What Will It Look Like?

If I’m being completely honest, it’s on 10:15am and I’m ready to call it quits for the day. I’m a my wits end. I’m tired. I’m irritated. I’m embarrassed. I’ve ugly cried.

I’m the mother of a 5 year old child who has ADHD, possibly ODD, and sensory issues.

We brought our son home at 3 weeks old. As fast as it seems, the days are longer than I could ever imagine. I don’t wake up to a quiet house or the smell of coffee brewing. I’m usually met with chaos, yelling and some type of disarray. There is rarely a moment of peace. It’s usually a fight with a sibling, a mess that needs to be cleaned or yelling bc he didn’t get his way.

Yall it’s hard. It’s draining. It’s exhausting.

Just today we went to our usually weekly event and he ran through the parking lot. When I finally caught him and got him in the building, he ran out again. I dragged him back inside to where he ran under a table…finally, I called it quits and just scooped him under one arm, grabbed my younger son by the hand and left. It was too much. Chaos makes me anxious and I feel like everything is unraveling. And on top of all that, I feel horrible that my youngest missed out on being involved in something that he loves. But I guess right now, this is what my life looks like.

And If I’m letting you see my heart, this sucks. I amd in the very midst of discomfort and everything that I hate. And I hate that I hate it… I hate that I am not just letting all of this roll of my back. I hate that I don’t feel gracious. I hate that even though I’m praying, seeking medical providers, creating routines and doing all that the books say that I should, our son is still not okay. I mean if I feel like this as the mother, I can’t imagine the unrest and chaos that’s swirling in his head, body and heart 24/7…

What will the future look like? What does advocating for and loving our son well look like? What does it look like to love our other 5 children well while navigating through his behavioral issues without neglecting their needs?

What will it all look like?

I can’t say. But what I can say is that I have to take this moment to regroup and redirect negative behaviors. For my own sanity, I can’t live in the “what if” mode.

I can’t say for sure what it will all look like but I can continue to put the blocks in place to build a steady and firm foundation. I’ll continue to learn and apply what I can while teaching him the tools to calm himself and self correct. I’ll continue to pray and have him speak good things over himself. We will continue to consult with his doctors and adjust when we need too. I’ll continue to start over minute by minute.

And I’ll continue to trust God that it will all look exactly as I should…

Chapter Forty-One…

My birthday was yesterday…I turned 41 years young. Being in the 40’s club has been good for me, for the most part.

The one thing that I realized is that I have to be. See, I spent my 20’s and a good portion of my 30’s doing. Doing all the things that I thought I was supposed to do to be the ideal woman, Christian, wife and mother.

That was exhausting…

I didn’t have joy. All I had was obligations and things to check off of my to-do lists. But I didn’t feel as if I had purpose unless I was doing what appeared to be purposeful.

I was in it to make people OK, make sure that everyone was content except me.

Then one day I just stopped. I stopped doing what others wanted and stopped caring what they thought. Honestly, it was the best feeling ever. My mantra became “I walk in my purpose on purpose”.

Purpose means saying no. It means not making someone else’s emergency my own. It means being in the moment. Enjoying my husband and children. Going all in to love them and support them well. It means going to mini vacays to see family to have fun and be recharged. Purpose means being honest when and saying I’m not going bc I don’t feel like peopling.

The 40’s club hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. I have to deal with grief, anger and really realizing that people are people.

So even with the not so good, it’s good bc I’m learning daily to give myself the space to process and not feel as if I have to put on.

Cheers to 41…may it be another year of goodness, grace and growth!!!

Hold Space

This one phrase has been on my mind and heart for the past few months.

So for me holding space goes way back. Way back to probably the beginning but for the sake of this post, lets go back to my teenage years. I lost my virginity, got pregnant and had an abortion all in my freshmen year in high school. While all of this was going on there really wasn’t a safe place for me. I didn’t have anyone to talk too. There was no one around to explain all of this ins and outs or even to process my grief, thoughts and feelings with. Please know that I didn’t expect there to be fanfare for a black, naive, pregnant teenager but I do look back and wish that someone would have held space for me…

What it means* How it happens in my everyday life* Why it’s important to me*

When I say hold space in no way am I saying that I wanted people to coddle me or agree with my misinformed and reckless behavior. But I think it would have been life changing to have a person there who could help me process all that I was going through, listen to my heart and also honestly explain sex–the feelings that come with it, consequences/joys of it and that it is not just a physical act; it’ truly giving your body and emotions to another person. Holding Space is having someone say ‘hey, you are not your mistakes. Take what you’ve learned from this and build upon it” ( my Aunt Virginia, who is my oldest child’s namesake, did tell me something to this effect before she died).

