Sunday, March 7, 2010

focus on the positive

i haven't posted since thursday.
and being honest here, thursday's post was kinda fake.
i was excited for anna and she did look cute in her costume, but in reality, thursday was a horrible, miserable day for me.
and so was friday.
and because this blog is about keeping it real, let me explain.

ben is beginning the transition from "early intervention" (a state-provided set of services, i.e. speech, physical, occupational therapies, etc.) to public preschool.
when he starts preschool, he will continue to receive his services but through the school system rather than private in-home therapists. in order to qualify for these services, ben has to be tested and evaluated by lots of different therapists, psychologists, and teachers.

it is exhausting. physically and mentally.

thursday was a continuation of these evaluations. it went okay.
it's very hard to watch your child fail. over and over again.
especially when you choose to live a life filled with victories, not failures.

thursday afternoon, when i picked ben up from his daycare, i found him in a pile of mulch, boogers running down his face and smeared all over his face and he was freezing cold.
i was so angry and sad and upset that i left without saying one word to the teachers there because i was afraid i would burst into tears.
it was such a long day, like i said, emotionally draining, and i barely made it to the car before i broke down. i cried the entire way home from work, sobbing into the phone while i recalled everything to john.

i took anna to dance, snapped a few pictures, posted them here and pretended everything was ok.

friday was ridiculous. i knew it would be a doozie.
it was ben's speech evaluation and most of you know ben is for the most part non-verbal.
he can sign a lot of words and comprehends a lot, but he doesn't speak many words.
the evaluation left me in tears again. it was very stressful and upsetting, but mostly sad.
this time, i didn't dare take him to daycare afterwards--i couldn't bear to be apart from him, so i took off from work and we spent the rest of the day together.
later, through lots of tears, i told john that i would do whatever it took to stay home and take care of ben myself. no more work. i couldn't let him sit on a cold playground with a runny nose and have no one to play with. i couldn't do it. it was too heartbreaking.

it's been a long time since i've had those thoughts, but here they are again.
we looked at our finances. we talked about different scenarios. we talked and talked. mostly, i cried. i went to bed angry, sad and exhausted.

saturday morning i realized that we missed going to see the wizard of oz on broadway. in the middle of the craziness, i got the days confused and thought we were going on saturday, not friday! the kids were crying, i was pissed off at myself, and john was pissed off that i basically wasted a ridiculous amount of money because i was so absentminded! enough is enough!

this weekend has given me time to think. time to breathe. time to clear my mind.
the evaluations are over for now.
we will meet with the school system again wednesday and talk about his placement.

i don't know what we're going to decide to do. i guess we'll keep open minds going into that meeting and see what happens.
i've calmed down a lot since thursday's and friday's mess.
i'm going to see how the next couple weeks go and we'll see where we go from here.
and i'll continue to focus on the victories and not the failures.

if you've made it with me this far, thank you for listening.
as much as i'd love to always blog about cute crafts and decorating and my super cool kids and our home, this is real life.
i thought about not even writing any of this here, but i decided this is my story, my journal, and i can't sugarcoat it.

it is what it is.

bad stuff happens. crappy days will come. i don't suppose this will be the last time i get my feelings hurt by well-meaning teachers and therapists. all of my children will fail. they have already and will continue to do so. i will/do too. horrible, tear-filled days will happen. again and again. we are all up to our ears in real life. and it's not always rainbows and puppy dogs!

but, i can choose happiness. i can choose gratitude. i can choose determination. i can choose strength. i can choose courage. i can choose love. i can choose victory.

can you hear my life's sappy little theme song in your head yet??!! :)

ok, i digress.
to continue my exercise to focus on the positive, here's a list of supremely awesome things right now!:

--my dad worked his last day ever on friday. he's officially retired! yeah dad!
--my house is vacuumed, there isn't one dirty dish in the sink, ALL the laundry is done, and all the kids are in bed asleep!
--there are fresh flowers on my kitchen table
--i already made dinner for tomorrow night today!
--an awesome blog reader, aly, made my YEAR the other day. {look at the comment she left me on march 3rd's post}
--josh got all 100's on his tests last week
--my friends deana and tricia are the world's best listeners
--i have ben's third birthday to plan!

that's right, ben is turning three in a few weeks. my sweet precious baby boy. three. holy moley.

thanks for listening. you each deserve a cookie. with rainbow sprinkles. thanks.


Anonymous said...

Amy -
I am a long time lurker, but feel the need to comment.

Hang in there darling.

My son has a severe learning disability, he must attend public school in order to get services to help him learn coping skills. I hate the evaulations, I hate sitting down and having them tell me how badly he failed....however, he if didnt fail these evualations he wouldnt qualify for assistance that he needs so badly. It doesnt make it easier, but I know its worth it.

Hang in there darling.

Good luck.

Adrienne said...

Thanks for your honestly. It's good to vent and let it all out sometimes, even to people you don't really know. You did have an awesome list of things happening though!

...Nancy said...

hugs to you. Hope you have a better week this week!

Jo said...


I have been reading your blog a while now..maybe 6months? MAYBE longer. Anyways, you featured Kelle Hampton's blog about Nella and i'm attached to that blog. This post of yours made me teary eyed and thought of how Kelle feels with Nella too. You both are so sweet to your children. I know there are those rough times. EVERYONE has them. We were in a "Small Group" yesterday and it was AMAZING!!!! I couldn't explain it on here but AMAZING is the best word. GOD was there. And a lady was new to the group and she said.. " I pray that someday I could be like ya'll"... everyone looked at her sweet face with tears running down it and we said..."YOUR HERE, LIKE WE ARE, YOU ARE PRAYING LIKE WE ARE, YOUR HERE LIKE US!!!!!!!!!!!!" No one is different. We were all made the same and God loves us all the same. You keep your strong faith and keep your head lifted. Ben is such a precious baby, I just love his eyes and eye lashes, BEAUTIFUL!!


