Our shattered dreams are never random. They are always a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story.

Larry Crabb

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Good Samaritan

I have been pondering the parable of the Good Samaritan lately.  I have been thinking a lot on how at various times in my life different women have walked with me and in many ways these women were the Good Samaritans I needed at the time. I have come to believe that through out our lives we will have many Good Samaritans and many Inns with Inn Keepers. Sometimes the Good Samaritans in our lives get us all the way to the Inn and Inn Keeper and other times the Good Samaritan as much as they want to take us all the way to the inn they are unable too. Sometimes we may feel abandoned in moments of need, in moments of deep hurt by those who have been walking with us. Yet in those moments Jesus is right by our side. Actually he has been by our side the whole time. Every time we are beat up, left for dead in the ditch Jesus is there holding us. Just as Jesus is also right beside those He calls/guides to walk beside us. Those who see our wounds, the deepest cuts, the deepest hurt, those who wrap our gushing wounds and at times hold and carry us have Jesus right there with them.  And when for some reason they are unable to carry a wounded person all the way to the Inn and Inn Keeper they have to trust that Jesus will carry the person the rest of the way.  While some people are a part of our lives for the long haul, not everyone is.  Some are in our lives only for a time.

In all honesty when one feels dropped by someone it hurts.  Being pushed away, being dropped is confusing especially when a person is still very injured and wounded.  This happened to me a few years ago and in all honestly the heart ache of that, hurt deeper than many other hurts I have experienced in my life.  I wanted to lash out, I wanted to cry, and I thought I would never recover from the hurt I was experiencing.  Well I have recovered.  If I could say one thing to my Good Samaritan at the time it would be I want you to know God had me and He had you in all of this.  I cannot fathom how hard it was for you to in may ways lay me down and walk away when you knew my journey was not done.  Yet I understand that you had too.  Jesus carried me to the Inn for this stage of my journey and I am still there healing.  When I am ready I will leave and I am thankful that I get to pick when I am ready. I will always love you.  That will never change.  You were who I needed for that part of my journey.  I know now that you could only journey with me for so long, and where I am now is exactly where I need to be and choose to be.  Our journey together was priceless and valuable beyond measure.




Saturday, June 28, 2014

POTTY TRAINING

H has had a few rough weeks with all the bug bites he keeps getting

Love the curls.  I had wanted to cut his hair before we left on our trip yet he loves his hair as it is so we left it.

We tried to get a picture of the kids on the rocks.  Yes I was breaking the rule by putting the kids up there.  All for a good shot!


Preschool Graduation







So we officially have two children who are potty trained.  A little over a month ago Jaris got a really bad diaper rash and as such we decided to put him into his underwear, and since I really didi not want to have to clean up accidents all day long I pulled out the gum ball machine, the coins to put in it, and the chocolate and it was the right combination.  With in a week Jaris was potty trained and with in two weeks he was also waking up dry in the morning.  I am so over the moon about this.  I had read an article that stated it can take some children on the spectrum up to 2 year to potty train and I was terrified that would be the road we would walk down.  Needless to say I am so thankful that is not the road we are walking down.  And the added bonus to Jaris waking up dry in the morning is that Kenzie has decided she wants to wear underwear through the night so she has all of a sudden stopped needing a pull up at night.  We are down to one child who is in diapers.  Yeah for dropping the amount of money we spend on diapers and wipes on a monthly basis.

We just finished round 3 of fertility medication and it was unsuccessful.  I was thinking back and for the better part of the last 7 years I have been on fertility medications, pregnant,  postpartum, going through miscarriages, pregnant, postpartum, and back on fertility medications.  Talk about hormones like crazy.   I know that there are some who think why is Leanne putting her body through all this again for a 4th child, they already have three children.  Yes we have three beautiful miracles, and while we are more than okay if three is where we stop, and if God choses to bless our family with one or more children we would be over the moon about that as well.  This fertility journey has had its twists and turns.  It is a journey that has broken me many times, and yet I know God has been there to hold  and carry me in those times.  The children Jeral and I have been blessed with are all miracles.  Miracles that I cannot fathom life with out.  I truly am blessed.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mothers Day

My little Farmer in the making!  If he sees and empty tractor he comes running to fill the seat!

Posing for the camera

Sitting on the train at the Kamloops Wild Life Park, and totally unaware that I was taking a picture otherwise she would have made a silly face!

