Pushing Forward

Dear Ross,

The house is so quiet now. I didn’t realize what stirs that you caused among our household until now. The mornings were the hardest during the summer, because the kids slept later, and I was alone in my thoughts. It is what I needed, and I am grateful for that time to collect my thoughts, but it broke down my dam, and gave me permission to fall apart at the seams.

 

I still expect you to walk through that door.  I am still in disbelief.  Why You?  I know God needs you, too, but I want you here. Your children want you here. You wouldn’t have wanted to leave us.

Reagan is hurting so bad, and when I try to wrap my motherly arms around him, he shrinks away from me. At the same time, he is holding on tight, in his own way.  I can feel it. He struggles at school, and I was hoping school starting would provide him with some normalcy, relief.  Familiarity. But school only seems to enlarge that hole in his heart, because he is a child without a father, and a boy needs his father.

Bailey goes on as usual, and she appears to be unaffected, ignoring the emptiness in the room that used to be her dad, making her laugh with tickles and funny innuendos. But every now and then, I see an expression on her beautiful face….when one of the dogs push through the front door, and she looks over with anticipation, only to not see her daddy standing there with Starbucks in hand. She watches the carefully, processing. I know she hurts badly, but I know she will push it down. Her autism won’t let her feel the brunt of the loss, and that, is the one and only blessing of her disability.

Tyler has become a pro at pushing it down as well. It is too much for him, so he works a lot, and when he isn’t working, he is constantly moving. But in those seldom, solitary moments, he feels it, and it breaks him. It breaks him the most.

I am pushing forward, forcing down my walls and crawling out of the hole that I never knew I was in. Battling depression before the loss of my husband, and feelings of defeat as a mother of a special needs child. I cannot be helpless, a woman in distress, or a poor meek widow.  I cannot let my children look to me, and feel more lost than they already are. I am the sole parent now, and my job is to not only nurture, but ensure my children are taken care of financially as well, which is a new role for me. It terrifies me more than any parental role, but it’s not a failure I am prepared to make. It’s not an option.

I miss you. I will never be able to wrap my heart around the reality of your death. Life as I know it, is forever changed. I miss your little dances and the way you made me laugh.

I am moving us to New Braunfels. You and I always talked about that. It is where you are buried, and it feels like the right thing to do. Hopefully, the kids and I will get this house we love, and hopefully some hardships in the near future aren’t so hard, but if they are, then they are.

Everything is abnormal without you, and I feel like someone else is walking around in my body, handling all of these affairs, but the real me is still in bed, curled up in a fetal position.

I’m so lost, but at the same time, I can finally feel your presence. I know you are here. I know you laugh at me when I can’t find my car, when I lose my keys, and I know it hurts you to see us so sad and longing for you. I know you are there, especially in the mornings, after the kids have left, and I’m left in deafening silence. It hurts a tiny bit less, knowing I can finally feel you, but the blow of losing you, and our little bubble we lived in, is too much to bear. It will forever be me and my children, until they are grown and want to have their own families. There will never be another accepting, loving, and embracing man for me, and I am okay with that. I love you.

Your wife

 

A Million Broken Pieces

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It’s taken me some time to sit in front of the laptop and blog about what has happened to my family. Will there ever be a right time?  Probably not.

Ross and I had our own little bubble, where we felt safe and where there were no judgements. Every now and then, we would jump out of that bubble, for family interaction, movies, dinner, etc., but we did have our own sanctity with Reagan and Bailey most of the time. It was content, and it kept us sane. Looking back, I was happier with my little family than I thought I was. But that’s how it works, doesn’t it?  You don’t what you’ve got, until it’s gone?

Ross knew me better than I knew myself. He could finish my sentences, he knew my triggers and avoided them at all costs OR he would use them just to get my goat. He frustrated me till no end, and at the same time, I found security with him, that I’ve never had with anyone else. I knew he would never hurt me, never leave me, and he would always be there when I fell apart. I let him be my rock, and my glue, and the day that he left me, it was a fight to stay together, and not break into a million pieces.

