Monday, November 21, 2011

Growing up With Jared: Thanksgiving

Growing up With Jared: Thanksgiving: Seemed like an appropriate, if cliche time of year, to put some of my "thank-you's" down... I am thankful for Mr. Z a quiet man who is alwa...


Seemed like an appropriate, if cliche time of year, to put some of my "thank-you's" down...
I am thankful for Mr. Z a quiet man who is always there to help Jared be a part of the wrestling team.  I am thankful for all of those people who stand by our most vulnerable and who give up part of their life to enrich other's. They don't have to do that, but they do, and for that I am thankful. I'm thankful for the Special Olympics coaches who always, always have smiles and support for the athletes.  I'm thankful for the teens in the Friend to Friend program who take time to hang out with the kids in the high school with special needs; the ones who have the same desires for goofy fun that we all did as teenagers. And I'm thankful for those same Friend to Friend volunteers who don't wait for an official meeting to talk with the boy with autism or to make the girl in the wheelchair laugh. I'm thankful for our church community and for all the moms (and some of the dads) who cried yesterday when Jared sang, "Let Their be Peace on Earth", his voice ringing through the building and envleloping all who were there with a love so strong that I'm sure God was in the room with us.  I'm thankful for the babies Jared will hold even though he will not have a child of his own to raise.  I'm thankful for the moms who encourage their children to accept Jared's offers of love and care.  I'm thankful for my husband, who stands by me, unwavering when I lose it, supporting me when I'm scared about the future, but most importantly, telling me how funny I am, how he admires that, more often than not, I face the world with a smile and with an optimistic view that paints everything as just right.  What I don't tell him is that it is his support that lends to that bright outlook.  And you know what?  I can't think of anything that went really right when I faced it with negativity.  I'm thankful for my sons, my strong, handsome, and funny almost 15 year old, who even when Jared drives him crazy, still takes care of him and would protect him against anything, and my silly, sweet, beautiful almost 8 year old (whom I heard singing "Let There be Peace on Earth" in the kitchen last night when he didn't know anyone was listening.) I am thankful for the doctors who fixed Jared's heart so many years ago and the nurses who protected my baby like mother tigers.  I'm thankful for all of the doctors and nurses in the world. You have the bravest jobs.  I'm thankful as I hear my children stirring this morning while I write this. Jared has been up since before me, his brother is packing a lunch, and another brother burrows under his covers on this cold November morning. This holiday time morning, let there be a peace so strong that it is palpable, that you feel the warmth of that peace as you look around and think about what it is that you are thankful for.
God Bless you all, and happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Growing up With Jared: A Good Life

Growing up With Jared: A Good Life: Last night, my sister and I attended a meeting on what will be the next step for Jared, for all of us. The meeting was about "self-determina...

A Good Life

Last night, my sister and I attended a meeting on what will be the next step for Jared, for all of us. The meeting was about "self-determination". Gone are the days when people with special needs end up in day habs stuffing envelopes once they have aged out of school.  At least, I hope they are gone, and if they are not, they should be. Since I am just at the beginning of this journey, I won't even attempt to explain the whole thing, but the goal of self-determination is to put the individual's future in his hands as well as in the hands of a select group of people who agree to support him.  I would be lying if I said that I have complete trust in the system, but I do really hope that this means that Jared will be able to have a life where he is the center, where, when I am gone, he doesn't feel the gap; he can go on, without me.  That has always been a fear of mine, leaving Jared on this earth without me. Did I ever tell you about the time I first found out about the hole in Jared's heart? He was a baby, and I was a sad and scared mother. He and I were in the car, driving home after one more seemingly hopeless dr. visit where I was again, baraged with all that was wrong with my baby. For a split second I thought that if I could just turn the wheel quickly,  this baby boy would never have to be scared, never have to go at it alone.  Thank goodness, the thought was not fully formed before logic immediately smothered that moment of insanity and tucked it far back in my mind.  So I drove on, into a life that, while difficult and confusing at times, still has given me so much joy and so much wonder as I look at that now 18 year old baby, packing his wrestling bag and rushing out the door into senior year with more gusto than I ever had.  I'm glad I didn't turn that wheel. Even though my mind reels at times at all I need to do to raise this boy, I'm glad I kept that car on the road, and I'm thankful for the people who have been helping me drive for the last 18 years.