My boy is coming back here to live in the group home we’ve looked at that is 15 minutes from our house! Last week the agency sent two workers to Thomas’ school to screen him to make sure he is a good match with the other residents of the group home. I spoke to Thomas’ social worker and she raved about him and his fantastic manners. I was so proud; I then spoke with the owner of the agency (who owns the group home) and his exact words were, “They met Thomas, they fell in love…he’s in” I would love to say I wasn’t surprised but I was. Not surprised that they would fall in love with my son, he has a great personality and is in fact quite likable, but surprised that all in all this process went very smooth.
In fact this whole scenario has God’s fingerprints all over it. If I hadn’t started the bible study group for Mom’s of special needs children and hadn’t asked Trish to be my co-leader; if I hadn’t mentioned to Trish the pressure I was under to submit to Thomas living in a group home in Brooklyn; if Trish never gave me the phone number of the owner of the agency; if I never called the owner and found out he indeed had an opening at a group home here in this borough…Thomas wouldn’t be going where he’s going.
It all starts with the bible study. A way for mom’s of special needs children to get together and glorify God while having camaraderie with other women going through similar life circumstances. It all starts with God. The way it should be. He is first. It didn’t hurt at all that I had people from my church family praying for us, praying for Thomas to be placed in that group home. Prayer is so powerful. Praying to the God that loves us.
I have to say that I’ve seen God move so plainly and openly when it came to Thomas. I do believe that every prayer I’ve had for Thomas has been answered, not always in the way I wanted but in the way that was best for him and best for my family. His ways are higher than ours and God’s timing is always perfect. This group home placement is an answer to prayer. The timing is perfect and I know God will make way for a place for Thomas in whatever program that will be great for him after he leaves the residential school.
You have to have faith.
I’ve written about my weight gain as a side effect of medication Ii take. I must take this medication if I want to stay not depressed. I enjoy being happy l; I do not enjoy being the weight that I am. I’ve always been on the slim side. Even after I had my kids I lost the weight I gained from being pregnant with them. Four times I gave birth and four times I lost the weight. I was also smoking cigarettes after I had the kids so I’m sure that helped with the weight loss.
Even so when I quit smoking I didn’t gain much weight maybe 5 pounds but that was ok and didn’t make much of a difference in my clothing size. This weight that I’ve gained had made a huge difference in what size clothing I have to buy. It took a lot for me to accept the size I am now. To stop buying clothing in a smaller size with the hope that I would lose the weight. I tried weight watchers but the desire to eat overcomes the desire to stick to a diet. So I’m not doing well on that front.
I do find that accepting my body for what it is right now and buying clothes that actually fit does wonders for the way I see myself. Trying to squeeze my self into a size or two too small makes me feel uncomfortable physically and psychologically. In my mind I’m concentrating on how tight those pants are and how “fat” I am because the pants are tight. It creates a vicious cycle on some level.
On another level of my acceptance I’ve gotten rid of a lot of clothes that are now too small. It was not a painless process admitting I was too big for certain favorite pants or tops. Since I only buy designer at the thrift I have managed to sell some too small clothing on the bay for a nice profit so that has been nice.
The most difficult part of accepting this new size of mine had been this summer. You can suck in your stomach and instantly feel slimmer but you can’t suck in an upper arm and I refuse to give up tank style tips and dresses. I will still take photos but I *really* don’t like the way I look in them. But…I don’t want my kids to look back and wonder why I’m not in any pictures with them. The beach has been another frontier. I stick with a basic one piece or 2 piece tankini that covers all. I do go in the water with Samantha (she loves riding the waves). I refuse to let my insecurities keep me on the sand only; besides you see all different sizes and shapes at the beach.
My husband has been wonderful, never once has he made any kind of remark about my weight. He does tell me how happy and content I seem and that makes him happy to see me that way. He gets annoyed when I put myself down and tells me I look fine. He’s sweet and I love him.
Last night I had the privilege of seeing Worship Night in America presented by Chris Tomlin at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Oh. My. Gosh. It was amazing. Truly amazing. I get goose bumps talking about it and reliving it all over again. All the artist he had lined up were so, so talented and so very dedicated to serving our great God. The special guests were Louie Giglio who preached a very moving session on traveling “the 20 inches” between our knees and the floor to pray for our nation. This man had all of Madison Square Garden on our knees and praying, very moving and oh so powerful. Max Lucado was another speaker he was so wonderful reinforcing how much we are loved by our God that we should let Him love us; we can call our Heavenly Father just that “Father, Abba, Papa” because He loves us so.
