Today I had the rare pleasure of having all my children under the same roof without a holiday being involved. Samantha was already home with a friend over. I called Thomas and last minute asked him over for dinner. Tommy and I had an ulterior motive for wanting to see Thomas; he starts his day program tomorrow and we wanted to talk to him and build up his confidance in starting something new. The next thing I knew, during dinner Lelly came home from shopping and then Alyssa walked through the door soon after.
At first I couldn’t believe it, all of them here at one time? I very quickly told them I needed a picture. We took some pictures with them sitting on the couch but they weren’t the greatest so Lelly and Alyssa suggested going outside. Before I knew it Thomas was being so funny! Dancing and everyone was laughing so hard. Thomas did this pose with one leg in the air and they all still laughed. It was the greatest feeling ever to see them all together laughing and enjoying each other.
Finally we got Thomas to be a little more serious and I got some shots of all my children together and smiling for real. I still like the silly pictures better.
As I mentioned before Thomas starts his day program tomorrow. I’m nervous for him and I wish I could be there to see him off but I’m committed to work and that’s the way it is. Tommy and I talked to Thomas and tried to prepare him the best we could. That a van would probably pick him up, he’ll have to get up earlier tomorrow morning, he’ll eat lunch there, there’s more but I won’t bore you. Thomas has had many changes in his short life. And I must say God had given my son the gift of resiliency. He adapts to change with more ease than my typical girls would ever adapt. I’m hoping Thomas’ gift will come to the surface tomorrow and he will do well in this new to him situation.
As for me I’ll be praying for him.
Tonight I registered for my first class towards my Bachelors degree in Nursing! I’m excited! I’m hoping to be able to take more than one class at a time but we’ll see how the first class goes then the second…and see how my life adjusts to being back in school. I’m taking online classes with an accredited university located in Arizona.
I’ve been thinking about going back for my bachelors since I started this job with the board of Ed. Especially since they offer partial tuition reimbursement. It’s not a lot but I’ll take it! After my degree is complete I will have a raise in pay but I’m not doing it for that reason. I’m doing it mostly for me. To prove to myself that I can do this. I started to go back for my bachelors when Thomas was very young and I was pregnant with Alyssa. After I had her I knew I couldn’t continue with a 2 yr old, a newborn and a husband who worked a ton of overtime. So life went on.
God truly is amazing. I always knew God wanted me to work as a nurse. I know now that’s why nothing else ever worked out. No matter what other job I had or business I tried to start; nothing worked. I was back where I started. Trained to do one thing and that was to be a nurse. Something I desperately did not want to do at that time. I honestly felt there wasn’t anything else out there for me besides working in a hospital. Been there/done that. Then when I finally said “ok God, you win” and began looking for a job in nursing, things turned so bright. One job led to another, I was laid off and then I was led to school nursing for special needs/medically fragile students. I’m where I’m supposed to be and I thank God for placing me there.
Recently I came upon an online program for RN’s who want to persue their bachelors degree. Everything fell into place. The cost was right, they accepted a lot of my credits from years ago so I only have to complete the nursing portion of the classes. How great is that?
My first class begins September 18, after everyone goes back to school. Work won’t be as hectic as the beginning week so it’s all good. I’m very curious to what the future holds and how I’ll handle this change in life. I think it will be ok.
Special Needs. Two words that can encompass so much. I used to think I was “ok” with having a special needs child. That’s when Thomas was all of 3 years old. I thought I had accepted Thomas for who he was. In reality I had not, not at that time in my life. I was young, Thomas was young and we had not been through enough for me to reach such a high level of acceptance.
There was however, one experience that was almost prophetic. Our pediatrician had sent me to a physical therapy specialist when Thomas was about a year old. She wanted his opinion if Thomas still needed physical therapy even though the city of New York deemed it necessary. At the end of the consult the specialist disappeared and I was left with his assosciate who told me to continue Thomas receiving physical therapy and to continue him receiving services through the city program of Early Intervention “in case he needs special ed services when he’s older”. I remember I felt ill. Why would this perfect boy of mine ever be in special ed? It was then that I felt as though I would always have to protect him, be his voice, speak up for him and fight for what I thought was right for Thomas. At that time I also knew deep down that he would need special ed services and that he would never learn to read. I have no idea why I thought those things that day. Today Thomas can read and write his name and a few sight words but he cannot read a book.
There it was. Finally. The time in our lives that I accepted the fact that Thomas was indeed “special needs.” It wasn’t during or after the first time he needed to attend a residential school. It wasn’t during the many medication trials or many visits to specialists and “experts”. It was after a neurologist appointment with the renowned Dr. Arnold Gold at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Way uptown in Manhattan when Thomas was 12 years old. It was Dr. Gold who observed Thomas with an eagle eye. Examined him more thoroughly than he’d ever been examined by any neurologist. And picked apart and analyzed MRI results and psychiatric reports. It was Dr. Gold who revealed that our Thomas had “Static encephalopathy.” Which in layman’s terms means brain damage that will not get any better nor will it get worse. The damage either happened in utero or during delivery; we’ll never know, and that’s ok.
