Shabby Miss Jenn

Thursday, January 27, 2011


This morning, as usual, I was in a rush to get Wade to therapy. I then had to rush to make a doctor's appointment for myself. I'm ALWAYS rushing, but never feel like I'm ever getting anywhere. The only thing I'm gaining is more stress. In the doctor's office, they had placed out a flyer about joy. I thought it was perfect considering the rush of my morning. I thought I'd share as a reminder to everyone that we need to slow down and enjoy life more.

Eight Ways to Restore Your Joy

~ Stop! Be still! Relax! Pray! Meditate!
~ Count your blessings. Start now!
~ Dance as if you were a star; particularly if you have no rhythm.
~ Give the gift of a smile. After all, it's free.
~ Give yourself a simple reward for each small victory.
~ Sing your favorite song loudly; even if you're off key.
~ Laugh 'til your belly hurts; especially if it's not funny.
~ Wrestle negative thoughts to the ground with positive ones.

Take the time to discover your joy for life!


Friday, January 21, 2011

A Mini Mission

Navigating the "rules" in the world of disabilities is sometimes hard to figure out. A lot of times, you don't know what those rules are until you break them. For instance, at the beginning of the school year when I was dropping Wade off at school, I pulled all the way up in the parking space. Little did I know, I was blocking a little cross walk area that leads you to the ramp on the sidewalk. I quickly figured this out when someone else made the same mistake and blocked our entrance to the ramp. So now, I don't pull all the way up. And for the record, neither does that particular car because I ever so nicely pointed it out to them! It's amazing how many things are now thrown in your face that you never thought you'd give a second thought. You tend to see the world and your environment with a new set of eyes. You constantly scan sidewalks for a ramp to make sure you know the best place to cross the street with a wheelchair . You take note of different places you go so you'll know if you can return later with a wheelchair. You get a little nervous when traveling through the airport hoping to rely on the kindness of strangers to help you get through that circular automatic door. You remember which playgrounds are the most accessible for your child and their wheelchair. And the biggest for me? You learn which handicapped parking spaces you can and can't use!

This issue has become one of my biggest pet peeves. We have a Sienna minivan with a side entry, automatic ramp. Typically, wherever I go, there are handicapped spaces always available. Yes, they're available, but they're NOT available for US! In order for me to lower the ramp AND wheel Wade off the ramp, I have to park in a space that is "VAN ACCESSIBLE".


Of course, we can park in a typical handicapped space and even lower the ramp, but then Wade is stuck on the ramp because there's not enough space to drive the wheelchair around the end of the ramp. And there's no way I can lift a 300+ pound power wheelchair over the edge! The space next to a "VAN ACCESSIBLE" space is extra wide. There is a reason these spaces exist. They are NOT for compact cars!!! I understand that sometimes nothing else is available, and the only spot left just might be one for a van. So, you gotta do what you gotta do. However, when you whip your little car into the very first handicapped space you come to--when there are at least five more down the row--and I am forced to park in a regular spot praying that when I leave there isn't another car parked next to me blocking my ability to get the wheelchair up the ramp, I get a little upset. I totally understand that this is a "rule" that a lot of people don't get. Since they've never been faced with the issue, they don't know. If they're able to walk on their own, they've probably never even given that extra space a second thought. But, if you read this and you have a handicapped parking permit, now you know! Please don't take our van spaces if you can help it!!!! Life with a little body in a big wheelchair is already challenging. Please don't make something like going to church a huge process for us.

This is my new "mini mission". If someone happens to be parking in a "VAN ACCESSIBLE" space while I'm parking, I will nicely explain to them the little conundrum I face at least once a week. If you don't know the unspoken rules, that's fine. But once you do, I hope you follow them in the future.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Power of a Head Nod

For a very long time now, Wade has been very confident in his ability to communicate "no". Isn't every toddler?!?! He gets this little look on his face and adamantly shakes his head "no". It's very cute, and he definitely gets his point across. Sometimes the head shaking is also in conjunction with a high pitched squeal which definitely has the ability of getting under your skin very quickly! The problem? He answered "no" for everything! Even when asked if he wanted something I definitely knew he wanted, he still replied with shaking his head "no". That would then inevitably lead to frustration because he really did want the item he was shaking his head "no" to!