Ross had a very stressful job. It was wearing him down for years, affecting his livelihood, energy, and his health was declining. He put on too much weight, even though we had changed our eating habits. He was battling on the phone with his partner, many times having difficulty with his asthma after these conversations. As a wife, I can’t help but feel resentment at these moments, but I struggle every day to not let it eat me up, but this has happened to me and my children, and there is no changing it.

His death certificate doesn’t indicate the exact cause of death, and this provides me no closure, but with his asthma, sleep apnea, and the weight gain, I imagine he went peacefully, or so I’d like to think he did.

He was sleeping a lot. More than someone who was overworked, so we knew something was wrong. I made a doctor’s appointment for him on August 1st, and on that day, we would start his new chapter, and we would make even grander strides to make him healthy again. That was our plan, anyway.

The morning that I found Ross on the couch, I had mopped the floors, done the dishes, and when I went to check on him, I expected him to grab me and tickle me, because that was Ross, always horsing around. I did notice, however, that he wasn’t snoring, which was my first red flag. Upon touching him, he was cold, and it made me shrink back, but I knew the ac unit was blowing right on him, so I threw a blanket over him, knowing he needed rest. He also had flu like symptoms all weekend long, so I was leaving him alone, and not being a nag about the house for once. He was overworked, fatigued, and I was always scared about his health because of this. I never knew it would be the death of him, though, and had I known that, I would have been more adamant to get him out of that situation. But there I go with more “what ifs”, “if only”, etc., and I really need to stop that.

When I realized he wasn’t breathing, and when I didn’t see him laugh and pull me in, I started shaking him frantically to wake him up. Was he really that tired? Could he really be sleeping that heavily?

I started CPR. It felt like a really long time. Bailey was at the dining room table, and at the time, she was playing with her toys, but now she was watching me. Reagan had fallen asleep on the other side of the couch with his dad, and he was stirring. I didn’t stop the CPR. I didn’t even know if I was doing it right, and I couldn’t see through my tears, and my heart was pounding so hard that I couldn’t hear anything but that.

I turned away to call 911. I didn’t want to stop CPR. What if he was almost breathing, what if I almost saved him?? 911 asked me to flip him over, which I couldn’t do without him falling off the couch, so they sent an ambulance within 10 minutes.

While on the phone with them, I turned around, and I found Reagan crying and trying to administer CPR himself. He was screaming, “DAD!”, “DAD”, over and over again, shaking from his cries, and he was trying to bring him back. It was something that I will never forget, seeing my baby boy, shaking his father and screaming for him to come back. It is something that Reagan will always have engraved in his mind, and I know it will haunt him forever. I wish that wasn’t so.

Fast forward to now, I am still in disbelief. It is still summer time, and I wake up to a quiet home. I lay there, and I remember. Those of you who have lost someone are familiar with that feeling, that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, and when you remember why you feel that way, it hits you like a ton of bricks. It comes in waves for Reagan and I.

I took Reagan to Game Stop the other day, and he is always happy to go there for a new game, but this time, upon reaching the door, there was a poster of the new 2016 NBA game, and he lost it right there. I knew why, but I sat with him, right there on the sidewalk, while he fell apart, and then struggled to collect himself. This new game that had come out……this is the game that Ross and Reagan had been waiting for, anxiously, to play together. That was their thing, playing video games. They had such a fun time together, talking trash. I wish I had recorded this, had I known this would happen. I wish I had recorded a lot of things, but I have to play over the memories instead, and no one can take those away from us.

Bailey is protected by her autism. She talks very light hearted about death, so I’m not sure if she has actually grasped the concept that he is never coming back. He traveled often, so maybe one day he will walk in the door, with Starbucks in hand, as he always did. He was dad, and he was driving all night, just to come home and be with his family. He was a stellar dad. He wanted to be with us all the time, and when he couldn’t be, he was always calling and checking on us.

He was our hero, our protector. He shielded us from elements that he thought would harm us in any way, and he worked so hard to keep me at home with our children. He worked so hard, that he died from it. He put himself on the back burner, always, and paid for it in the long run. Was he stubborn? Yes. Did he keep a lot of stress to himself, as to not worry me and the kids?  Yes.

