Day 251: sweet release

Anxiety is at a high today.

I’ve had a pretty stressful year and things have definitely calmed down as of late.

Bodies and brains are fascinating. I had an absolutely wonderful conversation yesterday afternoon with a fellow parent and person battling with depression. It’s so nice to converse with someone who legitimately understands your life and point of view and to know you aren’t being judged in any way.

We talked a little about having mental breakdowns, being on the brink of your own extinction and to be a few months removed from it and feel… basically normal. Well, normal for yourself – still battling depression, still battling anxiety, still handling floods of catastrophic thoughts, still trying to regulate your own emotions while attempting to help others…. Normal every day mental illness struggles. Struggles that WE know as normal but other people look at you like you’re a big fucking whack job when you talk about it.

It makes me even more grateful to have people who understand me and my processes. Most of the time I keep my crazy to myself and that’s for a few reasons. Most other people have their own struggles on a day to day basis, most people are very reactionary – so by that I mean my anxiety will increase their anxiety and I’m not trying to play that game. Most people look at you like… “you really think that way? I don’t know that I want to be your friend any more then… Weirdo.”

Mean girls and bullies still exist in adulthood.

Not saying that I’m experiencing that currently, which is nice to say. I actually have a really great surrounding group of people on my day to day… which is really great in comparison to some of my previous situations… people going through my desk and belongings, purposeful sabotage, spreading lies and rumors, on and on and on…. Again, it makes me grateful for those who I’m currently surrounded by.

Which is one of the many reasons it makes leaving the bakery extremely difficult.

Over the past three months or so I have been going through the process to become an approved provider for behavior analysis through the state. It was a long and laborious process, but I did it. With doing ABA, I have to reduce my hours at the bakery. I’m concerned about burn out, conflicts, and all the things. I absolutely love what I do there and who I do it with. Leaving there breaks my heart. Everyone has been warm, welcoming, supportive and just all around wonderful. I have met and become friends with some awesome people. Even going down in days is difficult. We will see how it plays out.

In doing ABA full time, it is the next huge necessary step for us to get in to our own home. It’s an anxiety ridden experience, but a positive one. I have had all the thoughts rushing and flooding in to my brain causing a LOT of anxiety and catastrophic thoughts… which is fun and exciting.

But at least it’s the only real thing I’m facing right now. I am out of that previous stress-heavy job. My skin is healthier. The wedding is over. I have my exam retake on the 27th, so that’s a thing but I’m much calmer about it this go-round and I don’t know why. I guess I know what to anticipate. I have been studying still, focusing on my areas of weakness and just hoping for the best. That’s all I can do, right? My best. If I don’t pass this time… well, I just don’t know. I’ll retake it next year, I guess. I don’t really want to be a seventh time’s a charm! person. We shall see.

Other than the exam, it’s working, parenting, saving dollars, and living. I think I can handle that. Sometimes the living part gives me a spot of trouble, but I’m used to it – same with parenting.

I’ve definitely been feeling more like myself lately. One of the most exciting prospects of doing ABA is working from home and generating my own schedule. I’m really excited to have time for self-care. I’m excited to have the time and energy to exercise and feel better – health wise. I realized yesterday that I quit smoking two years ago. TWO. YEARS. I still have some breathing issues from it, but it’s gotten so much better. The temptation is always there, same with the cravings, but I haven’t and I’m glad. I’m excited to try some new outlets like kickboxing and get back in to rock climbing. I need to build up some strength and endurance first before I take some classes. Right now I’m a blob of a person and I’d like to get some of that back. Be like the Million Dollar Woman – better, stronger, faster.

I know my husband thinks I’m a foxy lady. That’s pretty great. I think I look good but I want to look GOOD, yamean? I guess feel good. I don’t know. I just want to exercise again and feel better about, well, ME. As long as I don’t lose my butt I think we’ll be good. ; D

Anywho.

I feel better finally being able to talk about things. I’ve had to keep the ABA and house thing under wraps until it panned out and we had some answers/timelines/solutions. It’s been a painful couple of months because all of that was happening on top of the wedding. Talk about stresssss…. and especially stress that doesn’t really have much of an outlet. Woof. I’m glad things are just out there now. Much better.

