To the Mom Wondering how she Will go on Today.

To the mom wondering how something you wanted so much is so incredibly harder than you imagined, and at times more tiring than you can handle.

To the mama hiding in the bedroom with the door shut, so no one sees her crying, makeup running down her face, but she comes back out with a smile in a few minutes.

To the mama wondering how am I going to keep doing this day in and day out.

To the mama who feels like she can’t take another step forward, who feels stuck and overwhelmed.

To the mama counting the seconds till bedtime.

To the mama who feels guilty over every thought that didn’t match her idea of being a good mother.

To the mom who feels she’s nothing but mom anymore.

To the mom who misses freedom.

Hold on.
It is worth it.
You are valuable.
You are priceless.
Your kids don’t see your flaws nearly as intensely as you do.
Your kids know they are loved.
Your kids trust you.
Your kids feel safe with you.
Your are doing a good job.
Maybe sometimes not stellar. 
But trust me, you’re doing better than you realize.

Cut yourself some slack today mama.

Every time you’ve ever felt that you couldn’t possibly go on,

you did.

You were able to then.

You are able to now.

Breathe mama.

Give yourself grace.

You aren’t called to never fail.

You are called to go on no matter how many times you do.

You can do it mama.

I believe in you.

Take another deep breath mama.

Wipe the tears form your own face today, as you have wiped them from your children so many times before.

You are worth so much, to your kids, and just for being who you are.

You are more able than you have believed.

You can do it,

and it’s worth it.

One day you’ll look back, and you will see, you taught your kids perseverance.

You taught your kids unconditional love and acceptance, by you not giving up.

You taught them it’s OK to not be perfect.

That messing up and trying again means so much more than that anyway.

And, you’ll thank yourself one day, when you see the effects of sticking with it.

It is tiring because you are doing your absolute best.

It is tiring because they matter to you deeply.

It is tiring for all the right reasons mama.

Because your heart is fully in it.

And it will be OK,

because you aren’t failing them,

by questioning if you can go on.

One day at a time mama.

I know you can do it.

I believe in you.

Hold on, and breathe.

When “It Goes By So Fast.” Grieving the Loss of Your Mom.

“It goes so fast,” my mom said forlornly, half looking at me, half looking down at my three-year-old son, her grandson. I knew she meant watching your children grow up. I knew she meant the amount of time that they would stay small, the amount of time that mothering looks like this. However, I brushed off the comment trying to focus on the now, trying to enjoy them while they are still small. Also, I was mostly all consumed with his autism diagnosis.

But, while I shifted my focus back to my kids, trying to enjoy them while they’re still small, I didn’t realize that the phrase “it goes so fast,” also referred to the amount of time my mother would be alive. Somewhere along life you get this notion that parents will always be there.

But “it goes so fast.” And when it’s gone, there’s no getting it back. There’s no filling that space. There’s nothing that makes it better. It doesn’t matter how many wrongs or rights ever happened between you and them. It just is never OK again.

Things are never the same again. Every moment that occurs moving forward that could be better at all with just an ounce of nurturing empathy and encouragement will scream in your face the need for your mother. And the realization that she isn’t there will kill you again, more than it did the day that she left.

It won’t matter that all the memories can’t be taken away, because no new memories can be shared or made.

You will die a little each time you remember these things.

I think of all the moments that don’t exist anymore. From the light in her eyes every time that she saw me enter the house. From when I came home from college, visited Florida from New York, or just came over from my house or after work.

I think of all the ways that we couldn’t get along.

All the things I couldn’t possibly get over from my childhood.

I think of all the times that I was angry, and upset, and wanted more from our relationship.

I think of all the times I went over to fill her medication.

All the phone calls I helped her make frantically to get urgent doctor’s orders for some of her conditions.

All the restaurants we ate at and vacations we took.

All the Christmases, birthdays, Mother’s Days past.

I think of all the things she couldn’t do with her body, for over a decade from diseases. I think of the weight she carried on her shoulders with her disability every single minute for years. Of the humility it took to have somebody help her with every personal detail of her life.

I think of how unfair that was and I want to scream that I couldn’t change it for her.

I think of all the times that I worried that her wheelchair was going to flip over, going up and down the van ramp, and how it’s better now, because in heaven there are no wheelchairs.

But that doesn’t really help, because it will never replace being in the same room as her again, or having to have ever seen it happen at all in the first place.

