Posted in Addiction, God, Me, Parenting

Pulling Up The Edges of the Sticker

Awhile back I posted about Being Stuck. Addiction. God. Parenting one of my children. Those three things had me mired in a place where I just couldn’t move. Not an inch. I couldn’t seem to get out of where i was but I HATED where I was.

So I started counseling.

And put a sort of block on my cellphone. Because, people, even 20 freaking years into this recovery I still cannot handle unaccountable time on the internet.I MUST have someone looking over my shoulder. Really. MUST. For September and October and even most of November I was what I’ll call unwillingly sober. Forced because of my accountability software. Somewhere in late November something switched. Whether my brain chemicals finally caught up with the fact that hey, you’re sober! Or I’m far enough on the path towards God that it cleared my brain, but I finally WANT to be sober. If thoughts come into my brain I shoo them away instead of lovingly caress them and call them my precious. If a plot from a book floats into my thoughts, I put my thoughts onto something else. It’s GOOD people! Really GOOD.

God and I are back on speaking terms. That, too, is GOOD. We’re going to church, somewhat regularly. I’d like to make some friends there, but hopefully that will come in time. I don’t automatically blow Him off when something crosses my mind that’s difficult (i.e. Connor’s passing away). It’s good. I LIKE being on better terms with God.

The parenting thing…well…2 out of 3 ain’t bad, right? Just kidding! I’m still going to her (although taking a short break for the holiday craziness) and am still working on the parenting thing. I’m really struggling with one particular child right now–which has happened in the past and has ultimately passed–but this time it’s lasting longer and seems to be more difficult. So I’ll keep working on it…and the sobriety and the God thing and….life is work, Highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something. Right?!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Kids, Me, Parenting

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. As of yesterday, I am coasting more quickly towards the big 5-0. At 46, I can still say I’m in my “mid-40’s”, but I’m closer to 50 than 40. You know what? It doesn’t bother me one bit. Other than the lower back pain I have every morning, and the various muscle aches I get when I weed the front garden, and waking up in the middle of the night a lot more often, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the 40’s. I’m guessing the 50’s will only get better…and worse. Better emotionally and spiritually, a little worse physically.

2. As I’m typing here in our schoolroom, I glanced around for a moment and caught sight of one of our dogs. Both used to sack out in the living room on the couches for their naps. One day I had the bright idea to bring downstairs the unused cat bed. Jake, being a small dog (22 lbs), and loving anything that squishes him and puts him into a small space, immediately fell in love. See?

Jake in Bed

How cute is he??

3. Driving the carpool home yesterday afternoon, what started out as liquid precipitation (aka RAIN), about 2/3 the way home switched over to frozen precipitation (aka SNOW). Now, I don’t know about your part of the country, but southeastern PA is not known for getting snow in November. It’s even rare in December. This does not bode well for the upcoming winter. None of us, and I mean NONE OF US, want to live through a repeat of the winter of 2013-2014. Please, Lord, come quickly? ­čÖé

4. Counseling is going well, I would say. And God is doing that thing He does, you know, where you’re working through something and all of a sudden all you hear is songs and sermons and messages about that particular topic? Yeah, that. I’m working though Connor’s death and now Ravi Zacharias is speaking on his new book about suffering. James MacDonald speaks about it. There’s a new song out about it. I GET IT, GOD! (not yelling in a mean way, but in a good way!)

5. I didn’t put this on Facebook, but I’ll say it here: Ethan was kissed ON THE MOUTH a couple of days ago at school. Um, WHAT? The teacher talked to both the girl and Ethan, and then had a general conversation with the whole class. It would never have occurred to Ethan to kiss someone–he’s just not there yet developmentally–and he was kind of embarrassed about the whole thing. My youngest, Catie, has a major crush on a boy at school. She’s 11. He’s 13. I don’t think an 8th grade boy is going to want to have anything to do with a 6th grade girl, but oh, man, I was not expecting all this romantic stuff this year! Bennett and Laura don’t have that yet, for which I am extremely grateful.

6. I just yesterday found out that iPod Touches can do FaceTime and texting. I am extremely excited about this, because it has the potential to put off the phone conversation for a year at least. If they can text and talk to their friends, they don’t need a phone! And it’s cheaper, because there’s no monthly fee. I just have to pay for iPod touches, which, ok, I’m not thrilled about, either, but it’s better than the cost of a phone!

