Balloons, Bubbles, and Tears

Phew…I am Exhausted! But it’s in a Good way! Today was my son’s Birthday Party. I Had fretted and thought and worked over every last detail since he told me last month that he WANTED a Party this year.  We have never really done a Party for him in the past….sure we have always celebrated His special Day, the Day we were blessed with Him as a precious addition to our family…but a Party? no, He couldn’t handle it…..too many people = instant Meltdown…..too much noise = Instant meltdown….messing up his routine= instant meltdown….so we always just found small special ways to celebrate Him as a Family unit.  So, yeah, when he announced he WANTED a Party, my heart jumped.

I asked Him for a Guest list, not quite sure what the answer would be. He responded with a short list of names, and I cried….not sad tears, but tears of joy! My sweet boy was making connections!!! was making FRIENDS!

so we started Planning….Guests were notified. I decided to make a Fire engine Cake. and the Party was set in motion. Last night, my two daughters and I stayed up well past when I normally send them to bed, baking, frosting, totally destroying the kitchen I had JUST cleaned……

I fussed over every detail….wanted everything “Just right”. It became quickly apparent about 11pm, that we needed to stop for the night and think about getting some sleep, so we put the cake, and icing in the fridge, and headed for bed, after all, it would be a busy Saturday.

I got up early this morning, and after 2 cups of coffee , it was back to working on the cake….

The Finished Cake….

with the Cake done, it was time to focus on the other details. In the back of my mind, thoughts fought for attention with my “to do list”…..”Would he have a meltdown?” ” What if Dak decided He was not in the mood to be Social today?” As I Busied myself with making sure the Bubble toys were filled…and water Balloons, and Pizza was ordered….Barking orders at my girls and my husband, I tried to shut out all the things that COULD go wrong.

Finally Party time arrived, and guests began to show up. Dak was Excited as each car pulled up ” My Friends!! My Friends!!” He yelled as he ran to greet each car that pulled up. Again, tears welled up in my eyes, tears of joy. I thought back to when He was always off to himself, seemingly locked in his own world, and as I watched my 11 year old son running around the yard interacting with a precious chosen few I felt my heart dance. Suddenly all my worries and fears about the day faded away, and I watched, and smiled and captured every moment I could with my Camera…..

As a Mom, I have always enjoyed throwing a Party for my children’s Birthdays…but this one, for me, was different…This Party…was a Milestone. We made it through the day with NO Meltdowns from Dak… the Party wound down, and we said goodbye to friends, gave hugs, and Thank you’s, I started to relax, and sat down at my computer to Unload the Memory Card FULL of Photos I had taken onto my computer…and that’s when I unraveled. I realized that when the Memory Card had beeped at me that it was full, and I had went to delete a Few Photos to clear up some space, I had managed to delete ALL the Photos because I was not focusing on WHAT I was doing…just on trying to rush through it and not miss a moment. It was an INSTANT Meltdown.

My wonderful Husband looked at me like I had lost my mind…He asked me if Dak had enjoyed HIS day? and I nodded, wiping tears away. The Man I have been married to for almost 15 years, then told me to breathe….that the fact that DAK had enjoyed the day was what mattered…and sure, it would be NICE to have the Photos…but not the end of the world. I took a deep breath…He was right, but that really didn’t make ME feel any better! Then he suggested I go ask Google if there was any way to recover deleted Photos….long story short, with the help of Google, a Data recovery Program and my neighbor’s computer…I was able to rescue my precious Photos.

As I was going through the process of recovering from my mistake, I stopped and asked myself WHY I had a meltdown over PHOTOS? I mean Really? The Answer Hit me as I was back at home editing the Photos I had worked so hard to recover……The priceless looks of joy and happiness on Dak’s Face….Dak INTERACTING with Friends…..I may never get an hour long conversation about a Field trip….or know how much fun His Party was…..but I Have the Photos to look at…and a Picture is worth a Thousand words…especially to me…a Parent of a barely Verbal child.

The Beauty of the Simple things

Today is my sweet little Man’s Birthday. He is 11 years old. It seems like Just Yesterday He was Born. As I look back on the past 11 years, Many things cross my mind.  The worry and stress when His development screeched to a halt at 18 months old. The Pain in my husband’s eyes when Dak wanted NOTHING to do with him. The stress of having to tend to a screaming Infant and an Autistic Toddler who had sensory issues, and one of those ” Buttons” was His sister’s crying. The Relief when I finally was able to get an “Official Diagnosis” and start getting Him the help He needed. The tears of Joy when at 4 years old, for the First time I heard my son say ” I love you Mommy”.

