Picture Perfect (Or Is It?)

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I present 2 pictures of a current project I am working on right now. I chose these 2 pictures because they help to illustrate something I feel strongly about and that is that everyone has a story. To judge someone, without all of the details,is just unkind. We cannot form an opinion based on only one side or the side that each person presents to society. Our lives, I believe, resemble the back of the piece in the 2nd picture. The side that is full of tangles, knots, and threads of different colors. The unfinished side. Sometimes one of these knotted threads even comes undone from too much tugging or not enough tightening.

I started this blog, 2 years ago, to document my journey as a wife and mother who is trying to be more optimistic as we navigated the medical journey of one of our daughters. Our daughter, despite 3 surgeries to her shoulder/scapula, continues to require physical therapy. Any doctor, we have seen, has gotten to a point where they have thrown up their hands and the one constant is her physical therapy doctor. He continues his valiant efforts and for this we are most grateful. Our daughter continues to be determined, courageous, and a bit stubborn. The latter is what has carried her through along this journey. Both she and her twin sister have earned spots in the National Honor Society and are talking colleges. A new journey will begin in 2 years.

However, since her injury, both she along with my husband and I continue to be advocates in this journey of hers. It, unfortunately, never goes away as she needs to present “her story” to a new set of teachers each year. What they see, at first glance, is like the first picture above. It is so important for them to understand the back story or second picture. This will help, this new set of teachers, to understand who she is and what led her to this point. All of this crucial for a successful year.

No one should ever be told there are worst cases than their case because only a few know the whole story and see the whole picture.  What a person may be going through could be the hardest thing in the world for THEM. Everyone deserves love and support. Please take the time to listen, learn, and be supportive of others. It goes a long way!

Stop! I Am Not Ready! Seriously!

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This is the time of year where I start to feel sad and a bit sentimental.

It was just a short time ago when school let out for us. Plans were made and the days seemed endless. Summer has always been my brief time to be a stay at home Mom and enjoy my twin daughters. I am not one who cannot wait for her daughters to return to school in September. I love spending time with them, chatting with them, and simply listening to them as they make plans for their future. (Although each time a piece of mail comes from a college any distance away, I cringe!) We have  enjoyed our months off and I wouldn’t change a thing! I am not naive. I know things won’t always be this way and I have tried to soak in every precious moment through all of my senses.

Yet…You  cannot put off the inevitable so I was even brave enough (Ha-Ha!) to tackle the annual trip to Target and Staples for school supplies yesterday. For as much as I need Summer to last another month, I have daughters who LOVE school and learning. They are ready to move on in many ways. Me? Not so much to be honest! They are moving into a new school year but also moving a few steps closer down the pathways that will lead them to each of their life’s purposes. Their mother, on the other hand, is watching from a distance with a few tears. I may not have accomplished all I wanted to get done this Summer, but I was fortunate enough to spend it with 2 of the greatest people know! I get to call them my daughters!

Thank you for a wonderful Summer lovely daughters,

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Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me?

Summer is 1 week away and I am ending another school year. That also means our daughters are too! We just attended an honors program and the second year of high school is almost in the books. With that has come talks, schedules for the next 2 years, plans for the future, proms, banquets, college tours, and possible majors. Along with the usual dilemmas comes dilemmas specific to multiples. Do we stay together and go to the same college or is it time to break up the team? Hard to imagine the latter and when I do, it tugs at my heart strings and I start to feel very sad. Yes, I am sentimental. I can’t help it. Why didn’t anyone tell me that with these proud milestones would come a bit of heartache?

” Don’t Blink” is a country song which has the lyrics trace the many stages of a child growing up and it is so true. My optimistic side  has me feeling proud, at the moment, yet I’m in utter disbelief that we are at this point. Didn’t we just drop them off at Kindergarten? My favorite piece of advice, to the girls has always been “stay true to who you are.” It encompasses a lot and has stood the test of time. I love watching them grow into the wonderful people they were meant to be in this world. Why didn’t anyone tell me that the time truly would go quickly? I remember it not seeming that way in the diaper and sleepless nights stage. That now seems like a lifetime ago.