So fast forward almost thirty years and my hearts desire is to hold space. This is my hearts songs to be a space holder for people. Over the years, Ive either seen or experienced a little bit of everything. From three pregnancies (two ending in abortion, one in miscarriage and being told that I wouldnt be able to carry a baby full-term), abuse, trauma, absent father, instability, not emotionally connecting with anyone, watching siblings go in and out of prison, seeing/living with parents who had alcohol/drug addictions, to my sister (who shared our home with us) dying almost three years ago unexpectedly and the trauma and depression that followed from finding her unresponsive, doing CPR to only find out there was no brain activity and have to make the decision to take her off of life support…

Holding Space has become my life song. I get do it with my children when we have hard conversations. But also in everyday life by acknowledging their thoughts and opinions and giving them the space to feel their feelings, without judgement, and doing what we can to steer them in the right direction- all while helping them put useful tools in their toolbox of life. I also get to hold space for teen/young moms. I run a program, The Connect, just for them. To provide a space where the can just be…without judgement, with lots of love and care, a home cooked meal, all while giving them the tools and encouragement to become the best parents for their children.

So for me holding space is to listen without judgement. It is welcoming people with a meal, coffee, a Kentucky Mule and/or a soft sofa to relax on. Holding Space giving advice when it is needed and wanted, crying tears, hugging the stew out of you or even just praying silently as I hols someone’s hand. Holding Space is loving without trying to change a person…it can also be telling someone that it’s time for them to get their life, in love:)

I hope that you hold space…to love people where they are so that they feel safe and significant…even when life’s circumstances are screaming the exact opposite… I hope that you choose hold space.

COVID Hit Our Home Again…

Where oh where do I start?!?! So back in the end of February my husband wasn’t feeling well. Of course he thought that it was a cold but being me, I persisted that he get a COVID test.

And the test came back positive. While not surprised I was feeling like “ok, we can handle this. I’ll make sure husband is hydrated, well rested, and taking his vitamins and supplements daily. All should be well, right? Wrong…

On day seven Kemp was really lethargic, sweaty but didn’t have a temperature. So, I texted my primary care doctor (who I also attend church with), gave her the details and asked for advice. She asked me what his oxygen level was…didn’t have the machine so I went to Walgreens (yall I practically flew there). So his oxygen was low eighties and dropping. My doctor said that he definitely needed to go to the hospital.

So I went into superhero mode…I called a friend and asked if he could come and take Kemp to the hospital. My main reasoning behind this was because I didn’t know how much help I would need getting him out of bed and calling an ambulance was totally out of the question. Two years ago I had to call a ambulance because we found my sister in our home, in our room (which was hers before) unresponsive and I know the panic and trauma that caused. What I didn’t want was to open wounds that are still healing and scare my children even more.

We got Kemp to the hospital, I got the kids set up with lunch and then headed to the hospital myself. I was allowed to be with him while he was in the emergency triage but once he was admitted into the hospital I had to leave. Long story short, if my husband would have stayed home with his oxygen steadily declining a ventilator would have been the inevitable. And from there, there unfortunately isn’t always a comeback story.

Thank God for His grace because my husband was only in the hospital for a few days and his is now back to himself, well a better version of himself.

If nothing else, COVID has definitely been a daily reminder that life is so precious and as cliche as it sounds, definitely short.

Be healthy and safe friends!!!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I Had COVID19…

2020 has been a lot of things…I might just tag it as the year of the unexpected. A week or so before Thanksgiving I thought my sinuses were doing their due diligence. The past couple of years I have had a sinus infection around the holiday (it’s kinda like my body telling me it’s time to grieve…I’ll get more into that in a later post).

