Posts Tagged ‘children’

Because of the Dad’s

June 21, 2015

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I am the daughter of an amazing dad, I was the granddaughter of an incredible grandfather.
I am now a wife to my sons first hero, and my daughters first love.

More often than not, dad’s are the behind the scenes parents. They don’t get near the recognition we mom’s do, or that they deserve.

I grew up, and continue to be surrounded by, strong, kind, funny, and compassionate dad’s . Yes my dad (dad’s, because now I have two thanks to my husband) and husband, but my circle of great dad’s is full: my brother, Uncle’s, grandpa, family friends.

I truly believe that because I was surrounded by such strong dad influences, I knew what a good man was and I knew when I had one.
As time marched on, and with having our children, the amazing list of dad’s was extended to my children.

Often when faced with chronic illnesses in children (especially in disorders with stereotypes and stigmas) parents differ on how these deal, handle or cope. We (men and women) are wired differently, us mom’s tend to become more emotional and consumed, and we talk more, a lot more. That’s not to say that dad’s don’t feel the same losses, stresses etc, they just deal handle and cope differently. In our case that usually means my husband levelling me out, calming me down and standing strong while I crumble while dealing with whatever it is that needs to be dealt with as well.
It’s often mom at the forefront, at appointments, meetings etc. I think I’ve attended one meeting alone. And I’ve never had to drive alone to a critical appointment. I am not alone in being my children’s parent, ever.

I think of the hospital stays dude has had, when my husband did the drop offs alone because I found it to hard, where almost every day dude had a visit from papa, uncle’s (and aunts) checking in and delivering books and treats. I think of the support, love and uninhibited acceptance the dad’s in our lives give him. How I am often amazed at how those dad’s just get him.  How all of these grown “guys guys” will be soft when needed. They don’t judge, they don’t question, they accept what is, and because of that, my son has amazing role models in fatherhood.

I think of our daughter and how blessed she is to have all of these men surrounding her.
Watching her bond with her dad is one of the most incredible gifts I’ve been given. He truly is her best friend and he her biggest fan. How it’s usually her dad or papa not missing a game, and always there cheering her on.
With so many wonderful men, there’s no wonder why she’s who she is. How she’s surrounded by men who adore her.  I often think of her future husband, and what big shoes he’ll have to fill because she’s already such a strong young lady and those dad’s in her life all have big feet. They accept her and love her and give her value and strength, and because of that my daughter has amazing  role models in fatherhood.

I count the dad’s in my life as one of my biggest blessings. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am. Without them I wouldn’t be the mother I have become.
Because of the dad’s in my life, I am lucky!

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Because of the dad’s

June 21, 2015

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I am the daughter of an amazing dad, I was the granddaughter of an incredible grandfather.
I am now a wife to my sons first hero, and my daughters first love.

More often than not, dad’s are the behind the scenes parents. They don’t get near the recognition we mom’s do, or that they deserve.

I grew up, and continue to be surrounded by, strong, kind, funny, and compassionate dad’s . Yes my dad (dad’s, because now I have two thanks to my husband) and husband, but my circle of great dad’s is full: my brother, Uncle’s, grandpa, family friends.

I truly believe that because I was surrounded by such strong dad influences, I knew what a good man was and I knew when I had one.
As time marched on, and with having our children, the amazing list of dad’s was extended to my children.

Often when faced with chronic illnesses in children (especially in disorders with stereotypes and stigmas) parents differ on how these deal, handle or cope. We (men and women) are wired differently, us mom’s tend to become more emotional and consumed, and we talk more, a lot more. That’s not to say that dad’s don’t feel the same losses, stresses etc, they just deal handle and cope differently. In our case that usually means my husband levelling me out, calming me down and standing strong while I crumble while dealing with whatever it is that needs to be dealt with as well.
It’s often mom at the forefront, at appointments, meetings etc. I think I’ve attended one meeting alone. And I’ve never had to drive alone to a critical appointment. I am not alone in being my children’s parent, ever.

