Monday, September 3, 2012

A Lesson from Tadpoles

We have this little pond in our back yard with a small waterfall and several full grown (five I believe) frogs. One of my favorite things to do in the morning is grab my cup of coffee and my faithful cat Max (that's right, I said cat) and walk my yard. I usually follow the same path every morning. I have taken up gardening in the last three years and I love to see all the plants that I have planted grow and bloom. Who knew that the daughter of a self proclaimed plant killer actually had a green thumb! (Side note, my mother's nickname at the local florist was "Croaker" and it had nothing to do with frogs.) Anyway, the morning walk ends at the pond to check in on the frogs and the other natural inhabitants that live in and around it. My favorite thing to do though, is to watch the tadpoles. At the end of the summer in 2011, I happened upon a great deal at the local Big Lots. A huge round above ground swimming pool reduced from $300 to $60. "What a steal" I thought and I bought it. The kids will love this, it will encourage exercise, etc. I obviously did not think this through very well. It never occurred to me the amount of time and effort it would take to maintain this monstracity and it took away from the aesthetically pleasing look of the yard that I had been cultivating for the last few years. It did not take long before overly excited kids, both mine and ALL the kids in the neighborhood (never knew we had so many)caused a tear in the bottom. Although my son was extremely upset about this I was somewhat relieved. Between the chemicals and the algae,that was insistant upon NEVER going away no matter what I did, I was glad to have a reason to shut it down. Sure, I could patch it, and yes, I was glad the kids had a fun place to hang with their friends. I would much rather them be here with me than roaming the neighborhood and even I enjoyed a dip or two, but going to the neighborhood pool looked way better now that we had tried owning our own pool and it was actually cheaper! Let the draining begin! It seemed like it took forever for that thing to drain. Really it was only about a day but when I want something done I just want it done and I not the most patient person. Virginia weather has been a little crazy this summer and quite uncooperative when it came to taking down that pool. Even though we had "drought" conditions it seemed like every evening there was a shower. With a couple of inches of water in the bottom of the slightly unlevel pool I was in a bit of a quandry as to how to get the last bit of water out. It was to heavy to lift and to shallow to drain as the drain was higher on the side of the pool. So the water just sat and sat....and sat. Okay, a week has passed, summer is busy and the pool has been cast to the side for the moment, until one evening around 9 pm when it sounded as though all of the frogs in the neighborhood decided to have a pool party in my pool and I was not invited. The "singing" was really loud. Loud enough to coax me out into the yard to see what was going on. The security light over the pool came on as I circled it and peeked over the side. One, two, three, four...Nine...I counted nine little frogs swimming, floating and clinging to the side of the pool. They were so small and cute. I watched them for awhile and then called it a night. The pool sat for a little while longer. On a particularly hot evening, just before yet another rain storm, I noticed my daughter and her friend climbing into the pool with cups, scooping up water, and then climbing out and running to the pond. What are they doing? Helping mom drain the pool? How sweet. Actually, as I got closer to the pool I realized that they were not draining the pool for me. It seems that the frog party resulted in hundreds, no, thousands (or so it seemed) of tadpoles. The girls were concerned for their safety and were attempting to rescue them. After about thirty minutes of this they were exhausted and the rain had started. We all abandoned our outdoor projects and ran into the house. "Mom" my daughter asked,"What are you going to do with the tadpoles? You can't kill them mom! Please don't kill them!" First of all I had not really even considered the tadpoles as I knew not of their existence until now and second of all, I could not kill one intentionally much less all of those swimming innocently in the bottom of our pool. "I don't know Lou" (that's her nickname) "let me think about it." The next day I went out, bucket and cup in hand, to start scooping tadpoles. The water was gross and green, the tadpoles, uncooperative and the sun, hot as ...well you know. This is never going to work, I will be here forever trying to "rescue" these tadpoles. Hmmmm....I needed something bigger. Turns out the pool net that we use to clean out the debris was perfect! I could scoop a large amount of tadpoles, run across the yard and drop them into the pond before they suffocated! Back and forth I went scooping these tadpoles. My next door neighbor just watched and chuckled. "Whatcha doing Robin?" he asked. "Rescuing tadpoles" I answered, breathless from my umteenth trip to the pond. "Good for you!" he replied, "I would have just drained 'em" and he walked into his house chuckling to himself the whole time. I believe I even heard him mutter "crazy neighbor" but I could be mistaken. As I ran back and forth scooping I found myself talking to these tadpoles. "Come on guys, cooperate. Don't you know I am trying to save you!" Some would swim away as soon as my feet hit the bottom of the pool. Others swam right into the net. I worked and worked trying to catch every one. Over the course of three days (yes I know, I must be a little crazy) I scooped. What was even more interesting though were my thoughts and feelings as I scooped. I thought about how every tadpole life in that pool was important to me. I thought about how I did not want to leave any tadpoles behind. I was frustrated with the ones that would hide or get so close and then disappear into a dark crease, in the side of the bottom of the pool floor. The little ones, newly hatched, were easier to scoop up. They were niave I guess. The larger ones, some even starting to grow legs, were harder to catch, determined to do things their own way, hiding in algae or trying to "outrun" my net by swimming to the other side. "Don't you get it" I muttered outloud, "I am tring to give you life!" As I released each net into the pond I felt good. The tadpoles immediately swam out into their new surroundings and began grazing on the algae, probably thinking to themselves "so this is heaven!" Well, I thought it would be like heaven to a future frog anyway. I must admit though that there were those that just refused to be saved. They hid and swam away. Each hot day passed and the water slowly evaporated until finally there was no more water to swim in and they just died. It made me sad to see those little tadpoles struggling for a last breathe or dried up on the pool floor. "I told you not to swim away. Why did you have to be so stubborn!" I muttered to myself as I sadly counted the ones left behind. I did everything I could, but I could not save them all. Every morning as I stop by the pond and check to see how my little tadpoles, that are not so little anymore, are doing, I reflect on that simple experience and I think how God must feel as he reaches out to us all through his son Jesus. How frustrated he must feel when he puts people and circumstances in our path to lead us to him and we still run away and hide. I think about how heartbroken he must be as some try to "outrun" him and as a last breathe is taken a soul is lost because it was niavely thought that the world offered an easier and better way. Jesus said that he would make us "fishers of men". I realized that if I put at least half of the energy I used rescuing tadpoles into witnessing to family, friends, co-workers and even total strangers, then I will have done what he has asked me to do and that this is good. Possibly I too can help to cast the net that leads another to salvation. Life's lessons can come from the simplest things, like frogs and pools and tadpoles.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Camp Free2BMe

