family


Somehow time has flown.

All of the sudden we have shimmied from April right through summer and into the start of another school year.

There was so much that I had wished to chronicle here, but … yeah.

Let’s just say that these months have been a journey…

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… during this time we have experienced awesome accomplishments and stared some huge fears in the face. There have been tweaks, tantrums, and tears. There have been sighs, snickers, and great rejoicing.

Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, it is amazing to see how far we have come, as individuals AND as a family.

We have walked, crawled, and sprinted along the way. Sometimes together. Sometimes on our own. But always with God at our side.

And as I hope to return here again to write soon, I just want to leave the verse that I have been clinging to on this journey… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

Sometimes it’s not.

I don’t know how else to answer that question that I’ve been hearing so much of lately from Olivia. I understand her frustration, sadness, and/or embarrassment. My heart breaks for her, but it also breaks for Christian when he is struggling, and more often than not right now, it is torn in opposite directions.

How is it fair that we have to leave a party just as she is getting settled and starting to play with cousins who she rarely sees? How is it fair that we have to ask Christian to stay in a place where he is clearly overwhelmed and in a high state of ‘fight or flight’ mode? How is it fair that she cries all the way home? How is it fair that he cries all the way there?

How is it fair that she has to sit through Sunday School when Christian gets his lesson taught by mom in a separate room? How is it fair that she has to sit through church as Brian and I take turns watching a taped service in another room because her brother can’t be in church (for reasons unknown to us)? How is it fair that he is so clearly overwhelmed by things that he cannot express in words to help us understand how he is feeling and why he is acting the way that he is?

How is it fair that she has to watch Mom wrestle her half-dressed brother out of her friend’s house when he refuses to leave and we just have to go? How is it fair that he gets to stay home when it is the day of her school play performance and she has to attend most of his functions?

How is it fair???

Sometimes it just isn’t.

It is a compromise. A give-and-take. A dance.

I pray that someday she (and he) will understand the decisions that we have had to make. That we want to make things as fair as possible, but sometimes it just isn’t possible to be ‘fair’ the way that is expected.

Back story would help here, but I haven’t had the opportunity to write it yet … so let’s just say that Christian has been struggling a little quite a bit at school this last month. We (his entire team) don’t know what happened to set this struggle into motion, but it’s there and has been incredibly hard for everyone involved, especially Christian.

As Christian’s Team adjourned from an ’emergency’ meeting at school a couple of weeks ago, the principal (Mr. G) just asked me what my plan was for Christian coming back after his Spring Break. You see, my daughter and I continue our Spring Breaks through the end of the week and Christian goes back today. Initially, I planned on driving Christian into school in the mornings. Why wouldn’t I?? I’m home and then Brian wouldn’t need to make an extra trip into town…

…ah, but his point exactly…

…we need to keep the ‘status quo.’ Christian needs the sameness of a regular school morning. So, Olivia and I will rush out of the house as normal right around 7 a.m. for the rest of the week and Brian will drive Christian to school, as usual. The words ‘No School!’ were removed from the calendar and Liv & I talk in secret about our day-time plans.

I pray that all of this helps Christian. I am at a loss, otherwise.

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Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. [1 Peter 5:7]

Like the title of this post, “Fried” pretty much sums things up lately…

Our laptop fried itself a couple of weeks ago. I was thankful to be able to utilize Christian’s iPad in the evenings to check email/Facebook, but it wouldn’t let me post here so I have all of these “semi-posts” floating around in my head! I’m glad to report that Brian found us an old-school refurbished laptop. It’s a bit slower than our old model. I’m sure the kids won’t appreciate that, but Brian and I will be able to get done what we need to get done. 🙂