I have photos of Jeral holding all of our kids hands.  I love photos like this, maybe because they are a reminder to me that at times I need to hold the hand of my Heavenly Father as I navigate life!

Buffalo

Grizzly Bear - the grizzly bears tend to be the favourite place to visit when we go to the Wild Life Park

The cougar - I actually had a picture of him eating his supper yet decided to not post it.  

Waiting for the train ride.  Jaris loves trains and this was the first time in the  last three visits that the train was running so we had to go!

The kids got to blow the whistle

I decided to make a little donkey noise and all three donkeys turned and went nuts on me.  It sure made for a great picture.

Kenzie fell down and hurt her ankle, and instead of running over to her I took a photo - one day honey I will help pay for your therapy from all the mistakes I made.  In the mean time know that I love you!

I had to explain what nocturnal means on this visit - Kenize could not understand why an owl would sleep during the day especially when she wants to party all day and all night long!

On Mothers Day we went to Crazy Creek Water Fall and Suspension Bridge.  I love waterfalls so it was the perfect trip to take on Mothers Day with my family.

A RAINBOW!!!!!  And a great opportunity to talk about God's promise to us and how the rainbow represents that.  I also realized that even a very bright 4 year old struggles to understand why God would flood the whole earth, and then be afraid that God may do it again.  Good thing we have rainbow to remind us that God promises to never flood the whole earth again!  Once I explained that all was good.  Yet again another reminder of the simple faith of a child!

I love this boy so much!

I could sit with a blanket, journal, and a pen by a waterfall all day and just soak in al the God wants to talk to me about!  I love waterfalls!

My attempt at a kids photo.  With three little one I will take what I can get!  Thank you my miracles on this day you three have turned my mourning into dancing and so much more!  I love you with all of my heart and so much more!

At least Kenzie is not making a crazy face face in this one!  I love these three miracles, and honoured beyond belief to be their mother!

You have my heart my son

Once again the best I got!  Hayden thought it was great to sort of be allowed to stomp on his sisters head for a while!

Mothers Day Gifts from my very sweet daughter!  As we walked along the trail she would pick something up, look at it, and then come running to me and say, "Happy Birthday - oops I mean Mommy Day, here is your present."


On Sunday I was one of two women our Pastor interviewed.  I will readily admit that I was more nervous being interviewed that I ever was the times I was preaching/speaking.  Pastor Wayne originally sent us an email with a few questions he may ask us, and I thought I would post a few of those with my answers here.

What does being a mother mean to you?
Okay I will readily admit that I have a bit of an agenda when I answer this question, and that is because I have been so very blessed to have had three different journeys all lead to me being a mother.  First and fore most for me being a mother has nothing to do with biologically, or genetically connected to my children.  It has to do with the love I have for them in my heart and how I have carried and prayed for each on in my heart, long before I was ever married, long before I ever was pregnant.  Becoming a mother for me had more to do with my arms being full, than it did with my womb bursting with life.  Being a mom for me also means showing my children the Mother Love of God to the best of my ability, and for me to love them as God desires me too.  I know that most often the Bible refers to God in the masculine form of Father, yet there are a few examples of God being referred to in the feminine for of a Mother Hen covering her chicks with her wing, or a Mother Bear protecting her cubs.  I love the picture of a Mother Bear protecting her cubs.  For one thing, one should never get between a Mother Bear and her cubs.  That would spell danger for the human being. I love the idea of God protecting us in that same way, and as a mom I want to protect my children in that way.  Maybe that is why I am totally okay being referred to as a Mama Bear.  I also feel that being a mama to me means not raising my children to be Christians (WHAT?), yep I said that.  Instead I desire to always point my children to Jesus/God, so that as they grow they will hopefully one day choose to follow God as Jeral and I do.  Ultimately as a mama I know it will be there choice one day, and all I can do it point them to Jesus!


What are some moments of Joy that you have experienced being a Mother?
1) They day that MacKenzie was placed in my arms for the first time.  She grabbed a hold of my heart and has never let go.  I am so honored to be her mother.  While those first few days and weeks were a blur at times, I will always cherish the first moment I held my daughter, and I will also hold tenderly how hard it was for her Birth Mother in those moments.

2)The moment right after I had pushed Jaris put and he was placed on my chest.

3)The first time Jaris spontaneously told me, "I love you Mommy."  There are no words that could express the overwhelming sense of joy and elation in that moment.