7. A casting director is going to get back to me today about whether Ethan can try out for a Comcast commercial for blind 6-12 year olds even though he’s 13. I’m of two minds…it could be a wonderful experience for him. On the other hand, the filming would be mid-December for three days. That’s three days I’m (or Jim is) not home with the kids, including the day of Laura’s Christmas concert. So, yeah, mixed feelings. But we want to have Ethan do neat things, and quite frankly, how cool is being in a commercial?! Oh, the struggles of being a parent. Hard, but so darn worth it!

Posted in Addiction, Counseling, God, Me, Money, Parenting

State of the Blogger

We’re already almost done October. How the heck did THAT happen? I’ll be 46 in a few weeks (my children’s English teacher last year is young enough to have been my child. I’m getting OLD!).

Life has been very busy around here of late. The new school schedule, with driving to one or another child’s school each day has taken a toll on me and the house. I’m more snappy with both my husband and my children. I’m frequently overwhelmed. And shutting down because of it. My addiction, while not actively RAGING, has been on the front burner for almost this whole freaking year. And I’m sick of it. Not sick enough to stop, obviously, but sick of it nevertheless. *wry smile

I’ve been in counseling for about a month. I don’t know that I’ve seen any major changes, but it’s really nice to talk to someone about stuff that’s going on–parenting, addiction, God…all are difficulties now. She gives me homework (which Jim finds endlessly amusing). One of the things is to be more social with friends and family. Being that this is my birthday month I’ll have birthday money and am meeting with not only my mother and sister for lunch, but four other gals for lunch/dinner all on separate occasions! It’s a banner month for me, being that I can go literally months without seeing anyone outside of Jim and my next-door neighbor. ┬áAnd I definitely need that adult-recharging time.

This past weekend was the annual Queen for a Day, which I love and look forward to all year. Worship time, brunch, visiting with other caregivers (moms/wives) of special needs individuals, spa things like massages, nails, foot rubs, satin hands, and a lovely tea room with a harpist and treats. I come away refreshed and feeling wonderful. And wanting more information for and about Ethan.

Financially we’re keeping our heads above water. Just. August stunk (triplet’s birthday!). September stunk (back to school). October stunk (Jim’s trip to Beaver Island, MI). November SHOULD be ok, and there will be that magical 3rd paycheck in December that will pay for Christmas. Thank goodness!

Have any of you “wandered away” from God and come back? I’ve done it before, but am not sure how to get back. Honestly. Any input from you would be welcome.

Posted in Hershey Feeding Clinic, Kids, Parenting

Search Term

I was checking out my “site stats” this morning–it’s always so weird to me that people actually READ my blog (and some even FOLLOW ME?!) and I looked at the search terms that people used to find me. Most still revolve around some form of Hershey Feeding Clinic. I’m happy about that, because we had such a wonderful experience there. But something that saddened me was the following search:

“scared about being mom to baby with special needs”

Oh, Honey! I’ve been there. I AM there sometimes! Feeling so inadequate to meet the needs of someone special. Feeling like a complete and utter failure. Feeling scared that I won’t be able to “rise to the challenge” of what my child needs. Scared of the sometimes-icky things that one with a special needs baby needs to deal with (infant colostomy, anyone? g-tubes anyone? eye-care after surgery anyone?)

You are NOT ALONE. Not one little bit. Most moms of special needs kids that I know have two needs–to find someone to talk to about their experiences and find camaraderie, and to feel like they can give back–make the fact that their child has “issues” (whatever they may be) MEAN something. That it’s not just me in the trenches every day for no reason.

Let me tell you, the day I found another mom whose son was blind AND autistic I was almost crying with relief. Literally. I wasn’t alone. I knew moms of blind kids. I knew moms of autistic kids. But oh, the combination of the two! AND her kid was a couple of years older, so she understood where I was. She could illuminate the path ahead a bit. A BIT.

So, Scared Mom, please Google (or Bing or Yahoo, whatever) your child’s special needs and the words “support” or “blog”. We are out there. We would LOVE to talk. It’s still going to be scary. Not having a healthy child is often scary. But you are not alone.

And for those of you considering Hershey Feeding Clinic–DO IT. It’s amazing, life changing and WORTH IT.

Posted in Church, Kids, Parenting

Not Knowing the Right Answer

aka: Making it up every freaking day.

Ethan is autistic. Most of the time his blindness is the main disability I pay attention to, but there are times when the autism just wants to be the most important. Sunday was one of those days.

