

“I was told to return your call.” Said the voice again.

“My call? You mean the call from last week?” I breathed. She was not calling that my child was maimed in any way.

“I was just given a message to call you.” She said.

“Well, I think it was about the registration and that we wanted to know if he was accepted or not. I think we worked it out last night. He’s there.” I was so relieved and a little annoyed at how after-the-fact it was for her to be calling. Truth be told, I was a little put off that it wasn’t an emergency and my heart had raced for nothing. Well, except that my child was apparently unscathed thus far.

“I thought you were calling because J-man was hurt.” I said.

“Oh no!  He’s just fine and doing really well!”

Ok then. I guess I could have just kept talking with my friend about a really important life event.

**So happy she called just to accidentally tell me that my son is doing well at camp!**

Stepping into the next stage

Klein Lake, Near Panther River, West of Sundre
Klein Lake, Near Panther River, West of Sundre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life passes by much too quickly these days, and my wish to slow the pace, increases.

One family misses a child tonight and they won’t get to hold her again. My friend’s niece passed away from an accident and their family will never again see the beautiful smiles that radiated from her. They will have a hole in their lives and family unit that she had once filled.

My heart has been reminded of my own loss, as I remember my own brother’s passing from an accidental drowning and how that placed a space in our family…and empty place. Our family forever changed by a moment.

I miss a child tonight. It feels like there is a hole in our little brood tonight. The likelihood of his return is likely and yet the terror that tries to infiltrate my heart is hard to fend off as I have these thoughts of loss so very present in my heart.

I came home and there was evidence of him on every corner. His collection of holes under the trampoline indicate the love for his salamander, who is given fresh earth worms every morning. His dirty sheets are reminders that I really need to teach him some responsibility. His lonely sister is indicative of what kind of older brother he is.

I cried. I am not afraid to admit, a piece of fear that I may never hug him again always tugs at my heart when I have to let him go, bit by bit. From my experience of loss comes the temptation to fear when I have to let him try and do things on his own. Not because he has always wanted to, but because I knew in the end it was good for him.

When I let him go to preschool at 3 yrs. old for 3 days a week, friends thought I should probably have kept him home closer to me and not send him away too soon. That preschool was the beginning of a very good thing. They helped him immeasurably…and me as well. But I cried. For weeks, as I dropped him off in the mornings, I secretly cried. I wanted to take him home. Protect him from whatever was happening. Make him feel safe.

When he started Kindergarten in a new school, I cried. I knew he would be confused because it wasn’t the same place that he had gone to school and there were all so many new things. Good people surrounded him and made sure that even if there were moments that were scary, he was safe.

I have been the person he goes to for information on what the world is saying to him. I am his interpreter for many situations. I can guess what he’s thinking, and reassure him. I can tell him what certain events or social situations mean and calm him down. I can talk him down from the proverbial emotional ledge. I can remind him to do things that he forgets to do.

There were a few nail biting moments this week. Our J-man was SO looking forward to camp and we had not received a letter confirming his registration nor gotten a call. I left messages and emails hoping to know whether or not to send him. By today, we just decided to pack up and go for it. He was as ready as ready does. We went to the camp, and sure enough they had not registered him. He was on the waiting list. Since he was there…they found the ONE extra bed they had open in a boys cabin. Answer to prayer, OH MY!! Thanks be to Jesus, who knew my son’s heart was ready for this. I asked J-man what he would do if they couldn’t find a spot for him. “I’d DIE.” Well, that won’t happen because you got in!!!  Yay!  Scary moments though.

This week I will miss my boy so much. He is my buddy, my pal. My incessant source of conversation. But I know this is the right thing for us to do. He is growing up and this is such a big step in his development. He may not clean his glasses for a week. That’s ok. HE may not change his clothes for a week and maybe never shower or put deodorant on. He may make farting or meowing noises and I pray that kids don’t laugh at him.

I hope he finds community there. I pray he is accepted for who he is and loved and taken in. I pray that God will be there in his times of anxiety, of which there will be many moments, I’m sure. I pray that he will meet God there and that his heart will be taken by the wonder of the Creator. May he be encouraged and strengthened in his faith as he branches out in this bold step of development.

