Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

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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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.

The Jones don’t matter.

April 7, 2015

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Doesn’t this quote just sum it up?
I often find myself trying to justify my decisions. And why? For who?
Yet I’m as often telling others not to, that they owe no one an explanation. To do what is right or best for them.

Is it human nature? Or just my personality? I’m a people pleaser.
At the end of the day, does it really matter what the Jones think? How they perceive you?

Well of course it does. To some extent. But it shouldn’t as much as many of us think it does.

My husband for example has more of a take it or leave it, I don’t have to explain it to you, attitude. He could care less what the Jones think, because they’re not us and we’re not them.
Which balances out my need to over explain everything. Just ask my kids.

And when it comes to my children, my parenting choices and so on I find myself to often giving explanation, even to those who don’t deserve one.
I think part of it comes from constantly questioned for my choices, particularly for my child who struggles with life. Constantly having to defend my child and our family choices, constantly having people in public watch your child and constantly feeling like you’re an outsider to the main stream in the parenting department.

But I ask again, does it matter?

Are my children happy, as healthy as possible and kind, caring and giving ? Is my marriage solid and secure? Yes, yes, yes and yes!
I must remind myself those are what’s important.
Not if ms. Jones thinks I feed my kid to much candy , or Mr Jones thinks I don’t drive a nice enough car, or they think I’m not hard enough or to hard on my kids, and definitely not if Mrs Jones thinks that the treatment plan for my child is correct.
Truth is the Jones don’t matter quite as much as what people think. And their perceptions are frequently incorrect.
Because perceptions aren’t always reality. And sometimes perceptions are total reality. Because I have learned ones perception is their reality, which maybe is why I try to change perceptions in certain circumstances.

But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what the Jones think!
If you’re happy, be happy.

Gotta do what you gotta do…

February 25, 2015

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And fight we will!
If you follow my blog, you know life has been a bit of a roller coaster as of late.
I have had a brain that just won’t stop. Because when you are dealing with a high needs child, it would appear life likes to keep you on your toes, all the time.
Just when you have a smooth day you hit a huge bump, and that bump requires changing tracks.

Though dude’s recent crash has subsided and the meds seem to be levelling out and he amazes me at thirteen with the knowledge and insight he has into his anxiety and bipolar, and he fights every single day with himself to do what is needed, mainly school, we find ourselves at a crossroads. 

Where do we go from here, when everything is going well, except for one huge, ginormous trigger?
How long do we push the trigger for  before it potentially blowing?
And why the hell do I care or worry about what other people who aren’t in our situation think?
The truth is I need to let that go.

The truth is that only we know what we need to do, and yet I question it.

I question it not just for the opinion of others, but as with any changes we make in hopes of finding a solution for our child, we can only hope it’s the right choice. Because do we ever really know? Isn’t parenthood a whole lot of hoping and crossing the fingers that you’re doing the right thing?

There’s no bubble, there’s no get used to it, there’s no gotta be/do this that or the other when you’re simply trying to get your child through the toughest years of his life with bipolar and anxiety. The bubbles and the this that and others of typical children are not the main concern. The main concern is teaching, guiding and supporting while they grasp and learn to live with the turmoil that encompasses them everyday and their reality of living with it the rest of their lives, encouraging them to be the best them they can be, and to push them as far as you can without pushing to far.
Because they’re not your typical children. Because sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to get through the day let alone years, without feeling judged by general society. I truly wish I would stop being told that I can’t put him in a bubble. I wish it could be understood that’s not what it’s about, and even if I am putting him in a bubble, if it meant keeping your child healthy and alive, would you not bubble yours? You gotta do what you gotta do, period.

You gotta hope and cross the fingers and hope to hell it works!

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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!

Dear kiddo…

December 8, 2014

Dear kiddo,

I know you feel like you have no one. I know that you feel isolated, alone and wondering what’s so wrong with you.
I am hear to tell you, nothing!
I am here to tell you one solid good friend is better than 100 “friends”.
You think you’re not funny enough, smart enough, sporty enough or good looking enough.
You are! And I know it might not look that way right now, but none of that really truly matters!
You see for some reason kids, teens, even adults seem to be mislead to think that the more popular, athletic, good looking you are, the better you are.

