Our church has been holding worship services indoors for the past month or so I believe. Before that they were holding services on Wednesday evenings in the parking lot. That was really nice too, to be outdoors with your church family worshipping the Lord. But I’m so glad we are able to be indoors now. You have to call and pre-register; pretty much reserve a seat for yourself and whoever is coming with you. Today I went with Alyssa, Sam and Lelly. Last week I woke up Samantha to go. This week I left her alone. I know she worships at youth group during the week so I’m not a big stickler for her to attend on Sundays.
The series our Pastor has been preaching about is health. The first Sunday was about physical health and how our body is a gift from God and we should treat it that way. You know it’s funny when I was saved I immediately felt guilty that I smoked cigarettes. Did that make me stop at that time? No. But I knew I was not honoring God with my body by smoking. I did quit right after I was baptized and that was 8 years ago. And I have no intention of starting again. I miss it still; but I do not want to go through the hell of quitting all over again.
Last Sunday Pastor John preached about mental health. I think he did a really good job addressing a tough and often taboo subject. I’m only as healthy as I am because I had God in my life guiding my every step. A lot of people aren’t that fortunate or shut God out when it comes to their mental health. Me? I ran to Him. And The Lord did not fail me.
Today’s message was about spiritual health and our walk with The Lord. There were tough questions asked such as how often are you reading your bible? Are you praying without ceasing? Are you telling people about the Gospel as we are commanded to do? I know that’s where I fall desperately short. I don’t spread the Gospel and God has given me plenty of opportunities to do so. And every time I say to myself that I blew it. The Gospel is the best news ever. Jesus came here as a helpless baby, lived a life without sin, died a criminal’s death upon the cross and took on the punishment of my sin and your sin. He took upon God’s wrath. Amazing. He was buried in a borrowed tomb and three days later he rose! He’s Alive! We worship a living God! God found a way to reconcile us to Him by giving us His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.
It’s no secret that Thomas comes for dinner every Sunday. It’s our routine that we just fell into when he started living at the group home. Before he moved into the group home I had daydreams that he would be here at our house all the time now that he lived a mere 15 minutes away. I also had visions of me bringing him to church with me every Sunday. Well none of that happened. Thomas didn’t want to go to church (I tried), and we’re all so busy during the week; Thomas with his program and then his routine at his house and us with work and school; visits during the week are far and few between if at all. But this Sunday routine is nice. It’s predictable and after not seeing Thomas all week we really do miss him and we’re glad to see him every Sunday afternoon.
Today was nice, we received a call from the group home staff that they were going apple picking. Thomas told us he had a good time so we were happy for him. He likes to talk, my Thomas. Sometimes he just chatters about his day program or ask me how much my new car cost, am I going to pay for it? “Mom, are you going to work?” Sometimes he makes me smile/laugh and other times I just shake my head at what he says.
Thomas is 24 years old and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of the man he turned out to be. He’s been gifted with resilience and the ability to adapt to the various environments he’s had to live in. Because there were times he wasn’t safe to live with and he needed to be at a place that could provide what we could not. And it worked thanks be to God. We made decisions no parent should have to make. But we made those decisions based on what was best for him, not what we wanted or caring what others thought of us.
Tonight as Thomas and I were having dessert together sitting at the kitchen island, Thomas sat there and said,”Mom…” I answered, “Yes, Thomas…” He then says out of nowhere, “I love you.” Totally on his own accord. It’s usually me saying “I love you” a few times when we drop him off before Thomas answers back, “I love you too Mom.” Like I’m pulling teeth.
But tonight was special and it was nice and it made me realize how much I love him too. And that everything we went through was worth it. We’ve come out the other side. A simple “I love you” is not it all that simple.
