Monday, April 29, 2013

On Being Raised by The Reds....

There are days when parenting is easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.

There are days when parenting honks.

Some days, I am a good mother.

Some days, I honk.

Today, parenting honked, honked some more and didn't.

Today, I honked as a mother...until I didn't.

Allow me to confess brag explain:

Matthew and I began our day hollering. Rather, I hollered, he attempted to and then gave up to  burst into tears. I stormed upstairs in anger and to give myself a chance to calm down. Once I had, I was overcome with shame and remorse: he'd been right, I so very, very wrong.

I apologized profusely and then saw him off at the school gate, guilt clawing at my heart, eyes welling.

All the way home, I berated myself. Counted the hours until I could cover his face in kisses and be thankful for another chance to be the mother he deserves.

On the way home, I whispered, "I've been thinking about you all day. Will you forgive me for being so mean this morning?"

Matthew smiled: "I forgive you times three."

* * *

The Reds are tired. And when they're tired, they fight. After supper they argued with the boy next door, the girls down the street and finally, each other. And it was ugly. Ugly and nasty and it took all my waning patience NOT to knock their heads together.

Instead, I sent the other kids home, ushered the Reds inside and  quietly, but firmly ordered them upstairs: pyjamas on, teeth brushed, in bed. NOW.

I raised an eyebrow and pointed a finger for good measure.

Up they went, but not before some shoves on the stairs and punch in the hallway. In the end, I told them they'd have their say once they were in bed. If they spoke ONE WORD before that happened they'd have to go to bed at 6 tomorrow night, too.

Silently, they obeyed, so I sat back and gestured for Matthew to speak first.

"I don't want Luke to sleep in my bed until May 2nd." He crossed angry arms and glared at no one in particular.

"That seems fair."

Luke wailed and carried on, beating his blankets even as he pulled them up as he climbed into his own bed for the first time in a month. Finally, he too crossed his arms and arranged his face into "mad":

"Matthew can't touch ANY of my stuff ever. Never ever, ever."

"Okey-dokey. It's your stuff. He won't touch it."

I kissed them, told them I love them and closed the door, only to stand outside of it, holding my breath.

Two long, silent minutes passed and then:

"Hey, Luke?"
"Do you wanna be friends again?"
"No. I wanna be brothers AND friends."

Another pause.

"Wanna come sleep up here?"
"Can I touch your stuff sometimes?"
"Yeah. I was only gonna make that rule until you're 10, anyways."

I guess this parenting thing doesn't honk after all.

Well, not today.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

DSW Class of 2013

Tomorrow is my last day of school. Tomorrow I will no longer be a Developmental Services Worker student.

As of tomorrow, I can proudly say, "I am a Developmental Services Worker. How can I help you live your best life?"

Because in the end, that will be my job - to help those I support achieve the good things of life that we all strive for: friends, relationships, jobs, a sense of belonging.

Along the path to here, I have been blessed to share it with some incredible people: my classmates and my professors, all of whom brought their own kind of magic to my life and all of whom will hold a special place in my heart, for always.

Without their passion and their fire, I wouldn't be half as fierce about becoming an advocate for others.

Without their support and their wisdom, I might not have the strength to stand up for those I will support in the future.

Without their humour and their willingness to help, I might never have made it through finals, this blog post and placement days that found me sobbing and bereft.

These people - profs and classmates alike - oh, they make me proud. Proud to know them, learned from them, proud to have watched them grow into themselves, proud to be among them, growing too.

And they make me laugh.

Even when they're laughing at ME:

So, in this, my final post as a DSW student from Loyalist College in Belleville, I offer my thanks and my love. To all of you who've shared my journey and who will carry our lessons under your heart:

Two years ago, we pledged to change the world. In doing so, we've discovered that WE must be that change first. I think it's safe to say that we are indeed, the change we want to see in the world.

Leigh-Ann, Renee, Kris, Lisha, Brittany, Adriana, Lauren, Stephanie B, Krimin, Monique, Lydnsay, Bev, Switch, Emilee, Nicole, Ashley G, Cynthia, Katelynn, Ashley S, Tiffany, Sarah S, Cathy, Vaibhavi, Laura, Stephanie D, Danielle, Pam, Pam, Jeremy, Holly, Jessica, Mandy, Riddhi, Raj, Bibin, Brittany C, Rebekah, Sarah P as well as amazing teachers Lisa, Erica, Jane, Colleen, Gord, Julie, Kelly, Bryan, Jacquie and all those we supported during three placements:

Thank you for changing my world - my life's path -  in ways I'd never imagined.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Brighter Light

Today is a special day here at the House of Leprechauns.

