Thursday, November 3, 2016

How Adoption Changes Lives

In the summer of 1969 a young woman, upon realizing she was pregnant, had a decision to make. Clearly the most unselfish, and arguably the hardest decision she had ever had to make, in a era that frowned upon unwed mothers, she determined not to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.

There are no known details of the the young woman. Was she in her early teens, or was she older, was she tall or short, athletic or academic?  We have no idea what she was passionate about or what her dreams were.  There is no documentation (written or photographic) that shed any light on the circumstances in this young woman's life that lead to a pregnancy or that were endured throughout the pregnancy.  There is just no way of knowing.  There is no family history. No record of health issues.  The identity of the father is just a much a mystery as the identity of the mother.  There are no records of prenatal care, pregnancy concerns or issues leading up to or during the birth of her child.

What we do know however is that in the spring of 1970 a baby girl was born.  A baby girl that was given up for adoption.  That first many months of the baby's life are also a great mystery.  As a side bar, it is my opinion that some of the greatest unsung hero's of the world are the many men and women, regardless of the time of day, answer a ringing phone, where on the other end a hospital or case worker, is asking them to provide for a newborn child that the mother does not or can not care for.  Thank you to foster parents everywhere!

What we do know that within a year this child was removed from foster care and was placed in a loving home, surrounded by immediate family and friends that desired,  and wanted a child.  This baby girl grew up knowing and understanding security, unconditional love, structure, discipline.  She was nurtured physically, mentally and spiritually.  All her needs were met.  Probably most of her wants were met as well!  She was loved.

She always knew she was adopted.  It was not a secret in her house.  She also had a brother and no surprise there, he was adopted too.  Even the memory of adding a sibling to her home was unique. No one else that she knew, got to go to the courthouse, and sit up with the judge, and talk about how she wanted a brother, and then, there magically he appeared, strapped into an infant car seat and ready to go home.  How great to grow up knowing that you were chosen to be part of a family!

While growing up, no part of being adopted seemed unusual. Many times folks that the family ran into were surprised to hear that she and her brother were adopted.  Occasionally, when meeting someone new for the first time, she and her brother enjoyed listening to adults discuss,  how cute they were, and how they looked so much like their parents,  and then just at the right time, interjecting loudly, "We're adopted!", just to see the reactions of those in the discussion.

The years rolled on, and she had all opportunities to grow and thrive.  She learned to walk, to ride a bike, went to good schools, she struggled with math, she played sports, she attended and volunteered at church, she was outgoing, and friendly, loved to read, argued with her brother, had power struggles with her parents, got her license, bought her first car, went to college, fell in love and got married, had children of her own.

In 1969, because of one young woman's decision not to terminate her pregnancy, or attempt to provide for a child she knew she could not.  A gift was given.  This woman chose life.  Because she chose life for herself and unborn baby,  she changed lives.

She changed the lives of all those that her baby would come in contact with as she grew and matured over the years. She filled a gap in a husband and wife's heart and home for a baby they could not have.  Because of her selfless decision, that baby girl became a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, a student, a friend, an employee, a neighbor, a co-worker, a volunteer, a wife, an aunt, a mom, and mother in law.

If there is one thing that I could share with the woman who chose to give me life, it would be simply, Thank you.

Thank you for doing the hard thing.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  On my behalf if you were scorned, or looked down on, know I so appreciate what you did.  My life is full, my heart is full, many call me mom, my husband adores me; and I him.  I have had encounters in my life that have made me the woman that I am today, because of you.  Because of the gift of life.

Every November I think of you.  National Adoption Awareness Month.  I praise God for you, where ever you are, with a grateful heart, for your sacrifice and dedication to a child that you would never know.    Thank you!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

To be a football player or not to be a football player, that is the question.

He loves football.  He loves everything about football. He commits players stats and names and histories to memory.  He can recount injuries, and highlights along side his dad and brothers with a bit of accuracy... he has fatheads in his room, he has playing cards, he has the gear... he does not have the passion.

I am going to go back and start this story at the end of last school year.  Spring practice. Six weeks of voluntary practices.  Grumpy goes to every practice, because if you go and do not miss one, you get a steak dinner.  Quite the incentive I would say and one that seemed to work for the dwarf since while he ate steak, the other boys who did not make every practice, ate hot dogs.   He would come home tired and sore for the first couple weeks and as he got into shape we thought he was enjoying the work outs more and more.  We applauded his determination.  We praised him for not quitting and for doing the hard things.

