Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Hallmark Christmas?

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It’s not even December 1st yet and already Christmas is in the air.  It is in the stores, houses don lights, and Christmas Carols are on the radio.  In the past, the idea of starting the celebration before the Halloween candy is all eaten bothered me, but this year seems different somehow. I, too, am getting caught up in the spirit.  I, too, have turned on the TV and watched back to back Hallmark Christmas movies.  What joy they bring!  The predictable plot, the fake snow, the twinkling lights that keep twinkling.  The unrealistic way that things just seem to turn out exactly as we want.  Always a happy ending.  That isn’t real life, or is it?

I have just had 5 incredible days with family.  It started with a wonderful Wednesday evening Thanksgiving dinner at my Mom’s.  All 31 of us and no one had to sit at the Kids’ Table as we rearranged furniture so that the table could wind its’ way through the dining room and on into the living room. Thursday brought another turkey with all the trimmings with my husband’s side of the family.  The traditional tablecloth was signed by all present and games brought laughter to all!  Friday was spend hauling boxes of tinsel and holly and baubles and lights from the basement as the decorating began. Saturday saw flour, sugar and colorful icing in my kitchen and dining room as almost 20 people decorated cookies with Christmas music playing in the background. Sunday dawned and we headed to church, Sunday school, and Children’s Christmas Pageant practice. (I can’t wait to show others what the kids are working on.) However, in Sunday School, we discussed how our expectations cannot be realized when we compare our lives to a Hallmark movie.  Many people get disappointed when they try to create the perfect Christmas.  Of course, since I was in church, I know the true reason for the season, and it is Jesus and not a Hallmark movie plot, but still….!  I want a happy ending and all the glitter and sparkle along the way.

OK, so Sunday afternoon, I hurry home to rush to get Kay dressed for Chicora’s Light Up Night.  She will be singing a solo.  The curling iron is plugged in and I need to run Paul to the church to dress for his part in the live nativity.  The sun was shining and as I drove through my small town, I saw some people hanging Christmas lights and others chatting on the sidewalks.  Are you kidding me?  This looks just like a Hallmark Christmas movie!  What a pretty day for November. My daughter is visiting from Denver and she gets to attend the light up night festivities with us.  We arrive to find the street blocked off and chairs filling the Post Office parking lot.  Local entertainers sing songs and the high school cheerleaders do a cheer.  Santa arrives and hears all the children’s wishes.  Hot Cocoa is served and over sized cardboard gingerbread houses occupy the center of the street showing off the creativity of our townspeople.  The live nativity is in the furniture store’s parking lot and the Legion houses the photos of our community’s heros who served and are still serving our country.  After snacking on food served by the high school volley ball team, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Rotary, we head to the front lawn of the Moose Lodge for the tree lighting.  First, though, lanterns are lit in honor of our military, our policemen and one for the hope of peace in our community and around the world.  The local priest leads us in singing O Come, O Come Emanuel and then the tree is lit to cheers and hardy pats on the back.  The committee that planned this has outdone themselves again. It all looks like a Hallmark movie to me.  My husband and I tease and look up into the sky to see if the big, white flakes will start falling and land perfectly on our hats and shoulders to complete this scene before the credits start rolling to signal the end.

This morning, I sit in my home….the boxes marked “Christmas” are only half unpacked with their contents spread on the floor and table, some need a bit spruced up before they can be called decorations.  The smell of cookies baking is gone but the bits of dough and the icing that has turned to glue is still on my counter. The scarves and earmuffs that looked so festive last night do just not look the same strewn across the couch and the ceiling in the kitchen is leaking and dripping into my sink from the bathroom above.  I’m thinking it might be time for a commercial break.  I didn’t see this scene in the movie where the lead’s name was Holly or Noelle.  Wait.  This isn’t a Hallmark movie?!  Nope.  It isn’t.  But with my Christmas colored glasses on, last night it looked pretty close.

Christmas isn’t always an easy holiday and many times it brings up painful memories and even sweet memories that now cause pain because people we love are the memories. Even this Christmas could be a difficult one for me.  We never know.  Life doesn’t give us any guarantees, but yesterday’s community event wasn’t a dream.  It wasn’t a scene from a movie.  It was real.

Yesterday in church we lit the first candle on the Advent wreath.  The candle of hope.  It is my hope that you will have some Hallmark Movie moments this season and that you, too, will recognize that they are real.

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It’s 8:10!

stress-mother-running-late-kids-city-school-work-rushing-her-children-funny-concept-44472363So it happened again this morning.  I was writing an email to a dear friend, catching up on things as K was quietly reading a book by the light of the lamp.  Quiet time before a busy day of plans.  Just as I was wrapping up my letter, I glanced at the bottom right corner of the screen to see the numbers 8:10 AM.  OH DEAR!