Up until this week, I was feeling “fried” on a daily basis. By 3:30 in the afternoon, I was feeling emotionally, physically, mentally shot. Completely overwhelmed. Home, school, work, etc. was all just feeling like too much. I was frustrated with myself on so many levels — for not finding time during the week to run, because I really wanted to lace up my shoes and go, but it just wasn’t happening; for eating really poorly for the last month; for being SO tired ALL of the time; for not being on top of everyone’s schedules consistently; for hating my commute even though I love to drive; for having to figure out a new med schedule for Christian so that afternoons at school weren’t too much for him; for the bus scheduler for changing the routes/drivers/times and failing to give us notice about any of that; for feeling so down; for getting so sick; for forgetting things that I used to just be able to remember; for so many more things that I can’t explain and/or remember. All of these things just ate at me and left me with nothing. I felt “fried”. Essentially burnt to a crisp and worth nothing…

…but for whatever reason, it seemed as I turned the calendar to October on Monday I started not feeling quite so “fried.” I found time to run on the weekends and while I wish it was more I’ll be happy that I have THAT time to better my body and mind… My food choices are something that I have control over. I can’t go back and “uneat” food, but I can make better choices in the days to come. I will focus on that… As for being tired, I find it hard to combat that feeling, but I can choose to go to bed earlier. But no matter how much (or how little) sleep I get, I am sleeping much more soundly than I have in the last 8-1/2 years. That is amazing!… Everyone’s schedules are difficult to be on top of, but I’m trying – utilizing multiple calendars – depending on Brian to take care of more things – writing myself more daily lists of things to do and post-it notes. It will come as things become more routine and we’re starting to get there… While I still wish that my commute wasn’t quite so long (especially considering the amount of $$ that we have to spend on gas), I am starting to remember to enjoy the quiet, the “me” time, the beauty of the creation along the route, my music, my thoughts, my coffee. I am also trying to focus less on the stress I feel from getting from point A to point B to point C in X amount of time and just realize that I will get there as soon as I can. Focusing more on what I can control over things that I can’t… I was bummed that we had to make the decision to add an afternoon med to Christian’s. We prefer to use as little medication as possible, but it was SO necessary. After the first week of school, Christian’s afternoon started to go downhill quickly, by the end of the day his teachers were struggling to get him to do anything other than stim, script, and pace. There was immediate proof that this was the right decision, though, when on the very first afternoon on the meds he was able to participate with his class for the ENTIRE day. My heart smiled as that note came home. We want the best for Christian and right now, at THIS time, this IS the best for him… I was pretty miffed and disappointed with the whole bus chaos, especially with what happened last January and the promise that would never happen again. So I donned my Mama Bear growl and called the bus scheduler directly to complain. He lied to me (knowingly or not, I’m not really sure), but at least he’s aware of the situation now and hopefully will know not to let that happen again (or this Mama will have no qualms about picking up the phone to call and complain again) and take it to another level if necessary…

So, anyway, what I’m saying in a very round-about way is that I’m starting to find the peace in the daily things that I used to “fry” me. Understanding that God has put me where I am, at this moment, for (a) purpose(s), even if they are not (all) evident to me right now. When I trust that God will get me through these struggles/moments, when I remember that HE is my strength and in control of ALL things, then I find the peace that I need/crave.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through CHRIST who strengths me. {scripture verse that I wear as a reminder on a daily basis}

We survived our first week with our new crazy schedule.

I am enjoying working with my students at school. The classroom routine really just started to get established on Friday, so I’m eager to see how things go once we’re into a regular schedule there. I feel a bit rushed in the morning (and after school) to get everyone to where they need to be at the right time, but hopefully that will get easier with time, too.

Christian finally decided that school will be a good thing again. (Whew!) We were all happy that Miss R is his bus driver for both before AND after school. She and Christian just have an amazing understanding and trust with each other. I feel 100% safe having her transport Christian. (I’d love to keep her as his bus driver as long as he’s in school!) School seems to be going well for Christian. He is greeting people and using their names. He is taking charge of his routine in the lunchroom and no longer needs to have an adult sitting immediately next to him. (HUGE!) He is having some issues with tearing up paper (i.e. worksheets) and we have seen this behavior at home over the summer. I’m hoping we can figure out how to solve this, but I’m excited that things have been going as well as they have so far.