Not true.

In 10 years I promise you, you’ll understand this.
I am here to tell you that I was athletic, popular etc. And right now none of that made me who I am today!
I don’t talk to the 100 friends, I talk to the 1.

Your character makes you a better person, not having a ton of friends, being invited to the parties or being the best dressed student.
Now there are those who are all of the above and have great character and heart. But the  “popular”  list won’t take them far, that will be their character.
And believe it or not even those you watch with envy are fighting their own battles, you just don’t see that right now.
Those zits will be long gone in a few years, you’ll grow into your legs, and you’ll find yourself. And at the root of you is your heart and your character, stay true to those and you will be more than OK, you will be amazing!

More important than clothes, the parties and the teams is being true to yourself. Be kind and caring, be compassionate and passionate about whatever YOU love. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same as everyone else.  There is always someone who has the same passion, the same humour, the same ideas and you will find them and when you do, you’ll understand you are not alone. You’ll find your groove and those friends that matter.

The world would be a pretty boring place if we were all the same. And really you don’t want to be anyone but you. Because you are the perfect you!

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worthy. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than them.  And if you don’t have that one friend yet, I promise you will.
Be just who you are, embrace that person and let go of those who don’t appreciate you just as you are.
You will find out as you get older, friends come and go. Sometimes you know why, others you have no idea.   This is a tough one for anyone to understand. But I need you to know, it’s not your fault. Try to remember that you will (maybe already do)  have that one friend whose not going anywhere, cherish them.

I guarantee that popularity won’t make you a better person. I guarantee your not missing much by staying home on Friday night.

I want you to know, you are perfect.
I want you to know while you’re navigating the path of teen hood, you are loved beyond measure. You are smart enough, funny enough and you are the perfect you. You are kind and sweet and caring.
You are you.
And that’s more than enough.

Hang in there, I know it sucks and you may not think so right now but I promise you’re going to be just fine.

Xoxo

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My village…

November 8, 2014

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It takes a village to raise a child.
Nothing is more true.
Though some of us pull away and hibernate when times are tough, I take comfort in knowing my village is always there.
As a mother of a high needs child I have learned just how vital my village is, and just who lives there!
When you have children, any child, your village becomes a bit smaller, and a bit more clear.
You soon find out who is in your village and just who you want in your village!
I know for me with dude’s journey, it became abundantly clear who I needed around us, and who wanted to be around us,  or could accept and handle us.

Being part of a special needs village isn’t always easy. You’ll witness families in turmoil, in crisis, you may feel left out, or taken advantage of.
In my case, I promise none of that’s intentional. But during those tough times it’s hard for parents to see past the moment. And we rely deeply on our village to pop us up. 
You’ll need a strong mind, an understanding mind, and you’ll need to be a kind listener. You’ll need to know when humour is truly the best medicine and when hugs are the only words that help.  And you can be guaranteed, your fellow parents will give you that back ten fold when needed, because they know just how important the village is, and how hard it is to peak your head out some days.

Now I have been blessed, maybe lucky, call it what you will.
My village is strong.  My village is the foundation that I stand on when life is crumbling. My village consists of first and foremost family, a few incredible mom’s I’m lucky enough to call friends,  but my village also employees doctors we trust impeccably, teachers who guide, aides that support. And some of my fellow villagers are amazing second families to my daughter, because she needs a village of love and support of her own as her hut can sometimes be overwhelming with her brothers needs. 