I think of the hospital stays dude has had, when my husband did the drop offs alone because I found it to hard, where almost every day dude had a visit from papa, uncle’s (and aunts) checking in and delivering books and treats. I think of the support, love and uninhibited acceptance the dad’s in our lives give him. How I am often amazed at how those dad’s just get him.  How all of these grown “guys guys” will be soft when needed. They don’t judge, they don’t question, they accept what is, and because of that, my son has amazing role models in fatherhood.

I think of our daughter and how blessed she is to have all of these men surrounding her.
Watching her bond with her dad is one of the most incredible gifts I’ve been given. He truly is her best friend and he her biggest fan. How it’s usually her dad or papa not missing a game, and always there cheering her on.
With so many wonderful men, there’s no wonder why she’s who she is. How she’s surrounded by men who adore her.  I often think of her future husband, and what big shoes he’ll have to fill because she’s already such a strong young lady and those dad’s in her life all have big feet. They accept her and love her and give her value and strength, and because of that my daughter has amazing  role models in fatherhood.

I count the dad’s in my life as one of my biggest blessings. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am. Without them I wouldn’t be the mother I have become.
Because of the dad’s in my life, I am lucky!

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Remember your heart 💓

May 31, 2015

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I am the first to admit, I hate that my kids are growing up. Yet during a tragic week  I came to realize that I no longer have little kids. I have an amazing and compassionate young man who is still and always will be more concerned about others than himself. And I have a strong, capable and loving young lady who is going through an extremely difficult time essentially alone, yet like her brother continues to bare her heart, no matter how many times it’s crushed,  they don’t stop giving and caring and loving. So though my kids are no longer little their hearts remain the same.
A lesson brought home this week.

Dear Kids,

I know life is hard. It will knock you down.
You may Stumble, but you always get up.
We are here to prop you up until you can stand strong again.

I know that you will feel left out or left behind sometimes. Know that you are never alone. Ever.
We are here. Though we may be parents, not friends, we will always be your friends when you need one.

I know that as you question so many things in life, you will be frustrated that there’s not always the answers you need.
We will do our best to give them to you, though we still don’t have them all ourselves.

I know that sometimes you will feel lost.
We are easy to find. Come find us.

I know that life will suck sometimes, sometimes it will suck the life out of you.
We promise it will fill back up. And we will do all we can to add the air.

I know that life will try to break your heart, harden it even.
We love your hearts. They are kind, sensitive and loving. Remember that no matter how much it breaks, it may have some scars but it will the core of your heart will remain. When life tries to harden it, remember your heart. And save it.

I know sometimes you will feel unloved.
We love you always.

Love,
Your Parent’s

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Remember your heart 💓

May 31, 2015

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I am the first to admit, I hate that my kids are growing up. Yet during a tragic week  I came to realize that I no longer have little kids. I have an amazing and compassionate young man who is still and always will be more concerned about others than himself. And I have a strong, capable and loving young lady who is going through an extremely difficult time essentially alone, yet like her brother continues to bare her heart, no matter how many times it’s crushed,  they don’t stop giving and caring and loving. So though my kids are no longer little their hearts remain the same.
A lesson brought home this week.

Dear Kids,

I know life is hard. It will knock you down.
You may Stumble, but you always get up.
We are here to prop you up until you can stand strong again.

I know that you will feel left out or left behind sometimes. Know that you are never alone. Ever.
We are here. Though we may be parents, not friends, we will always be your friends when you need one.

I know that as you question so many things in life, you will be frustrated that there’s not always the answers you need.
We will do our best to give them to you, though we still don’t have them all ourselves.

I know that sometimes you will feel lost.
We are easy to find. Come find us.

I know that life will suck sometimes, sometimes it will suck the life out of you.
We promise it will fill back up. And we will do all we can to add the air.

I know that life will try to break your heart, harden it even.
We love your hearts. They are kind, sensitive and loving. Remember that no matter how much it breaks, it may have some scars but it will the core of your heart will remain. When life tries to harden it, remember your heart. And save it.

I know sometimes you will feel unloved.
We love you always.

Love,
Your Parent’s

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PTSD, bipolar or both? I hate choices!

