Took the tree down …

My son was home for Christmas.  I picked him up on the 23rd. We had a nice ride home and a great entry to the house. I took a sweet picture of him in front of the Christmas tree and promptly posted it on Facebook. Immediately it was “liked”.

Three hours later the boy was super high maintenance. Thomas is special needs so he’ll always be some sort of high maintenance in his general being. Whether it be attention to his meds or supervision while showering and brushing his teeth. That stuff doesn’t bother me. The super high maintenance person Thomas turned into on Dec 23rd, three hours after arriving home is a different animal. He refused any suggestion of entertaining him, refused to draw, color, watch a movie, watch tv, you name it.

Instead Thomas occupied himself by following me around and generally getting in my face wanting this or that, insisting  I wash his clothes every night, still refusing to do anything that would require independence.  This continued on through the 26th of December. So that means I spent my Christmas with this boy on my heels or in my face and him constantly needing “something”, anything you can think of. He was relentless and would not leave me alone.

So on the afternoon of the 26th fueled by caffiene and disappointment I took the tree down. I couldn’t wait to get the most obvious symbol of Christmas out of my house.

The nativity scene is still in place. That is what matters most during this season anyhow.

 

 

Happy New Year

The end to another year. Another Christmas flown by. I rarely reflect at the end of the year. But this year I will.

I think I had a good year. For the first time in a long time I started getting back to “me” again. Feeling like myself, laughing with my kids. I started a new to me antidepressant back in March of this year and that was the final catalyst to enable me to feel better. I no longer feel like the depression is right around the corner waiting to get a jump on me. I can laugh and joke around without feeling false. It’s nice.

We also had an awesome time on vacation this past summer. We rented a large vacation house with two other families (the first time we had ever done that) at the Outer Banks, North Carolina and it worked out really great. We all got along and everyone just chilled. I was able to hang out at the pool for 2 solid days straight. I haven’t hung out at a pool being that carefree since I was a teenager. It was sweet.

This fall flew by I feel; literally.  It seems as if school just started and here we are at the end of 2015, almost half way through the school year. Alyssa graduates high school this year and that blows my mind a bit. We discuss colleges and went to visit a few. She wants to stay in Manhattan and that’s cool. I can’t blame her, I love Manhattan. Daniella started high school this year and I’m happy for her. She had a less than great time at Junior high and really needed the change. She joined the swim team and really enjoyed it. She loved the camaraderie of the team and competing at the meets.   Definitely a year of change for the better for her.

And finally Christmas of 2015. It was a nice enough Christmas. Thomas was home and was quite high maintenance. It was overwhelming to be honest. The girls and Tommy had a great Christmas, my parents came here for dinner with my niece and nephews. We had an unbelievable dinner of rib roast and lasagna. It was Tommy’s idea to have the rib roast and he totally hit the nail on the head.

The day after Christmas I took the tree down. It was drying out and needles were flying off everywhere. Besides as far as I was concerned Christmas was over. I still have the nativity out and that’s all that really matters anyway.

I’m looking forward to 2016 with hope. I’m due to be starting a bible study in January for Mom’s of special needs children and I’m really looking forward to it. I hope I’m a blessing to others and that the Lord uses me as he sees fit. More of Him and less of me.

So I wish everyone reading this a very, very Happy New Year!

 

Holidays

They are upon us…Thanksgiving in a couple of days and then we blink and it’s Christmas. Tommy will be picking up Thomas tomorrow to have him home for Thanksgiving. He’s totally excited to come home and it’s really sweet. He called me this past Sunday morning~early, to confirm the day and time of pick up and that it would be Tommy doing the picking up. Thomas also called Tommy the night before to confirm the same. The boy is consistent.

The day after Thanksgiving “we” (meaning Thomas and I) put up the Christmas tree. Rather I put it up and he supervises. Friday morning Thomas, Tommy and I will go out to get a live tree and when we bring it home, Thomas knows exactly what to do, what goes first, that I need to test the lights, and hey where’s the stand, the star for the top and the skirt for around the tree on the bottom?? The girls will get all into the ornament decorating after a while and the whole thing usually goes very smooth. The only thing that gets exhausting is going up to the attic a million times that day. And Thomas will usually be on to the next phase of decorating after the tree is finished.

