Posts Tagged ‘parents’

They’ve taught me….

February 24, 2016

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Because of them I am the mother I am. Because of them I am me…..

My mother has  taught me how to be a strong independent woman, who can do anything and everything. She’s sat beside me while my world’s crumbled to pieces, and silently held me up until I could myself, and she’s taught me I am OK! She’s taught me graceful strength. To be assertive while being kind. To be accepting yet cautious. She’s taught me to be a mother. She taught me to be me.

My father has taught me I’m never alone. He has taught me not to settle and not to give up. He’s taught me failure is OK, as long as you try. He’s taught me to laugh. He’s taught me I am good enough, never to settle. He’s taught me how to succeed. He’s taught me to say what I mean and mean what I say. He’s taught me to be a mother. He’s taught me to be me.

My grandparents have taught me to laugh. They’ve taught me resilience. They’ve taught me life is short. That life is always beautiful. They’ve taught me acceptance. They’ve taught me humour. They’ve taught me if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’ve wasted a laugh. They’ve taught me to be real. They’ve taught me to use my voice. They’ve taught me confidence. They’ve taught me to be a mother. They’ve taught me to be me.

My brother and sister he’s taught me grit. They’ve taught me to push myself. To better myself. He’s taught me to enjoy life. She’s taught me sisters don’t have to be blood. They’ve taught me perseverance. They’ve taught me to stand up, not to be pushed around or walked over. They’ve taught me friendship. They’ve taught me to be a mother. They’ve taught me to be me.

My aunts and uncles and cousins have taught me not to take life to seriously. They’ve taught me family means you always have someone, and everyone always has someone. They’ve taught me to cherish individual relationships.  They’ve taught me to follow your heart and your passion. They’ve taught me support. They’ve taught me to be a mother. They’ve taught me to be me.

My other mother and father have taught me appreciation. They’ve taught me determination. They’ve taught me self love and they’ve taught me to hold my head high. They’ve taught me to try new things and they’ve taught me to get back up when I fall. They’ve taught me I am loved. They’ve taught me to be a mother. They’ve taught me to be me.

My husband has taught me unconditional love. He’s taught me that even if you have no idea what you are doing, with the right person you can do it all. He’s taught me pride. He’s taught me true joy. And he’s taught me strength. He’s taught me to climb mountains and he’s taught me someone will always catch me when I fall. He’s taught me to just breathe. He’s taught me that even when it’s dark there’s always a light. He’s taught me to let go. He’s taught me to accept what I can’t change. And he’s taught me patience. He’s taught me I am good enough. He’s taught me to be a mother. He’s taught me to be me.

My children have taught me unwavering and undying love. They’ve taught me to be fierce. They’ve taught me that there’s more to life than me. They’ve taught me patience, perseverance, strength and determination. They’ve taught me weird is good. They’ve taught me real. They’ve taught me life is cruel and mean and hateful, but they’ve taught me those things don’t matter because it’s also surprising and wonderful and ever changing. They’ve taught me to stand tall. They’ve taught me nothing else matters. They’ve taught me I am capable. They’ve taught me compassion and empathy and wisdom. They’ve taught me bravery and courage. They’ve taught me love. They’ve taught me everything I needed to know.

They’ve taught me to be a mother.
They’ve taught me who I am.

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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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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.

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!

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.

If I knew then, I’d do it all again.

September 27, 2014

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A conversation with a friend the other day, got me reflecting. We were discussing termination of pregnancy if you knew you would be having a special or high needs child. This is not a post for or against. But I answered honestly and adamantly that yes if I knew then what I know now, I would still have had my son, gladly and happily!
You see my son has bipolar, etc. But bipolar, etc is not my son.
Bipolar is one of those illnesses that greatly affect his personality, so in a way it is him.
And that’s fine with me!
I am open and honest about ALL things dealing with a child with high needs and mental illness is.  But I’m equally as open and honest about the good points, not just the bad.
So yes I would do it all again because my son is my son, my son and illness has brought me here. In 13 years I have grown and learned, and yes it would be lovely to not have to learn many things I have, the things I’ve learned so soon are so incredibly important. Words can not explain what we go through, but yes I would do it all again because it’s brought us…

1. Strength.  I’d be lying if I said there weren’t horrible, awful, exhausting, frustrating, heart breaking moments. And lots of them.  So many fears and private tears.  But I’ve learned I have an inner strength I didn’t know possible. That truly a mother’s love is like no other and can give you super hero powers.

