Thursday, September 25, 2014

Me Time

I did the most cliché thing a special needs mother could do yesterday morning and "took some me time." If there is any advice I read over and over it's "you really need to find time for yourself. For self care. Out of the house. Doing the things you used to love. Finding your passion again. Meeting with friends. Making new friends. Blogging. Soul care. Take care of YOU. How can you take care of your child when you haven't paid attention to yourself?"
You get the idea.

The thing is, I've been really good about finding time for myself. I've heeded the advice and ran with it. Jon and I both encourage each other to get out there and do all the things, especially as Jack has gotten older. But since his birth, I've also been really good at avoiding certain things. Mostly out of fear.

Yesterday, despite the fear, I went to the doctor. I have been avoiding this one big time. Not because I don't have hours in the day, but because there is just so much baggage. I haven't visited the doctor for a regular ol' checkup since my pregnancy. Five years ago. Back then I got horrible rotten care. Back then things did not work out so well. Back then I almost died. Avoiding it all worked OK for a few years. I focused on Jack and his gazillion medical appointments.

As time does, the years started flying by. I kept telling myself next fall, next spring, next year, but the fear was always nagging, causing me to push the date. Finally, I said it's now or never. I picked a new clinic, cold called and got an appointment A WEEK LATER. (Since when does that ever happen?)

Then... nerves. It's funny how the smallest of things become so dramatic. My internal dialogue was "get a grip!" and "things will be fine!", but no matter the pep talk, I also know the flip side. The side where the smallest thing can erupt into the biggest thing and the next thing you know, you are being life-flighted to another hospital.

On the scale of things, "me time" yesterday was totally non-eventful. It was pretty much how a regular check up should go. In and of itself it was healing, because I was not rushed off to meet my 23 weeker son in an emergency c-section. Visiting the doctor was a very small blip in my week. It was in fact, a "typical" experience. A "Hey! I'm just like the other ladies going to their annual exam!" sort of thing. For that, I am thankful.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

She Got It!!

I was thrilled and nervous went I hit publish on our big Jack birthday idea. We had agreed to raise almost $3000 to cover the cost of a wheelchair for a little girl named Nellie Jo. We had 15 days and needed our friends and family to join in with us on this dream. I said a quick prayer, clicked publish and then waited by my phone.

I shouldn't have worried. Immediately, email after email came in, showing that our amazing family, friends, and yes, even those we have never met, were determined to get Nellie Jo her chair. In fact, over 50 of you gave, which is truly incredible. We were blown away. Thank you for believing in this idea and for generously giving.

And the reason for reminding you of this? I am so happy to share with you that our girl got her chair last week!! And it is perfect. Medically speaking, it is a chair that is expertly fitted to her specific needs. This will change her life, no doubt. And not only did I want to share this fabulous news, we have a video! (Click here if you can't see it)

I knew she was adorable in the photos I saw, but I am now officially in love with Nellie Jo. Isn't her laugh and smile the best? Because of you and your willingness to believe in our birthday idea, we were able to do something tangible and life-changing. Doesn't get much better than that. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
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Monday, September 8, 2014

And Off He Goes

All the feelings this morning, friends. This kid went off to school. Very confidently, I might add.

But first, Jack just being adorable.

I remember when this little backpack was huge on him. It's crazy how our children grow. There is still a part of me that worries about all that school entails, but my worry is in no comparison to how excited I am to see the amazing things this kid will accomplish this year.

Checking out his new classroom.

And his communication cards.

He thinks it's pretty awesome!

And one last hug from daddy and off he went.

We hope this school year is filled with lots of learning and lots of fun! We love you, buddy.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lord, please let me hear his little voice.

I found myself tucked away in a tiny monastery over the weekend. (You read that right.) I went with a couple of friends to a small group of nuns who just so happen to open up their beautiful home to visitors longing for a quiet place to pray, rest, and retreat.

The nuns have their living quarters on one side of the monastery, with a small chapel at the center, and guest rooms flanking the other side. We were free to use the chapel, any of the cozy and quiet rooms on the guest end, and the grounds surrounding the facility. We were also invited to join the nuns for morning prayers. This non-Catholic was touched when upon arrival, the nun explained that while we were using their space, they would be praying for us. These are women who have spent the last fifty years in prayer, each and every day. I was honored.

Visiting the monastery was perfect timing. A kiss at the end of summer, awaiting the beautiful autumn. I am a "fall" girl. I feel most alive in the season of changing leaves. I'm always more energized. More focused. I had dreams about using the monastery time to strategize and plan out my entire fall. Goals, projects, vision. You get the idea.

As I sat down to think about entering September, the month I refer to as "mine", my thoughts went to my boy. Does this happen to every parent? The immediate recognition that life is totally and completely altered because of our little ones?

One of the theological mysteries that I often contemplate is prayer. Since having Jack, I have spent more time pleading with God than I ever thought was possible. Pleading with God for each and every breath. Pleading for health. Pleading for protection. Also, more time spent in thankfulness. Utter and life-altering thankfulness for each milestone. More acceptance of his life and his needs. Acknowledgement that for some reason, Jack was spared and he is on this earth.

This is the confusing balance. Of wanting and pleading for more. Always more. Feelings of desperation. But also of accepting more. Of knowing we are the lucky ones. Of gratitude. This is why prayer is such a mystery to me.

And so in the first moment of quiet at the monastery, I scribbled down these words. I had stolen away to an outside deck. My view was a big golden field and an outcropping of trees beyond. I was watching the sun dip down the big Montana skyline and as I saw the light fade, I wrote these words:

For Jack
How much do I ask for?
How much do I accept?
The line always fluctuates.
Always longing.
Then reminding myself how good we have it.
My boy is alive.
He is JOY.
But still, I ask.
I plead.
Lord, please let me hear his little voice.
And then I kinda just went quiet for the rest of the weekend. That was my prayer. That was enough.
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