This year I’ve  managed to get out of Thomas what he wants for Christmas. I consider that a personal victory because every year it’s a struggle to buy him gifts and we usually don’t have a clue  to tell family what to get for him. Aside from all Thomas’ issues he’s really an easy going guy and really  doesn’t want for much so when he does mention something, anything that he would like I make sure I’m paying attention. For Thomas’ birthday he received a television for his room at school. The TV has a DVD player, Thomas asked for the Spiderman movie on DVD and a new Nintendo DS with a couple of games. No problem!  After I finagled that list from him, he then says, “That’s enough Mom, no more…I don’t want anything else” How do you spoil someone who won’t let you? You gotta love him and that way about him.

So here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving and a smooth Christmas tree decorating!

 

 

Blessings

I have this song running through my head this morning, Blessings by Laura Story. Yesterday my husband and I were talking to a neighbor who also has a special needs daughter. Many of you know about our Thomas who is also special needs. We’ve been through many, many trials with Thomas. And everytime I hear this song I think of him. What if our greatest trial is God’s blessing in disguise?

Anyway, when we were speaking with our neighbor she mentioned that she often wonders what her daughter would have been like had things been different. My husband replied that he often thinks the same thing about Thomas. I do think that also about Thomas. The big “what if?”  What if he’d been born “normal”?. What if? It almost makes you loathe the word, “if”. That word can hold so much. Thomas is one of the greatest achings of my life. It still pains me that he cannot live at home. I know my husband feels the same. I love Thomas for who he is now, not what he could have been. Thomas being the way he is changed me as a mother. And if I were to be able to change him to a “normal” person, would I then have to change myself to how I was before he was in my life?

I honestly don’t dwell on the what ifs because it is pointless. I tend to focus on the present and future which can hold enough worry all by themselves.  But this song speaks so perfectly to my heart. Especially when she sings, “This is not our home…”  No, this is not our home. I often wonder if when I do meet our Lord will I ask Him questions about my earthly life. Thomas being in the forefront of those queries. Why were we chosen to be his parents? Why did God make things so challenging? Why the heartache? Or will I even care at that point? What I do believe is that when Thomas meets the Lord and joins us, I believe he will tell us himself. It will be glorious to hear my son talk clearly and coherently. I was given a glimpse of this in a dream I had a couple of years ago. Thomas was just a typical teen and him, Alyssa and I were just sitting in our front sun porch talking to one another. I have no idea what we were talking about I just remember Thomas being “normal”. I know when we’re all in heaven together we’ll all talk again. God gave me a preview.

Christmas songs

I love “The Little Drummer Boy”, love that song. My Grandmother used to collect things that had to do with the little drummer boy, little statues, she even had a little drummer boy doll that she kept in it’s own display case. I adored my grandmother so when I hear the Little Drummer boy song I always think of her, no matter who sings it or what version.

Another song I love is “Oh Holy Night/Night Divine”. When they sing, “Fall on your knees and hear the angel voices…” I get choked up. I fight the urge to actually fall on my knees to honor our newborn King. There are so many songs that evoke such strong emotions. The realization that we are celebrating our Savior’s birth is no light matter. The fact that God came down to us in the form of a helpless baby, that God gave his only son…

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the other Christmas songs like Santa Clause is Coming to Town, nobody does it better than Bruce Springstein, IMO anyway. But there’s something so special about the songs that sing of the birth of Christ, the real reason we are celebrating Christmas. Jesus’ birth. “The First Noel” reminds us that God alerted shepherds tending their sheep of the birth of Jesus. That Christ entered this world in such a simple manner yet his life turned the world upside down. It’s amazing.

Christmas

My son is home for Christmas. Alyssa and I picked him up this morning and made great time coming home. In addition to the many toys he was given for Christmas from his school, Thomas also has new sneakers he managed to finagle his social worker into buying *right* after Tommy bought him brand new sneakers Thanksgiving weekend. He is charming. I’m so glad Thomas is home. Especially for Christmas. I can’t imagine him not being here. We’ve already set up the batteries in one of the remote controlled cars he received from school. I started thinking about the time we thought Thomas was going to spend Christmas in the psych hospital. That happened about 5 years ago I think.