May 16, 2015

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http://www.bullyonline.org/stress/ptsd.htm

Above is a good link to explain ptsd. I highly suggest taking a look before reading this post.

When you have a child with multiple diagnosis sometimes it’s extremely hard to determine which you are dealing with at any given time, if you’re dealing with more than one at a time and how the hell to decide.

This week I found myself feeling like a pretty good failure in the mom department. Because it took 7 days of dude having panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares and irritability for him to finally be able to explain enough to me to understand what was going on.

We have all heard of PTSD. I often write about our experiences with bipolar disorder and our son. But instead of dealing with our typical right now we’re dealing with one of his diagnosis that only creeps forward every so often.

Often we think of PTSD only affecting front line military vets, police, emts or the like. If we think of it in children we think environmental or abuse. We don’t think of it in victims of bullying.
But it most definitely can be a cause, one people would rather not acknowledge because we don’t think of bullying as severe as war or abuse. Yet it is a form of abuse,and can be utterly devastating to the victim.
And like everything, some people can cope with it or shrug it off better than others. And some it continues to effect for year’s. And please if you are thinking, it’s gotta be something else, or, PTSD from bullying what a joke, either stop reading or open your eyes.

Dude was diagnosed while hospitalized 4 years ago (aged 9). The diagnosis was not made on a whim, in fact it was made only after he’d been there 3 weeks and it was determined by the doctors what was going on was not a result of his previous diagnosis, or that a medication adjustment was needed. This particular stay (his longest to date)  was a direct result of the hell he had gone through. During his stay and following he had specific and intense therapy.
For the most part he trucks on without allowing panic, anxiety and flashbacks to take hold. But with PTSD like most mental illness, there’s triggers that bring it crashing back adding current rational and unrational fears along with it.
At this moment, years later, because of events happening in our world, I have a child whose petrified to leave the house or be alone, which is not fun . It’s days full of phone calls while I work and nights full of nightmares. It means falling behind on schoolwork because he’s trying to overcome panic instead of spelling. It means a lot of conversation and reassurance.
Thankfully he’s older and able to express his fears and understand logic better than in the past. But the anxiety and panic are very real and very scary to him.

And this last week because I wasn’t on the top of my game, I found myself frustrated and confused by the what. What out of the choices are we dealing with, and finding myself digging through the vault of my mind to quickly shift gears and remember the appropriate way to handle it. And some days I wonder why the heck we have to have choices! Wouldn’t one be enough? And then I look at my boy. And I remember the hell he’s been through, and will continue to go through. And I remember to hold him tight, love him and support him and fight FOR him instead of against him. I am not the one living through it, I’m just a bystander and I’ll be dammed if I won’t help him through his hellish days so he can enjoy the beautiful ones.

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PTSD, bipolar or both? I hate choices!

May 16, 2015

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http://www.bullyonline.org/stress/ptsd.htm

Above is a good link to explain ptsd. I highly suggest taking a look before reading this post.

When you have a child with multiple diagnosis sometimes it’s extremely hard to determine which you are dealing with at any given time, if you’re dealing with more than one at a time and how the hell to decide.

This week I found myself feeling like a pretty good failure in the mom department. Because it took 7 days of dude having panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares and irritability for him to finally be able to explain enough to me to understand what was going on.

We have all heard of PTSD. I often write about our experiences with bipolar disorder and our son. But instead of dealing with our typical right now we’re dealing with one of his diagnosis that only creeps forward every so often.

Often we think of PTSD only affecting front line military vets, police, emts or the like. If we think of it in children we think environmental or abuse. We don’t think of it in victims of bullying.
But it most definitely can be a cause, one people would rather not acknowledge because we don’t think of bullying as severe as war or abuse. Yet it is a form of abuse,and can be utterly devastating to the victim.
And like everything, some people can cope with it or shrug it off better than others. And some it continues to effect for year’s. And please if you are thinking, it’s gotta be something else, or, PTSD from bullying what a joke, either stop reading or open your eyes.

