Tuesday, February 17, 2015

If You Build It, They Will Come

This time last year, Dominic was in the midst of finishing up his two years of special needs religious education classes and was preparing to make his First Holy Communion. I was shopping for church shoes and a shirt and tie. Since we have no family here, any celebration afterwards would be small, so I knew that wouldn't require too much planning. When the big day arrived, it was a moment captured in time, that I will never forget.

Shortly after Dominic made his First Holy Communion, I became co-chairperson of a group called, Our Lady of Grace Special Families Ministry.  The ministry has a bowling group that is in its ninth year. I knew in my heart, though, that the ministry could be doing so much more. I really, really wanted a Mass for special needs children and adults. I had become, what you would call, a "dog with a bone." I wasn't about to give the idea up!!! Well, about three weeks ago, my "faith" had begun to waver a bit and I was beginning to think that the Mass might not happen, ever. Imagine my shock, when I looked at my e-mails the next morning and found a forwarded e-mail talking about a group called, All Faith Ministry for disABILITIES. Their mission is to help serve people of all faiths with birth or life incurred disabilities and their families. I knew that this was a group I had to be involved in. Well, to make a long story short, I have been given an incredible opportunity to help with the "building" of this much needed ministry. Oh, and guess what? A Mass for special needs children and adults is scheduled for April 12!!!  The other co-chairperson of the Our Lady of Grace Special Families Ministry sent an e-mail out to the bowling group letting them know about the "special" Mass yesterday at 10:48 a.m. At 11:03 a.m., I received our first response back!! Glad I didn't give up the "faith." It is being "built" and I know they will be coming.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Where I Want to Be

When Lauren left for college last August, neither of us knew how our relationship would change. She and I are very close, but respect each other's "space."  While there have been a few "tweaks" to our relationship, we are still just as close. Last Friday, I drove the ninety miles to visit her and we spent the day together - just the two of us.  With her busy schedule and mine, it took a few weeks of planning. We had so much catching up to do that I don't think either of us stopped talking the ENTIRE time. I recently discovered that there is a mall just 15 minutes away from her campus. I have been to some big malls in my time, but this one had a full size carousel in it! When we lived in Maryland, there was a park with a carousel that Lauren and I would ride frequently. I asked her if she wanted to go for a ride, but she declined my offer :) Throughout the day, I kept calling the hubby saying, "we are still shopping!" More than one time, Lauren said, "I'm sure you would rather be doing something else." I told her it was fine. I kept thinking to myself, there was nowhere in the world that I would rather have been last Friday than with Lauren. After a quick trip to the grocery store to get her a few more items, I dropped her off at her dorm about 8 p.m. I called the hubby one last time and said, "I'm on the way home!" In a little over two months, Lauren will be done with her first year of college. She loves to travel (she took her first plane ride with me when she wasn't even two years old) and talks about wanting to study abroad. Believe me, I "treasured" last Friday like a "rare gem." I 'm glad that Lauren and I took a step back from our hectic lives as a college freshman and stay-at-home mom respectively, and made the "time" for each other.  I love you very much, my sweet and only daughter and am so proud of the woman that you have become.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why I Don't Mind Having One Less Band-Aid

Last Friday afternoon shortly before Dominic was due to come home on the bus, I popped into my local Kroger to pick up a handful of items for the weekend.  As I was putting the last of my things onto the conveyor belt, I overheard the gentleman who was bagging my groceries say to the clerk next to him, "can you get me a Band-Aid?" She answered back, "okay, I'll get you one in a minute." He was beginning to get upset about the fact he needed one and didn't have one. Since I was running late, I guess I could have just finished bagging my own groceries and gotten out of there, but that's not my "style." I always have at least one Band-Aid on hand at all times, so I pulled one out of my purse and said, "do you want this one?" He seemed very relieved and said, "yes, could you put it on my finger?"  I LOVE the fact that my local Kroger has hired a handful of special needs individuals to work at the store. As I finished putting the Band-Aid on his finger, he told the clerk, "we should buy her a candy bar!" I told him, "no, that's okay." The clerk was telling me that he has to ride a bus to get to work, by himself.  As I walked to the car and loaded in my groceries, I had a "flash forward" moment to about eight years from now, when Dominic will be 18 - an ADULT.  It's so hard to predict the future for him. There was a time when I didn't think Dominic would ever be potty trained. Yesterday, I was ready to have a party, because he said, "I have to go potty!" I have been having to "prompt" him to go every two hours, so him, telling me he had to go was a HUGE step for him.  I feel like every day we take a few more "steps" towards him being more independent. I think about his future more and more as he gets older.

Will he go to college? get his driver's license? have a job? live on his own? One thing I have learned as I get older, you can't assume anything in life! I'm sure my bagging "buddy" has a mom out there. I know that I will never probably meet her, but I hope she knows what a sweet and an awesome son she has and how proud she should be of him. Who knows, maybe one day she'll be shopping at the Kroger and Dominic may be bagging her groceries and he'll need a Band-Aid.

My New "Relationship" with the Sun

Long gone are the days that I would sit on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean for HOURS at a time with just baby oil on my skin for prote...