1. Children are like airlines tickets: No refunds. 2. Children are like lawyers: Anything I say, can and will be used against me. 3. Children are like the mafia: They have ways of making you work for them. Sometimes it will be unpleasant. Except that "going to the mattresses" rarely means "a nap for Mom". 4. Because of children, I developed bionic hearing. I can hear my child's cry or laugh six aisles over in a grocery store. And my ear drums have a direct connection to my heart. 5. I never thought I could stay up a full 24 or 36 hours without sleep, Motherhood has proved that I can.
6. The best sunrises of my life have come after a long sleepless night with a sick baby on my chest. 7. Don't let my mouth make promises, my butt can't keep. 8. Desitin cream isn't for diaper rash only--it's also great for Halloween make-up: vampires, oompa loompas, ghosts and clown make-up. Kids can apply it by themselves. In April, right after you dress them up in their holiday best for family pictures. 9. I'm grateful that Pinterest was not around when I was a young mom. Only older moms may appreciate that statement. 10. Old School VCR's hold more than Video cassettes: cheese, pizza, toast, slices of roast beef, bologna, socks, and legos also fit perfectly well. 11. It's OK if my child wants to wear the same clothing item every day for two weeks or more. If CPS comes over, I can show them my kids' closet and dresser drawers full of clothing that my child refuses to wear. 12. Macaroni and Cheese can be a whole meal. 13. Cheerios. Best cereal on the planet:
14. Teenage young men and young women can multi-task better than most adults--when they're motivated. 15. Just like our Golden Retriever and Black Lab--my kids are happiest when they are worn out from playing outside. 16. Video games do not make children smarter, happier, or healthier. 17. It is possible to get pink Pepto-Bismol out of the carpet in a vomit-fest, but not Sweet n Sour sauce.
18. Dad's Northface windjacket hood can hold 3 cups of a 3 yr old's vomit. 19. Being picked up from school in the middle of the day is a Miracle-cure for stomach aches. 20. Boys are NOT easier than girls to raise--different, but not easier. 21. Teenage young men eat as much as three grown men, only faster. See "17 Again": 22. This commercial from 1986 is still relevant today:
23. I'm a Happier Mom when I get enough sleep. Best advice I ever got as a new mom was to sleep when baby sleeps. 24. Noone likes a cranky Mom. 25. Yelling is not an effective way to discipline children. It's annoying. And it's not pretty. It can age you and the side-effects are ugly too. 26. Dancing in the Kitchen is a great family tradition. 27. A sense of humor has saved many meals, many owies, hurts, and relationships.The sound of laughter is the best sound in the house. 28. Loving unconditionally is worth whatever it costs. It should not be confused with co-dependency though. 29. I have acquired the ability to love and forgive my self, which has enabled me to love and forgive my children. This is a gift. 30. My best moments are when my children do good for themselves and others.
I drove the thirty minutes south to pick him up.
He was so excited to see me,
he wet his pants before I got there
and was in the shower when I rang the bell.
I visited with his HHPs during the shower time.
They didn't know him when he was higher functioning...
and it was hard to even talk about how much my son has deteriorated
these past two years.
He used to play soccer, baseball, volleyball, basketball, bocci ball, bowling, track and field, snowshoeing and swimming in the Special Olympics--
we have boxes of medals won from those years.
Now he needs help unbuttoning his pants.
Dean came downstairs to see me there,
grinning ear to ear.
I reached up and gave my boy a big hug.
Breathing him in and holding tight.
I held his hand as we walked down the stairs from the door to the car.
He used to shrug off my helping hands,
these days, however,
he holds so tight
that I wonder if I could actually steady my self and him
if he did trip.
We get in the car and he is happy.
I ask him a few questions, he softly answers
and shrugs his shoulders when the answers don't come out of his mouth.
It reminds me when I had that awful concussion a couple years ago...
the words just weren't there sometimes.
I would get upset though...where Dean does not.
He smiles and shrugs like it's all okay.
At the house he is greeted by the whole family--
and Ari introduces him proudly to her new friends who are over for the night.
"This is my brother, Dean."