I struggle with this new stage and the challenges presented. It is requiring me to do some redefining of my own in terms of my roles. The positive spin is that change is good and leads to growth. New interests can be formed and old ones dusted off and brought back to the forefront. I am moving into this new territory slowly. It is inevitable, I realize, so why fight it? Tell that to my heart! Why didn’t anyone tell me that what I am feeling, inside now, is 100x worse than the first day of kindergarten?

525,600 minutes. The show Rent points out the importance of this amount in our lives. Time passes and it is up to us to take advantage of every moment and opportunity. In the same line of thinking is the fact that there are 780 days in high school. I hope our children measure their success in many different forms and always strive to help others. I love that they are conscious of the need to reach out and I hope they never lose it. Why didn’t anyone tell me that, with each milestone/achievement, it can feel like a step into the future for our children without us?  Wait…. How did this happen?

Why didn’t anyone tell me that this hurts? Now I remember… my parents did but I was the child and not the parent then. My how things have changed. I will change with them but I’m not 100% ready and I’m not 100% ok with it and I own that. It is who I am!

Holding On To Hope

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I like to consider myself a stronger and  more confident person as a result of the challenges life has dealt our family in recent years. I have learned lessons along the way and I know that you have to be an advocate, in times of challenge, for either yourself or those that need a voice. In the past, I would have said, “I don’t want to bring attention to anything” or “Why make waves?” That is no longer the case. I will fight for what is right and in terms of my daughter’s shoulder issues, I will keep pressing for answers whether it be a new form of physical therapy, a different specialist, or something academic related. I often wish I could help other families, as an advocate, in educational and medical matters. I know what we have gone through,and what we continue to go through, as a family. To have someone be a guide in the abyss of the medical and surgical world would have been a godsend.

I could use an advocate, right now,who has connections to every shoulder guru there is to be seen. How is it that this case is so original? We are seeing a top doctor now who also treats pro athletes but even he is perplexed as to why the shoulder is not maintaining stability. We are now about 3 1/2 years into this nightmare yet outsiders look at her and would never know her pain level or her daily struggles. Kelly will not crack, as she plows through this, and has excelled academically in her first full year back in 3 years right along with her twin sister. They are a great team!

For now, I pray, research, and continue to try to grow as a person. I need to be the best version of me–a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an advocate, a friend, and an educator. If I don’t, I am helping no one and I am not serving as a good role model for my girls.

Please remember, in your daily encounters, that everyone is struggling or going through something. Sometimes it is a visible struggle but often it is the invisible pain and struggles that can be the heaviest to carry. Always remember to be patient, kind, and to see the good everywhere. You could be the “light” in someone’s dark and cloudy day.

Keep on hoping! I know I will!!

Dig Deep

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The saga continues with our family and how we move forward with our daughter’s “new normal” for now. Positive energy and outlooks have been running a bit low these last few weeks and obstacles seem to be in no short supply along with the tears. This is certainly a test but I wasn’t quite ready to take it.

The title of “Dig Deep” refers to looking for an unlimited amount of precious things. Such as strength, patience, control, endurance, and the right attitude. I had recently reached out to a friend, earlier this week, and she told me that these trials are serving as a prepping period so to speak for the greater good or work I will do in the future. I do believe that there is a purpose for everything no matter how challenging the situation. It has been difficult, to say the least, to quiet everything else going on and truly see that. What I need to recognize is what would come more naturally, in the past, I now need to make a conscious effort to practice and appreciate the little things and see the progress my daughter and our family is making no matter how small! I cannot change or control the past but I can control my reaction to my present and my future. The next step is to wipe the tears and move forward!

I never thought I would be comfortable enough blogging about this and I am trying to develop something good out of it all. As I stated earlier, these last few weeks have been so draining for our daughter. Enter the “twin factor.” For the first time ever my daughters did not enter school together. There is no manual to tell you how to balance supporting one twin daughter, and all she is experiencing at high school, while at the same time supporting your other twin daughter on home bound instruction who would rather be with her sister. If there was such a book, I would buy it, highlight it, take notes, and get the audio version. It is a balancing act that I feel does not have me balancing, but rather failing as I fall off of that rope repeatedly.