Dude was diagnosed while hospitalized 4 years ago (aged 9). The diagnosis was not made on a whim, in fact it was made only after he’d been there 3 weeks and it was determined by the doctors what was going on was not a result of his previous diagnosis, or that a medication adjustment was needed. This particular stay (his longest to date)  was a direct result of the hell he had gone through. During his stay and following he had specific and intense therapy.
For the most part he trucks on without allowing panic, anxiety and flashbacks to take hold. But with PTSD like most mental illness, there’s triggers that bring it crashing back adding current rational and unrational fears along with it.
At this moment, years later, because of events happening in our world, I have a child whose petrified to leave the house or be alone, which is not fun . It’s days full of phone calls while I work and nights full of nightmares. It means falling behind on schoolwork because he’s trying to overcome panic instead of spelling. It means a lot of conversation and reassurance.
Thankfully he’s older and able to express his fears and understand logic better than in the past. But the anxiety and panic are very real and very scary to him.

And this last week because I wasn’t on the top of my game, I found myself frustrated and confused by the what. What out of the choices are we dealing with, and finding myself digging through the vault of my mind to quickly shift gears and remember the appropriate way to handle it. And some days I wonder why the heck we have to have choices! Wouldn’t one be enough? And then I look at my boy. And I remember the hell he’s been through, and will continue to go through. And I remember to hold him tight, love him and support him and fight FOR him instead of against him. I am not the one living through it, I’m just a bystander and I’ll be dammed if I won’t help him through his hellish days so he can enjoy the beautiful ones.

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Your child.

April 19, 2015

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When you find out you’re expecting, you start planning! You plan the nursery, you plan appointments, delivery, names and everything in between.
One thing I know for sure is when that sweet baby arrives, you will continue to plan.
The other thing I know for sure is planning doesn’t mean anything, especially that it will happen!

We have our babies and we have a vision. I’m telling you right now, erase it!
Let them create their own.
And accept them. Let your expectations go and realize they are who they are and being just them, is perfect.

I can remember receiving my sons first diagnosis and having a hard time accepting that my son would never be the side kick to his dad we had expected our little boy to be. He’d never lace up skates, and never be accepted as one of the team or one of the cool kids.
That’s a tough pill to swallow.

And yet here I am 8 years later, a few more diagnosis, a lot of lessons and perfectly content with who my son is and growing into.
And a daughter, younger, I believe who has benefited from my just embracing them as they are. She’s fiercely individual and unique, strong willed and could care less about the box she’s supposed to fit into within society.

My children are who they are, not who I planned for them to be while holding them that first time. But better!

If I could tell new parents a few things of the years to come, from raising a son who lives with numerous disorders (bipolar, sensory processing disorder, developmental coordination disorder, severe anxiety, OCD… ), and one “typical”  daughter who is anything but typical, it would be…

1. Don’t worry about the other kids, or what the books say. They’re not yours, so don’t worry if little Johnny walked first or talked later. Every single kid develops at their own pace. Let your mind rest that in 10 years it won’t matter. (of course if you’re concerned visit your professional).

2. Allow your child to be their own person. Yes of course parent and guide, but it’s important to remember that they are not you. They’re born with their own personality,they’ll find their own passions  interests and goals. Embrace them, even if they’re not yours.

3. Let go. Sometimes we’re faced with the reality that our reality is not what we had planned or hoped for. That’s OK! Grieve (and you will) for those losses, because you will have to find a new path with in your reality. Let the pre conceived realities go. Accept what is and find your best self with in it. Holding onto the plans and hopes you held may now be unrealistic, and continuing to live there will not help anyone.  Enjoy the reality you have as much as you can (and yes some days won’t be all that enjoyable)!

4. Embrace the little things. And I mean what is considered little. I celebrate things every day that other parents take for granted. A smile, the ever so rare laughter. The going to school, the saying hi to someone. All of it. They may seem small, but for some they are huge. And for some we don’t know how long we’ll have them. Embracing your child as they are, and the little things that brings will bring you great joy.

5. Be proud. Love them. Simply love them and support them as they are. Always.

My son, my puzzle.

March 23, 2015

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During this transition I’ve realized a few things. And remembered a few more.  

