Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Irish in my heart

I’m fortunate as I grew up knowing and learning about my Irish heritage. I loved listening to the stories of my ancestors from my Gram and her sisters. Four of my Gram’s siblings came off the boat with their parents, for dreams of a better life. After the devastation of the Great Potato famine of 1845-1849 my Great Great Grandparents and their kin, survived and without them I wouldn’t be here today to tell this story.

Michael and Elizabeth left Scotland at the age of nineteen and traveled by ship to South Hampton, England. At the time, they had three daughters and a son in tow. With competition for jobs, financial security, and food being scarce with the population boom, they made their way to Canada and settled in British Columbia.

My Great Grandparents *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Great Grandfather Michael found work in the mines and was there for twenty-nine years. They hadn’t lived there in the community long when devastation ravaged the town with floods from 1848, to 1947, the mining disaster in May of 1908 that killed one hundred and three miners, and the Great Fire of August. 1 st of 1908 that destroyed the town.

My Great Grandma Elizabeth was pregnant with my Grandma Margaret and due to give birth that hot summer. There were ten lives lost and thousands of homes burnt to the ground. There was a lot of hardship and sadness that my ancestors had to encounter in the new land. I’m happy to report my Gram made it safely into the world as the hospital and the church were the few buildings that were left.

Time passed on with my Gram and her siblings growing up and their parents had added on to their family with four more daughters. More hardship would come to the family as the mine would be closed in order to investigate the fire of 1908. My Great Grandpa Michael had to find work elsewhere. All the daughters worked as well or helped look after the youngest children.

My Great aunts such lovely lasses. *image courtesy of my cousin*

That was the life back then, everyone had a strong work ethic and supported one another. I remember my sweet Gram Margaret telling me stories of her housekeeping days, collecting oranges at the train yard, and working as a caddy at the golf course. The sisters all went on to marry and have families of their own. They still remained close as they raised their children and visited each other when they were Grandparents.

My Gram and 3 of her 5 sisters *image courtesy of my cousin*

A tragic accident in 1917, took the life of the youngest family member Josephine and she died at the age of two, with severe burns to the chest and abdomen. Poor baby girl lighting up the world with her beauty and smile, and for her life to be snuffed out like a candle is so sad. Peter, the only son of nine children returned home from World War 1 and fell ill as well. He succumbed to cerebral meningitis at the age of twenty-six on March. 17th 1922.

He was to sing in the St. Patrick’s day concert that evening for the Knights of Columbus, and he sat up in bed and sang then died. The song that he sang was Danny Boy, a beautiful Irish melody that is dear to my heart to this day.

My Great uncle *image courtesy of my cousin*

After the youngest daughter and only son had passed just 5 years my Great Grandma Elizabeth became ill. My Grandparents were set to get married in the summer month of July and Elizabeth passed 9 days before the wedding. Instead of the church wedding that was planned they quietly got married in the priests rectory of the Holy Family Catholic Church.

My parents got married there as well and my middle sister followed suit and my husband and I proudly married there after. As a devout Irish Catholic family that attended mass every Sunday and invited the priest over for dinner after one of my Great aunts went into the sisterhood. She took the name Sister Michael and lived out her young life devoting herself in service to God.

She passed tragically in a car accident when I was a little girl and my Gram would tell me stories about her love of the family and of the church. There was always tears and hugs given when she spoke of her siblings that had passed on.

My Great aunt Elizabeth and her Father Michael *image courtesy of my cousin*

I celebrate my dearly departed loved ones memories and I carry on the namesake of my Great Grandma, my Great aunt, and my Mom. My Great Grandpa Michael lived on to see his daughters marry and meet his Grandchildren. My Mom had a special relationship with him and would speak of him with joy on her heart. He passed on well into his 80’s to be reunited with his lovely wife and daughters and son.

My Gram and my Mom *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Gram and Mom always said I had the gift of my Great uncle’s vocal talent. To this day when I sing the song of my ancestors homeland Oh Danny Boy I feel uplifted on their angel wings. St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in our family household as much as the joy of birthdays. Wishing you all Irish blessings and may the luck and love of the Irish be with you always. 💚☘️

An adapted version of this story originally appeared on The Wellness Universe titled Irish heritage.