4)The first few moments of hold Hayden after I had given birth to him.  There is something magical, and sacred about those first few moments.

What are some of the sorrows you have had to walk through as a mother?

1) The day that Jaris was diagnosed with Autism.  While i thought we were prepared for the diagnosis I realize now that no matter how a parent may think the assessment may go, one cannot truly prepare themselves to hear that their child has a disability.  When I found out we were pregnant for the first time i prayed for God to protect the child I was carrying.  I was spotting a lot and we thought we had lost his a few times.  I prayed and dreamed about his future and no where in those prayers and dreams did I ever think my son may be diagnosed with Autism.  Yet I would not trade him for the world.

2)The realization that my daughter had to be cut from her family of origin so she could be grafted into our family.  A family was broken, so our family could be formed.  The day after we met Kenzie's birth mother I cried many tears, and they were not tears of joy.  They were tears of sorrow for her birth mother, because I could not imagine carrying a child in my womb and then being told that I could not raise them, love them, snuggle with them, tuck them in at night, and tell them "I love you" multiple times a day.  My heart broke for this amazing woman, and also for my daughter because I know that she will have days of grief, surrounding her adoption and that breaks my heart because as her mother I want to protect her from heart ache, only to realize that I failed when she was a day and a half old.

What piece of advice would you give to children and husbands?

1) Husband make sure you give your wives time away just for themselves.  I am pretty blessed, and feel very fortunate that Jeral regularly takes all three kids so i can have some time just by myself, and I will readily admit that this time is my sanity and helps me to be a better mom, and wife.

2)Children when your moms have moments of blowing it and making mistakes know that we love you always.  We are human even if we wish were were super heroes.

How has God helped you as you parent your children? (I don't remember the exact wording as this was an emotional answer for me - to be honest by the end of the interview I was crying).

God has been the one that I could turn to when I was to afraid to talk to others about what I was feeling.  In may ways God has been the container I have poured my heart into.  Right after Jaris was diagnosed I went through a time when I was really angry and I felt I could not openly talk about my anger so God held it for me.  God has also been there to remind me of all the blessing, such as my children talking about pee, and poop and how they would taste if they mixed them together and ate them.  While I think that is gross my son was fully engrossed in a conversation with his sister and giving input just as much as she was.  That is a blessing!  While I no longer have hours in the day to sit with my Bible, journal, and a pen those years when I did have helped to build a strong foundation so that now when I only get 5-10 minutes if I am lucky, I do not crumble completely.  God has reminded me that when I am spending time with my children and with Jeral, then I am spending time with Him.  When I am loving my family well, I am loving God well.

How can the church help us as we raise our children? (This is wear I just could not keep the tears back anymore)

I said thank you to our church instead of answering the question and then I cried.  I fully understand that parents today raise their children differently than many of the seniors in our church did.  Yikes we are raising our children differently than I was raised.  With that I am thankful that my children are allowed to be children in our church.  That we no longer feel judged when our oldest son in in the nursery screaming because he is over simulated with sensory input.  My youngest son can walk up on stage to Stephanie while she plays piano and no one looks at us with disapproving eyes.  We left the church just over two years a go for a while because we were not sure if the church was the right one for us, yet we came back and I know our church is the best church there is for our growing family.

So how can you help us - here is my answer pray for wisdom for us.  As Kenzie grows she will have lots of questions and even a possible desire to meet her birth family, and we want God to grant us wisdom, compassion, tenderness, as we help her navigate all her adoption means for her and for us.  Wisdom as we seek the best help for Jaris, and for a team around us that will mesh with our family paradigm.  Grace as when many people work together there are bound to be conflicts every now and then.  Oh do I boldly ask for PATIENCE?  Yes I know more often then not when one prays for this events occur to cultivate patience!  Lastly we do want to grow our family by one more (if Kenzie has her way and her prayers answered it will grow by two - not sure how I feel about that), and it has been a year since we decided that yes we want #4 so you can pray for that.


Wow there you have it and once again this has been a long post!


Monday, May 5, 2014

A Little Update!

Chilling with Daddy in the Hammock!  We used some of the funding we got for Jaris to buy this hammock.   I was a little hesitant about a hammock because when Jaris was younger he did not like the hammock swinging motion.  However now as a 4 year old he loves it and he loves to snuggle with one of us in it!  

Snuggles with mommy while H naps!  We have had some amazing weather so  are enjoying it!