We have come a long way, and yet we still walk the same road. He has days when He regresses, almost completely, meltdowns, nothing goes right. and then we have moments of Clarity and glimpses of a “typical” 11 year old boy.  Dak has let Daddy, and His sisters into His world, and I Have had to learn to watch for the little things. To continue to hope for big steps, and yet rejoice in the little milestones.

It is because of the day to day, that I could not help but giggle as I waited with him for the school bus to arrive this morning.  Here is how the Conversation went…..

me: “What is today?”
Dak: ” September 23rd”
me: “what is today?”
Dak:  “Dakota’s Birthday!”  ( Face lights up) ” OH! I’m Dakota!!!”
me: “how old are you today?”
Dak : “I’m Dakota!!”
Me: “yes , but how old is Dakota today?”
Dak: “huh?”
Me: “Dakota is 11 today ”
Dak: “I’m Dakota!!!!”
(Hit rewind, and repeat…..this went on until His bus pulled up…LOL)

I Cherish the fact that, even as we went in circles in that conversation, we HAD A CONVERSATION!!!  I rejoice that He acknowledged that I was, in fact talking TO Him, and that he KNEW Today was His Birthday!

I am overjoyed that he ASKED for a Birthday Party this year ( This is a FIRST!) We shall see how things Go Saturday. In the Meantime, Cherish the simple things! Off I go to lay out my “Battle Plan” and attempt a Fire engine Cake!

ACT today (via a diary of a mom)

One out of every 88 military children has a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. This is a message that needs to get heard! Thank you Jess for this Blog post.

ACT today Photo from Rome News Tribune ** I’ve been holding onto the following post for far too long. I’ve stared at it on the screen, been ready to hit publish, then stopped short time and again. I’m just not convinced that it makes the point strongly enough. I don’t think that the words adequately convey the intensity, the exigency of the situation. I’m afraid that the post loses something because it focuses on such a miniscule slice of the overwhelming … Read More

via a diary of a mom

Let them Be Little

I Usually just Upload photos of My kids to my albums on Facebook so that my Family members and my Military Family scattered all over the globe can see them….sometimes with a Caption or short description, but the ones I took last night deserve more than that. My oldest was on the computer, so I was in my room watching Underdog with my youngest. I had already tucked Dak into bed three times, as His Meds should have kicked in any minute. Rather than stay in bed, He came running through the house, into my room completely lost in a gigglefit. No matter how I fussed he just would not sit quietly and watch the movie, and my youngest was getting rather frustrated she could not hear the TV.

I left the room for a few minutes to refill my glass of water and when I returned, Both of my younger children were on my bed, Giggling wildly. Shawna had decided that the best course of action to get her brother to stop running about was to sit on Him. My first thought was how dangerous it was…that they were both going to topple OFF the bed into a heap on the floor….but as I watched them interact like “Normal” siblings I decided the best course of action was to keep my mouth shut, enjoy the moment and Grab my Camera…..

They did eventually end up on the floor…not because they fell, but because when she tried to convince him he not only needed to sit still…but be quiet as well…He moved to the floor…and she followed him….

The song “Let them Be Little” Originally written and sung by Billy Dean, remade by Lonestar came to mind as I watched them tussle and giggle…..

I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand.
You felt so good in it; no bigger than a minute.
How it amazes me you’re changin’ with every blink.
Faster than a flower blooms, they grow up all too soon.

So let them be little,
‘Cause they’re only that way for a while.
Give ’em hope, give them praise,
Give them love every day.
Let ’em cry, let ’em giggle,
Let ’em sleep in the middle,
Oh, but let them be little.

I never felt so much in one little tender touch.
I live for those kisses, your prayers an’ your wishes.
An’ now you’re teachin’ me how only a child can see.
Tonight, while we’re on our knees, all I ask is:

Please, let them be little,
‘Cause they’re only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give them praise,
Give them love every day.
Let ’em cry, let ’em giggle,
Let ’em sleep in the middle,
Oh, but let them be little.

The so innocent, precious soul:
You turn around, an’ it’s time to let them go.

So let them be little,
‘Cause they’re only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give ’em praise,
Give them love every day.
Let ’em cry, let ’em giggle,
Let them sleep in the middle,
Oh, but let them be little.

Let them be little.

I am thankful for nights like last night, glimpses at my son without the walls Autism puts up, to see him interacting with his little sister in a happy fun way. He adores her (NOW), and most days is really good with her, but when she was a baby….it was a different story entirely. Last night was one of those Happy belly laugh kind of nights I will cherish for years to come….one of those happy moments I can fall back on on the not so good days….

Cherish the good days, Count your Blessings, and let them be little!