I want a do-over. I want another life with him. I have many regrets during our courtship and marriage. I wish I had told him that I loved him more often. I wish I had been more stern about his bad habits, his work, and I wish I had been a more loving wife. I wish, I wish, I wish…..now it is the 3 of us, and his firstborn son, Tyler, who is now 21. I hurt for Tyler the most. They were partners in crime, Ross and Tyler. I wish that I could bring Ross back, just for Tyler alone, but there is nothing within my power anymore. There is only pushing forward, with this big gaping hole in my life.

I am more blessed than most. Ross’ family has been a godsend, and they are grieving as well. They need to heal by spending time with his children, and his mother and father have lost their son, and there is nothing worse than losing your child.

I keep saying the same thing over and over again. If my kids are okay, than I am okay. And that’s all I can do, keep waking up and living for our children.

 

Orlando Madness

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Everyone keeps asking about our very first family vacation to Orlando, and we’ve found it hard to find the words. Frankly, it’s a little embarrassing that we cannot have the normal family vacation, to be honest with you. Most families would say, “omg, we had a blast!”, “we rode this crazy ride and thought we were gonna die!”, “we laughed so hard the whole time”, “can’t wait to go back.”

Well, we were so happy to be HOME, but at the same time, we had to give it a try.  We had to venture out, take some risks, and hope for the best.

Let me start with the facts. The Cabana Bay Resort is very hip, retro, and has a fun environment. They play the 50s and 60s music 24/7, which is pretty cool, as you are walking through the lobby or in the outdoor pools. I loved that all of their décor was colorful and bright with all modern touches. One of the diner’s had a bowling alley, and another diner had those big theater screens that used to be in then old drive in movie theaters, with hot dog doing flips and dancing popcorn boxes (who remembers these at the drive in?). I wish I could say I don’t remember those.  Old much?

The front staff was fresh, young and perky. I swear they had to pass a beauty test upon hire. Everyone was warm and welcoming. The room was wonderful as well, same funky décor, nice and bright.

Some of the resort negatives…….the pillows had no support. The food options were very limited. Seriously, I wanted to throw up crinkle fries when we got home. EVERY DAY WITH THE CRINKLE FRIES. There was NO ice cream. What the heck?? No ice cream on any dessert menus, no ice cream bar. Not gonna fly!!

The lone fact that there was a Starbucks in the hotel is what sold me on the resort. Starbucks saves the day yet again :)

Let me get a wee bit more personal about our vacay, since I finally found the right words to describe it, and I stand by these words 110%.

“We had a lot of really great moments.”

I will run down all of the positives, because even though we were under a lot of duress almost the entire trip, there were, in fact, these moments.

I beat Reagan in two bowling games. BOOM.  I beat Reagan in several air hockey games. BOOM. Yes, I AM a machine, and you don’t want to challenge me to air hockey.

Bailey was such a happy girl, WHEN she was in the water or in a store. Happy Happy, I tell you!!  Keeping her in the water and in a store was a challenge. We were wet and wrinkled or broke, but our kid was happy. When she wasn’t in the water or a store, we were running from the scene of a very loud crime. Running from ignorant families and their judgemental stares, and running towards water or a store.  No doubt, I was always picking her up off the floor, grasping her hand, running, and not looking back.

How about a positive?

Bailey and I had some wonderful conversations that I will never forget, despite the marathons. We sat in a huge comfy red chair, and we discussed the names of all her ponies and paw patrol toys. We talked about her best friend that changed schools, and how much she misses him. We talked about why she doesn’t like nail polish, or having her ears pierced.

l only posted the moments where the kids were in the zone. Happy, giggly, excited, silly…..because people don’t get it…..but they do get happy, smiling children, so that is what Facebook got :)

Those who know us personally, or those who can relate in some form or fashion, know that we live in a rainbow of chaos.

Happy Birthday, Rondia!

 

Happy Birthday, Rondia :)

This was the only way for  me to reach you, so why not blog about you and what our friendship has meant to me?