Playing in the sand box!  This I think is one of the kids favourite spots.   

Some one got a new bike!  Thanks to air miles.  Jaris loves riding his spiderman bike.  At first I thought that he may not be able to pedal because he had a strider bike before.  However he figured out how to pedal no problem.  He loves his bike so much that on days when it is raining he tries to sneak the bike inside and ride around the house.  

Lunch in the shade on a hot day!


Tomorrow marks one year since we were told Jaris had Autism.  As I sit and reflect on this past year, it has been a whirl wind, filled with lots of change, lots of challenges, lots of epiphanies, and lots of very sweet moments.

The biggest change is Jaris has school 5 days a week in our home.  I choose to call it school because I hate the term "behaviour intervention".  Jaris has autism, which at times presents itself in his behaviour however that is not the be all and end all to who my son is, and he learns so much more than just managing his behaviour when he has school.  Having other people in our home 5 days a week is tough on the introvert in me, yet it is what is best for Jaris so that is what we are doing.  

I have come to realize that when one has a child with a disability it is hard not to constantly make that child the focus of almost everything you say and do.  I will readily admit that when my sister and I were younger I used to get so angry, because there were times I felt as though my mom only had one child.  I can now understand and have little more compassion for myself and for my mom during the years that my sister was sick.  While I as a parent work tirelessly to ensure that all of my children never feel abandoned, or as though I do not have time for them, I can see how all consuming, and easy it can be to make one child the focus of life.  It is not just in time that one child can be the focus, it can also appear that when we celebrate accomplishment differently.  And while I am very aware of this I have my moments when I fail.  I am also well aware that this post will focus mostly on one child as well!  Today is one of those days.

We have also realized that while Jaris spends lots of time with me going to and from other appointments, he needs quality one on one time with us that does not involve doctors appointments, Speech and Language, OT, etc.  He needs time to be a little boy, and to have fun.  


In this past year I have watched Jaris go from being a boy who really did not try to engage that often to a little boy who will go to great lengths to engage and he seeks out people he knows are safe and whom he knows love him.  In the past year Jaris went from being a boy who barely spoke to a little boy who will spontaneously come to me and say, "Mommy I love you!"  Or like yesterday when he fell and I said, "Jaris you are okay!"  He looked up and said, "No mommy, I not okay.  I hurt my foot."  In the past year Jairs went from being a little boy who would throw himself to the ground and roll while banging his head, to a little boy who when upset runs to his chair that rocks and swivels, so he can spin to calm himself down.  In the past year Jaris went from being a boy who did not want a lit of physical contact to a boy who is very affectionate, and loves to be held and hugged as long as it is deep pressure.  The list could go on.  While I know that there were some who were opposed to us having Jaris assessed, I know 100% that we made the right choice.  My son is amazing and there is no limit to what he can do.  Do we still have challenges ahead of us?  Yes we do, yet we know that given time and love all challenges will be conquered by our amazing little boy.

So what else is new in the Krahn home.  Well Kenzie about a month or more ago found a locket in her hope chest that was given to her by her name sake.  At first she thought that locket came from her, "first mom", as she chose to call her.  I explained that the locket was from some one who I once spent a lot of time with, a wise women who came to mean a lot to me, and still does even though I do not seen her any more.  Kenzie wanted to know why her name sake was not a part of our lives, so I got to explain to Kenzie that in life sometimes people are only meant to be with us for a short while.  this is a concept that my daughter does not full get yet.  However what 4 year old would.  To a 4 year old everyone has to be in their lives forever and ever.  The photo of Joy was unfortunately wrecked.  I am pretty sure that the only reason I knew Kenzie found the locket was because I caught her with it, as she must have played with it before because the photo appeared to be damaged by water.  Kenzie was her adorable self and said mommy I want to see Mrs. Joy.  Yikes, that is not possible right now, so she settled for me emailing and asking Joy for a photo we can put in the locket.  Oh the innocence of my little girl, yet in a way I am happy she found the locket and asked about Joy.  As she gets older I am sure we will have more talks about Joy and why we named her after her.  

