Wednesday, October 15, 2014

8 years and counting!

Yesterday, JW and I celebrated 8 years of marriage!  Life must go on, so no fancy celebratory vacations were planned, but his mom and aunt, who have been visiting us this week, set us up with a very extraordinary anniversary dinner, complete with tablecloth, gold-plated silverware, 5 course meal (with dessert!) and entertainment provided by my kiddos.  It was wonderful.  One of the most fun parts was getting able to use my nice drinking glasses and serveware that I never get to use on a daily basis.  We registered for some good stuff 8 years ago (thank you friends and family!!).  Jackson was very excited, and he kept saying, "Happy Anniversary Mommy and Daddy!"  He dressed up (like a fireman with a superhero cape and cowboy hat) and serenaded us with violin music (he's been taking lessons and is PRETTY good if I do say so myself.)  He said, "Thank you for getting married, you guys did good.  Thank you for getting engaged at the farm where I had camp.  You are the best mommy and daddy ever!"  It was precious.  Savannah wore her tutu, did some ballet moves, and ate fruit and mints and sparkling cider for dinner.  It was so great.  JW and I felt honored by our family and children, and it would be nice to some day take a vacation for our anniversary, but until then, I'll take fancy at-home dinners any day.

(Picture during our Hawaii honeymoon October 2006)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Deep Calls to Deep

This weekend we had the privilege of spending time with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece at the beach.  Jackson had such a great time, it was so beautiful to watch his sheer joy at the ocean.  He spent hours standing at the shore, having a conversation with the waves.  It seemed like he was asking them to stop, just before they got to him, and he had a fighting stance as he stood there.  I watched him there for hours (it was too cold for me!) and I was almost crying with pleasure.  I think he felt so free and I think he felt God's love in those moments.  I surely did.

Friday, September 19, 2014

You big bully!

The last few weeks have been really tough!  J's behaviors at home were getting worse, including the self-injurious behavior and negative self-talk, and last week I was at my wit's end.  I just felt empty inside, my flesh and blood child, my firstborn, is saying that he hates himself, that he is evil, and is trying to hurt himself!  How I felt like a failure as a mom, who only wants to convey love to her child!  How must God get so sad when we as His children talk so badly about ourselves, as well.  So I was reaching out to the team at school, our OT, friends, etc, and finally my dear friend was able to shed some light on the situation.  She suspected that he was just craving attention, specifically from me, of course, and that if I was able to provide him with some one on one time every day, the behavior might go away.  So I gave it try, and one week of success followed!  Yay!  It's just amazing to me how many things have to be in place in order for J's day to go well.  Not only do we have to have his schedule, remain calm, keep things structured, keep him fed, but also we have to give lots of praise, give him one on one time, and try to keep things running smoothly at home.  It's so tiring sometimes!  If one piece is missing, it all falls apart.  But thankfully we have a lot of help, and people to remind us if a piece is missing.  So far, things are going well. 

While we were spending time together last weekend with puppets, Jackson insinuated through his puppet that there was a kid bullying him at school, on the playground.  That broke my heart!  I do NOT want to think about anyone teasing or making fun of my sweet boy, it makes me so sad and angry as well.  So I've been trying to deal with those emotions as well, at least until I figure out if anything truly is going on and to what extent. 

As far as school goes, I am impressed daily with Jackson's ability to read and write!  I've truly been enjoying watching his progress.  JW and I are seeing that he is very smart and able to do most things at school as long as the right supports and structure are in place.  As we are seeing, struggles are constantly going to come up, and then we just have to brainstorm the next best solution. 

So today I am in a lot better place mentally than I was a week ago, just trusting God to give me direction on any next steps to take, and so thankful that God thought that I was qualified enough to be chosen as Jackson's mom,  What a blessing, as well as the hardest job ever, but I am so thankful to be given the great privilege. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First Grade!

It has been entirely too long since I've posted on here.  I miss it!  But there is another milestone in our family, Jackson is a First Grader!  His first day of school was yesterday, and he rocked it.  He looked stylish, got a "good-behavior" stamp, and made a new friend!  My mama-heart was full yesterday.