“It’s 8:10!!” and the scramble begins.  The bus will be here in two minutes!  At our house that means we need to close the book, find a jacket, get it on, find the backpack, pick it up, get in the car, wait for the garage door to open, back out of the garage, drive like a maniac over the fall leaf covered drive and get to the end of our lane.  Aaaaah.  It appears we made it.  Looking right down the road we see a kid, backpack on, standing calmly waiting.  I wonder what her last few minutes at home were like?  Was her mother screaming like a crazy person?

You would think that I would get better at this, and maybe I have a bit.  The 8:10 Battle Cry isn’t shouted as often, but I’ve been doing this for a few years, 22 to be exact.  When my 2 older children were in elementary school, we weren’t distracted by quiet reading and emailing (we didn’t even have email then!) we were distracted with Cheerios on the floor, lost library books and missing shoes.  When my 7 and 5 year were headed out the door, I also had a 3 year old trying to dress herself for preschool in a tutu and wearing wings.  She was a calm child and didn’t seem to participate in the morning stress routine.  One morning after we made the race to the bus stop, she said, “Mom, What does 810 mean?”  I gave her a puzzled look and she said, “I don’t know what 810 means.  I just hear you yell it and we race out the door.”  I guess she thought that maybe it was a word, like “vamoose” which means to depart quickly or scat, hightail, skedaddle or begone.  “No, honey, 8:10 is a time. We are ruled by the clock in this house.”  8:10 on the clock is like the gun going off in a race and some days we are not even in the starting blocks, sometimes we are still straggling in from the locker room and not even ready to think about starting the day.

Today, though, we made the bus, we actually were prepared and were ready for the race, we just got a bit distracted while in the blocks, but we made it.  A great start to another day.  May you be as blessed!

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Life Changing Letters?

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I and D. Two little initials. another label we have been wanting for a few years. Our son is ID (Intellectually Disabled.)  Praise God!  The answer to our prayers!  Officially, our son is Intellectually Disabled.  Can you tell I find myself at the end of a long special needs journey?  The journey to yet another diagnosis.

My son has always had challenges.  It started before the age of 3 when a physiatrist (Physiatrist, NOT Psychiatrist) said that he couldn’t evaluate all of my son’s physical special needs because of his ADHD symptoms.  He couldn’t examine him well enough because my son wouldn’t be still long enough for him to check bones and muscles.  That was the first of our many life altering initials.  ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) paved the way for us to hear many more:

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder)

RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder

PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified,)

CP (Cerebral Palsy)

SID , now called SPD, I believe (Sensory Integration Disorder or Sensory Processing Disorder)

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)

NVLD (Nonverbal Learning Disability)

DDD, now called DCD (Developmental Discoordination Disorder or Developmental Coordination Disorder)

My son has received all of these labels and probably more than I can remember right now!  As you can see, we’ve been playing this game so long that many of the labels have changed their names, probably to sound a bit less ominous to the shattered parents.  And, we have been on this journey hoping for an MH/MR diagnosis until the term MHMR became politically incorrect and no longer existed.  Mental Handicap/Mental Retardation is now called ID (Intellectually Disabled.)

He may now be ID today, but my son is the same as he was yesterday before he had these new letters added to his list.  His behaviors always remain the same, it’s the label that changes, not the kid. Why am I doing the happy dance because of this new label?  The reason for my celebrating is that this diagnosis opens doors more easily for a kid that has always had struggles opening doors.  It will help and assist him when I am not longer able to be his advocate.  It will give him more people on his team and more funding to pay for them.  It will help.  And, that is all we can hope for.

For years he has been borderline IQ.  His scores were consistent and he fell just above the label.  His verbal abilities surpass his understanding and his good verbal abilities make him appear to have a better understanding of things than he does.  My husband blames me for this discrepancy because I read to him too much as a child.  But the truth is, as parents we do everything we can for our kids and as parents of a special needs child we work even harder.  We go to therapies, we adapt our homes, we seek, we search, we implement plan after plan.  We actually work to get our children as informed as we can.  THEN, when it comes to test scores, we find out we may have done our child a disservice because his intellect has improved a couple of points, but it prevents him from receiving much of the assistance he needs.  Yep, I shouldn’t have spent all those hours reading to him.  What a crazy system we have in place.

Today I will celebrate his new set of initials.  Each of the above named initials has introduced me to a disorder and a challenge, but each one has also enlightened me.  It has also opened doors to friendships I would not have had, to an understanding that I would never had sought out, and to a recognition of those struggling.  It has been eye opening as well as door opening.  I just pray that this last set of initials will assist and aid my son as he grows into the adult that his chronological age now says he is.

 

 

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