*Special thanks to my cousin Maureen for the use of her family pictures. The late night chats of our family’s story helped me feel closer to my Irish clan.*

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It takes a village

I recently took a physical for life insurance purposes. My nurse was kind and polite and when I was asked why do I take an anti-depressant when your otherwise healthy? I simply replied “I’m a special needs parent who’s always advocating, teaching, learning, researching, and loving my family I have to cope somehow.”

The look of surprise that crossed his face was something that I’ve seen before. I’ve had people ask me how do you do it, deal with autism, ADHD, ODD, SPD, and a genetic neurological disorder that affects everything from motor skills, to recessive language delay, to selective eating issues due to textures, smells, and shapes of food.

I have no other answer other than I don’t think about it I just do it. All of it needs to be done always. I need to advocate for my children so that they can have access to resources, funding, and therapy inside the school system and outside within the community. I need to keep up with the latest research on my son’s genetic disorder so I know how to help him specifically and what other co-morbidities I need to be aware of. I also need to teach him about number and letter recognition so he can begin to print what he knows. I have to deal with regression as it’s the part of his brain that’s affected by his micro-duplication.

I need to check, double check and help my son re-learn when he’s lost his ability to process what he’s learning in school. He’s come a long way with his progress from screaming if I tried to help him hold a crayon in preschool to printing his name confidently in elementary school. Now his world’s growing bigger as he attempts to make sense of all those letters on the page and learn to read. I remember what joy I felt when my Mom introduced the magical world of books to me.

I long to see that light in my son’s eyes that I know appeared in mine. Yet I see him stumble on three and four letter words and in frustration throw the book across the room. At the moment we’re working on his reading comprehension so that he can create the story from what he sees illustrated on the page. As for the phonics and word recognition I’m using a multi-sensory approach as well as his special education resources teacher does in the classroom.

1. First I print the word then I get him to to tell me the letters and we sound it out and say it together.

2. Next I have him build it with his alphabet letters on the line below.

3. After he prints the word with his pencil.

4. Then we go over the word and use it in a sentence and repeat with the remaining words.

Sometimes he only has enough patience for three words but to me it’s quality over quantity. I learned the Write, build, print method from an amazing website called Understood. I love this website as I now have a resource that’s there to help us both on our learning journey.

When I see the furrow in my son’s brow as he concentrates to maintain his alligator grip on his pencil I marvel at his independence. He sings a little song as he does so. Alligator grip then my pencil doesn’t slip. Then when he’s completed his task his beautiful smile makes his whole face light up. I’m excited to incorporate building Lego into his learning as we work on math next.

I have five months to prepare him to catch up with his peers and continue onto the next grade. He has an excellent team at school who’ve been there to help with his frustrations, transitions with the use of visuals and successes. My son teaches me just as much as I’m teaching him this why I choose medication for myself and seeking the guidance of a therapist.

No parent is an island and it takes a village to raise a child. When it’s a child with special needs it takes strength, courage, and a bigger, non-judgemental village. I need to be able to cope with this roller coaster of a life we lead. I need to stay on task and ten steps ahead of a sensory overloaded meltdown. Most importantly I need to take care of myself and repair what I feel is broken. My mental health and the well being of my children depend on it.

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!

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The Tear

What is it about the passage of time? I’ve heard that time heals all wounds, time passes on and time is short. It’s that tear in the fabric of time that intrigues me the most. Where you can be another version of yourself-someone who is stronger and makes better decisions and takes a different path in life.

Like the actress Gweneth Paltrow played in the movie Sliding doors her character was on the subway platform deciding if she should or shouldn’t get on the train. The director portrayed what would happen with her life if she stepped on the subway and who she was and who she interacted with.

It really fascinated me with the twists and turns within the plot of the movie. It showed me that you do have to be careful what you wish for. As I’m watching this the character in my favourite TV show #Thisisus is replaying the memory track of what his life was like before when he was a high school football star and adored by everyone. Kevin had colleges scouting him, a girlfriend who loved him and a close relationship with his family. Then it all came to a crashing end when he was tackled in the big game and suffered a broken leg.

