Monday, September 26, 2011

not just another kid

18 years ago I met the sweetest and arguably the purest person I would ever love.
We laughed and played through elementary school. We cruised through Jr. High and it was at that time partly inspired by him I decided that I should go into special ed as a  career. I was drawn to this amazing population and firmly tethered to them by my Drew.
If you didn't know him, when you first looked at Drew you would see a boy in a wheelchair who couldn't walk or talk. If you were meeting Drew for the very first time you might wonder if he understood you or how much of him was really there at all.

Drew pre-dates all of my other friends and has been a major part of my life.
He's not just another one of "my kids", when I told someone about Drew recently they said "this is the downfall of our profession, we lose kids". It's true; when you work with kids who have various abilities sometimes their bodies just get tired. I've lost kids before and yes it sucks. But that's not what Drew was to me. I respect other's point of view and I know we are all different.
He was MY Drew-bug, my forever boyfriend, my little brother from another mother, my friend. He held up his end of the friendship. That's what people don't always understand. I wasn't being kind to this disabled kid by calling him my friend. We communicated in our own way. We shared secrets and laughed. He showed approval and disapproval for my boyfriends and I helped him pick out his clothes. He grounded me and gave me perspective and I gave him a heck of a ride along the way. Even when I fell short he was still there patiently waiting with a smile. Drew deserved everything we could give him. He knew what was going on around him and he wanted to be a part of it.

I would like to think that Drew showed people to look below the surface. If you took the time to look him in the eyes and talk to him you could see his enthusiasm and engaging personality. He never complained and in the few times I ever saw Drew unhappy it was heart wrenching. He was patient and had a sense of humor. I didn't automatically know how to do things for him. I started learning in Jr high by learning to feed him and after high school I learned the rest of it. I made mistakes along the way and he was always there to laugh at me. (Of course there was the occasional angry snort if I accidentally twisted his arm getting him dressed or hit a sensitive spot while brushing his teeth.) Mostly though my mishaps were his entertainment.

I could talk about him forever because 18 years is a gift. I admit I took a lot for granted with Drew because he had always been there I assumed he would always be there. I hate it when people say things like "you're such a good person" and talk about how I'm the good one for taking care of him. It isn't true. I didn't do anything that a friend wouldn't do and if you think differently then maybe you need better friends. Yeah... that came out a little rough... but it's true from my point of view.
He wasn't any different than anyone else and I have never understood why anyone though he was.
He did things that everyone else does.

He supported me with a smile.

Now my wonderful friend is gone.
His poor body was tired and he can do so much more from heaven.
It is SO hard for me to think of a world with out Drew.

I'm told that writing this is going to help me to accept this nightmare.
Maybe it will...
More than that though I want people to know about Drew. I want you to understand that he wasn't just some mindless kid in a wheelchair and that he was a good and faithful friend to a lot of people.
His last act was a gift of life. Drew's family courageously decided to donate his organs and he was able to donate a number of things and give 4 or 5 other people a chance. I don't know about anyone else but I am somewhat comforted in knowing that this wonderful pure heart lives on in someone else.
There at least a thousand of things that I have learned from our Drewser and I'm still learning.
I have heard people say that his life was probably torture for him and that he went through everything so needlessly but I don't see it that way. He has met thousands of people and he touched everyone of them. Drew lit up the world with his laugh and everyone took away something different from knowing him. I can tell you first hand that he was awfully happy for someone who was supposedly so tortured. He loved his mom, he loved his brothers, he loved his teachers and caregivers, and he loved me unconditionally.

I am so blessed to have shared a love so amazing that it hurts this much to say goodbye.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The anti-bottle movement

I have successfully been able to  breastfeed my baby for 3 months now. I am proud of this accomplishment and it's more than I have ever been able to do before.

I have been struggling for about a week and a half though with my milk supply. I have been here before and I know how it's going to end. Sadly though I go through this whole battle with myself every time. I was seeking counsel with a friend today and I got some encouragment and also some release from the guilt I feel for not being able to feed my own babies.

I have news; it's not within my control! I didn't realize it was connected; but apparently my auto immune disease and my ability to produce enough milk are linked. Why has no one told me these things?!?! Knowing that it's not anything that I'm doing wrong, I'm not lazy, I'm not making bad choices... I'm just a little defective and I can't control it!

So why is it that a mom should ever feel guilty for not breastfeeding? I think part of it is honestly instinct but what about the constant media and medical community telling you to breastfeed and it's the best and you want to give your baby the best. So you are made to feel bad that you can't do the very best for your baby. I think it's B.S. Some of us have actually tried everything.

I thought that maybe speaking out would not only allow me some release but also to maybe reach out to some other poor soul who has the same struggles. Formula these days is a good thing, its comparable. I was formula fed as was my husband. I think I turned out ok and no one should feel bad for something beyond their control.

This has been an ongoing private struggle for me and I'm not going to do it anymore. I don't want to keep quiet about something that could help someone else. I don't know why women (myself included) feel like they can't talk about things like this but it's more common than you know and there's nothing to be ashamed of.
That's what I learned today. Maybe it will help someone else as much as it helped me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Great Apron Adventure

This is one of those crafts that in my experience does NOT pay to do it yourself.

First of all you need to know that this is way cuter in person though it is a little big. JoAnns had a huge sale for labor day weekend. Patterns were 99 cents and I had some major coupons for fabric. I saw some cute aprons on sale for like $15 a while back but I thought I could do it cheaper and that it would be fairly easy.

I was wrong!!!

Not only did it end up costing a little more than the aprons I saw on sale but it was a huge amount of time and effort put forth. I spent about 8 hours making this apron and it was not a hard task but it was a pain.

Unless you have done maybe 20 of these just for practice I would say just go ahead and buy a freaking apron. It was truly an adventure, it was a long, tedious, expensive adventure. My sweet husband spent his evening taking care of our children and made dinner to let me finish this project. All I have to say is.... this apron better last me a life time because I feel likeI have a lot invested in it.

I did learn a new valuable skill though; I learned how to make ruffles!