I hope you have a great day, everyone.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

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Day 243: shenanigans

The dust has finally settled. Kevin and I settled our marriage on Friday with our Hallowedding extravaganza! We had an absolute blast with our nearest and dearest. We’re super excited to see all the pictures – with all the great costumes, we know for sure there are some guaranteed winners.

After the wedding, we headed up to Milwaukee for a Mini-moon courtesy of my best friend and Maid of Honor. It was nice to just relax and enjoy each other’s company. We drank our way around the city, had some memorable moments, and enjoyed every minute. It all flew by so fast.

Kevin went back to work on Tuesday and I go back tomorrow. I had Boy Child’s 3 year re-eval today. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the wild world of special education, every three years your child receives a full re-evaluation – psych, social, OT, speech, etc. This determines if they continue to qualify for services in an IEP and/or 504 plan. Services can be added or removed at this time. However, you can request a meeting and/or change in services at any time. It’s your right, federally.

Anywho. His meeting went tremendously well! This year he is in a new school with a new team. They all had really great, positive things to say. They said they barely notice his Autism… As we talked more, his Dad and I were pointing things out about BC. He’s definitely Autistic – just high functioning. You won’t see him hand flapping, bouncing or running around like Doods but you WILL see a severe need for structure, visual schedules, social cues, and quiet stimming. Not every person is like BAM! AUTISM! IN YO FACE! That’s why there is a spectrum. He’s just on the higher functioning end, that’s all.

I’ve found myself almost purposefully neglecting blogging lately. Partially because things have been so busy with the wedding and part of it is I can’t publicly talk about a few things… at least not yet. And because I can’t get out my anxieties and/or other feelings, in a way, it makes it worse.

Since the wedding ended, I have been sleeping 10-11 hours a night. My body was just done and needed the sleep. Last night, Doods was up at 145am AGAIN. It’s been nice having the extra days off to relax, but not at the same time. I still have bills to pay and need to work so I can pay said bills. But at the same time, relaxing has been nice. I haven’t touched anything ABA related. I’ve literally been binging on shows, relaxing, playing video games, etc. You need to do that sometimes. It’s also been nice because since Doods was up, I could be up and crawl back in to bed as Kevin was getting up for work. It’s like a tag team – I get her during the night so he can sleep, then he gets her ready in the AM so I catch a few winks before starting my day. It works and is a nice partnership.

It’s hard, though, when you see someone you love so much struggle. Especially when it plays on your own emotions. Regulating isn’t easy sometimes. BUT you make the best of it and keep moving forward.

I’m ready for things to be things so I can talk about them and get it off my chest, out of my head and off my shoulders. All in due time.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

Day 233: boots & ‘brellas

“It’s a dark and stormy morning…” says my Boy Child. “Wait, why IS it dark this morning?” Well, that’s how clouds and seasons work, sweetheart.

This morning BC and I got up at the butt crack of dawn to meet my Dad for breakfast. I had set my alarm for the right time on the wrong day. Thankfully, Kevin has been getting up early for work so his alarm went off and woke us up. BC was a CHAMP about getting up early and quickly. We had a really nice breakfast with my Dad and were back to the house for the rest of our normal morning routine.

GC was already dressed when I got home and I asked her to get her shoes on. She went and put on her rainboots. Then grabbed her umbrella. She was ready to go! I stood there and said, “Wow! Great job, Doods! You are so smart! You wear rainboots and use an umbrella when it’s raining outside. Way to go!”

Now this may seem like minor news to you guys but let me tell you – for an individual with disabilities, having the life skill to recognize the appropriate clothing items for the weather is a HUGE DEAL. I can’t tell you how many children and adults I have come across that have not yet learned and/or developed this skill. They’ll wear flip flops and shorts in -30 degree weather or thick coats when it’s 90. So when Doods slipped on those boots and got her umbrella, I was ecstatic.

A great way to start the day! PLUS! We slept through the night! Ugh, it’s a beautiful thing. Don’t ever take sleeping through the night for granted, friends. We have had sporadic sleeping through the night experiences over the past six weeks or so.

