Monday, May 20, 2013

Toughing it out

The past few months here have been pretty challenging. In fact, at times, life has seemed just plain overwhelming. Work-wise I taught 3 courses this semester (ack!) as well as maintained a full studio practice (and I even wrote an article for a real media outlet!). Brian completed the final and most difficult semester of his MBA program while continuing to work full-time. We tried to jointly manage the caring-for-a-family- full-time gig; and it feels like we have spent days upon days in doctor's and therapist's appointments, evaluations, school meetings and site visits, we've even consulted with a special needs advocate for the first time to try to help us with some challenges we're facing in finding the right educational placement for Simon next year (he needs to switch schools because his current school does not have a special education program past kindergarten. I'll have a full break-down over that one later...)

The kids have had a lot on their plates as well -- Olivia had her first science fair project, wrangled with fractions in GT math, and had more essays and tests and projects than she has ever had before. Simon has had his seventh birthday (omg!), 2 EEGs, countless appointments, and an unfortunate increase in seizures leading to lots of med changes (and some super heavy duty side effects -- weight loss, weight gain, hair loss, emotional instability, overwhelming tiredness and lethargy... you name it....) due to an overall worsening of his underlying epilepsy. After being away for six months, Tigger has even had some challenges adjusting to learning to work in our home with Simon in new and different ways.

Suffice it it say that by the time we made it to this weekend, we were feeling pretty done. Strung out. Overcooked. Stick a fork in it. Burnt toast.

And then this stuff happened...

My students rocked their final presentations and reminded me why I love being in the classroom with them.
Brian graduated with honors (and style!) and we were doubly blessed to celebrate his amazing accomplishment with many of the friends and family that have supported us along the way,
Olivia's hard work has been hugely paying off this year -- she won the T-shirt design contest for her school's fundraising walk (see awesome design above!), she won third place in the science fair, she won honorable mention in the Memorial Day "My American Hero" essay contest (by writing about a service dog trainer!) AND she found another four leaf clover (her 3rd this spring) just yesterday. She says she thinks her clovers mean that something amazing is going to happen to her -- I think it already has!
And Simon keeps showing us all what real strength is. Despite being on a ton of meds (including high dose valium), being hemiplegic, AND enduring near-constant seizures, he couldn't wait to get on the track and run with the kids for Olivia's school's fundraiser yesterday. Laughing and smiling and leading Tigger with him the entire time.
And finally, this happened -- Simon got too tired to run, and so his sister pushed him. For 10 joyful, laughing, FASTER! FASTER! laps around the track with her friends. 

And so today it occurs to me -- things get tough, and they might even get tougher. That's how life rolls sometimes. But, we rolled with it, and not only have we "toughed it out," we conquered it. Working, studying, teaching, learning, advocating, walking, running, and finally pushing on through to the finish line, because that is how we roll.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Mother's Day Guest Post

Leading up to Mother's Day a good friend and great writer Rita Buettner, asked me to write a guest post for her Catholic Review blog. If you'd like to read it, you can find it here:

10 Things a Special Needs Mom Learned (the hard way)

I'd love your feedback! Happy Mother's Day to all the fantastic moms, especially mine. :-)