Wednesday, January 27

Faith, plain and simple

Oh, how I spent the last few years agonizing over where I was going to send Will for school. We live in a large city public school system, and while it gets its fair share of criticism from outsiders, it has some really nice schools. The school where Caroline goes is wonderful! I couldn't ask for a better school, and that says something, because I've been in a lot of schools over the past ten years thanks to a past career choice.

That said, the schools that we were choosing from for Will at this stage in his life were not as exciting. From the time we made the decision to stay in our neighborhood and in our school district, my husband has had faith that we would find an appropriate school for Will. My type A, controlling personality had doubts. Serious doubts.

However, in the end, it has been a lesson to trust God (not to mention my husband!) who led us to a perfect school for Will. This morning as I picked him up, I was reminded of how patience and simple faith need to play a bigger part in my everyday life.

Thursday, January 21

Bringing Healing

If you know me in real life, you have probably heard me say that adopting Norah into our family has brought about healing for my husband and I in so many ways. Ways that I can not always put into words exactly, but still powerful.

I could tell you how knowing that Caroline has a sister who will forever share that special bond makes me smile. Or, how knowing that Will has two sisters to love on him makes me teary. Or, how parenting a child after special needs makes me feel carefree.

But that's not what this post is about today. It is about the healing I receive each day by watching Norah push Will to be more, to do more. To engage in sibling rivalry. To make sure his voice is known in our home. To befriend a sibling he didn't really want around in the beginning. All because she doesn't see him as different. She sees him as an older brother. To bother, to pick on, to play with, to hold hands with.

There will come a day when Norah realizes that Will is different from other kids his age. That's okay with me. In the meantime, she doesn't cater to him as my older child does. She doesn't give up toys or the movie selection on family movie night. No, she fights him to the bitter end.

Someday, she'll still fight. I believe with all of my heart she'll fight for him. I can see it in her eyes. This is HER brother. The one that the Lord gave her.

Thank you Lord, for trusting me with these three precious blessings. I am thankful every day to be their mother!

Friday, January 15

It takes a village... raise a child.

While I think this statement is true for all children, when you have a child with special needs, suddenly you are taught to depend on others, even if this does not come naturally. Of all of the lessons I've learned in the short five years Will has been alive, this has been the most difficult to accept and put into practice. Because I can do it all, or so I'd like to believe.

Along with leaning into others, I've learned to lean into God. My faith is not something I've talked about greatly on this blog, but you should know it plays a very big part in our lives and a HUGE part in the journey we've been on since Will entered our lives.

This past week, this showed up on my doorstep. Will takes one pill a day for his mitochondrial dysfunction. In case you can't see it on the bottle, there are 500 pills in there. Enough for a year and a half. CoQ10 isn't covered by insurance, and it surely isn't cheap.

My sister-in-law, who also happens to have a child with special needs, has a career that has allowed her to help families find resources for out-of-pocket expenses. The CoQ10 was paid for by a non-profit called Patches of Light which was facilitated by my sister-in-law and another of her coworkers. Check out their website. It's hard not to cry while watching the intro or reading some of the stories there. I happen to know they are in need of funding, and I hope someday to be in a place to be able to give back.

We've leaned into lots of people along Will's journey, from respite to emotional support to the latest: financial help from non-profits when Will's expenses exceeded our house payment each month. Accepting help isn't easy, and it isn't something I do gracefully. But I've realized that this is all part of God's plan for me, and so, today I am grateful for the lessons He is teaching.

Wednesday, January 13

Updates and a book recommendation

Things have been super busy in our house. Will began his new school on January 5th. He now attends a half day ABA program designed for children with autism. He had already been getting 3 hours/week of after school therapy when he was at his other preschool, but now he'll be there every morning for 3 hours! I can not wait to see the changes it brings. After working with him at home, clearly, it is a great method for him.

Caroline started back to first grade. I can not express how much I enjoy her these days. I realized the other day that although I love watching the kids grow and learn, having a seven year old is so much fun! She can do so much now that she is a bit older, and it is loads of fun taking her places and having conversations with her. Recently we decided to check some books about having a sibling with special needs. One of the books we checked out of the library was this one. It has sparked some really great conversations in our house. All of a sudden, Caroline "gets it". For now, things are no different than they were yesterday to her, but now, they are more clearly defined. I have been blessed with a very compassionate child, and really, I couldn't ask for anything more.

Norah is doing well. She turned two and enjoyed her birthday. Pictures to come! We plan on having a small gathering where we attempt to cook Vietnamese food. We'll see how that goes. In the meantime, we've been having fun with her. I've said to many that Norah has been a huge part of my healing process since Will's birth and diagnosis.

I hope to be back blogging on a regular basis soon. I've enjoyed some much needed time off, and honestly, I had to decide if I was meant to continue the blog or not, but for now, I think I will. As I've said before, it is theraputic for me. As long as it continues to be this way, I will be here!

On a different topic - does anyone else have recommendations for good books to read with siblings? I think Caroline and Norah would enjoy more....

Friday, January 1

one little word

I was reading through blogs today, as I sometimes do to relax, and came across Ali's blog, where she discusses choosing one word to focus on over the course of a year. Immediately I became intrigued with this idea since most New Year's Resolutions drift away after a short month or two.

This year, the word I have chosen to focus on all year is contented. A definition I found online states that contented means "feeling or showing satisfaction with one's situation."

Too often I find myself worrying about Will and his needs. Whether I'm doing enough, whether I'm doing too much. How am I going to get him to sleep? How will we keep him healthy? Is he getting enough therapy? Should I be scheduling time at home to work on this issue? Or that one? Not to mention the thoughts about the girls, the house, my job, my marriage, our budget, and how I'm going to keep all of the balls I'm juggling in the air.

So I've decided once and for all - 2010 is the year of contented. I'm looking forward to focusing on it. I encourage all of you to choose a word to focus on. Sure, I'm still resolving to be healthier and to possibly lose some weight. But if I do my best and still don't make it to the size I think my body should be, I'm going to practice being contented.

What will your focus be this year?