Our summer this year was very short. Football practice summer workouts have begun almost simultaneously with break, and Grumpy was all in and going strong.  Said Dwarf is getting up and going to most of the four required days of the week training, and seems to be doing ok.  We were starting to think that maybe he finally had found that balance of being passionate about something and seeing the value in working hard and being part of something bigger than himself.

Then we start to see a distinct waining of interest.  I do now understand that to be a football player, you have to really be in love with the idea of hard work, in horrible conditions, pain, agony, and enjoy the repetition of drills and hard work.  This requires much more fortitude than the dwarf that I live has ever exhibited.

The wheels start falling off the bus about four and a half weeks into practices and said dwarf starts over sleeping, and not going to practices.  Occasionally, he would make a show about "working out" on his own at home, but when pushed about the next days upcoming practice and being up on time and ready, he was now non-commital and hesitant to go.  He started making up what we thought could be valid exceptions to the practice schedule, and although I always followed up with the coaches, Grumpy, as it turned out was only relaying the parts of the exceptions that he wanted to hear.  I know see me being shocked.   For example only the varsity players are attending this week and they are off site.  While varsity was practicing and they were off site, the rest of the boys were still at it in the hot Florida sun on the school campus.  All of them except Grumpy.

We thought we were encouraging him, telling him that we were proud of him for trying this sport,(and since the last time he played was pee-wee ball and this is clearly much more demanding) that we were fine if he did not want to be on the team, but that he needed to make the decision, we would not make it for him.

Here is what I know about Grumpy. He romanticizes so many things in life. Football was no exception.  In his world and mind, he is a star.  I have often heard people saying,  "in life if you dream it and you can become it", but what a disservice that does to special needs kids. Because of what is left unsaid in the middle of that statement.  "Dream it (work hard, be passionate, give everything to making the dream reality) and you will become it. "  In Grumpy's world he dreams about being the star, he is the star when he plays football video games, he knows the current day's stars because he reads about them and talks about them, so therefor they are his people.  He is associating in his mind, with the stars.

In real life however,  as we were dropping him at the gym for practices he is struggling with another area in his life, laziness.  He just wants to be the star, not do the hard work that would get him to stardom. He just wants to wear the uniform, not earn the spot that gets him the uniform, and if he can't be the star, then he would rather not play.  Instead of just using his words, articulating that he does not any longer desire to do the hard work and be on the team, he lies about where he is and what he is doing.  He comes home after a hard practice and fills our ears with all the "right" sounding things he did at practice that day. While we come to find out some days he was not even on the field. An example of this is for his position, he was to run an 8 minute mile (which for a 17 year old male of slim proportions and somewhat fit) should be simple.  To hear Grumpy tell the story, he has run this mile three times and each time has missed the mark by an eyelash.  7 seconds off, 9 seconds off.  Then he starts brainstorming with the Prince and I about strategies for running and shaving those seconds off. Maybe he should start slower and give a bit push at the end so he is not spent at the end of the mile....   But the truth we come to find out is that he runs an 8 minute mile in 91/2 minutes and 10 minutes.  Remember a star player would NEVER be 2 minutes over in his mile run!  So he not only lies to us, but to himself about his abilities instead of getting out there and doing hard things to decrease his time or just resigning from the team and saying "this is not my thing".

Another area of life that is a real struggle for Grumpy is pride.  Since he has written letters home to family and friends and told EVERYONE that will listen he is playing football this year, for that not to be the case is a reality that he can't spin.  Counter this with his low self esteem, as he assumes everyone cares what he is doing or not doing, he will skirt the truth or the reality for as long as he can.  If we drop him and the school for practices(even if he does not go), or he wears the teams logo clothing, there is still the thread of connection that makes him a football player in his mind.  It never occurs to him that the general populous does not really even care about his hobbies and activities. He assumes that everyone is going to be talking about him,  mocking him, or ridiculing his inability to make the team.

In our final conversation with the coach, sadly he was unable to follow even the most basic rules regarding summer practices, so on principle alone was not being asked to be part of the team this year.  The boys had to sign in on a log sheet to show they were at the summer practices. In order to be on the team in the fall they needed to be present for 11 practices. Grumpy was there for at least 14.   He signed in for 4 practices.  Again, in his reality, he had trouble accepting the truth and his response when confronted with why he did not sign in, was to blame the coach.  He said coach could see that I was there, so he should not have had to sign in.