My next step involves being an advocate for my daughter. It is a job unto itself. Roadblocks abound but we have a wonderful team of medical experts, a few key people in education, and a supportive family to guide us on this unexpected path. A test of strength or courage? Maybe? A need to “Dig Deep?” Definitely!! But, oh so worth it! As I said, I believe in a reason for everything and I know that both my girls will have an impact on the world due to these surgeries and experiences and the world will be better for it.

I hope my daughters find strength, from our family unit, as we all “Dig Deep.”

 

Fool Proof Advice For Surviving Life’s Milestones–To My Daughters

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The topic of milestones has been on my mind through out this past summer. As parents we experience many milestones. So many parents are closing out this week with surviving a child’s first move to college or a return trip. I’m already stocking up on tissues for when it is our turn to do that trip!

In our family, that milestone is a few years away yet but nevertheless there is a milestone headed our way. Our “babies” are entering high school. As parents of twins each milestone is a little more sentimental because we don’t get to do it again : (    Wait!! Who gave permission for this to happen?? All joking aside, we could not be prouder of what our children have accomplished thus far and we are looking forward to this next chapter. In light of this, here is some advice I will give to our daughters and hope this serves as a guide for them.

10 Pieces of Advice:

1) Work hard.

2) Look for opportunities to join clubs or organizations to spark your interests. Use this time, in high school, to develop these interests which could lead to a future endeavor.

3) Time management–May the skills, in this area, that were developed in middle school continue into your high school career.

4) Some of the best friendships that you will have start in high school. Some will also fade away with the memories of graduation day but remember to be open to meeting new people. Remember everyone, who comes into your life, has something to teach you even if they are only in your life for a short time.

5) Be true to who you are—Never feel like you have to change, who you are, to simply fit in with others.

6) Always project an image of confidence and believe in yourself. (Apply this in all situations even if you are shaking inside and about to give a big presentation in a class).

7) You will always have a strong support system here–AKA your family.

8) Know you are loved more than anything in this world!!

9) Your heart may get broken a time or two but you will get over it and be stronger for it.

10) Only you can decide your future! Your education is what you make of it! Listen to your heart.

Well, these are my pieces of advice dear daughters. Get ready to open that door to your future and the next chapter! It is going to be the best one yet. Learn something new each day and be open to all the world has to offer.

I love you both!!

Who Influences You?

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This blog came about because I love to write and had this as one of my long-term goals. I have been influenced by many, in my life, over the years and more recently by a few new individuals but no one has influenced me more than my daughters.

As I sit down, to write this first post, I glance over and smile at my daughters involved in a game. This has been a fun packed 5 weeks of summer. In less than a week, new changes will come about as a result of an injury that one of my daughters suffered in November of 2012. These last 2 years have been full of struggles and hardships but also strengthened us as a family. It is important to step back and see this in order to move forward in a positive direction. It has not always been easy and many times it feels overwhelming.

One of my daughters is facing her 3rd shoulder related surgery in less than a year and a half. What would cause most to buckle and crawl into a corner has only fueled her strength and determination. Just a short time ago my daughter was a pitcher who wanted to pursue this sport as one of her dreams; sadly this dream has been forever altered. With this alteration, in dreams, came a realization that the pediatric medical field was calling my daughter as a future dream. We always hope that everything happens for a reason and my daughter is a firm believer that we are led to where we should be; doing what we were meant to do in this world. Not only does she believe this but she lives this each and every day and this is where my quest to be more optimistic originated.

As a parent you want to protect your children and meet all their needs. I can remember being pregnant, with my daughters, and asking my mom when I would stop worrying about them. My mom’s response was “You will never stop worrying about your children.” I was referring to going through a successful pregnancy but my mom was seeing the bigger picture. Truer words were never spoken as the saying goes! My husband and I, like most parents, strive to meet the needs of our children and give them the strength and love they need in life. Very often this is given to us, in reverse, from our daughter who has gone through so much in her 14 years. Her beautiful grace and outlook continues to amaze those that know and love her. Her influence touches many and is never-ending. How fortunate am I to call her one of my lovely daughters?
My ending thought today is to realize and appreciate those that touch your life each and every day.