Category Archives: Family

Last But Not Least

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It wasn’t an easy choice.

I remember being afraid mention it out loud. Did I really want what I was asking for? I wasn’t ignorant. I knew the cost, the sacrifices I would have to make. Yet, I began having dreams. A flame I thought was snuffed out long ago began to flicker in my heart. Excitement started to surface. However anxiety of the unknown would continually overpower any hope of lasting happiness.

What was this desire?

I wanted another baby.

I was embarrassed to admit that after 3 biological children, two step-daughters, one integrated daughter, and failed relationship attempts, I was contemplating having another baby. Not just mildly contemplating. My snoozing biological clock was ticking out strong desires to do so.

I can clearly remember conversations I had with God about this way before bringing it up with my husband. I gave God every reason, every excuse why this was simply a bad idea. How I wished I could just bury my fanciful side without killing apart of my person-hood! Never being one that’s afraid of telling me what I don’t want to hear, I heard God say, “Joy, you don’t have to do anything you do not want to.”

Like that really helped.

He’s God, for crying out loud. All I wanted was for Him to tell me what to do. He knows everything. Not to mention if anything went wrong I would have a scape goat, someone to blame my poor decision on.

The next thing I heard from God was, “Do you want to?” This only frustrated me more. Now I had to be deeply honest with myself. I had to admit to myself what was in my heart was good and not bad. It wasn’t unhealthy to want something so beautiful. God continued to expose the sand castles where my trust resided. He continued to reveal the truth. He showed me His thoughts, His plans, and His role in our relationship. Above all, He continued to emphasize this was my decision.

God refuted every sensible argument I could muster. How would we provide for everyone? It was God’s job to take care of me and my loved ones. What about all of my current responsibilities? How would I manage them while adding new ones? It is not my job to control my environment. What about my dreams? It is only my responsibility to live life to the fullest, giving it my all. Not mention, my dreams were His before He ever placed them in my heart. Finally I felt Him smile and say, “Seek ye first, and all these things will be added unto you.”

What did that mean??? To believe my wants and needs were going to be taken care of was hard for me. I felt it was irresponsible to place such trust in the unknown. I come from a hard working family, self-sufficient, who put a high value for earning everything you get out of life. Not to mention, this was contrary to what I learned in college. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you are to live in self-protection meeting your survivor instincts first, and up from there until you finally pursue spiritual enlightenment as self-fulfillment.

I left my conversations with God a little frustrated with the blank check He had given me. So, I decided to share my thoughts with my closest confidant, my best friend, the love of my life… My husband. Surely, he would set me straight with good ol’ fashioned logic. After all, he had a vasectomy from a previous marriage. We’d already come to terms with this, hadn’t we? I was delighted he was unable to have anymore kids when we first got married. I was extremely afraid of the idea of rearing them for a myriad of reasons, some of which included: I was a carrier of a malfunctioned gene and was already raising a severely handicap child. As I mentioned before, I had been in two major relationships, both of which failed dismally. This was hard on me as well as my kids. Pain avoidance became a central theme in my life. I also did not want any of our living children to feel or believe they were not enough, they were not loved fully, or that they would be replaced in any way.

So, I proceeded to present my longing with the full assurance he would bring me back to reality.

I should have known better going into the conversation. After all I married him because he was open to discussion and he wasn’t afraid of obstacles. And like Someone else I knew, he wasn’t afraid of telling me what I didn’t want to hear.

Contrary to my expectations, Matthew burst forth with elation at my aspirations. It saddened him deeply to not have any more children. He had a vasectomy to protect his ex-wife from a heart condition she would incur during pregnancy. He always regretted this decision, never quite feeling he was done having kids.

Still, I was conflicted. We had such a full house already. We were already referred to as the ‘Brady Bunch’. Yet I longed to have a child with the man of my dreams; one that was ours together, created out of our love for one another; one we would raise without having to share with anyone else.