I think of how impossible it feels that she is gone. It can’t possibly make sense. It can’t possibly be true. It isn’t fair. It will never be OK.

I think of all the things I can never ask her again or tell her. All the decisions I will make without her.

And it will never be OK again. At least, not in the same way that it ever was before.

But other things can be OK.

Because, you can’t get stuck there in the not OK.

Because, you are still alive.

Because, there are still good things in the world.

Because, there are people who love you and who you love.

Because, there are people who are better off for knowing you and having you in their life.

Because, there are still wonderful people you haven’t met yet.

Because you getting through this is someone else’s hope that they can also.

Because, this isn’t the end of your story.

Because, the new you, the one who lives in the post loss of a mother world, is still important and needed.

So cry, yell, be angry, be sad, be overwhelmed with it all.

But then, find some moments to hold onto.

Find anything beautiful about today, and hold onto it.

And day by day, there is healing. There is recovery.

There is never the version of you that existed before.

But there is still beauty left in this world.

And you, my dear, are still alive.

Embrace the simultaneous pain and beauty of that and live.

You can be brave in the pain.

Piece by piece, you can find the bits and pieces of joy. And string them together, and live.

Who Said That was True? Uncovering the Lies of Anxiety.

Who said there was only one gold standard way to do things right?

Who said you don’t do anything on that list as well as you should?

Who said you should be more?

Who said the talents you have are not praiseworthy?

Who said you should act a certain way?

Who said you aren’t worth it all?

Who said you don’t look good enough?

You don’t speak properly?

You don’t wear that outfit well enough?

Your hair is the wrong color?

Your body is the wrong shape?

Your position at work isn’t honorable?

Who said you don’t live in the neighborhood you should?

You don’t have the house you ought to?

Who said you don’t parent like you should?

Send your kid to the best school?

Have the right car?

Who said you can’t do any of these things right?

Who said you never will and you never have?

Was it someone speaking over your life as you grew up?

Was it someone at a job you once had?

Was it a teacher?

A significant other?

Someone at church?

Someone you looked up to or a close friend?

Who said it?

Someone you wanted to say more?

Someone you wished praised you instead of put you down?

Someone who’s approval you thought meant everything?

So maybe someone pretty important said it.

Think about it.
How did -whoever said it – get that much power to influence you as strongly as they have?
Tell me, how did they convince you?

Is it because you believed it that made it hurt so much?

Who perpetuated its value and hold on you?

That part came when you kept repeating it to yourself.

In the name of Jesus, break the chains, and speak new true words over your situations. Believing the words that come from the Lord, who loves you like no one else could, changes everything.

Rebuke all the lies that have ever held any power in your life and walk forward- like a heavy weight released from you, freer, happier, complete, and whole.

And try, guard yourself, clothe yourself, with the wisdom and value God gives you- so as not to give away your power to the wrong person again.

Realign.

Nobody’s opinion or words mean more than your Heavenly Father, God’s.

But you can’t really ever hear His, and live His, while you are holding onto everyone else’s.

Stop for a minute and think about who said it, before you continue believing it.

So, who really said it?

The enemy or the victor?

The one who opposes you or the one who is for you?

Was it a liar or the author of truth?

Who said you can’t achieve your dream?

Who said that you are incapable?

Insufficiency equipped?

Was it you who set your limits?

Was it you who questioned your own worth and ability? Was it from a fear of coping with disappointment or of failing to achieve anything great?

If He put it in your heart and you seek it, you shall find it. You shall receive all that you have asked for in His name. It may not look anything like you thought it would or should, but that’s for your best that He does it that way.

So next time the enemy tries to stuff you down, and tempt you to believe that you are anything less than you are, remember whose you are. Remember what’s been done for you. And rise. From the ashes. A new creation, born again, in Him.

You, my friend, are a beautiful creation, infused with God breathed wonderful giftings- you are not stuck- and as you continue to put Him above it all, you are unraveling into the miracle God is making of you.

Maybe you’ve believed it for most of your life. Does that make it true? Did you ever stop and ask, but “who said?”

So, what is next?

What voice will you choose to believe today?

I am the “I” in IEP.

