Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Picture Phenomenon

When you have more than one child, you find a phenomenon.

Its called... its impossible to get the kids to cooperate in the same picture. 

And just when you think they might be starting to try...

 ...the cooperation vanishes again.

And usually, they think they are hilarious. 

And sometimes Momma puts on her stern voice...

 ...and they start to try really hard.

A little too hard, maybe. 

And if you are lucky...
You might get one decent photo out of the whole batch.
But the ones that aren't so "decent"...
Those are the ones that will really make you smile.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Partners in Policymaking

 I had the opportunity this year to spend 9 months in the Partners in Policymaking Program through the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities.  It was 9 of the best weekends I have ever had.

 One weekend each month, I traveled up to Richmond and spent Friday and Saturday working alongside other advocates and self-advocates.  We heard from people who have changed the lives of people with disabilities.  We listened to lectures from those who had learned what would and would not work.  We gave testimony before the General Assembly.  We each completed a final project (mine was teaching a class to residents at the local medical school on dealing with children with special needs). 

The final weekend involved celebration.
It was emotional.  I was not prepared for what this journey entailed, nor was I ready to see it end.
As we had our graduation ceremony, I barely held it together.
At one point, I got a giggle when the tears escaped and the young man sitting next to me with autism wasn't quite sure how to respond to such emotion.  Whoever sat the pregnant lady next to the man with autism...good thinking.  ;) 

 Ari Ne'eman, one of the founders of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, was our final speaker.
He spoke about the advances in the disability rights movement.
As he started in 1970, I was mentally transported back to my first weekend in Richmond when we learned about where this journey started, and my shock at learning that people with disabilities have only had "rights" in the past few years.  Ari asserted that people are given rights because they were once violated, and someone stood up to say "no more."  He challenged us to continue to be those people.

While I found myself battling emotion, nodding, and dreading the end of this chapter, Brooklyn much preferred to spend the graduation ceremony... in the floor.

Until she saw me being "pinned", at which time she wanted to run up to the front of the ceremony and give out hugs.  Luckily, they were well-received.

I am so thankful for the support of so many on this journey.
It was not at all what I expected.  I expected to learn about how to be a better advocate right now.
I didn't expect for my heart to be stirred at the injustices of the past.  I didn't expect to meet with influential leaders in the disability world and get to share my heart.  I didn't expect to mourn the loss of a classmate whose fragile body succumbed to sickness.  I didn't expect to make such dear friends.  

Perhaps the most unexpected thing though, showing my ignorance, was this.
I did not expect to be so inspired by people with disabilities. 
We have spent so much time in therapy meeting goals and making Brooklyn's talk, walk, etc, more normal.
I didn't expect to really like the abnormal.
I think I learned the most from the self-advocates.  
People who couldn't walk, write, or talk very well...who had Masters Degrees, good jobs, and families of their own.
People who assured me that being abnormal... is okay.  In fact, its pretty awesome.

If you have a child with a disability, or if you have a disability yourself...
You should consider applying to become a Partner in Policymaking.
It just might change your life.
I should know... it changed mine.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sentimental Thursday

Your baby blues, so full of wonder
Your curly cues, your contagious smile

As I watch, you start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight

Knowing clouds will rage and storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down, waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Story books full of fairy tales
Of kings and queens and the bluest skies

My heart is torn just knowing you'll someday see truth from lies

Castles they may crumble, dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
Because I will always, always love you

When clouds will rage and storms will race in
You will be safe in my arms

Rains will pour down, waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Not Me Monday

Every now and then, there is a Monday where things do not happen. 

You know, when you are a responsible mother, you don't forget that it is Teacher Appreciation Week and there is a project to be turned in to honor the teachers. 

Your three year old doesn't brush against a hot wood stove and get a second-degree burn.  You don't then put ice on it because that seems logical, only to find out that is exactly what you should not to.

You don't adopt a kitten who meows all. night. long.

You don't go to the store twice and still forget to get milk.

You definitely don't drink coffee at 7pm because well... you need a drink.

Not me!