So we finally decided go for it. Little did we know, this leap took us on a journey we very much did not anticipate.

After having saved up for vasectomy reversal, it took many months before I would become pregnant. Once we finally got pregnant, we had a total of three devastating miscarriages. I became hurt, discouraged, and frustrated. Here we thought we did not want anymore children and now we found ourselves fighting to conceive and carry to term. Heartbroken, I cried out to God. What was going on? I felt like the Lord communicated with me that we were up against a spiritual battle. One that did not value life. One that wanted to destroy life at it’s very core. The force we were up against was death. Whether it showed up in the form of infertility, abortion, or the mentality that children are in the way and a bother, it all stemmed from that same place.

Now, during this time, my sixteen year old daughter discovered she was pregnant. Though shame, guilt, and condemnation entered my mind for a brief moment, my internal being knew she was going to be a very good mother. After all, I did teach her well. I found my strength and hope in God once again. I encouraged her that she could face her fears, be great mom, and still remain true to her dreams.

Then a devastating blow almost ripped me apart. My third miscarriage wracked my body with immature labor pains. I had carried a blighted-ovum until the first day of my 12th week. I labored 1/2 the night only to deliver and empty amniotic sac. My body was in agonizing physical pain while my emotions were utterly numb. Yet I took comfort in the fact my daughter was still carrying my grandchild. It was not until we went to her OB appointment the next week that I discovered what she had been hiding from me. She had gotten an abortion the same day I suffered my miscarriage. We sat in our driveway having an intense three hour conversation. Despite our close relationship, we struggled to connect with each other during this time. I felt betrayed. I felt inadequate. I felt like a failure. I felt I had not passed on my values to one of the closest people to me. Meanwhile, she sat there feeling grief and remorse, all alone, misunderstood, and angry.

Matthew and myself were disheartened and even more confused. Should we  just chalk the whole thing up? Should we look into other options? Should we adopt? Should we try again? How should we best care for the children we already have? Besides our personal desires to have a child together, we were dealing with so many other life issues. This only made our choices that much harder.

Our character was tested. Our faith was tried. Our spirits had been crushed, but not broken. We found our strength, our hope, and our source through prayer. We found ourselves allowing the peace that passes understanding to be an anchor as our lives felt tossed on tumultuous waters. Through our trials we kept finding our peace, hope, and joy.

It was a relief when we discovered I had a problem with my thyroid and my progesterone. Finally, we knew what we could do to get pregnant and carry to term.

You can only imagine our delight after nine beautiful and long months, we were finally able to celebrate the entrance of our daughter Abigail into this world. A little after a year passed and we discussed whether or not to conceive again. Our other children were so far apart in age now Abigail would be raised as an “only child” in a few years. Again, we were faced with a tough, yet good decision to make. I had told Matthew it should be his choice as the choice had been previously taken from him in his previous relationship. After weeks of prayer and careful consideration of our lives in general, Matthew had come to the conclusion he wanted one final child.

We were intimate all of three times when another surprise happened. My daughter called and informed me she was once again pregnant. Freaking out, I put the stops to all intimacy protected or not. Though she was now nineteen, in a relationship, and had overcome a lot of trauma, she was going to need me.

Matthew was gracious, but did not understand my strong stand on the matter. As far as I was concerned, we were finished having kids. I was going to be a grandma. I was going to make sure this time I did not let anyone down. One week passed, then two. Though I was sad and felt a since of loss, I also felt a sense of duty to help my daughter.

Then my period became late. I tried to ignore it and regard it as stress. All the while I already knew the truth, but I convinced myself it was all in my head. I wasn’t pregnant. Grandmas don’t get pregnant. So, unlike my previous pregnancy tests I had always taken in front of Matthew, this one I bought at the store, took alone in a public restroom and planned on throwing it out with no-one the wiser.