He still had the beautiful girlfriend (who he would later go on to marry and divorce), a strong bond with his fraternal twin sister Kate, an emerging relationship with his adopted brother Randall, and his parents Jack and Rebecca that were there to love and support him to this jagged tear to his football dreams. Yet Kevin can’t see past any of that as he sinks into a depression that goes on to shadow his life in his current phase.

What would’ve his life been like if he avoided that devastating hit that changed his path forever? Would he have gone on to football stardom and become the proud recipient of the Heisman trophy, married the girlfriend and lived happily ever after? Even though he’s a television character Kevin and his life story is enthralling to me that he went onto to what appeared to be a good life making a successful living as an actor while recovering from the death of his Father, the rock in his life.

How would his life be any different if he would’ve just thrown the football, avoided the tackle and never have to lose his Dad at such a young age? It’s the conundrum I’m sure most of us have encountered at some point on our path what if I would’ve taken that subway train, stayed with the ex or gotten that scholarship to college. It’s the tearing of the dream that we have for ourselves that can hurt the most where we feel the regrets of time we’ve lost and where the what if’s eat us up inside.

Is the grass always greener over on the other side of the fence? Not necessarily, should we all just be living the life of our dreams with no regrets or resentments? I’ve always intended to raise my sons to follow their dreams, reach for the stars and be kind and giving human beings. It’s the life that we live that shows us who are true character really is. Excepting the hand we’re dealt and taking the leap of faith and being who we’re really meant to be that matters the most.

I saw myself becoming a famous actress and singer entertaining the world with my talent. Unfortunately I didn’t have the courage to pursue those idealistic dreams and leave my parents and go off to the big city. I didn’t believe in myself as much as I should’ve and that tears at my heart still today. But who am I to say that my dreams shall just wither and die? I can still realize them just in a different way, by performing in theatre and pursuing my passion for storytelling.

It’s the gift of words that sets my heart aflutter now as I’m passing on that love of reading and writing to my sons. It fills my eyes with happy tears as I sit and listen to my youngest champion son reading about Pete the Cat and his buttons as he acts and sings out every page. When I thought his brain might not be able to make sense of the letters with his autism and mental processing speed. Then as my heart swells with pride when my oldest rock star son starts reading me an essay that he’s writing for school and telling me he wants to be a writer like me when he’s older.

I wish for them not to struggle with their identities or what direction they should go career wise like I’ve done. To be able to avoid the “hits” that happen in life the fair weather friends, bullies on the playground, and young love breakups. If I could I’d protect them from it all but then they wouldn’t be truly living and discovering the world for what it is. Their time shouldn’t be spent wondering what if but really experiencing all that life has to offer them from school, friendships, love, and beyond!

It’s in these moments that I know I found the right path and even though my mind can wonder about the what if’s of the world it’s the life that I’m living being the best me I can be that matters. Not the one who made her way to Hollywood to become the actress of her dreams who may have caved in to all the pressure that a lot of celebrities fall under and resorted to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope.

I would rather be my authentic self who loves who I see when I look in the mirror, that prays with my children every evening for a better world for them to grow up in, and loves my husband with everything in me. That’s the bond of family that dreams, pride, fantasies, or ego can never tear away.

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Monday Musings A-Z challenge-Compassion


I was raised to have a compassionate heart. My Mom was a big believer in showing compassion instead of anger. She didn’t have an evil bone in her body and she believed that people judged others by what they saw in themselves. I still carry this belief and honour her memory by teaching my children the same. Some have called me naive because of this truth I hold to dearly. That’s one’s opinion but not my truth.
It will still baffle me as an adult when some members of society don’t show compassion. I see it in daily life when someone driving cuts off another car. I see it in a long lineup when someone throws their money at a cashier. I observe it in a restaurant when dining out with my family when my son becomes disruptive at the table.

The reason is he has autism, and he doesn’t sit still for long. Ten patrons can turn into twenty and he becomes visually overstimulated to his environment. He also “stims” when his body is seeking sensory input to regulate his central nervous system. He does this by jumping, rocking or dancing on the spot. I see the looks, overhear the whispers and take him outside to shake his wiggles out. I don’t attempt to try to shush him out of embarrassment because it can escalate matters quickly when he feels he’s not being understood.

