My how fast time flies by. Our oldest son is graduating in a month from high school! It seems like just yesterday that he was born. Our youngest, Joy is almost 11 months old now!  Where oh where does the time go? I seem to be literally flying here and there some days.  Having three teen boys in the house changes every thing.  When our older children were young, we never missed a nap and refused to go anywhere during nap time. People would question us on it.  We stuck by it.  Our babies always had their naps at home in their beds.

Fast forward to the present and I am now one of those moms who is running her children here and there and our babies are getting naps at different times than the norm. quite often.  They still get their naps, just not at an exact time each day.  I now understand why some parents could not stay home during nap time.  I understand why some parents had to be on the road a lot during the week.  I always secretly thought to myself that I’d never have such a busy life as that.  I’d never have babies miss a regular nap time.  Those of you who know me well, know that God has always been wonderful about coming alongside me and helping me to “swallow” my words. 🙂

Our oldest does not have a driving license as of yet.  He does however have a job and is currently enrolled in his CNA coursework for another week before he begins his clinicals and sits for the exams.  This guy is amazing! He goes to class from 8AM until 1PM everyday and then begins studying and reviewing for his exams and clinicals.  He comes home and does the same thing all over again after taking time to care for his livestock and dogs. Then he gets up early the next morning and starts it all over.  This young man keeps pushing forward no matter how many hurdles he runs into with needing accommodations for testing and any other struggle that comes along.  He will not give up he says. Just last night, he brought home the notes that his Grandma takes for him in class each day as she is his note-taker.  He listens to the lectures, takes pictures of the notes put up and records the lecture.  His Grandma takes notes so that he is able to not miss a word that is said. I then type the notes out for him.  So, last night there I sat typing away at the notes when Prince 2 came along and volunteered to read the notes out loud to me while I typed.  The two of us worked our way through 12 pages of notes together.  We are an awesome team!  We are family!  We will stick together and help Prince 1 push forward!

Prince 2 spent time at the Capitol this past legislative session with Prince 1.  Prince 2 also was asked to testify before a committee on a certain bill.  He loves politics and can’t seem to get enough of it. 🙂

Prince 3 continues to write plays, act plays, put on plays, draw, animate, build with his legos, and anything else that is creative for him.

Princess 1 has started making tissue flowers, bracelets, and loves reading.  She so enjoys her horse that we rescued last fall.

Prince 4 has just finished up having croup for the first time, but he is bouncing back quite well.  He continues to be our cowboy, herding horses, goats, sheep, and cattle. He’s been doing that by himself ever since he was about 3 or 4.

Princess 2 is getting so big these days that I often think she is Princess 1!  They look a lot alike from a distance.  She has been caring for our puppies that our Livestock Guardian Dog had.  She has solely been in charge of them from the beginning and has some beautiful puppies to sell now.

Seth is doing many new things! He is standing without holding on to anything at almost 18 months.  He is saying, “Mama” and “Dada” and making voice inflection sounds.  He enjoys pointing at things and having us name them for him.  You want to know how he is doing developmentally, don’t you?  Well, to be honest, we spend so much time with him that we forget exactly how delayed he is.  However, I did meet a little girl the same age as him recently and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  I had forgotten how delayed Seth was until I saw her.  Wow.  He has come so far and yet, he has so far to go.  Just as I am reminded that Prince 1 has come so far and yet, has so far to go.  Basically, Seth is developmentally the same age as Joy right now.  He is doing everything she is doing.  It is amazing to think that the first time I heard of any child being exposed to drugs was when I was teaching.  It was a couple years before we had Prince 1.  One of the teachers pointed out to me a child that was a “Crack Baby” to me one day. At the time he was in Kindergarten and was struggling with attention issues and social behavior.  She enlightened me on these new issues coming into the schools. My thoughts were shock that children could have been exposed to this.  I know I never dreamed that I would one day have a child that would be known as a “drug-exposed baby”.  Nor would I ever have considered becoming a parent to one of these babies on purpose back then! I’d have to have been crazy. Again, you that know me, know how God deals with me and my big mouth. 🙂 So, let’s just go back 36 months ago from now.  Steve and I were not willing to adopt a baby who had been exposed to drugs or alcohol.  We wanted a baby that didn’t not have any of those exposures and did not want a birth mom who smoked.  Now move up to about 21 months ago and God had brought us to a place of surrender.  We had surrendered what our plans and thoughts were for our child who we would adopt and we held out our open hands for whatever the Lord saw fit to do with these open hands and hearts of ours. He is in control, not us.  He knows the plans He has for us, not us.  He is our Lord! We serve an amazing God! Step back almost 18 months ago and we had researched quite a bit on drug-exposure in babies.  We thought we were ready.  Enter Seth into the world!  He spent 3 weeks in NICU going through withdrawal.  I held him every day for hours on end as I prayed for others in our lives.  We learned more about drug-exposure during his hospital stay. About 17 months ago when Seth came home, we thought we knew even more about drug-exposure.  About 6 months ago, we felt we had learned so much more about drug-exposure.  Last month we thought we were well-read in drug-exposure issues.  And today we continue to learn that we do not know all that we will know about drug-exposure until years from now. I say all this to share with you that each day God teaches us more and asks us to surrender more to Him. I have to say that this is the most beautiful walk for me to ever have walked with Steve.  I never would have dreamed of walking this walk, nor would I have asked to walk it.  But, I wouldn’t trade it for the world with someone who has not had to walk with a child or children with special needs.  I almost feel sorry for those who have not had an opportunity like us to walk this walk.  I know that sounds odd, but I have no other way to explain it. This is a beautiful walk. It has grown us so much more than anything else ever could have grown us.

And Joy? She is an absolute joy! She is such a blessing in our lives.  She has a smile that lights up the room and has this cute wiggle and giggle.  She inspires Seth to talk and walk.  She reminds him how to clap hands.  She rolls on the floor with him and plays with toys with him.  Ironically, she is very short as well.  So, she and Seth are almost the same size, as well as being at the same place developmentally as well. I often wonder what it would be like for Seth if he didn’t have her as his sister. I wonder too, will she speed ahead of him developmentally and if so, how will he handle his struggles in life? I think about how she will walk beside Seth as he jumps each hurdle.  I think about how the two of them are so close and what a blessing it is to have both of them in our lives.

I wish you could know the struggles that we go through constantly. We have people who are very kind and helpful to us with our special walk.  We also have people who ignore our special walk or treat it as if it is a walk in the park and that we should be doing so much more outside of our family in different groups and organizations.  We’ve come to realize again and again that  until others have walked this walk, they will never understand the pain, the concerns, the struggles, the exhaustion, and the loneliness that come with this walk We will continue to reach out to others in similar situations and try and help educate people on some of what it is like to love a child with special needs. I wish you could see how much God has changed us because of this walk.  If only you knew.  We are so blessed to be walking.

We will continue walking.

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