The two blue lines showed up quickly. I was both excited and panicked. Instantly, I thought, “what is everyone going to think of me? How am I going to be able to handle all of this? Where are we going to get the extra finances to pay for the expenses?” My mind was swirling. I drove home in shock. When I pulled into the driveway my handsome husband was greeting me at the car door. I quietly slipped my fresh pregnancy test into Matthew’s hand and proceeded to the house.

Matthew looked down and instantaneously back up. “Is this ours?” he blurted out. A smile rushed over his face as he could not contain his happiness. He was not worried about all the concerns I was raising. He just enjoyed the fact he was going to be a father one more time. I however was not as eager to join the festivities. I did not know how to balance my feelings. Happy, overwhelmed, nervous, stressed, excited, and unsettled, I wanted to compartmentalize life. However, through this process, I have come to realize more than ever life can be hard. There’s no two ways about it. There are lots of pressures we humans experience. However, our character is shaped and formed by how we handle stressful situations. I no longer fear failure. I am now more concerned with failing to try. And though I remain imperphect, I do a heck of a lot of things right. My identity has become wrapped tightly up in what God thinks about me. I am also aware everything works itself out and often times we make life harder than it should be when we stress and worry.

With all that being said, it is with great JOY I announce the birth of our son, Matthew Isaac. His name means “God’s gift of laughter”. I am so glad God gave this young man to me. He is a promise I have carried in my heart for years. He also arrives as an uncle to my grandchild, Joshua James, who was born a week prior. For the first time in my life, I can say with full certainty, I have no unresolved desire to have any more of my own children.

I also know I will be the coolest Glam-ma on the planet.

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A Good Laugh Among Friends

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Laughter fills the air as our cares are left at the door like a pair of dirty ol’ shoes. The mood is easy and the conversation light. There is nothing like the pleasures of forgetting our worries, and the relaxation of being with those we enjoy. Good times to be had with good friends. From backyard barbeques on the patio to a nice drink in a pub, life fills the atmosphere as we have a good laugh among friends. We find our uptight, anal selves melting into a comfortable chair as we let our hair down.

Everything in the world is right as we gather with our smiles in full beam. Whether we slide down a cold hill of powdery white snow and sip hot cocoa at the bottom, or we watch sunsets over horizons on warm summer evenings, our spirits are refreshed as our hearts are happy to be with those we love.

It is in these moments we celebrate the simple things like roasting marshmallows or blending margaritas. We find meaning and hope in newly forged relationships. We also find safety and security in those that are tried and true. We mingle and discuss fine craftsmanship, sporting events, and fishing tales. We linger when it is time to go, capturing every last joke of the evening before time catches up with us and we must go back to our regular lives.

We hold on to these feelings of bliss as if they are treasures more valuable than any achievement we have accomplished. We find we are grateful to be alive and look forward to the tomorrows of the world. We get lost in songs that remind us of these special times. We are quickly taken back and transformed in an instance as we sing along to the melody. Burden free, we may even be silly and dance. After all, what is the fun in hanging out if we can’t loosen up on the reigns a bit?

Laughter is a good medicine for the soul. It produces endorphins, healing, and an overall sense of well-being. So don’t forget to tell your serious side it is okay to chill out, relax, and add some joy to your world!

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Abort!

Abort!

Panic sets in. Fear takes control. Rational thought abandons ship and ‘ABORT MISSION’ becomes the primary goal. In crisis situations people tend not to think through their options. Emergency responses kick in: “Fight!”, “Flight!”, “Act now!”, “Run and hide!” Our greatest fears become the focus of our reality. Survival instincts can betray us when we’re in this mode. We get so caught up in the moment. We may solve an instantaneous problem; however, we may also cause long term issues we regret.

Unlike most teen pregnancies, I planned my daughter. I was 15 when I got “knocked-up.” I was not under duress. This was not an accident. Nor was I ignorant of the consequences of unprotected sex. With full understanding of my actions, I sought out becoming pregnant. It took me a whole three tries, and ‘voila!’ – I was with child.