Almost two years ago I had a dream. The dream was to find a place where my son with Autism would fit in and be just what he was, a child. A place where he could be free to be just himself. Not the autistic kid or the quirky kid or the difficult, angry, depressed kid, just Matthew, the funny, artistic, smart, sensitive kid who just wanted a real friend. The kind of place that he would remember fondly as the place where he could use his imagination and create art the way he saw it, a place where he could attempt to climb the biggest tree or catch his first fish with a pole or learn how to overcome his biggest fears, the fear of never belonging, the fear of rejection, the fear of not knowing the right thing to say or how to express his feelings. A place that most of have known and experienced, a place that we can go back to anytime we want to and remember some of the good things about our childhood. A place like, summercamp. I searched the internet for days and much to my dismay could find nothing designed specifically for children with a primary diagnosis of Autism, Asperger's Syndrome or related developmental disability in Richmond or even the state of Virginia. It was during one of these very frustrating moments that the inner voice that we all hear at one point in time or another said "go ahead, you get something started". My first reaction was to chuckle and then of course the arguement ensued. Sure, I thought, great idea, I have no clue on how to start a summer camp. I know nothing about non-profits, I am a single mom with two children under the age of 12 and I need a full time job with benefits! However, by the next day I was reading everything I could about how to start a non-proft, summer camps and activities for children with Autism. Call it insanity or a leap in faith (I personally choose the latter!)but in August 2011, Richmond Autism Integration Network(RAIN)was "born" and on June 29, 2012 (not quite a year later) I officially resigned from my full time State of Virgina job with benefits to open Camp Free2BMe. The vision of a summer day camp experience gradually became more clear as creative, passionate board members joined the team. What makes Camp Free2BMe unique is the design. We wanted non-autistic children who know very little, if anything, about autism to learn about their peers. We decided to pair two non-autistic children with one child with autism. We train them in Autism 101. We then go out into the community to do fun things as a group. The non-autistic children learn about their peers and will take this positive experience back to their schools in the fall. All of our non-autistic youth are volunteers from the local middle and high schools. They will receive school credit for their time but they will also recieve a priceless education about Autism. Our Autistic youth will be given the opportunity to be who they are and to learn social skills from their peers. Everyone is so excited about camp! Our biggest need right now is the same as anyone else's, funding. We need a bus. That is our biggest expense and our biggest challenge. Many in the community have offered discount rates for activities. We have Laser Quest, bowling, Putt-Putt, therapeutic horseback riding,a vertical tree climb and canoeing at Pocahontas State Park on our to do list! As a woman of extreme faith, I know that this is going to be an amazing summer for our campers, their peer buddies and all of the families that are involved. I figure if God can part the Red Sea then he can cetainly provide us with a bus! As I begin this new journey of faith (and lots of chocolate!) I will keep you posted with pictures and camp experiences. Feel free to check out our web site: www.RichmondAutism.Org and give a shout out to us anytime. We also are happy to accept donations. All donations are needed and appreciated! Whether it is a gift of time , talent or monetary, we will never turn your giving away, just as we never turn away a child that needs our camp. Regardless of finances, we always work with our families!
I can't wait for Camp!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Leap of Faith

When do you know that it is time to make a change? I'm not talking about swapping out a toothbrush, buying country instead of classical or dying your hair red. I'm talking about a significant change, one that will affect the way you do life, the way you make decisions and ultimately, your retirement. How long do you wipe your child's tears as they once again cry in pain inflicted by unkind looks and words that are daily thrust upon them in the classroom, the hallways, the lunch room and the playground. When do you take a stand and say "No More!" For me, like most single moms in America, wearing multiple hats is not unusual. There is the mom hat, the sister hat, the daughter hat, the employee hat, the advocate hat, well, you get the picture. Working as a full time employee for the State of Virginia and being a full time mom to an eight year old daughter (trying very hard to be 18) and to an eleven year old creative and quirky son who just happens to have Autism, is enough to keep me busy way more than the meager 24 hours alotted in one day. Trying to maintain structure and balance by someone like me who is so ADHD that it's just ridiculous, is virtually impossible. Add to the regular day to day challenges of life the battle you must wage constantly to protect and/or advocate for your child, I am surprised that there are not more runaway parents. Wearing all these hats also includes my favorite (not) the hat of provider, better known as the one who buys the groceries, pays the light bill, the mortgage, the car payment, insurance, extra curricular activities, school fees, water bill, trash pick up, vet bill, co-pays and parking tickets (stupid 10 minute parking at a downtown bank, seriously!) Sometimes I find that hats become old and frayed. Sometimes hats can be repaired and sometimes they just need to be discarded. The problem is which one do you discard? After eight years of advocating, wiping tears, searching for the right "fit" in a school, I finally realized that my family and I could not do life like this any longer. We are all tired of doctor's, psychologist's, psychiatrist's, therapist's, teacher's and every other well meaning bystander in the line at Target who has witnessed yet another meltdown, offering their words of wisdom and making matters worse. We are tired of medications that cause headaches and grouchiness, we are tired of teachers giving up and peers calling out names like stupid and loser as we pass them on our nightly neighborhood walk. My son does not have the skills YET to be able to successfully deal with the negative blows he is dealt daily. He certainly is not going to gain any social skills in the public school system. If anything he is getting an excellent education in how to lose your self esteem in just one day. As the wearer of multiple hats it occurred to me that the one I would least expect to "discard" is actually the one that really needed to go. Maybe not go, but definately change! In February 2011 I thought I would get an early start searching for a summer camp for my son to attend. Much to my dismay I did not find anything in my town. I mean nothing. Yes, there are camps but they are all for either "neuro-typical" children or children with many different types of special needs. There was nothing specifically for children with a primary diagnosis of Autism, Asperger's or other related developmental delays. I started searching some of the caregiver sites looking for a nanny or someone who had experience with Autism. I typed in the word "Autism" and hit search. Wow! There was message after message from desperate parents seeking a "friend or anyone to spend time with" their child. "We will pay top dollar for a friend to take our son to the movies or just hang out." I was heartbroken. It was then that I asked God for a way to be able to help not only my son but others going through the same thing. It was then that it was placed on my heart to start a summer camp for children with Autism to be just what they were meant to be, children. In August 2011 after thinking, talking, researching, seeking and thinking some more, Richmond Autism Integration Network (R.A.I.N.) was born and the journey began. Over the last year I have talked with and written to countless parents all sharing the common bond of a child with Autism. Everyday a new idea, new comment, new insight and new friend came to be. I have been so excited to be on this journey and I have learned so much from my son. I started looking at him for who he is not who I wished he would be. I have watched him grow with me, both of us learning about each other, both of us striving to be the best person we can be. School has been a disaster. I think his teachers gave up on him before Christmas. As his mom, I will never give up on him. I will do whatever it takes. With this said, I made the bold move on Friday to withdraw him from school. When I observed several teachers standing over him in the hallway, throwing paper towels at him and kicking a trash can at him as he was on his hands and knees sobbing, trying to clean up the Coke he had spilled and NO ONE helped him. That was it. That's what it took and I am ashamed of myself, in a way, that I did not know it was that bad at school. He tried to tell me but he could not find the words. So, not only have I been wearing the employee, advocate, started a non-profit hat, but I also felt the need to add one more, the home school educator hat. I don't know if I would call it a "leap of faith" or pure insanity, but on Monday I resigned from my full time, salaried, state job, with benefits. I guess deep down I have known that it was time to make a change, I was just a little afraid (oh ye of little faith!)The way of life that I have always known changed in an instant. The look on my son's face Friday said it all. So, the plan is to continue to grow R.A.I.N. and to home school. I was blessed recently with a part time on call position for a local home health agency and actually have been approached by two parents in the last two days who have asked if I will home school their sons too. I don't know what God has in store but when I asked him last February to make a way for me to be a stay at home mom by June 2012, he did exactly that and then some. Doors are opening and my son is smiling again. I will miss the veterans I work with tremendously but I know I did the right thing. So, I did not discard the provider hat I just changed it a little. This is definately a new path and this chapter of my life will close fully on June 29th. I can't wait to turn the page and start "doing" life in a whole new way!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Reflections of My Father