While Grumpy sits and waits for the next sports season to begin, so he can be the newly discovered basketball star or the baseball star, that is all that he is doing. Sitting and waiting. Playing the NBA or MLB video game in preparation for the season. Still not grasping that to be a star takes hard work, ability and skills that need to be practiced and refined over the course of time.

We will continue to remind him, encourage him, all the while praying that the blinders would come off his eyes, and that he would mature to the point of understanding that just dreaming about something does not make it a reality.  That there needs to be a lot of sweat and tears that go into making greatness.  More importantly, at the end of the day, the Prince and I just want him to understand our vision of greatness for him is to be a man of character, honest, sincere and hardworking.  That is what would make him a star in our eyes.

On a side note, if saying I ran and 8 minute and 7 second mile makes it so... well I am just saying, my mile is pacing at 9 minutes and 36 seconds or more  and I would love to shave some time off that!!   You really can't make this stuff up...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sometimes you just have to mix it up!

If you're unfamiliar with our story, it has been 2 years since our move to the sunshine state.  Well, actually at the time of the "surprise of the short man's lifetime",  it was 1 year and 359 days since Bashful had been "home".   

Since Bashful's enrollment at "camp" last October, he comes home to us every six weeks for 5 days for what camp calls home visits.  Home visits are intended to help the boys meet goals for reunification and restoration with family or friends, and to accomplish some fun activity during the visit. At our house, home visits usually go the same way. The day of pick up, Bashful is excited, and ready for the comforts of home and is calm and quiet and relaxes on the big comfy couch and watches some television in the air conditioning.  As the weekend wears on we all start to fall into bad habits and patterns of behavior that end up frustrating us each for various reasons.  In part due to the good reports we have been getting from the staff at camp and because of the length of time since Bashful has seen family, three months ago, the Prince and I decided to mix it up for Bashful and surprise him during his June home visit with a trip to PA.

While the Prince and I and all the dwarfs have had one or more chances to "go home" to visit friends and family since our move 1100 miles south on June 15, 2014,  Bashful has not been with us for any of them.  

In preparation for this weekend of Bashful and I spending a large amount of one on one time together, which typically does not go well for he or I,  I did a bit of planning to keep the weekend exciting and fresh for him, while at the same time attempting to create some opportunities for great memories that he could hold on to while he continued at camp doing hard things, six weeks at a time.  

To start the trip, six weeks ago, I plotted with the staff at camp to have him ready for pick up early, showered and dressed in some non- woodsy clothing by 9AM.  (Yes I am that mom... I snuck clothing socks and shoes to camp office during drop off,  for the occasion.)  After he got ready for pick up,  the boys at camp all thought he was dressed for a day on the golf course, and were trying to guess what his surprise was going to be!  When I picked him up I could tell he was a good mix of excitement and anxiety, but  he sure looked handsome! 

The day of pick up was a horribly rainy day courtesy of TS Collin, who was clearly upset about being down graded, and was just being a nuisance, drenching us in tons of rain...  I arrived at camp and as I stated, Bashful was ready to go. After our goodbye's we ran to the car dodging puddles and even with our umbrella, were unable to get to the car without being completely soaked!  Bashful still does not know what his surprise is, and frankly in all my other plans I forgot to figure out how the great unveiling of  the surprise would go.   (So much for greatest mom of the year award! Everyone knows a surprise is only as good as the unveiling.) 

As I was "killing" time, trying to think of how to share the news, I asked him to pull our his goal sheet for the home visit and start reading them to me. 

Well his first goal on his goal sheet was, " work on rebuilding my relationship with my mom".  I think there may have been a thunderbolt as he read this out loud because clearly it was a perfect segue way for the upcoming weekend's activities!   

Now because my technology skills are not so great, there is a video clip of him receiving the news of spending the weekend with me, but I could not get it posted here.  I will say that initially he seemed less than thrilled by the news of spending the whole weekend with his momma, but quickly things turned around as he figured out that we were headed to PA on a plane (of which he has never flown on) and he rallied his attitude and enthusiasm.  

We had some time prior to our departure. Since he has begun to show some interest in cars over the last several months, and older ones at that, I figured we could kill some time adventuring at the Muscle Car City a fantastic little museum in Punta Gorda!  What a great find! We spent about two hours just taking photos, talking about cars, and enjoying the collection!  So much that we lost track of time and really had to get a move on to grab a bite to eat and a few items we forgot to pack for the trip.  

