Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Trail Blazer

This kid.

He is so adventurous!

Last night we went to have pizza at a friend's outdoor pizza oven (so sweet, man!). Brady P was cool with chatting for a bit and eating some snacks, but then he got antsy.

"Mummy, let's go for a walk!"

We were at the end of a driveway in the woods. Next to a lake. Lake Lily, in fact!

So I followed him while he found a trail through the bushes.

"Mummy, let's take the trail!" he shouted with ambition. I followed dutifully and confidently.

"Uh-oh," he said when we got to the end. "Let's turn around!"

"Okay, this way, Mummy!" he informed me as we took the way we didn't take the last time. 

Fearlessly walking the planks

He even descended all the stairs to the dock, and we looked around at the lake for a bit. But not long... he had places to go!

"Okay, Mummy, let's go up. I'll do it by myself."

What a strong boy, back up all those stairs! All by himself.

He is really fun to walk behind. I like to hear him talk about what he sees in the woods and which way we should go and how he feels when a trail ends.

After he learns the intersections, he likes to take them over and over again to test his sense of direction and see if he remembers where each one goes.

This is also really fun for me to observe. I love watching his brain work, and I am impressed because I don't think I was like that as a kid.

To him, though, each unknown direction is a chance for discovery. Each intersection is a decision to make. Each dead end is a chance to backtrack and start again.

I love following my fearless leader. I'm so proud of him, and I'm excited to see where more of our journeys will lead us.

Will you go some place new today?

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Miracle Worker

Remember last school year when we found and aide for Brady P? 

I have not praised her enough to you yet.

This post is a shout out to her.

Braeden calls her "Miss Whiz."

Miss Whiz and P. Pie

Miss Whiz devotes her time with him to the absolute highest standard. Each time she sees room for improvement, she takes it. When she sees it's time for a change, she makes it.

She doesn't just view her position as a job, she uses it as an opportunity to help improve somebody's life.

And she is nailing it.

Let me tell you, though -- her efforts don't just change his life, they (in a HUGE way) change mine.

I can just be a mom. (Haha. Like being a mom is simple at any capacity!)

I didn't know that was possible for me before she came along. I was used to being his everything.* 

I tried to carry out all his therapies at a somewhat large magnitude. I am not really a therapist, so I expended much more energy than I would have if I could have done those things efficiently.

Miss Whiz does them efficiently.

She is a therapist.

She has made giant strides with him in all areas while I have been able to take a giant step back.

I no longer have to focus on how his fingers are positioned on the pencil as he makes each letter of the alphabet; I can just have him sign his name in somebody's birthday card. I don't have to worry about how many times he can hop on his left foot; I just make sure we get out for a hike together. I don't have to sit in front of a mirror with him to show him how to position his lips and tongue in order to make a specific sound; I can just make up a silly song with that letter in it and have him sing it with me.

Do you understand this change? His therapists spearhead the target areas, Liz puts them into daily action according to his IEP and I get to supplement them while we have fun.

I also get to be amazed at how far he progresses without me having to be there to prod him every step of the way.

That is nothing short of a miracle.

This summer Miss Whiz worked really hard on biking with him. (As a caveat, I will say that this is a bit of an ego-crusher for me because I am a certified mountain bike instructor... But to teach a small child how to balance on a bike??? I'm at a loss!)

Liz puts the effort in. She does her research. She finds resources to get him just what he needs in order to succeed. She even got him cool dinosaur pads because she believes in preparedness and safety. And she is just awesome.

Yesterday during school, she took some videos of him doing one of the things they tried to do all summer: pick his feet up and coast down a hill.

I am so proud of both of them for their perseverance. I have shed several tears while writing this post as I think back on how much things have changed.

They are quite the team!

Here is that video for you to enjoy. I still can't believe he's coasting down the hill like that! My heart bursts.

I hope you have something to be proud of today too!

* This note refers to the above comment stating how I used to have to be his "everything." Nobody could or should be somebody else's everything. And in all honesty, we have great support from family, friends and community. I would never discount that. I am grateful. We also would not be where we are without all those fine people.

But as the nearly full-time guardian of this little person during the school year (and looooong winters), I sometimes feel like I am doing everything for someone else to the point that I don't have a life of my own. That has been quite difficult over the years, so this contrast shows me how this is a miracle.

Even some of those helpful family members have felt a relief as Liz has entered our lives.

I got the opportunity to let go of some of the reigns and regain a connection with myself. I get to just be Amanda more than I could before.