Doods was taking melatonin for over a year and then it just…. stopped working. We figured maybe her body needed a break from the melatonin so we stopped giving it to her. We tried diffusers, oils, sleep aids, Benadryl, bath time, lotions, you name it and either it didn’t work or it only worked for a short while. If you ever want to know what it’s like to have a child who wakes up between 1-3am every single night, just let me know – you can borrow Doods. And it’s not like she’s just hanging out quietly – oh, no. She vocalizes. Loudly. In a high pitch. She will jump on her bed, drop her body to the ground, get food out of the fridge, go in to the garage – all the best things you want to respond to at 2am. So when we sleep through the night – it’s cause for celebration.

Let’s see…. In other news…

The wedding is Friday! Got my herr did yesterday, so I am freshly purpled and ready to party. Everything is in place and is set to go! I’m so ready to celebrate and be donnneee with all of the planning. It’s exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong, I like event planning… to an extent. It’s fun in the beginning but as you get closer, it becomes a labor of love. It’s tiring and stressful and you get to the point where you’re like, “jesus H, I’m OVER this!” BUUTTT then the party happens, it’s fun, everyone has a great time and all the energy you’ve put in to every detail has been worth it.

In other other news, I’ve been approved to provide behavior therapy services! Woo hoo! I have to fill out my provide packet information and I’ll be set to go! I sit for the exam again the Monday after Thanksgiving. I’ve continued studying and damnit I’m going to pass this time. That’s all there is to it.

That’s about all I’ve got for now.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

Day 228: Me and My Harveys.

I have spoken freely and often about my past experiences. In light of the #MeToo movement and much debate, I have decided to talk once again.

However, let me start by saying – You have power in your voice. 

Summer before Freshman Year of High School: I was at a pool party at my cousin’s house. Everyone had gone inside to get some sodas except for me and another person. He and I were in the pool. Outside. Alone. He made his advance, pinning me against the side of the pool and holding my legs tightly while he reached under my legs to pull his dick out and move my suit over. I was frozen in terror and shock. His back was to the door. A girl came out, saw what was going on and went back inside. Shortly, everyone came back outside and was forced to stop. The rest of the afternoon went on as usual. A few days later he tried to corner me in the shop room at school. Thankfully, someone walked in, stopped him and it ended.

Sophomore Year of High School: I was dating a police cadet. Why I thought it was a good idea and why I was allowed to stay overnight at his house, I’ll never know. We were doing what people do and it got to a point that I wanted to stop. I told him I didn’t want to, but that wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear. He used a police hold on me as he shoved his hand down my pants. Thankfully, my parents had me in karate as a kid and I was able to break free. I had no way home and no cell phone at the time. I spent the rest of the night on the couch. He broke up with me shortly after and told the entire school that I was a fucking slut and that we fucked and it was bad.

Senior Year of High School: I am dating someone who was very psychologically manipulative. He told me he didn’t like when I sang, because he couldn’t. Whenever I would start singing along with a song, he would immediately change it. I ran away from home. He was the first person I had sex with and would stop in the middle, screaming and hyperventilating, with flashbacks from my Sophomore Year experience.

Freshman Year of College: I was on winter break and went to visit a friend at his house. I pulled in to his driveway. He came out of the house and we talked in the driveway in front of my car. After a few minutes, he grabbed me and shoved his tongue in my mouth. He was twice my size, at least. I yelled for him to stop and get off me. His mom came to the door and told him to come inside. He continued. I tried to get away but only got turned around. He shoved one hand up my shirt and another down my pants. I kept yelling. His Mom came out again and yelled at him to get in the house. He turned me around, shoved his tongue in my mouth again and said something I don’t remember. My “best friend” at the time watched the entire thing from the front seat of my car and never said a word.

A few years ago: I was in a tumultuous relationship for about 2.5 years. He would tell me he loved me, that I was beautiful then would call me a whore and a slut. He would tell me other girls were prettier than I was. He used me for money, rides, food, cigarettes, sex. He would tell me he couldn’t live without me, I was the best thing to happen to him, that he was going to drive 100 mph in to oncoming traffic and kill himself…. and fuck me for being a slut and a whore who doesn’t deserve love from anyone.

Over the years, I have been catcalled in every situation possible. I have addressed those who have caused trauma to my life and none of them saw their fault or apologized. These experiences have caused me difficulty in relationships, in friendships, eating, health, seizures, eczema, and more.

