"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature." ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Don't Forget You!

*Again, this post was written a week ago, so it is a little out of date.

I don't write posts just about me.  This blog was intended to be about my sweet boys and our journey through the life of "special needs".  However, I had such a great experience last weekend, that I just have to write about it.   And let's be honest, even when I am writing about my kids, it is still about me. 

I am turning 40 soon, March 1st to be exact.  Now with turning 40, you know that someone is going to have a big party for you - usually they turn out to be surprise parties.  So I go into January knowing this and discussing it with my husband.  He is an amazing man and I know he will try to do something extraordinary for my special day.  I was really worried that he would try to do a surprise party.  I was worried because I don't think he would even begin to know how to contact my friends.  That is the other challenge.  I have many different groups of friends.  I have some close friends, work friends, twin mama friends, daycare mama friends, and many of these Jimmy doesn't even know.  So I told him straight out, don't try to plan a big party.  "Seriously, honey.  I don't need that."  I also told him that I didn't want him to plan a trip to Vegas to celebrate.  I know that one of my good friends would have definitely encouraged him to do that.  And  although it would be fun, it was too expensive.  I really didn't want to spend money on a trip to Vegas when I could put that towards therapy for Parker.  I was so serious about my thoughts that I also told my mom so that she could influence Jimmy appropriately. 

So a few weeks ago he told me that he had a weekend planned for us to celebrate my birthday.  It was going to be early (Feb. 18th) because he had to find a time that would work with his coaching schedule.  Feb. 25th he thought he may have a play-in game and March 3rd is a possible play-off game.  So he told me that we would have a night at a hotel (thanks to the United Cerebral Palsy respitality program) and my  mom would watch the boys.  I was so excited, but a part of me was a little sad that I wasn't going to be celebrating with any friends.  I didn't want a huge party, but I was kind of hoping to at least meet up with a few friends for dinner or drinks.

Saturday came and my sweet husband informed me that it was "my day".  He had scheduled a massage and blow-out for me at one of my favorite spas.  After the most amazing massage and a less amazing blow-out, I came home and got ready for our night out away from the boys.

My mom came over and after finishing getting ready I came downstairs to her feeding Parker  his bottle.  And then I hear a knock at the door...
It was one of my best friends from high school and her husband, also a friend of mine from high school.  Now, I wasn't too surprised. Although they do live in Seattle, they come down to our area often to see family.  They also have 2 older boys and are extremely generous so they always have stuff to drop off for us. So when they showed up with a bag of clothes for the boys, I was happy to see them but not too suspicious.  But then the doorbell kept ringing.   And one after another, my best friends, my life long friends from high school kept showing up.  These friends came from Seattle, Corvallis, Medford and San Fransisco.  These friends...they are the best.  I cried each time a new one showed up.  

Now I need to insert a little aside here about these friends.  These are the type of friendships that are very rare.  I realize that not many people have life-long friends they still keep in touch with from high school.  Most made those friends in college.  Not me.  We have this amazing group of friends from high school that time has not affected.  We used to try to get together at least once a year, but with growing families this has become much more challenging.  However, these are the friends that I know I could call and they would be there for me at the drop of a hat.  We support each other, love each other and are fiercely loyal.  Even if we go a year or two without seeing each other or talking, we pick up with each other like no time has passed.  I love these people.
I just kept saying to Jimmy, "These are the best people ever!  How did  you do this?"  It was so amazing.  I kept looking around and couldn't believe that they all had come here for me.  It meant more to me than anything in the world. 

Everyone was able to meet our sweet little boys while we hung out at our house and had pizza and drinks.  My husband had made an amazing slide show of my life, which brought many of us to tears.  And then we all left to go out for a night on the town. 

This night on the town included many fun things, most  hilarious of all was that all 10 of us squeezed into a 6 person limo as we were driven around to our many destinations.  And we are not small people.  My husband is 6'8" and at one point when he was sitting in the middle on the cooler, we actually had to open the sunroof so that he didn't have to hunch down.  Just his head was sticking out -  it was like Harry and the Hendersons! 

We played pool and shuffle board, we went to a dualing piano bar (by far the best place), our guys did Elvis impersonations, we sang, we danced, we ate cupcakes, and we made great memories.  It was one of the best days of my life so far (after my wedding and the births of my boys.)

The funny/worst thing about it was that we had this great hotel to go back to.  No kids.  We could sleep in as long as we wanted to!  The blackout curtains are drawn, the bed is comfy, I fall asleep quickly at around 2:00 AM ...only to wake up at 5:45!!!!  Then I layed there in bed trying to will myself to fall back asleep.  But I couldn't.  I. Was. Awake.    Getting up and making bottles at 5 AM has been what I have done for the past 2 1/2 years, even on the weekend, so my body says "Get the hell up, Marcy!" - even when I don't have to.  Sigh...
So I  layed there and replayed the events of the previous day while listening to my  husband sleep soundly next to me.  And I was  happy. 

The night was filled with great friends, good food, good drinks, and some very funny moments.  There was not one minute when I worried about Parker's therapy, or if he would talk, or how he was eating, or when we would get a wheelchair for him, or how we would find a house that is one-level and accessible to him, or what pre-school/daycare would look like for him.  I didn't worry about Brady and finding a good pre-school for him, or if he would grow up resenting the fact that Parker naturally gets more attention.  I didn't worry about Ryder and his lack of interest in eating, or the fact that he is the third child and does not have near as many pictures and videos as the twins did when they were babies, or that, God forbid, he also would resent the extra attention Parker gets.

That night, I was not the mom of 3 baby boys, one with cerebral palsy.  I was just that lady in the bar turning 40 - and it felt good.  It felt good to be 40 (although technically I wasn't yet) and it felt good to be just a lady out partying with some friends.  I can't even remember the last time I did that.

This would be my wise advice for parents of children with special needs (now that I am 40, I consider myself wise):   Don't forget to nurture YOU.  Not you as a mom or dad, but just you.  Yes, you are a parent, and if you have a child with special needs, that can be all-consuming.  But you have to take care of yourself and remember that you are still an individual.  Don't forget about you.  Take some time to read, or write, or run.  Go out with some friends.  Snuggle with your spouse.  Walk in the sunshine.  Get a massage.  Do all of these things.  Your sweet kids will still be there (along with all the worries) when you are done. 

Now if I was really wise, I would take my own advice.  Let's see how that goes.  Writing on this blog has given me enjoyment, but I have been a real slacker.  I just can't seem to find the time.  I know that many people commit to writing a post every day for a month.  That I can't do.  However, I am going to commit to writing more.  (I know, pretty vague, huh?) 

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