Kenzie has also expressed a desire to have a sister.  She wants older and younger sisters.  Since she is 4 we have not told her yet that she does have 4 older sisters.  We feel that would be a concept she is not able to understand.  Why do I have sisters and yet they do not live with us.  I know the day is coming when she will ask us lots of questions about her birth family.  Kenzie knows she is adopt, and she knows that we love her all the same.  Mid week last week she we were watching a cartoon in which one of the characters was pregnant and she asked about it.  So I explained that there was a baby growing inside of the mommy's tummy.  She got a big smile on her face and said just like my brothers and I grew in your tummy.    So i said yes - not yes to her growing in my tummy.  The yes was to every one growing at some point in someones tummy.  Most of the time when you grow in someones tummy, they are also your mommy forever - however sometimes babies grow in someone else's tummy, other than their mommy.  I am still not sure how much of this Kenzie fully understands.  In time I guess.

So Hayden - well he is one very tall boy.  I just went through all if his clothing and took out everything that was 24 months - 2t and all 3t jeans.  His drawers now are filled with 3t, and 4t clothing.  He is only 20 months!!!!!!!!  I will admit that there are days, moments when I catch myself trying to prove to others that he is not going to have Autsim like his brother.  I guess when one child is on the spectrum that tends to be the lens one looks at all their children with.  Hayden is still my snuggle bug, although he is pretty good at saying no mommy, or stop mommy when I am trying to sing to him while we snuggle.  He is a love of food, and a bit of a scavenger.  After his siblings leave the table he will get up and walk around to their plates and pick off all the food he loves.  Also who needs a puppy to eat the food off the floor when Hayden is around?????  H is very adventurous to the point on giving me more white hairs.  He seriously has no fear somedays, and his curiosity astounds me.

I think I will stop here as this got way longer than I anticipated!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First Soccer Game

going for a walk with Auntie Jodi

He sure looks great with this colour!  I love my not so baby, baby boy!

First Soccer game!

kicking the ball

Jaris loves soccer

I love the expression on his face in this picture!

Watching everyone else play!

I have started many posts as of late only to decide not to post them.  We are in a very busy time of year.  We are going in every which direction it feels at times, so I am cherishing the times we get to gather as a family and just have us time.

We have moved all three kids into one bedroom.  The rooms in our house are huge, and so we have a bunk bed with a double on top for Kenzie, and a queen underneath for Jaris, and Hayden has his queen bed in the room and we have all three dressers in the room and toys!  It is a full room, yet we are hoping that this means one of us gets to sleep at night when the kids are in one of their strange sleep patterns.  

I think I will leave this here.  Life is full of many wonders and much awe.   My children are teaching me to look at the beauty in life once again.  We have our good days and we have our bad days and on the bad days if I can remember to be compassionate with my children, husband, and myself then that is all I can ask of myself or anyone else!

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Darkness of Night Makes The Sunrise Stunning

"Sometimes one has to walk through the often complete darkness of grief to embrace the light of joy to be found in challenging circumstances. Feeling that grief does not diminish the joy one feels at the end. In fact embracing the grief enables one to experience the joy more fully. Yet for some they see acknowledgement of the darkness as a detractor from the joy. If only they could understand that the darkness of night makes the sunrise stunning."


I was in a discussion with a woman today about Austism.  I had simply stated that the article we were reading actually caused my blood to boil because in my opinion only someone who does not daily face the challenges of life with a family member on the Autism Spectrum would state that a 1.1% chance of your children developing Austism was an acceptable chance.  This is in regards to the continuing debate of do vaccinations cause Autism.  I am not anti-vaccination.  I was struggling with what I felt was the arrogance and ignorance with which the author was writing the article.  As the conversation via Faceboook continued the woman I was conversing with said if there was no one with Autism the world we live in would not be as beautiful.  That is when I wrote the above quote.  While I agree that my son and others whom I have been blessed with the honour of working with are truly amazing and beautiful, I also felt as though I was trapped by the comment.  How could I be open and transparent about the grief I feel?  My son is an amazing little boy.  He astounds me every day.  Yet I had to grieve the son I thought we were going to have, the dreams I had dreamed for him, so I could embrace the new dreams and all the joys that come with parenting a child with a disability.  Only in facing the grief could I open my heart to all the joys and blessings God has for our family and our son.  My children each in their own way are my greatest teachers.  Yes I have grieved, and grief is not a one day process.  I so wish it were somedays.  However there are moments like today when the grief appears, when the darkness encloses around me. Yet I have hope that just as the night falls, so to the sun will rise.  Trust me the beauty of the sunrise is stunning, and so is the joy that accompanies each new sunrise in the ebb and flow of grief.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Family Gathering (I know it is a little late)

I know that this post is a little late.  I did start writing it right after Christmas, and then this post went got put aside.  So without delay here are the photo's from our family Christmas.