I have never imagined my life without my Father in it, ever. I guess like many people I just took it for granted that he would always be right there for me, no matter what. As I sat in the hospital waiting room today with a slowly ticking clock and fast paced people, I found myself reflecting on my childhood with the first man that I have ever loved, my Dad. I was adopted as infant in 1964. Back then adoption agencies tried very hard to match adoptive parents with children that shared similar characteristics. When the Childrens Home Society matched me with my Dad they could not have made a better match. We both had thick wavy brown hair and the same nose. We are both quite opinionated, always enjoying a good debate at the family meal. We both love animals, love to read, love to learn, love the Lord and love our family. Unlike me, however, he doesn't like to show his feelings, but you can always look into his blue eyes and know exactly how he feels. I remember the long conversations we had when I was just a little girl of maybe five or six. I used to sit on the commode lid in the bathroom and watch my Dad as he shaved. I am sure we discussed deep things like all fathers and daughters do. Caterpillars, butterflies, puppy dogs and daydreams, we covered it all. As I grew older he participated in just about everything I did. I remember looking out into the audience when we had our school play and there he would be with my mom, looking as proud as a Dad could. Father-Daughter dances at school, trips to the beach, sitting with him in the recording booth at church on Sunday where he recorded the service for those who could not attend, reading together, working in the yard together, my first real date...Ahhh yes, that first real date. I will never forget the sadness in his eyes. I think he was realizing that his little girl was growing up. That was hard for him and me. I have always been a Daddy's girl and quite proud of it. I have always been so proud of my Dad. He taught me many things. Most importantly he introduced me to and taught me to love the Lord. He instilled in me his morals and values which have indeed served me well. As I reflected I became very aware of time and just how short it truly is. I was remembering us, my Dad and me, as if it were just yesterday. He is still the most handsome man I have ever known. His hair is still thick and a beautiful silver gray. His wit is just as sharp and he still knows how to make me smile just like he did when I was a tiny girl. He has always been my biggest fan, encouraging me, offering words of wisdom and giving big hugs that only he can give when I needed them the most. I wondered what he thought about today as he headed for surgery this morning. I wondered if he knew that I was praying for him, asking God to guide the hands of the surgeons and to perform a miracle on his ailing heart. My Dad made it through the surgery but still has a long way to go. I did not want to leave him in the Cardiac ICU alone but the nurses made me go home. Right now I am grieving for all the time I have missed as an adult with my Dad. I just took it for granted that he would always be here and suddenly, today, I was rudely awakened by the fact that he is human. My Dad, my hero, is human. I wish I had played tennis with him back when I was younger and he wanted to so much, but I was to busy. I wish that I had stopped by the house more just to say hello. I have realized today that things have to change in my life and in this world. We move to fast. We want bigger and better. We need to make more, buy more, go more..Not this girl. Nope. I quit. I want to live comfortably, trusting God and enjoying my family. Time is to short. I want to be with my kids, my Dad, the ones that I love. No more rat race, no more overtime, no more rushing... Please God, just a little more time...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Winds of Change (This is a Quick note!)

I walked into a friends office this afternoon and stood before his desk with a big smile. "Whooooshhhh" I said to him. He had been intent working on his computer, but stopped upon my loud entrance glancing up at me with that  all to familiar Robin you are crazy, look. "Do you know what that is?" I asked him. "That my friend is the winds of change!"

Ever have a day when you just need something, anything, good to happen? It could be as simple as finding a long lost $5 bill in your pocket or maybe just a smile from someone as you stand in line, forever, waiting for your lunch. When you work a job that is driven by how many people you can get through your front door and currently those people just are not coming, it can be extremely stressful. When you leave that job and go home to "work" your full time for the rest of your life job, also known as  Motherhood, it can be a little overwhelming, especially when you have a child that has his own unique perception of life. There are days where I tend to feel like "why bother" because neither job is going the way I had hoped or planned.

About six weeks ago I took , as best as I possibly could, gluten out of my son's diet. As a mother always researching and looking for ways to help my son diagnosed with Autism, it seemed only natural to do everything humanly possible for him. That's what we do. Although I could see changes at home I had not heard of anything getting better for him at school. School is our biggest challenge and where the difference really needed to happen. After changing his diet, we saw such a difference so quickly that we were able to start weaning him off of his medications. They did not seem to be helping him anymore. Of course we consulted our "Autism Team" of clinicians before doing this. Most did not think the gluten free diet would show much but did not discourage me with the plan.

