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TARGET....

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TARGET....

It has been close to 23 years since I held a 40 hour a week position. During those 23 years I sometimes wondered if working would have been easier than staying home. During my stay at home days I was faced with wondering if I what I did at home mattered. Many times my days felt like someone who stayed on vacation too long and had lost their will or my days were spent doing nothing but laundry and putting babies down for naps. Somedays I would wonder why I had gone to college and I would dream about the girl I once thought I was. During my stay at home days Target became my second home. A place to dream, to get away from responsibilities and yet feel like I was not being irresponsible (I mean I WAS "running errands"....). As my kids got older I would take each of them with me to my "get away" I mean run errands and would spend my time going down aisles learning about who they were becoming. As they became teenagers it felt easier to learn them at Target then looking them in the eye over a serious conversation. Today I still miss those sweet moments. I used Target when they were all young too. When your kids throw a fit at Target no one cares. In fact other mom's just look at you with an "I know how it feels" look. Sometimes a mom would walk past saying, "Damn nap time" :) because we all just got it in the aisles of Target.  When we did not have much money I would go to Target and let the kids play down the toy aisle. I usually left with the cheapest toy on the shelf. Or I would let them each find one pair of shoes they really wanted. They would each excitedly look through the boxes for their size of shoe. It seems like yesterday in some ways. Sweet darling memories of each of them saying, "Can I get these?"  

It never really was JUST about Target. I mean don't get me wrong I love that you can find "cool" things at a good price. I love that they put Starbucks at the front door. I love that they set up their patio furniture so you could sit and dream about what it would look like in your backyard. But I realized it was a place that as a mom you could just "go to". It was safe because no one asks you if they can help you. No one looks at you strange for just walking the aisles deep in thought. No one expects you to look your best. No one questions you if you have been there too laughing on the phone with your best friend. Sometimes I would go to the exact department my best friend was in at Target and we would talk Phoenix to Seattle each in the patio section. :) I never felt strange if I was alone there, I never felt out of place. And in fact many times I would make eye contact with my own kind (another wondering mom) and know I was not alone. My sister in law loved Target too and so many times I would get a text, "Are you here?" It's funny because I always knew where here was... Seeing other mom friends wondering the aisles of Target was just part of the experience. Leaning on our carts as if it was holding up the world we would share how we were doing in life until one of the kids would say "Mom! Let's go." In fact I kinda hated to see men at Target. I almost feel possessive of the store like "oh brother what are THEY doing here?" I never minded seeing sons but grown men in Target kinda bugs me to be honest (haha no seriously). When I see a grown man in Target I find myself thinking, "why can't you just stay home or go to Home Depot? This is "OUR" store." I kinda think that is why men don't really go to Target or love Target as much as girls. Jeff complains every time he walks into Target. He says something like this, "come on hurry up, this place takes so long to just run in and out of." I don't hate him saying that in fact I like it. :) These days I find myself alone at Target more than I used too but on some occasions my girl Jess will call me now and say, "shall we meet up at Target?" I love that. I need less from Target these days than I used too. I have more escapes but Target will always be a special store for me. 

But now that I am working 40 hours a week I look back on my Target days with such love. I realize now that it was a place where I grew up and found myself as a mom. I know that sounds strange and it might not be how everyone feels but for me the red Target sign reminds me of my four darling children that each had a part of leading me to a deeper understanding of life, love, and the meaning of the simple things in life. Target gave me my own personal experience apart from Jeff, a place to figure out how to be an independent mom.... Funny how all of that can happened at a ordinary little store...

This entire blog was suppose to be about my adjustment to working and all I could think about was Target and my Target memories. Next time I write it will be able the stay at home mom becoming a professional woman...  :)  

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Jefferson starts college...

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Jefferson starts college...

Jefferson is such a gamer he let me snap this picture of him as he was heading off to his first day at film school. I love this kid! He is passionate and fun to be with. I love that he knows what he wants to do with his life and is willing to work hard at making it become a reality. He headed off to school with his laptop and a brain full of ideas. It is the first time he has ever gone to school and not taken Peter with him. His school life use to consist of getting Peter out of the car and into his wheelchair every time he came to school and left school. Now it's just him. He said to me the other day that he never realized how easy it is to just jump out of the car on your own and get to class. I am happy for him. I am thankful Jefferson is staying around for the next couple of years. I am not ready to send him away. He and I have a little catching up to do after the teenage years. He has become an insightful interesting young adult and I want to spend the time I can with him.

Don't you just hate that by the time the kids become insightful interesting young adults they leave? This time I know it will come so I am much more intentional with my time with him. 