I now have a daughter of my own. I have a daughter who currently cannot speak for herself. She’s feisty, but she can’t tell me if anyone has ever touched her. She can’t tell me if someone has said something to her that hurts. I worry about her every. single. day. I am dependent on others speaking for her… and most people are afraid to speak for themselves.

You have a voice. Use it. There is power in your words. There is power in your experience. There is power in saying, “Fuck you, you hurt me and I am not afraid to let people know about it.”

Keep conversations going. Let people know they hurt you – in whatever fashion. In most cases, people don’t know what they don’t know… Sometimes they will never allow themselves to know, but that’s not up to you. Stand up for yourself. Stand up when you see someone else being hurt or wronged. You don’t just have to “sit and take it.” There is no need for shame or guilt. We are out here to love and support you. I believe you. I will support you. I will help you however I can.

Thank you for stopping by.

I am incredibly glad you exist.

Day 219: delay, delay, delay

Terrible timing blogger strikes again!

Sorry, friends, life has been busy and stressful and all the things.

A few weeks ago, I got notice that I did not pass the BCBA exam. I missed passing by 11 points. It was so disheartening. I allowed myself to be sad and have a little pity party then jumped right back at it. I ordered new study books, wrote up a new  plan and of course as with all things – best laid plans almost never follow suit.

With work, parenting, health issues, the wedding – studying hasn’t quite happened like I need it to. However, I chose the very last possible test date so I’ll have all of November to study. So at least I have that.

The wedding is less than three weeks awaaaayy. I have a meeting with the venue on Thursday to go over all the final details. We are excited. I’m ready to not spend any more dollars lol It’s all going to be worth it though. We are going to have a super fun time!

We have been very blessed with putting this wedding together. Our friends are like our family. They have been helping and working just as hard as we have been to make this super fun and memorable for everyone. We originally weren’t going to go on a honeymoon because of the house and everything. However, my maid of honor actually gifted us a room for our mini-honeymoon! We are just so grateful to spend a little bit of time away celebrating on our own.

In ABA news, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my plan to submit for the state. What started as an 11 page plan has turned in to 30. Woof. It’s been an amazing learning experience though. I’ve been working with my boss 1:1 and been getting some solid lessons in application. It’s been really great! It should help when I take the exam come November. Fingers, toes, eyes and legs crossed.

With the house, we met with the bank the other week and found out that in order for us to buy the house I have to get a mortgage on my own. We have been game planning how that’s going to work… which is stressful. Doable. Time sensitive. Stressful.

Kids have been doing OK. Full of ridiculous moments, as always. Boy Child had a moment where he broke down about being weird but people jumped in to help show him support and love. Girl Child got her first period so THAT was an adventure. I knew it was going to happen… someday… but wasn’t quite prepared. I took her to Target and did a “My First Period” kit. We are in the midst of her second cycle and I must say she is doing REALLY well. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort. Her energy level is about the same. I’m really hoping that continues as time goes on because IIiiiii don’t really want to deal with a hormonal nonverbal lady on her period. That’s just…. not fun.

What else…. mentally/emotionally I’ve been doing….. o – k. It’s been a little tough, not gonna lie. Stress is causing some serious eczema issues and on my face to boot. I went to Target and nabbed all of the Aveeno eczema and sensitive skin line plus Dove sensitive body wash. It’s been helping, so that’s awesome. I mean… it’s not like I have a huge event in a few weeks or anything…. ; )

I think that expeditiously brings us up to speed. Hopefully with all the shenanigans I’ll do a better job of blogging and staying up to date. I hope y’all are doing well.

Thanks for stopping by.

I’m glad you exist.

Day 196: home alone

Real talk: my kid’s biological Dad leaves Boy Child home alone. He is 11. He is on the spectrum. I don’t care what the child says or how confident you are in him, that is illegal. That’s it, bottom line – it’s illegal.

I don’t care what fight he gives or if it makes it easier for you. It’s illegal. That’s my boy child. I don’t want anything to happen to him.

I’ve talked to his Dad and told him not to do it any more. Short of calling the police on him when I know he’s home alone, there’s not much I can do. On the other hand, do I really want to call the police and have child neglect/endangerment charges on their Dad? There are far more implications than I want to bring on to a person… especially their Dad.

How to drive home a point without having to resort to extremes? Stupid. This shouldn’t even be an issue. Why is this an issue? Why does he think it’s okay?