I found out today that one of my favorite paraprofessionals passed away. Cynthia was definitely one of a kind and her presence will be missed by so many. When I started at my school Cynthia was a one to one health para for one of our medically fragile students. I didn’t know the student that well, I mean I knew what nursing procedures she had ordered but I didn’t know the student like what was normal or not normal for her as a person. Cynthia was very patient with me and gave me pretty much the student’s whole past history because she had been assigned to this student for a few years. She knew her in and out.
Cynthia was very, very pro child/pro student. Everything she did was for her class and the students of that class. The past two years Cyn was assigned a different medically fragile student. A boy this time. She never took her eyes off him. Literally. She felt it was her job to give her all to that student and that is what she did. If she didn’t feel as though that student was “right” in that moment, morning, noon or afternoon she would call or simply bring the child to the nursing office for me to check him out. On more than one occasion Cynthia followed her gut and she was right that the student wasn’t well that day and needed more interventions that we could give him there at school. I trusted her and she trusted me. We had a great working relationship and I enjoyed her as a person as well. She didn’t talk much about herself. But was not shy in her observations of you and she would think nothing of letting you know what she was thinking.
I can’t believe she’s not here anymore. She’s with the Lord dancing with Jesus. I know this with all my heart.
So we are back in school. Some students are fully remote like any typical school and some students are blended where one week they attend school in person and the next week they are remote. It was a little confusing to begin with which students need nursing procedures and meds and what week they were attending? The first week was relatively smooth, one of my favorite students who needs nursing care was in attendance and it was so so good to see him; I haven’t seen my students since March when they closed the schools down. And I’ve missed my students so much. Before the quarantine and closing schools I would see these kids everyday rain or shine. Some for a few minutes, others for a bit longer and some multiple times a day. And then there’s the medically fragile students who need more care and eyes on them than other students. They usually have a one to one para professional and they will alert me if they have concerns or questions I’ve built up trust with a lot of paras and they know I will come right away if they feel something isn’t right with the child or if they have a seizure.
Our paras here are amazing. Yes I’m very partial and haven’t witnessed how other paras function outside of District 75/Special education. I like it here in District 75. After spending the summer working at the recreation center with typical kids I still prefer my D75 kids. Yes it’s more challenging and some students have unpredictable behavior but for the most part they are extremely polite and just thankful when you have taken care of them. Even when it’s something as minor as a nosebleed. They will listen to me. The typical children at the recreation center would refuse to wash say a small bleeding cut on their hand. They would be freaking out that it was going to hurt. I would have to cajole and almost stand on my head to get an abrasion cleaned up. My D75 students aren’t like that. If I ask them gently to wash their hands or apply pressure to a bleeding knee abrasion they pretty much do as they’re told. Even the students who don’t like to be touched due to sensory issues are usually good about receiving nursing care and following directions.
I seriously can’t wait until all my students are back at school full time. I consider myself lucky that we’re back at all. But I miss how things used to be. I know I’m not alone that I want this whole covid and being socially distant and wearing masks time of this life to be over.
I do wish our schedules were different. I liked the busyness of a full school with all my student that I give care too in attendance. The day went fast and I love what I do.
We all have stress; all of us. So don’t think that I think I’m any different or more stressed than anyone else. I‘be said before that I’m in school for my Bachelors degree in Nursing. Something I never imagined myself doing. But man this is hard. I’m talking mainly about this freaking Bio chem class I have yet to pass and finish. I don’t even want to excel in the class; passing by the skin of my teeth is good enough.
I’ve had to begin my next class while trying to figure out the exasperating bio chem. The next class is Care of The Elderly and this I can get into because it’s actual nursing! And everything makes sense to me. The readings are long but not torturous. This I can enjoy.
I’m also working, but work isn’t particularly stressful. I mean we have certain stressful situations that arise here and there, and personality conflicts as usual. But work itself, it’s going well. The way my school is running is in person vs remote learning, is that a certain group of students come to school for one week (5 days) then the next week they are home and learning remotely. In the meantime during that next week are a whole other group of in person students. These first couple of weeks have been a little confusing but it will all work out and we will all be in sync with each other soon enough.