Miranda said...


I too am a long time lurker! I've been reading for SEVERAL months now and actually took the time to back-read your old posts. I find you amazingly inspiring and honest and I just wanted to pass my pleasant thoughts and e-hugs from Ohio!

Erica said...

Thanks for being a mom who is honest, but more importantly thanks for being a mom who perseveres. My heart hurts with you today, but the good thing is my heart will rejoice with you tomorrow when you continue to be the mom that you are!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your raw honesty, I can see why God sent Ben to you, you are his champion, your tears reflect the depth of your love and strength! I also had my children watch the video by "Dr Cox" to end the word, and we too will join the campaign to spread the word to end the word!!!

Kelli said...

Hi Amy!

First of all, HUGS to a better day and a better week. I think one reason why I love this blog world so much is that you can get out your fears, your frustrations, the things that upset you, etc. and have people who understand. I can spend so much time focusing on how great Colin is doing in so many areas, but as soon as they pull out the evaluations and tests, I can't help but get upset when you see the things they can't do.

I think you said it right and you have your own best focus on the positive things, even though it's not always easy.

Just wanted you to know that we are here to support you...and thanks for sharing and being so honest.

Kelli said...

Oh, and one more thing....Ben is so super cute! He's adorable! I love the picture with Elmo!!

Anonymous said...

You are such a good person and are doing a great job with your family. Thanks so much for being honest. Everyone has days (weeks) like this. I can't possibly imagine what it was like watching Ben go through those evaluations. We celebrate successes here, too! :) You have such a beautiful family and a handsome, wonderful Ben. You should be so proud, as I'm sure you are. THANKS for being an inspiration to so many! Hang in there! :)

The Counters said...

We first talked when I was looking for a paint color for out kitchen cabinets (Meg referred me). I love following your blog because you are so real. If I could, I would give you a hug. There is a woman at my church who gives the best hugs. She is petite but finds a way to wrap her arms around you and then gives a good squeeze and holds it for just a few seconds. I always feel so comforted by them. That is the hug I would send to you.

Kelly said...

We all have our days where the world seems to work against us. We all have moments where we don't necessarily act, or react, the way we wish we had.
You are an incredible mother to your kids. Regardless of the good days or bad days, you are their #1 advocate. We should all be so lucky to have you on our side.
Don't be too hard on yourself!

Kylie Mc said...

I love your blog. I've been following for months as well. You're inspirational in many, many ways.

Thank you for your honesty. Just remember that you're never alone. We all go through rough spots, ups and downs. A good long cry and some cookies will help but getting it all out through talking (or blogging) is even better. Hang in there! ;)

meg duerksen said...

you are the best mommy for ben.
God chose the perfect mother for sweet ben to advocate for and love him unconditionally...rejoice in his strengths...encourage when he is down.
He chose you and john.
what a blessed boy he is.

Jenny said...

Hi Amy,

I saw your blog and I want you to know that I totally understand where you are coming from. I have been there, and still go there from time to time. First I want you to know you aren't alone and you are doing an awesome job with that precious little boy. I know there are days you may feel overwhelmed and scared, I do too. If it weren't for my faith in God, I would drive myself crazy every day Samuel went to school. A good friend once told me, "If God knows you are doing all you can, he takes care of the rest". That statement stuck with me, and I have faith he watches over our little ones every day! God has a bigger plan, remember that, and as you said "focus on he positive" b/c you are apart of that bigger plan! I will pray for you and precious Ben. If you EVER want to talk, (dinner, lunch whatever), I am here.:) This is exactly the stuff our moms of BUDS group is all about! HUGS and many prayers! Jenny

Lisa said...

I am so sorry...I didn't see this post last week...and I should have been there for you...sending lots of love your way...CHIN UP, SOLDIER...

Ben is awesome. You are an awesome mommy. Some days are hard, and some things are hard. But there is so much good, and so much to be grateful for.

The transition process is a heavy one, filled with lots of anticipation and emotion and feelings of discomfort.

It is awful to feel like your precious child is being judged. I know you'd give anything to wrap him in love and keep him there every day of his life. And you will do that...and he will feel it.

I know your heart breaks a little more each time you feel the pain of his delays/differences and try to look into the future and see what's ahead. Will he be accepted, understood, happy? Will things be hard? Will you have to fight for him? Yes to all the above. When the waves are big, ride them. Enjoy the little, easy ones, but ride the heck out of the big ones. You can do it.

You've got to believe your own words:

i can choose happiness. i can choose gratitude. i can choose determination. i can choose strength. i can choose courage. i can choose love. i can choose victory.

Choose to see this process as a necessary step in Ben's becoming--and in yours.

Choose to view the evaluations in terms of how they can help Ben--and you--to gain and practice life skills that will make him happier or more independent.

So the $%^&* what if he is not particularly verbal at this point. Try to get him into environments where he his valued for all he is and all he can do. Try to help others see him for who he is as a person, not for what he can or can't do.

As far as school is concerned, his teachers and classmates WILL understand him--what he wants, enjoys, doesn't like, etc.--even without a bunch of words.

And give him time...he will talk. He may need extra supports with speech, but what's great is that help is available. You just do the best you can. He'll do the best he can. And that is good enough.

Surround yourselves with things and people you love. Everything is going to be okay. I promise.


Angi B said...

Thank you so much for sharing. My son is only 13 months and reading this helps me, you give me strength. Hugs