I recently made a big decision and it feels like the perfect, right decision. I'm going to go back to school for my masters in family and marriage therapy. It will be quite a few years yet as I want to get Abigail in school first, but it's part of my 5 year plan. There are so many people in the world hurting and feeling so alone. I hope to use my own heartache and experiences to help other people. I have always been amazed at how many people have been touched by this little blog. It's crazy. What started out as just a way to update family and friends, turned into a way to connect with and help other people. I've often struggled with what to be "when I grow up." I think I've finally found the answer. Ha! It only took me almost 40 years. I still think of the bunny poster that used to hang on my wall (that now hangs on Olivia's):
What you are is God's gift to you. What you become is your gift to God.
Maybe the experiences that I have had were meant to prepare me for what I'm supposed to do. And hopefully everything that I do will glorify God.
I hope all of you are having a wonderful New Year. We have been doing well.
We got our hair cut recently and Abigail was adamant about getting green hair. Ha! What does this say about her teenage years? Yikes!
She is a born leader, however, at this age I cringe when I hear her say," Hey, I have an idea!" You never know what she has come up with. She is the first of my children to cut her hair, put a Lego up her nose, swallow a penny, etc. Her ideas aren't always the best. Ha!
Olivia really likes second grade and got all As and 1 B on her report card. She continues to take piano lessons and does really well with that.
For the first time in Olivia's life (and mine) we did school picture retakes. Her first pictures just didn't quite turn out very well. I'm so glad we did because the second ones turned out so much better.
We also had family pictures taken a few weeks ago and I'll be sharing those shortly. They turned out good as well. I love pictures.
This year we had an old lady and a princess. I thought Olivia's costume was a hoot! She played the part very well too and had a lot of fun with it. Abigail the princess could have gone trick or treating all night. . .well at least until the clock struck midnight. She loved it! Hope everyone's Halloween was great!
Having a child on the autism spectrum sometimes cannot be explained. It must be experienced to truly understand what it is like for the child. You must be willing to feel their difficulties with your heart in order to help them through. Even the simplest things can be the hardest. And those are the things that society understands the least which makes them even harder still!
Change is really hard for Olivia, especially when it comes to her room. I'm unable to change out a picture, remove a big item or rearrange furniture without a huge meltdown. Today I went to Target knowing that Olivia needed new sheets. Her Circo Happy Flower fitted sheet is torn in the corner and needed replaced. Unfortunately, those particular sheets can no longer be purchased. So, I bought the closest thing I could find, which of course is still night and day different to Olivia. And I washed them and I put them on her bed. I debated whether doing that or explaining it to her beforehand, but I knew either way would be hard. She spotted her new pillowcase and came out sobbing. She continued sobbing off and on throughout the entire evening and it increased closer to bedtime. Sleeping with different sheets is a huge thing to her. And as her mother, I feel her anxiety whereas some people would become angry and tell her to get over it. That's how the world often responds to those with autism. . .especially to those who appear "just fine" on the outside. Olivia is old enough now that she can explain how change and surprises are very hard for her. She knows most people don't respond the way she does. She doesn't understand why she feels the way she does, but knows herself pretty well. And I've learned right along with her. Without her as my guide, I would not be the mom I am today. She makes me better, more compassionate, more aware. . . I mean, how many other moms know the location of every manual toilet/non-stall bathroom in their surrounding areas? Olivia has a crippling fear of automatic flushing toilets, so I don't just memorize those by choice. It's a necessity.
Anyway, I left the new sheets on, but switched her pillowcase back and let her take her old sheets to bed with her. It will be a tough transition. We went through this a few weeks back with her beloved pajama pants that had gotten a huge hole in them. Baby steps. Baby steps. And understanding. That's all anyone needs. . .is to be understood and accepted for who they are. For those times when change is hard, I feel it is up to me to guide her, very slowly, but in the direction she needs to go. She doesn't just make me a better mom. She makes me a better person.
Monday, Sept 28th, marks eight years since Logan's death. I am a different person than I was before that day.
I used to believe that God would grant your deepest desires if you prayed hard enough. He doesn't. Every experience, whether good or bad, can be used for HIS glory. And, although eight years later, I still don't understand the purpose of losing my son, I trust that there is one. I trust that God's will for my life is better than my own. That is the toughest realization I have ever come to. It sounds easy until God's plan includes taking your only son. But, I have come a long way in accepting it and trusting in Him.
I still miss him every day. I still get angry. I still cry. I'm still overprotective and anxious about my other children. I'm still sad. I'm still exhausted. I'll never be who I was. I wish I could say I was, but I'm not as joyful. I don't laugh as often. I'm not at all carefree. I'm not as fun. And I hate that for my other children. I try every day to be more of the mom that I might have been had I not experienced such a loss. But with each passing year, I find it hard to find her.
But, every year I take this time to be sad and filled with grief. And I give myself permission to do that. When you open your heart to such great love, such as the love of a mother for her child. . .you open yourself up to great loss. And as hard as it was to lose him, I've never wished for him not to be. For he was my Logan, my sweet boy, and I am still blessed to be his mother.
I unexpectedly gave birth at 23 weeks to micro-preemie twins on August 27, 2007. Olivia Paige weighed just 1 lb 1.5 oz and was 11.5 inches long. Logan William weighed just 1 lb 1.75 oz and was 11.5 inches long. Our sweet Logan passed away after 1 month and 1 day. After 105 days, we were able to bring Olivia home. She is our miracle, our survivor, our joy. . .
On November 20, 2012 we welcomed little sister, Abigail, into our lives. She was born at 35 weeks, but only spent 8 days in the hospital before coming home. We feel very blessed. To contact Ryan and Jodi you may email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
You were the perfect little boy Of whom we always dreamed. Did you know we had your name picked out? All along or so it seemed.
You even had your daddy’s hands So miniature in size. In life we never got to hold you Or even see your opened eyes.
We had so many plans for you. Did you know you are a twin? I wanted you to grow up together. What a pair you would have been!
I wanted to take you to the park And push you on the swing. I wanted to teach you how to walk, And read and write and sing.
I wanted to show you a fire truck And let you ride upon a horse. I wanted to take you to the zoo To see the giraffes, of course.
I wanted you to watch cartoons And play video games with dad. And you and I would take a nap Oh, the times we would have had.
But, your mommy’s plans were not to be. “I have other plans,” God said. “You won't be playing in life’s playground You’ll be playing in heaven instead.”
And although I ache with sadness And in my arms I long to hold. I’ll see you again in heaven When my story on earth’s been told.
A thousand tiny fireflies Parading through the night Illuminate the starless skies With incandescent light They are miracles, here on earth So bold, so strong, so wise And bring to life a sense of worth For those who lack great size.
Some of this life’s smaller treasures Are the ones which matter more Than the larger joys and pleasures That we have grown to adore Volume is not as essential As the gift that lies inside Smaller souls with much potential Who shall never be denied.
A thousand tiny fireflies Parading through the night Illuminate the starless skies With incandescent light These children, while born premature Are testaments of worth Their spirits bold, their futures sure To ever bless the earth.