Today marks the last day of Mark's training: tomorrow, he will officially be a nuclear operator at OPG .

To say that I am proud of him would be an understatement. He has worked so hard since last September: studying, commuting, being tested - in so many ways - again and again.

And here he is - here we all are - at the end of one journey and the beginning of the next.

I am grateful to him for all of his efforts and for keeping the faith. The road to here has not been easy, on him or on our family. But it has all been worth it.

Congratulations, Husband! May the coming years be all that you'd imagined.

For Mark
When we married, pledging to love and honour for all the rest of our days, we had no idea what we were getting into. All these years later, knowing, it makes me laugh a little, at all we did not know.
Today, I know this:
I am proud of you.
I am proud of the courage you show every day and that you took a leap of faith.
I know that change is not easy, for any of us, but especially you.
But despite that discomfort, you took a deep breath and pushed on.
Pushed through.
And here you are, poised on the edge of  a bright, bright future. Go, you!
I know it has not been an easy journey to here, love.
For you, for me, for us.
And yet...we have fumbled through and you have carried the weight all this time, mostly without complaint.
For all of it, I am grateful. Know that.
Know too that, as our lives shift and change once again, I love you.
Despite the storm that is sometimes "us", I will always love you.
And I've got your back. As you have always had mine.
That's another thing we didn't know, then:
That we would still be here, in spite of ourselves.
I am so happy to be here, to see you shine.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

With My Heart in Their Hands...

Tomorrow is my last day of my last study placement as a Developmental Services Worker student. For the past 12 weeks, I have been supporting 9 adults with disabilities, all of whom live together in a local group home.

12 weeks ago, as I rang the bell of the large house for the first time, I thought I'd pee my pants, I was so nervous. I had no idea how these incredible men and women - some who walk, some who talk, some who do neither - would etch their way onto my heart the way they have.

.I can only hope that I have touched theirs in some small way and that they will somehow carry my gratitude with them always. For as much as I helped them to eat, to walk, to sit, to bathe, to sign, to scoot, to smile....the lessons learned have all been mine.

By holding another's heart in my hands, I must also be willing to offer them my own.

"Heart in Hand"
Courtesy of Pinterest

This is what that looks like, 12 weeks later:

Dear F,

Every day you asked me, "Will you be here tomorrow?" in a way that made me feel as though you hoped I would. Every day you made me smile. Thank you for your warmth, sharing the moments
you remember the best and for making me feel welcome in your home.

Dear J,

Sweet J. How I shall miss your mischievous smile - the one that made your eyes dance even as you danced just out of reach on your way to wreak havoc somewhere in the house. In your wake, I either laughed or wanted to cry, there was never any other way to feel and for all of it, I am grateful. For you, especially, I wish for peace and love.

Dear V,

Of everyone I've ever met, no one has ever been as happy to ride in the car as me...until you. Thank you for getting it. Thank you, too, for reaching for my hand and silently guiding me  to the next room so we could throw Lego undisturbed and for laughing so hard we both cried.

Dear R,

Yours was the smile I worked hardest to earn and when I finally did, it was like watching the sun come out on your face. I will never forget it...or you. Thank you for such beauty and for trusting me enough to lean.

Dear MB,

Thank you for teaching me the gentle art of helping someone bathe and dress, without uttering a single word. Thank you for your trust and the way your eyes never leave mine when I'm helping you and for reaching out to wrap me in spontaneous hugs. That first one surprised but delighted me and filled my eyes and my heart in equal measure.

Dear MC,

You are the voice of hilarious reason and the person I want to sit beside, always. Thank you for your grouchy honesty about your life, your home and for offering such candid opinions about my hair and my cardigan collection. Thank you for dancing as though no one was watching and for trusting me to make your coffee, your bed and your day, when I could.

Dear B,
It is impossible to know you and not love you, B. You are sunshine and open arms. Thank you for singing harmony, allowing me to learn some pretty cool medical stuff as your support person and finding the joy in being alive, for every moment of every day.

Dear L,
Thank you for resting yourself against me, letting me sit with you in companionable silence for long, lovely stretches each morning. Thank you for saying that I'm beautiful. I hope I told you often enough that you are one of the most beautiful human beings I have ever met. Oh and "I. said....NO!" Ha ha ha!

Dear G,

For moments of understanding, silence and absolute grace, I am so grateful. Thank you for all of them and for being you. From you, I learned the most important lessons of all:

Be still.

With all of mine,