When dealing with more than one (chronic) illness or disorder we pick the biggest /worst /most impacting one of the moment, and tend to let the others slide a bit, forgetting that all are a piece of the puzzle.
Dude doesn’t just have a rapid cycling bipolar diagnosis, but has developmental coordination disorder – mild brain damage,  sensory processing disorder, OCD, severe anxiety and panic disorders.
For years we shuttled him twice weekly to physio, OT, doctors and therapists.

But as with almost all chronic illness there comes a point where you hit the maintenance part. Where they’ve taught you and helped all they can and so you just figure it out and live with it. And when you live it every day it just becomes, until you don’t really think about it until crisis or flare up or new information arises.
Some of those puzzle pieces get lost, but the main ones remain because they are the biggest pieces of the puzzle, in our case bipolar was and is the biggest piece of the puzzle, but the other pieces complete the picture.

Forever we’ve known that Dude becomes exhausted both mentally and physically quicker and more severe than his peers.
We tried shortening his days and weeks as the school year went on and it was becoming harder and harder for him to get there and triggers were making life literally a hell for him.
See he starts school off fantastic, by December it’s a struggle, but by February it’s damn near impossible to get him out the door without rapid cycles and debilitating panic attacks.
No amount of shorter days or weeks were helping. Nothing he tried to cope was easing the overwhelming fears.
DCD amplifies his exhaustion and frustration, and SPD makes it incredibly hard to handle the noises, lights and people. School is tough for any teenager, it’s down right painful for him.
By mid year his mind and body are so fatigued that the thought of leaving the house alone is exhausting.

So now we are here working with the school to shorten his year. And we realize that it’s not only the biggest puzzle piece, but the whole puzzle that make up the reasons for school being such an incredible stressor, no matter how excellent the school, for him.

In having made this transition, it’s brought me back to the little pieces and how they all fit together in my child’s brain, how they all play a role and how we need to adjust at any given moment depending on which pieces are showing or missing or are mixed up .

As a parent when your child is ill, you search long and hard to find those missing puzzle pieces. You move heaven and earth to fit them all together! And there’s nothing like the relief of finally having them all in place.  There’s also nothing more frustrating than knowing even with all the pieces, there’s no cure,for any of them.

Those puzzle pieces sometimes confuse me, frustrate me, hurt and leave me lost. Sometimes we choose the wrong piece and have to spend hours upon hours trying to find the right spot. Or we have a spot the piece just won’t fit. And we just keep trying!

Because when the puzzle is complete and sitting perfectly just as it should before a piece of the puzzle jumps off the table again, right then the puzzle is beautiful!

Big breath…

February 15, 2015

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It has taken me the last year, since dude’s diagnosis, to accept the fact I won’t ever have the why as to his illness. Now I must accept I can’t control the illness and certain things it causes.
And both suck!
I am a person who needs to know and more than that I am a person who hates not having control more than almost anything.
The last few months I have almost physically felt the pressures of having a bipolar kiddo who is in a crash.
By that I mean the pressures I put on myself.
Get him to get up and to school more than once a week, because how does it look if I can’t even get him to do that? Because God knows what everyone is thinking when a thirteen year old gets to stay home so much.

Mom’s lazy, mom’s to easy, mom’s not trying hard enough.

The only way I can describe our morning’s, because it’s impossible to, is that if my boy could claw his skin off he would, he’s that uncomfortable and overwhelmed.
I am none of these things, far from it.

Every night I go to bed wondering if I will play the role of bad cop, or good cop  or will I even have to put on a uniform in the morning?

I mentioned at our meeting this week, my goal was to get him a) to school 4 days a week and b) through grade nine in his current school. The psychiatrist looked at me and asked  “that’s fine, but what’s HIS goal?”

Just like that I knew neither one of us can control his disorder. Sure we can manage it, but we can not control it. 

Then there’s the pressure I feel when people question our plans for highscool.
“he has to face tough things in life”
“you can’t put him in a bubble ”
” needs socialization “….
Here’s the blunt truth.  I believe the majority of social skills ARE NOT learned in high school, except a few ones that really could be done without.

I also know that these next few years are going to be the hardest. And my job as a parent is to keep my child as stable and healthy as possible, and if we can keep him alive through these years, that’s all that matters!