The musical artists were, Matt Redman, Matt Maher, Phil Wickham, Kim Walker-Smith (whose voice was incredible with all the jumping and dancing she did and never once faltered), Bryan and Katie Torwalk, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Tasha Cobbs and the very talented DJ Promote. When Tasha Cobbs took the stage to sing “There is Power in the Name of Jesus” she had the whole Garden mesmerized and singing and worshiping with her, I wish I could describe the feelings she provoked in her performance. The only thing I can do is link her performance of the song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pD2zIuiC2g She sings from her soul.
Chris Tomlin performed his hit “Good Good Father” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqybaIesbuA. He had everyone singing and worshiping. Honestly all the performers had us worshiping the one true God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I haven’t been this moved at a concert since I can’t tell you when. I felt filled with the love of Christ, something I feel is desperately needed in our country. To feel that love and to know it is finished, we’ve been ransomed and paid for by the blood of our beloved Savior.Another song was “How Great is Our God” also by Chris Tomlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBD18rsVJHk. Matt Redman did not dissapoint with “10,000 Reasons” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM
I can’t recall every song that was sung last night but they all prompted you to jump up from your seat, raise your hands in worship and surrender your heart to our great God. f anyone reading this has the chance to see this awesome concert I urge you to go and be prepared to be moved by the power of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I’ve been thinking about my job lately. I really like what I do but I’ve been wondering is there more I could be doing with myself? This job right now is part time. I wanted more hours and I was given a few more hours, but now I want even more. What do I want to do? Stay in nursing for sure. This is coming from someone who for years stayed as far away from that profession as I could. It is what I was trained to do all those years ago and it is what I’m more than likely to get to get a job as. I have no desire to return to school and be trained for anything else. I have changed. I’m no longer the anxiety riddled mess I was years ago. I have more self confidence. I don’t feel like I am hiding from being a nurse anymore.
I truly believe God has a plan for me. I’ll be praying for guidance and direction. And he won’t let me down. The most difficult is waiting on His timing. God’s timing is often different than ours but His timing is best.
I’ll soon be on the hunt. The upside is I’m enjoying what I’m doing while searching. Not a position I’ve seen myself in often.
I think about how fast time flew by while raising my children, well still raising 2 and will always be a guardian to one. My Lelly is 15 years old. She was my “baby ” for the five years between her and Samantha. It’s funny because even after I had Lelly and things were so, so frantic with Thomas undiagnosed I didn’t feel “done”. If anyone asked I always answered that I’d have another. Then I would get the side eye glance but I didn’t care. Don’t ask if you don’t want an honest answer, not that it was anyone’s business anyway.
So anyway time flying by…I see and meet so many first time moms and young families at my work. Of course I remember myself in their shoes and I didn’t believe anyone who said “enjoy them… time goes by really fast”. I distinctly remember when Thomas a baby and I wanted time to stop. I enjoyed him as a baby so much maybe because he was our first? Probably. Before the crap hit the fan with neurologist visits, moulding helmet fittings, MRI’s, early intervention, physical therapy, etc… Our life with Thomas was incredibly sweet. He was a great baby, he smiled a lot, napped on schedule and was all around an easy, happy baby. I knew I wanted more kids after him.
So here we are 20 years and 3 more kids later. The magic of being that young family long gone. And that’s ok. I do like our life now. My husband and I communicate better now than we did in our younger years, my kids are for the most part independent; Samantha being almost 10 is busting out to be as independent as we will let her. Now I feel totally “done” and I’m enjoying this stage of of life. I have no desire to go back to the days when my kids were young. Being on that roller coaster once was enough. Being so “done” makes me enjoy my job all the more. I get to see these little babies, sometimes hold them, most times coo and talk to them and enjoy toothless smiles and then give them back to their parents or wave goodbye after we’re finished.
I like the young families I get to visit with. I do tell them to watch out because time does go so fast. They nod as I nodded way back then not fully understanding that time will fly and fly fast. That that baby they’re holding will grow up in what seems like it’s taking forever some days and other days your head is spinning with the quickness of it all. There have been a few times at work I’ll stumble upon a special needs mom and we immediately bond. That is by far the coolest I’ve ever experienced. I know for that moment I’m in the midst of the planning that God made possible.
We celebrated Alyssa’s birthday the other night by going out to dinner at a local family owned Italian restaurant. After dinner we walked the boardwalk of one of our local beaches. It was Tommy and I, the girls and Alyssa’s boyfriend, Sam. We had such a great time and it occurred to me that I always wanted our family to be almost it’s own entity. Our own little universe and world. The other night I realized I’ve got what I always wanted, or rather I’ve always had what I always wanted. My world begins and ends with my family. This is the way it should be.