H opening up one of his gifts from Grandma J!


Kenzie in her Princess Sofia dress from Auntie Jocelyn, and also giving us a little taste of her singing abilities with her gift From Grandma J

Jaris getting a turn to serenade us all!  I love how he has his hand out while he is entertaining us.

Look at me and my lips!  I wanna kiss mommy!

Making a gingerbread house after supper on Sunday!

The girls intently watching Grandma

Well there you have it!  I still need to download the photos I took on Christmas Day with just us.  Not sure when I will actually get around to it.

This weekend was truly an amazing mama weekend for my heart.  On Saturday Jaris, without having to be bribed or asked to say it said, "Mommy I love you too!" as he sheepishly looked and me and ran away.  He said it three separate times, and then to top it off he saw a scrape on my foot and asked me if it hurt.  When I said it hurt a bit, he asked Jeral to come with him upstairs to help him get his Thomas Blanket.  They brought it down stairs and Jaris placed it on my foot and then asked, "Mommy foot all better now?"  I started crying because I have longed for this day, and yet not sure if I would ever hear Jaris tell me he loved me with his own words.

Then to add to an already day fantastic day Kenzie and I went out on a mommy daughter date.  I love our mommy daughter times, and I cherish the memories that we are creating when we spend time together.  I know we spend lots of time together every day yet there is something special about getting away just the two of us with out the males in our lives.  At Kenzie's request we went to see the Disney movie Frozen for the second time.  She was so adorable as she would look up and lean over to tell me she was being brave and that she was just a tiny bit scared when the objects on the screen would come out of the screen at us.  Yes we saw the movie in 3D.  Even more heart warming was when she decided she needed to sit on my lap near the end of the movie.

Hayden has stopped calling me daddy, and now called me nanny!  Yes!!!!!  We are one step closer to mommy!  I still long to hear him say mommy, and yet I am so elated to hear him call me Nanny, especially when he calls me nanny and them puts his arms up as his way of asking me to pick him up.  Then after I pick him up he nuzzles his head into my neck as he wraps his arms around my neck as well.  I am so very blessed to be a mommy.

 Today we met with a woman who may be replacing Jaris' fav teacher who is moving to Australia.  We are really hoping that this lady is the one.  Hopefully we will know in the next few days if she has decided to take the position as Jaris' Monday, Wednesday, and Friday teacher.

Well I think that is all for tonight as I need to get some sleep!



Thursday, January 9, 2014

A New Year

I know this is a few days late, alas that is the reality of having three small children who have all been hit with a nasty flu/cold, and then Jeral and I got levelled with it as well.  I apologize for the length of this post.  It sort of got away on me, and took a spin that I had originally not intended, yet that is where my thoughts took me today!

I was reading something that my sister in law wrote about “new beginnings”.  Normally we look at the New Year as a time of newness.  The last year is finished and we get to start a new year with a clean slate.  I only wish I could wipe the slate of last year clean, erase some of the events that happened in our family last year.  Alas that is not reality for us for anyone actually.  We can begin the new year with fresh resolve to do things differently than we did from the previous year.  We can choose to live healthier, live more intentionally, to not stress about things as much, to work with in a new budget etc, however for somethings the slate cannot be wiped clean. I know this may sound very pessimistic, and while I do love the fresh resolve and new ideas that tend to spring forth in the new year, I also am this year a little more realistic to the reality that I cannot simply wipe away the past year and forget about.

If I had a Chalk Board Slate with words written on it as a representation of 2013, there would be words on there that could be wiped clean for 2014 and then there would be some words that will forever be a fixture on the Slate of our lives.  One word in particular - AUTISM.

