Monday, July 29, 2013

Sometimes when God closes a door, he nails the windows closed too!

Hi everyone...I want to apologize for my unexpected hiatus! After the last court date I wanted to take a week or two off to gather my composure and get a clearer picture of things, then I had some unforeseen health issues come up. With all that behind me, I wanted to tell you what I've learned, because I was delightfully surprised to find that something could actually be gleaned from all this!
     First, I was completely disgusted with the sentence given to Derek Perilloux, the man who nearly killed my daughter and myself because he chose to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.16. House arrest is too good for a man who inflicted over $1,000,000 in insurance costs alone, not including my $45,000 vehicle he totaled and taking my nursing career from me! So, I thought..."what would be enough? Would ANYTHING really hurt as bad as the pain he's caused us?!?"... I decided there was NOTHING that could do that!!! No earthly sentence will ever do justice to the pain this man has caused my daughter, my family, my very LIFE! So, to him I say "karma is a BITCH! You'll get yours and no court, no victim like myself will have to make her impact statement to ensure your punishment".
     I didn't reach those conclusions easily. I went home from court that day completely disgusted. How could this happen?!? Why wasn't a harsher sentence imposed?As a person who always looks for the "signs" around me, I couldn't understand what could possibly be learned by all this! After weeks of deliberation, I came to one conclusion: this wasn't God's punishment, but that of a court filled with flawed, imperfect humans imposing what THEY thought was "good enough". Why wasn't God there to let me know things would be worked out somehow, some way? Because sometimes, we have to go on blind faith. We can't have the answers all the time, that would be too neat, too tidy. Sometimes shit happens, and you just need to hang on for dear life with all you have and trust that even though you have no control over the circumstances, things WILL even out in the end.
     Needless to say, I didn't wanna accept this. I felt so alone, so deserted. So many of you have told me how strong you think I am, how "inspirational" my story is. I wasn't feeling inspirational...I felt like a failure. I'm a control freak who has to have everything just so. Things and people outta my hands make me uneasy. Then, it dawned on me...maybe that was why I had the accident to begin with. Sometimes things, people we love, need to be taken from us, because they aren't right for us, and maybe so we know how much we can handle on our own, how strong we are. Without coming out of our "bubbles of comfort", we never truly know what we can do.
     You've heard people say "Sometimes, when God closes a door, he opens a window"? After these last few weeks, I say "sometimes God slams the door in your face and nails any possible alternative exits closed to prevent any hope of possible escape from the shitty clusterfuck in which you find yourself!!!"! You're stuck like chuck and MUST accept that which you naturally resist! Now, this is the part where everything came together for me! I felt alone, "woe is me, it sucks to be me sometimes".  Then, I naturally thought back on other difficult moments in my life, to remember how I got through...times where I only THOUGHT it sucked to be me because of surrounding conditions, but have been lucky enough to work through. I concluded that sometimes, when God locks me up to swallow my medicine, he gives me amazing people to help me through! I suddenly realized that all those times I thought I was alone when I was younger, I had my parents, big sisters and big brother to guide me through. In grammar school and high school, I had my best friend, Lizzie, to pull me through. Sometimes, after I got sick with my autoimmune disease then had my accident, when I had to have surgery after surgery, I had Jen to cheer me up and 
make me step back to see how lucky I am that my heart works the ways it's supposed to! And when it seemed that my family and friends were out of reach, I had my fiancĂ©, and the best man I've ever known, Kevin, holding my hand through it all. I've also had all of you, telling me how brave I am. But, I want you to know,  I'm not brave, just extremely hard-headed and incredibly blessed with people who love me enough to make sure I get through it all! 
       The conclusion? No matter how our situations differ, just about all of us are lucky enough to have a handful of people we can always count on. We are never REALLY alone. Life sucks and, inevitably, we will all, at some time or another, feel that we are alone. It might seem we've somehow been foresaken, but even  windows that are nailed shut aren't shatter proof! It's just a matter of having people who love you enough, know you well enough, to help you break through them! When caged like an animal, fight back like one! Thanks to my awesome family, best friends-Liz and Jen, and especially my sweet angel, Kevin...and to all of you, without whom none of these important lessons could be learned! I love you all!!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jenny-The bucket list

Some people might see these things that happen in life as reasons to stop trying.  Reasons to stop living. That wasn't my experience with the other side. Getting so close to losing my life or life as I knew it made me just want to try harder to fight harder.  Not just for myself but for my kids.  So when you have one of these setbacks just don't forget to see the bigger picture. Lessons can be learned everywhere.