I have continued to clean out all my closets and drawers. IT IS SO HARD! But it got me thinking. I started questioning in my life if at times I have allowed my disorganization to get out of control because I did not feel worthy. I know that sounds strange but at different stages of my life I have struggled feeling worthy. I think we all do. I have faced difficulties in life and without a conscious thought of unworthiness it has still crept into my thinking. When deep struggles have come my way my first thought usually is, "why would I think it would ever go any other way?" Even small thoughts like these need to come under control in our life. It takes so much time and insight to even pull out thoughts that are holding you back. To acknowledge the thought before it becomes a belief is the key. Not sure I have been able to do that every time but as I age I am becoming more aware of the power small thoughts have in forming beliefs. Small thoughts create big beliefs about ourselves and others. Lately every time I finish a big closet or drawer I step back and say out loud, "You are worthy of order to your chaos." Today think of areas in your life where you may not be feeling worthy of something good for you. And try with intention to surrender the thought to God.  

 

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He's off...

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He's off...

Peter just completed his first week of college at Benedictine University in Mesa. Here he is with his student ID around his neck. Honestly I am speechless. Words can not begin to describe how I feel about all of this. I am not sure if he will continue all the way to graduation but I NEVER thought I would see him sitting in a Freshman orientation class at college. Everything about this experience is a miracle. From the size of the school (about 150 people) to the fact that the entire campus is in a two story building, to the fact that it is Catholic (and Peter is a devout Catholic). The list goes on and on. How about the fact that I was able to retain his aid from high school? All of it is NOTHING like I thought or should I say none of my fears have played out.

I feel overjoyed that Peter is getting the experience of college! I have some work to do such as an updated 504 plan etc. but so far things have gone smoothly. The very fact that this school was not even in the Mesa area until 2013 is a miracle! The school is filled mostly with athletes who are there on scholarship. It's a great group of kids, very diverse, and full of kindness. Peter is using Dial a Ride for his personal transportation (another step towards independence). I am trying to get to the place where if I am gone to work when he leaves it still works.

Creating a new plan for adulthood when special needs is considered is just part of the game plan. I am always striving for more with Peter. Always pushing to step out of the picture MORE. It's weird because with your typical kids you are almost a little sad to be out of the picture yet when you have special needs to consider it is a totally different game and perspective. Even one single job where I am not needed such as driving becomes a step towards independence, an achievement for him personally.

Lately I have been assisting  him in making his own business calls. He is beginning to learn the importance of advocating for himself even on the phone. The other day the Dial a Ride was late to pick him up and he called the office and gave them a piece of his mind. Even little incidents such as that are good for him. 

Well I am thankful for this kind of start to a new school year! I am filled with hope! 

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Working Hard Everyday...

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Working Hard Everyday...

We work everyday with Diesel. We take him everywhere. Peter and Diesel have developed so much during the last few weeks. It has been wonderful to see the relationship between these two grow! Peter has learned to take good ownership of Diesel. He is always on top of Diesels behavior and is always working hard to keep Diesel up on all his training. After all the work it was to get Diesel I am very satisfied with how things have been working out. I am beginning to believe that this was the right choice for Peter. He has grown so much just in the last month by having the responsibility of Diesel. 

In this picture we are at Ikea. Diesel is good at keeping the pace of Peter’s wheelchair and has done well at sitting down while Peter is looking at something. He goes under the table when we go out to a meal and he waits for his commands. I think the largest challenge right now is exercising him enough. That may always be the challenge for Peter. I am working at getting a treadmill so that we can put him on that for exercise especially during the hot summer months.  

As of now Peter feels he is ready to take Diesel to college with him. Peter and Diesel have been taking practice trips down to the school every few days. All of that has been working well. I think we just may be ready for school to start over here.

I can hardly believe the boys will be starting college in a couple of weeks! It is strange not having high schooler’s anymore! I felt like high school years lasted a long time. When I added it up I was at Horizon High School for 9 years (well I had an off year in there but it was always on my mind). And now it is all finished. My guess is that I will never walk into that school again. That feels weird too. It is so strange closing the different chapters of raising your children. The chapters of raising your children seem as if they will be open forever when you are in the middle of it but then all of a sudden it is over and the chapter is closing.  

Finding your footing at the end of parenting takes some intentional work. I know I have blogged several times about this and to be honest I’m not sure I have my legs yet. I keep thinking I should. But I don’t. Sometimes I worry I never will. I know I will never stay the same in life and I know things will work the way they are suppose to work out but there are times I wonder if I will get some sort of life back. I think I always feel this a bit after summer break. All summer I focus on pushing the kids to become more independent. I become very focused on spending time with them and developing them as individuals but in the process I lose myself a bit. Maybe that is what I am feeling (in the background right now Peter is watching a cartoon, one that I feel like I have heard in the background of my life for 20 some years).   