This is why we eat at one restaurant in our town. The food’s amazing and we’ve become wonderful friends with the owners during our time here. They know my family and they know of my son’s autism. If things are loud and crowded in their establishment my husband will go in and order us take out. If we make a plan to phone ahead we put in our order so that it arrives when we walk in the door. I’ve been at this game changing strategy  for awhile now as he had a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder first at the age of 3.

I had to prepare him for the world as it can be too loud, bright, and busy. I don’t feel that anyone owes my son any special favours all I would ask for is compassion. I recently shared on a Autism page of my son’s diagnosis. It was World Autism Awareness day and I felt brave sharing something so personal to our family. I made the mistake of not wearing my armour in sharing my son’s story. I had briefly discussed the judgements that we’ve received and even a personal attack on my parenting him through a sensory meltdown.

What I forgot in that moment of courage was that anything put out there on the Internet can be judged. That came to pass and I was stunned by the commenters lack of compassion. I thought to myself I don’t know this person’s story and yet she believes that she knows mine in one paragraph. I stayed in my #Mommitment mind, I may be judged on my words but I know my spirit. I didn’t reply and I was blessed that the admins of the page deleted the comment and left my story up.

It was liked and shared a few times and I felt relief that I wouldn’t be having to face that hurt again. It was such a strange feeling to be put on the spot like that from another parent. I will admit there’s a lot I still need to learn and not everyone wants to Light it up blue for autism awareness. Not all organizations are everyone’s cup of tea but I learn something from each of these groups and I gain support, understanding, compassion and that virtual hug of not feeling so alone. I just learned today from a amazing blogger friend  that autism by definiton means “to be alone.” This brought tears to my eyes and made me realize I never want that to happen to my sweet son.

My son has autism, but I don’t believe it defines him as a person. His precious giggle when playing hide and seek with his brother. His beautiful smile when he tells me he loves me with a sound, words, or a kiss. These things define him and when the world has gotten to loud and crowded for him and he reacts to his environment by melting down; he’s not being a brat, this is not a temper tantrum, all I ask is for a little compassion and understanding. It helps the eye of the society storm feel a little less scary to navigate.

This is my post for #MondayMusings for Everyday Gyaan would you like to take part in this linkup?
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Monday Musing-Riding the grief wave

I look at my reflection in the mirror and I’m a mixed tumble of messy emotions.  I don’t feel sad or cry everyday and there’s bursts of enthusiasm for life and all the wonderful things that make me happy. My family, friends, reading, writing, and creating something from nothing. Whether that’s in my kitchen or my craft room making something fills my happy bucket. 

Last year I suffered the loss of three special people in my life and just when I feel I’m dealing with my grief someone else dies! What do you do when you’re grieving during the month of love? Sometimes I can feel these emotions ebbing and flowing like the tides towards my heart. I can catch it in time or let it wash over me and fill me with overwhelming love or sadness. 

Sometimes it’s a mixture of both as this month has been difficult for me since the death of my parents. Seven years ago for my dearest Dad and five for my beloved Mama I had to say goodbye. Their leaving has left a huge hole in my heart in the shape of their love. I’ve done my best to live around that hole and create a new “normal.” Sometimes I succeed and then the grief wave threatens to pull me under again. Under the water where I’m drowning in emotion and struggling to breathe with the weight of my tears. 

I’ve been in counselling a lot of my life. I started when I was twelve in family therapy then continued on into adulthood. I still see someone when the urge arises and he thinks I need to deal with my grief instead of just trying to survive it. In the last ten years of my marriage my husband and I collectively had to say goodbye to ten loved ones. In the seven years since my Dad, step sisters, and my Mom’s deaths I’ve been in grief recovery in some form of another. Whether it was journaling, actively seeing a therapist, or in a support group. 

I’ve learned a lot about myself and I even wrote up a timeline of my happy and sad times in my life to track my triggers. The happiness is about feeling loved and discovering something new. The sadness always centres around a death in my life since I was three years old. I was born to older parents so I was around older people in my family tree. To me this was my life not anything unusual until I went to school and my friends parents were the same age as my older siblings! That was a shock as I never thought about all these special people leaving me. 