I didn't have an easy time with my pregnancies.  I had to go through a LOT of testing, medications, and trials to have our precious kids. So I don't take them for granted.  I don't think anyone should take having children for granted.  Because so many people can't have children, or never had the opportunity.  It's something that has fulfilled me in ways I cannot express. My kids have the greatest questions about life and offer some pretty great insights at times too.  Makes me feel like we must be doing something right. Since I was injured on vacation I've had lots of time to think!  I just started back at the gym but I try really hard to make sure everyone in the family is happy.  Mason wanted to go to preschool so I found one for him.  Ava has lots of plans for the summer too.

That being said we all have days when the kids are screaming and you are so tired you could cry but you can't stop.  You can't stop because you are a mom.  My two little driving forces are always there to make my realize what is important, who I'm fighting for, and who I need to teach each moment I have available. I'm so lucky to have them.

So we work on life lessons, we play, we explain things over and over again.  Aren't we all searching for something? Trying to learn something new? I hope I never lose that enthusiasm for life that children have, their inquisitive nature, the many questions they have about things I've never thought about.  Put me at the kids table during Thanksgiving.  I'll have a great time.

I have a lot to do this summer.  We just moved to a new city and I had to get everything set up.  We're also on the hunt for a new house.  So these things have taken up a lot of time.  But Ava has a bucket list.  Yes, our six year old keeps a running tally of things she would like to do and it's my job to make them happen. I'm not exactly sure how this happened but she makes sure I know what's on the list. I'm basically a part-time chef, teacher, driver, and all around planner.

Making promises to kids (and keeping them) is really important.  So when I say I'm going to do something I really try to make it happen. So in between writing deals, making offers, working out, and cooking I've been subjugated to make these dreams come true.  Which is really more of a gift to me than is it to Ava.  Because I get to experience these things with her. So we took the family vacation. We showed Ava the ocean. She got to meet a famous dolphin.  This week it was seeing the movie Turbo, without her screaming brother, go to a trampoline place with Stacey and me and literally bounce off the walls. Next week it's making a pineapple upside down cake (Seriously where does she come up with these ideas?) and riding a horse. Not at the same time!

Stacey and I were really excited to go jump and happily got ready to go without thinking other parents wouldn't be jumping.  The thought just didn't occur to me.  So we went today and for an entire hour we jumped, and laughed, and fell, and bounced off walls. I jumped in the foam pit and climbed out cracking up laughing.  Yes, I was one of the only adults out there.  Why? It made us sad to see parents there on their phones, on their computers waiting in the lobby.  Sure, we all have stuff to do.  Not every minute can be dedicated to fun. But these moments are the ones we will treasure. These are the best days of of lives.  The ones we can spend together.

But in 10 years or 15 years is any of that stuff going to matter if we didn't spend this time with our kids?  No, it's not.  Their dreams should be our dreams too.  That's the way it should be, because we brought them into the world.  I wouldn't have it any other way. So I'm off to find a place for Ava to ride a horse and I guess we'll be baking this week too.  Don't worry. Mason gets his dreams too.  For now they mostly involve superheroes, or drawing sharks eating a variety of things.  But pretty soon he'll be making a list for us too.  So they are directing us on what they want in life.  It's our joy to provide it. Hopefully all of us never lose the wonder in a child's eyes when they get to experience something new.

Like I always say,  "don't forget to stop and look for ladybugs." It's things like ladybugs that kids notice all the time and we are blind to seeing anymore. Because we're always looking up, propelling forward in some crazy foot race, while kids are looking at the ground and happy with things that are free.

Hope all of you have a great week.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jenny - Dream #1 Realized and Setback!

I'm baaaack!!!! Sorry for the hiatus!  We were on a VACATION to sunny Clearwater, Florida!

So over the years I've had lots of time to think and dream of what I would do if given a healthy heart.  Last week we finally had the chance to cross our first dream off the list...Go on our first family vacation.  Mason got to go on his first airplane ride.  Ava hasn't been to Tampa in about 4 years and we were all thrilled to be there together for the first time. It was the culmination of a dream for me, to see our friends, expose our kids to life outside of Houston and hospitals, and act like a normal family.  I should apologize now to all the people on the plane that had to endure his antics!  Especially when he yelled for 15 minutes that he needed to poop.  It was kinda hilarious. But we arrived safely.  We met with our Matchmakers, Anne and Matt and their beautiful kids.  Had a fantastic week.  Full of lots of swimming and cooking (not at the same time.)
Suspicious of the sunroof in the rental car!

We got to see Winter, the dolphin from the movie Dolphin Tale!  It was incredible to see her swim without a tail. She was precocious too, trying to open a door to get into another tank to play.  No disability in Winter!! She was playing and swimming just like all the other dolphins.  I think she is a great example to kids with disabilities to not let anything stop you! Ava was really glad to see all the sights from the movie.  Mason was thrilled they had stringrays and a hammerhead shark display!  The kids got to hold her prosthetic tail!

Love Bridgette's face in this picture!