We left our old church the very tail end of 2012. Ethan mostly felt comfortable there and people were pretty good with him. Everyone was in elementary school, so it was no big deal if he was with the younger ones. Our “new church”, which doesn’t really fit into that category because we attend in fits and starts and when we feel like it or I feel guilty and then not at all for months, has been an interesting lesson in “I don’t know what I’m doing” with Ethan.

Bennett and Laura, who are, remember, the exact same age as Ethan, go to the middle school program. Catie has, until two days ago, attended the elementary school program. Ethan tagged along with her because I felt that it was a better fit. Even though he was in 7th grade and elementary ends at the end of the 5th. Whatever.

But now Catie is going into 6th and has “graduated” into the middle school program. All the kids in middle school start in the main area with the adults, do worship time with them and then make their way back to the youth group room. Ethan was somewhat overwhelmed by worship–his hands were over his ears and he just sat in his seat or reached out and held my hand. I walked him back to the youth room and left him sitting next to his sister. Mistake #1. Apparently the boys and girls voluntarily sit on opposite sides of the room. Mistake #2. Ethan doesn’t understand rhetorical questions and answers them. Mistake #3. Ethan doesn’t understand ┬áthat there are things we just DO NOT DO in public and put his hands down his shorts. Yay.

So, do we just keep him with us and have him listen to the sermon? Or go back to the elementary program where the kids are a LOT younger than him ┬ánow (he’s going into 8th)? Or try again the middle school program, where he embarrasses himself and the kids around him (and his siblings)? I have NO FREAKING IDEA. There is NO guidebook on this one. Suggestions from you, dear readers?

Posted in Me, Parenting

Martha Stewart I’m Not

One of the things the bloggers I read post are their menus for the week. Lovely organic, fresh from the garden, home-cooked meals. I love reading them, but come away feeling somewhat guilty and defiant when I’m done. My menu for the week, you ask?

Monday: Tacos (first time ever we’d had this since the kids were born)

Tuesday: Hot dogs, mac’n’cheese (from a box), carrot sticks

Wednesday: Chicken Stir-Fry

Thursday: Grilled Cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

Friday: Pizza – from a pizzeria

Saturday: Sloppy Joes (not from a can), salad

Sunday: Get Your Own

Taco seasoning, hot dog preservatives, boxed macaroni and cheese, white rolls and soup from a can. Yeah, Martha Stewart I’m not. But in a family of four children, with one who has major texture issues leftover from preemie life, one who struggles with chewing well, one who will sit and cry and go to bed before eating a vegetable except carrot sticks and one who is ok at eating, cooking is a challenge. Hot dogs appear on our menu literally every week. Spaghetti is every other, as are eggs and toast. So, no, you will never see me display with pride my menus (until the kids move out and then yee-haw!)

Posted in Kids, Parenting

Firsts are Tough

Laura is away this weekend. As in, I dropped her off Friday evening and won’t pick her up to bring her home until Monday around lunchtime.

I’m NOT HAPPY about this!

Before we opted to have her participate in this weekend, I had this sparkly, surrounded by rainbows and glitter idea of what it would be like when the kids grew up and Jim and I would have the house to ourselves again. Now I’m plotting to get them to go to West Chester University so they can commute and live at home!

Seriously. I’m not even kidding. I HAVE MISSED HER ALL WEEKEND. I MADE MYSELF NOT GO AND VISIT YESTERDAY! ┬áToday I made myself not stay too long when I did visit.

Where is she, you ask?

Camp Abilities PA!! An annual weekend camp for visually impaired and blind athletes to learn adapted sports. And she’s learning to run cross country, ride a tandem bike, ROLLERBLADE, play beep ball and goal ball and shot put and long jump and…and….and…Do A LOT OF STUFF.

Which is why I’m making this sacrifice. And making HER make the sacrifice. Of all my children, Laura is the most “homebody” of them. She’s the most attached to us, which at 12 I’m not complaining about, but I thought a little nudge out of the nest might be good for everyone. And I really think it is. I’m definitely going to want her to do this again next year. And I think she’s going to want to do it again. My DREAM would be for Ethan to be able to do it, but the self-help skills and independence needed, well, I’m not pinning any hopes on him doing it anytime soon.

So it’s been good, but it’s been tough. And it’s been a wake up call that for all that they drive me crazy, I love my kids a whole freaking lot and am NOT really looking forward to them moving out and getting their own lives. Even if it means uninterrupted time with Jim!