Silver linings...

Unexpected Blessings….

I would like to start my post today by apologizing to my readers. It’s been a fair while since I last posted but I have had so much on my plate, something had to give…. For a moment, that was my blog…  I’ve had so much happening. My oldest graduated from University so we have huge life changes there… He is now happily settled into life of an adult doing a job he absolutely loves in a city he adores! (Orlando) I am in the process of building a new home for my youngest son and I (details to follow!) and I have spent much time in court. My youngest son has Severe Cognitive Delays as well as Speech Apraxia and Autism. At almost 18, Cognitively he is 6-8 years. I was surprised to learn earlier this year that parents are not handed guardianship of our children we have spent 18 years caring for when they reach adulthood. There were attorneys fees, paperwork, and a hearing at our family court. I had home interviews and my son had to deal with perfect strangers talking to him about his life with Mama…. I have to say, everyone we dealt with: State inspectors, Attorneys, process servers ( yes, I had to physically serve my son papers) , to our judge were  some of the most helpful and kind people I have met.  The hearing went well and I have been awarded full guardianship of my son. It is a huge relief to me as a Mama-I want him to have the best life possible…

This week Boo turns 18! Even as I write this I feel my tears burning to fall…. they are a mixture of pain and happiness… Sadness for what will never be and joy for what will….

My pregnancy with Boo was  difficult. At 2 months gestation I had such complications that Dr’s told me I had lost the baby… But Boo is a fighter and he proved them wrong. I was put on bedrest with Placenta Previa. The rest of my pregnancy I was on bedrest or in the hospital. I was scared and frightened yet I also had a sweet 4 year old who also needed me and I needed him… My oldest son David and I spent many an afternoon curled up in my bed reading stories together and playing boardgames.

At 33 weeks I went into labor.  I was sent via a helicopter to deliver at Phoenix Childrens Hospital. I held my breath waiting for that cry and instead I heard the murmuring of a room full of strangers… He was whisked away from me to NICU and I was wheeled by at a distance to see him as they took me to recovery…

That first night they told us he would probably not make it and since we had registered as Catholics that we should have a priest come for our son… My heart shattered into a million pieces and I begged God with every fiber in my being to save my littlest son…

He made it through that first night and I just knew he would be coming home with us!  His suck reflex wasn’t developed so I pumped milk to feed him through a tube until it developed 2 months later. The nurses in NICU became our family and their love and devotion is forever seared upon my heart…

After much time, and along with a heart monitor and medications, we brought home Boo! My oldest son called his little brother “his baby” and adored helping with his new brother.

First day at home!

From the beginning we saw signs of something not being on task… He didn’t roll over till late. At one he wasn’t sitting on his own. He didn’t crawl and had no words. Before he turned one our life already became filled with words like OT (occupational Therapy), Speech therapy, and PT (physical therapy) . At 2 he had begun crawling but not walking. We went to dr after dr seeking answers…. We were given a walker for him by a physician who said he would not be able to walk on his own but this would enable him to get around… The day our PT delivered a teeny tiny walker for my child I felt myself breaking inside…

Yet…. Within months he was proving doctors wrong once again! He was not just walking… but RUNNING! Slowly, clumsily, yet…. running! He has been my miracle baby over and over…

** his newborn photo was take at one month

At 2 we were blessed to be assigned a new speech therapist who immediately taught us about sign language… Because his hearing was fine I never thought of this but she assured us this would open his world and it did!!! All of the sudden he was signing, “I want milk.” or “I want to play” My youngest son threw himself into learning the signs and it filled my heart to see him able to communicate with his little brother.

He was diagnosed just before his 3rd birthday with Autism and Severe Cognitive delay.

As the years went on words came but with his Speech Apraxia most of his speech is not understandable to those who don’t listen extra careful or know him well.  I am grateful though for every single thing he can do and how tirelessly our therapists work to help him improve constantly. This past year we were blessed to receive a Speech Device that allows him to type his words and then a computer reads them to whom he is speaking! This is a life changer for my son because it allows him much more independence and not just relying on Mama.

As we approach the milestone age of 18 I am filled with joy for where we are and how far we have come and yet to be honest, my mama’s heart aches for what will never be… he will never have a college experience like his brother, never drive a car, never vote… and yet… at the same time I am filled with joy for all of our moments these past 18 years, happy or hard. I want so much to encourage him to continue to grow and expand his abilities and to find his strength… As I look at my child as I am writing this he is happily building a fort with Lego’s for his Matchbox cars. He looks so content and filled with joy. I believe that I have been able to give him a good life and he is one of the most joyous people I have ever met… He always has a smile and a twinkle in his eyes!

My sweet Boo is blessed to have such a happy life… 🙂

The path our lives have taken were not at all what I envisioned the day I learned I was blessed with a second child, yet, the path we have traveled  has shown me such joy and love as a result…

My boys!

I became a single Mama when Boo was 6 and David was almost 11–I was crushed when my husband left us and I thought that would crumple us but we persevered and have found such happiness moving forward. We never know the reason for things but often those things bring us the most joy and love.

I can’t imagine life without Boo exactly the way he is… He is perfect the way God created him and I am grateful to be his Mama… Unexpected blessings are truly something to be grateful for…

Thank you so much for letting me share this part of my life and family with you… I am ever so grateful to all of my amazing readers and wish you and your families much love and happiness…

Love, Shell Maria

Happy 18th Birthday to my sweet boy!