I’ve realized that we as parents helping our children who are on this road,  don’t need to justify our actions to anyone. We are the only ones who know what we deal with.

I am also trying to learn to be in this moment.  I am a planner, and there must be a schedule . Not just for dude, but I myself have major add, and I need to know, to yes control my own mind and world. My family laughs that if I don’t know what is happening 5 years from now, I can’t handle it!

Yet here I am a mother trying to plan and schedule a disorder in my child I can’t, I simply can’t and that I have to accept. And this is plain hard, I want to know he’s going to be OK, I want to know exactly what days are going to be hard and exactly what that will entail.

I was told by dude’s psychologist that we must be in the moment, don’t think about tomorrow morning, or yesterday morning and definitely not the morning five years from now! And more truth could not be spoken.
I suppose dude’s not the only one trying to retrain the brain.
I suppose I will do my damdest to accept I can’t control everything, and I need to ease up on myself, and remember….
It is what it is!

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Good grief, indeed!

December 14, 2014

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Ahhhh good old Charlie Brown! Sums up this week perfectly!
As I’ve mentioned this is an extremely busy time of year for myself, I’ve also mentioned that this isn’t the easiest time of year for dude.

There’s been a few signs here and there the past few weeks, that that ever so touchy balance was starting to tip.
  But I’m going to be honest, I just kept thinking they were still only a few, it’s Christmas season and I’m not sure I have time to deal with anything other than work right now so I let those signs not necessarily ignored but definitely not front and centre either because I really don’t have time for appointments, phone calls and I am dog tired to boot. Does that mean I’m a horrible mom? I don’t think so, I think any parent of a sick child sometimes just wishes positive thinking will be enough, I know I’m notorious for that, and in the meantime I miss signs that looking back I wish I hadn’t, enter all the mom guilt possible.

Apparently no matter how hard I try to pretend things are fine, sometimes they don’t listen or follow my schedule dammit!

One sign things are tipping is dude feels sick all the time, his stomach has always been a physical radar for us to use, but with flu season upon us, gallons of milk being drunk it is also sometimes hard to read the cause.
Another tell tale sign is his telling his head to shut up. For most of us we self talk in our heads, but when things are particularly tough he will voice it.
The sniffles are back, a sign he’s stressed to the max.
The rapid mood cycles hit late this week, along with crippling panic.
Then there’s the paranoia, it’s not full blown, it’s something most wouldn’t even pick up on, but thank God his teachers know these subtle signs.
Needless to say that this week I am grateful for a phenomenal team supporting him, it’s crucial we all communicate because we all see different pieces of the puzzle.
The teachers who alert administration (also Nana in our case), administration doing an assessment and comforting and contacting his psychologist who be lines for the school and spends the morning with him until I can get there, the doctor who rearranges schedules so we can see him next week instead of next month. How important the communication is  is more than I can put on words.

Apparently bipolar gave two shits about his mom’s schedule and made one of it’s own. 
Surprising, not really. Inconvenient, yup.
Does it matter  nope.
What matters is not only we caught this spiral before it was deeper and that dude himself has found an awareness about his illness that makes the break a bit more manageable on his part. His knowledge that this is just part of his illness brings him a bit of comfort I think.  Though he’s repeatedly said this week he wishes his life wasn’t full of ups and downs, mostly downs. He wishes he could just be normal. And one of his friends upon an explanation to the class asked if there was a cure, would he ever be better? And there’s nothing more my boy would love, it brings him peace knowing that this to shall pass.
What matters more than a few hours missed work is that we have support and a plan to get through this down slide.
What matters more than absolutely anything is that dude knows he is loved, that he is never ever going to travel these roads alone.
And what makes each and every ounce of frantic running, rearranging and super early mornings to fit in Christmas at the shop, and turmoil at home?
When I get home from a day of teaching Christmas classes, I’m bone tired and dude meets me at the door with a hug out of nowhere and says, “mom thank you for always being there for me, especially when I really need it”.

The kid is worth it all and more, but I still think Charlie’s nailed it…. Good grief!