12 years it took to get a definitive answer. We had partial explanations for Thomas’ behavior but never before had anyone put all the pieces together and placed the answer before us wrapped up with a bow like a gift…but not a gift.
Yesterdmy 22 year old adult son came over for dinner. He was pleasant, easy going and very talkative. I enjoyed dinner with him. Things are what they are. And God gave us this child to raise up and we did the very best we knew how. We were fortunate that God placed people in our lives at strategic places in time. There are no coincidences and it didn’t just so happen that helpful people showed up when they did. God has His fingerprints all over him.
The school I work at is a 12 month program so they run year round. We’re given a choice of whether or not to work. I chose to work. At first after being off for a few days I was like, “Oh jeez what have I done?” But now that I’m in the groove of things I’m glad I made the choice to work. Everyone that works here regularly are here because they want to be. And the teachers are really into making it a low stress environment/ summer camp like feeling. There are still lessons being taught and therapies in session, but most of us are in a light hearted mood…I can’t say all of us are lighthearted, there are always some people who aren’t happy no matter what the situation.
My work load is a little lighter than during the regular school year. Don’t get me wrong there are always busy times of the day but some students come and go on vacation. Some parents chose not to send their children for the summer. I think my favorite part of being here is the atmosphere. Even though we’re all working it’s still the summertime and those of us with children at home are less stressed because we don’t have to get anybody anywhere for after school activities or wake up sleepy children to get ready for the day.
The summer session ends on August 14, that gives me just over 2 weeks before school starts up again. I’m ok with that. I really do like coming to work. I never thought I would ever, ever say that about a job, especially a job in nursing. I didn’t feel this way about the job I had before I was hired by the Board of Ed, doing chart abstraction. When I was laid off I was really upset even though I knew it was a temporary gig. I had gotten so used to working and of course loved the paycheck. Turns out that was such a blessing in disguise.
God really does know what He is doing even though it doesn’t always seem like it. I never would have applied for this job if I was never laid off. I would have kept on working that temporary gig without searching for new employment because I didn’t have to. When that door was closed God opened this wonderful window and I now have not only a job but a career. One that I’m even looking to advance my education for.
I love what I’m doing and I get paid for it. How many people can say that? God is so good.
I’m listening to one of my favorite pastors via Sirius XM radio, Dr. Michael Yousef. I really enjoy his manner of preaching and the way he conveys the Lord’s message. This week he spoke of spiritual gifts. This morning he spoke of the gift of faith. That we live by faith by walking by faith. I began thinking of my life and am I walking by faith? What is my spiritual gift?p
I know I have talents such as writing and being a good listener, but I cannot say with certainty that I know what my spiritual gift is. I have friends who’s spiritual gifts are so apparent such as the gift of evangelism, the gift of prayer and the gift of mercy. They use those gifts so effortlessly it’s beautiful to watch God in action.
I know I have faith, my strongest test was the two recent deaths in my immediate family of my father in law and my father. When my father in law passed on I remember feeling surrounded and protected by love. It was odd yet so comforting. I believe that that experience could have only come from God.
When my father died a mere 5 months ago. I had absolute faith that when he took his last breath on earth his next breath was taken in heaven. I still have that absolute faith and I know that as a believer he is also in heaven with Jesus. The deaths of my father and father in law showed me that God is so very real and His love is true.
The friend who’s gift is evangelism; I envy. I wish I had the boldness to proclaim the Gospel to people I don’t know. I don’t deny my belief to others but when I’m placed in a real life situation where I have the chance to be spreading the Gospel, the good news of Christ, I freeze and usually let someone else take the lead in that area. I have no problem evangelizing here in my blog though. Go figure.
I love handbags. I have a great collection that my husband has graciously given up his bedroom armoire for. Some have been bought by my husband, some bought by me, others scored at the thrift. It doesn’t matter where I get them, I adore bags. I used to be a hobo bag gal but found I love the ease of a tote. So I have a few totes in various colors and designers. My favorite is a Louis Vuitton that Tommy purchased for me I think 10 nyears ago? She still looks as fabulous as the day I brought her home with little signs of wear and tear.
My other favorite type of bag is a handheld handbag, or one that sits in the crook of your arm. There’s something so wonderfully feminine about that type of bag and the way you carry it. The bag becomes more of an accessory for fashion and less emphasis on function.