Olivia has been loving school. (She’s 2-1/2 weeks in already.) I’m not sure that she enjoys going to both before and after school care this year, she’s surviving. 😉 (Last year she constantly asked to stay. You’d think she’d be happier that she has to now!) She and I are still figuring out how to efficiently get out of the house in the morning, but I’m sure we’ll have it figured out by Christmas. 😉

Brian has been coming home to get Christian on and off the bus. It sounds like that is going well and that Christian is enjoying some “guy time” with Daddy. 🙂 (I don’t think Brian minds either.)

I hoping that next week goes as well as this week has…

While I am super excited and thankful for my new job, I feel a bit like I’m in mourning for parts of my “old” routine. The things that I will no longer be able to be a part. Things that I will miss deeply. Things that I took for granted before.

To be able to pass through this transitional stage of my life, I thought that I’d compile a list of things that are changing — not for the good, nor the bad, but just the things that are…

  • I will no longer be able to put Christian on the bus in the morning. It is hard for me to hand off this responsibility, even if it is to Brian. I remember going through some great joys and fears and tears and laughs throughout this process over the years. I will miss it.
  • I cannot volunteer at Olivia’s school this year. I loved every minute of being there last year – the staff and students are wonderful. The fun of being the volunteer – “Mrs. [Mama] is here!” and the smiles and the hugs and the sighs and … the everything. I will miss it.
  • I can no longer “sleep in.” I will miss this, even if it was an unpredictable perk.
  • I cannot just stop by Christian’s school to drop off this or that, to drive him in on a hard day, to pick him up if necessary… I will miss that.
  • I won’t be home in the middle of the day to get the mail. I’ll miss that, too.
  • My Tuesday morning BodyPump class definitely won’t be happening. I knew a former therapist and family friends in that class. It is such an awesome and amazing workout. I always left class feeling empowered. I will miss that Tuesday morning workout.
  • I will not be able to just chill in the office at Liv’s school waiting for my “entrance” time. I will miss that down time and the weekly coffee chats with a fav principal.
  • I will not be able to do all doctors appointments with the kids anymore. That has been very hard for me. (The first one that I missed was yesterday.) While I know that Brian is perfectly able to take care of these things, this has been my responsibility the last 8 years. The well-checks, the specialists, the therapists, the sick visits, the dentist, the evaluations, the diagnoses, the everything … I know this stuff backward, forward, in my sleep and it feels so strange to hand this off. I will miss this tremendously.
  • I still miss not being able to help coach sports, especially soccer. It’s been over ten years since I’ve assisted in this area, but I still miss it. Perhaps it was the excellent head coach that I worked with. The one who started every practice/game, whatever the weather/mood/time of day, with – “It’s a beautiful day for soccer!” And it always was. I find myself watching teams practicing and wishing that there was a way to be involved. Someday, I hope that there will be. Until then, I will miss it.

I’m sure there are many more things that I will be missing this year with this transition in my life, but I feel blessed by the opportunity to start this new adventure. I am looking forward to seeing where it leads me.

Everything changes on Monday. OK, well, maybe not everything, but it will definitely be a sweeping change to our family and schedule.

I am going back to work.

I am mostly excited with a little bit of nervousness thrown in (for good measure).

I will be starting as a 2nd grade special education instructional assistant at Jacob Shapiro Brain-based Instruction Laboratory Charter School. Sounds like an impressive school, doesn’t it?!? I was impressed during the interview and happy that they wanted me as a part of their team.

Brian and I are working hard with schedules — trying to figure everything out, yet waiting on Christian’s bus schedule for the year. We’ll get it all worked out, I’m sure, but I’m eager to get things finalized. But the awesome thing about being able to get into a school as an assistant is that the kids’ major holiday breaks/vacations will line up with mine and I can stay home with them. What a blessing!

What a change!

I’m excited. 🙂

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