Dear Charleston…….

Our hearts are broken for your city. May you feel the peace of Christ in the days and weeks to come

Amen!

*Pete Seeger singing We Shall Overcome appears courtesy: youtube and Martin Bertelsen

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To the Parents of the Disabled Child Going Off to College Out of State…..

I’m not a parent of a human, so I can’t completely understand what you are going through, but my parents went through this when I broke family tradition and attended college out-of-state. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Of course It wasn’t something I was looking to do, but when the Lord clearly speaks to your heart, following through is the best option.

Our graduating class was tiny and close. I was quite anxious about moving away to college. Especially since most of my friends would not be joining me. Thankfully my parents supported my decision and were proactive in helping me have a great experience. That is my first piece of advice:

1. Support your child’s decision. Supporting them is one step in helping them maintain independence. If money is a concern, help your child research possible scholarships to defray the cost.

2. Also do some research on doctors in the area that would help with your child’s specific needs. I needed a urologist, an orthopedist, and a neurologist. Fortunately the tiny town I landed in for my first two years of college had all three. We were even able to visit with them during a college visit.

3. If you child has issues walking long distance, look into purchasing a battery operated scooter. This will save your child’s joints in traversing large campuses that may have many hills. This will also help carry all their books. Of course cost is a big hindrance, so look into Vocational Rehabilitation services in your area for assistance. We were able to purchase a battery operated scooter through Voc. Rehab right before I entered college and it was a life saver many times.

4. Now is a great time to contact your child’s college’s Student Life office to talk to them about your child’s specific needs. During a visit, you’ll be able to see if there are things that may need to be modified in terms of accessibility. Bring this up during the visit and when you call, check up on any progress that has been made.

5. Ok, this one is universal and doesn’t just apply to those with a disability: Before you send your child off to college out-of-state, grab a small notebook and write down things they need to remember. For example, remind them what clothes have to be dry-cleaned or hung on a rack to dry. If they are disabled and have medical equipment to care for, include that as well. Divide the notebook into sections such as laundry and equipment maintenance and put sticky flags on each section. My mom did this for me and it was SO handy when I was in college. I even used it after graduation.

Leaving a child at college, especially a disabled child, can be hard on parents. With these 5 tips, I hope it helps you cope. Remember, you are not alone!

Cheers!

 

 

Confessions of a Paranoid Cat-Mama

You know you are a paranoid cat mama when: 

1. Every time it rains you worry about fleas

2. You constantly pick at your cat’s fur, ears, and skin looking for anomalies. Turning them every which way. Cat is admitted to the vet with symptoms of vertigo. 

3. After your oldest goes in for dental surgery, you constantly worry about their breath and therefore start smelling the breath of all cats you come into contact with, even if they don’t live in your house. This results in you no longer being invited to parties in homes with cats. 

4. You wonder how much hair is too much to fall off in one brushing. And how long each brushing session should last. Should you really be able to make a new cat after each brushing??  

5. You worry your cat will be made fun of on the playground as a result of the bald spots acquired by over brushing. 

6. After watching a My Cat From Hell marathon, you worry that your cat should be on the show, so you call the show and are put on hold. The call is eventually dropped. 

7. Your cat realizes how fun it is to climb up on the counter where there is food, hours before their surgery and after you’ve stopped feeding them. So you take all the food off the counter and send it to the neighbors. They are on vacation, so you leave it on the porch. In the morning you discover that raccoons have ravaged the stash, and raccoon poo is now all up and down the neighbors driveway. You contemplate moving before neighbors return. 

If you are a fellow paranoid cat mama, you are not alone. Feel free to share this list.  🙂 

Cheers! 

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*paranoid cat appears courtesy: http://www.memecenter.com

How To Aunt From A Distance…..

As a follow-up to my post yesterday, a reblog of a fantastic article on the Huffington Post from TwoFunMoms about the virtue of childless aunts, I thought I’d share my thoughts on how to be an awesome aunt when the tiny humans who have pieces of your heart live many states away.  Unfortunately I only visit with these guys once or twice a year, way less than I’d like. But that doesn’t mean our relationship has to suffer. Here is what I’ve learned in the almost 6 years since I became a long distance auntie: 

1. Start Your Own Special Traditions: Since I am an aunt of 3, it’s difficult to send birthday gifts in the mail. So a few years ago I began the tradition of giving them their birthday gifts on Christmas Eve. This way they look forward to two days of presents. Also during Christmas break, I like to plan a craft for them to do that’s fun. But…..

2. Be Flexible: Sometimes the crafts are not a big hit and they want to do something else. Be flexible enough to roll with the change and have fun doing it. 

3. Skype and FaceTime Are Your Best Friends: I admit, I’m not the best when it comes to this tip. I haven’t yet downloaded FaceTime and Skype for some reason is glitchy for me. But there is tremendous value in having them see your face. 

4. Record Your Voice Reading a Story and Send it to Them: Hearing your voice will help them make a connection as to who you are. 

5. Write Them Letters: I’m not just talking about email here, folks. Although that is certainly another thing you can do. Real paper and pen letters are exciting for kids to receive because they get to unwrap them. For older kids that are just beginning readers, use a list of sight words and small sentences so they are able to read the letter themselves with minimal help. Another thing you can do is start a story. You write one part of the story, send it to your tiny human and they have to use their imagination to come up with the next part of the story. This one may be most effective by email. 

