Posts Tagged ‘youth’

Beautiful weeds.

September 27, 2015

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Some weeds are beautiful!

I have always accepted that my kids are themselves, from day one. They are their own person, ones I am here to support, guide and love but the day they were born I knew that it wasn’t my job to tell them who or what to be.
I love their uniqueness, their character and their individuality! And I love that they are who they are, not what society, or I say they should be.

With being a weed though can come some lonely times.  When you live in a small town, it can be difficult to find like minded peers, it can be pretty hard not being a bloom in a row. And be the weed growing outside the lines.

Dude is doing school from home this year, and his best friends are on the other side of the computer screen.  He misses his friends from school, and that was the toughest part of his decision, leaving his peers who accepted and liked him, uniqueness and all.

I’ve struggled for years with the sadness that comes when your child says he has only one or two friends, and how it hurts a heart when that number drops. I just can’t wrap my head around it, I had tons of friends even if I was a weed, so it broke/breaks my heart that not everyone does.

The truth is though, this is a blip in time one day soon he will find out there’s so many weeds, beautiful, unique weeds that he will fit with!

It bothered me at first that his closest friends were ones he can’t physically see, I couldn’t wrap my head around how you can be so close to people you’ve never met. It boggled my mind.

It’s something many won’t agree with us on, to much screen time blah blah blah.
But here’s the thing, when your child has one maybe two friends, ones he doesn’t see often, I ask you what would you suggest?
When you have a wonderful weed that instead of looking closely at people just pick, how would you handle it?
You would probably be slowly coming to the same conclusion as I.
That even if we don’t understand the weeds ways, if they work, who are we to say they’re not ok?!

As this group of friends grows closer, and we parents chat with them, I’ve come to realize that these kids are weeds in their world’s, but together they’re a beautiful garden.
When dude explained that they make him feel confident, secure and accepted, I couldn’t help but be thankful.

We are in a different age than I was as a teen, than you were or our parents.

And I have come to realize I don’t care if friends are on the other side of the screen, I don’t care if they can come over and watch a movie.
I care that my child is interacting, laughing and able to be himself in a garden of weeds, instead of having to pretend to be a flower in a row. I am thankful that technology allows for friendship to flourish no matter where you live.

And if that’s not enough, him saying he hasn’t felt this good in years is. Funny thing what acceptance will do.

Yes weeds are beautiful!

*please note that I am not suggesting free reign to children and youth online. We closely monitor everything and recommend the same for parents.

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!

Kindness for Christmas

December 20, 2014

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The most wonderful time of year is upon us. Well for me anyway.
I love Christmas and all it means, no not the money and the stress, because there’s lots of both. But I make a conscious effort to limit both. Because for me it’s about family, traditions and kindness.

I speak a lot about acceptance and kindness year round, yesterday dude was shown just those things, and at the most perfect time.

Dude had a crash last week, which led us to extending his Christmas holidays. We hit the point of “remove all outside triggers and stress until he sees the doctor”  mode.  No we aren’t putting him in a bubble, but when things aren’t balanced we must do whatever we can to prevent the crash from becoming worse. School is a trigger on a good day and the festive season is often another with all of the excitement and schedule changes, so after discussing with teachers and his psychologist we decided to prevent a complete breakdown he would stay in his comfort zone.

Upon his early leave from school with our permission and more importantly his, his grade and the grade above (he’s in a small school)  were given a brief description and discussion on not only bipolar disorder, but mental illness. The response of the students was incredible in itself, but the true meaning of the story brings us to yesterday.

It was the last day before break and a few of the students asked for his email address, and emailed him Christmas and get well wishes. Just as they would a classmate in the hospital or away from school for a length of time with a physical illness.
I was left speechless.  Not often does that happen!
To top it off two of his friends handpicked a Christmas gift and sent it home with his sister.  I can’t begin to describe the look on his face as he unwrapped it.  I can’t imagine how the emailed words made him feel.
The support and compassion and acceptance that surrounds my son continues to amaze me.
Even before the discussion of mental illness, he was accepted. But now with the knowledge that he has an illness, one he can’t control I think his peers can make sense of it all, having a name makes it easier to understand sometimes.
The compassion, patience, empathy and understanding of his peers and the staff makes my heart full.
I believe no matter what is under the tree this year, his best present will be knowing he is supported, cared about and valued.

My Christmas wish is this for any child or adult struggling with illness. For each and every one of you to know you are loved, you are cared about, you are valuable. My other wish is that those who don’t suffer to extend kindness  patience  understanding and compassion to those who do.

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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.