Also over the last several weeks I have been working with Matthew on understanding things that I took for granted that he already knew, example, what room the "living room" is. He asked me where his Nook was and with my back to him as I was on the computer (again!) I told him it was in the living room. I heard quite a loud sigh of exasperation. What Matt? What's wrong? Again a loud sigh. Please tell me what the problem is. (This is usually when I start getting frustrated) He said to me in quite a matter of fact tone, "I don't know what that is, we live in every room in the house!" So, as you can see, there was more work to be done that I just did not realize until that moment.

All of this brings me to today and "the winds of change." I received an email today from my son's homeroom teacher at school. " Hi Mr. and Ms. Davis. I just wanted to let you both know how much of a noticeable difference we've seen in Matthew over the month of March. He has had little to no daily issues, and I don't think he has been marked for anything at all these last two weeks." (Marked meant that his "behavior sheet" did not come home marked with anything that he had to be warned or disciplined about.) "In addition we have seen a change in his tone....a more pleasant voice, asking questions instead of yelling at people, remembering his manners, participating  and interacting more with other students..." You get the picture. Wow! I was so pleased. It was so nice to know that something we were doing was working and that it was noticed and appreciated. I know Matthew had noticed a difference but the school was not aware of the changes we made at home, so this was like gold to me. Things are improving in our lives at home and that is the "winds of change" that made me smile today. Hopefully the winds will keep blowing away the old and ushering in the new...

Well, gotta go, my kids are hollering for me to come watch a movie with them...awesome huh?!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"It's Not Over Until It Is Over"

 This is a true story. It did indeed happen exactly as written. It is our story and I hope that it will inspire you, lift you up, encourage you and give you hope that no matter where you are in your life, you are not doing it alone...Trust Him!

Part 1 Randy

On the evening of May 26th of this year (2007) I had lost my way. It took 40 years to get to that point but I was at my lowest. I was doubting my worth to my family and friends and really felt they all would be better off without me. What brought me to that point was a lifetime of unresolved issues that had never been dealt with. There was sexual and emotional abuse, abandonment issues and from my earliest memories of childhood I realized that I was different from all the other kids I knew. It wasn’t until late last year that I was found to have Aspberger’s Syndrome. That explained a lot about my behavior but it hit me harder than I expected.

There were a lot of details over the past years that led me to the point I reached on May 26th. Some of them no one should ever have to experience. So I had decided to end my life on that day.

I did not grow up in church and it wasn’t until I met my wife 8 years ago that I really found the Lord, but on May 26th I forgot all about Him. That was until I was ready to take my life. That evening I kissed my wife and kids goodnight then went upstairs and asked God to forgive me for what I was about to do. I then ingested enough ant-freeze to kill myself. On May 27th I had died - twice.

Part 2 Robin

It was Sunday morning, May 27, 2007, about 10 AM. My husband had been violently ill during the night. The last time we spoke was around 3 AM. He said he thought he had the flu. I was fixing breakfast for our children. Our six-year-old son was on the computer. Our three-year-old daughter came from upstairs. She came into the kitchen with concern in her voice. Daddy was sick. I asked her where he was when I heard a thud come from upstairs. Running up the stairs, calling his name as I went, I came to an abrupt halt at our son’s bedroom door. My husband lay sprawled on the floor. He was trying to get up but his body was not cooperating. I kept calling his name as I tried to help him. The look in his eyes told me all I needed to know. Pupils, fixed and dilated, unable to speak, only groan, I knew it was bad. I called 911. It seemed like an eternity. The paramedics arrived. I heard “possible stroke.” I thought to myself, “okay, stroke I can deal with.” I work in a skilled nursing facility and stroke patients were familiar to me. They rushed Randy into an ambulance and sped to Johnston-Willis Hospital. I started calling family and friends to see if someone could watch the children. Everyone was in church, which is where we would have been that Sunday morning. I finally found some close friends who came immediately to pick up the children. I called my mother in law in San Antonio, Texas. “Mom, Randy is on his way to the hospital, they think it might be a stroke.” I told her I would call her from the hospital when I knew more. Still in a state of shock, I headed to Johnston-Willis and I prayed.

Upon my arrival at the hospital, I was escorted into the E.R. by a very kind and understanding nurse. The paramedics were finishing up and standing near Randy’s E.R. room. I could tell by the look on their faces that all was not well. Randy’s room looked like it had been ransacked. Unfamiliar equipment and “tools” were everywhere. The E.R. doctor introduced himself and asked me if Randy drank alcohol. “No” was my reply. He did not drink at all to my knowledge. About this time they were returning Randy from having a CAT scan. I did not recognize this man as my husband. He was pale and lifeless with I.V.’s and tubes and even worse, he was on a ventilator. I knew that being on a ventilator was an indication that he was in critical condition. The E.R. doctor then advised me that Randy had “died” on his way into the hospital and that they had resuscitated him, but it did not look good. I called my mother in law in Texas and I told her “you need to come. I don’t think that the doctor’s think he is going to make it. He is on a ventilator” She was on a plane from San Antonio within the hour. I called our son, Bryan, in Virginia Beach and asked him to come as well. He and his girlfriend Amber packed a few things and headed to Richmond.

Between my phone calls to family members and friends, the nurses and doctors continued to work on Randy, doing every test imaginable. They were kind and comforting, keeping me posted on every move. The E.R. doctor had sent off blood work to MCV earlier in the day and expected the results by 3:00 pm. At exactly 3:02 the activity picked up and machines were rolling into his room. Medical staff surrounded him. Tubes and lines were being placed in his neck. The doctor noticed me standing there and walked over to me. “I am so sorry Mrs. Davis, it is as we suspected. Your husband has tested positive for ethylene glycol poisoning.” “What” I thought. What is that? I do not understand. He explained that Randy had ingested a very large dose of ethylene glycol and that more than likely he would not survive. I went into the room with Randy. I heard that small inner voice say go over and pray in his ear. I listened and I prayed. Then, I cried.