Last night as we were laying in bed, I started having an anxiety attack for no reason. I was trying to keep it to myself, but Kevin could tell something was going on. He asked if everything was okay and I told him my heart was pounding and racing and I didn’t know why. I wasn’t thinking about anything so I have no idea. Just panic out of nowhere. Sigh.

I did sleep though. And do did Doods! She slept til 5!! Woo woo! Now to recreate that every night would be doooopppe.

That’s about all I got for today, folks.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

Day 195: bonus material

I sat down at my computer with full intentions of making more fun BCBA task list visuals, but I kept finding myself thinking about the conversation I just had.

This afternoon I had the pleasure of sitting with five soon-to-be SpEd teachers for an open discussion Q&A regarding my experiences as a Parent, Teacher, Administrator and Advocate. I really enjoy these open dialogue sessions. It allows people the opportunity to ask questions they may not ever get answers to. It’s like a “Things You Always Wanted to Know about Special Needs *but were too afraid to ask” session. I like it.

I never know what types of questions I’ll get. Each group is so different and varied in backgrounds/experiences. This group had some really great questions. Ones that I really had to take a second and think about.

One asked, “What do you wish you knew before going in to teaching and/or becoming a parent?” After a few minutes, I had told them that I wish I knew how difficult some administrators could be. A majority of them have little to no experience in special education, so getting them to understand your needs and perspectives can be really difficult. As for parenting, I wish I knew that parenting is just one hat you wear. Yes, becoming a parent changes your life. You’re now fully responsible for the growth and care of this little human being BUT that’s not ALL that you are. I am a parent, yes…. but I’m also a Woman, a Wife, a Friend, a Daughter, a Sister – I am a person with needs just like everyone else. It’s so easy to lose sight of that when you become a parent… especially a special needs parent.

When you have a child that has special needs, it’s SO EASY to feel guilty about leaving them with someone else. You know what a pain in the ass they can be and you don’t want to have anyone else willingly suffer through it. You also don’t want to be judged for it. At a certain point though, you have to stop caring. They are who they are; You are doing the best that you can do; We are all people who need a break some times. It’s OK. I wish I had more people telling me: you are still you, even with children – it’s OK to be who you are and like what you like.

Another question that stuck out was from a girl who’s sister has high-functioning Autism, however she wasn’t diagnosed until she was about 7 or 8 years old. She asked “What do you do when you have parents that are new to this game and don’t have any knowledge or experience like we do?” Such a great question. Before my kids were born, I worked in early childhood so I had a really solid understanding of child development. It was easy for me to pick out the signs of what was happening with my kids and act upon it. For most others (and this is true of ANY situation): You don’t know what you don’t know. So it’s up to us as professionals to help others understand by having open common language conversations. I emphasize common language. There have been so many times where professionals are talking with parents and they are throwing technical terms at them left and right and you can see the deer in headlights look on the parents faces.

That’s not helpful.

From my personal experience and it’s actually backed by research too, parents go through the 5 stages of grief when they receive a diagnosis for their child. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are all a part of the process. Every parent is somewhere within that framework prior to and after receiving a diagnosis. By offering support and understanding, we can help other parents. Sit with them, explain what the diagnosis is and means for them and their child in plain language. Offer to help, provide options and suggestions, ASK how they’re feeling, what their questions are and how you can help. Provide a cheat sheet on the ABCs of IEPs or the difference between an IEP and a 504 or a list of the most common acronyms they’ll hear over the coming years. Welcome them to the team.

Whenever I come across a new parent or meet a newly diagnosed parent, the first thing I say is Congratulations! Welcome to the club! You are going to have one of the best, most wonderful, frustrating and rewarding experiences. Raising a child with a disability is one of the greatest things that will ever happen to you. Every new thing they do is cause for celebration and excitement. It will be difficult, but incredible. And I’m here to help however I can.

And I mean all of that. I would not trade my kids or the experiences that have come with it for anything. It has been hard. I have cried so much because of my kids and what they’ve had to go through. I’ve been angry, frustrated, upset, overtired – you name it – because of them but I wouldn’t change one second. Even now, with Doods having just had her period and me going on no sleep – wouldn’t change it for the world. My kids have given me more purpose and drive than anything else.

