Friday, March 29, 2013

Missed Opportunities

Missed Opportunities
My daughter Savannah
I read something on the internet that I thought would be a feel good message, but instead it almost brought me to tears.  It began with the story of a mother taking her two children, one boy and one girl, to the park.  The kids ran and played while the mother sat on a bench.  My mind drifted back in time when I took my boys to the park so they could play.  I can still see them swinging, running, laughing and just being kids. The memories made my heart smile.

I snapped back to the present and continued with the story, expecting to read about these children having a wonderful time on their outing.  As it goes, the little girl called her mom to watch her twirl around, but the mom was too busy on her iphone.  She barely glanced at her daughter before returning to what she was doing.  Then the little boy called to his mom to watch him play, but again she hardly looked up from her phone. Both kids continued to have a good time but without their mother's attention.  I thought about the message this sent to those precious little ones.  It said what mom was doing was more important than they were. 
My heart began to feel heavy with thoughts of things I've missed with my little ones because something else was more important at that moment.  Just a few weeks ago my three year old daughter sat at the kitchen table.  "Mommy, mommy color with me."  She said as she held up a crayon for me to take.  "I can't right now sweetie.  Mommy is busy."  I said while continuing to sweep.  I'm ashamed to say by the time I finished sweeping, Savannah was no longer at the table coloring, but was instead laughing and playing with her puppy.  I gathered the papers together in a pile and put the crayons back in the box and went on to put clothes in the dryer.  I look back now and realize that was a missed opportunity on my part.  Was the sweeping more important than coloring with my little girl?  No it wasn't and I wish I could go back, take the crayon from her little hand, color with her and hang it on the refrigerator, but I can't.  It's my loss.
As I strive to have a closer walk with Jesus, I realize He is never too busy for me.  I've never had to "wait" for him to put down what He is doing.  He always makes me feel important.  This is what I must work on with my children.  I understand life is hectic at times and there are things that just can't wait, but many times it can be put on the back burner for a few moments to share that time with my children.  I will from now on work harder to treat my loved ones with the love, respect and attention they deserve and not just give them what is left.
Going now to make memories with my little ones.  Thanks for reading.
Angela :) 

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Shining Star

My Shining Star
by Angela Roberts

Justin - My Shining Star

My baby boy, I hadn't a clue.
How I would ever take care of you.
With your diagnosis, I was stunned.
I was even worried you'd be shunned.
I knew little about your disease.
Praying to God, I fell to my knees.
Please Lord please, help me do what is right.
I pleaded and cried all through the night.
Progress for you would be real slow.
                                              A normal life, you'd never know.
                                              But God has used you.  That's a fact.
                                              Even though you're handicapped.
                                              You've touched so many with love so pure.
                                              How you do it, I'm not even sure.
                                              But I see who you really are.
                                              My child, my son, my shining star.
Dedicated to all the shining stars out there.
Thanks for reading.
Angela :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Can Count


Justin at 3 years old
Justin was around three and a half years old and barely talked. The two of us sat on the blue living room carpet and played with blocks while we waited for his speech therapist to arrive.  I closed my eyes and enjoyed the cool fall breeze that blew through the open windows. Justin squealed with excitement as he knocked over the stack of wooden blocks we had counted.  “Look what you’ve done.”  I playfully said and beeped his nose. He beeped my nose back and began to gather the blocks again.

I looked out the door and noticed Kathy’s black Ford Taurus coming up the dirt driveway. She was right on time as usual. Justin adored Kathy and looked forward to her visits.  She was average weight and height with short reddish hair and always wore the most colorful nurse scrubs.  She loved her job and it showed when she interacted with the children.

Kathy walked up the faded, wooden steps and closed the storm door behind her. Justin’s face lit up when he saw her.  He toddled over to her and bounced up and down while he waited for her to pick him up.  She put her folder on the floor and bent over to scoop him up in her arms. She gave him a big hug and told him hi.  Justin placed his head on her shoulder and began to point at different colors on her shirt while we discussed his progress over the past several weeks.