Of  course all this traipsing around was still in the pouring rain. At one point we lost our car in the parking lot of the Walmart we were racing in and out of cars laughing so hard that tears were on our cheeks, but of course you could not see them because of the rain!

 Navigating the parking lot in the rain, the shuttle and the airport seemed to make Bashful a bit anxious, however, he did a great job listening, and doing exactly what I told him to do.  Because he was a minor he did not have to take off his jacket or shoes, so that made things smoother for at least one of us.   Additionally, our airport was super compact and user friendly!

Even better, was Bashful turning the corner after coming out of security and seeing a familiar face!  All of Bashful's anxiety seemed to slip away when he saw one of his chiefs sitting in the waiting area, for the same flight as ours!  God's perfect timing as I was flustered after realizing I lost my photo id, and was struggling to organize my stuff that I had anticipated organizing in the parking lot prior to going in.  I never considered it would not stop raining this day!  So Chief was a great distraction for Bashful and I both.

When I booked the flight, I wanted it to be really special for Bashful since it would be the first time he had ever flown... Front row, first seat by the window!  Even by his smile you could see he was a bit concerned about all the rain outside and wrapping his head around the actual flying part!  As we settled in, I tried to answer his questions, and distract him and by the time we were ready to take off, he was ready to look out the window and watch the ground beneath him disappear!  

Two hours and 20 minutes later when we arrived at our home airport, we were greeted by Bashful's cousins and Aunt, who made a sign to welcome him home!  We spent the evening with those cousins and more, having dinner with grandparents and his 92 year old great grandmother.  

Friday, the official start of the weekend, we spent a great part of the day at Hershey Park, getting our Hershey Park happy on!  We rode about all the coasters we could find, and the boys had a great time on some twirling rides that this 'ol stomach can no longer handle!  Everyone had great attitudes and did not seem to mind the heat, or standing in line waiting to ride the rides.  For one ride in particular, we stood in line an additional 20 minutes to get the front row!!   (As you can see below, the boys were having fun... me well I was having fun on the inside!!) Dipp'in Dots, soda, French fries... what boy could complain? 

Friday night came to a close, just having dinner and hanging out with grandparents and cousins in the yard.  More fun times on the trampoline, and just running and playing and being boys.  

Saturday dawned as the day I was most excited about.  The plan was to get Bashful together with some of his friends from home.  We got up early and went to buy donuts and fruit, juice and arrived at the park in our former neighborhood.   I think he was pleased by the turn out if his smile is any indication!  We had about 9 boys show up and a few special adults too!  

 We added some other small stops into the morning and early afternoon, and then ended up the day by hanging with another friend was on home visit from a sister camp in PA.   To say that a good time was had by all would be an understatement, swimming, basketball, video games, and a run... rounded out the day.   I think we both slept great that night!  

We knew departure day was looming, and we woke up Sunday and followed our "old" Sunday tradition of stopping at Sheetz for coffee and for Bashful a western omelet wrap.  Off to Sunday school and church to hug necks of some more treasured friends and family, worship with our former church and out to lunch with the great grandmother who conveniently needed a ride home from church that day! 

We met up with another set of grandparents mid afternoon for a ride to the airport, and to bring that grandmother home to Florida for a long visit. If there were not memories made this weekend, well it was not for lack of trying!   

Here we are set to head back to Florida!  

The rest of our family was missing us and could not wait to hear about our adventure! 

 I will say that sometimes it is great to mix things up a bit!   Bashful was surprised, and had a grateful heart.  He was on his best trip behavior. He was helpful, seemed to engage with everyone at appropriate levels and really enjoyed his time in PA.   It was our goal, that we would be able to encourage him, and provide him with some great opportunities to make memories to hold close in his heart and mind as he headed back to camp to finish the journey he is on.  

How is he doing at camp?  Great!  Everyone that saw him over the weekend say that noticed a great change in Bashful!  Besides how tall he has gotten, he has matured, and did conduct himself different from what they remembered two years prior. In the mixing it up, while I saw that there has been growth and maturity on his part, I also learned that once back on common ground, in a setting he was familiar with, we still have some work to do.  