I have been able to connect, learn from, and empower so many people – I could have never even imagined…. I am very fortunate and very blessed. My kids are obnoxious, wonderful little beings. It’s because of them that I get to go and speak with others, help them, bring understanding, and so much more. It’s awesome. People helping people, that’s what it’s about.

They’re why I’m here. They’re my reason to keep my story going. I have unfinished business here.

I have another tattoo. One that I got years back and haven’t gotten finished. It’s on my side and I just can’t find my happy place when it’s being worked on. I don’t know that I will ever get it colored in but it’s Leela from Futurama. She is sitting on a stack of books. On the spines of the books it says, “I’m the hero of this story.” I chose Leela because she is different. She is strong, unique, smart, a leader – but also kind of a baby and a softie. She wants love, compassion, and loves to look after Nibbler – a little weirdo. I can relate. I got that after a particularly rough period and needed that reminder – we all have a story to tell and I’m the hero of this story. And so it goes. I continue to fight for my own life, the lives of my children, and everyone else – whether I know you or not. I’ll fight for you. I’m here to help.

Thanks again for stopping by today.

I am always and forever glad you exist.

 

Day 195: sparkles & suicide prevention

Last night’s bridal show went tremendously well! I had a fun time slingin’ cake with Big Red. I got to meet Monte Durham from Say YES to the Dress and we took a picture with him! He was incredibly nice, funny and complimented our cakes. He actually came over to our table and complimented our black cake saying how on trend it was. “Black is coming over from Europe and it’s HUGE,” he said in his adorable drawl. He was wearing this FABULOUS shiny suit. I told him how much I loved it and he said, “Well, usually the only shiny things on me are my forehead and my shoes! I decided to make a go of it for the occasion.” Adorable. Then he insisted on taking a photo with us because I understood his quip about Dorian Gray.

monte

Last night I got home and the house was asleep. It was all quiet on the homefront. Everyone is peaceful… and I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning all night. Weird dreams. Of course, the one night I can’t sleep, Doods sleeps through the night. I could cry.

I have a semi-busy day ahead meeting about my plans and speaking. I have to be presentable and look like a human being. I see a lot of coffee in my future.

In completely different news…

This week is suicide awareness and prevention week courtesy ToWriteLoveOnHerArms. If you’re not familiar with ToWriteLoveOnHerArms and/or Project Semicolon, please take a few moments to check out the sites and this fantastic movement to bring awareness to suicide prevention.

There are so many people who walk around fighting battles with demons we don’t see. They struggle and suffer in silence. I love to see the stigma regarding mental illness starting to dissipate. There’s no shame in having depression, anxiety, bipolar, personality disorders, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness. None. None whatsoever. Some of the most interesting and beautiful souls I have come across are those who are affected by some sort of condition.

Whether you keep it to yourself or are vocal about it – you’re a survivor and a winner. And you know, it’s totally OK to NOT be OK. There’s no shame or harm in saying, “I’m having a bad day” or “I’m really struggling right now.” That shit is OK. It’s so great if you can even recognize that you’re in that place. That way you can recognize when you’re in a trouble zone.

A few months before my meltdown, I got a tattoo honoring the Semicolon Project and to remind myself: Your story isn’t finished yet.  I wanted to do something personal to me, something that had meaning to me. So I did this:

live

Life is beautiful, colorful, and interesting. When we aren’t here, the world is grey and we go black… but… We are vibrant. We have stories and adventures. We have knowledge, experience, talent, compassion, passion, and love that we get to share with others. We all have so much to offer one another in this life we have been granted. Your story isn’t done yet.

Some chapters are more difficult to write than others, but that’s what makes the good chapters fucking great. Your story has it’s own unique plot and is filled with a variety of characters. At some point it will conclude, but everyone knows – you don’t rush or force a good story. You have unfinished business in this world. I hope to hear your story some day.

Thanks for stopping by and joining in on mine.

I am beyond glad that you exist. ❤

Day 194: OBs, Gynnies, and Plans – OH MY.

Where to even begin…

Girl Child has been handling her first period just fine. She hasn’t appeared to be in any pain or discomfort at this point which is nice. She learned how to handle changing a pad pretty easily, so that’s cool.

