The Tides Are Turning

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I have always admired surfers. Being able to ride the waves and control their bodies on the surf board. That takes great skill and is very impressive. They must have extreme focus. They must be prepared to endure the weather and unexpected waves. Surfers must also practice patience.

The waves have been rocky for me lately. My focus was foggy. Yet, I still prepared myself for the goal that I had in my mind. I must be getting closer because I keep getting  swept under the waves. Just when I am ready to make my move the tide turns, and the weather causes me to stop.

Should I give up? Or do I wait to ride the wave that is just right for me. I have to trust God’s plan. I have to believe in myself and I can’t let falling off of my surfboard be the end of me.

What are you waiting for?  Whatever you are preparing for, believe that you are close enough. It is not out of your reach. No matter what your circumstances are. You are almost there. The roughest waves means we are close to victory.

Remember we haven’t drowned yet. God is the best life jacket I know.

 

 

 

 

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Monday Morning

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It would usually happen around 2:00 pm every Sunday. Just like clock work. It was that feeling that my weekend was coming to an end. I felt sad, depressed and dreaded everything that I needed to do. In order to have us all prepared for Monday. Not for the entire week. My goal was just to survive Monday.

In the past I would have been sleep deprived and miserable. After a few panic attacks. I found myself on the couch with Syd unable to move. It was hard for me to find the positive in our situation. Having a Friday off is great. But when you have a Monday off. It’s like a miracle from heaven.

I dreaded Monday because the laundry wasn’t finished, the bills weren’t paid yet and I had to transform into Superwoman. Then, I realized that not everyone makes it to Monday. So I needed to change my thinking quickly and praise God when my feet hit the floor on a Monday morning.

Now I approach Monday differently. It is a time for me to set a new goal for the week. I try to think of one way to make time for myself. It is time to see how life will surprise me today. Do you suffer from the Monday blues? Don’t be like me. I was letting it control and ruin my Sunday as well.  Not anymore.  Monday motivates me and gives me a purpose for the week.

Happy Monday ❤️

 

All I Want For Christmas

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I am very excited to host our 3rd Annual Family Christmas party next weekend. It makes me a little homesick and reminds me of Michigan. We hosted every holiday at our home. It just made it easier for Sydney to be included.

As I prepare and clean up the house. Instantly, I started thinking that there’s not enough room in the dining room. The kitchen is so small. And the basement isn’t finished. And who wants to watch our 42 inch tv.

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Then I stopped and remembered that this is family. It doesn’t matter what I have or don’t have. All that matters is that we will be together. People will come in shifts to the party. So it really is like an open house.  I will have enough aluminum foil and that is a necessity for our family parties.

We won’t have to leave the party because it is at our house. Sydney will be relaxed and can go to bed when she is ready. Harrison and Sydney love family. So when they heard that we were hosting the party. They were eager to help.

Harrison is getting the basement ready. Since he is the babysitter whisperer for the kids. The basement actually has like a loft feel to it. Since we started cleaning it up. Who cares if it is not finished.

It will be a blessing to be surrounded by family. It is hard to believe that this will be our 5th Christmas in Delaware. Each time we gather as a family is special. We laugh, dance, eat, play games and take trips down memory lane.

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I may not have the best of everything. But we have a lot of love to share with anyone that visits our home. I have already received my Christmas gifts this year. Daddy bought me a stainless steel wine-cup and an electric wine opener. He knows the struggle is real.

The true gifts are God’s grace and mercy. Harrison earning 3 A’s and a B on his report card. He continues to make me proud. Sydney continues to try her best at school and in social settings. And I have the love of my family and friends. That’s all I really ever wanted for Christmas.

It Never Ends

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It never seems to end. Just when I think we can blend in with the rest of the world. There is always someone to remind us of autism. Recently, I went through two rough experiences with Sydney. Where I needed to advocate with grace.

I think we shocked the world when we showed up for the informational meeting for Peter Pan Jr. It was a celebration for us to just go out on a school night. Sydney also has a chorus concert in two weeks in the evening. I am mad at myself for letting others instill doubt in me about Sydney being able to participate.

I’m so tired of hearing. “I don’t know if this is the right thing for her.” “I don’t know how we can make this work.” Well guess what. Every day of my life is I don’t know.

I don’t know if she will have a seizure today. I don’t know if she will need a sensory break. I don’t know if she had a friend interact with her at school. I don’t know if she was bullied or made fun of. I don’t know if my ex husband will show up on my front door. I don’t know.

Will I let her audition next week? She knows the songs. She doesn’t want to be Peter Pan or Wendy. Should she perform in the evening concert? She performed on stage before in fifth grade, front and center. I don’t want her given a part in the play because of pity. Do I just count my blessings for all of the wonderful progress that she has achieved in one year?  Is this worth fighting?

Wednesday evening our family was recognized at the University of Delaware. A group of seniors were studying  inclusion and how it has impacted Sydney. Watching their slide show presentation and listening to our family interview was a powerful moment. I was staring at the screen thinking who is that woman speaking? She appears so calm, yet energized. It wasn’t until I was asked to speak. That I felt a lump in my throat.

As I stood before a room of students and educators. They began to ask me questions and I was in my element. I was using this opportunity to share my platform for autism awareness and inclusion. It was in that moment that I felt a tug in my spirit. One that I just can’t explain.  God gave me the words to speak. And now I ask God to guide me and give me wisdom. Tell me which battles to fight and which ones I should walk away from.