Thomas had been very aggressive towards me and I finally couldn’t take it anymore and we had him hospitalized I think the beginning of December/end of November. They did some med changes and his behavior stabilized in the hospital like it always did. I was so fortunate to be singing in the choir that year and we were singing for the Live Nativity. Singing in the choir was a life saver for me. My choir family was praying for us.

We made the 2 hour car ride to visit Thomas and attend meetings with the social workers and psychiatrists. I blamed myself for him being hospitalized at this time so close to Christmas. I was thinking I should have initiated it sooner than I did then he would have been discharged earlier. What’s done was done though. The beginning of December melted into the middle of December, the Live Nativity came and went and we were wondering if Thomas was coming home before Christmas. Finally, about 5 days before Christmas we got the call from the social worker that Thomas was indeed spending Christmas in the psych hospital. We were devastated. How was this going to happen?? How were we to spend Christmas morning without one of our children opening gifts? As we were planning and talking about how we were going to make Christmas “happen”, another social worker called 3 days before Christmas to tell us the insurance company decided Thomas should be discharged. I couldn’t believe it. Simply could not. Tommy was beside himself with joy. He drove up as soon as he could to get him. We did have Christmas together and all was “normal”. Thank the Lord.

I’m grateful those days are behind us and we don’t have to worry about whether we’ll all be together for Christmas. I’m grateful for Thomas’ school and that Thomas is able to come home as often as he does, for as long as he does. His school has truly been a blessing.

Christmas shopping

I’m well underway! It’s been nice because I have actual things on a list to go by. My gosh that list has made my life so much easier especially with my own kids, not to mention nieces and nephews. What was extra nice was that my husband was home the past 2 nights and together we made quite a dent in “The List”. It was nice spending time with him even if it was just shopping. I really appreciate my husband. I not only was glad for the shopping help but I appreciate him as a person. His sense of humor, that he watches me walking towards him with this smile that says he’s so happy to see me. Like I’m someone who’s worth watching. It’s a nice feeling. We split up a few times in the mall, I’m not really a Sears gal and he could care less about the teen/tween stores. After a while we’d find each other again and regroup, refer back to “The List”. We held hands and kissed in public.

I’m glad I have him. I’m thankful the Lord placed him in my life. We’ve been together since we were about 17 years old and married for 19 years this past November. 19 Married Christmases. That’s pretty cool. With the exception of our very first Christmas right after we were married, the other 18 Christmases have been all about the kids. Thomas first of course then just Thomas and Alyssa. Before we knew it Lelly was with us and last but not least along came Samantha. It was nice when the kids were younger and it was fun. But to be honest I enjoy the holidays more now that everyone is older and things aren’t as hectic as they were back then when kids are say under the age of 5.

And just like that…

Its over, Christmas that is.  By my personal calendar at least, as I know some religions still celebrate or hold holy days/weeks past the 25th of December.  All the running around, the stress, the angst over choosing that perfect gift for that perfect (or not so perfect) someone.  It’s over.  Until next year, haha.  I love the whole build up to Christmas personally.  The reverence of knowing we are about to celebrate the birth of our Saviour and how wonderful our Saviour is.  I love that part.  I love knowing He came down to us to save us.  Yes I know this. That our Lord took on human form and arrived without bells, whistles, trumpets blaring; it’s amazing and humbling.  

The shopping, meh…I could take or leave it most times. Yes it’s me talking saying I can take or leave “shopping”. Its not the kind of shopping I enjoy, it’s too stressful man! And I KNOW I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Sometimes it’s fun especially when your know what you’re buying is the “one” for that special someone.

We’re having a nice time with Thomas home. He’s been rather pleasant and wants to be helpful most times. Both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day he did an awesome job of helping to clear the table. It’s funny as sometimes he is clearly does not act his chronological age of 17 yrs and other times he comes out with some doozy comments that stop you dead in your tracks and you KNOW he’s in there and so very far from “not smart”.