I think back to when I was younger I didn’t recognize this wonderful group of people as being my whole world. I felt claustrophobic in dealing with Thomas’ issues and the way he was. I wished for a more “normal” family/world. I was envious of other families and wondered why was mine the way it was? I never looked to change the girls, they were wonderfully typical (by girls I refer to Alyssa and Lelly, this was before Samantha was introduced to our world). I was fortunate that I found a wonderful online support system to help me with Thomas. And I’m even more fortunate that I’ve been able to meet just about every single person of that support system in person. Most recently, I had lunch in Manhattan with my dear friend Wendy who was in town from California.
I believe our “worlds” are fluid. People moving in and out. Even family members choose to drift out much to our disappointment. However, I don’t often believe the fluidity to be intentional. People move in to our lives/worlds for an amount of time and they move on. The only constant in our own universe consists of the core and we all know who our core are. The other night on the boardwalk I felt like we were our own bubble of family. Minus Thomas. The times I feel the most complete as a mini universe is when we’re all together. And I look forward to him moving to this group home so we can be complete more of the time.
I was in the city yesterday for work. I had such a great day at work. I met really nice people and the babies who came in to get their ears pierced were adorable and each did really well with the procedure. One family even brought me the most delicious piece of crumb cake sealed in a plastic single serving container. I just looked at them wide eyed and said, “No way…Thank you!”. They were a great family besides the cake, very down to earth and they loved cracking jokes.
I love being in the city. I love the anonymity you have walking down the street. I’ve been thankful that I’ve had nothing but uneventful visits to Manhattan except this one time last week when I was walking from the R train to the Ferry Terminal. I had a sweater thrown over the opening of my bag. This guy on a bicycle came flying by; caught his handle bar on my sweater and then he flew over his bike and did an awesome tucked up somersault to the ground. It was as if he had lessons on falling off his bike. Someone screamed, I froze and watched the whole thing. I asked the guy if he was alright (he literally jumped back to his feet after the somersault) and told him he was caught on my sweater. He said, “Well…it’s very windy out” which it was but still… He said he was fine and we were both on our way. Definitely odd and eventful.
I really don’t mind the commute to the city for my job. I love meeting people from literally all over the world. NYC is definitely a melting pot. I’ve met so many parents from many different cultures and their children are simply beautiful coming from such an array of backgrounds. I’ve also learned and/or picked up on how different cultures act towards each other and their children and that’s interesting. Nothing bad or adverse, just different depending on the culture. When these parents meet me it’s for a specific purpose and I’m kind of chatty so I’ll get them talking too most of the time. There are quite a few first time parents who are so nervous my heart goes out to them. I remember being in their shoes.
I’ve applied to quite a few part time jobs. I don’t necessarily want to leave my job I do like it there and I really like my boss. I simply want more money. I would love even more hours at this current job even though have been given another day. I have a suspicion that I’m exactly where God wants me to be right now. I’ve heard nothing back from over 10 jobs I’ve applied for. Maybe my resume needs a tune up, yes I’m sure it does.
I go back to work in a couple of days. Hopefully this heat wave will break and my commute will be even better with great weather. The ferry is always breezy being on the water, the subway platforms on the other hand can be quite brutal. Even so I still don’t mind. I get to visit and walk the greatest city on Earth and be a part of the living breathing population of NYC.
Yesterday I received a phone call from the agency that owns the group home that we are interested in for Thomas. They wanted to visit him at his school and also have Thomas visit the group home himself to ensure he is a good match. My heart stopped for a minute. Then I realized I’m nervous for him. This will be a big transition. And I have to say this is the first time I’ve been anxious for Thomas to make such a big change. All the other times he’s had to be living in residential we were in crisis mode. Thomas wasn’t safe to be around. Today he’s a different person, the residential school he’s been in has literally been a Godsend; an answer to prayer for him and us. The Lord made it happen for this school to be “the one” for our family.
I’ve written about this before but when we were waiting for Thomas to be admitted to residential 4 years ago, this school was the only one who called me back. I had been calling all the schools on the “list” where his packet was sent by the Board of Ed. and I was discouraged because either no one was calling me back or the ones that did call me back weren’t appropriate for my son. Things were not pleasant here at home, and Thomas was in and out of the psych hospital. Finally one morning after I dropped Samantha at school and went for a walk I came home to the phone ringing. I didn’t want to answer it but forced myself to. It was the school that was to become Thomas’ home for the next 4 years. Turns out they were looking at IQ scores from years ago and they thought Thomas was too high functioning for them. I quickly corrected their error and they were then reviewing the most current evaluations for Thomas. Long story short, Tommy and I visited the school and we loved it. After a couple of bumps in the road Thomas was admitted and we’ve all been happy with Thomas there for the past 4 years. The staff has been wonderful and attentive, his teacher (the same one since day one) has gone out of his way to encourage only the best from my son.
