That’s No Angel, That’s My Son!

True, I’ve written on this theme before, but here we are again.

True, sometimes I look at Noah and my heart is so overcome with love and awe that the term angelic does come to mind.

But let’s get real.

Even with an extra 21st chromosome, Noah is just a hair shy of being an angel.

For a week or so now when I ask him to do something he doesn’t feel like doing, he signs “cry” and is not inclined to do it until I pretend to cry.  His response to my “crying” is to erupt in giggles and sign “cry” again.  This goes on until I put on my mad mommy face and pull out my ace in the hole, “Noah, obey.”

I think he learned the power of the teardrop from 4-year-old Seth whom I caught red-handed being told no by Daddy, running to Mama, bursting into tears, and then immediately upon Daddy changing the no to a yes based on additional information, Seth stopped crying and ran beaming to the kitchen.  Absolutely no transition time whatsoever.  Made me look like I must be a real sucker for tears when Daddy’s not around.

Sigh.

At this point I would tend to shed a discouraged tear or two, but since nobody is around, it won’t do me any good.

A New Option for Adults With Special Needs in Dripping Springs, Texas

I am so jazzed about this program and have been since I first heard of it a few months ago.

http://www.friendshipsforlife.org/

I don’t have all the details, but if you live in the Austin/Wimberley/Dripping Springs area, I highly recommend you check this out.

From the www.friendshipsforlife.org website:  “With support from Friendships for Life, our Friends will participate in a new world where they will continue to learn employment skills, communication skills, how to develop friendships and adult living skills in order to build their greatest degree of independence.’ 

“Our main goal is to help our members of FFL find a path where they are able to serve their community. Each path is different, and each path requires educating not only the person themselves, but also those they come in contact with in order to help them achieve their goals.”

This group of adults with special needs meets four days a week to engage in all kinds of activities, from grocery shopping to going to the movies to serving in the local food bank.  I had heard about them from a mom of one of the participants, and then I ran into them at the grocery store.  And then I heard more about them from another mom.  And then I ran into them at the library.  They are having such a blast!  Their motto?  “I learn, I serve, I dream, I can!”  A great motto for all of us, don’tcha think?

From their website, it looks like Friendships for Life based out of Church of the Springs has big, big plans for Dripping Springs, fostering a community where people from all abilities come together to work, to play, to serve and to support each other.  We won’t be waiting until Noah (7 with Down syndrome) grows up to get involved with this group.  I’m not sure what we’ll be able to do yet, but whatever it is, I can’t wait!

Is this a great time to be parenting a child with special needs in Texas or what?

You Bet It Matters!

Since my dad died in December, I’ve obsessed over a few details of his life and our relationship.

As my siblings and I gathered around my Dad in his last hours, Dad, seemingly unconscious, gave us very little indication of any awareness he might have had.  And as we all loved on him, watching his breathing become more and more labored, we knew there was really nothing we could do to help him in his journey back to his Heavenly Father.  It was agonizing to me to be in the midst of such an important event but unable to DO anything except watch and wait, watch and wait for something none of us wanted to happen but we all knew must happen.  In that place of intense awkwardness, I remembered a friend who told the story of singing hymns with his family as his mother slipped into eternity.  So my siblings and I sang.  We sang a few hymns and carols without any real response from my Dad, and then my sister suggested songs from our childhood that my Dad had sung for us.  As we sang “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and “This Little Light of Mine,” We saw one tear for each song gather in my Dad’s eyes.  He heard, and somehow, somewhere, he was singing in spirit with us.

What I have been obsessing on is, Why the tear?  My father’s family was not religious, so it’s unlikely those songs took him back to his own childhood.  What about us singing those songs touched my father, who was so far gone from us already that he could not squeeze my hand or open his eyes when I spoke?  Was it that we brought our relationships with him full circle, from our cradle to his grave?  Was it that those songs touched his heart where religion is absent and true faith lives?  Was it that we were singing terribly off-key and he just wanted us to stop?  :0  What was it?  Why the tears?

I’ve settled on an answer.  I think in that moment when we surrounded him with those songs he had sung to us as children, Dad got that assurance that it mattered.  All he did for us, all he taught us, all he invested in us mattered.  Because when we were all lost in our grief with nothing left to do, nothing left to say, we remembered and played back for him what he had planted in us so many years ago.

In these days when rebellion and indifference is the norm for many teenagers and young adults in their relationships with their parents, it is easy to wonder if all that we invest in our children matters.  When push comes to shove, did those songs, those prayers, those sacrifices matter?

My Dad would tell you they did matter, they do matter.

It all matters.