My boyfriend of a couple years was also a willing participant. He and I were “in-love”. We were going to be the exception to the rule. We were going to stick in there, make this relationship last, and we were going to defy the odds. All this except…. we were not doing anything different than anyone else. We did not have some amazing skills and relationship tools. We did not listen to wisdom and healthy advice. We were independent.

We were arrogant, self-sufficient, and cut off from genuine accountability. Like most teenagers, we thought we “knew it all”. However, in our culture today, even adults act like this. We have become so good at telling others what to do, how they should live their life, and pointing out their shortcomings. Yet, we isolate ourselves. We walk in pride, thinking we do not need others who have knowledge, wisdom, and expertise in any area.

We then reproduce dysfunction. We cultivate and perpetuate the need for right and wrong, fear and punishment, living in secret and walking in ignorance. We demand respect, but do not give it. We want freedom and independence without responsibility and covenant relationships. We do not want to be bothered and burdened. Most certainly we do not want the stress of learning how to have self-control and deal with conflict.

We want all the pleasures and no difficulties. We act like self-centered toddlers demanding our way. We are perpetually in the “mine” stage. As essentially very large children ourselves, we consequently view having our own children as an inconvenience, as an annoyance, and as a noose around our neck, like some necessary evil. They get in the way of the “mine” and the “me time.”

Even those children who are wanted can be strenuous. They can (and will) expose our core beliefs, our insecurities, our unpreparedness, and our own immaturity. Why then are they called a blessing? Why then desire to have them? Why bring one into this horrific and broken world in the first place?

You see those cute little faces and your heart melts. Something inside softens. Most people want babies, and most people have an intense fear of teenagers. Yet, even with babies, we get afraid. What about the cost? What about “my dreams”? What if I suck at parenting and I ruin their life? The “What if’s…” screw us every-time!

We don’t think about solutions. We don’t problem solve. We simply respond to our fear and trample faith beneath our feet. We dig a hole deep down and we bury possibility. We cover it with the dust of the ground and live within the rot of hope and the loss of joy.

My high school sweet heart and I did not make it. After many years of a co-dependent relationship we separated. In our wake, two amazing, devastated children. It would be over a decade later their father would pass away, leaving more heartache and trauma. I learned, as most of us do, no matter how much as we plan life isn’t always smooth sailing. At times we have to batten the hatches, but no matter what storms we weather the most important thing is that we remain true to our destination.

My beautiful daughter grew up, and at the age of sixteen she surprised me. It was not exciting. It was not bliss. And it was not welcomed with happiness. As we stood together in the bathroom, her body fell to the floor. She began crying in emotional agony. She felt she had made the biggest mistake of her life. With two blues lines on a pee stick, I was now going to be a grandmother and she a mom to an unwanted, very unplanned pregnancy.

It was all I could do not to carry her shame. Riddled with guilt, she clung to my body all night long. Being passionate about life I encouraged her to believe in herself. I held her hand and whispered in her ear. Though I was disappointed, it was not in her. I felt I myself had failed as a parent. I came to terms with being a young grandmother, but she could not get over the fears of raising this child “alone.”

Her dreams were so big. Her imagination so wild. And her better judgement did not get control of her. She entertained all the truths that are subject to interpretation. “It’s going to be harder to date.” “It is going to be harder to finish school.” “It is going to be harder to pay for things.” Suddenly, all she could hear was, “Life is going to get really HARD!”

Several weeks into her pregnancy she made a decision. A decision she later regretted. A decision she can never take back. We had already been shopping, preparing, going to classes, etc. I was so proud of how she was handling herself and the predicament she was in. I had embraced becoming a grandma. I was even going to be known as Glam-ma. I had gone to all her doctors appointments and had even been talking to her belly.