So now the transition begins. I’m still in awe at how the Lord works. He arranged for Thomas to be placed where he is now and His fingerprints are all over this group home placement. I just happened to mention to my bible study co leader that I was being pressured to accept group home placement in other boroughs. Trish then gave me the phone number of the group home agency, I explained to him our situation and the next thing I knew Tommy and I were visiting a group home 10 minutes from our house! When the Lord has a plan there is nothing that will stand in His way. And the way He orchestrates events is nothing short of mind blowing.
So now things are getting real. There are meetings to be had concerning Thomas’ school placement for his last year of being educated by the Board of Ed. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to enroll and pay for him to attend public school as opposed to residential school. Things won’t happen overnight, but I’m sure I’ll be surprised at how fast and quick time will pass and I’ll pray for Thomas to make a smooth transition and be as resilient as ever when he moves from one residence to another.
I recently wrote a thank you note to my doctor. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that or rather the first time I ever felt the overwhelming “want” to. It’s not to say I haven’t had great doctors in my life but this one saved my life.
This doctor is my psychiatrist. I chose this doctor when I was in the middle of a horrible depression. Horrible. He listened to me, asked a ton of questions and was never surprised by my answers even though *I* was surprised by my answers. And to have those answers be true… No. I wasn’t supposed to be in there in that spot.
I adamantly refused medication with the exception of an anti anxiety med. A mild dose that worked wonders for the anxiety but did nothing for the depression. I carried on like that for a couple of months. After a while I couldn’t stand the way I was feeling anymore. We then discussed antidepressants. And I started my roller coaster of med trials and dealing with side effects, some more troublesome than others. This went on for 2 years. Some meds did work for a while then stop or peter off. Some I had to give a full trial time of about 6 weeks only to report back that there was no effect good or bad. It was a crap shoot I felt.
It wasn’t until March 2015 did he finally hit the right combo and added an antidepressant I hadn’t trialed before. My mood was great I hadn’t felt like myself in so long I welcomed myself back. I can’t tell you the awe I felt to actually be in a good mood again. To not be a anxiety riddled depressed shell of a person.
My husband noticed that I was “happy” and I was/am. I joke and laugh with my kids. I can laugh at myself and I no longer fill my head with horrible untrue statements.
I say that I chose this doctor but in truth he was chosen for me. Dr. L was originally treating my son and I adored him for Thomas. When the crap hit the fan for me and I really needed a doctor, I chose Dr. L. He was put in my life, in my path for a reason. Not soon after he was treating Thomas did Thomas go to residential school.
So today I wrote Dr. L. a thank you note. I thanked him for believing I would beat the depression when I didn’t believe it myself. I let him know I’m in such a better place right now and it is because of him.
My Alyssa, my YaYa (nickname courtesy of Daniella), our Deedle (nickname courtesy of Thomas). Whatever we call her we’re so proud of her. She made it through high school while enrolled in a very difficult honor’s program, the International Baccalaureate Program or simply “IB”. I hardly heard her complain about the work, she is one my children that never made it our business that she had a project or paper due, she just did her work and I see Daniella following in her footsteps.
So Alyssa is legally an adult, legal to get any piercing, tattoo or other body adornment. I won’t stop her if she does decide to do any of the above, I will however give my opinion and any pearls of wisdom from first hand experience, asked for or not. I’m optimistic she will make “good” choices.
I can remember the day she was born like it was yesterday the way we all can reminisce about that day for any of our children. I chose to not have the epidural and looking back I know I didn’t need it. My labor was pretty short and the delivery was very quick. When the midwife announced “It’s a girl!” I was in shock of disbelief. My husband is one of 3 boys so I figured I’d never have a girl. Alyssa was so pink! And everyone who stopped by to see me exclaimed that she was so pretty. (I used to work at the hospital I gave birth in, I had many visitors of former co-workers). I thought everyone was just being “nice” but when I looked back at photos I knew they were telling the truth.She really was a pretty baby.
So now she’s 18 years old. She’s still has a pink complexion and she’s still pretty. Stunning if you ask me but I’m prejudiced. I see some of my husband in her face and she certainly did not inherit her long, ridiculously thick hair from me. She carries herself with grace and is one to dress pretty modestly. I can’t think of one instance where I made her change her clothes before going out or going to school. Adolescence/tween years were not fun; in fact I even called my mother to apologize for my own behavior at that age. Thankfully that time was short lived and by age 14 or so she was back to being our Yaya. Alyssa loves the Lord and isn’t afraid to openly worship Him. I love when she picks me up from work and she’s listening to Christian music, it makes my heart happy.
I wish for the world to be kind to this new adult, this young woman of mine; well mine for now.