My son and Amber arrived first. The news devastated him. Minutes later his long time friend, Kenny arrived. By now the Nephrologist (Kidney Doctor) was on the scene and not very hopeful. He also was kind but guarded about Randy’s condition. “If he survives, he will probably be on dialysis the rest of his life but his prognosis is not good and his condition, critical.” Randy had been moved to the Atrium ICU. Bryan, Amber, Kenny and I waited.

My son was finally allowed to go see his Dad. I warned him about how Randy would look but you can never really be prepared for something like that. I have never seen Bryan so devastated. It broke my heart to see him in such pain. His emotions were overwhelming. He sobbed, hit the wall and then bent over his Dad and really fussed at him! Randy jumped, the ventilator made a sound I will never forget, and Bryan and I left the room.

Mom arrived next, late in the evening. She had landed in Baltimore Maryland, arriving from San Antonio, and drove the rest of the way. I warned her about Randy’s appearance as well. She made it to the doorway of his room and covered her mouth with her hand. “Oh” was all she could say. Tears rolled silently down her cheeks. My heart broke again.

That night we all slept in the waiting room. Bryan, Amber, Kenny, Mom and me. We talked, we prayed, we consoled each other, we cried. We tried to understand…

Monday-Memorial Day

Randy made it through the night. He was in a coma, on life support and hemodialysis. Mom and I ran home to freshen up, feed the cats and make some calls. I e-mailed Tammy Burns (from Woolridge Church) and let her know what was going on. (The day before the E.R. nurse suggested we call our Pastor. I couldn’t remember the name of our church or even where it was!) Within no time Tammy called. She was so terrific. She offered support and asked if I would like a Stephens Minister. I told her yes, absolutely. Within minutes after my conversation with Tammy, John Williams was calling and getting things in order. Mom and I arrived at Johnston-Willis. She went in to see Randy. I went to the waiting room. Not long after I arrived, Pastor Greg walked into the Atrium waiting room. Kathy, his wife, was in the ICU with mom. Wow, I could not have been more comforted. Pastor Greg and Kathy, Tammy Burns, John Williams, Lynn Marx (my Stephens Minister) and many people I do not even know offered support and prayer that day that has never stopped.

Later that day Bryan and I went to see Randy in the ICU. Iwas so proud of my son as he leaned over his Dad and whispered in his ear "I forgive you Dad." We had talked about this earlier and we knew that we had to forgive him and that if nothing else, Randy knew this. We believed he could hear us...


My father in-law had arrived late Monday. We all took turns going in to see Randy. We all continued to pray and seek God. We found out that day that Randy had suffered a major heart attack.

There was no understanding of why this had happened, but this was about to change. As I sat in the waiting room of the Atrium I heard “Do notbe afraid” in my spirit. It was so loud that I looked around to see if anyone else heard it. It was then that I realized that God had shared with me about four years ago that something was coming. I had been having an intense conversation with Him as I was painting my sisters house. I was asking him about the trivial trials of life that I was experiencing. No one was home at the time but me and I was really questioning Him about my life. He answered me very strongly and in an audible voice “Daughter, I am teaching you how to pray as there will be a trial far greater than you have ever experienced before but do not be afraid for it will all come out to my glory.”

(To pray? I realized for the first time what "pray without ceasing" meant. It does not mean on your knees 24/7. It means conversing with God on all things, whether in your car on the way to work or in the shower or cutting the grass. Keep Him informed and involved, just as we are all doing on Facebook!!)

From the moment that I heard it I had shared this with my sister and my friend Tracy Swineford. Over the years when trials would come up Tracy would say "Do you think this is it? The trial?" and I would always say No. But today, I knew, this was it!! I shared this word of encouragement with Debbie (Mom) and we continued to pray and seek Him.


We had friends in prayer around the clock. People across the United States, literally. Church prayer groups, Nurses in the ICU. It was amazing!! Even though the Doctor’s still said critical condition, prognosis poor, we continued to trust in the Lord for healing, body, mind and spirit. I started to understand and learn about trusting in God no matter what and my own relationship with Him reached a new level.


Prayer continued. Mom and I grew stronger. We were excited about what God was doing. The ICU nurses were praying and amazed that Randy was still there. They all felt like they too, were watching a miracle.
The Hospitalist met with us late that day. He was not as optimistic and suggested we take a week to make a decision as to whether or not we should remove Randy from life support. He said the machines were only supporting Randy, that there was nothing more they could do.

Mom and I continued to trust God. That night Randy started waking up.


That morning I arrived at the hospital. Randy was a little scary. His movement was not purposeful and he seemed to be having a tough time with all of the tubes. I suggested we turn on the 700 Club to drown out the noise of the machines. I told mom, “Watch, there will be someone on the 700 Club that will have experienced the same thing as we are and they will give their testimony. This will confirm Randy’s healing to us.” There were only 20 minutes left on the show and guess what? Sure enough, there was a young girl with the same prognosis, and everything just like Randy! We smiled.

Mom and I went to the waiting room to write in our journals when she opened up her meditation for the day it was entitled “It is not over, until it is over!”

On June 3, my 43rd birthday, we all gathered together and spent a rainy afternoon in prayer for Randy, the hospital staff, the patients and each other. Our friendships and relationships grew stronger. God continued to perform miracles and show us His grace. The most amazing thing to me was when our six-year-old son said his prayers on June 10th. He said, “God, this is Matthew. My Daddy is still sick. Can you make me 12 years old so I can see him?” Matthew knew you had to be 12 to go into the ICU. That Friday, Randy woke up. On Saturday, Randy sat up in a chair for the first time and Matthew was allowed in to see him. God had answered his prayer and he knew it!

Randy continued to miraculously improve daily. On July 7, 2007, Randy came home and on July 8, 2007 we went to church again as a family.

Part 3 Randy

I didn’t have the bright light experience but I did experience very odd things I have yet to make sense of. Then I woke up to the point that I was aware of my surroundings. And my very first thought was that I wanted to go to church. I didn’t know what I had been through from a medical standpoint like treatments or medications, but I knew to the depths of my soul that God was the reason I was alive.

I had literally killed myself yet God had stepped in and said, “I don’t think so”. Having never met my real father it was at this time that I realized I always had a father; I was just looking for the wrong one. My Father isn’t done with me yet and He definitely has a purpose for me that has yet to be revealed. I felt the love of God like I never had before. I truly felt born again. And I felt free and relaxed and cleansed. It was a new beginning and I was a new person.

