Help

This post is dedicated to my good friend and fellow awesome Mom Amber, who is always teaching me a lesson and there for me as we navigate the ups and downs of life. 1003153_628040925914_156753935_n

Soooo I’m going to swallow this little thing I have called pride for awhile.

I have this habit of declining help. Everywhere we go. No matter who we are with. No matter how many screaming kids I have. No matter how full my arms are. If you offer to open the door for me I’m that person that says “oh I’ve got it Thanks I’m used to it”. And actually I need to be saying “Oh thank you soo much That’d be great”.

But I don’t. I’m hell bent on being independent and making sure that no one feels bad for me or thinks that I can’t do it. Seriously it ticks me off when people say “you have your hands full!”. No one knows how full my hands are or how I handle things so I hate that people just judge or assume.

But then I spend a day with Amber and she is the yingHelp to my yang sometimes. When I’m hardcore independent no help don’t ask, she quickly taught me the other side of things.

I believe she said after I turned her help down with the 3 kids “people don’t ask to help if they don’t want to, and I wouldn’t offer if I didn’t want to help”. We were on our way to a fire safety camp with the kids and I was going to carry Braxton, and push a stroller with the crabby toddler and the wheelchair by myself. She smartly informed me “You honestly need to let people help you if you need it” then told me of her recent trip to Target with her screaming child and how someone had offered her help and she turned it down, rethinking it afterward.

Yes Amber, you were right. Not everyone has a second agenda or judgement when they offer help. Some people just want to help. And I go out of my way to not take it, which probably makes them feels bad, while making me look stupid as I get whacked on the head with a door as I try to push a wheelchair and hold 2 kids as I go through (I think that is called Karma).

So here it goes. For the rest of August I’m not going to turn down help. Not with doors, or carrying trays, or even with cart pushing/kid chasing. If I could use it I’ll take it. And to make it even more fun, I’m going to carry my camera with me (or try to) so that I can hopefully get a picture of these awesome people and post them on my follow up blog from this.

Now this is hard for me, so I could use some prayers.

The Miracle of People

Everyday we are just bombarded with bad news of bad people, bad events, bad upsetting tear jerking heart breaking news. 

Recently Fremont was hit with the loss of three young lives while the 4th is recovering day by day not only from physical wounds but also emotional as well. 

 

Some days it is just an overwhelming turn off the tv and radio kind of day.Image 

Then there are moments like these. Moments where the World for 3 seconds seems right. Where Hope soars, I choke back tears of joy, and the worries fade away. Moments when the best of people break through the sadness in the World.

Every person in your life has a moment, good or bad, that you grow from. Yes, you may not want to admit it.Just like I hold grudges, like towards my 5th grade teacher and think it was a horrible year for me, but yet again I grew from it.

I get the privilege to work in a field where everyday I see compassion. I am surrounded by fellow employees who work in a field where we give and give and give. It’s our passion and we get fulfilled from it. We walk away everyday knowing that even if it was giving a flu shot, we helped someone.

There is a miracle in people you just have to look for it.

We will go places and get stares at Jacoby, the wonders of what happened to him or what we did to him. Or the favorite We live off the State comments. But then we get the people who tell Jacoby “cool wheels” (He has light up wheels on the front of his wheelchair) or people who stop us an tell us how awesome it is that he wheels himself or how cute he is (yes he is really really cute).

Jacoby dealt with bullies this year, even at one point stooping to their level (trust me it happened once and lesson was learned). After an email about open practice for Team USA, Mike Kult, the coach of the Omaha Red Dawgs, a National Championship Wheelchair Basketball team,and a wheelchair sports champ himself, allowed us to come watch Team USA practice. It was an awe inspiring miraculous amazing heart lifting doubt breaking thing to see. But even more so, the fears, doubts, the case of the I Can’t that Jacoby had seemed to pick up this year melted away as he got more comfortable there. These men broke through every barrier they had in front of them and were everything I wanted my son to see and be. Even more they opened up to him, giving him high fives, talking to him, racing him and allowing him to win. The World was at peace during this time. DSCN5470

I often get overwhelmed with emotions but you just have to stop and look around. Think. Breathe. It’s easy to just see the black in the white. But its better to focus on the white.

I think of the friends that I’d had and used to be close to. The friends I’d never thought I’d not talk to everyday but how we are now walking different paths and are merely acquaintances. I think about how sad it is, but how they were there when I needed them at the time and the support through some rough moments. I can dwell of the changes on the growth apart but I choose the memories of the laughing, the apartment parties, the birthdays together and the fact that we are all ok.

I think of my friends now. How they have watched me grow so much this last year, graduate college, love my kids and are ever present support for me as I navigate everyday life. They are the white in this World.

I think of my Special Mom friends, who notice when I drop off for a week or two and text me to say they know I must be struggling with J’s therapies or tests or Dr Appts. and want to let me know they are there for me and the ever present never spoken ‘I Understand”.

I think of my family in which they have watched us fall and rise and struggle, knowing they’d do it all for us but knowing we needed to do it on our own. The family that pray for us every night without fail and the family that if I asked for anything, would drop it and do it.

There is this thing called Compassion. It is the greatest gift we can give to each other. It is the Miracle in people.

So I challenge you my friends, to look for this in every day life. In anyone you come across. Stop and look around for the good stories, the people who are raising money for others, or helping someone across the road or with a flat tire. Even in this overwhelmingly dark sad news focused World, there are people who can be the white to the black. Also, look at yourself and ask if you are the white or the black. And try to be the white in someone’s day. DSCN5553

A Little Lot of Mom Guilt (Part 3 and Done!)

