Friday, May 31, 2013

Ride your bike to school day...

Today was the day that the primary school kids all met in the center of town and rode their bikes to school.  The town was buzzing... kids everywhere, policemen directing traffic and long lines of cars waiting patiently as they all went past. There were big bikes, little bikes, trike bikes and bikes with carriers on the back.  Lots and lots of bikes.

My older kids were never interested in riding their bikes to school so we have never participated.  But today... if you could have seen Josh's face when he saw all the bikes, kids, cars and hub bub.  He was quiet but he didn't need to say a word... his thoughts were clearly written all over his face.

That boy wants, with every bit of his being, to ride a bike. 

But he can't.  He just can't.  He has (somewhat) come to accept it and doesn't ask 532 times a day anymore, but when he saw all those kids riding all those bikes... oh, be still my heart.

It's days like today that make me sad.  I wish for him that he could hop on a bike and take off down the road to grammies just like my other kids.  I wish he could balance and pedal and brake and look forward all at the same time.  But he can't.  Today, I just wish he could be like them.

He recovered nicely tho and decided that, instead of dwelling on it, he would roll the window down and greet everyone we passed with a hearty wave and loud hello.

And I might have asked him not to do that.

And he might have looked at me and said "Why? It's fun." 

And I might have learned something from him again... like don't sweat the small stuff and be content with the hand your dealt. 

 Not the best photo or lighting but the best kiss...

Have a great weekend everyone... and remember, don't sweat the small stuff. 


Saturday, May 11, 2013

My mother...

My mother is 86 and I can't even tell you the gratefulness I feel in my heart to have her here, on this earth, with me still.  I don't think of her as 86... probably because she doesn't ACT like she's 86.

Do you know what she's doing today?  She's spring cleaning her kitchen.  It's the last room in her house to do.  She has done all the others already.  It IS May 11th you know. 

Have you washed all your walls, taken down all the pictures and other various knick knacks, cleaned them, washed the curtains, floors and windows?  Have you taken everything from every drawer in the whole house and washed out the drawers?  And cupboards?  And fridge?  And pantry?  Have you washed your throw pillows, throw blankets and every piece of bed linen you own?  Have you cleaned under your mattress?  How about taken apart your baseboard heating thingys and sucked out any runaway dust bunnies that you might not get from a regular run thru with a vacuum? 


Me either.

But my mother has.  She does this every year.  This year she has needed more help than in the past but still...   On her down time from spring cleaning, she has been getting out all her summer clothes, ironing every single piece and hanging them all up... replacing the winter clothes that she just did the same thing to about 6 months ago, many of which she didn't wear probably... but they NEED to be ironed.  If I had a nickel for every time my mother asked... "you're going to wear that without ironing it?"

To say my mother is a hard worker doesn't quite cover things.  My mother is a HARD WORKER. 

And she doesn't just work for herself, even at her age.  Just this week she made a meal for my sister.  Why?  Well, because she always takes her to her doctor appointments and pays for her lunch, that's why.

Of course the real reason is because that's just who she is.  She's happiest when she's serving others.  Having a clean, welcoming, loving home is the epitome of serving others... and she welcomes everyone with open arms.  Most leave with full bellies and, more importantly, full hearts.  She cooks/bakes constantly for her grown children and reminds me quite often that if I lived closer, she'd do it for me too.

I wish I DID live closer... but not so she could cook dinner for me.

I wish I could visit for an afternoon.  I wish I could drive over and take her to lunch.  I wish I could pick her up and take her to my kids various athletic events.  I wish I could sit on her deck with her, enjoying the fruit of her labor outside (because if you haven't already guessed, the outside is as lovely as the inside of her home).  

I do call her every morning.  She tells me every detail of her days and I love that.  And she asks me about every detail of MY days and I love THAT.  It's not as sweet as being with her physically, but it is sweet still.  She expects my calls and, if I miss a day or 2 I can always count on a lengthy message on my answering machine upon arriving home... complete with the details of her day. 

So today I want to take the time to honor my mother publicly... I want her and the rest of the world to know how much she means to me.  I want to thank her for her sacrifices... so many in the past and so many still every day.  I want to tell her how much I appreciate her willingness to put others first, always.

She is a blessing to my family and a blessing to many other families.  It's just who she is.  I hope to be to my children just a smidgeon of the blessing that she is to hers.