So honestly that’s what I thought I was dealing with-sinus headaches and all. But a few days into it I was exhausted, like low energy and having no choice but to nap midday. Now if you know my life, midday naps with 6 children and 2 of them being 4 years old and under, is just something that can’t really happen! But I was so drained that I had no choice. And then it happened and I lost my sense of smell. I called my doctor and started isolation.

Yall, it’s scary. My doctor told me to make sure that I was drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and to keep my lungs clear. I made sure that I was taking my liquid multi-vitamin, vitamin C and D, elderberry syrup, Zinc and Tylenol. But more than that, I had to pray. I prayed for my family not to catch it. I prayed for my lungs to stay clear and that my underlining blood pressure issues wouldn’t cause me to be hospitalized or even something worse.

SO please yall, for the love of everything good…please take COVID seriously! In no way am I saying to be held hostage by this but I am saying do all that you can to slow the spread and stay healthy.

Lives are depending on it…Merry and Healthy Christmas yall!!!

My 40th Trip…

I’m 40 years old. My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I hit the milestone…my 40th year here on this earth. I cant say that it was hard. It kinda felt right, like “ok, this is a going to be a good year”.

I spent my birthday with family and a few friends. In my backyard. Laughing. Dancing. Just enjoying the moment.

Nothing too fancy or over the top, just a good time. The one thing that I will bring into my 40th year around the sun is enjoy life. Witnessing my sister taking her last breath and seeing the casket close taught me that life is soooo short…sometimes shorter than what we ever expected.

So with this 40th year ahead of me, I plan to live. Do the things. Make memories. Be the best me….

Freshman Year…

Last Wednesday my baby started high school. My first born is now a freshman…a ninth grader…a full on teenager. If I’m being honest, this hit me hard. I was so emotionally wrapped up in the newness that my daughter was about to embark on.

If I’m really being honest…I was having so many flashbacks of what I walked into starting high school. SO many insecurities!!! Peer Pressure. Not fitting in. Being lonely. Not feeling loved or supported at home. BOYS. Bad decisions.

The ninth grade was hell for me. Not only was I insecure and didn’t have a good relationship with either of my parents. I went into high school feeling like I needed to be wanted, accepted and lacked any type of self- esteem. Long story short-I had my first boyfriend, lost my virginity, got pregnant and tried to hide it, had an abortion that was never discussed afterward and then stuffed down all the feelings that came with trauma, depression and all the negative feelings that I had.

More than anything I want our home to be a safe place. A place where our oldest (all of our children) can be encouraged, corrected and taught life lessons. Where the norm is to come to us even when it’s hard and feels more comfortable to hide…that’s my hope and prayer.

To Go or to Stay….

One of the hottest mommy topics has to be whether you’re choosing to homeschool or send your children back to school…and honestly there is no bad choice. Only a choice that is right for your family.

So, here are a few ways to support other moms/families in this not so normal back to school season:

  • Buy and deliver dinner or lunch to a family to celebrate this new school year
  • Stock up on hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for a family that is returning to school building
  • Offer to pay for a tutor for a few hours for a homeschooling mom
  • Coffee delivery or gift card
  • Send an encouraging call or text
  • Set up a distanced learning co-op with other moms

Whatever it is, be kind and understanding. Continue to pray for our children, teachers and parents. Wishing you a successful school year!

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

You Got This…

Can I have your ear for a second??? Being a special needs family is hard. There seems to be no off moments. No time to just be. My mind is constantly running….as well as my feet. I’m always feeling as if there is something that I am doing wrong and as if people might think that I am a horrible mom. Here are a few of the things that I’ve learned:

*Guilt is a part of the game.

the guilt….oh the guilt! I feel bad about being upset. I feel bad about my number five going through so much in utero. I feel bad because my attention isn’t always given as it should. I could go on and on, but guilt has played a big part.

*Talking is essential.

One of the things that I have learned is to talk…talk about whats going on with our number five. Being thorough with his doctor, making sure that I document his changes and be his biggest advocate. And on the other end, talk to my husband. Be honest about having hard days and when I need a break.

*Big ups, you deserve it!!!

Lastly, I have so much adoration and respect for other parents of special needs child(ren). It is so easy for people to overlook the things that parents go through in everyday life dealing with behavior issues, the changes that go on in a household while trying to be a peaceful, loving advocate for your little love(s). Even in the hardest moments parents, You got this!!!