People come and go into your life, and every single one makes a foot print in your heart forever. You and I  were best friends since I was 8 years old, and we have many childhood years of riding bikes, exploring, listening to Donna Summers, playing Barbies, teasing and hiding from my Grandpa, and being goofy and giggly at things that others would never get.

As we grew into teenagers, we were dramatic, flirty, and we really knew how to have such a wonderful time with each other. You made me laugh so hard with your big eye and eyebrow faces, and we cracked each other up with our “ugly faces”, LOL.  We listened to Poison, and we danced and laughed, and we took each day on with such an amazing playful spirit. Life was grand and carefree.

We grew into adulthood, and were by each other’s side as we had our hearts broken for the first time, fell in love for the first time, and experienced all of the rollercoaster emotions that men put us ladies on!

I am the one that backpedaled on our friendship. I have no problem telling you that it was my fault. Our personalities had become very different, but even though that happened, you were always a good friend to me. I’m so sorry that I let our friendship go, and that I allowed that disconnect to happen.

Having you  contact me after ten+ years was an awesome, giddy feeling. I was so nervous meeting back up with you, as you were, which was surprising, but funny. Like meeting up with an old boyfriend….that same butterfly feeling. Because we did share everything and we were that close. There was a nice, comforting familiarity, and our pragmatics were easy and free.

YOUR personality has blossomed, and you have become outgoing and open minded. You have become a mother, and becoming a mother makes any women a better person. This is a lot like starting over in a brand new friendship, but even better with the groundwork already laid out.

And here I am, apologizing yet again, but this time my reasons are real and genuine. How I wish I could let you into my reality, so that you could really grasp what my life is right now. I still want your friendship, but I cannot be all that I was before. My household is chaos, my mind is cluttered, and my daily activities are sheer craziness. We are on our first family vacation right now, and sadly, it doesn’t essentially FEEL like a vacation. We will never be a normal family. We won’t even ever be a dysfunctional family. I wish :)

Please contact me, Rondia, as I have a new phone with a new number. I will also give you my email address. Please don’t leave me another “perplexed” comment here on my blog. My blog is public, and for me to post my apologies in a public blog is a really big deal to me. Please know that you have always been in my thoughts, and I am really sorry that I have let us disconnect yet again. I am a mother of an autistic child. This disability causes me a lot of stress, and I have been struggling with depression. These are not excuses, these are the facts. I do want to stay in contact, and I do want to get together when I can. I’m sorry that I cannot contact you by phone at my leisure, but  calling anyone at my leisure is not an option for me anymore. My life revolves around my kids, and that is just how it is now. If you would rather not contact me, that is fine, too, but I’m trying to explain my stance in advance in case you don’t want any part of it.

I love you always!!  Happy Birthday!

Kathy

(210) 762-0565

Kathy.sarocks@gmail.com

You Saved Me

 

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Dear Grandpa,

I miss you so badly. It is strange, but I can still smell the cream that you rubbed on your skin, see you with the hose in the back yard, watering the bird fountains, with that goofy, Gilligan hat. I remember hiding behind your chaise while you read, only to pop out and scare you. I loved to torment you for some reason, but you never really got mad. You were grumpy and funny, and you made me laugh so hard.

Most of all, I remember holding your hand and the way your long fingers wrapped around mine. And then I remember how your hand was growing cold because I didn’t want to get out of your bed.

The loss will be there, always haunting and hovering over my head. I’m so thankful that it isn’t as gut wrenching anymore, but why must it still hurt so bad?

Happy Father’s Day. You saved me from a fatherless life.

#iloveyousomuch

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY ;0

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, ROSS!!

To the man that drove hours every single weekend to collect his firstborn, NO MATTER WHAT. The man who NEVER disappointed Tyler and always made him a priority. Their bond is a force to be reckoned with, and that bond pulled them through some difficult times. It also is what drew me to him, this man who was so relentless in being a constant presence in his child’s life.