If you are inclined to pray for Bashful (and us),  our hearts prayer is that he would be able to do the hard things he does at camp; lead, encourage others, and work hard, here in the kingdom.  At this stage of the game, progress is there, the hope is there, but here in the comfort of home, bad habits abd being around siblings, we find that old habits die hard, bad attitudes (his and ours) often take over in the midst of struggles and interactions with others, which lead to hurt, and unmet expectations.  For me personally it leaves me occasionally shaking my head. 

None of this process is going to be easy.  Bashful has to work hard, but so do the Prince and I.  So do we all.  Mixing things up, escaping from the hard things, is fun.  At the end of the day however we have to remember we are all broken cracked pots.  Not perfect, far from it.  Because of the love modeled to us by our heavenly father, we continue to pour into his life, grace, mercy and unconditional love with the hope that someday there will be a permanent and positive change in his life that will take him from ordinary to exceptional.  Bashful's footprint is huge (well it is a size 12 already) but what I mean is the place that he comes from, his story, the journey could potentially impact the lives of others in such a big way, it really is my desire for him to be able to use all of his life's experiences to change the world around him.  But even if God's plan for Bashful is less grandiose than mine, I want him to know that in all things he is loved. Cherished. Born from the heart not the womb.  Wanted.  Special.  

You Really Can't Make this Stuff UP!  Get out there and mix it up a bit!  

A special thanks to the staff at Gator Wilderness for their efforts in helping pull this off for Bashful. More over for picking up the pieces this week during that transition back to the world of doing hard things.  For their patience and diligence in not only working with my dwarf, but so many others like him.   We are exceptionally grateful for the sacrifices you make each day, we are aware of some of them but I know there are many that go unnoticed.  Your making a difference.  Our lives are richer because of your service to our family and Bashful!   

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mothers Day at Gator Camp

Saturday, in honor of Mother's Day, I made the trip to see Bashful at camp.  Bashful has been at camp since October.  He lives there six weeks at a time, and then comes home for four days to practice what he is learning in the hopes of transitioning back home and being successful in the areas that caused he and our family stress and angst up until his departure.

Weeks before, camp sent out invitations to each mom (female caregiver) come and join our sons for the annual, Mother Son Banquet.   The staff and the boys were celebrating Moms.  Working at rebuilding relationships.  Assisting them in an area of great struggle for many of the young men at camp.

As I headed out, I thought I knew what to expect.  I assumed that there would be no surprises, no great revelations. This was just one of the events that we committed to when we agreed to have Bashful placed at camp.

What I came away with Saturday was a deeper appreciation for every mom, grandmother, or aunt that has gotten to the place in the life of their boys, where they can't manage any longer. You see, after 12 years of parenting special needs children, sometimes I forget that there are others out there that have similar struggles.  I assume that what I am doing is just for my dwarf, that others rarely have to face what we have faced, and forget many have been forced to respond in a similar manner with the boys they love.

As I sat and looked around the room Saturday as moms were meeting their boys and getting seated, I was overwhelmingly burdened by the number of women in the same boat that  I am in. I wondered about the support that they have, about their broken hearts, and about their healing.  I could see some of them were overwhelmed with joy to spend time with their boys, others were still feeling the sting of years of hurt and anger directed at them.   I wondered what was the catalyst that  made them realize they needed a place for their boys? What made them realize they could not do this any longer? What caused them to make the decision to turn their boys over to strangers. Strangers that act as intercessors,  healers,  teachers, mentors, coaches, doctors, linguists, social directors, monitors, negotiators, big brothers, cooks, chaperons, chauffeurs, outdoor enthusiasts, trailblazers, captains, leaders and Godly examples of what it looks like to be a young man that honors their mother and father.  I know our story, but I wondered how similar it was to the others in the room.

Saturday was all about honoring their mothers.   You could see that some of the boys embraced the task with much enthusiasm.  Other boys like Bashful, struggled even in an environment where all the social ques were teed up for them, and directions had been given in advance, to know and feel comfortable in the role of caring for their momma's.  To start the luncheon, each young man went around the room to introduce their female caregiver (mom, grandmother, aunt) and shared one thing that they appreciated about this woman in their life.

So many of the boys shared how they loved that their mom, stuck with them through their problems, that they loved them even when they were unlovable, that they cared enough to send them to camp, that they were sorry for how badly they treated them with their words and their actions... it really tugged on your heart.   Several of the boys shared poems and stories that they wrote about their moms and grandma's that would make even the coldest heart melt.   Heartfelt words of affirmation about the role of the female caregiver in their lives.   These words, stories and poems allowed the healing to begin, or continue in those relationships that were so battered and bruised.  It was sweet, the sentiments heart felt. The tears of joy in a mother's eye overwhelming.

