The Best Reads To Help You Reset This Summer

 

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My Heart Can't Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love and Down Syndrome by Amy Silverman, Journalist, blogger, NPR Contributor, and friend.  

Why I wanted this book: It is rare that I get to spend quality time with a mom who" gets it ". On this journey of parenting, there are moments of grace, wonder, shame, and moments of inspiration  I just knew Amy would hold nothing back.

How did this book make me feel?  This book made me feel connected and left me nodding my head in agreement, a lot. I have lived the anguish of doctors offices and waiting rooms felt the same frustrations and celebrated the same tiny moment celebrations. This book left me feeling renewed and connected like I would after a long chat with a best friend. I am hopeful, encouraged and believe more than ever that persistence is vital and necessary and we all can make a change. 

My favorite parts of this book: I loved the theme of constant vulnerability... From the first chapter... " How was Sophie going to fit into the world? Not just my world and our family's world, but society in general? and later on when she wrote  " I knew I was supposed to fit into this new role as a parent to a kid with a disability, but I didn't know how to do that. Those moms were harried but tender, stoic, and knowledgeable.... " 

My investment in this book was.. well spent. And here I mean the more precious value of time. Being immersed in Amy's story is a place I will want to go to, again and again, knowing I will feel inspired, encouraged and as if I really belong.

Present Over Perfect; Leaving Behind Frantic For A Simpler , More Soulful Way of Living  by Shauna Niequist

Why I wanted this book: Who doesn't need more simple or soulful moments in their life?  More time, more peace, more joy? Sign me up.

How did this book make me feel? It began with gentle taunting. From my desk ( Awesome! New book to read) to the dresser ( remember to read soon) finally landing on my nightstand ( the " am reading" stack) and finished poolside on a family staycation. Reading this here and there filled me with content and validation. Feeling better about the way I savor family-only time, less guilty about the way I say no, and stronger about decisions I  make on behalf of my daughter, wanting her to live a balanced, happy life. This book left me feeling secure about the choices I make now and the choices I will make in the future. Reading this book was like taking a nap on a weekend. Necessary, justifiable and refreshing, when I finished this book I felt energized.  

My favorite parts of this book: The connection I felt to the author throughout this book. Beginning with .. " I fake-rested instead of real-rested ... It feels ludicrous to be a grown woman, a mother, still learning how to rest. But here I am, baby-stepping to learn something kids know intuitively." And from the chapter called Tunnels, " I've always had a crazy brain- a mind that runs and spins, that remembers obscure details and whirs in the middle of the night" something I can totally relate to. But it was this that left my heart full " People matter more to me than ever... Giving more focused time to the people I love... deeply connected. But people -as in What People Think, that nameless, faceless swamp of opinions- has less to say to me now than it ever has. And the freedom of that is astounding." 

My investment in this book was.. totally well-spent x2. I have the audio version from audible.com to listen to in the car and at home in the kitchen. It is a great listen when I need some reinforcement to slow down. The book itself still rests on my nightstand, a nightly reminder to refocus when needed. 

 

 

 


A Mother's Day Letter For A Special Needs Mom

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This Mother's Day there will be many Moms of special needs kids,  who don't receive handmade notes or home crafted, crayon colored cards. These moms mother for a smile or a tender touch, they mother because this is simply what Moms do.

I wrote this letter years ago, before my girl had the words to tell me how she feels. I wrote this years ago before my girl was, what she is today. I wrote the words I know I needed and hoped to share with others. 

Please share this with a Special Needs Mom you know, , whose child is unable to write or say the words she may long to hear. 

 

Dear Mom,

Even without my words you always know what I need. 

When I am hurting or afraid, frustrated or weary, you gather me home into the safety of your arms. 

You know what makes me smile, and fills my face with light.

You make my heart full with happiness when you sing my favorite song,  and sweep the softness of my favorite blanket, across the curve of my cheek.

And when you take me for walks and I feel the warmth of the sun , the cool breeze brushing by my skin , with you by my side.  

You ignore the words of others, telling you what I cannot do- and then fill the hours of every day telling me what I can.

Every day you see other kids -  doing more, still  you choose to celebrate me.

Pushing away sadness, you focus on the hope of my future , you let my small simple steps, lead us forward. 

Never standing still, always in motion- You move before me , your planning-  protective and positive, prepares me for success- meeting new people, and new everyday challenges. 

..and Mom, in case I ever go- before I can whisper my words of thanks, or wrap my arms around you.

Know what I know-that before you someday soothe me into heaven's sleep.

With you, I live the fullest life and I see the world, through your understanding eyes.

And with your gentle touch you fill my life to overflowing, with the greatest kind of love. 

Written by Suzanne Perryman, www.SpecialNeedsMom.com

 

 


You And Me And The Space That Will Come Between Us... on Mamalode

 

Thanks to Mamalode for featuring this piece. 

 

 

 

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Your flip flop flies past me from the back of the car, bouncing off the dashboard and onto the car floor. I keep my eyes focused on the road. You are emptying yourself now into the space that is between us. Filling it with all of your 8-year old frustration and fear. I do my best to console and calm you as we drive home. We are both so tired.