May 6th , 2013 Jaris was diagnosed with Autism.  I cannot simply wipe that off the slate this year.  And while part of me does want to because I am afraid of the many unknowns, and part of me also knows that Jaris is a gift from my maker God, and that he was given to us for a reason.  In some ways it would be nice to have our brains like the wires in a car.  If the wires are crossed you open up the hood and you pull the wires and you put them in the right place so everything works properly according to the standards that our society has set out and expects.  As I am typing this I am reminded of how different societies do things differently.  When I was in India in 2001 I got the opportunity to drive a vehicle over there on the very per crowded streets.  I sat on the other side and the stick shift was on the opposite side as to what we are used to in North America.  Often one could see the lights of the other car blinking.  Instead of the signal being turned on to indicate the way the on coming car was going to turn, the signal light was indicating which way the person driving the oncoming vehicle wanted you to go.  Talk about backwards, or at least backward to my North American mindset of driving.  Yet it works and if I would have tried to force my North American way of driving there would have been a huge accident.  I would speculate that Autism is like this story. What society may deem as wrong is just a different way.  Yet we are scared of different, so we try to force what we know and what we are comfortable with on others.  Just as I needed to learn rather quickly in one short driving lesson, the rules of the road, and what was expected of someone driving Indian roads, Jaris will need to learn  what society expects of him in various interactions, and I as his mom have that responsibility.  However I do not want to force Jaris to change who he is and how he is designed by God altogether.  I know that he is created uniquely and perfectly by God, and that Jaris is one of three miracles we begged God for all those years ago, as we struggled through fertility issues.  He has some much to offer our family and so much to teach all of us if only we will open our eyes, ears, and hearts to see and hear what God is speaking to us through him.

I am not going to lie and say that parenting a special needs child is easy.   Nope, not easy at all.  This past year was a bumpy one for us and for extended family.  Some relationships have been hurt drastically and I am not sure if they will ever repair.  My hope for 2014 is that they will and that those family relationships will be stronger.  In being a mom who advocates for her children I am afraid that Leanne the friend, the sister, the sister in law at time gets lost, or even forgotten.  I see lots of people daily, and most are members of the team who work with us to help Jaris grow and blossom, very few are friends.  I can a test to the reality that even when surrounded by lots of people one can feel very alone and isolated.  The fear of stepping out of that isolation also breeds fear of rejection.  Fear of rejection of my self and also fear of others rejecting Jaris.  Presently I am not afraid of anyone rejecting Kenzie.  She is so engaging, and she draws you in with her warmth, and gentle, yet fun loving spirit.  Everywhere we go she easily makes friends and finds acceptance.  Hayden is still an adorable little babe, and for the most part does not want to be parted from Jeral or myself.  Then there is Jaris and I so want to spare him ever feeling the rejection I felt as a child.  Sadly I have not been able to spare him that.  I know that often some of the behaviours that have appeared are seen differently than I would see them.  I know I am his mom.  I know that I have come to see the outbursts, tears, laughter, pulling at me, asking me to come right now, as a bridge that he and I can travel back and forth on into each others worlds.  Others who are not trained and aware of this may see him as a badly behaved child, and not want to be around him.  Ironically enough so far it has been more adults with this attitude than children.  The other day Kenzie had some friends over from Preschool, and the boys played wit Jaris and he played with them.  They had a tough time understand some of his words and one of the boys asked me about it and i explained that Jaris has Autism and so his brain is wired differently and at times his words are hard to understand and the boys said oh, okay, and then went back to playing with Jaris.  A part of me wishes that we could retain the same love and acceptance that little children display all through out life.  Our world would be a very different place if we could.

Now if I said that 2013 was a year I wish would never have happened that would be a lie also.  While we had some drop us to our knees, blow your world apart moments, we have also had some very amazing moments.  Without this year we would not have been able to get Jaris all the help that he needed to get, and he would not be progressing and blooming into the amazing little boy that he is.  He may not be talking and asking for hugs, and kisses.  He may not be asking us to come and play.  I would still have a gallbladder with gallstones inside my body causing me an extreme amount of pain at times.  We would not have some answers and clarity as to what happened to Jeral as a child.  Kenzie would not have started preschool, and the honest talks about her adoption would not have taken place - although I think she would be okay if those talks had not happened.   I would not have met some of the moms I have met through Kenzie's preschool. Hayden would not have started walking and trust me he is a big boy so having him walk is great for my back!  And he is just adorable!!!!  My relationship with my sister would not be as close as it is (crazy that it took her moving 7 hours away for that to happen). Jeral and I would not have celebrated 7 years of marriage (okay we celebrated by staying home with three sick kids, still we made it to 7 years).  We would not have gotten Blackie our puppy.  The list could go on!


So yes there were moments I could have done without this year, and yet there were also lots of amazing moments that I would not want to trade for the world.  That is life, and I am sure 2014 will be filled with many more moments I will savour, and some I will quickly want to forget.  So here is to 2014, and maybe a few less knock me off my feet moments!