Birthday Reflections

For those of you who have been reading my blog over the last several years, you know that I tend to write a reflections type post near my birthday…..what I have learned, where I would like to go, etc.  This year I have hit a numeric milestone (as many consider multiples of 5 “milestones”).  Additionally, my birthday happened to fall the day before Yom Kippor when, as a Jew, my designated time of reflection is coming to an end.  So I thought I would put some of my recognitions on my blog, making them public and making them more concrete.


I am now 45 years old.  I am a happily married wife, mother of 3 amazing kids, have a frustratingly annoying but incredibly lovable dog, I live in an area where I feel happy and safe in a home I own with my family… really is good.  I have the freedom to do much of what I want and explore endless possibilities.  I smile and am happy most days, worry about my children nearly every day, and look forward to the new adventures of tomorrow.  I spend too much time sitting around and doing nothing productive and try to find ways to avoid doing the things that I know must be done (like almost everyone I know).


I think the biggest thing I need to work on while I’m 45 is to find my organization again.  I know I’ve been saying that for a while, but this time I really mean it (again).  My house needs some serious work, both in terms of cleanliness and repair.  There are some major household projects that we would like to take on, but we feel we can’t until we get some other things under control.  We are planning a big trip to Mexico in about 5 months and we need to plan how to help Simon maneuver new experiences so he (and the rest of us) can enjoy the adventures.


What does that mean?  It means living by the calendar.  It means making my infamous detailed to-do lists again.  It means keeping my promises to myself and to others.  It means making more of an effort to be there for others.  It means knowing when it’s time to say “No” when asked to be a volunteer for something or knowing that this is my opportunity to jump in with both feet.  It means not feeling guilty when I know I’ve done my best, even if I have not been successful on the outside.  It means recognizing that the effort is always worth at least as much as the result.  It means setting realistic expectations.  It means recognizing when my “realistic” expectations are anything but realistic.


Most important, it means taking time.  Taking time to be a better mother…..a better wife…..a better friend……a better Jew……a better person……a better me.


And that’s exactly what I’m going to try to do!


Remembering How Hard It Can Be

There is a post today on SPD Blogger Network written by a South African Mom talking about her concerns about needing to raise her twin boys differently because of the issues that they face (one has SPD [and a few other issues] where the other does not).

As I read this post, I was transported in time.  I was remembering visiting preschool programs for Ballerina and Music Man.  I was remembering driving around in the car because as I visited these programs, I knew they would be placed in different places because I knew that no one school would best suit their individual needs.  But, in my heart, that wasn’t what I wanted for them.  I wanted them to be together.  In my heart, I knew that they needed to be together even though my brain was telling me that I needed to consider their individual needs first.  I remember crying every time I thought if it, how I was going to have to face the fact that one would be going to Program A and the other to Program B.

And I remember those meetings.  I remember at the end of Ballerina’s meeting making the decision to send her to the program called CAPP, which was definitely the best placement for her.  But instead of thinking that, it was that final nail in the coffin — they weren’t going to be together because CAPP was a BAD choice for Music Man.  I remember taking a 10-15 break between the two meetings and going over to an observation area and watching them both in their classroom, trying to pull it all together.  And I remember starting Music Man’s meeting when they were enumerating all of the reasons why we needed an IEP (I realize this is a part of the process, especially in an initial IEP meeting, and they weren’t pulling out things that we didn’t already know), and I remember them asking me at the end of this if I needed a moment.  They thought I was upset about all the reasons for Music Man’s IEP.  But that wasn’t the case.  It was the reality of Ballerina’s placement and the consequence of separating these two that was making me struggle to hold it together.  And I remember not being able to fully pay attention throughout his meeting because I just couldn’t deal with it.

I cried about it that day and night.  By the morning I thought I was all right.  We had made the best decision for each of them.  They were going into programs that would address their weaknesses in ways that played to their strengths.  And for Ballerina and Music Man, they were different areas and different strategies.  And I remember talking to the other parents about the whole IEP experience (since their initial meetings were upcoming).  And I was doing a good job holding it together.  It wasn’t much of a struggle.  And I’m giving myself a mental pat on the back……I’m getting over my emotional hang-up and am ready to do what I know is the right thing.  But then, when I put Ballerina and Music Man into the car, it all came flooding out.  It was like I was back at the beginning.  Separating them was WRONG!

I also remember calling our case worker that afternoon while the twins were napping and Big Brother was having his “Quiet Time” (for he no longer napped).  I remember asking her when (and if) this would ever get easier.  And she pointed out to me that I knew what the right answer was, I just wasn’t ready for it.  Eventually, the two would come together.  She couldn’t tell me when, but I knew she was right.  And, I also knew that if things weren’t working out, we could look into making a change.

I’m not sure when it happened…..when it became all right that they were in different schools and different programs.  But eventually, it was all right.  That didn’t change the fact that I was grateful that they are now in the same school, and I’m sure that the togetherness is part of what I was trying to achieve.  But I stopped looking at them as a unit together when it came to their IEPs and allowed myself to separate them into the two unique individuals that they are.

Don’t get me wrong…..losing that dream of them being together for so long hurt, and it still does from time to time.  But I see their individual growth, and I know that this was one of the times where my heart was wrong and my head was right.  My dreams for them are my own.  I need to give them a chance to realize their own dreams and those may be with our without the other.

My babies aren’t babies anymore.  They are growing up.  And they are becoming amazing people.