Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A letter to a mom carrying a baby with a disability

Dear mom who learned that she is carrying a baby who has a disability,

Congratulations!!! You are about to embark on the biggest rewarding journey of your life. As a mom of two, I know the doctors will try to scare you, frustrate you and put guilt on you to abort your baby. Even though my children don't have special needs, I'm considered a high risk case due to my age and disability and they tried that act on my babies. All you need to ask them is how will they can help the ,baby instead of killing them and then you'll get real answers.

Yes, I know the statistics that one in every three babies with a disability is aborted.  And they'll tell you the baby is better off and won't suffer anymore. But that doesn't mean it has to be your baby. Right now your baby is living inside you, growing, learning and experiencing. They aren't suffering, but they are living the life that they were given to the best of their ability.  Your baby does deserve every chance to live and let the rest of the world know their beautiful soul just like any other baby. Even if their time is limited due to their disability, it is their time to shine, teach, and be in the arms of love.

You did nothing wrong to deserve a baby with a disability. You didn't make your baby have a disability. Now is not the time for guilt. Now is the time to rejoice, learn and live.  You're unique and have super powers that you haven't even tapped into yet.  You have a chance to witness wonderful miracles each day even the tiniest miracles should be celebrated.  You are not only a powerful mom, but you can offer support, guidance and love like no other.  You get a backstage pass to the most awesome miracle of life that is about to unfold.

Unfortunately, there will be people that want to knock you down, knock your child down and try to make both of you feel worthless.  Chin up because what they knock down is far from worthless.  It's their loss to miss out on both of you and definitely their mistake - not yours.

Your baby within you is perfect. They might have challenges, but they also have amazing talents and gifts.  We all need help but it doesn't make someone any less human. Some days will be very difficult but most days will be joyous. The love between the both of you will only grow to do beautiful things.

Don't be fooled by those wanting you to abort your precious baby.  They don't realize how beautiful your baby actually is and that they deserve a chance to change the world. Go for it, Mom! You can and will do terrific- just like your son or daughter!  

 

Six years married and he still holds my hand

On June 26, Jeff and I celebrated six years of marriage. Marriage is rewarding but can be a complex. I always tell young women and men to marry for love but also common ground.  Marrying someone who is opposite of you doesn't always work. People usually do not change and will resent you for making them do so. Remember marriage is a lifetime commitment and with more things not not in conmon can make a long lifetime.

Jeff and I are a pretty good mix. I think we have more in common than not, and we try to look for common ground.  We, of course, don't agree on everything or like everything we do. That's the challenge of marriage- to negotiate and live in peace without anyone giving up their happiness.  

After six years, we've been through our share of experiences, sadness, happiness and the unexpected.  Sometimes it felt like we had a hard time even keeping our heads above all the chaos circling us.  Cancer and nursing school were a big challenge for our marriage. Both were unknown and scary but we just kept holding hands to let each other know that we aren't alone. 

My goal for us is not only never divorce but not to want a divorce.  I want to be happy and enjoy my life. Unfortunately, I had the experience of being in a marriage that I had no business in being in. I now have beautiful Laura from that marriage, but I also carry lots of pain, fear and mistrust.  I married then for love without thinking if we would be compatible for the rest of our lives.  I knew better with Jeff, and he knew better from his previous relationships.

In previous anniversaries, we went to concerts, dinner or something else just the two of us.  This year we decided to include Jason and Laura too.  They are a big part of who we are. We want to be a better couple so they can have a good model to copy when they look for marriage partners. We don't want them to have terrible marriages due to our behavior.

We went to a family festival at Malvern Retreat House.  The weather resembled the weather on our wedding day - blue skies, warm sunshine and a light breeze.  Music, food and kid activities are an excellent recipe for fun.  Jason spent most of the day filling up water balloons with the volunteers. He loved doing this that we think he'll make a great camp counselor one day. Laura spent most of the day listening to the bands with us. She would run around too and kept tabs on her brother.  It was a very enjoyable day and great to be together.

Who knows what to expect this year of marriage? Hopefully, it won't be cancer or other scary illnesses. Hopefully we will grow and learn together to reach goals plus raise our children to be strong, smart and kind.  At the end of the day, you can rest assured, that Jeff and I will be soaking it all in holding hands.

 
 

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Wheelchair has many possibilities for a parent with a disability

A wheelchair isn't just a device to help you be mobile. As a parent with a disability, a wheelchair becomes another tool to assist you in the journey of parenthood. Using various functions of your chair can provide independence and fun for both you and your child.

