Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"I like to be part of God's big family. Puggles! Puggles!"

Tonight Bugaboo stood on stage with his peers, the Puggles group at church.  His teachers helped him onto the stage as I sat across the sanctuary with the group of Sparkies I helped this year.  He didn't sing the words to the theme song with his friends, though he will sing some of them at home with me. He had to be redirected a few times to stay in his spot, and his teacher-buddy helped him to do the motions because he can't do them on his own.  I sat in my pew unable to keep the tears from coming out, seeing him up there as one of the group, even though so obviously different. It was simultaneously difficult and encouraging to watch.
Then his teacher had all of the kids say their name one by one into the microphone. When it was his turn, there was nothing at first. I could see his helper trying to assist him, and just when they were about to say his name for him, he said it. And I cried some more. I might have imagined it, but I am pretty sure our church cheered the loudest for Bug tonight.

Every Wednesday night and every Sunday morning a handful of dedicated volunteers make it possible for my son to hear the Word of God and interact with his peers. They give me encouragement  throughout the year about the progress they see in him. For every disillusionment I have had with "the Church," there are beautiful moments and faithful and kind people that keep pointing me to Jesus.  For every trying moment on days filled with unexplained meltdowns and behaviors, there are also moments of little victories - of conquering the slides at the playground and saying a name into a microphone.  The gift amid the struggles of being a "special needs mom" are the times when you celebrate "ordinary" milestones and others join you in that celebrating.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It's (not) my party, and I'll cry if I want to (but I don't want to)

Bubby's having a  birthday party soon.  He turns five this month  (how is that possible?), and so I told him he could invite a handful of friends over for snacks and cakes and games with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme. I consulted Pinterest, of course for ideas. I have jotted down a few things we can do on our budget and with our small house. At first I was excited about all of this, but now I am panicking a little bit.

I picked up a needle and a thread today to sew elastic onto a felt TMNT mask I made. It only too me two tries to thread the needle.  I don't sew. I don't even know how to sew a button on correctly, but this weekend I am attempting to make masks for his friends.  What was I thinking? With a mixture of joy and dread I am putting party things together. I worry about our house not being good enough or the party not being good enough. Almost every insecurity I have seems to be coming to the surface as the event draws closer. I am pretty sure I know why, but I am not brave enough to write about that yet.

The Hubs kindly asked me the other day why I wanted to do this. He didn't grow up with birthday parties like I did. I have great memories of the parties my mom put together, especially the "Trip to France" themed party I had it second grade. It included berets for all of my friends, pin the top of the tower onto the Eiffel Tower, and little cardboard suitcases we decorated with stickers. We held it in our little old house on 11th Avenue B - the two bedroom one - in the dead of winter. Being outside wasn't even an option, so my party was in our little basement with about eight of my school friends. Twenty-five years later I don't remember thinking our house was too small for that party - I just remember all the work my mom did for that party and all the fun I had with my friends that day.

This pictures was of the year I turned 5, not the year we had the France birthday party
(Most of my childhood pictures are at my mom's house, not with me in Missouri.)
Checkout the awesome Cabbage Patch Kid cake my mom made.

So I'm sitting here now, telling myself to breathe. I'm reminding myself that pin the pizza on the ninja turtle and an obstacle course in our backyard will be a fine birthday party for a five year old. Kids won't care if the eye-holes aren't perfectly centered, they will just enjoy having a mask to wear. If it rains and we all have to crowd into our basement-less house, it will be okay. (But I am still praying for a beautiful day.) And hopefully Bubby twenty-five years down the road Bubby will remember the TMNT party his mama threw him in the  backyard.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

time is a funny thing

My three year old and I went to the park this morning, while Bubby was at preschool.  Bug was a little confused because our usual routine is Tuesday morning grocery shopping.  The park was pretty empty, though it was a gorgeous morning. I attribute it's emptiness to it being too early for most moms to actually have their kids up and dressed for anything other than errands or school. We had the equipment all to ourselves most of the time, which was great for working on Bug's climbing and motor planning skills.

At one point I looked at my youngest who was trying to figure out a slide, and I realized this was one of the last "Mommy-Bugaboo mornings" of the school year. The mom-guilt started to try to crowd out the joy of our morning. I worried I had wasted too many mornings grocery shopping, sorting laundry, or just drinking coffee. Had I made the most of my one-on-one mornings? But I decided not to hang on to that guilt because I remembered that even in the very mundane and had-to-be-done tasks, we were together. Books were read, songs were repeated, groceries were purchased, and some Tuesdays toilets were cleaned. And that is good, and that is enough.

This month are nearing the end of nursing school for The Hubs. It has been long and hard.  I may have cried the last few weekends about his work and studying schedule.  But there is this light at the end of the tunnel, and we have all survived.  I remember when we were discussing back-to-college options, and the boys were babies. I had said, "Bubby will be in kindergarten when you finish." It felt so far away then. Yet we are here - about to enter the phase of having an RN and a kindergartner in the house. If the last few years hadn't been so hard, I would be tempted to say the time has passed quickly.

Time is a funny thing. That is what I realized on this ordinary Tuesday in May.  I find myself so often wanting things to speed up, but at the same time not wanting other things to change. I don't want to waste what I have been given. My thoughts today lead me back to my word of the year - quiet. I've blogged less and tried to be online less during the day. I've tried to not get worked up about too many things. I've tried to choose wisely. I don't want to look back and say, "I wish I would have spent more time with my kids." I'm not going to miss their childhood. Because honestly, not only are they the best kids on the planet, they are the only ones with whom I have been entrusted. And time is a funny thing.