Tag Archive | mom

Birthday With a Side of Autism

Yesterday I turned 35.  The day mostly went by as just another day with just a few tweaks here and there as I attempted to make it something special.  My boys were confused and largely oblivious to what day it was even though they had others who were helping them prepare for it for over a week.  They were also struggling with disconnect and excessive pent up energy from us having been snowed in for the last few days.  I have to admit, the way they finally figured out it was my birthday was because I had a meltdown of my own about their behavior and shouted out “and even on my birthday!”.  Not my proudest moment by any means, but a real one.

In a last ditch effort to salvage what was left of the day, I sent the boys off to play by themselves so I could cool down and started making myself my favorite dinner.  That’s when my mom called.  She helped me vent my frustrations as well as helped me remember to relax and look for the little things.  She then talked to the boys to try and help them calm down a bit and focus.  The day still didn’t end perfectly, but eventually the boys did finally click and they sang me “Happy Birthday” and gave me two precious birthday cards, complete with their signatures and a little message each. ❤  Then, after waiting for them to settle down again from their excitement, we settled in to play some card games and watch some Netflix together.

There was no cake, there weren’t any presents wrapped up in shiny paper and bows, and the birthday song didn’t even happen until after 11 pm…  When I look back at it all though, I see what mattered most did indeed happen.  My boys remembered me and I got to spend some special moments with them.  It was a good birthday. ❤

Bringing Back the Play

Lately, my struggles with health have seemed to take over my life in many ways.  I’ve struggled with anger, depression, frustration, and more in reaction to the changes I have been forced to make in order to compensate for it all.  Earlier this evening though, after a long day, I got a beautiful reminder of the truth of that old saying, “when God closes a door, He always opens a window“.  One of the biggest things my unstable joints and weakened health has taken from me is the ability to get down on the floor and play with my kids building legos, putting together puzzles, playing with trains, rolling around in tickle fights, playing in forts made of sheets and tables, etc.

Truth be told, I still can’t do those things like I used to, and the few times I have tried to anyway, my body quickly and severely reminded me of why I couldn’t.  I’ve tried replacing the missed fun with things that could be done at chair and table levels, like piano and coloring and watching more movies together, and with things the kids could do with other people, but both my children and I still felt the loss.  Yesterday evening though, I blissfully found myself in a position of playing and enjoying my children to the fullest, being right in the middle of their smiles and laughter and imagination again instead of having to watch from the sidelines.  No, nothing changed in regards to my health or limitations.  I was actually bed bound at the time from a headache, weak leg that kept giving out, a weak shoulder, and a problem with persistent dizziness every time I tried to sit up.

So what was different?  Perspective, and accommodation.  My children needed to clean their toys up after dumping most of their collection all over the floor.  I needed to lay down and rest but wanted to still be near them so I chose the bed in the messy room.  After a short while, the boys decided to climb up to be with me.  At first, it was just some loving cuddles and hugs and some sweet well-meaning actions like pulling the blanket up to my shoulders, brushing my hair away from my eyes like I do for them, etc.  Then David, true to his nature of seeing things in different ways than the majority, leaned in close to my face, briefly looked at my eyes before darting his gaze to my nose (eye contact is hard for him), and smiled at me.

Not just a simple, sweet, ordinary smile either.  One filled with laughter dancing at the edges and mischief hiding in the dimples.  I took his cue and reached out and bopped his nose with my finger setting off a string of giggles which ended in him climbing up to join me on the bed.  I couldn’t move much, and I couldn’t sit up, but that didn’t stop him from finding a way to play with me and we both enjoyed every second of it.  His brother, Joshua, soon joined in too once he saw what we were up to; entertaining himself with climbing up on my side and then giggling when I would roll slightly and cause him to plop back down to the bed.  David’s favorite game was seeing how close he could get before I kissed his nose or tickled his cheeks or neck. lol  When I grew too tired to continue and my headache got worse, they cuddled close to me and listened to music from the radio for while.  David even seemed to know when he needed to calm down again and simply snuggled up close, pulling the blanket over us both, and started playing with my hair.