The first rule in my household was to teach my children not to use my joystick unless given permission. My daughter caught on to this rule pretty quick. She's also more cautious and not wanting to get hurt. My son, on the other hand, is much more adventurous.  When he was crawling, climbing and beginning to walk, I needed to park my wheelchair in another room if I wasn't in it. He didn't quite get no and we didn't want to hurt anyone especially himself.

Now that he's older, he knows not to touch my joystick.  He knows that it's mommy's wheelchair and he needs permission.  My daughter is older and is able to drive my chair if needed and understands all of the functions.

The tilt function on a motorized wheelchair is great for a million reasons. But for a mom with a disability, tilt is an awesome tool. Both of my children have benefited from my tilt function making all of us just a bit more independent. 

When my son was two years old, he became fascinated when I tilted my wheelchair back. I let him stand on my footrests and will say, "up!" I slowly tilt my wheelchair as I have a firm hold on him with my knees.  I never go too high and go down. At two, he liked it simply for the fun of it and being with me. Also, he learned up and down plus how to ask questions. 

Now that he is three, he uses tilt for more functional purposes than just entertainment. For example, when he wants to get something off of the table or counter, he will come and ask me to help him. He gets on, I tilt enough so he can reach the item and lower him down.  It makes him happy to be able to get what he wants and me happy to help him. 

If my daughter is unable to reach something in the refrigerator, I can also help her by this tilting function. I absolutely love to assist my children as best as I can so things like tilt help make that a reality.

My son will also use the footrest as a stool. We work together to reach something he or I needs.  However, in many cases, it isn't a necessity but he wants candy from the jar or a pretzel from the container.  I also can carry him on it if we need to quickly get out of a rain storm as an example.

Another fun use of a motorized wheelchair is pulling your child on roller skates or a roller blades. They can hold on to your handle bars as you drive and they'll go gliding behind you. This definitely will up the fun level in the day.

Using your wheelchair with children makes life fun and helps you be independent with your children. They both know the do's and don'ts with my wheelchair but I never want them to fear the chair. Be cautious but always use creativity. 

 

Friday, June 24, 2016

I wish Finding Dory was around when I was a kid

Being a child in the late seventies and early eighties, movies about people with disabilities were scarce.  I remember seeing one on television that showed a man falling for a woman in a wheelchair but she ended up dying in the end anyway. Not very positive.  As of lately, there is a movie about a man who commits suicide despite being well loved, educated, and having a great life because he's in a wheelchair. Again, a terrible representation of people with disabilities.

In Finding Dory, the subtle messages that were throughout the movie hit home to me even as an adult.  Dory, the main character, has a short term memory loss disability.  She is constantly apologizing and feeling bad for others having to deal with her.  I can relate. My memory is just fine, but I need help several times a day and often apologize. I apologize for things that I can't even control. I tend to feel so bad to ask for help that I might not even ask. 

When having any disability, we want to be accepted for who we are from others. But oftentimes, we forget to accept ourselves. We don't need to apologize for even daily everyday needs because that is all apart of being a person.  Everyone has limitations even though some choose to act like they don't. We need to accept our limitations and stop apologizing (I know I do!)

I also liked Finding Dory because it shows that even if you need help, you aren't helpless.  I could relate again when Dory succeeded at things that she didn't even imagine possible. I feel this way on small accomplishments as well when my big dreams come true. So many tried to make me believe that I couldn't be a teacher, public speaker, writer, wife and mother. All of these were my goals, and when I did accomplish them - I felt a great sensation of success.

Dory's friends and family didn't always believe in her. I loved seeing the transition of not believing in her to realizing that she is much more capable than they thought. I know that feeling and it's great to show your loved ones that you are much more capable than anyone thought.

I highly recommend to see Finding Dory to anyone but especially those with disabilities or care about those who have disabilities.
 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Jason's first movie Finding Dory

I missed going to Laura's first movie.  Jeff and I were still dating and he was new to sentimental mommy things. On a day that I wasn't feeling good, he nicely offered to take her out for a few hours so I could rest. Laura was two but pretty mature at two.  He didn't quite know what to do so he took her to the movie, Toy Story 2.  Needless to say, I sure gave him a talking to about taking her to her first movie. But she loved every second of it!