She doesn't add anything remarkable about him--
the girls get it-- that he's different--
so they smile and say Hello
and together they all go on with their adolescent conversations
Dean loves helping in the kitchen STILL--
since it's dinner time,
I put on an apron from the pantry--
one for me and one for him.
I hand him the wooden spoon--
the one with the extra long handle--
and tell him to be careful
while he stirs the macaroni that's bubbling away.
I stand next to him,
making the salad,
seasoning the meat...
and calmly remind myself to have fun.
My eyes catch Dean's soft blue eyes--
we smile at each other.
The one where we both know what's going on.
I swallow hard and look away
so he doesn't see tears welling up.
I make my hands busy so the tears suck up--
Kent comes up behind me and hugs me--
he catches the tears
and squeezes tighter.
I'm so grateful he knows my heart.
He lightens the mood by saying something silly to get Dean to laugh--
which has always been easy.
When dinner's over,
Dean is ready for bed.
It's just about 6:30, so I try to keep him up just until 7.
He helps load the dishes,
offers to vacuum, even.
The boy loves to vacuum.
When he was little, the vacuum aisle in Target was his favorite aisle.
I don't know why.
He's worn out nearly a dozen vacuums in his life,
from using them over n over n over again.
My floors were especially clean those years.
Finally, Kent and I tuck Dean into bed.
He is still childlike...he prefers total darkness,
and always pulls the covers over his head
just as he did when he was six years old.
As I lean over to kiss his twenty-eight year old head goodnight,
"Thank you for coming to see me. I love having you here. I always sleep better when I know you're home."
His blue eyes crease as a smile crosses his lips.
No words though.
he is up at dawn.
He knows the sister missionaries are coming for breakfast.
He LOVES the sister missionaries.
As he comes out of the shower upstairs,
I call to him to come look at some pictures we have
of the sister missionaries--
he smiles and says,
"Which one is for me?" plain as day.
I respond, "Oh they are all so beautiful aren't they?"
"You're going to marry a beautiful girl someday, hunh?" I say.
"Yup." he answers with a knowing smile.
The sisters arrived, making a special effort to talk to Dean.
One sister in particular, Sister Little, is especially gracious and kind to him.
She tries earnestly to engage him in small talk and he enjoys that so much.
He smiles a lot, can barely look at her face, and blushes all over.
He is suddenly chatty--tries to offer more than one-syllable words up to answer her questions.
Always looking to me to translate for him...
which I do.
My heart is so full of gratitude for these young women.
For their tenderness and understanding.
The day goes on, we listen to General Conference together
and when it's over,
time for the sisters to get on with their day,
Dean decides it's time for him to leave too.
I coax him to stay just a little while longer--
the kids break out the WII games and he is happy to watch them play tennis,
baseball and golf for a bit.
I remind Ari to include Dean and give him a turn to play.
before I know it, it's time to say goodbye again.
Kent does me the favor of driving Dean back the thirty miles south,
because I frankly, am a mess everytime I drive away without my son.
We pack up his things, bring them downstairs,
walk him to the car, and just before he gets in
I hold him tight and send a thousand prayers heavenward
while he is yet in my arms.
He smiles when he lets go and waves good bye as they drive away.
I chastise myself for not taking a single picture like I'd wanted to--
of him and us together.
I spaced it altogether.
Oh I hope there's a next time.
It is a hard thing to be a sane mother when your heart strings are wrapped up and around
a child like Dean.
I don't know anyone personally who has a situation like mine.
I know OF a sister in our ward who has a special needs son, wheelchair bound--
but she doesn't mention her son at all. And has never reached out to me.
I see her tears in the congregation whenever I speak of my son,
but she doesn't say a word to me.
I am reflecting upon the goodness of the Plan of Salvation,
and upon my belief in that plan and in the sealing ordinances of the temple
that will bind my family for eternity.
I am grateful for the teachings that we are eternal beings and someday,
Dean will stand before me perfectly glorious and free from these affirmities
that have limited him in this life.
Also, grateful to know through priesthood blessings that I chose to be Dean's mother
before I even came to this earth. Fully, completely aware of his calling and mission
to teach me and others things we would've never learned otherwise.
That he is always always always surrounded by angels and that Heavenly Father
never leaves him alone.
There's comfort in this knowledge.
I see it on Dean's face and in his blue eyes.