The first time I put you into my car, I tucked all four pounds of you into a rear facing car seat and crept along the road with great caution and care, looking to protect you from all the dangers I could not see.

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Fixer Upper Inspired Fairy Garden Fun

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My daughter Zoe's birthday arrives with the warm weather season, so I am always looking for creative ways to bring the fun outside in the sun. Since Joanna Gaines farmhouse style is so popular now, garden accents are easily found as home decor accessories and many craft stores are even carrying Fairy Garden collections that are perfect for an easy weekend hands-on garden project.

I chose to create a patio garden that is easy to reach, and fun to maintain, filling it with fun, pink treasures, boxes of glitter, a waterfall and pond, animal statuaries and fairies that would interest Zoe. Flowers will be the finishing touch in this garden, to be added around the border, but we will do that together next week. For now, check out her fun fairy garden!

 

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5 Things High School Freshman Want Their Parents To Understand

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A few weeks ago, on a recent summer afternoon, my girls and I escaped the heat by heading to our local movie theatre. As we stood waiting in line at the snack counter, my soon to be freshman took hold of her younger sister’s wheelchair, took the movie tickets from my hand, and called over her shoulder “ I got Zoe, Mom, we’ll go grab our seats”

Zoe smiled and waved while I stood stunned, watching my oldest daughter making her way to the theatre, pushing Zoe, weaving through the crowds with confidence. Once she reached our theatre, I could imagine her carefully helping Zoe out of her wheelchair and into her seat. I knew Zoe was thrilled, and I was too-This was my girl, doing what she was supposed to do-growing up and letting me know that she is ready for more.

We spent a lot of time together, sharing this summer of anticipation-that would be forever marked by her transition into high school . These are just some of the things she taught me.

1. I want you to expect more from me, and then remind me I can do it. High school teachers already know this truth, and that is why they come on so strong the first week of school, so parents, be ready. Do our teens get overwhelmed? Sure, especially when everything is new and expectations are higher. Our teens are ready for more, but that doesn’t mean they have the confidence to match. Create opportunities to build confidence, pointing out small successes whenever possible.

2. I need to stay socially connected, so don’t take my phone away. Teens experience a huge social shift as they start high school. Some friendships fade with the transition to a new school, and new classes and clubs that can leave teens feeling vulnerable and disconnected until they settle in. In our home iPhones are placed on the kitchen charger at bedtime, and the rest of the time we all try to follow basic phone use etiquette. It’s tempting to take the phone away as a form of discipline, but that’s how she connects to her peers, and teens have a strong need for connection.

3. There are big things happening in the world, and I still need to talk about them. Most teens today get their news, both current events and pop culture, through the digital stream of Twitter, Instagram and Tumbler. We still watch the news together and share a daily paper, but most breaking news my daughter sees first online and sometimes when she’s alone. It’s important to discuss the big topics-especially the biggest, most violent, sensitive and provocative issues in person,to make sure teens have a true sense of understanding and that you have addressed any concerns that may be troubling to them. ( Think ISIS, Ferguson, Ebola and yes, even 50 Shades of Grey.)

4. I still want to hang out with my family sometimes, even if I don't act like it. Just because your teen looks so comfy just hanging out in her room, doesn’t mean she wants to be alone. In fact, it gets lonely. Our family time isn’t always about going out to dinner or shopping, we do a lot of kitchen table game time, movie time at home or we hangout together in the pool. Once you get past the initial resistance, laughter and good family fun will follow. Eventually, the resistance falls away.

5. Your hugs, your touch can still make me feel better. Let’s face it, life is busy, sometimes family schedules can conflict and so much communication today takes place via technology. Our teens are walking around in these adult bodies and sometimes we forget that they are still forging their way, trying to figure out how to de-stress and carry on conversations IRL and teens are often touch deprived. When was the last time you hugged your teen, snuggled for just a moment together on the couch or even held hands? Begin slowly, reintroducing affection to your daily routine,-it is one of the fastest way to reduce stress and boost both physical and emotional health.

It is late when I enter my daughters room after bedtime. I sit, listening to her talk about her day. Eventually I lay my head onto her extra pillow . It is hesitation I hear at first, and then her voice grows stronger and then smoother. High school is hard, but she is finding her way.

Her hand reaches for mine, and our fingers find their familiar places as they wrap around each other. We lay connected as her breathing slows.

I close my own eyes, remembering my once-little girl, with her copper color curls that would fly as she ran. The way she hid behind my legs, on the school sidewalk at the start of kindergarten.

We do all we can to prepare our kids for adulthood, pushing them out into the world-when really we want to pull them back in , for just a little longer. We prepare them to go out on their own-hoping still- they will keep us close.

Her fingers are still tightly wound around mine, so I don’t move. I I know that years from now, she will be gone, finding her way in the world with her confidence in full bloom, and it will be this moment I will miss- the simple joy of being the lucky one - to hold her hand late into the dark of night.