When I was pregnant with Jason, I said no way would I miss out on his first movie.  On Monday, I made true to my promise and we all went to Finding Dory. I was reluctant to take him since he can be a handful if he became bored. Jeff packed plenty of snacks for Jason.  He sat in between Laura and Jeff. He was totally engrossed with the trailers, mini movie and the feature. Towards the end, he sat in Jeff's lap because he was tired.  When I laughed at the movie, he told me to,"shhhh!"

How did he do so good? We talked to him about what was going to happen and how he needed to be quiet. Jason was also so into the movie that he didn't have time to act out.  Jason did great!

On the way home, Laura told him,"In all of the movies that she ever saw that this one was the best because she was with him!" Talk about melt my heart.  Jason told me he loved it and it was awesome! He did great acting out scenes and loved the octopus.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It's summer time

I'm back again for anyone who might have missed my ramblings.  I've been sick - yes, again - and drained of energy. By the time errands were run, activities finished, and kid programs were complete, writing was in my head but too tired to do it. After two weeks of full on congestion, lack of appetite and tiredness, my husband pushed me to go to the doctor's after a cough had started.

I resisted because I didn't want to her I had a sinus infection again.  I was holding on hope that it was just a very slow moving cold. To my surprise, the doctor not only told me sinus infection but also fluid in both of my ears! She was happy that I had come in, and we both determined that I will most likely not have a normal cold again. She prescribed amoxicillin and cough medicine.

I'm on the mend now, and I know I'm feeling better since I'm here writing.   Last Thursday was Laura's last day of school. She ended the school year with high honors and the fine arts award.  She missed having the one hundred percent award because she was told to stop talking only one time all year.  I felt bad for her, but maybe next year.  Laura felt happy to be finished but thought the school year went way too fast!

We've been busy so far, and I believe the summer will fly. Jason has went on trips with his dad, my dad and Jeff's dad to various trains and train exhibits.  Laura and Jason slept over their aunt and uncle's with Jeffs mom and saw the Chinese festival. We already went to a couple of fairs. Last Wednesday we went to a free outdoor concert and going again tonight. We went to see Finding Dory which will be another blog. And lots of swimming!

Jason started swim lessons last Monday.  He has come a long way because he was terrified in the beginning. Today Jason went under the water, did a back float, jumped in and swam some.  I'm so happy for him.  I believe strongly in teaching young kids to swim due to safety, and also for fun.

Jason has also joined a soccer program.  He's very cute because he is the youngest. He has an excellent kick and can hold a ball with his foot. Sometimes he gets distracted and doesn't always follow the directions.  It sure is cute to watch.

Jason has camp approaching. Laura is doing karate, swimming and wants to keep up academically. She asked me to homeschool her and I happily said yes. Laura will be busy reading with her kindle my dad got her for high grades. We are also doing well growing tomatoes and other plants. And I'm sure we will be doing other activities that come up.

My goal this summer is to fill the kids with wonderful memories of growth and being together. 

 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The gorilla verses the boy

Children and animals both have a soft spot in our hearts. They are both helpless and vulnerable.  But something happened this week that I never would expect. Many people in society are choosing an animal over the safety of a three year old child.  How and why did this happen?

Yes, gorillas are rare, precious and just amazing animals.  They are one of my favorites, and they're fascinating.  I would never support killing a gorilla for fun or sport.  Animal abuse is beyond disturbing.  However, if a human being is at risk of major bodily harm or death, we need to protect ourselves and our children by whatever means possible.

I read that someone saw the child and could've grabbed him out of harms way. But our society also fears consequences of talking to other children - but please speak up if a child will be harmed.  Also, I hope the boy is sternly talked to about running away from his parents, going into restricted area and putting lives at stake. Poor gorilla had to pay the price.

A gorilla is a wild animal who is strong and completely unpredictable.  If my son somehow ended up in this situation, I'd hope people would tell him no and grab him, but if too late - be rooting for my child's safety.  Instead people are concerned how, who, when and why immediately.True, valuable questions but if for the right reasons - to protect people and animals - not to blame a mother, zoo or children.

Yes, we have all seen children not behaving and parents obvilious to the behavior. It's annoying and scary.  I know I'm not perfect but I do my best to keep my children in check. But this doesn't mean to bash a mother most of us don't even know.  If someone wanted to bash me in my weakest moment, they're being completely unfair and not seeing my true self.

The fact is human life is more valuable than a gorilla. I know it's horribly sad to see any living creature die, but sometimes it's a sad reality at times. Let's stop blaming and start problem solving that this will never happen again. Let's start educating children and go from there.