At camp they work really hard at helping the boys see how important the relationship is between a mother and a son, and how they need to work to repair it, restore it and regrow it.   Does it sometimes stink that my youngest dwarf is away from the kingdom, missing daily life and significant life events in the history of our family for an undetermined amount of time.  It does.  But at the same time, his being away helps us heal, and gives us the opportunity to focus on the lives of the others in the family unit that were bypassed and looked over often in times of poorly timed meltdowns and struggles of said dwarf.  No family is perfect.  All families struggle.  These things in the normal ranges help us grow mature and develop.  When the struggle is all consuming,  too often to be healthy for anyone, and is disruptive to life, changes must be made.

That is how each of the women at the luncheon got to sit in the seats of honor next to their sons, grandsons and nephews.  We each made a hard choice,  to love the unlovable, to seek help for their brokenness and to choose hope for the future.

They closed the luncheon with a group song.  There were not many dry eyes in the house.  Again, as I looked around the room I saw women of all ages, relations, and in various stages of their relationships with their sons, weep.    These boys are so broken, so hurt and so vulnerable.  They lash out at the one (aside from Jesus) that loves them the most.   Camp does a great job of reminding them that aside from Jesus, no one loves them more than their mommas! (female caregivers)

Somebody somewhere was praying last night 
when Jesus came in and I saw the light. 

It must have been Mama. I heard her before as she knelt by her bedside, her tears touched the floor. 

Thank you Mama for praying for me. If you had not prayed, then where would I be ? 
They called you old fashioned but you loved the Lord and your prayer touched the Master as your tears touched the floor. 

She held to the alter and wouldn't give in till she knew all her children had been born again. 
Just an old fashioned Mama but she loved the Lord and your prayer touched the master as your tears touched the floor. 

Thank you mama for praying for me. If you had not prayed then where would I be ? 
They called you old fashioned but you loved the Lord and your prayer touched the Master as your tears touched the floor.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Time stands still for no one... most especially Momma's !

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  I'm not sure if I can keep this post to a thousand words or one picture!  

In the blink of an eye, time has passed.  While the event photographed here is not senior prom, or graduation or an off to college shot.  Those milestones are FAST approaching.  Faster than I want, faster than I can process most days.

I am sure she will fill her social media with great pictures from the evening of the military ball, however when I was flipping through the photos from last night, this photo stuck out to me! It says so much about the energy, life, passion and excitement that Sleepy brings to all that she does, and I as I ponder the short amount of time I have left with her before she no longer "needs" me, I wonder...

Have I instilled in her heart and soul and mind the ability to be passionate, compassionate and even when it hurts selfless, humble and kind.  Does she know that the Lord who created her in my inner most parts, loves her more than she can comprehend, and that our love of her is only minimal in comparison to that ?

Does she know know the great lengths that we would go to in an effort to keep her heart, mind and person safe and  protected? How every day is a balancing act for us, as we let her spread her wings a little more, and a little more, without suffocating, helicoptering or over parenting as she attempts to become her own unique Lingle in our kingdom and beyond?  

Can she possibly understand the bittersweet feelings that accompany her growth and maturity? How as a parent the feeling of standing in a position of observer  as other people fill spots in her life that she used to rely solely on for myself or the Prince to fill? Confidant, social coordinator, teacher, coach, mentor, chef, chaperon, chauffeur, negotiator, personal shopper, spiritual guide...

Yet in all this mixed bag of emotions I want her to know,  I feel so blessed that this dwarf seems to be tracking in a direction that is completely and absolutely the way life is to naturally progress!  She is gaining experience, growing in maturity and wisdom, and very rapidly approaching the goal of being independent.  I am overwhelmed that the Lord has gifted me with my youngest daughter who is so full of life and joy, that with very few exceptions, makes it very easy to guide, teach, love.  

In the midst of these every day moments, I do not want to miss the opportunity to say how proud we are of her and how much she has grown!    How her focus and determination makes us stand up and cheer. Her radiant smile is contagious.  Her joy for life evident.

As a momma, I do have one small tiny request....

Could we just slow this all down a little?  Maybe?  How about you take me for coffee and we can talk about it?

Where does time go?  You just can't make this stuff up!