She STILL isn’t sleeping and we have tried everything. Melatonin, sleeping pills, oils – everything, she just doesn’t believe in sleep. We need to get this figured out because SHE needs sleep and WE need sleep. Bonus Dad sleeps through everything so he has no idea, but Moms have this thing about sleeping lightly – we hear everything our kids do… whether we want to or not.

Although he sleeps through everything, I need to give a huge shout out to Kevin. He has taken this whole thing in stride. He jumped right in, got a crash course in feminine hygiene, and helped out with GC. There aren’t many biological Dads who would do that sort of thing so it just increases my love and appreciation of him even more.

Pole class last night was really great. Muscle memory is definitely starting to kick back in. Pole is also a great therapy and source of life support. My instructor asked how I was handling everything and I told her I just want to cry all the time, I can’t handle adulting and parenting right now. The ladies asked why, so I explained what was happening, my train of thoughts, my million questions, what should I do, what’s ok for her, etc etc etc. One of the ladies is an OB, another said, “Oh, my Mom is a GYN and she used to work at——– (a state operated facility for adults with I/DD). I can ask her for you, if you’d like.” Dear sweet Jesus, I almost cried. People helping people, that’s what it’s about.

I feel so fortunate and blessed. I have a fantastic support system.

I’m also glad that I can be there for other people. It hurts when you hear of other people’s trials and tribulations. You almost always hope that you’re the only one who has experienced something because you don’t want anyone else on the planet to undergo the same hurt. I guess that’s why when you come across someone with similar experiences, you bond and you want to help them in every possible way.

I still don’t have my plan. However, my new boss is working with me on it so I can be successful. I really appreciate all of her time and advice. She’s been doing this for about 10 years, so it’s really great to have someone like that on my side. She wants me to be successful and that’s really awesome.

Tonight is my first Bridal Show for the bakery. Gonna be slingin’ cake and sweet talkin’ some panicked brides. Should be a good time. There’s going to be over 700 brides, woof! Including one of our own decorators! I’m excited to see her. She’s going to be doing some covert ops while she’s there.

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking again at one of TCC’s classes regarding IEPs. It’s nice having a trifecta of experience – Parent, Teacher, and Advocate. I’ve been on all sides of the table. I guess I could add administrator in there too, since I had to attend ISPs as a Program Manager. It’s nice to talk with a group of young, excited, soon-to-be teachers. They have really great questions and it’s awesome to be able to provide that insight for them.

This whole thing with GC… you know, like, most of the time I feel like, “Yeah, man, I know my shit. I know what’s up. I have these degrees and experience, I’ve read and studied all these things, COME AT ME, BRO.” Then something like, oh, GC gets her period and I’m like, “ah, Jesus, what the hell do I do now???” I think I responded fairly well, but still… there are always areas of opportunity for growth and learning.

I continually contemplate work/life balance. Being emotionally and physically healthy is really hard, guys. It takes a lot of work and dedication. I’m working on getting there, I think know what I need to do/where I need to be and I’m working towards that. It’ll take some time but you know? That’s not a bad thing. Life is teaching me patience and to slow down. For a somewhat impatient person, it’s not that easy.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

Day 192: adventures & servanthood

Yesterday was an adventure to the apple orchard. Oof. Here was my facebook post regarding it:

So here’s the thing: we can’t just go anywhere and do something. Ever.

No matter what we plan to do or how far in advance, the following is almost guaranteed to happen:

The outing will be met with varying levels of opposition by boy child. We will go. Girl child will elope, drop, or both at one or more times throughout the outing. Boy child and bonus dad will get in to and get progressively louder, because volume means power to them and neither of them know when to stop. I eventually lose my patience with everyone and get upset. Then we come home and my mom who is watching tv as per usual tells me that i need to curb my attitude although she has no clue what has just transpired.

It would be nice to just go some where and do some thing without any kind of fuss or drama. My family is going to make me seize out, swear to God. My body can’t handle the stress. We have learned that from the past. No thanks.

By the time we had gotten to the orchard, the damage had been done. The migraine was beginning and almost in full swing as we rode on the tractor. When we got home, I was really close to being wiped out. It reminded me of the period of time when I was having a lot of seizures. When all that was happening, the doctor’s had said that high levels of stress can cause seizures. I said yeah, ok, whatever, I’m not stressed out… lies. Total lies. I was in a traumatic relationship, student teaching, working, finishing grad school, and single parenting two kids on the spectrum… I’d say that’s a little bit of stress.