Some may say that dealing with death so young prepared me for the path I need to take to resilience. I have questioned my own mortality, mourned for a a young life snuffed out by tragic circumstances, and have wrote out my living will to prepare my family. I’ve learned a lot during this time of self reflection and pain yet still feel like there’s more to discover. As I carve out a new “normal” and live around this void in my heart. I keep taking it one step, one breath, one journey at a time. With all that I have lost I’ve gained more love, perspective and appreciation; for all the people who have touched my life on this earthly and heavenly plane and for that I’m grateful. 

It’s time for #MondayMusings and it’s being co-hosted by Everyday Gyaan and The Philosopher’s Stone
Would you like to take part in #MondayMusings?

Here’s how it works:
Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.

Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.

Add your link to the linky which you will find on Everyday Gyaan and on the post of a co-host.

Use our #MondayMusings badge to encourage other bloggers join in too.

Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.

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Monday Musings-Triggers of the Past

What is it about the past that activate the triggers in your mind from childhood? It’s like those thoughts lay in a locked  box deep inside my brain then something happens and then they’re triggered, and opened up to sift through like a filing cabinet of memories. I recently woke up with a stiff neck and had to spend most of my day resting and stretching my overworked muscles. 

I started a new fitness program and I was overzealous about it and this is the result. I have to remember I’m not twenty anymore and take it at a less than frantic pace. All I could think about as I lay there feeling sorry for myself was how much I loved to climb as a child. You could find me in trees, on top of the roof of my house, and sitting on my Mom’s upright piano. 

There was one time I was climbing like usual after I bounded out of the house after breakfast. I reached out to grab a branch and instead I grabbed a snake! You can imagine my fright as I felt helpless and plummeted to the earth below. I lay there listening to my bones crack I wondered if I could walk and if that snake was going to land on my head. I could see it still in the tree hissing at me like something out of Disney’s Robin Hood. 

I never did like that character Sir Hiss as my Mom and Gram had a fear of snakes and all I knew was to fear them as well. My Mom came outside to check on me and saw me lying on the ground. She started screaming, crying, and praying as she tried to find help. All my siblings had left for school and my Dad for work. So she picked me up and brought me into the house. 

She laid me softly down on the couch and covered me with my favourite blanket. She put a cool washcloth on my forehead and began to check my head and neck for damage. I was so sore and had a big goose egg on the back of my skull. It hurt to move my neck so I just laid there while my sweet Mama cried and prayed over me. 

We lived in a rural community so to find anyone home to take me to the Dr was a slim and none chance. My Mom gave me something for the pain and turned on the tv. She had put my favourite show Sesame Street on and I listened and drifted off to sleep. I survived that fall and many others because I was a climber. Now I have my own child that loves to climb bookshelves, the back of the couch, on top of his bike, and has yet to climb a tree. 

This is what I thought about as I lied there in my bed having my pity party unable to turn my head while my sweet little boy looked after me. I don’t do helpless and sick very well, I don’t suppose any of us does. I just wish for my Mom to look after me like she did so long ago. But time has passed on and with it her life has too so I end up wistfully missing her and her tender loving care. 

Childhood triggers fill my mind with memories of good days and bad. Songs, games, and old friendships that were so important to me. I think of that old red house that reminded me of a barn on a farm. With the big heater with the stove pipe in the middle of the room. I think of the many hours spent there on my beloved Mama’s lap as she rocked me holding me tightly in her arms. I wish I could go back there for another day feeling that loves and cherished. Instead I lie here in my bed stiff and sore cuddling my child. Who will grow up and have these memories of special times with his Mom. 

This brings to mind a poem to fill my wistful grieving heart. 

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

-Rumi

This has been my late edition of #Mondaymusings as I was searching for the linkup that is now being hosted at Everyday Gyann if you’d like to join in here are some tips to take part in #MondayMusings? Here’s how it works:

Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.

Add your link to the linky which you will find here and on the post of a co-host.

Use our #MondayMusings badge to encourage other bloggers join in too.

Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.

Share the love.

  



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Pause 

There are moments in time I’d like to freeze as my children are growing up so fast. One tells me I’m the mayor of Crazy Town (in our household it’s a real place) the other asks me such interesting questions about the Mir space station and will Steve Harvey ever host a Miss America pagent again? 

I still remember when they were babies and the circumstances that led up to me bringing them into the world. One two days late and long and skinny and purple as Barney the dinosaur. The cord was wrapped around his neck and his head was too wide to engage down into the birth canal. He had the brightest eyes and watched my every move as fascinated with me as I was with him. Oh how I loved him I knew he was waiting for me all along. 