2. Don’t stress the small stuff.  I’m a stress ball.  And this has been a life long fight for me.  I stressed about everything! Now I shrug my shoulders and sigh. Alot.  I often look at what others are stressed about and remind myself, that’s big in their life,  at this moment.  Because you see so much seems trivial, when you’re in the throws of crisis almost weekly. I’m slowly, very slowly learning about the big picture. And instead of stressing over the little things, that in 5 years won’t matter, I’m learning to breathe and remember this moment won’t last but that, a moment.

3. Grace. I’ve been on this journey a while now, and I’ve learned to be graceful. Not everyone understands. I’ve learned to debate, advocate and explain with grace and facts. With that combination I’ve seen doors open, understanding and cooperation.

4. Humour. If I can’t laugh, I’m lost.  Mostly at myself.  I screw up,  I fall down, I’m often high strung, on guard and exhausted. And more often than not if I laugh at my mistakes I’m better off.  The list is long,  and I’ve had to apologize and forgive myself tons.  But my humour makes me accept I’m also human.  Plus laughing is sometimes all you can do.

5. Compassion. I have always (I like to think) had a big heart. But let me tell you having a child with illness opens your heart more than you thought possible.  Judging others is almost non existent (almost, because we’re human and no matter what at some point we judge).  That homeless guy that others mock, say is a waste? I wonder what has led him here, and what can I do to help? That kid screaming in the store, that others will tell their parents to take out, spank or tell to shut up? I will ask if everything is OK, can I help? And so on. I find myself judging those who judge now the most. If you’re not them, don’t think you know or know better.

6. Open eyes. So often we don’t have our eyes fully open to others and their struggles. So often we close our eyes to reality. Mine are open. All the time.  I’m enjoying the little successes that are actually huge. I’m watching the little moments that I used to take for granted. I’m watching the pain, the suffering , but also the courage and love. I am more aware of friendships and family.  I’ve learned you truly never know when those eyes will close forever, so open them while you can!

My son is my hero  he is all of the above and more. He is empathetic to a fault, caring, kind, smart, courteous and by far the best son I could have asked for.
And if you’re one of the lucky one’s you’ll get to see that twinkle in his eye.
And that twinkle says it all.

Do I really got this?

September 8, 2014

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I can handle a fair amount.
I’ve learned fairly quickly how to live side by side with my bipolar child.
I can handle the hyper cycle,  usually I take the anger with a grain of salt.
I’m used to the irritable boy who shows up. 
One thing I just can’t handle is when the utter despair hits.
And not because it tries my patience, but because it breaks my heart.
Typically when the day starts with a stomach ache,  I know what’s coming.
But I don’t care how many times you’ve held them as they crash, you can never be prepared or used to it.
I know when tears spill from his eyes,  it’s real. Not a typical rapid cycle, but a depression so great he’s paralysed by it,  and the irrational fears it brings.

The constant rocking, a reminder of the anxiety built up.

And no I can’t handle it.  I suck at handling it.

When he wants to be left alone to work through it,  to grasp whatever composure he can,  to save himself the shame as he says,  I can’t.

I talk, I soothe,  I hold.

But no I don’t leave him alone. Not because I have to some how get him to school, but for fear.
The hardest days are days I have to trust in other’s to protect him. The days (the fifth day of school being one)  I can’t give him the “mental health” day, I so desperately want to.
Because you see,  I want him to learn it will pass  it will be OK.
There are times he stays, because he just simply cannot compose and push through.  Those are the days I hold him a little bit tighter.

As I sit on pins and needles all day, hoping he fairs OK,  I wonder,
Do I really got this?