I’m looking forward to taking my tree down, I realize we’re only 2 days past the big event but I want my house back and I’m tired of sweeping up needles. That said, I loved having a real tree for the first time. The smell was awesome and just having a living tree was just the coolest for once. I would do it again next year (I say this now before taking it down, haha).

I’m also having thrift withdrawal. I haven’t been thrifting in a couple of week due to the Holiday and all my kids home from school. My oldest daughter is in Manhattan today thrifting with her friends and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious. She called me with an authenticity question about a pair of premium denim IMO they sound good to me and the price was right so I said to go for them! I can’t wait for her to get home and show me her finds.

So yes, just like that Christmas is over. The fact that our Lord came to earth is still truth but the stress and running around is done for another 350 or so days.

Thomas’ mother.

And the boy is home!  Over the years I’ve had many emotions while being Thomas’ mother.  When Thomas was born my dad told me, “You no longer have a name, from now on you’ll be ‘Thomas’ Mom”.  I laughed then, 17 years ago but it really is true.  I know I’m also “Alyssa, Daniella and Samantha’s Mom”, but being Thomas’ Mom broke me in, inducted me into motherhood, shattered (in a good/realistic way) whatever false/perfect beliefs I had about motherhood. Introduced me to the person I would become;  a tenacious mother who would search over and over for help for her son.  I look at this young man who is bigger and taller than me.  This young man who will bend down when he hugs me so that his head will rest on my shoulder.   He’s so handsome and so big.  I wish I knew when all this growing up happened.

He is left handed, like me but has green eyes like his Dad.  I’ve never been brought to tears as much as I have for this child of mine.  Tears of joy and happiness as well as tears from pain and fear.  I’m able to sit and write this because Thomas is engaged in coloring Christmas pages.  Gingerbread houses to be exact.  This is when I’m able to sit and stare at him and swell with pride that he is mine.  Thomas is my only child that I’ve had to express to other people that he is indeed MINE.  The girls have always been with me, lived with me there was never any moments of insecurities.  Thomas is once again in residential school.  This time around I haven’t felt the need to remind the staff that he has a mother…that he is mine.  The first time in residential there were many times I wanted to shout from the rooftops, “He has a mother, he is still MINE”.  Will I still do this say in 10 years when Thomas will be 27 years old?  I want to say, “no” but I’m sure I will.    Will I do that to the girls in 10 years?  Most likely no. 

I’m so glad he’s here, home for Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

So here it is we’re 2 days away from celebrating our Saviour’s birth.  It’s wonderful isn’t it?  I’m no longer in that crabby mood thank God.  Instead I’m adjusting to a med change and my head is a bit fuzzy. Not debilitating but enough to make me slow down a bit. However I firmly believe The Lord has me exactly where he wants me and I’m ok with that.   

My son should be arriving home today if all goes as scheduled and I want to see him. I want to see his face, I miss him. He was supposed to come home yesterday but things were a bit screwy with his meds and the school not having enough to send home with him. That wouldn’t work out well in the long run so we made plans to pick him up today in order for the med situation to be worked out.

I’m finally excited for Christmas. Excited to see our children’s faces when they open their gifts, excited to get together with family and looking forward to attend church on Christmas Eve, usually the 11pm service. Its a candlelight service and it is beautiful. I heart our church.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what our Pastor was stressing during yesterday’s service. He stressed that “God sees you” even though you may feel forgotten or not cared about, He still sees you. That message brought incredible comfort to me. I know we’ve all had times where we doubt that God is even involved with our life, but our Pastor said, “In your dark hour think biblically and trust God.” Have I mentioned how much I admire our Pastor? I enjoy and find so much comfort in the way he preaches to us. So anyway… it is difficult to trust God in the dark hours. IMO anyway. But the more I search for Him and try to live for Him the easier it becomes to trust Him. Don’t get me wrong I haven’t reached a place of total submission and trust, that is quite honestly my goal. But lately I find comfort in knowing I am exactly where God wants me to be which also extends to my family in my belief and now I will reinforce to myself that God does see me and I *must* trust him. He has his own plan. And He sees me. He sees us all.