I have to pause that moment when he squeezed my finger and looked up into my eyes as it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Now he’s 4″8 and soon will be height at nine years old and towering over me by the time he’s licenced to drive. His little brother made his scary and rapid appearance before I had a chance to prepare for it. I knew nothing about early onset labor and all that will follow having a premature baby. 

I have to press play on my memory bank as those two weeks of having my baby in the hospital NICU are a blur of emotions. He came into the world sleeping the OBGYN actually woke him up as he cut him out of me and lifted him over top of the blue sheet. He was like a little loaf of bread all curled up and he made this meowing sound and I burst out laughing. I looked at my husband and said “did our baby just meow?”

Then the whole OR started laughing and it broke the thick as ice tension with the seriousness of my son’s early arrival. He was such a mystery to me and didn’t open up his eyes for five days. Then when he did I felt like I could see all the wonders of the world. My baby had an old soul and he looked at me as if to say it’s ok Mom I’ve done this before. 

The love I had in that moment enveloped me like a warm mist floating through me and all around as I was lost in the swirling rainbow of emotions. I have to pause that moment in time as everything I read about Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet came flooding back to me. 

Your children are not your children.

They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not of you. 

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

For such a young little life he had this wisdom about him and I was captured by it. When we brought him home he conpleted our family with his gentleness. It took him two more weeks to find his voice as he was quiet and serious. It was like he was taking every moment in of his new world and didn’t want to miss a minute of it to sleep. We settled into our family of four and I went into grief recovery as my Mom had died five weeks prior to my baby’s birth. 

I felt so much guilt because I loved her so much I couldn’t hold onto my pregnancy. I wanted to pause the last moment I had with her as I told her we were expecting again. The warmth in her hands as she squeezed mine, and the glow in her eyes was my most cherished moment with her. 

I know she watches over my children and wants our greatest gift to be our happiness. Cuddling with my husband while watching our kids entertain us with their antics these are the moments I’d love to pause and hold them in their youth a little longer. 

This had been my Stream of Consciousness Saturday with Linda G Hill as part of Just Jot January posting everyday for the month. Today’s prompt was the word pause. 

  

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Monday Musings-Christmas in my comfort zone

I’ve always been a traveller during the holidays. Ever since I was four years old and my Mom would have my sister and I for Christmas and my Dad would have us for Boxing Day. This tradition continued for many years until my Dad passed it over to my middle sister and her family. We’re of Ukrainian descent on my Dad’s side so it would be a day consisting of perogie making and eating contests. This was our way of celebrating the Ukrainian Christmas that falls in January. 

My oldest brother always won the record of most perogies eaten at one sitting with fifty-two and our Dad a runner up with forty-nine. I won for the women one year with fourteen eaten and many, many, created in my family’s kitchen. Now that I’m married and have a family of my own I have my own traditions. We do Christmas baking and advent calendars with my kids. I also started the book advent where a new book is unwrapped and read each day up till Christmas. My son’s each get to open a present on Christmas Eve which consists of pyjamas or slippers. This year they each get a family movie night box complete with hot chocolate, DVD, popcorn, and pj’s. 

I’m excited about this new way of celebrating Christmas with my children! I love to see their faces lit up with the joy of decorating the Christmas tree. As well as their amazement when we see how many decorations we piled on that seven foot beauty. We’ve always been the members of our family who lived furthest away but were expected to travel. And so we did just as couple for many years and later as a family of four. My Grandparents and parents were still alive during these Christmases and seeing them was what made my holiday brighter. 

  
After they had passed away in 1991, 1999, 2009, and 2011 our trips back home ceased to happen. It was just too heartbreaking to go back to the same place and see that empty spot at the kitchen table. The last Christmas I had with my Dad my oldest son was two. I remember how special it was to see them together soaking up every precios moment they could together. It was bittersweet as I knew this would be the last time they’d share aholiday together. 