I never got on the floor with them like old times, I barely moved, and I couldn’t even sit up, but we had a lot of fun anyway and made memories all three of us now treasure.  Last night I was reminded it’s not so much in what we can or can’t do, but in finding a way to make the most of what we can do and putting our heart into it, that make moments turn into bonding time and treasured memories.  So I can’t wrestle around on the floor with them anymore or help them build extensive forts and crawl in after them.  I can’t get down on their level and play in their world of endless trains, blocks, and other toys like I used to. It may even be a long time still before I can take them back on our favorite outings like the zoo or museum.  But thanks to one little mischievous and laughter filled smile, and my kids meeting me half way, all three of us discovered a new way to play together that brought the laughter back to it’s fullest.

The best part of it all?  What David said shortly afterward, when I recovered enough strength to move to the couch while they were watching one of their shows on the Roku…

“Mommy, I like spending time with you.”

I feel the same way about you buddy. ❤
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A Daughter’s Heart…

In a little over a week, my world is about to change. At first I tried to convince myself it wouldn’t have that big of an impact; that it wouldn’t bother me much and that I would adjust easily enough. I tried to push back the tears and bury the sense of fear that was trying to climb. Old memories came flooding back against my wishes and fought with current realities for my attention. Sadness and regret pulled on my heart… both for things in the past as well as dreams left unmet in the here and now.

Grandma comforting David

Grandma comforting David

Truth is… my world is about to change and it’s not going to be in a small way. My mother is leaving. A short time ago she lost her job in a round of layoffs after having just gotten back to work after months of medical leave. When this happened, she found herself facing a big decision. Should she stay and struggle through? Try to get her job back? Maybe a new one? Or should she move somewhere that offered her a new start and a place to stay until she was able to get back up on her feet?

She made a wise decision to choose the latter, but sadly that means she will be leaving for Oregon soon to move in with my sister and start a new life for herself half a country away. I couldn’t offer her the same kind of help as my sister. My sons and I don’t have the means or the resources to take care of her while she tries to rebuild her life. I don’t even have the power or privilege to offer her a room to stay in my home as it’s not mine… I rent under a government aid program as my own disability, and other things life has harshly dealt out, has left me in need of financial aid in order to support my two sons and myself. Where as my sister has a home of her own with a room to share, as well as the finances needed to help support my mom in her time of need.

Joshua and Grandma

Joshua and Grandma

I am happy for my mom, I truly am. This move will be good for her. I am happy for my sister and my niece too as I know they have missed her and they will be blessed to get to have her so close again. The whole thing still weighs heavily on my heart though… and it’s not just because of the impact this is having on my two sons, who live for their time with their favorite Grandma and who are already broken as they understand a little better each day that she’s going somewhere that they can’t follow… They have been left and hurt so many times by so many people they should have been able to count on and the only two people in their life that provided them any kind of stability at all have been me and their grandma… and now they are losing her as well… At least in their minds and hearts that is how this all seems.  I am trying my best to get the to understand differently though.

My mom and I don’t have the greatest past. We don’t even have the greatest present to be honest. There has been a lot of pain on both sides and a lot of scars as a result. But… she’s still my mom and my heart still breaks at the idea of saying goodbye. Especially since just in the last couple of months we have finally had some talks that have brought so much understanding and healing.

David and Grandma at play

David and Grandma at play

She also has been a staple in my life from before I can even remember.  Being one that craved independence I admit that I hated having to need her so much, but all the same I was still grateful to have her help when she could. She even helped me take care of my oldest, David, after he was first born and I was so sick and weak I could barely move. What I treasure most about that situation though was that she loved me and David enough to not try and take my place either even though the situation would have made that a very easy thing to do. Instead, she helped me be there for David and filled in the gaps where I physically was unable to. As a result, even though I was chronically and seriously ill, I was still able to be blessed with the special and irreplaceable time of bonding with my son, and David was double blessed by being able to have that time with two people that loved him unconditionally with all of their hearts. My mom and David have always had an inseparable bond between them as a result too. One that was at a level most grandmas and grandsons don’t get to treasure together. ❤

David and Grandma playing in the snow

David and Grandma playing in the snow

I have other memories of when my mom stepped forward in my times of need too. In fact, as I look back at my life, for every scar formed and every moment of pain, I can more than balance it out with separate memories of love, encouragement, and support. Our lives and relationship may not have been perfect, but I know she loves me as much as I love her and that we both did our best and will continue to do so. I may not have always been able to see this truth, but I do now and it’s what I am clinging to right now as I watch my mom pack up her things and get ready for her move.

