If this were your last morning…

We do not like to think of our own mortality. I mean, if we spent too much time thinking about death, would we really be living? Of course not. We would miss out on so many unexpected joys if we only prepared for the end. But do you ever think about what we may be missing out on by not considering the limitations of our existence?

Now, granted, this is not my typical chipper good morning post, but there is a point. Right now, you are waking up for the day. You may be sipping a cup of coffee on your front porch (oh how I hope that is true) or rushing through to grab a quick bite on your way out the door. Either way, you have taken a few moments to read my words and I thank you for that. My question is, what are you going to do with the rest of today’s moments? How do these plans differ from how you would spend the day if it were your last?

Somewhere on your list today, will you be calling your mother or sibling? Connecting with an old friend? Spending a few moments in prayer? Have you scheduled a time to look up at the clouds and be amazed at the miracles around you? Do you plan to give to the less fortunate today? Will you learn something or try something new? Perhaps you are already planning to forgive or ask someone for forgiveness.

No? These things do not always fit into our day. We are so busy living that we forget that one day, we will not have the chance to do these things. I know that it is not possible every day, but today, take a moment and do something that you would do if this were your last day on earth.

Cherish today, and every day, as if it were your last!

“Gigi”

Advertisements

CPS Expects you to Accept their Power! Do Not!

We expect a lot of things in our lives and, in the same breath, we accept a lot of things to be simply as they are despite our expectations or desires. Some of us expect to be passed over in celebration but accept that it is our role as a human being to encourage that celebration. Others expect to be treated fairly and accept that this is not always the case when dealing with teenagers!

However, these daily and normal expectations come with experiencing life as is intended. For those of us who have experienced life through the pain of a CPS investigation, and for those of you who have yet to experience this atrocity but are likely to do so as their power continues to grow, expectations and acceptance take on a whole new role.

You see CPS targets families who are perceived to be weak. The uneducated, the impoverished, the immigrant, the single parents, are all likely to receive a knock at their door. And do you know what, most of these people, including myself, believe that the government is there to help them out of a bad situation? What is even worse, we may not have viewed the situation as bad before they quickly told us just how much “imminent danger” our lives brought to the children!

But wait, the children are fed, clothed, loved, receiving medical care, receiving education, and happy? They have bonded with their family, have a routine, and present no concern of neglect or abuse in the care of their parent?!

Hmmm, but they are the government. They know things. They have a better way of doing things. They have the power to see the future and, according to this “power” they know that your child is in imminent danger or will be soon in the future!!!!

They word this in a way that foster parents, extended family, and community members believe that this power must be real and that this organization is clearly looking out for the children!

Are you all serious? You seriously believe that there is an organization of people who have such a power yet they don’t use their fortune telling ability to win the lottery or prevent terrorist attacks?

There is a financial incentive for placing children outside of their home. The ability to target families without the ability to fight the system aids in achieving this incentive. To these families, the ones who do not believe that they have the resources to fight, FIND THE RESOURCES! For those who have overcome the power, be the resources! Do not accept their power. Do not accept that you are meant to lose your children. Do not do what they expect you to do! Do not give up!

Do the unexpected: WIN!

“Gigi”

Smile! The Sun made another Spin!

Now that Mikey has landed safely in Japan, Clarabelle has noticed that Mommy says “good night” and “good morning” at weird times. She thought her mommy was being silly or that Mikey needed a nap. So, we reminded her about our discussions of the map. For instance, she knows we go up to West Virginia and down to Florida. She knows that California (where Mikey was stationed) is way across the map and she knows that Japan is across the water. (Pretty good grasp for a 3-year-old). But, we had never really thought to cover time zones. I mean, seriously, she is THREE!

Of course, she is a very inquisitive three-year-old and was not letting this go. So I found this video on youtube and we began to work through her questions. About 4 minutes into the video, she asked if we could switch to music. I asked her if she understood about the times and, as usual, she simplified it just right. “The earth spins around because we are supposed to share the sun. When we have night, it is Mikey’s turn for the sunshine.”

