Nine

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Yesterday morning, my little dude jumped into my bed and greeted me by accidentally slamming his skull into my nose while I was still asleep, jolting me instantly awake. It was an appropriate metaphor for how he arrived into the world on the same day, nine longshort years ago.

It was a most wonderful ninth birthday. While he still had to attend school, it was far from a regular academic day. The entire third grade was participating in a “Dances of the World” exhibition. Nine years to the day after my baby was born, he was dancing in a show with the entire third grade! Despite missing an entire week of practice due to the flu, he did great! He sang the songs and danced all of his steps in perfect harmony with his classmates. His Daddy and I were so proud.

After the show, all of the parents were invited to a buffet lunch with all of the third graders. It was extremely crowded and very loud so after snatching a few sweets, we headed out into the hallway to sit in a calmer environment. My little pal crawled into my lap to rest. He had definitely earned it. I’m more than happy to have him in my lap any time he wants to be there. I know that the days that he will be able to fit on my lap are numbered and I wish I could freeze time, just for a little while. Here, in my arms, he is safe and protected. It’s calming for both of us.

His dad and I were able to join him when he and his friends headed back to the classroom. We brought cupcakes and sang happy birthday with his friends and wonderful teacher and para.
We watched (from across the room) as the class made special gifts to surprise their families with for Christmas.

When we arrived home it was gift opening time! The Hess helicopter, a Lego set, some books, and the long awaited Nintendo 3DS were waiting for him. His requested “favorite” dinner (a cheese quesadilla) and his favorite ice cream with nine candles in it (he was definitely “caked-out” at this point) finished off the day.

We are so blessed to have this little boy in our lives. He is funny and kind, smart and creative. He loves everyone he meets and charms all he encounters with his toothy smile.

Raising a child with autism comes with some tremendous challenges. Our kids learn and interact differently than typical children but they aren’t any less loved. They aren’t any less miraculous. My little boy danced his heart out on that stage and the thing that stuck out to me the most was how easily he blended in with everyone else. He fit perfectly into place with every other typical third grader.

Today especially, I feel incredibly blessed.

Happy Ninth Birthday, baby! We love you!

But Wait! There’s More!!!

I just finished telling you about what happened one year ago today but there is actually more to the story about Sandy.

I already told you about how kind she was and that she once planked a desk top on a dare- but she was so much more than that.

Sandy had a kind, warm soul.
She was hilariously funny.
She was a genuine ball buster in the most gracious way possible.
And… She adored animals with all of her heart.

I knew that Sandy was towards the end of her life because I was receiving updates from Stacey. I was really sad but the day I learned that she had died, I wasn’t able to get out of bed. I spent two days straight crying in the fetal position while my husband looked after the kids.

On Sunday morning I logged onto Facebook to see how my friend was doing and this photo appeared in my newsfeed…

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It was a photo of a little three and a half legged dog who needed a home.

Something happened. I knew instantly I had to have that little tripod. I had already named her! She was mine. I was certain of it.

I contacted the person who posted the photo and immediately sent in my application for adoption. Two weeks later, that little pup in the photo came to become a huge part of my family.

Until the moment I saw that picture, I had never considered owning more than one dog. It never crossed my mind. Since the day I brought her home, we have been inseparable. I had never before experienced a bond with an animal like I have currently with “Stella”. She helped to heal the broken part of my heart.

I’d say Stella was heaven sent but I know better.

I’m absolutely positive that she was sent to me by Sandy.

My Hero

My daughter received a homework assignment the other day. She was asked to write an essay about her hero. This afternoon she typed it up and then showed it to me.

I choked back the tears until I read it again, alone.

Now, I share it with you…

MY HERO

Heroes don’t have to be strong, or have laser vision, or be able to fly. They don’t even need a cape. They can just be someone who you look up to. Many people have heroes that don’t have super powers. Heroes can be anyone. My hero is my brother called ‘Nick’. Nick is very smart, kind, and is really good at building Lego items. The reason that Nick is my hero is because he is very creative and he encourages me to do my best. These are some of the reasons that my brother Nick is my hero.

My brother Nick is very creative in lots of ways. He loves to build Lego models. Recently my brother constructed a Lego stationary unit called the “Nick 5 Station”. He didn’t even use an instruction booklet! That is a reason that my brother Nick is my hero. Another reason that Nick is my hero is because he encourages me to do my best.For example, I am trying to build a house of cards.he sees that it fell. I am having trouble with it , and Nick says that I am doing a good job. He might come in the room and help me build it. He is very kind to me and he makes me feel like what I am doing is going to work great. Nick is also great at cheering me up when I feel upset. This is why Nick is my hero.

When you ask someone to describe a hero, he/she might say someone who fights crime and saves the day with their powers. But heroes do not have to be super or have powers. They can be a next-door neighbor, a friend,or even the guy who works in the ice-cream truck. But mine is my brother, Nick. He is creative, smart, and hens very kind and bright. Nick is a sibling, and a hero that makes me feel okay. That is why he is my hero.

So…
My daughter’s hero is her brother because of who HE IS.

My hero? Well, that would be my daughter.

Tonight

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Some days are just difficult.

Some days I’m forced to pull my head out of my own ass and face the fact that my little boy won’t always be little.

The days are going by quickly. The baby that was placed into my arms will soon be out of grade school and forced into a world where I might not always be there to protect him and keep him safe.

He will be pushed into society and forced to fit in or… Or what?

It’s the unknown that keeps me up night after sleepless night.

Will he have friends? Will he find someone to love who will love him back? Will he graduate high school, go on to college? Have a career? Have a family? Or….I can’t even bring myself to write the words to describe all of the *other* possibilities.

Tonight my little pal had a hard time sleeping because I stupidly allowed him and his sister to watch Goosebumps. He crawled into my bed, and put his little arm around my neck. Then the questions came…
“Mommy? Will you love me forever?”
“Of course.”
“Mommy, can I live with you forever?”
“Umm, well one day you may want to try to live in your own house.”
“Mommy, will I get married?”
*sucker punch*
“Do you want to get married?”
“Yes! And I want to have kids!”
“You do?” (interesting because he loathes babies).
“Yes! I want three boys and two girls!”
(In my head- One in eighty eight today. Dear God, what will the stats be then?)
“You want FIVE children?!?! Wow!”
“Yes! and I want you to live with me!”
(Of course. Built in babysitting. Uh huh. This kid is SMART!)
“How will I fit in your house with your wife and five kids?”
“You just will. Because I love you.”
He loves me. This little angel really does love me. I know it in my soul because for the first three years of his life he hardly seemed to even care who I was. But now? Oh HOW he loves me. It’s my oxygen.

I told him I loved him too and it was time to go to sleep. He fell asleep holding my hand.

Those questions he asked? Those are the same questions that keep me awake all night, every night.

Too often, many typical parents take for granted that their child will grow up, graduate from college, start a career, get married and start a family. That’s how life is supposed to go, right?

Parents of kids with special needs don’t take anything for granted. Every single word out of my son’s mouth is a miracle. Every thought, story, and idea he creates is A Gift.

Tonight I will try to squash the fear that is ever present in my mind and celebrate all that my little guy has become since they placed him in my arms not too long ago. He has come so very far. Instead, I’ll be awake because he’s snoring and I just don’t have the heart to put him back in his bed.

Tonight? He stays here with me. Safe and protected.