Friday, February 24, 2012

New Beginnings... and Going Down Memory Lane

Today I've spent more than 4 hours writing and really bringing up old memories.  I wrote today about my mothers mastectomy and about the birth of my first daughter, who is now 24 years old.  Here is a picture of my mom, my daughter and I four months after her birth and six months after my moms surgery.  As I look at this picture of me, I notice that I actually could pass for being my mothers biological daughter, of which I am not.  My daughter on the other hand looks just like me.  Here is a current picture of us right here:
I know the picture isn't very good, it was taken with a cell phone, but you can see how similar we are.  Anyways I've been thinking about how I started out my job as a mother, at such a young age, and really have not done that bad of a job.  I've had many challenges that I've overcome.  I don't write this to toot my own horn, but rather to remember who I really am, and that's a MOM.  My entire life has been nothing but caring for my children first and foremost.  I've given up a lot to be able to provide for them, but I've also been rewarded in ways that I can't even put into words, just by seeing my children happy.  For those of you who do not know, I am the mom of special needs children.  All five of my kids are on the Autism Spectrum in varying degrees, and then some of my children also have other disabilities in addition to the autism.  Such as my 21yr old daughter who has Down syndrome, or my 15yr old daughter who also has cerebral palsy.  I also have a son who was born with Fetal Valproate Syndrome.  Did I ever envision this when I had my first child?  No.  But I've grabbed the bull by the horn and have done whatever I needed to do to raise my children to the best of my ability.  Sure, some days I question "why me"?  Why was I chosen to raise special needs children, and then I remember...  because this is what I've always wanted to do.  When I was young I wanted to be a special education teacher.  Well, being a mother is the ultimate teaching possibility.  We mothers are teaching our children, even when we think we're not.  Our children are like sponges when they are young, constantly taking in what we are doing, how we react to things, and how we talk to them and those around us.

I've enjoyed walking down this memory lane today.  I'm looking forward to writing the next section of my book.  This next section includes learning how to parent when you're alone, and the birth of my second daughter, and how Down syndrome transformed my life. 

Until next time....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Is Success?

What is success?  When I looked it up on it gave me two definitions:  1) the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors  2)  the attainment of wealth, position, honors or the like.  When I look at success, it looks completely different.  Success to me is finding that quiet time for just me at the end of a day.  Success also is getting through a day with no meltdowns with the kids.  Success is also my 15 year old daughter getting herself ready early in the morning and doing her nightly routine without a meltdown at night.  Success is also getting a decent dinner made for my family, and spending quality time together.

I can also say that success is keeping a positive attitude when everything around you is looking negative.  In the picture above, I feel that I'm currently in the middle of the squiggly mess.  Sure my life is sometimes chaotic, but at the end of the day I have achieved success if my children are happy and laughing.

When I think of my book "The Chosen Path", success looks a little different.  Success is a finished product, with a beautiful cover, and people proud of me for finishing this difficult task.  Writing about my abusive past is emotionally draining, but in the end I know it's going to help someone else cope with their past.  I want to reach out to the mother hanging on to her last shred of sanity and tell her that I too understand what it means to be a mother of a disabled child.  Success to me has nothing to do with wealth, position or honors, it has everything to do with self-fulfillment.  If I'm happy with myself, and if my family is happy, I've achieved success.

Success is different for everyone, but for me this is what it looks like.

Until next time...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Opening of My Book

“You can move mountains, if you only believe.”  This was something my mother always told me, I believe my strength came from her and then some.  I’ve had to find my inner strength more than my fair share of times, but it has never let me down as of yet.  I also believe that for one reason or another our paths are chosen before we are born.  It’s like signing a contract that we are willing to accept and to live just to move on to our next destination.  My path wasn’t always so rosy, it had its bumps, potholes and sharp turns that we all experience; just some tend to experience more than others and in varying degrees.  That’s what brought life to my book, my need to let other parents know that there are others out there who truly understand what you are going through, to the abused children I say, yes I’ve been where you are and I’ve survived, I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor and you can be one too.  I can also say that having 5 children with special needs and a disabled husband has its difficulties, but I wouldn’t trade my life for the world.  There are blessings intertwined within the pains that I’ve suffered and yes, I would do it all over again if I needed to.  I’m also a parent who has lost children, one to miscarriage at a young age, one to an ectopic pregnancy, and one to stillbirth, but I also believe that all of those things happened for a reason, I may not know all of the reasons and maybe I won’t accept the reasons, but they happened and I’ve had to cope with the loss just like other parents of unborn children.  Our hearts are resilient, we do get past the grief, but we never forget.  This is what my book is about, overcoming difficulties, seeing the positives and loving my life for what it is and loving the people in my life because they make it what it is. 
I hope you enjoy my book.

