Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day, who remembered?

This past weekend, with it being Memorial Day Weekend, I stepped away from the festivities to reflect. I took the time to really take a step back and look at things. In my own little way, honored those who truly needed to be honored. I thought about not just our War Dead, but the families who were left behind. As they had to pick up the pieces of what do without their loved one. Here in America, they are the Gold Star Families. In Canada, we honor the mothers that have lost their sons and daughters. They are known as the Silver Cross Mothers of Canada. I am sure that most countries out there have their own way of honoring the families of their war dead.

Its funny that when you are in a military family, you get used to the lifestyle. The coming and goings. The moving, deployments, the military balls and the traditions. But there is nothing that prepares you for the reality of losing your loved one. In the Military, death is handled with tradition. Whether you are a Veteran who was lucky enough to come back home, and live out your life to it's fullest or if you have been KIA. The Military will be there to honor the service you have done for your country. You will always be a true hero in the eyes of people who respected the job you enlisted to do. But with that, the families are left in the wake of that death. The image of the flag being presented to the spouse and children, is a haunting one. Through the media and social media, its always that image that will tug at the heart strings of the nation. Its the emotion that none of us want to feel. Total utter loss and sadness. But how many will care enough to take time, to help or even recognize the pain of that image?

As I sat back and watched others celebrate their three day weekend, alcohol flowing, BBQs fired up, the celebratory hooting and hollering that summer has now started, it made me a little sad to think that there are others who would be sitting somewhere quiet, remembering those who put their lives on the line, for weekends like this. In my own reflection, it was for the families. The mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, spouses and the children. As that is who I am. I am a spouse, that worries when there is a knock on the door or when the telephone rings.As do my children, who worry about their father. Its those families that I thought about. The ones that will look at the American flag differently.They are the ones that know just what sacrifice is.

As the weekend has passed and gone, people getting back into their daily routines, it makes me wonder just how many took the time to remember. I thank those of you, who did. You are a special group of people that do indeed care. And if you are part of those people, that thought this three day  weekend was about you kickin' back with a beer and BBQ ribs, then I feel bad for you. And I hope that you are never faced with the possibility of any of your loved ones being KIA or MIA. As that is a world of hurt that I don't think you are prepared for.

Looking back, I honor those who didn't come back. I honor those who didn't get to say goodbye. I honor those who have given me so much perspective. I honor those who have shown the world just what Honor, Strength and Courage really mean. You have my gratitude. Your pain has not been lost with me.

Memorial Day, who remembered?


Sunday, May 18, 2014

You don't know what it's like...

This past week has been a bit of a challenge for me. With IEP meetings, doctor appointments and trying to get housework finished, all done with very little sleep. So you will have to pardon me if my disposition is a little rough.

But this week nothing concreted the notion inside my head that everyday people have no idea just what its like to live my life. I don't ask for much. Common cutesy, respect and keep an open mind. All things that I do for other people. But are those three things too much to ask?

This week I couldn't even get through grocery shopping with my son without the stares and whispered comments. Yes we are the duo, that at least once or twice a week hang out that the cheese section because my son absolutely loves the train that goes around the cheese. It is one of the easiest pleasures I can give this child. Yes we sit there with our cart for a good 5-10 minutes just watching the train. There are times we get the honest smiles, but most of time, as soon as he lets out his excited screech, we get the "What is wrong with that Child" look. There is no warmth in that facial expression. No understanding or acceptance. Its the "lets continue to stare and pass judgement" face. Most of us ASD parents, sadly know that face all too well. And every time we see it, our heart hurts. As we know that our children are just being themselves. And if those people who are cold and unforgiving, can't see the love that our children have to offer the world, then that is a miss opportunity on their part. They are not going to know what it's like. The love of a child that is blessed with uniqueness is something they are never going to get. 