So, we switched to the music and went on about our evening. Isn’t it just amazing how simple life really is? If we could wake up each morning and realize that the other half of the world is sharing with us, then maybe we would be a little quicker to share with others.

So, this morning, as you sip your coffee and plan out your day, pencil in some kindness and enjoy the gift of sunshine!

May you all have a beautiful day!

“Gigi”

Wait! She can do that too?!? Daily Discoveries with a grandchild with Down’s Syndrome

When we were told that they were testing Gloria for Down’s Syndrome, we faced the possibilities as a family but we were all aware of all of the obstacles that she would face should the test come back positive. We knew all of the things that they said that she “couldn’t” or “wouldn’t” do and we knew the extensive timeline they gave her for the things that she would “eventually” do. We were okay with all of this so long as she was healthy and able to get the most out of life as possible.

Well, the test, as you all know, came back positive and we immediately began screening therapists and preparing ourselves for other health issues that are associated with Down’s Syndrome. However, to date, we have had no major issues! None! One heart doctor watched a hole for a few months. Let me rephrase….one heart doctor watched a hole in her heart close over the course of a few months! She has flown through every physical and medical obstacle that they said we would have already encountered!

This Girl is Unstoppable!

Now, of course, there are some delays but we no longer accept the “couldn’t” or “wouldn’t” because obviously, they don’t know her. Yet, despite the entire family refusing to see anything but a small delay, we are all still overcome with amazement when she conquers even the smallest task.

For instance, mom, Chelsea, and I took the kids to the park the other day. (Yes, Chelsea is my son’s ex but she is also a part of the family so we still do family things together). The kids are all playing and we look up to see this:

playground

She didn’t need help. She didn’t need a hand up. She just climbed right on and played. Just like any other child! Do you see how proud she is? Magnify that by a million and you can imagine the faces behind the camera!

I spoke earlier about celebrating every first. With Gloria, this is easy. Every step she takes, she was told that she couldn’t but yet, here she is, doing her thing!

Interpret the word “can’t” as “haven’t yet!”

“Gigi”

Celebrate Every First! Homecoming Parade!

For most parents and grandparents, you anticipate celebrating certain firsts. In fact, you buy a neat little baby book to document each and every first for the first year of their life. For those of us who have battled with CPS, firsts are different. Firsts happen every day. We may have lost a lot of the typical firsts, but we are blessed to spend the rest of our lives celebrating every single one after that horrific year! I mean, we have celebrated haircuts and holidays so why not the very first parade that one of the children have participated in!?!

So….today, Clarabelle and her mommy climbed aboard the float for her dance classes and cheered in their red attire alongside the other girls and mothers!

parade

Elliott, my mother, and I stood waiting for her to appear to catch a glimpse of that perfect smile!

biggest-fan.jpg
Sissy’s Biggest Fan!

We are so blessed every day! All of us! There is always something to celebrate. There is always something worth shouting from the rooftops! These may seem so small to so many, but to us, these moments are what we fought so hard to get.

What moment are you celebrating today?

“Gigi”

Beautiful Message!

Emotions are the strongest feelings that come to life through our highest highs and our lowest lows. The two most extreme emotions are love and hate. As history has feed us the narrative, “Love conquers all.” This statement has been highly publicized and debated. Some agree with the idea that with love you can do […]

via The Power Of Love & Hate — Jay Colby

To the Parents of Pregnant Teenager Daughters

Sometime in the last day, or weeks, or months, your daughter has been faced with many decisions. The moment those two little lines appeared on the stick that she purchased with her allowance, she had to decide whether to run or stay. She had to decide whether to tell the world or keep her “condition” a secret. She had to decide whether or not to stay in school or look for a job. She had to decide if she would become a mother, terminate the pregnancy, or choose adoption. She had to decide how to tell the father and her best friend. She had to think about college and her future. She has had her entire world shaken and now, after all of this uncertainty, she has come to you.