When Reagan came along, he pulled out all the stops, and made fatherhood a world of its own. This mini Ross adored his father, and mimicked all of his goofy antics, and the 3 of the boys have had some crazy times together, and will continue to do so.

When Bailey came into this world, Ross was challenged to a whole new level. This patient, calm man was STILL fighting to keep his composure, even though his stress level was through the roof…..but we all know a Daddy with their girls….instant mush. Ross has given autism a run for it’s money.

Ross works his tail off to provide for his family, and makes sacrifices even to the detriment of his health. He is my rock when I am falling apart at the seams and always seems to know what I need.

I love you!!  Happy Father’s Day!

#bestdadever

Levi

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There is this special dog by the name of Levi.  Levi is a canaan mix boy that has had quite an adventurous life already at age 4.

Levi was a stray on the streets of San Antonio, when he was picked up by animal control and transported to the high kill city shelter.  He awaited his fate, and was thankfully pulled to safety by the rescue that I am with, SA R.O.C.K.S.

He went into foster care, where we learned that he wasn’t a fan of other dogs. He was dog reactive, not aggressive. There is a difference, though a fine line between the two.

Honestly, I can’t say that I blame him. I can’t imagine being alone on the streets, having to scavenge and even fight to feed your empty stomach pains, to always be looking over your shoulder, never getting a good nights rest because you are always unsettled. I am shocked that more dogs are not reactive, or even aggressive. We have discovered that it is mostly fearful dogs right out of the shelter, but dear lord, that shelter is a nightmare. Every time that I have visited the shelter, I am physically sick to my stomach. Just looking into the eyes of these animals is enough to break your heart on the spot. If they are lucky to escape, they carry the weight of that fear, the smell of death, and they KNOW. They are grateful.

Levi had to go into boarding after a few days in his first foster home.  In boarding, he grew progressively depressed. He shut down. He spent his days with his face pressed up against the bars. He had no interaction. His dog reactive issues intensified as he was taken out to attend adoption events. And back he would go into boarding, into isolation. His own little hell where he felt nothing. It broke our hearts to see his spirit broken. I cried….literally…..every time he was taken back to that boarding facility.

Especially this one time, where he went missing for two years.

Levi came to our event.  I was leading that event at Starbucks in Leon Springs, and Levi was being handled by one our long term volunteers who was always willing to help break him out of boarding when he could. It was time for me to break down and load up my event supplies, and Levi was at my feet. I remember looking down into his big brown eyes, and how sad and soulful they were. I bent over and told him, “oh Levi, I’m so sorry. I wish I had found you a home today.”  He moved forward and sat right on my feet, and he gingerly lifted one paw up towards me. I could feel my tears welling up right there. I stooped and embraced him in a huge, warm hug. He leaned in to me. I should have never let him go, because after that, he was gone for a long time.

He escaped his volunteer at a local walking trail shortly after. He was frightened by a jogger, and backed out of his collar, and jetted off into the woodsey area of the park. A few of us headed out right away, in search of him. Calling his name, sporting treats and food, and slip leads. All day and into the evening. On that first day of his disappearance, I stumbled upon a rattler. Seriously, there it was, under a boulder. I froze and slowly backed away. In my mind, I could see it all play out, the striking out, my screams, and the news caption, “local rescuer dies from snake bit searching for missing dog”. And yes, I can laugh about it now. But guess what?  I would do it again, almost piss my pants searching for this sweet, special boy.

Three months pass, and there I was, still looking. First I went every morning, and then it was every other morning, but I never stopped. After awhile, I stopped talking about him to my other rescue ladies, because life went on, and lives still needed to be saved. I kept looking for Levi. I would never forget those eyes, and the way that he looked at me on that last day. I knew he was out there. I could FEEL IT.

When he finally was found, it was TWO YEARS LATER. The power of the microchip, people!!  His finder had taken him to a local vet for a bath, where he was scanned and we were contacted.

He was pretty chubby, so somehow, along the way, good Samaritans were keeping him fed. I am gathering he made his way from human to human, gathering enough scraps to keep himself alive. He may have been malnourished and had some battle scars, but he did not go hungry.

