Thursday, January 23, 2014

The works of God made manifest...

Growing up I never imagined that I would have 2 children with special needs. I always envisioned my "perfect" little family: very well behaved children, immaculate home, adorable children, lots of laughing and fun, and most especially love. And honestly I felt like I deserved that family. I was a "perfect" child. I never gave my parents grief: I was obedient, well-behaved, loving, and kind. So for some reason I thought I should have gotten what I wanted. I have struggled and been at times quite angry that I didn't get that family. I at times have felt like God was punishing me by giving me children with special needs. I have since come around and realized that all those feelings were "false beliefs" (something I think and believe in my head, but it just is downright false). 

One day I was crying on the phone to my sister about these very struggles and thoughts that I was just talking about. And she told me about a man that she had just met the other night at a dinner. He was an older gentleman who had several children (8 I think, I can't remember) and every one of them has some sort of special need or disability. He told her that yes life was challenging and difficult but every single one of his children was a blessing from God. He said that when he looks at his children he thinks of a scriptural story from the Bible. 

It is in John 9: 1 - 3 

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

He said to my sister, we weren't given these children with special needs because we sinned, or as some kind of punishment. They have come here to earth so that the works of God could be made manifest through them.

When she told me that, it helped me so much. These children who come to this earth that are "different" are very special. They aren't easy all the time but they help so many people around them. I have sat and thought about it and I think that there are more children coming to this earth with special needs because this world is becoming such a ME world. And having all these kids with special needs almost forces people to think about and serve others who can't do everything for themselves. And THAT is a work of God. 

Here are 2 YouTube videos that demonstrate my point exactly. 

God isn't punishing me by giving me two special needs children. He has entrusted them to me and is giving me the privilege of seeing His works being manifest through my boys to all those who they come in contact with.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My little heroes

I always talk on this blog about my two children with special needs, because that is what this blog is about. However, there are two people that I hardly ever mention that are a HUGE part as to why I can get through the day most days and who are the silent heroes in my life.  They are Emma (10) and Jacob (8) older "normal" children.  

They are superstars as far as I am concerned. They are so loving and patient with their little brothers (they do get their moments of frustrations but they are amazing).  Emma tries to play with the boys or tries to help them calm down if they are having a meltdown and gives them lots of love.  Jacob is much bigger than his little brothers and could very easily beat them up or push them to the ground, but he is always so patient with them and when they hit him or push him around he just takes it and never retaliates. It amazes me how great these two kids are.  

Matthew "using" Emma as part of his play while she just keeps on patiently reading a book. 

There for Matthew when he needs help or a hug.

Not only are they amazing siblings but they are wonderful children for me and Eric. They are usually pretty obedient and good listeners, they are very helpful, and they are VERY patient and forgiving of us. We sometimes have a short fuse and we snap at them when they really didn't do much. We realize it and apologize for it and they always just wrap their arms around us and tell us that they love us and that we are the best parents ever.  They say sometimes, "it's okay mom we know that you've had a rough day with Matthew and Andrew." Such compassion and understanding is just so helpful and wonderful.

I really am truly blessed to have these two on my team!

Andrew and Jacob working on a pumpkin together.
Jacob being Matthew's "horse" around the house.

Playing together on the trampoline

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Out in public! Yikes!

One of the hardest things to do with Andrew and Matthew is go out in public with them. If I can I try and avoid it. But at the same time I tell myself, "they need to learn sometime." So I usually try and go out in public with them with AT LEAST one other adult. 

I can't even tell you how many times I have gotten stares or looks when the boys have been loud, have hit, thrown a fit, or been uncontrollable. I often wonder: "What are they thinking?" or "They probably think I am a terrible parent and can't get my kid under control!" It makes me want to just leave everything and run home and hide...hide away from the world.

One recent experience: My mom and I were out shopping and we went to a "Subway" type shop inside the grocery store. I forgot Andrew's snacks and drink in the car so I left Andrew with my mom in line while I went out to the car. When I came back Andrew was in full fit mode: screaming, hitting, and arching his back trying to get free of the cart! I ran up and tried to calm him down, the result was getting hit several times. I eventually got him calmed down. But there were definitely people staring at us. When my mom bought her lunch he starting throwing a fit again and the cashier was sweet and said, "Oh he must be tired or hungry! Poor guy!" but I saw the person behind them and he didn't look as sympathetic. While we were eating my mom turned to me and said, "Wow! People really do stare don't they! This is hard." I just shrugged my shoulders and said, "yeah, I'm getting used to it." But we did acknowledge the nice cashier.

I was looking for a video for a different post that I am putting together and I found this one. It is from the What would you do? TV show. And it addresses just this very thing. It amazes me the reactions of the people. I'm glad that there is tolerance and acceptance out there. I don't always feel it, maybe it's in my head, or maybe it actually exists. 

Eric and I finally decided that we are going to start to live more and stop revolving our lives around not disrupting others around us. So we took the kids out to the movies to see Frozen. We thought this would be a great movie to go see and we thought they would love the big screen and everything. I came prepared with Andrew's favorite blanket, some snacks, and the iPad. The one thing I didn't realize that Andrew was going to want and we didn't have was POPCORN!  Looking back Eric or I should have just gotten up and gotten some, but we didn't. The lady in front of us had popcorn and when she was done and put it down on the seat next to her, there was no stopping Andrew from trying to get it. He wasn't bad and he didn't throw a fit, but he was relentless. It was kind of funny looking back but we decided that maybe we should wait a few more years to go to the movies with him. The lady who had the popcorn kept on looking back at Andrew and at us, but never said anything and we didn't either. But Matthew was perfect and LOVED the movie. The favorite thing about that movie was looking over at Matthew's face and seeing it light up and hearing his laugh!

Going out is definitely a struggle but we have learned a few things:  come prepared with toys, iPad, snacks, and special blankets, and to understand that the experience probably isn't going to be great or wonderful, but at least we are going out as a family. In time I have to believe that it will get better, probably never perfect, but better.