When my Mom had passed I was eight months pregnant with my second son. She had known he was planned for, created, and growing in my belly but never got to meet him or hold him. That last Christmas she spent most of it sleeping as her medication for travel made her very tired. I wasn’t able to travel as I was being watched for complications. The next time I saw her was at her viewing in the church and then her funeral. That wasn’t something I’ve been able to forgive myself for but I know it’s nothing I had control of. In time I will heal and let that go. For now it’s a double edged jagged knife in my heart. That makes it hard to breathe sometimes….

Now my children are growing up so quickly I’d like to freeze time and let them stay little and innocent awhile longer. We travelled to family last year and it took a lot out of us as a whole. It’s not easy to have a busy, loud, bustling, holiday season with sensitive children. Being out of routine, away from their calming and emotionally regulating routine and not sleeping well can lead to sensory overloaded meltdowns. While it’s common for this time of year it’s not always accepted behaviour at one’s home, family relative or not. 

I spent a lot of time outside playing in the snow with my kids. Snowball fights, snowman building, and powder diving kept them happy, calm, and me from losing my ever loving mind! My youngest son with his Sensory Processing Disorder has a lot of food texture issues so I knew he wouldn’t be having the turkey with all the trimmings. No matter how delicious it appeared to be for others he was happy with his peanut butter sandwich and milk. I did not pressure or chastise him for this preference, as this is not how to help him adapt and want to try new foods or food groups. 

Food is not a battle I choose to have with my son. I pick them carefully because at this time of year everything in his environment is a hair trigger to a blow up waiting to happen.  His older brother who’s a Sensory avoider of excess sensory input will cover his ears, beg for quiet time, and get overloaded by the noise and commotion. Then my youngest who’s a seeker of this sensory input who will run, spin, stim, and then fall apart with exhaustion or overload. This is what I refer to as Armageddon implosion, internally they’re struggling so much, and externally they can’t regulate themselves without my help. 

 In 5-4-3-2-1 BOOM 💥 massive meltdown city is where we’re living and it’s not for the weak hearted. This leads to my husband and I watching for the triggers and doing our best to keep them calm or remove them from the situation entirely. That is how we spent last Christmas Eve where I was told my one son needed valium, and my reply was “no he could use some understanding, I’ll take the Valium.” To be honest my wine glass was never empty during that holiday.  We all got to do what we got to do to get through those hellish hours, without judgement. 

Last year was a long, painful, exciting, and exhausting holiday. I got to see family on my husband’s side and mine. My kids were eager to see their aunts and uncles and open up and play with their toys. I was able to sit back and relax and enjoy seeing them happy and regulated around my side of the family. While repeating my mantra there’s no place like home. Because really there isn’t, it’s so rewarding to be able to hang out in your pj’s all day eating popcorn and watching Netflix. I went against my better judgement and did what was expected of me and my kids reacted accordingly. I accept that now, although it was a bitter pill to swallow at the time. 

This year I’m doing what’s best for them and staying home. We just moved and bought our house last year and now after eighteen months we get to have our first Christmas in it! I’m so excited to relax in my pj’s, cook a big turkey with all the trimmings, munch on my holiday baking, and enjoy Christmas movies with my family. I will light a candle for my loved ones who are no longer with us. Yet are now our Christmas angels from heaven sending us love and comfort when we need it the most. I will provide strength to my family and relatives who are walking through the pain of losing their family member as well, and trying to get through the holidays while grieving. 

After all the eating, sharing, and cuddling are done then we’ll roll out of the house after indulging in our holiday feast and go tobogganing and enjoy a bonfire, hot chocolate, and laughter with our friends. I couldn’t be happier about starting to revive this tradition and add some new ones to our family. This year we are travel free, except to the toboggan hill and back. I couldn’t be more happier and excited about revelling in this freedom and joy!  Christmas is where the heart is, and also where my comfort zone resides. 

It’s time for #Mondaymusings and all you have to do is this list of things. 
Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
Use the hashtag #MondayMusings and link to this post.
Add your link to the linky which you will find either here and on the post of a co-host.
Use our #MondayMusings badge to help other bloggers join in too.

Today’s co-hosts are Happiness and FoodBlogs by EshaEveryday Gyaan thank you for having me in the linkup today. 😃

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Writer’s Quotes Wednesday and Be Wow

When life can become a struggle it’s easy to give into the tears and fears. Yesterday I reached out and shared my story of being a special needs parent. I received an outpouring of love and emotional support that it was incredible and it uplifted my heart and spirit! I wrote this before I had opened up my heart and soul and I’m so glad that I was given the gift of compassion and the beauty of friendship. 