His story was compelling, so another foster gave it a shot with him. There were several other dogs in the household, so we were crossing our fingers. He was kept segregated from the other dogs, and we received several hopeful pictures of him laying on a doggie bed, and all seemed well. I imagine that after very careful introductions were made, there was a moment of pure chaos, and there was a bite incident. Truth be told, moments of chaos for ANY dog can result in a bite or a fight, but there he went, back to boarding. We chose a different facility this time. We would never subject any of our dogs to a facility where they received no interaction, and we refused to let him go back to that dark place. where he shut himself off from the rest of the world.

This next boarding facility had huge open play areas for each dog. The staff was loving, attentive, and they CARED about Levi’s emotional and physical well being. He lived there for almost a year. Our rescue marketed him like crazy, I made Levi his own Facebook page, we recruited volunteers to spent time with him, and I took my kids to play with him as much as I could. And many times I went alone, to sit with him, and let him know he wasn’t forgotten. Because sadly, Levi was one of those dogs that most people would walk by, without a second glance, if that. He wasn’t unique to the eye. Most people did not know what he really was, but I did, and several of our volunteers knew, and they were his advocates. They had his back the entire time he was in boarding. These volunteers are the reason why he is in a foster home right now, where he will most likely because a permanent resident. And yes, I know what you are thinking…..I said it out loud. Doggie prayers. Human prayers would be even better, because if this works, and Levi has his home, I will have a new outlook on the human race, and their capacity to love and show kindness.

This young lady asked for Levi, out of all of the dogs that we had available for adoption. I wanted to know why, why Levi? She said, “because he reminds me of ME.” And right there, peeps, I wanted to cry. That is FAMILY.  The pretty young lady was looking for a FAMILY MEMBER, not just a dog. God bless her, and her beautiful young soul, to look at Levi, and recognize his worth. He is special, different. He has been so patient, waiting for his person. I will pray every single morning, that she is his person, and that he is her person. I will pray that she will be happily married one day, and we will receive pictures her children laying across Levi, him sitting there with his tongue out, and his lazy sweet self looking so happy, content, and finally at peace. Yes, I am dreaming WAY in advance. I am hopeful.

Thank GOD for fosters, saving lives one dog at a time. Thank GOD for volunteers, sacrificing their time away from their families and friends, to open their hearts to care for these dogs that have no one else. You KNOW who I am talking about :)

And Levi….how I love you so. My heart breaks with happiness for you. I cry happy tears. And I ache from praying so hard that you have found your forever.

#onespecialdog

 

This thing called Motherhood

 

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Every mother has a different perspective of motherhood.

For me, motherhood is a blessing that I never knew would come. My firstborn, Reagan, is my miracle baby, because the pregnancy before him was a phantom of a dream that I once had. I will always wonder what my life would be like, had this phantom baby were real, and would I have two children or three?  Blighted ovum is a difficult pill to swallow, much like Alzheimers. You see a human being, but they are not there. Not really. Much like an empty shell.

Motherhood has given me a brutal beating, but you know what?  I remember sitting in restaurants, staring at children and giggling babies at other tables, with my heart ripped into shreds. I wanted to be a mother so badly, that it hurt to see my closet friends give birth, raise their children, and see their unmistakable bonds. I hated that I felt such resentment, but it was there like an elephant in the room.

Choosing the words “brutal beating” is harsh, I know. When I use these words, I am referring to fleeting moments of autistic meltdowns…..punches and bites and screaming. Strong bitterness and back talk from the sibling of an autistic child. There are so many dynamics involved under the roof of a family that has a special needs child or adult. Dynamics that cannot be understood to the fullest, even if you have a special needs family member. Because guess what?  Just like each person is different from the next, this applies to autism, down syndrome, lupus, muscular dystrophy, mental illness, etc. Everyone copes and processes differently. This is my journey of motherhood.

