Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Becoming Jade's Mom!

"A mother is the truest friend we have,
when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us;
when adversity takes the place of prosperity;
when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us;
when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us,
and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels
to dissipate the clouds of darkness,
and cause peace to return to our hearts".
~Washington Irving

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately, as I have been trying to focus on Jade's strengths so we can help him have the BEST life he can and use his strengths to give him some kind of a career once he moves on from High School.
I am realizing that life hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would, but it’s been a wonderful life indeed!

There comes a time in most of our lives,
where we hear the words come out of our mouths that have every range of emotion from excitement, fear, stress, nervousness thrilled beyond measure and anything and everything else in between…those words:
“I’m pregnant”!
From the moment I found out I was pregnant with Jade,
I watched everything that I put in my mouth, trying to avoid anything with preservatives, wanted to make sure I ate a balanced diet and took in plenty of B-Vitamins and Folic Acid and doing everything I could to make sure I delivered a healthy baby.
I treasured each and every moment of pregnancy
and I loved more than anything feeling the baby move all of the time and knowing I had a sweet little human growing inside that I would soon be a mom to.
I was SO excited for the experience to be a mom!

When I went to my last doctor’s appointment and he checked me and I was dilated to a 3, he told us to meet him at the hospital and that we were going to have a baby before the night ended. Tracy and I took our time (almost 3 hours later) getting to the hospital, because we knew, it was our last moment that we would ever be just the 2 of us, until our kids were raised and out of the house.
Those precious moments together with just Tracy
and I are cherished memories that I will never forget!
The moment of birth is truly the most remarkable feeling I have ever experienced with going through all of the steps of labor
(only had ½ dose of Nubain and nothing else for pain) (which I even commented after Jade was born to the doctor: “that wasn’t bad at all”!)
To that first moment when you lay eyes on your little bundle of joy, you want to look them over and make sure they are perfect and have all 10 fingers and toes and check out their features and see who they look like and how much hair they have and you think of the dreams you have for that precious child that you will love and be a parent to.

You love and enjoy every moment,
from cuddling and reading,
to swinging and experiencing nature with them
to dressing them up in cute clothes and styling their hair.
And before you can blink your eyes,
they are starting school and you can’t believe how grown up they are.
Everything seems perfect…
and then just when you think things are going great, you get a call from the school of their concern for your child and how behind the other kids he is and how he doesn’t seem to be grasping learning.
So, you decide that maybe he is a little immature for his age and so you hold him back a year, but realize that is not helping matters at all either.
For some reason he is challenged greatly with learning
and probably will be for the rest of his life.

(Jade was eleven years old and this is how he put the puzzle together...
It totally broke my heart that I had to take a photo of it. He had fallen asleep by the puzzle and was frustrated that he couldn't figure out how to get the pieces back in the right places even though we had helped him over and over successfully put them in the right spot!)

I felt helpless and wanted SO badly to help him and see him succeed.
For the next few years I bought every child’s book I could get my hands on and filled an entire book shelf.
I read constantly to him,
bought flash cards, puzzles and many other learning tools hoping that the more we worked on things, somehow it would “click” and he would be able to learn and be where the other kids his age were in class. Try as I might, nothing I did, seemed to make much of a difference for him academically.

It was the hardest thing ever to come to terms as a parent to realize that I had a child with a serious learning disability, who was tested and had a low IQ as well and an even harder thing, was telling people that you have a challenged child who is in the “Resource room
(which used to be labeled “special education” when I was growing up).
(Ethan is sure enjoying all of those books I purchased for Jade…
he thinks we have a library!)
We have come to know really well the words IEP (Individual Education Program) “Special Needs” and “Study Skills”.

The hardest thing about this is,
for the most-part, Jade looks normal and can communicate quite well
although he doesn’t always use the big words he likes, in the correct context and often gets stories twisted and details get misconstrued.
Even so, his social skills are remarkable!
He loves fashion and notices every single detail of what people are wearing, what they look like etc…
He is actually amazing in this area!
Jade has more friends than anyone that I have met.
We drop him off for school and there are SO many kids (including lots of cute girls) that are always coming up to him and saying “HI” and going out of their way to be nice to him.
He is a very well liked boy and is SUCH a social bug!
He absolutely LOVES people!!

The saddest thing of all, is that he is so behind others, he doesn’t really have a “best friend”. He has plenty of people that are nice to him, but no one person he can go and “hang out” with. Thank goodness he has us for his best friends (his only true friends), but there is nothing better for kids then to have ONE person their age that they can relate to and share life experiences with.
It makes my heart ache that he wants SO badly to have close friends, but everyone has their own groups of friends and they never seem to include Jade.
The saying is true…
when the school doors have closed and the sun has set,
everyone has forgotten about Jade and
they are all into their own groups of friends and activities.
I’m so grateful for organizations such as
the Cross Country team and Track team,
where Jade can participate and feel like he's a part of a team.
He loves running and it doesn’t seem to bother him that he comes in last. He always says after each race: “I sure did a good job today”! He has had SO much encouragement from all of his team mates and even though he does come in last, he has the biggest cheering section of people that care about him!

I’m greatly saddened thinking of him wanting to be independent, but not being able to read and write well enough to ever be able to take and pass a drivers license test.
(someday, we hope that can happen…I’m crossing my fingers).
We have sad moments, thinking of what kind of job Jade will be able to get that he could provide for himself someday.
He loves art and loves to work with his hands and gives the world’s BEST massages.
Someday, he would love to be a Massage Therapist,
or help elderly people in providing relief through massage.
I hope that someday he can really make that dream become a reality.
We were also sad, thinking that Jade may never go on a date,
because he can’t drive and if a girl did ask him, it would probably be a “charity date”…
that was until we met Karissa, a sweet girl with similar challenges and she and Jade have a lot of fun together and have gone to 3 dances this past year and had LOTS of fun.