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My name is Shonda and yes, I still have mom guilt. This time it is semi-society imposed mom guilt, but still, mom guilt.

As Josh and Jacoby left the operating room for the NICU after my emergency c-section in hopes for a stable baby to have surgery, I asked Dr. S to tie my tubes. Begged, pleaded more or less. Dr. S told me in a calm voice that there was no way she was going to fulfill this wish because I was young, scared, and may change my mind in a few years (also there happens to be some paperwork needed that I didn’t know about). At that moment, all I could see was this sick baby who would need every moment of my time.

We survived the first year of Jacoby’s surgeries, therapies, hospitalizations, and joyous moments when he did things we didn’t think he could and hope when he couldn’t do things we hoped he may be able to do. Mom guilt.

I started nursing school shortly after his first birthday, spreading my time between classes, studying, his appointments and Josh’s work. I felt content and the thought of having another child was never brought up

Then Jacoby turned 2. I had heard that when your baby turns 2 you get this crazy instinct to have another. Josh was pro baby and I was not quite on board. When you have a special needs child, it is just assumed that you won’t have another kid. We were never told “wait for the next one”. We were always asked “would you want another?”. Josh and I hashed out the idea of another child but seeing Jacoby around other kids and how social he was, plus the fear of him being alone (plus he was so dang cute) helped push me onto the same page as Josh.

Soon I was pregnant with Kenley and there was no turning back. I went over in my head the many thousands of things that could go wrong and how I may be taking too much away from Jacoby. But every moment of worry was covered by Jacoby’s excitement for a little sister. He called it from the beginning and told strangers in stores or walking by that he was going to be the best big brother and that his mom was having a baby.

Strangers on the other hand would ask if this baby was “like him” or if “everything looked ok”. So by like him you mean a miracle and blessing or special needs and different? I got asked if I would “get rid of it’ if it was sick like him. My responses became anger laced as the pregnancy went on and people were told to mind their own business.

Jacoby was so happy and it made it easier. He would talk to my tummy and touch it, and tell me he asked God for this baby. My moments of worry grew as the time got closer for the family of 3 to grow. Kenley11 248

Kenley came out loud, making her presence known in true Kenley style and I watched the clock until Jacoby arrived. My worries washed away (and my heart about exploded with love) as he fell in love with her. He wanted to hold her, kiss her and tell her she was beautiful. He let every nurse know he was a big brother and that he loved his sister. And to think I had wasted all those moments crying and worrying. She was a baby and he was 4. My worries escaped them.

We adjusted and found that Kenley fit into our routine well with little tweaks here and there. Jacoby adjusted well considering he had been the only for 4 years. Some moments he’d get upset but we would quickly appease him.

In society today it seems the rule it 2 kids is the magic number. Especially if you have 1 of each gender. Any more means you are rich or live off the state. We were looked at as crazy for the fact that we had another child after having Jacoby. He would be rolling in his wheelchair and I’d be pushing the baby in the cart and the stares followed us.

Then there was God’s plan that took over. Who in their right mind would have a 5 year old, an 8 month old, and be finishing their senior year of nursing school think it would be a good time to have another baby. I was completely and utterly shocked. Like husband calls home and I start crying shocked. Don’t get me wrong, every single baby is a blessing and I knew it was above me, but still. Overwhelming was the least of words I can use. How is this going to work with Jacboby’s schedule and routine? What about Kenley and her much needed time since she was so little?! Mom guilt mom guilt mom guilt. The worries consumed me for the first few months.

Jacoby was thrilled to say the least. He had prayed to God and told Santa he wanted a little brother. He would talk about sharing his toys (I have still yet to see) and playing in the sandbox and how he was lucky to have both a brother and a sister. Kenley was oblivious that her world was about to get rocked. But the thought of these 3 kids growing up together and having each other was a peaceful thought.

Jacoby began to ask the 20 questions about everything and everyone that is common with 5 year olds. He asked about if his brother would be like him but I explained that like how he has brown eyes and Kenley had blue eyes, we all are different because that means God made us each special. He wanted Braxton to be like him. Mom guilt.

“You are going to have your hands full”. “That is a lot on your plate”. “You are a better woman than I am”. Those comments resonated through his pregnancy and the thoughts of how our world would have to change again and how we would survive while meeting Jacoby and Kenley’s needs ran through my mind constantly. Mom guilt mom guilt mom guilt. As I finished up nursing school and prepared for Braxton’s arrival I carried the worries with me.

Braxton made an easy entrance into this world with a cry and then wide eyed looking at me. I cried when I saw him and while we waited for Kenley and Jacoby to meet him I was overwhelmed with what may happen. Is Kenley going to be scared or understand? Is Jacoby going to realize there are 2 babies now? PicMonkey Collage3

Jacoby loved him and Kenley poked him and smiled. I knew that if they were ok, I was ok.

So we have survived. It hasn’t been easy. There were adjustments and sleepless nights. Double rocking of the babies and special one on one Jacoby lunches. It has been 6 months and we all are alive,growing and happy. Mom guilt turned out to be worries that I was the only one seeing.

Mom guilt is real. And everywhere. But here is my advice. Everyone makes mistakes. Every family is different. But when in doubt, when overwhelmed with mom guilt, look at your kids. Look at their faces and their smiles and know that even though you feel it and you question your choices, as long as your kids are happy, healthy and laughing, you’re doing good.