Reagan was this perfect Gerber baby, chubby and happy. He slept fairly well, with his tiny fists on each side of his face, squishing his cheeks together. Watching him sleep was peaceful. He made me feel such a happiness that I couldn’t even fathom how life was before he was here. He was a good baby. As he grew into a toddler, his personality was hysterical, and he kept us all laughing. He looked like Charlie Brown with his big, bald head. He was my sweet boy, and he loved me so much. His heart could move mountains, it was so big, and because of that he was a very sensitive boy. Still is. I love this about him, because he loves so intently, and cares so much, however, once Bailey came, he had to share his time with us, and that didn’t always sit well with him. I don’t think there is enough credit given to the siblings in a special needs family. Reagan is affected by every one of Bailey’s meltdowns. Each one breaks him down a little bit more. He has high anxiety all the time, even has trouble falling asleep at times. We have to treat him with kid gloves, and there are some judgements about this. Those judgements don’t concern me anymore.

Reagan needs more one on one time with each of us separately. He needs to always be assured that he matters and is loved. He needs to reminded that he is a very smart boy, even though he has had struggles at school this year. He is so deserving. We have had some rough patches, but he is an amazing nine year old boy, that has the world at his feet. He will make a wonderful, tender hearted husband, and father, one day, and he makes my heart burst. Every night he lets me rub his head and he tells me about his day and all of his woes. Thank GOD I have those nights, because I wouldn’t be able to stand being disconnected from my firstborne. Being his mother makes me so proud.

Bailey is my Velcro child, always right there, always stumbling over her. She can’t fall asleep without me, and she wraps around me like a spider monkey so that I can’t get up and sneak away. Bailey was always behind the game, through no fault of her own, and not my fault, either, though it took me many years to stop punishing myself. Bailey is a lovely, blue-eyed little girl with an off the wall personality, a memory like a steel trap, and this insurmountable creativity and love of art.

We gave her everything she needed as parents after her diagnosis, and she has blossomed beyond our expectations. It took great strength to parent her, and it has been a rollercoaster, but she flourishes every day. Till this day, I watch her play with her toys, doing her “thing”, as she calls it, and I hear her pronounce all of these words into these beautiful sentences. Being a witness to her growth has defined me as a mother. Her disability has challenged me more than anything else in my life. Her meltdowns have broken me down, but forced me to conjer strength to put myself back together again. She is this little person with such fight and determination. We have a long way to go, and we need more help, but it is only uphill from here. I am so blown away by her perseverance. What a wonderful little girl she has become.

Admittedly, I enjoy my community of mothers with children with autism, and being labeled a Warrior Mom, but you know what?  All mothers are warriors. We wipe noses, we cook meals, we transport, we clean and make lunches. But let’s be honest, what really matters?  Our nurturing spirits, our limitless amount of love for our children, and our fierce protective nature when our child has been hurt. They will grow and become teenagers, and we will still smell their sweet skin on our faces, and remember the softness of their hair, and they way they used to look up at us with such adoration.

This motherhood thing. It’s amazing.

Time Is Ticking

Within the past year, I took some time to reflect on my life.  Grudges, old, stale bitterness, and resentment I held for individuals who had no concern for my well being. You know the quote, Let It Go, but it is not an easy feat. Not at all.

Why do we waste so much time on stupid, petty anger?  Why do we let it consume our relationships and poison them like a disease?  At what point did we decide the relationship wasn’t worth the effort?  Why do we try to control all of those around us, those that are precious to us?

Toxic friends, we all have at least one. Those can be dismissed without a glance back, as in the expression, “Don’t look back, you aren’t going that way.” So don’t!!

Family is a whole different ball of wax. I resented my mother for EIGHT years after her death. One day this overwhelming forgiveness hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was blindsided with grief. But she was already gone, and I was left with regret. And regret……it never goes away.

My Grandpa died of pneumonia and alzheimers. I spent his last months by his side as much as I could, and he left this world knowing that he was loved. His death made me feel empty, and it still hurts like hell, but I l chose to not take precious time for granted, and because of that, I can look back at our relationship and feel at peace. I want that for everyone.