Until next time....

Friday, February 17, 2012

So excited!!

I just got off the phone with one of Garrett's friends mom.  She called to let me know that the boys set up a "play date" for sometime this weekend and she was calling to set the details!  I'm so excited!!!  Why?  Because this is the first time that Garrett is going to have a friend who #1 is interested in coming over, but #2 because they are actually coming over!!  He's bouncing off the walls at the moment.  I asked the child's mom if she knew anything about Garrett and she said "no", so I told her that he has PDD-NOS (an autism spectrum disorder) and that he's mildly cognitively impaired.  Both boys are in the same special ed room for certain classes, so she understood and was fine with everything!  She's even going to stay for a little while so she and I can talk!!!  I haven't had anyone to talk to (girl to girl) in person for such a long time, I'm so excited I'm popping at the seams!

So tonight is "boys night", where Jon and the boys watch Star Wars on tv, then they play their video games together, so this will give me time for my much needed bubble bath.

Anyways, just wanted to share the great news!!

Until next time...

Happy Momma!

Facing challenges... again.

The past couple of days have not been good ones.  Yesterday my son collapsed at school, he's only 9 and has some challenges.  He was born with Fetal Valproate Syndrome and suffered a brain injury during the birthing process.  Anyways, he had been complaining of his "brain feeling hot", but we didn't know more than that as my son is mildly cognitively impaired, that was the best he could describe what he was feeling.  So yesterday, I get a phone call from the school that my son collapsed, it took 2 teachers to catch him so he wouldn't hit his head on the floor.  He was complaining of being disorientated and dizzy.  He said that his brain was spinning.  He could barely keep his eyes open, I was so concerned.  So I brought him home and called the pediatrician who told me to bring him in right away.  This was not our usual doctor, but she had an opening, so we took it.  She did a full neurological exam on him, and he was starting to be able to walk a little bit better by the time we were at the appointment.  Turns out my son was diagnosed as having migraines, the same as me.  My migraines usually last between 3 and 6 days long and I'm usually given Toradol and Zofran to help break the migraines, but in my sons case, at this time there is nothing more we can give him except Motrin every 8 hours for the next 48 hours.  He's feeling better today, but now I've had a stress headache all day.  I'm tired, cranky, stressed... and still trying to work on my book.  My book is so important to me, afterall, it's the story of my life ~ the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Today just reminds me that even though I'm struggling, I know there are others out there in the world who have it ten times much more difficult than I.

Today I've been writing about the special childhood memories that I have of my dad.  My dad was my world.  My mom and I didn't have a connection, but the bond between my dad and I, I can't even put into words.  When my dad died 5 months ago, a part of me died with him.  His birthday is coming up soon, I'm not sure what all we are going to do in his memory, but I do know that we will be going to Denny's Restaurant to eat because that was dad's favorite place to eat, and every year on his birthday I would take him for his special breakfast.  My dad's birthday is the same day that my mom passed away 15 years ago, so March 1st is always a difficult day, but this year it's doing to be even harder than before.

All I can do is keep writing, getting my story out there and knowing how proud my dad would be of me.  I just wish he were here to see me accomplish this mission.

Until next time....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My New Home on Blogger

Welcome to my new home on the web!  Here I hope to update when there are things to be said... or things to rejoice about... or things to complain about.  :-)  As some of you might know, I am currently writing my first book, it's a book about my life, overcoming childhood abuse, becoming a single teenaged mom, a mom to disabled children...  overcoming all of life's adversities.

I dropped out of college just a week ago to pursue my writing full time.  I've very proud of myself, just 2 days ago I spent 6 hours on my writing, it was challenging, but also so cathartic.  Talking about my abusive childhood brought up many memories that I thought I had put away in my Pandoras box, never to be unearthed again.  I was wrong.  It was a rough writing time, but I made it through, now to focus on a few happy times next.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I spent it first going out to lunch with my husband to Olive Garden, then my gift arrived by FedEx, and then for dinner we went out to a local steakhouse and I had a beautiful piece of filet mignon.

Well, I guess that's it for now... back to writing as soon as I get the juices flowing... not doing so well today.  I'm stuck to the TV at the moment eating garlic parmesan pretzels.  YUM!

Until next time...