Autumn Gratitude

For years I fought with the overwhelming rollercoaster of depression, anxiety and mixed emotions. I give out as much as I can for my family and friends. I know I could always do more. I do not ask for much in return. Feelings of “I am not worth it” invade me when the dark times hit me hard.

On October 10th of this year I turned 39 years old. The age that my mother did not make it to see. It is the fact that I felt guilty about for a long time on why am I still living and she is not. Days before my impending birthday I walked into my house to a surprise party. When I opened my eyes on the 10th I felt a little lighter. The day was a regular day in momville. However, that I was the recipient of kindness, and that warmed my heart. A song, a scrapbook and more gifts left me humbled and grateful.

Ten days later, my youngest turned 4. With all her challenges, one the sweetest gifts she got was to meet her idols, The Wiggles. We were all privileged to meet the troupe and see the show from the floor, all because of the kindness of their organization. Our oldest cannot stop talking about The Wiggles and drawing creative pictures. Our youngest loves looking at the pictures with her and her boys.

This past Sunday, I was asked to speak on a blogging panel. The topics were varied from starting, getting paid and finding inspiration to pen a blog. I was honored to talk about my passion to write alongside of my boss at The Momoir Project, publisher of West Coast Families and Kerry of Crunchy Carpets.

Well I made it to 39. I will seek to learn from this fall to keep paying it forward. I am still here for a reason. For that, I am so grateful.

What are you grateful for today?

The Tale of Two Featherswords

We are sitting where we will be having a picture with The Wiggles. Just as they arrive our youngest beauty goes over to join the group ahead of us. She starts to touch their costumes then hijacks Captain Feathersword’s feathersword!

He says it is okay and chats with her a bit. The other Wiggles join in with the talk as they come over to have a picture with us. The newest girl Wiggle, Emma,  takes our picture for us.

I cannot stop smiling, nor can the rest of us. As they are about to move on to the next group our girl does not want to give up the feathersword. The Captain says it is ok; just give it back when she is done. After mingling a bit we realize that we should go back to our seats. Time to give him back his feathersword.

We got Captain over for a quick picture then the hand off. Her tears and cries can be heard from all over, I am sure! We find our seats and drink in the wonderful stage setup. We give out snacks which calms her down.

As we relax and get excited for the show we spy the gentleman that escorted us to the Meet and Greet. It is Lachy, one of the new Wiggles. In his hand is a feathersword. My hubby and I watch him as he is clearly looking for someone. So, my husband approaches him.

They come over and Lachy hands over the feathersowrd to our girl. She takes it and starts to play with it. Lachy said that Captain knew how upset she was to give it back so he wanted her to have her own. Tears invade my eyes again as we thank him for this special gift.

Check out the pictures from the show. We hope you have had a chance to see them live.

Thank you Wiggles for making our family know that there is compassion and love in the world. Your kindness throughout your organization is so inspiring and appreciated. You made a special tale for our family. We will miss Greg, Murray and Jeff. We look forward to what is to come.

You remind us that we all need to take time to wiggle. xo

 

So this one time we met The Wiggles…

 

The weather is crisp and clear, perfect for a secret road journey into Vancouver. It is a secret because we are surprising our girls with a trip to see The Wiggles. The suspense has been killing me. With experience, we know not to tell our girls too early about something, otherwise they would ask every day if it is time. We do not get to surprise them often, because of The Wiggles we can do it.

We race around the stadium to find where we are to be. Then we drop the bomb. Our six-year-old is so excited that we are minutes away from meeting the talented performers that have been part of our household for years. We are escorted into the bowels of the stadium to reveal a small area set up with chairs and a back drop. Like magic, the men come out. Our sweet youngest walks right over to them to hang with the troupe. Her look of pure delight made my year. She keeps wanting to touch their costumes. Our oldest cannot stop calling out their names.

My heart and tears began to overflow. To see our girls’ excitement is the sweetest thing ever. When it is our turn to pose with them Captain Feathersword lets our bonus babe play with his feathersword. The look of childlike wonder to see her heroes live makes my heart swoon. The gentlemen could not be more accommodating. Looking around at the other parents I realize that these Auzzies have a special heart as many of the kids have special needs or disabilities, or many other afflictions. To say I am touched is an understatement.

We walk out of the room to our seats and cannot stop saying WOW! We look forward to the show.

 

A Twiggly Tweet Made My Family’s Day

 

I am trying so hard to not give up. After talking with my family we decided that I would take our sweet youngest girl to see The Wiggles. When we tallied the cost for all four of us to go we decided it would be just us two. With her sensory issues and non-verbal words, The Wiggles are rock stars in our house. The concert will be one week after her birthday. It will be the perfect gift.

So I open my computer to search online the best seats for us. After trial and error at live events I know that I need to find something close to the stage and  an aisle seat as she tends to want to run. I could not find anything that would be appropriate at the venue. I decide to step away and think about if it was really worth it.

The next morning, I search again. I cannot find anything appropriate to make the concert a success for us. I take to Twitter to ask The Wiggles if there is anything they can do to help. Much to my surprise and delight they answer me back requesting me to email a certain address.

With trepidation, I email Chris at The Wiggles office explaining our story. I hope that they can tell us of better seats. What happens next seems like a dream. Chris sent me a voucher for 4 tickets and passes to Meet and Greet The Wiggles!!! I had to look at it several times to see if it was for real. We decided to not tell the girls until we arrive at the show. I am stunned at the compassion and kindness that Chris and The Wiggles for giving us this great gift.