6. Pray for Them Daily: When all else fails, PRAY. Prayer is a powerful tool that impacts the lives of your precious tiny humans more than we can comprehend. 

I hope these 6 tips help you in your relationship with your little long distance nieces and nephews. If you have other tips that aren’t listed here, post them in the comment section below.  Remember you are not alone!  Cheers!

9-10-children-get-their-awesomeness-from-their-aunt-4
*Meme stating the obvious appears courtesy of: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Reblog: Huffington Post FTW!

The other day I found an article on the Huffington Post by Jacqueline Melissen that made my day. As someone that is Childless Not By Choice (CNBC), the points made in this article, extolling the importance of the childless aunt in the lives of her nieces and nephews, struck a particular cord. It was so well written that I can’t think of anything to add, so without further ado:

Jacqueline Melissen Headshot

Why Child-Free Aunties Are Amazing

Posted: 06/02/2015 5:28 pm EDT Updated: 06/05/2015 8:59 am EDT
BABYSIT
 
My children, like many lucky kids, have an amazing auntie. She’s the kind of aunt who comes along on road trips, takes my kids for the weekend, buys thoughtful gifts, and organizes living-room dance parties whenever she’s over. My children love their Auntie Katy, and my husband (her brother) and I need her.

When I peruse my Facebook and Instagram feeds, I can’t help but notice that the world is full of Auntie Katys. I’ve thought about this a lot, and concluded that there are many reasons why the adult, child-free aunties of the world are particularly wonderful. (I’m obviously talking about a specific kind of aunt here, but please don’t feel excluded if you or someone you know is just like this in helpfulness and affection, but not exactly in other ways. This could describe a good friend, or a great aunt, someone with slightly older children, or, of course, a wonderful uncle.)

So, aunties, here’s why you are so special to parents of small children:

First of all, there is your competence. You are an adult. You have a job, a home, a life. If there is an emergency when you are in charge, you’re just as likely to be able to cope with it as I am. I can trust you to be responsible for more than a few hours, for more than an evening, for a whole weekend if you’re willing, and I don’t necessarily need to leave a long list of specific instructions. And we both know it’s easier for you to maintain both the “fun” and the control, because you can go home afterward. To yourhome, where it is (I assume) quieter and toyless and Dora-free.

Secondly, there’s your time and energy. While parents are constantly adjusting to the schedules of their children, you are in charge of your own timeline. Obviously you have work, and relationships, and a life, but you also probably have free time that you, alone, control. So if you love my kids, which you do, you can choose to spend time with them. And then, while you’re here, you play hide-and-seek, teach cartwheels in the backyard, and pull a toddler around on the wagon. You’ve made time to see the kids, and you want to play with the kids! Everyone wins, especially me and my hot, fresh coffee.

Next, there are the presents. Oh, the presents. As an adult, you can spend money on whatever you wish, and of course you don’t need to spend any money on your nieces and nephews; your very presence in their lives is enough. However, if you choose to buy the world’s most fun board game or a huge glitter-covered princess-themed art supply kit, we will take it!

Finally, and most importantly, there is the love. You genuinely, completely love my children. You’re invested in them. You’re interested in their lives. You think they are adorable and awesome and hilarious, and really are delighted if they call and leave a funny message on your voicemail or send you a piece of scribbled-on construction paper in the mail. These children are your family, and you love them; it’s as simple as that. I don’t think that changes, for the most part, when an Aunt has her own children–I know I love my own incredible nieces and nephews as much as I ever have. But this love? It’s the best part.

I guess that, like any parent, I am just immensely grateful to have someone, anyone, who will arrive at my house and immediately get down on her knees for kiddie hugs and kisses and tickles and squeezes; who texts to say, “Are you guys around to Skype?” but really only wants me to say “yes” if the kids are awake; who remembers all of my kids’ ages and birthdays and what they said they want for Christmas; and who will listen with obvious love and amusement to a long, rambling, confusing, nonsensical story from a four-year-old.

Child-free aunties, we parents love you dearly, and we genuinely want you to be as happy as you deserve to be, so we truly hope you’ll be a mother yourself someday, if that’s what would make you happy. We have seen, firsthand, how great you would be at it. But, secretly and selfishly, we kind of hope it’s not for a while.

Finally, I wanted to add a quick note of apology. Sometimes we moms may hurt your feelings, aunts. We have been known to say, or to accidentally imply, “You don’t understand; you’re not a mother.” This can be very insensitive and ungrateful, I know. But here’s the thing: being the mother of small children can be so all-consuming for us, we sometimes feel like we are nothing else. So we look at you, with your career and your free time, your unstained dress clothes and your perky boobs, your trip to Europe and your cool hiking adventure, and we sometimes feel just a tiny bit jealous. We feel the need to be better than you at parenting, for pete’s sake, because sometimes it seems like that’s all we have. Please just give us this one, dear Aunties; forgive us for our insensitivity, and keep coming over to babysit anyway. If nothing else, come for the kids. They love you just as much as you love them.

*blogger’s note: the original article page can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jacqueline-melissen/child-free-aunts_b_7490088.html