Each time I go to see Jade at school and go and see the kids that he is around all day that have severe challenges, I leave the school crying as I drive home, thinking that my son just wants to be normal.
He deals with A LOT each day, even more than I can ever comprehend.
He is truly a blessing in my life!
We’re not sure if his challenges stem from the fact that when he was born, he was a little blue and they whisked him right away as he wasn’t breathing well.
We have even been told that he has characteristics similar to a condition called “Williams Syndrome” and we are looking into getting him genetically tested to see if this is what he has.
Whatever he has, it’s not curable.
Now he is half way through his Junior year of high school and is barely reading at a 3rd grade level and can’t really get his thoughts from his head down onto paper without serious help from us or his aides at school.
I have finally had to deal with my
most challenging moment ever as a mom,
when my nine-year old son writes, reads and does math and everything better in school than my 17 year old. It is so hard to praise Ethan and not have Jade feeling bad.

Life is definitely hard some days
to love and accept both of my kids for their strengths,
without making one of them feel badly.
Challenges and all, I love my life
and it is these challenges that have made me
the person I am today!
So grateful to be blessed with an amazing son
that truly teaches me what life is all about!


Tracy Smith said...

Just noticed this... thanks for making me cry!
You are the best mom our sons could ever have!
With all of Jade's many challenges, he is a very lucky young man to have such a loving mother who is his best advocate!
I love you!

Kim said...

He is so blessed to have you! Heavenly Father knew you would be the best mom for him.

Our Paper Plates said...

What a beautiful post! I love that you titled it "Becoming Jade's Mom" - because I believe Heavenly Father sends His precious ones to us and we get to BECOME what they need. It truly is a process! And we learn and grow right along with them, like you said! :) Thanks so much for sharing this part of your life. I will keep your family in my heart and prayers. I know it must be a difficult balancing act -- I just know the Lord will continue to strengthen you in your efforts!!

Janelle said...

Such a sweet post. Your handsome Jade is much-loved.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I know this was a difficult post to write but probably one that you needed to write - to articulate for yourself and for others. You expressed the heights and depths of emotions in a beautiful way and your love for your child is a tribute to both you and your son. blessings, marlene

Cherie said...

I don't even know where to begin. My thoughts are racing.
All of the children I have ever met who have some type of disability similar to Jade's, or along those same lines, have been the most wonderful, loving, sweet and kind people I have truly ever met.
I think that some are given these struggles and disabilities because they are truly angels - we all need to learn from them. I am sure Jade just loves people and thinks the best of everyone and is truly happy because he is loved. He is...GOOD.
We all need examples of Good in our lives.
I know this sounds cliche' and I do not mean it to be at all. I truly truly believe that only some people are gifted with these sweet souls - He is a huge blessing and you are blessed to have him and to be his mother.
I can't wait to meet Jade!

Ann Marie said...

I think this is one of my very favorite posts you have written.

I could feel the love you have for Jade through your loving words.. and the beautiful pictures.

You are always so positive.. and supportive.. and what a blessing to be raised by a mother like that!

Jade is very fortunate.

My brother in laws little brother Kyle has Williams.. and boy do we love Kyle. He graduated 2 years ago.. and I have been amazed at the things he has done. There is MUCH he can't do... and will not ever be able to do.. but it's interesting at how much we CELEBRATE Kyle's achievements...

Through Kyle.. I have learned to appreciate the small things. -- Simple pleasures. I am sure you feel the same way.. and that's why you find so much "Joy in your Journey."

Love you.

Candace said...

Tears are streaming down my face right now. I love Jade! You are such a wonderful mother to him! I love all the pictures too!

Doran & Jody said...

What a trial, What a blessing.

Jade could melt ANYONE'S heart with his SMILE without even getting to know him first. What a handsome boy.

Heather said...

This was such a wonderful post! I loved it! You said it right at the end, "He truly teaches me what life is all about." We can learn so much from kids like him. I learn so much from my nephew Lane. He has fragile X syndrome. I love that he loves the simple things in life. I loved that you share that Jade is always proud of himself when he finishes track. He doesn't care that he was last. He is such a handsome boy and his baby pictures are darling. You are a great mom and I loved that you shared this with us! I love you Kimmie!

Alene said...

This was so beautiful to read. How fortunate Jade is to have come to such a wonderful family. Thank you for sharing!

Connie said...

I am so impressed with the love you have for your family. Jade and Ethan are so fortunate to be in your family. As I was reading about Jade, several children who I have worked with over the years, flash through my mind. They're wonderful children, who just can't get it together cognitively. They struggle, their parents struggle and yet those kids capture our hearts.
Jade's smile would melt anyone's heart. His desire to run is so impressive to me.
You are an amazing woman, Kimmie. I think I can safely say that there are many who look to you as an example of Christ-like love.
Give Jade and Ethan a hug from me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kimmie,
I just happened upon your blog a few days ago and have loved it. I was attracted by the wonderful healthy recipes and money saving tips. I am, however, so glad I read this post about your son Jade. I cried as you described so many of the same feelings and worries I have about my daughter. She sounds so similar to your son. You happened to write the post on the day she turned eight. We have had many doctors appointments trying to figure out what is wrong but no answers & no diagnosis. This post has actually helped me so much in my searching for our own daughter and I think I finally have a lead onto what we should have tested thanks to your post. I hadn't heard of Williams syndrome until now.