It never ends.

 

I Think My Butt’s Getting Big????????

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It was the summer of 2002. I was pregnant with Harrison. My ex and I came to Delaware for a family reunion. One of the hottest songs that summer was Nelly, “Hot in Here”. Well, that was my song.

I was dancing and singing my favorite part. “I think my butt’s getting big.” Mommy was yelling at me to sit down. She thought I was going to go into labor.

A few weeks ago we had family photos taken. It was a great day. But it is nothing like seeing yourself in pictures, to make you do a second look. Where is Photoshop when you need it?

I started thinking about my struggle with my weight. I will lose ten pounds of water and gain 15 pounds back. Spanx is a wonderful thing. But Spanx can cut off circulation and that’s not cute.

My exercise plan isn’t working out. I can’t make it to the gym in the morning. I am up at 5:00 am. But I am getting the kids ready for the bus. There isn’t enough time in between before I go to work to go to the gym.

After work, there’s appointments, and the kids and homework. To be quite honest I am too busy thinking about what to cook for dinner and going through our evening ritual. I tried working out when Sydney falls asleep. I would go for a walk or a “pretend” run.

I admit I have been stress eating. If I could just find a way to relieve the stress. Oh, I guess that is where the exercise comes in to play.
I will create a goal for myself. I will workout in my garage like Rocky. I am not trying to be a certain size. There isn’t a magic number I want to see on the scale. There are however some clothes that I would like to fit into without wearing a corset.

With the holidays near. This is my time to eat from now until New Years Day. I have decided to put more effort into me. Focus more on what bring me happiness. Not being selfish but I deserve this.

I deserve time with my children and time away from them. I deserve time to focus on finishing my book. I deserve time advocating and meeting new families on the autism journey. I deserve to be happy. And the only that holds the key to my happiness is me.

Our family photos were a wake up call for me. My children are getting older. Life is precious. And tomorrow is not promised.

 

The Three Stooges At Christmas

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If you were driving down our street yesterday. I am sure that you would have stopped to watch the show. Harrison, Sydney and I were attempting to decorate outside for Christmas.

The more we started working. The more I thought we must look like The Three Stooges to our neighbors. I just wanted to add a little life to the house outside. We began to add some garland on the porch.

Harrison was giving me updates on The Detroit Lions and I think that was causing my blood pressure to rise. Next, we decided to put out the reindeer. Well, Rudolph broke his neck according to Sydney. So his head is down. He is permanently eating grass. And the other reindeer was missing a leg.

Then we had to try to fix the leg. That was Sydney’s job and I couldn’t help but see Dr. Murphy from The Good Doctor. Her echolalia was in full swing. The leg is attached and fixed.

This is when I should be able to rent a step daddy. I am not saying women can’t decorate outside. I am saying. I do everything! And I really don’t want to be out here doing this.

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So, the kids and I are standing on the sidewalk looking at our house. Two reindeer, and a red wagon on the porch was a nice touch. It was time to set up the star shower. I think we had more fun with it inside our house than having it outside.

I look up and Sydney is walking down the street yelling. “I’m going to get a snowman.” Jesus, Syd is going to get arrested for stealing a snowman. Now, I know my neighbors are watching us and laughing.
We were a thirty minute episode of The Three Stooges. Laughing, crying, getting twisted in the extension cords, and banging the stakes in the grass was a sight to see.

But we did it as a family. That is all that matters. The star shower never came on at night. We probably broke it. Next year I am hiring a step daddy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Can’t Believe They Saw Me Cry

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I feel like I am going to be sick. This can’t be happening now. Do all parents feel like this before their child’s IEP meeting? Or is this just happening to me?

It is time to get out of the car and I am frozen. There’s no one to call for support. So I will just call on Jesus. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

With all of my strength I walked into the building. Reciting what I would say over in my head for the 15th time. The office staff is always so friendly. That calmed me down. I will just sip my water and try not to vomit in the main office.

As I head in to the meeting, this is my time to advocate for Sydney. This is my chance.

So far so good. The number of people in the room didn’t bother me. There is always a round table of people to attend her meetings. I called an emergency IEP meeting for Sydney. The details I will not share on social media. But I am so glad that I trusted my instincts. Parents of children with IEP’s, please know that it is your right to call a meeting whenever you have a concern. Don’t feel guilty about doing so.

It is warm in this room and I am wearing short sleeves. It was my turn to speak. Everything I practiced went out of the window. God gave me the words to speak. I was calm, and still felt sick.

I am a strong woman. But at that moment I was tired. Tired of fighting for Sydney. I broke down. Not a panic attack. Tears of a mother that spoke from the heart. The meeting had to be stopped. I took five minutes to pray and pull myself together. I pictured Harrison and Sydney. I thought where they are in their lives now. Is because of me and the grace of God. Then I had to do some harsh self talk to myself. “Brooke, get your ass up, pull up your big girl panties and go handle this shit.”

I walked back in the meeting. And was able to finish the meeting. We will be meeting again in January for her annual IEP. I felt some peace leaving the meeting.

It wouldn’t be until the next day that I received a phone call at work. That phone call confirmed my gut instincts. Now we are moving in the right direction. My voice matters. My child is a human being.

I may get tired. I may break down and cry. But I won’t stop advocating for my child and other students with disabilities.