I have been working hard at creating a new mindset as my nest begins to empty. I am trying so hard to figure out how to get rid of some of my responsibilities with Peter so that I am able to go back to work. I can only picture myself working part time as of now but I am trying to figure out the best solution. I guess only time will tell. I desire to remain open to whatever it is that God purposes for my life. I pray that my mind and spirit will be flexible and able to move in the direction I am called. I pray that I will not be caught up in what I plan and desire but rather open myself to whatever it is God plans. I pray my desire to be rigid in my thinking will decrease and that I will be open instead to various possibilities.    

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Mother-Son Get Away...

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Mother-Son Get Away...

I was able to squeeze in a fun little get away with just Jefferson this summer! What a joy it was to be with him all by myself for a few days in Del Mar. My folks are at their beach home right now so the beach was calling our names. On Thursday mid morning we jumped into the car and got to the beach by 4pm. We went directly to Del Mar Pizza. And if you know Jefferson you know that is exactly where you would go the second you hit town. We grabbed Honey and Papa and took them to eat pizza on the beach with us.  Jefferson and I had so much fun even just driving there. We listened to the music he is really into right now and he told me all about his dreams for this coming year. We laughed and talked all the way to the beach.

After dinner the two of us went to the movies. We saw a great movie and then got an Oreo milk shake at Jack In the Box before heading home. The next morning we took a beach walk after having breakfast at our favorite Stratford Court Café.  That afternoon we rented electric bikes and rode up the coast

That night we ate dinner prepared by Honey and played games with Honey and Papa. The next morning we did our beach walk, cinnamon roll breakfast and got packed up. We ended our time at the beach at Smash Burger. We then drove home enjoying beach stories and life stories with one another.

I will never forget my time with Jefferson! He has an easy-going gentle personality that makes anything fun. He must have said thank you to me a million times.  It warmed my soul. He makes me proud all the time. He is an artist that will go far in life and will accomplish great things. He has a drive for art and a passion for God. What better combo can there be? J The best thing about growing Jefferson up these last several years has been that he has kept himself focused on his personal growth and his passions. He has not dated much and was able to keep himself out of a lot of drama in high school. Being his mom is a blessing and I am eternally thankful to God! I remember this 2-pound baby clinging to life almost 20 years ago. I dreamed back then of days like this with him. I prayed desperately that I would have the opportunity to see him grow and develop into a man. I prayed that God would spare his life for a purpose and would give me the wisdom to mold him into whatever that purpose was for him.

I have prayed that God would keep me focused on teaching him what he needed to learn in this life. For Jefferson I taught him to never consider himself a victim of anything but to always find the strength in his set backs to create something new. I have always encouraged Jefferson to serve and to consider himself a gentleman. When he was really young I used to tell him he was in “gentleman camp”. I would have him write essays when he did something disrespectful as to how the action did not demonstrate a gentleman’s behavior. I would require that he get the door and always be polite. If we would ever see a woman struggling across the street with her hands full I would tell him to jump out and help. He usually had his hand on the door handle anyway just waiting for the assurance.

When Jefferson was young I encouraged him to speak up to adults. To always ask a question and to always compliment them in some way. He took this to heart and for years he would ask every adult he would bump into if they enjoyed their job and then he would compliment their work. It was always so sweet to see. Jefferson is a unique talented artist. I love him with a love that you cannot really describe. He has been the kid that had the strongest will but I always knew if his will was directed towards love he would be the one that would strive without detour. He is an amazing young man!

Jefferson, thank you for this weekend! You fill me with so much love! I am always a little surprised by it. When you were really young you would hold me in a long kiss goodbye everyday when I would drop you at school. I used to wonder how you loved so well. How it was seemingly so easy for you to share your love without hesitation. Your confidence and courage has always been the part of your personality that I have admired. When you were really young I remember looking at you and wondering what sort of young man you would become. Today I see the young man you are. You are strong, creative, loving, smart, kind, gentle, and you have much understanding of who God is. I love that. I love that you push yourself to do creative things. I love that you always empower Peter with your willingness to assist. In fact I love your relationship with Peter. I admire you for so many things. I LOVE being your mom! You make me proud! You are everything a mother could ever want in a son! I will love you forever here on earth and even when I leave this earth. My love for you will extend throughout your life because when you’re a mom you are always able to leave your love with your kids and it lasts forever. J

PS. Here is my little mom suggestion. Take time to be with each of your children alone. Find little ways to sneak away from the big group. Make it something you do as often as you can. I think for me personally since I always had my children in groups it became very important. I have sweet memories of each child alone. During my time alone with each one of them I learned something new. I learned something I would have never learned in the group of the family. Jeff and I have always pulled each kid out of the group to deepen our relationship with them. It’s a small thing you can do but it is a powerful relationship builder. You will not regret your alone time with your kids in fact you just might wish you had done it more often by the time they hit adulthood

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