 
This has been my submission to Silver Threading for Writer’s Quotes Wednesday and Be Wow please check out all the talent that link up at this special place to be creative. ❤️

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Monday Musings-Procrastination

Here we are 11 days before Christmas and anyone ready for it? Slowly raising hand in the back of a crowded shopping mall… Actually you won’t find me anywhere near a shopping mall I avoid them like the plague. I’m a very sensory individual so my personal bubble is close like a vest. I have to resist the urge to throat punch most people around this busy bustling season. 

I’m usually quite a calm person but the harried, hectic energy of the holidays sends me into a tailspin! Just driving into a parking lot to mail my Christmas cards is enough to send me into a panic attack as I drive around and around looking for a parking spot. I prefer to do my shopping really early or late at night at a big box store. Then if all else fails I have the online option sitting on my couch and I don’t even have to wear pants! I do though because it’s winter and damn cold in my fridge box of a house. 

 

This isn’t my meme, I found it on Facebook and it’s brilliant dont you think? 😉

 
My husband discovered I turned up the heat last night to a balmy + 25 degrees. Comparing that to 77 degrees Fahrenheit which some states are experiencing this winter! Our Canadian one came upon us graciously and gradually compared to the blizzard of 2014 that had me wearing my winter coat and freezing my ass off in September brrrrrr! 

This year we were blessed with chinooks (a beautiful phenomenon that has warm air meeting cold air and the result is higher temperatures) In October we had a + 20 degree day ( 68 degrees Farenheit) and I set up the bouncy house for my kids. They loved it as did I, it’s a great workout bouncing all my stress away. It was fabulous and fleeting but I enjoyed every minute of it. 

 

This is my meme and an example of the mighty Chinook weather pattern

 
Getting back to the winter and procrastination at hand, I’m not usually a Bah humbug I love Christmas as you can read about here. But I’m a Grinch about shopping it’s either done very early or very late on my time table. This year early didn’t factor into my plans and late well I’m not entirely there yet but I will be soon if I don’t stop procrastinating! 

In my defence though I had the flu bug hit my home like an assault team taking no prisoners. It took down each member of my family with no mercy. I cleaned up enough bodily fluids and wiped down and sanitized every square inch of my household. I was cursing the former owners on their decision to install beige carpeting in my kids rooms! 

Even now my plan was to mail off my Christmas cards and parcels today but my youngest child is sick with a nasty chest cold. I’m doing my best to not share in that misery but my loving little germ factory is crawling all over me as I write this. Sigh I can’t say I blame him though all I want is my Mommy cuddles when I’m sick. But unfortunately heaven doesn’t take drop ins just permanent guests. 

  
I felt I was more on the ball this time then last year. There was a death in my family two weeks before Christmas and with that experience I learned 

  1. That death can devastate you even at the most special time of year 
  2.  That the good really do die young. 

     3.Cancer really, really, sucks. 
This year I had one of my closest friends and a family member die. It’s a time of self reflection, sadness, and also to realize what’s important in life. Not the crossing off every present on my kids list, shopping for family members that can’t shop for themselves, or even passing along my own wish list to my husband. Who was kind enough to buy me some new specs so that I can see properly since my eyes are getting older. 

The list that matters that I’ve lived, loved, and learned from is as follows.

  1. Kindness above everything  is the most important gift to possesses and give freely. 
  2. Gratitude is a game changer in life. If you’re not grateful for what you have, you won’t appreciate what you want. 
  3. Love solves everything, is everything, and means everything. 

It’s like the good ole wise Grinch from Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas found out and narrated by the late great Boris Karlov says:

  
It’s time for #Mondaymusings and all you have to do is this list of things. 

Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
Use the hashtag #MondayMusings and link to this post.
Add your link to the linky which you will find either here and on the post of a co-host.
Use our #MondayMusings badge to help other bloggers join in too.
Today’s Write Tribelink up is co-hosted with The Bespectacled Mother, Vinitha Dileep, and Everyday Gyaan. Thank you to these lovely ladies for co-hosting and letting me part of some Monday magic. ❤️

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