My village wasn’t always always this strong.  Some villagers needed to pack up and move on.  Some I needed to kick out. Because life changes, and so does your village.  Though my core block of villagers gas been with me since day one, and I know that they will always be. 
They have listened,  cried,  filled in,  picked up,  driven, hugged, advised laughed, and loved our little family through the best and the worst of times.
My village has watched us learn and grow. They’ve held me up when the rugs been pulled out, reminded me to eat when the appetite is gone, to sleep when it gets dark, to laugh through the tears, to not take myself so seriously. They’ve taught me the ins and outs of parenthood, of wife hood and of illness.  They’ve taught me courage and strength, kindness and compassion, just by being them. 
My village is full.  My village is strong. My village is kind, my village is non judging and loving.  My village is educated and brilliant.  My village is funny and sweet.  My village is understanding and supportive. 
My village is my village.  And I am so incredibly grateful for my fellow villagers.

What I know for sure!

November 1, 2014

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Here’s what I know for sure. I know for sure my child has bipolar. I know for sure I love him just as he is.
I am a very open minded person, I don’t judge when others choose as treatment, I don’t question when someone has been given a certain diagnosis. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think so.
You see I also know that I’m fed up, sick and tired and done with others questioning or doubting the validity of my sons diagnosis.
It’s weighed on me for some time, opening up this can of worms, but open I must.
You see there’s people who have actually argued with me, got angry at me because they think he has something else (autism is number one of this argument).
Trust me when I say I know his illness for sure.
We didn’t grab this diagnosis out of a flipping top hat. In fact we work with a doctor that will not diagnosis a young child with bipolar, because their brains and development change so quickly, in reality my son is one of very few he’s felt that strongly to diagnose at the beginning of adolescence.
But see this doctor isn’t the only person we’ve dealt with in the last ten years.  Dude has been assessed and tested by pediatrician, OT, pt, three psychologists, sees a neurologist yearly, with mris, eegs and scans,  a geneticist and everyone in between.  No we’re not new to this.
Through testing, on going for years, years of OT, pt, and therapy, meds, changes, and then some more testing a few pediatrics physc stays, every single professional in our realm has produced the same conclusion. Rapid cycling bipolar, severe anxiety and ocd and ptsd from bullying.

You know what though? I don’t need them to tell me.  We live it. 
When meds need an increase it reaffirms to me we are doing the right thing, because there’s nothing scarier or sadder than not being level. Yes chemicals, shocker!
We’ve had him off all meds at one time, only one of very few times I’ve seen my husband teary as his little boy sobbed, screamed, tried ripping the sink off the wall, and finally crumbled in a ball. The knives were locked up, the razors with them,  nothing in his room that could harm him. That would be our life without the therapies and medication.
But no he’s not bipolar… (enter sarcasm).
We’ve held our son after trying to take his life, we’ve screeched to a hault on the highway as he tries to jump out,  we’ve soothed and calmed when there’s no bringing him down.
But no he’s got something else, not bipolar… Maybe if we just cut something out of his diet he’d be fine…. Oh FYI done that, and guess what? Not a bit of difference, again shocker!

This seems to be one of the biggest hurdles with any invisible illness, people assume that they know better or doubt it.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a physically ill person questioned about their illness, I’ve never witnessed someone saying “you know I don’t think you’re actually paralysed, I think you just have an allergy”  or “ahhhh I’d suggest taking this,  I don’t think you’re fighting cancer, I just think you’re not praying enough”.  Sounds pretty ridiculous right? Yet those faced with invisible illnesses hear it all and then some regularly.  And as a mother of a child whose been diagnosed I’ve heard it waaayyy to often, and I am done. I am pissed off and sick of it.
Do people actually think I wouldn’t do anything to have my son happy and healthy, do they actually think I wouldn’t choose something more straightforward if possible? Do they actually think for a second that maybe, just maybe we wouldn’t give anything for our children? We do,  daily every second of every day, and that’s why we are where we are.  Because the meds work, the therapy work. We’ve seen the improvement, we’ve seen the proof because no we’re not new to this!
Don’t ever doubt my love, support and loyalty to my children. Ever. And for God’s sake don’t question me, I have about three binders of reports to prove you wrong.
Yes I know for sure my son has bipolar, and I know for sure I love him just as he is!