From a medical standpoint I had total healing. No heart or kidney damage, no dialysis, no neurological damage, nothing.

Then the depth of the miracle continued. For not only had God restored my life but He renewed my Spirit and healed my relationship with my wife and family. We all were blessed with a fresh start. He has allowed me to face and deal with my past. He reminded me that I have a beautiful wife and three beautiful children that love me more than I ever thought possible. And He left me free from guilt and shame. Although I regret the pain I put my family through I thank God for where He has brought me today, and I thank Him every day for it. That is the most amazing thing to come out of all of this; I now have a relationship with God like never before.

Finally, if you don’t believe in the power of prayer and what God can do in your life and you don’t believe He can perform miracles I am living proof that He can and He does.


There are still so many details, but you get the picture! Our lives have not been perfect since this experience and we never expected them to be. We are still learning and growing daily. Randy and I did divorce in September 2010 only to have God once again step in recently and shower us both with Grace and Healing. He has restored both of our biological families within two weeks of each other! We still have a long way to go as individuals, as parents and as partners but we will continue the walk and continue to TRUST HIM no matter what...'cause its not over, until its over! Be blessed!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The "Mountain" Trembled

Did you ever think that you could move a mountain or at least make it tremble? Me neither. How about wheat? Ever think about what role it plays in your diet? Me neither. Never really thought much about either, at all. As a matter of fact I have never been a fan of cooking. Eating, yes, cooking, not so much.  As a busy single mom with two elementary aged children and a job where care giving is a big part of it, I am exhausted when I get home. Therefore cooking means Chef Boy Ardee and I have a close relationship followed by an even closer relationship with McDonald's and my best gal pal, Wendy. On any given night, including weekends, my SUV rolls into the same fast food joints where everyone knows our name. How sad is that! My idea of the perfect dinner for myself is a coke, a spoon and a can of Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate icing. MMM MMM Good. Of course my children eat better, well kind of. I do actually look for the more healthy choices on the drive thru menu.

Last week as I was having lunch with some girlfriends (yes a real lunch with a salad!) my friend that works as a speech therapist and ASD diagnostician said casually that she could always pick out the ones right away that had a food allergy. "They almost always have red rimmed eyes", at which I thought to myself, as I shocked my system with another tomato, this does not include my son, "and they usually have a rash, kind of bumpy.." What? Hmmm, Matthew has rash all the time, go on, what else? "And they have things like IBS, constipation, diahrrhea, yeast infections, stomache aches..." Bingo! Matthew has all of that! My salad plate was shoved to the side and I listened intently.

She continued to say that when God gave us wheat it was for our good. It is even referred to in the Bible, "Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. He makes peace in your borders, and fills you with the finest wheat." (Psm. 147:12-14). Wheat is a high-fiber grain, loaded with B-vitamins and folic acid, which can help prevent heart disease and certain birth defects. Nutritionally, wheat does seem to contain it all. It is an excellent source of protein, fat, and carbohydrates as well as vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Truly, God meant it as a gift but, what have we done to it? She went on to say that over time and refining there seems to be a very high population of children with Autism that have a wheat sensitivity. Not Celiac Disease but just a sensitivity. In children it causes cognitive and behavioural problems, in adults it manifests itself more in physical problems. She really got me thinking....

My son Matthew currently has the official diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. He received this diagnosis by a fabulous developmental pediatrician at the Kluge Center for Children in Charlottesville, Virginia. At the time of our appointment I asked lots of questions. I am sure I left no stone unturned and then I turned them again! This Doctor became my hero when he told me about Melatonin and how it would help Matthew sleep. Rolling into the Kluge center as sleep deprived as we were, this information was like a miracle to me and I considered every word this wonderful man said to be gold. One of the questions I asked during this was about the GFCF (Gluten free/Casein free) diet I had read so much about. Although he did not totally object to it he felt strongly that there really wasn't a connection between gluten/casein and Autism. Not enough "scientific evidence" to neither prove nor disprove the effects of this diet. The Nurse Practioner was totally against it. Never one to leave everything up to science, we decided to try it anyway and went home planning to start with a gluten free diet plan right away.

To begin with I must tell that I had no clue just how expensive gluten free foods were. Already racking up medical bills not covered by insurance, buying gluten free foods would certainly land me in bankruptcy! I did, however, manage to make it through a week and I really believed I saw changes right away. Matthew seemed to be more calm, more focused and more easily redirected. Sometimes at age six it is hard to tell what is Autism driven behaviour and what is typical kid behaviour. I find that this continues indefinately, not just at very young ages. After a week we abandoned the idea thinking that there was no way to continue with this very hard to stick with diet and since we had no one who really endorsed it, we had no one to ask. The internet was overloaded with information but nothing really seemed concrete and Matthew's behaviours were really minimal.

Fast forward to five years later to my conversation with my friend. I once again started reading about gluten sensitivity. Imagine my surprise to find so much more information than five years ago. It seems that there have been more connections to gluten sensitivity and Autism. As I read the symptoms I saw my son in almost every one. I contacted a friend from elementary school days who is a Nurse Practioner (gotta love Facebook!) and I asked her about how to determine a gluten sensitivity. She said "simply take it out of his diet, you will know."

On Monday I had spent some time discussing my concerns with my Father. How am I going to do this for my son? I already know that a gluten free diet is hard and expensive! I am so frustrated. I so want there to be a difference in his life and ours. Autism is so hard. When are you going to fix it!

On Tuesday, I decided to try the gluten free diet again. I explained this to Matthew and we went grocery shopping. He actually embraced it hoping as I was that we would see some changes. He had gained ten more pounds since September and he was miserable. It seemed like everything he ate stuck to him like glue. His poor stomache was so bloated. Anything to lose weight and he was all for it. We read every label, gave away everthing in the pantry with "wheat or wheat flour" on the label and cooked our first gluten free meal.

On Thursday, I spent my morning again with my Father. I had no plan for what to read so I just opened my book and pointed. The scripture of the day was Matthew 17:20  "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

I guess he told me! My faith on this issue has waxed and waned. Autism has been a mountain in all of our lives and I did not believe that it could be moved. I needed to start practicing what I have been teaching for several years now, to trust God no matter what....