Of all the decisions she is facing, you only have one to make. Will you stand by her or turn her away. That is it. You do not have to choose whether or not she will keep the baby or choose another option. You do not have to decide what her future holds. You only have to decide if you will hold onto your role as her mother or walk away. This choice is yours and yours alone. Release yourself from all concerns of stigmatization and fears. Realize that this is your only choice to make regarding your teenage daughter. The rest is hers to decide.

Do not make this decision quickly or without serious consideration. You are hurt. You are scared. You may even be ashamed. But, ask yourself why are you feeling this way? Do you believe that your daughter intentionally harmed you? Do you believe that you have some reasons to be afraid? Your only role in this is to decide what relationship you want with your child. That is it. That is not hurtful or scary. As a mother or father, you have been making this decision every day. Ashamed? Did you encourage your daughter to become pregnant? Did you announce the pregnancy standing in your pajamas at a formal dinner? This is not your “shame” so you do not get to carry it. The pregnancy belongs to your daughter. Whether or not it is viewed as a shame or a blessing will be based on her way of presenting her pregnancy.

Now, do not get me wrong, I felt all of these emotions on the morning that not one but two of my teenagers told me that I would be a grandmother. Both my son’s girlfriend (18) and my daughter (17) took pregnancy tests and informed me at the same time! Immediately I became scared for them. How would their lives be now that they would have to focus on raising children? What would others say about them or about our family? How could they possibly handle children when they were but children themselves? How could they put us in this position? Oh, I was hurt, scared, ashamed, and maybe even a little bit angry.

Our waitress came to the table as all of these emotions flooded through my mind. My heart was aching and my hands were shaking. When she asked what I wanted, all I could say was “two virgins and two negative pregnancy tests. But since I am not getting that, two eggs over medium will do.”

Everyone at the table laughed and the waitress stepped away from what was obviously a family moment. The laughter has never stopped. I made a decision right then that I would stand by my children.

However, I have not been perfect in my plight to stand by them without standing in their way and there are things I wish someone would have told me. I mean, I was a teenage mother and I guess I should have known a few things about it, but if I could have heard these words, a few things may have gone a bit smoother:

  1. Your child still needs you: I know you feel displaced right now but they are trying to figure out what it means for them to become a parent. Give them time and be there.
  2. Your child needs you differently: They no longer need you to tell them things but rather to show them without appearing to be parenting! This is tricky but it is important.
  3. You do not have to stop your life: If you stop living at any stage of parenting, your child will believe that they have to do the same. If your fear was that they would be limited in their life by this pregnancy, then stopping your own life will only realize this fear.
  4. Forgive: I mean forgive everyone. Forgive your child for whatever you feel they have done wrong. Forgive your child for whatever decisions they make. Forgive yourself for believing that it was wrong. Forgive others for having an opinion. Forgive because, if not, you will never move forward.
  5. Be involved: Yes, this is your child’s child but, this is YOUR grandchild! I mean seriously! You are young enough to enjoy everything! Buy the loud toys! Feed them late night chocolate! Do everything!

I know this is not how you planned your story. This is not how you planned your child’s life. This is not how you envisioned being told that you are becoming a grandparent. But our stories are written as we go. In an interview with author Nabila Fairuz, blogger  TooFulltoWrite reports the author as stating that the middle part is the hardest because you have to “eradicate the loopholes.” Life also does not come with an outline, as Fairuz stated in the interview, how it began and how it ends is easy. It is the middle that is so difficult to figure out and when life throws us curveballs, it is our task to determine how we will allow these to affect the other moments in our life.

You have a decision to make. When your child becomes a parent, where do you want to stand?

Whatever you decide, remember, you are only accountable for your own decisions!

“Gigi”