I am the I in IEP.
I am the mom who knows the most about my son.
Who wants more than anyone else at that meeting table to see you succeed, to see you grow, to see you be and feel accepted, to see you have all the support you need without accidentally giving you too much that that in itself disables you.
I am the one who has sat through countless therapy visits, hour after hour.
I am the one who has learned strategy after strategy to get you to the state of progress you have made.
I am the one who has stood in the face of adversity, from the moment you were born, on your behalf.
I am the mom who has kept records, scheduled and attended the meetings, taken notes, researched for days, upon years.
I am the I in IEP, who knows a great deal about what is at stake.
But we sit at the table and you say to me,
I am the I in IEP.
I am the school.
My hands are tied.
I do care about your child.
The funding isn’t great for our special needs kids who don’t quite need extreme amounts of help.
I will tweak the services he would benefit from to just a little less than what would satisfactorily do.
I will present the accommodations, but there likely won’t be enough staff to assist with them.
I will sometimes care enough to try harder, but ultimately, I am a limiting in the IEP.
I am the I in the IEP
I am the advocate who will stand beside you.
I will fight for you.
I will negotiate for you.
I won’t let you do this alone.
I will call out the specifics that are being missed.
Just one catch. I don’t come for free.
Mom, you’ve got to pay me.
So who is the I that matters most?
I am the I in IEP.
I am the child.
I want to feel safe.
I want to feel loved.
I need your support.
I need acceptance.
I need you to see me.
I need you to see me with your heart as well as with your mind.
I need you to see me as a student but also as a person.
I need you to be sensitive to the communication styles and methods that teach me best.
I need you to see when I am overwhelmed.
I need you to encourage me.
I need you to show me that my areas of need can be stepping stones for success and growth for both me and you.
So you see, with all these “I”s in the IEP, no one is really getting too far.
Why does it feel like I am against you, and you are against me?
What if the school and the parent can turn the I into WE?
We are the partners who will not stop until we have a good plan.
We will be adaptable, consistent and loyal.
Then, we can be the team that will figure this out.
And ultimately, only then, the real I in the IEP, my child, wins.

Why Saying “no” is so Necessary, as a mom of a Child with Autism.

You cannot people please with a child with autism. Trust me I have tried. I have spent way too much time trying. Way too much time disappointing myself. As a special needs mom, however hard it may be, you must learn the skill of saying “no.” It won’t be easy, but it is necessary to learn this lesson.

You are Your Child’s Advocate and Voice.

 

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For example:

No– that doesn’t work for us.

No– that doesn’t help my son best.

No– that is not the way he will do it.

No– we cannot come to that.

No– that school model isn’t right for my child.

No– that kid cannot treat my kid that way.

No– that adult cannot treat my kid that way.

No– we won’t stay the full time of the event.

No– he won’t say hello.

No– he won’t look you in the eyes.

No– he won’t sit down in a chair for that long.

No– he cannot stay still for that long.

No– he does not learn that way.

 

What saying “no” does NOT mean:

We don’t love you.

We don’t like you.

We don’t want to be around you.

We are judging you.

We think we are better than you.

 

 

What saying “no” DOES mean:

I recognize my child’s unique ability.

I recognize my child’s unique struggle.

I recognize the environment is overly and intensely stressful and possibly traumatic and harmful for my child, and I am going to do something about it.

My child is a priority to me.

Who my child is matters to me.

 

The bottom line is this:

I love him when its hard.

I love him when its easy.

I love him unconditionally.

God has called me to do that.

And, I am better because of loving him.

 

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Easy was Never in the Plans for Us.

Easy was never in the plans for us.

Whether or not I wanted it.

 

I don’t think you ever think life is “easy.”

until you know what not easy is.

 

Relative.

 

The way things seem easy or not,

is always relative to how they were at best,

or when they were better.

 

The better times weren’t easy times either.

But they can seem “easy” relatively.

 

Easy was never in the plans for us.

 

But…

 

Persistence, that was.

Patience, that was.

Learning to climb mountains, that was.

Falling, and getting up again, that was.

Coming face to face with anger, pain, and bitterness, that was.

Grief, that sure was.

 

But thank God.

 

Because, the most important part of our story is this.

That redemption is, always was, and always will be, the best part of our story.

Not because of anything we can do, but because of Him.

Advocacy (the beginning).

Advocacy

Parents, hear me.

Advocate for your child.

Attend the IEP meetings.

Communicate with your child’s teachers and administration.

Do not assume they are doing what is best for your child.

Find out.

Speak up, when you feel something is wrong.

Your words are important.

Your feelings are valid.

Your concerns are real.