All the while she was dying inside…

She never got past her fears. One mistake and everything changed. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

Quietly, she laid in a clinic convinced she was doing what was best. Behind my back she got rid of this ‘tissue’ as if was some cancer growing inside of her. She justified her actions as morally responsible. Knowing I would be grieved, she hid her secret from me. Trying to save me from pain, her from condemnation, and us from from conflict, she fabricated the loss of her child to my face.

Betrayal was beyond what I was feeling. My daughter was engrossed with sadness. She felt alone. She gave up her baby for the sake of the greater good. Why then did we both feel so bad? I bonded with my grandchild. I was mad at my daughter. I was trying to be sensitive to her pain without condoning her actions.

We sat in our driveway as she explained her heart the best she could, while I mourned the loss of my grand baby. It was such a helpless feeling. I wanted so badly to reach into her situation and change things. Her life was going up in flames. My power was in maintaining self-control and by not adding more fuel to her flaming, crumbling infrastructure.

I watched as my little girl drive off in my car. She had kicked me in the gut with her words and was now leaving because she did not know how to deal with the intense pain we were both enduring. I prayed for peace. I prayed for comfort. And I prayed for wisdom.

With the impression that the baby was going to be a girl, Trinity Honor was going to be her name. This precious human being that now resides in heaven with her grandfather has never left my heart. More-so, she has haunted her mother ever since she departed.

It took over a year for my daughter to attempt to get over what she had done. She turned to substance abuse to drowned out the noises in her head. She shut out everyone she loved and was close to. She abandoned the dreams she sacrificed her daughter for. And she herself no longer lived but simply existed waiting for time to pass her by…

I am not saying planning a child when you are a teenager is a good thing. I am not supporting nor am I condoning my own behavior in that area. I love being a mother and I adore all of my children. I also do not support or condone abortions. I know many people who have had one and I still love those people.

In life we make mistakes. Hopefully we learn and grow from them. I do not expect people to be perphect, nor do I demand perphection out myself. It is not my place to judge others actions. I do not have to, nor do I get to live their lives. What I can say is:

Most people’s consequences for their own actions condemn and shame them enough.

When we pull others from their self imposed guilt, we empower them to walk in their destiny. People are pretty amazing. Given the opportunity, most will choose to walk in the light.

How can we impose our values and beliefs on others when we ourselves do not view children as a blessing? How do we “make” them believe they should want their children when we do not “like” our own? How do we show people that generations are to be enjoyed when we ourselves avoid the vulnerability of messy relationships?

Today my remarkable daughter started beauty college. I am so proud of her. She has gotten healthy. She has forgiven herself and she is pursuing her dreams. Though she is learning how to let go and how to manage her emotional pain, she holds dear a little girl who is forever apart of this world.

May we never give up on our dreams, and may we never ABORT our blessings even if they do come by accident.

Resources:

CareNet Pregnancy Center

Moral Revolution

Loving Our Kids On Purpose


Rough & Tumble

Rough & Tumble

They play hard,
They hurt deep.
The fall down,
They love deeper.
These young men immersed in adventure and rage,
With their hearts committed, they engage.
These boys live life to the fullest, and put themselves in danger,
They have heroes such as their dads and the Lone Ranger.
The rush of adrenaline runs through their veins,
It has been passed down through generations with both pleasure and the pain.
Thrill seeking, hardcore fun,
Passion driven, devoted, free-spirits on the run.
They ride fast and push their limits.
To heal a wound takes time, but to realign their hearts, only mere minutes.
They crash big and break their bones.
But when all’s said and done they know they still have a safe place called home.
Fear is only a factor when they let it in.
They stare it in the face and laugh with a grin.
With hunger in their eyes,
And passion burning inside,
They grab their handle bars like a horse with reins,
They go full speed ahead and look back with no shame.
When they fall down, they get back up with support.
These are my nephews, of whom I adore.

Dedicated to: Lee’s Racing, Austin #454, Tyler#451, Joshua #455, & Bobby #452

I love you boys! You make me a proud aunt.