Here is the voucher for the October 28th show.

A Kinder Birthday


Armed with a big box of Kinder Eggs, I walk with my almost four-year-old into her pre-school class. She has had a hard time transitioning into letting me leave her at pre-school. With her sensory issues we are grateful she has a support worker to help. It is challenging for her to make friends in general.
So when the box showed up this morning, I thought what a great idea to celebrate her birthday by sharing them with her classmates. The kids are wonderful with her. Her teachers have been very supportive on what she needs in class. It’s time to thank them.
I snuck them into the teacher’s special hiding spot. They will give them out at snack time. As I leave the building, my daughter kisses me goodbye. I can’t wait to hear how the eggs went over.
Two hours later I arrive to pick her up. As I slip into the room, I hear the kids singing Happy Birthday to her. I had to bite my lip from letting a few tears slip. We pack up to leave. As we zip her jacket, all of her fellow students came over to thank her for the eggs. As she looks up to a few of them to make eye contact, my heart stops. Amongst her challenges is that she is socially delayed. For her to make eye contact to acknowledge the kids is awesome to say the least.
Thank you Kinder Canada for making my bonus daughter’s birthday special.

Sharing is one of our favorite ways to play.

What are some of your favorite ways to play?

Find them on FacebookKinder Canada.

Find them on Twitter @KinderCanada
Disclosure: I am participating in the Kinder Mom campaign with Mom Central Canada and Kinder Canada. I have been compensated for this post. However opinions on this blog are of my own.

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A Typical Down Day in Autism

 

It is 3:45 am according to my ancient clock radio. My youngest daughter drags my right hand to pull me out of bed. She leads me to the gate at the top of the stairs indicating she wants to go downstairs. I slide on my eyeglasses to see as we try to sneak downstairs to not wake the other members of our family. In the dimly lit living room I struggle to keep my eyes open, to keep her safe and hopefully wear her out to go back to sleep. Without an eye on the time, eventually she stretches out on the couch. I try to get comfortable in the chair near her. Just as soon as I rest my eyes I hear my husband moving upstairs in our room. I check the clock, with a heavy sigh I realize he is up for work. The day begins with me in slow motion.

Shortly after he comes down the stairs, our oldest bounds down wide awake. After he leaves, my youngest is still awake. I realize that I need to do something desperate for her to sleep before our morning activities. Despite my exhausted self, I pack up my girls in the car in hopes a long drive will help make her nap. In three hours we are expected at a medal ceremony at the local library for the Summer Reading Club. My oldest has been looking forward to this all year. There is no way I am going to miss that for her. If I wasn’t so tired I would be angry at the situation. In a ‘regular world’ there would be a grandma on call to do this so I could cat nap. Autism robs my brain and energy again.

I know I have a lot to be grateful for: healthy family albeit autism, my sister lives close and I have a writing career I love. The ‘experts’ keep going on and on about the importance of sleep. Well, that is great and all, but what happens if it is beyond your control.

Within minutes of our drive, my oldest girl tells me her sister is asleep. I tuck the car into a drive-thru line-up. In the rear-view mirror I see my five-year-old’s eyes light up. I order our food and park under the shade of a tree. I leave music on and begin to have a breakfast car picnic with my first baby. She states that this is the best fun ever. With those precious words I slip out of my self-pity baggage. I did what I could do and ended up making a special summer memory for the two of us.

An Angry Letter to my Mom

Dear Mom,

I am so sad, mad and upset at you.

After years of being scared to have kids, in fear of them inheriting genetic baggage, my deepest fear has come true. Since my youngest daughter was born, her delays have been obvious. Then the diagnosis of Autism arrived. All this time I have been riddled with the guilt that I am at fault for her delays and diagnosis.  I have second guessed everything that happened from the morning sickness to having to be put out for her birth.

Then earlier this year my sister, your youngest, was found to have a rare chromosome that was linked to her cancers. Because of that, my baby and I have been tested due to that connection.  Today I got the call that we tested positive with links to my health problems, and my sweet baby who has autism and a big head. All this time I blamed myself that it was my fault for her social and development delays.

All her and I did was be born. It does not ease my pain that it might not be my fault. She inherited from me, and I from you. We were born. End of story. I know that if you were here today we would find out if you had the same mutation of the gene. Statistically it had to be from you. But who did you get it from? I have a million questions for you. Life has thrown my small family too many curveballs. Why are we the ones with the genetic baggage, and not the rest of the family?

It is so not fair. Cancer is a bitch.  I can never imagine life without both my babies. Autism has had its hard days. It has given us moments that remind us with what is really important.

Family.

I wish you were here.

Love, Me

The First Time for the Second Time

My dear daughters,

Once again it is the night before school. I do not know why the summer went by so fast, but it did. I had so much fun hanging out with you both on our adventures.

Your bags are packed, filled with all you need for school. I just want to say that I am proud of both of you so much.

My dear older girl, your reading and writing skills have sharpened so much over summer. You are such a fun kid. I know you will have many new friends in Grade One.

My sweet young one, you are going to preschool again to see if you are ready. Last year, I failed you by not giving you the right skills. Since your diagnosis you have thrived in therapy. You surprise me daily on your accomplishments. You will rock preschool.

As sad as I am to say good-bye to summer, I can’t wait to pick you up from school to hear all about your new adventures.

I love you both so much.

Love,

Mommy