Remembering 9/11

‎9 years ago on 9/10/2001 , I got the news that Shawna was on her way into our lives, 9 years ago this week, the Lord brought my friend Kellie into my life, 9 years ago this week, her husband and Mine were in the field, 9 years ago today, the world stopped turning….so many memories, both good and Bad tied to this couple of days.

I will never forget how the day unfolded for me 9 years ago. My husband was away for Annual training for the National Guard. I was at home with our two children, and had just found out the day before that I was pregnant with our third. At 6am, the 2 little boys that I was babysitting at the time arrived, and like any other morning, I put in a Disney movie to watch with them until my own children woke up.  The Movie I chose that morning was Beauty and the Beast. The way my VCR worked, when the movie ended it automatically shut off, and this happened just in time to see the news coverage of the 1st plane hitting. I was in shock, and felt my heart stop, knees grow weak, but I had enough sense to know that at ages 4 and 6 the boys in my care didn’t need to be watching whatever was unfolding before me…My own 2 kids, 4 and 2, were awake by this point, so I shuffled the 4 kids off to play in the other room, then returned to the living room, collapsed to my knees and cried as I watched the events unfold.

in the midst of watching the horrible events unfold on TV, and watching 4 young children, my friend Kellie knocked on my door, and we sat watching, both of us waiting for the phone to ring…hoping to hear from our husbands in the field, Both of us wondering if they would be called up, the future had in the blink of an eye become more uncertain, our sense of security had been shattered, and as Military wives, we knew that the world as we knew it had changed forever.

in the past 9 years since 9-11, every year my husband has not been home , He has either been in the field, away at drill weekend, or activated for Hurricane relief ( Hurricane Katrina). I am Thankful and blessed that He has not, as of yet (*knocks on wood*) been deployed, however I will stand proud and strong if the call does come.  I have learned many things about myself through all this, and the memories, good and bad of that week 9 years ago have been forever written on my heart , tied with a yellow ribbon, and probably the most important lessons I learned are that God’s Grace is enough, and that just as I will never forget the events of that day, I also need to make sure my children also never forget.

That last lesson was driven home for me this past week by a friend of mine on Facebook through something she said, and a photo of her children, which I combined…..this was the outcome:

Tonight I was helping my youngest daughter with a homework assignment about what her name means, and as I remember back to the events surrounding the discovery that she was on her way into my life, I realize that her name is in fact, most fitting. Her name means “God’s Gracious Gift” and on September 10th, 2001, the day before the world stopped turning, God Gave me a reason to hope, a reason to look beyond the sorrow, a reason to look to Him and trust Him that out of the darkness, Light would shine again.

Like Dandelion seeds in the wind

This may be a scattered collection of thoughts…or it may end up making complete sense, Not really sure, But I have a few thoughts that keep recurring and I need to get them out. The Youth Group at my church is currently studying the book ““Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream.” by David Platt. Last night as I was sitting with the other Adults while the Youth were listening to the sermon, a few things came to mind. One was a Very Vivid Image, and the other was one line from a song.

First, The Image……

I saw in my mind a Dandelion, after it has turned to a white puffball of seeds, just waiting for a breeze to come along and scatter them. To many, a Dandelion is considered a weed. But I ask you this……Jesus called us to be like the least of these…He didn’t choose the most popular, the guy who “has it all together”..He chose the Tax Collector, the Fisherman, the broken hearted and the weak… the “weeds” of society…but I digress.

The thought that I got along with the image is that we are like Dandelion seeds and the Holy Spirit is the wind. When we are walking in God’s will, He will send us where He wants us. We may not see the outcome instantly, but when we are faithful to God’s will and PLANT the seeds, we need to then be willing to walk away and trust that the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.

Matthew 28:19-20 (New International Version)

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

My Question then is this……will we Go willingly where God calls, or will we like Jonah, Go where we WANT to go because it’s “Easier”? Do we want God’s Blessing in our lives, or do we want to maintain control ourselves?

There has been a lot of talk lately about “why should America be spending money to help other countries like Haiti, or Pakistan, or China, when we are still recovering from Katrina, and have people in Nashville suffering from flooding? ” This kind of attitude saddens me because, when we become so selfish that we stop caring about others and withdraw into our own walls…we stop walking in God’s blessing. Yes, there are people here in America who are hurting, and they need to know of God’s love just as much as those in other countries….but that doesn’t mean Criticize and don’t support those who are called to foreign lands. Be open to God’s call, listen to that still small voice and be a willing vessel.

This brings me to the song I heard clearly…I can remember singing this as a child, but last night I could only hear ONE line of the song….”And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love They will know we are Christians by our love”