Lee’s Moving


Broken

Broken

We can play games of tug and war.
We can say things like who loves you more.
We can tell you vile truths that tear you apart.
We can comfort your bad dreams and still violate your heart.

We can make you hide behind close doors,
With all your dreams lying on the floor.
We can make you live in secret, full of fear.
We can make you so sad you cannot shed a tear.
We can kick you in the gut with our words.
We can make you sick, rest assured.

“You are just a dead beat dad, can’t you see…
You were never really there for me.”
“Mom plays the victim in every role,
She hasn’t figured out how to fill that hole.”
All the lies you were told,
All the lies you believe,
All the emptiness you must feel,
All the confusion with which you must deal.

What happened between us was not your fault.
You were just a child and we the adult.
For the “us” that once was will never again be the same.
That “us” gave us you…
Now you are caught in between.

You are a gift.
The light of our world.
The best of two, but a glorious you.
You are our much
And our affections are true.
Abandoned you may feel,
But the truth is far more real.

For your sake (not ours),
We will not enter in to more insecurities.
It is our desire for you to have sureties.
Often, it takes more courage to walk away,
Than it does to engage any day.

We can fight to the end,
And we can even win.
But sometimes to win is to lose,
And for that we must choose.
You are too important to put you through this.
It is for you that we must do this.

This does not mean you are not loved and adored.
Contrary, above our feelings, we care for yours more.
We are sorry for your pain and your loss.
We’re sorry our mistakes left you with the cost.

It is important for you to know,
We did not walk out on you or let you go.
Love prevails all of the time,
And even though you are theirs, you are also mine.
We are going to chose faith over fear.
We know in the end it will all work out, my dear.

May we offer you this token,
Though your family may be broken.
You may have two houses,
But with each of us, your heart always has a home.

Special Dedication: To all those who have grown up in broken homes.

Suggested Reading:

Good Parenting Through Your Divorce

Divorce Poison

Fathered By God

The Father’s Embrace


DisABLEd

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Disabled!!!

       That is what he is labeled… Dis-ABLEd!

In all actuality, there are so many terms they call it: “special needs”, “handicapped”, “mental retardation”, “physically impaired”, and a few other contrite names. All are accurate in description. This rhetoric is suppose to make us feel better. In essence, it is used so as not to offend. We even define legal language around it to become politically correct. However, no matter the label used, no one person can be defined by one simple term. For example, to simply call me “a mother” would be to oversimplify me. It only describes one facet of who I am. The same can be said of my son. He is so much more than his condition.

I was “saddled with this burden” (a term used by those outside my life to describe what happened) at the age of twenty. Having never been around someone disabled before, I was ill prepared. This did not stop me from trying. I loved him wholeheartedly, and wasn’t going to let his imperphections change that.

He was born with a rare genetic syndrome called De Barsy Syndrome: Cutis-laxa type. It is a rare connective tissue disorder and affects his collagen and elastin fibers. Even now there are only approximately sixty known cases of this syndrome on the planet. Doctors told me it was autosomal recessive, meaning he got this gene from both parents. We discovered we had a 1 in 4 chance of passing on the malfunctioned gene with each pregnancy. In the delivery room, they told us he had failure to thrive. More than likely he wouldn’t make it past his first night.

Fourteen years later he is still here, and he is growing strong.

Many call him “my angel from heaven”. Others sigh, expressing their sympathy as if they felt sorry for the both of us. Not knowing what to say, they often resort to well meaning, but empty platitudes such as “God knew I could handle this”, or  “It takes a special kind of person to care for him.”

We have gotten stares in the stores. People ogle over the mysterious distortion and deformities of his body. I must admit, I myself have been intrigued by his abnormalities. After a while though I became immune to the horrified looks. I tuned out the awkward comments. What many would label as abnormal, we have chosen to make our own version of normal.