My mother passing the reins... 
(NOT something she does easily OR quickly... she likes to be the one taking care of everyone)

I love you Ma!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring is (finally) in the air...

It was a long winter, wasn't it?  I love all the seasons and am thankful for each one, but spring is my most favorite. 

I love everything about spring... the warmth of the air, the buds on the trees, my neighbor's HUGE forsythia bush, busy nights at the ball field...

But I don't love what spring seems to do to Josh.

(Disclaimer:  This post is not to gain sympathy or rant on Down Syndrome or complain about what God has done and is doing in my heart... it's just real life.  You have been warned.)

Every spring brings out the worst in Josh.  It has been documented by the school for at least a couple of years and this year is no different.  I can always find something (medical) to blame it on... usually allergies (which I don't even know if he has and am not even sure how to find out)... and this year his hip... but truthfully, I really don't know what it is. 

It's exhausting.

It's overwhelming.

I'm exhausted.

I'm undesirable to be around.

I always google 'respite in Maine' in May.  I kid you not, you can check the history on my computer. 

I know it could be a lot of things.  I'm told over and over that behaviors = communication and I have even told OTHERS that about THEIR kids on many occasions.  But it's just not easy.  It's not even a little bit easy.  Josh is always stubborn, but it seems to magnify as the trees bloom.  And this year seems different.  Worse.

I miss him terribly.

I miss his smile and happy go lucky hugs.  I miss the chaotic sounds of boys wrestling in the living room and Josh laughing hysterically.  I miss his silliness and I even miss him hiding things (did I just admit that?) because that, at least, was usually done in fun.

Right now all we're getting are no's and stops and whines and sit down and refuse to moves. 


He seems so sad and I don't know how to help him.  He doesn't even want to play with Abby and she's ALWAYS our ol' standby.  He grunts at her, pushes her away... he's even been hitting her. 

I wish, just once, that I could ask him to do something and he would get up and do it.  I wish I didn't have to stand on my head and sing the ABC's backwards to get him to do the simplest of tasks.  I wish he'd just comply... without saying no 60 times and being threatened that something will have to be taken away.  I get SO tired of hearing my own voice... imagine what HE feels (well, I know what he feels because he totally tells me off all the time... I can't understand a word he's saying but trust me, he's telling me off).

And you know what stinks more? Trying to explain it to others. 

I was just telling someone recently about all my woes and surely she just wanted to say to me "Susan, you're the mom, take control".  I know that's what I'd want to say if someone told me they can't discipline their kid because the behavior gets worse.  I mean... really.  C'mon.

But it's true.  We have yet to find a way to discipline Josh without completely losing him. We are late for school almost every morning because I 'lose' him and I can't simply pick him up and throw him over my shoulder anymore.  I try to save the word "no" for emergencies but everything he does and says requires me to say no as of late.  He tests my every single little bit of patience. 

My mother paid me the sweetest and highest of compliments the other day (already crying and I haven't even typed the words yet).  She told me "you're doing a good job with Josh".  That's it.  I'm sure she didn't know how very much I needed to hear those words... how I have gone over them again and again in my head since she said them... how much I appreciate the encouragement and love...

So why doesn't it feel like it? 

It feels like I stink. 

Right now it feels like I'm barely holding on.  I hang onto every one of his little smiles and loud, boisterous (evil) laughs (which usually mean he's causing trouble) because I'm not seeing many of them.  I kiss his head every morning and tell him how much I love that head... and I melt when he says "okkaaay... dat's awwkwwarrd"... and then I repeat it a few more times just because I love kissing his head. 

I love him totally and completely and will continue to try.

All we can do is try.  And trust. 

I trust that God is doing a good work in me thru all of this.  I trust that someday I will give testimony that I made it.  I trust that God knew what He was doing by giving Josh to ME... the LEAST patient of ALL human beings.  I trust the God that created me and Josh and even the part of Down Syndrome that makes Josh so incredibly stubborn... and I know that I know that I know that God can and will reach Josh where I'm failing miserably.

 Silly selfies...

If you feel so led, please pray for us.  Please pray for Josh's hip... that it will stop bothering him and/or that we know how to proceed in that area.  Please pray for his attitude.  Please pray for MY attitude.  Please pray for our family as this affects every area... 

Thank you.