On Friday, I saw the mountain tremble. Just a little bit, but tremble none the less. Since removing gluten from his diet, my daughter and I both noticed that once again Matthew has started becoming more focused, less anxious, more energetic and more easily redirected. Even he has noticed that he has more energy and stated it very matter of factly. As we continue on this path I am optomistic that there will be continued improvements. Only time will tell, but as a parent of a child with Aspergers Syndrome, I am willing to give anything reasonable a chance in order to help my son. As a daughter of the King I will continue to trust him no matter what and have faith of more than a mustard seed so this mountain can be moved forever.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Letters to God~ Finding Time

Dear God,

I don't really know where to begin this letter. I talk to you quite a bit throughout the day anyway or do I? I thought I did but in reflecting on my day today I realize that you barely even got a "good morning" from me much less any inclusion into the events of my day. Everyday, including the weekends, seem to start off harried. It doesn't even matter how early I get up, as I am seldom, if ever, on time. My mornings consist of feeding kids, cats and a dog, trying to match socks, find homework, check the weather and trying very hard to stay on task. As you know, I am easily distracted by a hair ball in the hallway or the toaster that was left out from morning breakfast. I keep finding myself distracted by everything. The only thing I am not distracted by is preparing for my day. My son has absolutely no interest in school. As a child with Autism school is extremely difficult for him and he shares this with me in his morning greeting. "Good Morning Matthew!" I say. "I hate school" he groans. Deep breathe on my part, moving on to my daughter. Fortunately for me she has a better outlook on school but still wants Mommy's help with what to eat, what to wear and everything in between. Do you find us comical in the mornings Lord as we stumble on top of each other racing to the bus stop? I am sure when you greet me in the mornings I am barely aware. I take notice of little except the ticking clock.

The duties of my day job, juggling doctor's appoinments for my son, housecleaning, homework, dinner, grocery shopping, taking out the trash, feeding the cats and a dog again, working on the non profit I just started, trying to get the kids in bed at a decent time only to fall into bed exhausted myself, it is a never ending cycle. As I take two seconds to look at my schedule I notice that I have not dedicated time for us. Actually, I am amazed I find any time with you at all. A quick prayer under my breathe does not constitute a full fledged relationship. As a matter of fact, I had no idea that from a relationship perspective, ours would be labeled "its complicated" on Facebook!

As our world is right now, everything moves at such a fast pace. From fast food to instant everything, life is hurry, hurry, hurry. A relationship can be fast but those types are usually quite shallow, only on the surface. It takes time to get to know someone. I realize that you know me better than anyone. You knew me before I was born and you have been with me every step of my life. It is my yearning to know you that brings me to this first letter. I want to know who you are. I want to know your character, what makes you smile. I want to sit at your feet as Mary did and listen to your heart. I want a Mary heart in a Martha world. Time to take this relationship to the next level. Time to commit to spending time together. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, however I will make our date for before sunrise. I believe it is the only time I can get right now to call ours. I will ask you though, if you would, prepare the way for me to have some quiet time? Help me to alleviate the unneccessary clutter from life so that I not only can spend quality time with you but also with my children. Help me to say no when neccessary and to use the time I am given each day wisely. Help me to stay focused and on task and help me to know you.
"If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so that I may know you"
Exodus 33:13

I may be a little slow in the morning but I will be there...

Your Daughter

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Start of Something New...

Today I begin a new journey! I am so looking forward to see where it takes me. I wish I could tell you that I am heading to some exotic island where the waters are crystal clear and swimming with dolphins is a common occurence or that I have won the lottery and all of my financial concerns have been laid to rest, therefore I am taking all of  my family and friends on vacation with me. No, this is a different type of journey. Better than crystal clear waters and swimming with dolphins? Absolutely! This journey will take work though and discipline. The latter will be the challenge for me as anyone that knows me knows I am classic ADHD. All over the page, easily distracted, at least ten different projects spred all over the house and  spilling over into the yard, but I am determined to take this journey and savor every minute of it. I do not have to rush around and pack bags nor do I have to board the dog or clean out the refrigerator of perishables. I don't need a passport, money or transportation. This journey, I believe, will open my eyes and my heart to those things I am desperate to understand. I have tried everything else in my own power and it's not working. I am ready to try something new! If I get answers then it was all worth it and if not, then I have lost nothing. Besides, God invited me on this journey. Who am I to turn down such an invitation?

Jeremiah 33:3 says "Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things." Bet you did not know that God had his phone number listed in his word did you? I called him yesterday as I sat in the bay window of my living room watching my children play in the first, and possibly only snowfall of the winter season here in Virginia. I watched my 11 year old son diagnosed with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome specifically, and my "neuro typical" daughter throw snowballs with the neighborhood kids in the dimly lit snow covered street in front of my house. Their laughter echoed through the neighborhood and I smiled, warmed by the idea that at this moment all were accepted. I asked God why this could not be all the time, I asked him why my son had Autism and why he had not healed him yet, I asked him why my daughter should have to struggle so much, torn betwen protecting her older brother and finding her own place in this world.I asked him why I get so angry at the smallest things these days, why am I so rushed and why I can not seem to find the time to just breathe.  He answered me in his own gentle quiet way, just as a Father to his daughter. He asked me to join him on a journey. "There are three requirements for this journey" he said. "First, give me forty days. Nothing more, nothing less. Second, devote time for us to talk and share every day. It matters not what time of day just make sure it is every day. Get deep into my word and I will show you what you seek. Third, write letters to me. Pour your heart out and be who your are."

So today a new journey begins. Have you ever done something like this? I am not sure where this new path will take me, but I am certainly ready for the challenge. I'll be posting my letters and thoughts along the way. Join me in this venture and expect something great from God!

~ Robin

Thursday, February 16, 2012

God's Gift

Hello God? You there? Yep, me again. Do you have a minute? I recall somewhere in the Bible, Matthew 11:28-30 I believe, where you made a statement that says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Well, here I am, wiped out, emotionally exhausted, totally at a loss and trying very hard to unload all of my frustration onto you. I am definately weary and I am holding you to your word. Are you ready?

Does this have to do with my son? Yes God, this has to do with my son. I know, we discuss him a lot. Yes, I know he is unique and beautiful and amazing. Have you noticed how he pays such close attention to detail? He sees the beauty in life that I almost always miss. If it wasn't for him pointing out the fine hairs on the caterpillar or the brilliant yellow under the wings of a bird or the intricate details in the architecture of our church I would have missed it all completely. He can be so quiet sometimes that I don't even know he is there, but he is always thinking and creating. Yes, I know he was made in your, I did not know you had AUTISM God! This is the first time you mentioned it. I can certainly see some similarities.

