A New Small Group in town…

So the Christmas tree is up and shopping is underway.  I’ve gotten more shopping done than I usually do at this time of year and I’m glad to be a little ahead of schedule. I’m due to start a bible study/small group for mothers of children with special needs with another mom in January. I’ve already identified a book; a bible study for Mom’s of special needs children; I think would be a good fit. I still have to finish it myself so I’m not entirely sure yet. Plus I don’t have input from my co-leader yet. In due time I’m sure it will all fall into place. Or rather in the Lord’s time it will fall into place.

I’m excited to about to be a small group co-leader. To be able to share my experience of raising Thomas and how God has been there through the good the bad and the ugly. Yes God was there when times were horrible as well as when times were good. And it was only through His strength did I gain strength. I was even angry at God on more than one occasion.  I know He was still there and never left us. I know that’s why I was so angry. To know God was there and things were still so crappy. I only got over the anger when I actually met the Lord. And it was then that I really knew in my soul that He was there did my anger dissipate.

I’m excited to have fellowship with other Moms and talk about the Gospel. And how Jesus is still working miracles in our lives and will continue to always be there working and interceding for us. I know I sound optimistic. I am optimistic. We have a wonderful mentor in place who will be there for us in person and in prayer. That makes me feel more secure and confidant in this new role.  I have this month to prepare and pray and prepare some more and then of course pray even more. I’m honored to be used by God in this way. To God be the glory.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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.

The holidays are here!

Well officially Thanksgiving in about 4 more days. I’m not sure how I feel about the upcoming holiday season. Am I dreading the actual Christmas shopping? I don’t know yet as I haven’t even started, no actually I have started, the gifts haven’t arrived yet via our wonderful postal system I almost forgot about them. One gift I did buy my husband I do actually have here in the house…hidden, haha!

Every year we jump through hoops trying to figure out what to buy our son Thomas. He loves opening gifts. However he isn’t the easiest person to buy gifts for. He’s not one to actually play with any toys, even when he was younger he didn’t really play with toys. Now that he’s 18 it’s more difficult since he isn’t a typical 18 year old young man. I also have family calling me for ideas of what to buy him and they usually are told “I don’t know” in response. Hopefully with Thomas home for Thanksgiving we can pry something out of him or maybe we’ll hit the jackpot and find out multiple “things” he’d like.

We put our tree up the day after thanksgiving. A Thomas tradition. He loves to watch me put the tree up and help. He is a great helper. He’ll carry boxes down from the attic and hang ornaments on the tree. But he won’t rest until all the decorations are up and/or out and in their respective places. I used to dread putting up the tree because Thomas will fixate on it, no one would rest until the darn tree was up. What? You want a “break”?? I don’t think so! But he’s mellowed a bit; either that or our patience has increased. It’s probably a combination of both. These days I don’t dread it, I actually look forward to putting up the tree. It wouldn’t be the same if Thomas wasn’t helping me.

I’ll never forget the one Christmas right after I had a miscarriage. I didn’t want to celebrate anything never mind put up the dang tree. Thomas and I brought the tree down from the attic and I started stringing the lights. I tested every strand of lights before putting them on the tree, then…Of course half the lights wouldn’t work once they were actually on the stupid tree and I literally had a half lit tree. It was horrible. I took all the lights off and threw them away and declared that unless we went out and bought a pre lit tree I wasn’t putting up a tree at all. Fast forward to all of us in Sears debating which pre lit tree was best for us. My husband is the best.

So this year we’ll buy a “real” tree and I’ll string the lights and Thomas will direct and supervise as usual. I’m looking forward to it.

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.

The Live Tree

image

We searched for, picked out, purchased lights for, brought home and put up our first live tree yesterday.  I’m more than happy to spend my "black Friday" that way.  Aside from making sure the tree was secure in the stand our day was pretty uneventful and I’m not complaining.

Reading that "we searched for" our tree makes me smile because we went to the parking lot of two major stores and a man had rented the far end of the lot to sell Christmas trees. We live in a fairly urban area and we would have to drive at least 45 minutes away to actually "search" for the perfect tree. I'm perfectly content with how we selected our tree even though in my opinion it's unlike a Christmas story book.

Thomas was thrilled picking out our tree. And I think it’s funny how God makes you slow down and notice the little things or you will miss them. As we walked towards our car with the tree I heard Thomas say, “Have a nice weekend” to the tree salesman. This is a pretty large step for Thomas in interacting and being social. I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

So our first live tree is up and lit. I have to say its gorgeous and much prettier than our pre-lit artificial tree. I don’t remember the type of tree it is but I don’t think it matters. Oh and it smells nice 🙂

Coming Home and The Tree.

Thomas will be coming home for Thanksgiving.  I’m looking forward to him being here.  Our last visit was cut short by his behavior so hopefully we won’t have a repeat of that.  For forever now we put our Christmas Tree up the day after Thanksgiving.  It’s now become Thomas’ “thing” to do with me.   The girls help out don’t get me wrong, but it’s definitely my son who call this shots about the tree and the skirt and the ornaments and the star on top and the stockings…  The older girls get into hanging up “their” ornaments like the ones I have from when they were babies or made at school.   I love those.  Oh and the girls like setting up the Nativity.     

I’d like to get a live tree this year. I’ve always been against it, paranoid of the tree drying out and being set on fire by the lights. Yes that’s how my mind works. Tommy and I discussed it and we will go tree shopping the day after Thanksgiving with Thomas. How could we go without him?

I’m getting ahead of myself though, I’m talking about Christmas trees and the day after Thanksgiving but not Thanksgiving. We are hosting at our house. It will be really nice as my Mom and I split the cooking and it works out great as nobody gets overwhelmed. Hmmmm I guess I don’t have much to say about Thanksgiving except I am thankful for my family, my church family, my friends, that I am free to worship and that I get to worship the one true God.

Maybe that’s why I’m so eager to skip over to Christmas. The songs about Jesus birth. I love them. Especially the ones that command, “Come and worship!” Of course I like the regular winter themed songs and Rudolph but the reason is Christ’s birth and we should sing about His birth and worship him.

I’m looking forward to this week. My son being home, Thanksgiving and then…The tree. The tree that Thomas can’t wait for every year.