What others see as a regular thing in childhood (going to camp), I look at with wonder. Has he come this far already and is he ready for this? Be still, my mother heart.

We were sitting on the lawn of the camp and I asked him if he was ready for me to go. He said “Not yet.” meaning that he still needed me but sometime very soon he would not need me. Within minutes his counsellor called his name to play basketball…I was on my way.  We were both not totally ready but there was the moment.

“I love you, son.”

“I love you too, mom.”

And we both stepped into a new stage in our lives.

The big UGLY cry

Simple white toilet brush
Simple white toilet brush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does it look like when a mom of an Aspie and three strong-willed kids goes off the deep end.

U.G.L.Y.

I have generally thought of myself as someone who has built up a pretty solid repertoire of patience. When the kids get crazy, the Momma just laughs at their antics.

Until she doesn’t.

Then it gets ugly and fast. Then there is wailing, gnashing of teeth, threats of running away, and a reminder to go to the therapist ASAP! There may even be nasty, red-eyed, blotchy-faced-crying-under-the-covers casserole, as a tasty side dish, to the meltdown. How do they do it? Those stalwart moms who never break a sweat. You know, those therapeutic moms who have way more on their proverbial plate than I? Oh yeah, they get dreadlocks, tattoos, sing Kum-bye-ya and go for vacation in Florida in winter. Just kinda kidding.

So I lost it.

It was not an unexpected sort of place to get lost in. I had really sound reasons for losing my nut.

Then we hugged, kissed, said sorry all around and I went to bed. I cried some more, because I needed it. I slept a little, too, because I had lost a lot of sleep the night before.

Sometimes we need to take care of ourselves, which I have pretty much not done for YEARS. Moms take care of a lot of stuff and crap. Sometimes the stuff is thrown at me and sometimes the crap backs up the toilet.

I usually love ball season, but I had all four registered in some sort of ball before I could holler a what-for at myself. I enjoy getting out of the house, finally, after a lifetime of winter broke about end of April. Any excuse to sit in the sun and watch my little peeps play ball is a fun way for me to spend my time. That is, until I realize, with the hubby coaching our son’s soccer team, I would be driver extraordinaire for the other three. That became complicated on away games as Momma just can’t be in 2 places at once. Tried it. Failed.

As ball season commenced so the appointments to Dr’s, therapists (OT, SLP x2, psychologists for both son and I, message for the mess I made of my back, chiropractor, psychiatrist for medical/mental related meds for son), birthday parties, field trips for 3 kids, church responsibilities….the list seemed to get a shot of steroids and intimidated me every time I looked at it. I honestly thought that if I didn’t have a nervous breakdown by the end of the month, I would have gained another victory.

My eyes may be swollen from the tears that passed through them, but the victory is that I waited until JULY to have a meltdown. As monumental and scary as it was. It told me to please take care of myself. Be diligent in self-care, with as many things that I am trying to juggle.

What started the mayhem may have begun the  night before…You know you are in trouble when the toilet brush looks like it was used instead of a plunger. Bad day ahead, mate! Do not even try cleaning the toilet brush. I tried. It was not pretty.

There must be some parents reading this that think that I must not be spiritual enough or must not be consistent enough with discipline or may think I am a bad mom because your kids have never told you that they hated you, thrown things in your direction, slammed the door for the bazillonth time, yelled at me “MOM YOU ARE GROUNDED AND I AM RUNNING AWAY!” before the age of six…well, you must have super compliant children. Hold them close and say a prayer for me. I have THREE strong-willed children that give me no end to scary stories (birth control to the masses, just read my future book) and an Aspie who loves to please me but is entering puberty so is pushing every boundary he previously did not think to push.

As I look back at the meltdown of epic proportions, I cut myself some slack. I have a fairly demanding job here. I am humbly and with internal and spiritual strength trying to grow my kids into adults that are loving, kind, generous, helpful, respectful human beings who shine the light of Christ to those around them.

Those low days will happen. I just hate it when it does.

We all need a little mental break here and there. I should be good for a while 🙂