What is interesting is, I had the same thoughts when I was sitting at part one of my daughter's IEP meeting. I will state that I have respect for teachers out there that actually give a damn about their students. As a parent it is extremely frustrating when we are consistently reminded just how behind our child is. Most times we are acutely aware when smoke is being blown up our asses. When comments like " Oh your child is such a joy to have in class and I am just blessed to have her there" when you are looking at report card with failing marks and an IEP that is not supporting this child, the veins in our foreheads tend to twitch. Most of us know that our children are good kids. But what are we going to do about this child's academic future? But again, they do not know what it's like, to be a parent at these meetings. Unless they are parents of Special Needs themselves. As most parents out there will tell you that they will go to the four corners of this green earth to make sure their children are growing and prospering. They will never know what it's like to feel the frustration of trying to make sure the child understand 6 different concepts to do one thing. So when we are sitting there, at these meetings, understand that we are the ones that fighting for this child's right to good education, no matter how they learn. 

Most people are not going to know what it's like, unless they have lived your life. Most people are not going know what it's like being sleep deprived because your autistic son was spinning around the room at 4am, and then  have to sit at an IEP meeting for your other autistic child, while they try to bamboozle you. Most people are not going know what its like to do all of this, because you are the only person who can do it.  All I am saying is that, I wish people would get over themselves once in awhile and open their eyes to the world around them. We aren't going get the understanding or the acceptance until the world knows what it's like. 

I will note that I do have people, who don't have special needs loved ones they have to take care of or a deployed spouse, that understand when I have had a shit day and accept my children for who they are. I am very grateful. I honestly think that everyone deserves to have people like that in their lives.  People who might not know what it's like, but understand and accept you and your family. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

As I am your Mother...

I will always be the first person who loved you from the minute you were just a thought, as I am your mother.

I will always be the first person who carried you inside my body, nurtured you and watched you grow into a tiny human being, as I am your mother.

I will always be the person who brought you into this world, for you to meet the ones who waited so long to meet you, as I am your mother.

I will always be that person, who held your little body next to mine, giving you warmth, food and so much love, as I am your mother.

I am that person who saw your firsts. From your first little coo to your first words, as I am your mother.

I am the person who when you tumbled and fell, was there to soothe and make things better, as I am your mother.

I am the person who was there when the nightmares woke you up. I comforted you and told you that things will be ok, as I am your mother.

I am the person that sees you struggle and who's heart aches when she sees the pain in your eyes, as I am your mother.

I am the person that will teach you right from wrong. And pray that you will turn out to be a well balanced human being, as I am your mother.

I am the person who will still love you unconditionally, even when you are testing the limits, as I am your mother.

I am the person that looks past a diagnosis and sees just a child who wants to be loved and accepted, as I am your mother.

I am the person that sees your strengths first and not your weaknesses as I am your mother.

I am the person that will be your number one Champion. I will fight for you until my last breath on this earth, as I am your mother.

I will be that person that when you are all grown up and on your own, will always see you as that child who made me cards, gave the best hugs,challenged me to be a better person and taught me to live life to it's fullest.

As I am your mother, you are my child.

Friday, May 9, 2014

This Military Spouse's persective.

I woke up this morning, not feeling any different from yesterday. I am still tired, I am still waking up to the same stuff I woke up to yesterday. Every morning its the same thing. I do this with no help. I manage myself and three other people, by myself. You see, I am a military spouse.Others are waking up just like me by themselves, as their spouses are deployed.

Today is May 9th. To most people it is just a day. For most of us who are on a Groundhog schedule, it seems like just yesterday or the day before. But today is supposed to be special for us, who married into the Military. Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Now I get it. I do. Call me a bit skeptical, but its hard enough for those of us who love our military members, to gain respect and support at times from the general public. Now that I have said that, don't get me wrong, there are some absolutely fantastic people out there, that are Civilians, who love and support our military families. I am talking about the ones who don't. The ones who call our spouses murders, or question why our families deserve special treatment over them or why do we have a special day of appreciation. So this post is for them.

When our service members enlisted or accepted a commission to be part of this Country's fine military, they did it under an oath to protect and defend this country and to fight in it's wars. When they joined up, there wasn't a family issued to them in the seabag, duffle or rucksack. That job, the job of loving these men and woman, fell to us. The Military Spouse. From the time the human race started militias, there have been the people that loved them, had families with them. Over time we have evolved into what we are today. Through the wars, we have always been there, supporting and loving these individuals. Historical fact right there.

But here's the deal...