My close friends know what a bag whore I am and they take it all in stride. I started out as a shoe whore from my teen years and while in my twenties. I discovered my love of bags probably in my twenties. I wanted a Louis Vuitton “speedy” or doctor’s bag so, so bad. But…the kids were young, I wasn’t working, Tommy worked a ton of overtime and money was better spent elsewhere. And I was ok with that. One day my best friend, Jackie knowing how much I wanted that bag gifted me hers! I almost fell over when I opened the packaged she mailed to me. My hands shook. And I love her for not only that but also because she is probably the kindest most thoughtful friend ever.
A couple of months ago I scored a vintage Chanel bag at the thrift. I sent her out to a specialty handbag spa to be cleaned and freshened up. They did a great job and I enjoy that bag as much as any other. You can’t tell it’s a Chanel unless you look closely at the bags zipper pulls and quilting. It’s not your typical, well known Chanel; black with a gold chain strap. I like that it’s an under the radar bag.
Everyone has their “thing” that they are over the top about. It doesn’t even have to be an object it could be movies, concerts, car shows, magazines etc…That someone likes to invest their time and money into. Mine just happens to take up a lot of room. Don’t get me started on shoes…
So this guy in my life turns 22 years old today. The one who made me a mom first. The one who made me grow up. The one who tested me in ways I never thought I’d be tested. The one who led me back to The Lord. My Thomas. Like most moms I can remember the day of his birth like it was yesterday. It’s amazing isn’t it.
22 years ago on July 5th this now young man came into my life. He not only made me a mother; he made me an advocate, he gave me a loud voice and he made me realize not everything is as it seems so I should stop being so judgemental.
People always say they wouldn’t change a thing about their special needs child. I waver back and forth on that issue. I worry about Thomas’ future of course even though Tommy and I have taken measures to ensure he’ll be cared for if something were to happen to both of us. I don’t know if I could change him; would I? Would he still be the sweet young man he’s grown into being? Would he still have the same sense of humor? Would he still be so likeable and loveable? I guess I’d like to pick and choose his attributes which would be impossible.
I sometimes wonder if God made Thomas the way he is to spare us as parents from something worse than him being special needs. We serve a mighty God and His ways are higher than ours. One day all our questions will be answered, that is if we even care enough to ask at that point.
So I guess my answer would be no, I wouldn’t change him. How could I after seeing what a great young man he grew into? Thomas today is kind, funny, loving, caring and an all around nice person. Why would I want to change that?
I’ve been active on social media for the past 9 years or so. I’ve written a blog for the past 5-6 years. I’m a mature adult so I realize not everyone has the same view points about God, politics, sexual orientation and life in general than me. I am a Christian and I have no problem professing my faith especially when it comes to this blog. I’ve written many posts about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and how He can and will change lives. My testimony and how I met the Lord personally tells how Jesus can and will meet you where you are.
For those of you not familiar with my testimony here’s the not so short version: My son Thomas had to stop taking one of the medications that was essentially the glue that was holding him together. When that drug was out of his system thomas became very aggressive particularly to me. As a result he was in and out of a psychiatric hospital in upstate NY. I became angry at God, what was the point of all this? Why was God allowing this and why was I not privy to His great plan? My husband had never seen me like this; angry. One of my dear friends, Toni suggested I listen to a song, “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns https://youtu.be/L5bLvVjJ4MA.
It was one of my favorite songs, one I had sang along to many times. At Toni’s suggestion I put the CD in while driving and really listened to the lyrics. I was stopped at a red light with tears streaming down my face. I had a distinct vision on Jesus standing by my side catching every tear that fell. It was then that I knew it was ok that I didn’t know God’s plan. That His ways are higher than ours. I felt at peace for the first time in weeks. I didn’t feel as though everything would’ve alright I just felt as though God had this and I no longer felt the need to be angry. I knew I had a personal encounter with The Lord and He had indeed met me where I was.
Due to that encounter with The Lord I know He is real, He is the living God and I have no fear of my future, it is in His hands. Only recently have I completely surrendered my life to The Lord. It felt so freeing and so, so right. I know He will never lead me astray. If it is good and right it is from The Lord. He will never leave me or forsake me. His promises are real.
I enjoy writing this blog and sharing it on social media. I know there are plenty of people who have little to no interest in reading the gospel. That Jesus lived a sinless life, died like a criminal on a cross and rose again. The gospel is so powerful it drastically changes people’s lives. It is simply amazing.
Because of my relationship with Christ and the life I now lead due to my belief in the gospel, I have less tolerance for jokes that are an offense to God. I won’t go into examples because someone else might think what I find offensive to be no big deal. I’ve unfriended people in social media due to my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My true friends know me and respect my faith and encourage prayer whether it be in person or via social media.
My hope is that someone who is not a believer or one who is not saved will have their life changed radically by the gospel of Jesus Christ. I adore my family of believers and I hope for that family to grow larger.