I think my brain now quickly recognizes the stress chemicals and forces me to stop what I’m doing before bad things happen. The rest of the day, I couldn’t process. Kevin and I tried playing Egyptian Rat Screw and he was like… You’re not really keeping up are you? I said no, I can’t process this right now. So we changed games.

After dinner, Kevin, BC and I played Golden Girls Clue – which I won! I haven’t won a game of Clue in a while. Miles ate the cheesecake in the Bathroom, dun dun dun… Super fun.

Last night, I don’t remember why but I got to thinking about ministry. When I had first gone to college, my intention was to become a Director of Christian Education (DCE) and do youth ministry. As I got in to the program, I decided that I was far too liberal and not set enough in my faith to spend my life convincing people of theirs… At least in a church setting.

I have a very dear friend who is working on his degree in ministry. He and I share a similar view: you can reach more people out in the world than if you stay in your church bubble. Be *IN* the world, not *OF* the world. Live a life of servanthood… and this can look different for everyone. Servanthood doesn’t mean you have to volunteer in a soup kitchen once a week. Servanthood doesn’t mean a life a churchworker. Servanthood doesn’t mean trying to be the next Mother Teresa.

Being a servant is living a life that shows grace, mercy, and love to others.

Sometimes that means just showing kindness or compassion in the moment. Paying for someone’s coffee, opening a door, calming someone in a moment of heat, ensuring someone’s safety and security, nursing someone while they’re sick, cleaning a house, being understanding, joining someone in silence just to be by their side, being patient, it goes on and on and on.

I enjoy being at the bakery because I feel I have been able to reach a lot of people with patience and kindness. I often get, “Thank you for being so patient with me, you were very kind” or “Thank you, you very helpful.” It makes me sad sometimes, because that says me to me that others are not always patient or kind with them.

Why aren’t we kind to others? Is it really that difficult to be nice to others? Or patient?

I guess our world and society is getting increasingly faster and separated. People don’t know how to interact face to face. They need the technology interface. they want an immediate response… If they don’t get an answer RIGHT away or it’s not what they want to hear, they DEMAND an explanation and/or try to haggle you down… We have an outbound response at work for emails – 24-48 hours for response. People will call within 3 hours “Why didn’t I get a response yet???”

Patience. People need to learn patience. I will take care of you and your needs, just be patient.

And be a god damned parent, too. Honestly, people. Parent your god damned kids. Kids are so freaking spoiled these days it’s disgusting. Kids are ignored. I see it almost every day. Parents who let their kids run around the store and behind the counter, crawling all over tables and chairs. These kids clearly haven’t been told no or experienced any kind of consistent discipline.

Now, I’m a pretty understanding parent. I have obnoxious children. HOWEVER, if Doods starts to run around? There are times when she simply does not do what I am asking her to do, so I say Sorry, we have to go, I’ll finish this another time – rather than torture everyone present. It’s also a safety issue.

I could go on and on but I won’t. When those instances happen, again, servanthood ministry – patience, love, kindness, grace and mercy. Whatever you do, do in love. That’s the mission right? My goal is to spread love to whomever I come across however I can. If that’s being patient with you, cool. If that’s giving you a little sticky note to say, “You’re awesome”, that’s cool too. If it’s listening to your needs and figuring out a good plan, that’s also awesome. If it’s leaving you alone to let you have space, I got you too. Maybe a glass of water or a cookie. Maybe a hug. I got you. I’ve had people yelling in my face, getting irate, and that’s okay – I’ll love you too and you’ll calm the fuck down.

I’m pretty good at loving people. It’s work sometimes, but it’s worth it. Everyone deserves to be shown patience, love, kindness, grace and mercy. Try it today. It’ll probably feel a little weird if you’re not used to it. But just go and be nice. Just think about how can I help this person be a little happier today? How can I make their life a little easier? Pick up a piece of trash that you see – otherwise someone else will or it’ll become street litter which effects animals. Let someone else go first if they seem like they’re in a rush or have a screaming child. Tell someone a stupid joke. Anything. Just be that little ray of sunshine today. If we all bring a little ray of sunshine, together we will light up the sky.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.