 So, this is how I'm feeling. I love my son with all of my heart and it is my heart that breaks for him a little more each day. I don't know if I can bare it. He is 11 years old now and his life has not been easy. He was diagnosed at age four with PDD NOS, age five with Autism and age 6 with Asperger's Syndrome. When he was younger he seemed happy, quiet, and at times, distant, but happy. He has always had sensory integration issues. Certain noises like the dryer buzzer or the sound of the vacumn cleaner cause him great pain. He was not and still isn't very coordinated so playing sports was not something he really wanted to do, but yet when he took swimming lessons last summer he mastered the breast stroke within minutes after learning it. His coach was so amazed by him. Did you know he can calendar count? Give him any date in the past, present or future and he can tell you what day it was, is or shall be. Even though I know he is really smart, he does not think so. His grades in school are poor, he has no friends and communication is so hard for him. He asked recently if "he would always be this way?" (very insightful if you ask me). He told me one day that he just can't find the words. He sees everything in pictures. He can't process conversations or things that he reads.  Kids make fun of him, teachers are frustrated with him, people in public make rude comments about him. Being in public can be hard for him, the sounds, smells, sights can be overwhelming and he becomes loud and sometimes angry. People look at us and whisper. He does not understand what he is doing to offend others and many times he isn't doing anything wrong, he just responds to some things differently than most. When he cries Lord, his tears flow like a river. His cries are deep from way down in his soul. I hear him crying in his room at night. His best friend is his cat. He tells her how lonely he is.  I don't know what to do any more God. Time is soaring past us and today I feel my hope dwindling yet again.

I don't understand why this has happened in our lives. I don't know what my purpose is for this situation. The pain of watching my own beautiful son struggle becomes unbearable at times. I am living my life on the verge of tears. I constantly ask myself if I am doing everything possible to help my son. What am I missing? I don't think I am handling things very well. I can not fix what is broken. He is so amazing and funny and creative and beautiful and .... Can you understand how hard it is to be ridiculed, misunderstood, whispered about?  Of couse you can. You felt all of the pain I feel as a Father for his son.

Hmmm? What's that? Who chose his name? Well, I did. I never thought I would have any more children. I had prayed for another son, remember? Matthew is the name that came to me and it was the only name I would consider. The meaning of his name? Yes, I know, it means.....Gift from God.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).

I understand God, I get it. Just as you gifted the world with your beautiful and perfect son, you have also gifted me with my own. I would not have him be any other way.  Thanks for spending time with me and listening to my heart. It  feels much lighter now. Oh and God, thank you for my gift, my inspiring, amazing son, my Matthew.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Waiting to Exhale...

It feels like I have been holding my breathe for a very long time. A long deep breathe that causes my heart to race, my palms to sweat and my head to spin. I remember when I took that last great gasp of  air, it was when my first son, Bryan, was born. I was terrified of becoming a mother. I had no clue how to be one and the thought of being responsible for anyone other than myself was quite daunting. I was terribly young and niave and he was so tiny, barely six pounds. He reminded me of a little frog. He was due on Valentines Day but waited a little longer and came into this world  effortlessly on February 18, 1985.  I distinctly remember the very moment  when my beautiful, perfect son was placed in my arms and I fell deeply, passionately, madly in love. My concerns melted away along with my heart. He took my breathe away.

I was adopted as an infant. My birth mother was forbidden by her step mother to keep me. At that time in the early 60's it was quite unacceptable to be an unwed mother. Although my birth mom and dad had planned to marry, life threw some curves and I was adopted from the Children's Home Society in August of 1964. I can not imagine the heartbreak my birth mother experienced. Her love for me was immeasureable.

Growing up I had a difficult relationship with my adoptive mom, the only mom I ever knew. She was a sensitive, loving, talented woman but her insecurities cast a shadow over her life that she could not seem to escape. As she slowly spiraled into a world of alcohol abuse our roles of mother and child reversed and I became the caretaker at the tender age of 14. I was constantly seeking my mothers approval, always looking for a way to engage her in my life somehow. There was a huge void in my heart, the need for my mothers love was so great. I did not understand what I was doing wrong. I blamed myself for her lack of interest in me. I had convinced myself at an early age that I must be to stupid, to fat and to ugly to be loved and accepted by her. What else could it be? At that time I did not realize that it was her past that haunted her and it was her insecurity caused by years of abuse as a child herself that caused the barrier between us.

I became pregnant at twenty years of age, still a baby myself in many ways. I had such mixed emotions about motherhood, never having that relationship I so craved made me feel inadequate. It was during my pregnancy that my mom was diagnosed with bone cancer. It was just a matter of time and I was devastated. Never one to give up easily I continued to seek out my mothers affection or at the very least, a little attention.  As my belly grew I noticed that my mom started calling me more. She started giving motherly advice, she started showing concern for my well being. It was during this time that I started to see a real relationship begin to bloom between my mom and me. I will never forget the day that I was helping her around her apartment. It was late and we were both tired. She was watching me intently, not saying a word, just watching. She had a look in her eyes, one of so much pain. She crossed the room and gently laid her hand upon my belly. Her eyes were moist with the tears she was trying to hold back and she asked quietly "What's it like? What's it like to have a baby in there? I could never carry a child of my own. I have always felt like I was less of a woman because of it, I have no idea what it is like. Can you tell me?" This was the moment I had waited for my entire life, the opening to a long conversation with my mom. A conversation filled with many questions and answers, the one that started the healing process in both of our lives, the one that said I love you and I forgive you.

As I look back I realize that it was my unborn child who initiated the beginning of the healing process in my relationship with my mother, it was my son Bryan that introduced me to a love that I had never experienced before but have been blessed with two more times in my other children, Matthew and Emma and it is my son Bryan who took my breathe away for the first time 27 years ago that inevitably changed my life for the better. I still feel my heart race when I see yet another goal he has reached or get a glimpse of the man he is becoming. My palms sweat when I hear of bad news in his neighborhood, always concerned for his safety. My head spins at the the time that has passed so quickly and I find myself yearning to hold my son at 5, 8 and 12 years old just one more time. He continues to take my breathe away and for that I am truly grateful.

Happy Birthday Bryan
I Love You,