He is my son. My snuggler. My friend. He is smart in his own way and brings love with a grin. He goes everywhere with us. He participates in as much activities as he is ABLE. He has given us favor with many and opened doors for our family to travel. He gives us VIP parking with his little blue pass. He allows us to cut to the front of the lines at Disneyland. He is a trooper when it comes to ailments. He does not feel sorry for himself, nor does he compare himself to others. He has the strength to live and the courage to laugh. He is my sunshine when my day is grey.

This little boy who has “nothing to offer” makes my world. Of course he is getting heavy. He is all dead weight because he has no head, neck or trunk control. He cries in the night. His body is twisted like ragged old towel. His bones are fragile and his fingers are distorted. His feet are bent like a steel pole under the pressure of a thousand pound weight.

But his smile...

His smile is the most powerful expression of love I have ever seen. It is contagious. It is infectious and piercing. His joy lights up all he comes in contact with. His laughter causes the grumpiest person to change their mood. He has a peace most people spend their entire lives seeking. This young man in all of his unproductivity produces more happiness than a crowd of hippies in a marijuana field.

He has nine regular doctors who have done their best, which sometimes includes doing nothing at all. His needs are based on life expectancy. The need to survive outweighs the need to be straight. The need to live is more vital than the need for many important surgeries. He lives with 2 inguinal hernias. Both of his hips are out of socket. His corneas are clouded. His chest caves in and his heart is displaced. He has scoliosis that is curving at a rapid rate. The list of aliments is longer than Santa Clause’s naughty or nice review.

Yet, through all of this he has not “ruined my life”. He has enriched it. God is not some sadistic manipulator and did not give my son to me to teach me some lesson. While I have gained an abundance of life skills from this experience, I would have learned other skills from a different experience. I am not special because I care for him. I simply chose to make the best out of our situation. Like I said: we’ve made the abnormal normal.

He who would be deemed a complication in life has given me great advantages. He has been an inspiration. If he can be happy by simply living, then I can no longer make excuses for my own distress. I figured if he did not feel sorry for himself then neither would I. Pulling up my boot straps, I changed my major in college from nutrition to communications. I finished with three kids in tow and taught my son everything I know as he listened while I read text book after text book aloud.

And while some call me strong. I consider myself privileged. I have seen places and met people I would have not met otherwise. People such as his amazing dentist, a woman who has no handicap children herself, yet volunteers her time and practice to meet the needs of children who’s are considered too severe for most dentists.

I do get frustrated, discouraged, and disappointed when life is not always smooth sailing. This is no different than any other person on this planet. Life is hard, but that is not my disabled child’s fault. He did not cause bad things to happen to me, and he is most certainly not a bad thing. If handicap people compensate their weaknesses with strength in another areas, just imagine how far people could go who have no crutch. Like them, to realize our full potential maybe we should learn to be free from the DIS and focus on our ABILITY.

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Special Thanks to:

Diana Zschachel 

Shriners Hospital

Far Northern Regional Center


SuperMom

SuperMom

Just call it like it is… from my breastfeeding cape to my sliding doors minivan, I am a mom. My reputation as a stylish, fun, and outgoing woman always came with a side of drool, diapers, whining, and now, as my girls advance into teen years, boyfriends.
At the age of fifteen I planned my first pregnancy. Craziness right?!? Not as outlandish as some might think. It was my way to make sense of this disjointed planet we live on. As many young girls do, I struggled with my identity, my purpose, and my ability to accomplish my dreams. I sought solace in motherhood, hoping to ease the discomfort I could not understand. Without all the tools in my box I started on a journey to build a household.
Eighteen years later my oldest daughter is now a young lady. She is b-e-a-u-tiful. She is smart, talented, and thoughtful. I look back at all the things I did right and the many things I could have done better. All in all, I am most proud that through trail, pain, and happiness, she and I have a strong connection. No matter what that girl goes through, she knows without a shadow of a doubt, she has a momma who loves her; not one who always agrees with her; not one who always condones all of her behavior; not one who placates her; but one who wants the best for her and will never give up on bringing about wholeness.
Beyond her I have raised my severely disabled son who has been the delight of my life. His happy go lucky smile and his loving spirit brightens everyones day. Most of the time he does not have a care in the world. He trusts that he is going to be well taken care of. He provides life, hope, strength, and love to all who come in contact with him. After fourteen years of diapers, seizures, and throw up, I still would not trade him for all the money in the world.
Then along came her. This little girl who thinks so far outside the box I can’t even fit her on my grid. After taking years of parenting classes, reading books on the subject, and inquiring from matured parents, she has challenged my very being to grow. I love her with all my heart and soul, this girl who can make me think more than my brain has capacity. She understands computer science, mathematics, and pokemon, all the while my internal mother board struggles to upgrade. With an outgoing personality, the word stranger isn’t even apart of her vocabulary. This fun, imaginative, and cute girl has captured my affections as well as my attention.
As my nurturing side consumed my being, I began to love those who struggled with their parental figures. I opened my arms and my home to many kids through the years. Some of these young people are now adults and even have their own families. One lady in particular has blended with our family to point we think of her as our own. She is sister, daughter, and friend. I have dedicated my life to her success in every way including financial, physical, and emotional. The love she reciprocates is unparalleled and I am honored to know such an amazing human being.
It was when I became a step-mother that I truly knew what it was to lay down my life for others. My children are easy to love. They are mine. Flesh and blood unites through anything, however those we love out of choice can be changed. I imagine this love to be much like those of adoptive parents. I get to on purpose care for others I did not bring into this world. I get to carve out a special place in my heart for them to call home. I look at them with the same affection I do the others. Not because I have to, but because I have given them power over my love. They have my devotion, my commitment, and my love which never waivers. When It comes time to share them with their mother, I do not find myself thinking out of sight out of mind. On the contrary I feel a hole, a loss, and a longing to have them in my presence.
Both are girls. The oldest has a strong personality. She is compassionate, friendly, and opinionated. She has a great sense of style, good taste in food, and a heart of gold. Though she, like most children from broken homes, wishes her parents were still together, she still loves, honors, and respects both of them and their new counterparts. Through sharing homes, sharing attention, and sharing lifestyles, this girl puts in her all and comes out on top.
Her younger sister is equally fantastic. She is creative in every way. She looks at the world full of black and white, but carefully adds subtle shades of grey. Yet, it is when she adds color she truly astonishes with articulate, artistic thoughts. She is full of wit, full of knowledge, and full of determination. She is not the social butterfly her older sister is. She craves one-on-one time which requires intentionality. She flourishes the most when she is given the attention she needs to express herself.
Now that I am much older than when I began, I find myself delightfully happy to have started the process all over again. With yet another girl, my life feels complete. I find myself with sensations of euphoria as I look into my baby’s eyes and see such wonder. I feel confident in my skills as a mother. I enjoy and embrace the ups and downs life brings my way. As I hold this tiny creature, bliss fills my being. She was hard fought for. After conquering my fears of raising any more children, we saved for a vasectomy reversal. Next came miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. Finally, my cup was full only after enduring the nine months of pregnancy’s glows and hormonal blows. Consequently, for the last four months I have been suffering with enormous amounts of postpartum joy.
Through it all, my carefree, spontaneous, thrill seeking side still exists. I did not surrender my dreams, my ambitions, or my goals for my children. They are not a burden or a dead weight around my ankle. They are right there with me. Through thick and thin, through fire and storm, my children – all of them – teach me, love me, and give me courage. We do family well. We support each other, lift up each other, and seek the best for each other. We celebrate individuality, praise each other’s giftings, and strive for unity. Out of humility we serve each other and forgive shortcomings.
I am not afraid I will not arrive. I already have, and I am bring my entourage with me.


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