So again, thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with us and shown support. And thank you to Miss Whiz for helping our dreams come true. We are all truly blessed!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Conquering Hills


Here's a little video from one of our sick walks. So pardon our voices!

On a note of translation, he says, "We did it." 

Then, "Oh no! It's a big hill again!" 

Then, at the top of the next hill, "Ooh. We did it, Mummy."

I am always so proud of how he can recognize an obstacle and muster up the strength to conquer it.

What a little man.

Take care of yourself!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Choosing to Prevail

Well, hello there!

Life sure is interesting, hey?

Yeah. Yeah, it is.

But it is what we make of it.

For the last several weeks, I have been choosing to prevail. No matter what the situation, I choose to prevail with love in my heart.

Do you know what happens when you do that?

You come out with more than you could have expected. You find more meaning in life. You have gratitude every day.

For instance, Brady P goes to his dad's house on weekends in the summer time. Those weekends are my chance to be Amanda -- whatever that means for me that particular weekend.  Whatever I want to do or clean or paint or fix or see.

It really helps keep me balanced.

Last Wednesday night, Brady P came down with a fever. Yikes! I asked the neighbors and other families if they had experienced anything similar lately, and the consensus was, yes, a 24-hour tummy bug.

So he was still fevering on Thursday, and since Aaron has a wife and small child, it was not fitting for Brady P to enter their home until things were settled.

We worked it out so that I would keep him for the weekend.

MY weekend!

At first I was really bummed, and thought, "this isn't fair!"

But it was the right thing to do, so it didn't matter if I thought it was fair or not. That's life. Do the right thing, gosh darn it!

As I let that idea settle, I really became okay with it. We spent the whole weekend together and now the first week without school because he still has a cough (not Covid, at least!).

So here I am, taking care of this little boy for much longer than I thought with all my plans foiling while I got sick too.

Do you want to know what?

We had a great time!

We had so much fun together going for walks, being zombies, playing new games, playing in the yard and just plain being present with each other.

Instead of being bitter about my situation, I embraced it. When I am at peace, he is at peace, and we really enjoy each other's company. We laugh and do goofy things and learn and dance and eat good food and cheers our drinks and snuggle and just enjoy life the way it was meant to be.

I am grateful.

So, this potentially "ruined" weekend turned out to be a real growing moment for us. My conscious attitude shift was key.

And of course, my determination to prevail has been quite helpful as well.

Because when you choose to prevail with love in your heart and the best of intentions, you prevail. And when you keep doing that, you realize that there is no better way to live.

At least that's where I'm at. Maybe you already choose that path. If so, we will probably meet up on it. Cheers!

This is the face before the Zombie comes out!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Key to Our Hearts

The other day, B and I were at a friend's big 4-0 birthday party.  It was mostly adults with a couple other kiddos running around, but the focus was on the adults.

Except for mine because I was in charge of Brady P. My focus is always stuck on him when I am in charge.

Cuz he's fast.

And I am probably a bit overly-dedicated.

But this was a really wonderful group of people, and the more I looked around at the happenings, the more I noticed how much other people focus on him as well.

For instance, Auntie Abbie brought him a plate of snacks when she saw him lazing out on the couch. I was so grateful for her thoughtfulness.

Most people notice when he flees the scene, and they'll either run after him or shout, "There he goes!"

That helps me relax a bit in social settings. For that, I am also grateful.

Then there was this special moment when Brady P. got to bring the birthday girl her cake while we sang. The look on her face as she noticed what was going on really struck my heart. It was as if she was honored that he was the one bringing her cake (even though he really wanted to eat it!)

They sat next to each other and ate cake and ice cream. The people around interacted with him verbally, and laughed at his shenanigans.

It warms my heart to see him interacting this way because I no longer have to be the translator all the time. He can converse. People can ask him the questions, not me.

As the people around him laughed at his antics while he indulged in his favorite part of a birthday party, the birthday girl looked over at him and said, "I'm so glad to know you, Brady."

She said a couple other sweet things too that I can't remember well enough to quote because I was just so stricken with pride.

I guess pride would be the word, but it's me being proud of him.

Then we watched as he put his hand on her cheek and looked up at her sweet face and told her he loved her.

I teared up.

I think she did too.

It is such an enchanting experience to be the mother of someone who makes people smile and warms people's hearts and souls.

It overwhelms me to see how much love and energy people put back into this little boy based on the love they feel from him. It is proof that love can break the mold, love can heal people's hearts and love will help us help the world.

Brady P holds the key. Is your heart ready?

He can even charm reptiles