Make it right. Take it upon yourself to salvage your relationships that matter to you. Most likely, the other person wants to do the same, but fears rejection. If you are a parent, it is your job to make it right, tom nurture, protect, and help guide your children into adulthood. If you are disconnected from your child, change that. Make it right. I suffer from not having a mother in my life. The struggle is real, and even at age 45, I still need a mother. Days, weeks, and months went by, and I had no mother. I went to school, I struggled with insecurities, I reveled in dreams that I would have loved to have shared with my mother, but she was not there. Death, absence, whatever……sometimes they just aren’t there.

Now my grandma has dementia, and she doesn’t know who I am anymore. How do you make it right, when they are there, but absent in your life?

I am all over the place with this blog, because there are so many different stages of emotions all at once. I had a point to make, and I am not sure that I have made it. I have been told by many that I tend to try to be the peacemaker, and I am proud of that.

My children love me like crazy, and that is a beautiful feeling. They can come to me for anything. I have made a point to be their best friend and confidant so that there would never be any secrets. Open your doors, people!!  Stop closing them because of your own hatred, animosity, and stubbornness. Lower your expectations of others. Why put such pressure on someone who only wants your love?  Do you think that tightening those reins will make them love you more? Most certainly not. They will suffocate, and you will end up alone.

I am not all koon-by-ya type of person (excuse the misspelling),  but I am over watching these families tear each other down, when they should be supporting each other, spending valuable time having heart to heart talks and laughing and sharing. Break down the barriers and take a chance. Time is ticking, and one day you will be gone. How do you want to be remembered?

#makeitright

LESSON LEARNED

learning

1) Do not settle. Settling is a discredit to yourself, and to the other person. There may be the perfect match for THEM out there.

*I have done this many times over the years. In the moment, especially when you are young, you feel passionately for someone, but come to find out, they were never there for you when you really needed them. You never listened to your gut, and your questioned whether you were truly happy or not.

2) Do not assume everyone is your friend, nor do they want to hear your personal sagas. Genuine, honest, and trustworthy friendships are a rare find. Not all of your “friends” have your back, nor are they reliable confidants.

*There is a huge difference between a friend and an acquaintance. I learned this brutal reality after Bailey was diagnosed with autism. It was my lowest point, rock bottom. When I came up for air, and took a look around, those who I thought were my friends were gone. Lesson learned.

3) Just say NO. You will run out of steam really fast, if you are at everyone’s beckon command.

*This is still an issue with me, but I am working on it. I want to help everyone, and if I don’t, I feel very guilty. I have to stop and ask myself….,would they do the same for me?

4) Lower your expectations of those around you. Not everyone has the capacity to care as much as you do, nor will they exert the same effort. Seriously, THEY WILL NOT EXERT THE SAME EFFORT!

* I learned this is dog rescue. There are many dog lovers out there, but not many of those who consider their dogs/cats as part of their family. I am GLAD that I cannot understand this, because I don’t want to be one of those people. They are the ones that have the world fooled, the ones who drive past animals in need, those who buy  their animals from breeders while others die in the shelters, and they are the ones who dump their animals on the side of the road. It is my  job to educate and be a resource for the rescue community.

And two of my favorites……

9) Only surround yourself with those who will bring you UP, not down. Those who judge you, are not worth your frustrations.

Family and friends…..yes, sad, but true. If you are around a person that makes you feel small, belittled, or worse, like you aren’t doing your job as a parent, in THEIR opinion, off with their heads. No one knows the struggles you live every single day. Placing judgement on you is unfair, cruel, and NON-Christian (if you  are the praying type).

10) Take baby steps. Everything comes at once…..reflect, breathe. Take baby steps, make a mental list, and tackle one problem at  a time. Break it down into pieces so it isn’t so consuming.

I am still working on this one as well. I am always telling everyone how overwhelmed I am. I know they are tired of hearing this, because in their minds, I am not making time for THEM. It is about them, not about me. If they lived one day in my shoes, they would give me space and not put additional stress on me. I wish I knew a way to word how my life is, without hurting feelings or coming across like I don’t care. I would love to spend more time with my friends. I would love to spread out, relax and chat on the phone. My life doesn’t allow this anymore. It is what it is, and I am doing the best that I can.