My theory--and as a parent to a child with special needs, I have a lot--is that his neck wasn't strong enough to nod "yes". He hadn't yet perfected a way to nod "yes" in a way that it didn't take so much effort and muscle strength. To nod "yes", you have to move your head up and down a few times to get your point across. Moving down was the easy part. The difficult part was getting his head back up as quick as it went down. Wade's a pretty smart cookie, so I knew that he really understood the difference between "yes" and "no". In fact, I'd be willing to bet that if I really took the time to study the way he shook his head "no", there was probably a slight difference in the way he shook it depending on whether he meant yes or no. Unfortunately, in the moment, it's pretty hard to take the time to study the head shake as you're also trying to prevent a tantrum because of frustration.

But thank goodness we no longer have to figure it out or study the situation. While we were in VA for the holidays, Wade discovered a way to say "yes" with a very slight head nod up and down. A lot of times, he also raises his eyebrows just a bit to really get his point across. Then the best part is he'll grin because he's so impressed with himself when we understand what he wants! It's amazing how much easier our lives have become in the past two weeks, all because of a simple head nod! It's these tiny, little things in life that we typically take for granted that mean the world to us. I never dreamed that having a three year old nod "yes" would be one of the biggest highlights of my life. Funny thing is, these little strides make me sit back and really appreciate the gift we've been given. Would I *choose* for my child to have cerebral palsy? Absolutely not! If God came to me today and told me he could change it all and take away every single symptom related to cerebral palsy, would I agree? Absolutely not! Cerebral palsy does not define Wade, but it has certainly made him the person he is today. Cerebral palsy has made ME the person I am today, and I look forward to the many blessings that will come from parenting one of the most amazing kids in the world!

On a side note, the iPad has been and continues to be, our go to device for understanding Wade. However, the iPad isn't always at arms reach. Sometimes you just need a quick answer without having to go through a computer.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Out With the Old, In With the New

It's one week into 2011, and I'm already behind! My excuse? I'm still on vacation! Wade and I arrived in VA Christmas night, right before the 12 inches of snow. Thank goodness we were able to avoid all the chaos at the airport that the snowstorms produced. I decided an extended stay was in order to recharge and start fresh. So even though it meant Wade missed a week of school and an extra week of therapy, we spent two relaxing weeks seeing family and friends and chilling out on the couch! It was so worth it, and I'm definitely not looking forward to landing at DFW tomorrow night and facing reality! As a result of our extra week of vacation, I made an executive decision that my resolutions for the new year don't take effect until Sunday, January 9. One more day to figure them all out. Procrastination at its finest!

As I reflect on 2010, I realize that this past year probably yielded the biggest changes in our family since Curtis and I got married in July 2005. It was definitely an emotional year to say the least. But in hindsight, I realize how truly blessed we are. Thankfully, the negative, scary, dark and isolating days are overshadowed by all the joys and successes each of us had last year. I'm tremendously glad I have the ability to "forget" the bad stuff, only able to remember it if I really think about it. From Wade becoming mobile in his new power wheelchair, to Curtis loosing nearly 40 pounds, all while I became a stay at home mom are just a few of the amazing things that took place in our lives over the last 12 months.

In my next couple of posts, I'll go into a little more depth and share the highlights from 2010. I'll also be compiling a post listing off my goals for 2011. Hopefully by resolving to everyone in blog land what I hope to accomplish, it will help hold me accountable. Who wants to admit to everyone that they were only able to accomplish 1 out of 10 goals??? Not me! So join me in a few days to get a little glimpse of our achievements--especially Wade's!!!--and a preview of what we'll be up to in the coming months.