I am going to miss her… the tears are flowing already even as I write this and she’s not even gone yet…

I know we will have phone calls and letters and the occasional vacation/visit, but it won’t be the same. And as much as my heart yearns to pack up and follow her, I know I can’t do that for a number of different reasons.

L to R: Me, David, Joshua, my mom

L to R: Me, David, Joshua, my mom

I am going to miss her help and support. My life will get notably more difficult without her here to help with the boys or help fill in the gaps when my health fails me like it tends to still do from time to time. But none of that is what I am going to miss the most… what I will miss the most is the friendship that we were finally starting to solidify. One that has been in the works for a long time and has seen some major ups and downs, but has finally gotten some much needed boosts recently that I don’t think either one of us expected or even realized we needed until they happened.

David and Grandma at the art show

David and Grandma at the art show

In a little more than a week I will be losing more than just a member of my family… I will be losing more than a mom, or even a grandma to my boys… I will be losing a woman who was becoming my best friend and who has been my most trusted confidant for a long time. Given all our hardships, my mom still knows more about me, my heart, and what makes me tick, than anyone else ever will. And a lot of that has become true in just the last few years…

It is with a heavy heart that I offer my sincerest well wishes and blessings to my mom on this new chapter in her life. And with tears, I say my goodbyes but also pray that she finds happiness in this new adventure.

And mom? If you are reading this, please know that you have my heart and always will. I love you, I’ll miss you, and I wish you God’s best in this new journey of yours. ((hugs)) Keep in touch ❤

So much more…

Me with my youngest, Joshua

Me with my youngest, Joshua

Hi, my name is Cindi.  I am David’s mom whom you may or may not know from our main blog over at An Autism Diary: A day in the life of David Hartley.  My son has been severely affected by Autism and we have embarked on a journey to help get him a service dog as well as to spread a better understanding of Autism and, as a result, more compassion for those living with it.

My life isn’t all Autism though. Granted, Autism takes up a pretty big chunk most of the time, but it’s not all there is to be seen or heard.  Here I hope to share the other side of me.  Yes, Autism will inevitably be included I am sure, but it won’t be our main theme.  Here, I am not just “David’s mom” or the “DogForDavid” writer.  Here, I am Cindi.  About to turn 31, single mother of two (yes, I said two 🙂 ) little boys, with my own sets of challenges, dreams, inspirations, hobbies, and interests.  I love to laugh, sing, write, read, listen to music, and work on crafts.  I am slowly learning how to cook more things and burn less dinners and I enjoy baking up our favorite desserts with my sons (even if they start out in boxes or cans 😉 lol).

I am not a super mom by any means.  I have no super powers to help me get through the challenges, or super strength to help me get through the days.  I get tired and cranky.  I’ve been known to lose my temper and beg for breaks.  I get lonely on some days, and other days I wish I could just find some time for myself.  My house is not always in perfect condition no matter how hard I try and no, not everything is color coordinated with everything else.

I do have a whole lot of love though to share, and between my faith and my sons, I am blessed with many reminders and challenges to keep growing.  I also have a good sense of humor, which I use a lot to help me get through the rough patches here and there.   I enjoy a good hearty laugh just as much as I can enjoy a quiet night down by the river or listening to my favorite music on cds or the radio. : )

Through this blog, my goal is to let a little more of me shine through.   This is my place to go and just be myself.  No themes to stick to, no schedules to keep, no goals to make.  Here I get to be just another blogger with a desire to write and share.  Thank-you for joining me on this journey. : )