Under our tough exterior, we are just humans. We are just people trying to get through our days. Most us do what we do, because its the right thing to do. When I sat down to write this, I thought about all the hardships a military spouse endures in just one year of being married to a service member. I looked back at my own experiences. Most of us, who are women (sorry, guys!) have given birth to our children without our spouses, only for them to meet their children 4-6 months after the fact. We are the Champions of long distance relationships. And with that we worry and stress over our loved ones being in a war zone. I can honestly say, that I didn't sleep pretty much the whole time my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. Sadly, I know I am not the only spouse out there that got nervous when the doorbell rang. We have the fun task of moving every three years, sometimes less. Moving for most people is a stressful thing, try it every three years and moving to a place that might not speak English. Most of us raise our children like a single parent, as our spouses are deployed. And when you throw in special needs, yeah, try doing that all on your own. When our service members come home from deployment, we are the ones who are left to fix this broken person. We are the ones that deal with the PTSD. We are the ones who are encouraging them to live their lives after an injury. We are also the voice of our military, when the government makes plans to take away hard earned retirements and services. You see, our military can't protest injustice that is happening to them, because of that oath they took when they enlisted. The military has no union. So it is up to us, the military spouse, to be their voices.

As you can see, there is a great deal that goes into being a military spouse. It does take a person who can pull up their socks and sailor/soldier on. So when you see a military family, please thank them.A lot of us will tell you that we do what we because we love our spouses but in truth, it is nice to know that someone has recognized the job that we have. The spouses,for the most part, quietly serve at home.

For those Military Spouses, new and seasoned, I hope today you will get some love and support. Know that this Military Spouse thinks you deserve it!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

How an ER trip turned into a Vaccination conversation...and its not what you think...

For the most part I don't write about certain topics. Religion, parenting choices and vaccinations. As all of those things tend to start arguments and many have strong opinions regarding those topics. As I feel that those are all personal choices. However, I am going to break my cardinal rule and talk about one of those subjects. Vaccination. Now before I get started I am going to simply put, the choice to vaccinate your child is a parental choice, that only you make. I respect those who do not, as that is the choice they have made. And for what ever reason you have chosen, it should be respected. As is my choice to make parental choices for my own children. Now that I have cleared that up, here goes.

I do not hide the fact that I vaccinate my children. It is my parental choice to do so. I am an educated person, who likes to research everything and anything before doing something. Vaccinations is just one of those things. Now I have always vaccinated my children from the time they were born. More for the fact that I have seen what things like Polio can do to a person. But I am under the firm believe there is a time and a place. I am not for giving a child a boat load of shots in one sitting. I honestly think that the staggered schedule for immunizations is a better way. As in you don't want to overload your child. Again, these are just MY thoughts. With information so easy to access, there is no excuse for not doing your research on anything.

I write this piece a day after I had to take my youngest to the hospital because he had an allergic reaction to one of his vaccines. Now I am not going to jump on the band wagon, of all the vaccinations are the root of all evils. Will this experience make me a little more cautious? Yes. There was no way that I could have predicted my son was going to have a reaction to it. No way. After yesterday, I went back and did some more research on the two vaccinations my son received. And I came to the same conclusion that I had suspected, there is no way I could have known he would have reacted to them. But now I know that for the future, we have to be careful to what he is getting.

This will not deter me from vaccinating my children. What this means is my child is allergic to a component that is in a vaccination. Is it scary to think about that? Sure. And through a process of elimination and the help of Doctors, we can figure out just what caused this child to react. An allergic reaction doesn't mean the vaccination is bad. It is still going to help protect my child from diseases that will cause him more discomfort that just an allergic reaction to something. I can deal with an allergic reaction. I can monitor an allergic reaction. I also know, that when my child is allergic to something, to prevent exposure. I can't prevent my child from contracting a life threatening disease, if I am unwilling to prevent the spread of them.

This is just my personal view. I know that people are going to disagree and that is fine. Please be respectful. It shouldn't be a Pro vs Anti. Its a parental choice. Nothing more. Whether you decide to vaccinate your children or not, do your research. Go past the glamorization that celebrities put forth. Do honest, unbiased research. Its out there. If you are serious about your child's health that you are willing to fight with perfect strangers over, than cover every angle. Don't just join the band wagon or the latest fad. Your child's health and the choices you make as a parent aren't the latest fad.