We had worked on counting, colors and shapes for several months, but it seemed to go in one little ear and out the other.  Kathy reassured me that it would just take a little time as she looked at Justin and gave him a sweet smile.  He grinned back, but then decided to grab her loose fitting top and look down her shirt.  She tried not to draw attention to the situation as she moved Justin’s little hand.  We continued with our conversation as if nothing had happened, but Justin pulled his hand away and looked down her shirt again.  “No no.” I sternly said as I took him from her arms.  He gave me a look that let me know he didn’t understand what he had done wrong.  When I started to explain to him that we don’t do things like that, he held up two boney little fingers and said with a look of pride on his face, “Ball……two balls.” as he pointed to Kathy’s chest. 

 Kathy and I looked at each other in disbelief as her face turned red with embarrassment. Neither of us knew what to say or do.  I can’t believe he just did that I thought as I looked down at the floor and bit my lip to keep from laughing. “Well…..uh…..It’s time to play.” Kathy said to Justin as she sat on the couch.  I put Justin down and watched him clumsily walk to her so they could get started.  She sat him on her lap and they began to work on “ABCs” instead of   “shapes and numbers”.   As I left the room I thought to myself, maybe my little boy has mastered his colors, shapes and numbers after all.    
 Thanks for reading,
Angela :)




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Would Have Been.

What Would Have Been.
Justin at 17.
 "What would have been" is something we all ponder from time to time, and it can become a sad and depressing place if we allow ourselves to stay there. Not understanding why things happen can make it even more difficult to let go of "what would have been".  I know because I have been there and still go back every now and then. 
I went back to "what would have been" when I realized Justin would be graduating high school this year if it weren't for the disabilities.  I close my eyes and see him in his cap and gown on graduation day. My heart fills with pride as he walks over, gives me a big hug and says "I did it mom.  I did it."  I open my eyes and reality smacks me in the face.  That's not going to happen.  Not this year at least. 
As he continues to grow I see glimpses of "what would have been" for Justin. Right now his stubborn streak has grown from one to ten miles wide, but that's ok because he's developing his own identity and making more decisions for himself; something all teenagers do.  His development is slower than someone his age, but he's getting there.  Slowly but surely he's getting there. 
I have come to realize some of the "what would have been" for Justin will happen; just on his time and not mine. One day he will graduate high school. It will be with a certificate instead of a diploma but I will be just as proud because he will be done the best he can and that's all I ask.  So when his graduation day arrives, and he wraps his arms around my neck to say "I did it."   I will hug him back with tears in my eyes and tell him "Yes you did.  You did it."   I know I can't change the past nor control the future, but sometimes if we adjust our plans then some of the "what would have been" will in fact become a reality. 

Thanks for reading,
Angela :)


Monday, March 4, 2013

Welcome To My Holland

Welcome to My Holland

One of my favorite poems is "Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley.  It compares having a child with planning a trip to Italy and when the child has special needs you're taken to Holland instead.  The analogies in the poem bring out such emotion that many times I can't read it without tearing up. 

I was in Italy with Justin for such a brief time.  Being a first time mom, everything was so exciting and new, but I was snatched up from my life in Italy and thrown on an airplane when my baby boy had his first seizure at four months of age.  He then had a seizure when he was thirteen months old which caused brain damage.  I then realized we had landed in Holland without a round trip ticket. We would never make it back to Italy.

I mourned the fact I would never see the beautiful sites of Italy again and wished I had taken more time to stop and smell the roses.  Shock and denial soon set in and I even convinced myself we would make it back to Italy.  I worked fervently with Justin's doctors and therapists and searched just as hard for answers that would give me my son back, but in Holland we stayed.

 I finally realized that only God could make him whole again and I was to love and accept him like he was.  We had a wonderful group of family, friends, doctors, therapists and teachers who became our guides in Holland.  They showed us the simple beauty of the land and we began to feel at home. 

It is now eighteen years later and I am still in Holland with Justin.  We have now become guides ourselves to the newcomers here.  Some may go back to Italy and some will stay but no matter how it ends, they will never forget either place.  I still think back to my brief time in Italy with Justin, but now I find my heart and home in Holland.

Thanks for visiting with me my friends,
Angela :)