Things have been a bit difficult lately with him.  He has been responding very negatively to any criticism or correction, which of course is an essential part of parenting.  We have been trying to fill up his love tank with positive encouraging words, but still when we have to correct, he lashes out, says horrible things about himself, even being physically violent with himself.  It completely breaks my heart.  It is interesting to note that this behavior is only manifested around me.  Therefore, I seem to think it is behavioral, and I must be responding to him in a way that makes him want to continue the behavior.  I usually try to stop the violence, tell him how much he is loved, etc; I try to point him to the Truth of the Bible and let him know how much Jesus loves him, and he needs to love himself.  I try to tell him that even God disciplines His children, and that we are all sinners.  He HATES to think of himself as a sinner, don't we all?

It's interesting that Jackson is really only acting how most of us feel sometimes.  We don't like to be corrected or disciplined by God, or by anyone else, and we often find ourselves spouting off non-truths in the midst of our disappointment in ourselves.  Jackson is teaching me a good lesson, that we are NOT failures if we sin or "mess up," we all do it, and we are still LOVED.  We need to love our imperfect selves because God does!  And also, sometimes when we're upset, we just need a hug, not words.

This parenting thing is tough, and ASD is tough, but actually Jackson's behavior is really just a visible example of many of our internal states; he is just vulnerable enough to put it all out there.

I continue to pray for strength and guidance through this time, on how best to deal with this behavior, but I also thank God for showing me my own sinful self and how He loves me through it, in spite of myself.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Delayed Gratification

I read some other blogs that mention that sometimes kids with ASD will tell you about what they remember or what they were feeling months or years after the event.  At the time, you may think the child didn't process or understand, but then they reveal later that was not the case.  Last night, Jackson let me into his world a little bit, which was such a blessing.
I've been struggling with him this last week, as he has been exhibiting some behaviors that are just, well, annoying.  And they irritate a sleepy mama who has little reserve left in her.  But with some prayer from some good friends, my reserve and patience is growing, thankfully.  But back to my story.
Last night I was putting Jackson to bed, as usual, when he whispered to me, "I saw Daddy cry before." 
Me: "When?" 
Him: "It was at our old house (2 years ago!!), he was sick (he was really sick, I remember that too btw).  You and Daddy slept downstairs and I slept upstairs and Savannah slept downstairs, and I didn't like sleeping upstairs all by myself." 
Me: "So what did you do?"
Him: "I came down way before it was morning to sleep with you."  (true, story of my life, ha!)
Me: "How did you feel?  Worried, scared, sad?"
Him: "Worried.  Love you, goodnight!"

It was precious.  Just an interesting reminder that his little brain processes things differently than mine.  It doesn't make his way wrong, just different.  It really helps me to remember this, that when I think he's not getting it, I'm wrong.  He's taking it all in, and I'll probably hear about it in a few years. 
I'm thankful for a glimpse into his mind when sometimes I feel like I can't reach him. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014


The last few weeks have been really hard at home.  Lack of routine due to Christmas break, teacher workdays, snow days, and the MLK day break had our schedules all out of whack.  For any kid, that can be hard, but throw ASD into the mix and you've got some good times. 
I haven't been as patient as I would like to be.  I try, but I fail A LOT.
Last night, for whatever reason, it hit me.  Some of the words that have come out of my mouth have NOT been encouraging and uplifting for my son.  It helps that our sermon at church the last few weeks has dealt with the topic of our tongue and the harm it can cause.  It's hard to find a balance between being a parent and discipline and having your kids respect you...and on the other hand realizing that my son isn't usually being disrespectful or beligerent when he behaves out of sorts, he's not often doing it on purpose to spite me or make me mad; usually, there is a reason behind his behaviors.  And I have to then be the detective to figure out the reasons behind his unwanted behaviors and try to help him.  It's such a different attitude than, "My child must learn to respect me."  Because I feel like I also need to respect him and his differences.  You don't tell a kid in a wheelchair, "Why can't you just be normal and walk like everyone else?"  So why should I think Jackson should be "normal" and act like everyone else?  Actually, I'm quite glad he doesn't act like everyone else, ha!  But those words have actually come out of my mouth, "Why can't you just act normal?"  And last night I was very sad when I realized that those words were not very kind or nice.  I never want my son to think he's not "normal" or not loved because he doesn't act like his sister or friend.  I want him to feel like I'm his biggest fan, trying to support and  encourage him as he tries to find his place in this world like we all are.  And I know that most of the time, he does feel that, but when I lose control of my tongue, it can be hurtful.  I had a restless night praying for forgiveness and for help in finding that balance between accepting your child and molding him to be a better person at the same time.  It's hard, sigh. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11

English Standard Version (ESV)
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

Thank you J.M. for posting this on my facebook page.  :)  It's a good reminder.