Hopefully, your child can do this for them self, one day.

But until then, and even then, advocate for your child.

It won’t be easy.

It won’t always get immediate results.

Do it anyway.

Be heard.

Don’t be someone who settles for less than what can be.

Advocate for your child.

In all circumstances.

Don’t let your voice be silenced.

It will echo through the classrooms years from now.

Advocate for your child.

 

Definition:

ad·vo·cate

noun

/ˈadvəkət/

a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.

synonyms: champion, upholder, supporter, backer, promoter, protector, patron.

 

*I am still sorting out my emotions over several events over the last few days.

More to come soon…

Mother’s Day- For the Mothers who Have Lost Their Mother.

Holidays like Mother’s Day tend to be really “loud” in society. Whether it be the sentimental commercials on TV, the “buy your mom the perfect gift” store displays, the social media posts, or just people you know talking about it as it nears. You will know about it coming.

Motherhood tends to be defined by all the love and tender care that we give our little ones from the very start. For many women, motherhood begins with a positive pregnancy test. For some women, it began years before that, when they first started trying to conceive, or even thought of becoming a mother.

Being a mother tests, builds, and redefines everything in you: your hopes and dreams, your fears, your self control, your patience, your love, your vulnerability, your ability to go days without a shower or sleep, in some cases your ability to spend days in the hospital and hear things you never imagined from doctors.

Motherhood typically evokes people to think of all those “firsts.” There is a first smile, first words, first steps, first friends, first day of school, first day driving, first day sleeping in their bed alone without waking up through the night.

Motherhood also, less commonly, evokes the feelings of the “lasts.” There will be the last day you drop off your child at school, because they are graduating and will be on their own moving forward, the last day you bring your child to a play date, the last time they wear all those cute little outfits as they outgrow them, the last time they come running to you to kiss their boo-boo. And, all these things are healthy, wonderful, and beautiful, though sometimes really difficult and painful. But all of these things are always filled with love at the core.

But, there’s a side to motherhood we don’t talk about much. That is, the side of watching your own mother do her lasts. No one talks much about watching your mom take her last steps, watching your mom use the bathroom independently for the last time, watching or helping her to eat her last meal, and hearing her say her last “I love you,” and then seeing her take her last breath. Nobody really likes to talk about the part of motherhood where your mom transcends to the end of her life. Yet we will likely all face it, assuming we outlive her.

And, if you’re lucky, the moments in the years will fill you for the rest of your life- long after the final moments in life have been taken.

I am not going to sugar coat it. This is reality. We all have an expiration date. And even though we are mothers, we are all also born from mothers. One day facing the news that they are no longer here to talk to, or call, or eat with, or shop with, or hold hands with, will change everything about you.

And you will have a choice to make, because you lost your mother. Because, you are still someone else’s mother. And all those milestones you watch your own children go through will make you remember your own milestones and your own mother. And you will have to dry the tears and you will have to keep on going. You will have to smile and give your own children all those moments that will live forever, since we know that none of us will.

And I doubt that it ever gets any easier in time, no matter how people say that time heals. Remember though, not being easier, doesn’t mean impossible. You see, you and I will find our way. And always having some pain over our deepest losses does not mean you can’t always also have happiness. Pain and hurt can, and often do, coexist with joy and gratitude. 

This simultaneous state, is often the price of love.

You will see your mom go from right in front of your face, to only in your mind and heart and go from the room you are in, to only there in photographs. You will see yourself go from having a person you ask all the questions to, to being the one having to answer them all on your own. I don’t imagine you can understand what this feels like, if you haven’t gone through it yourself.

And, if you relate to this, and if you are hurting today, I pray. I pray that you are able to take at least one moment today, and just simmer in the sweetness of all that still is. Take wonder in the moments between the tears of the pain, and deeply feel the joys and the love of who and for what remains. We are still mothers this Mother’s Day. And that will always be a blessing.

Undoubtedly, Mother’s Day changes, when you’re a mom who has lost her mom.

I encourage you still.

Though she’s gone, she’ll live: in the laughter that fills the air over something she used to find funny, in the smell that fills the kitchen of something you loved her cooking, in the way you choose to raise your children, in the way you receive and show love, when stories of her are spoken out loud, and in the lyrics of a song that will forever take you back to the place she created in you.

_______________________________________

My praise of the Lord

cannot be dependent

on getting what I want.

It must be dependent

on trusting who He is.