Special Delivery

What comes to mind when you hear those words? New baby? Birthday surprise? Expedited mail?

Not in this case.

The first chance I had to go to the grocery store, once Covid-19 precautions were in place for social distancing, was interesting. I had tried to Clicklist at my local grocery to avoid a crowd. Only to be told 1 1/2 hours before pickup that they didn’t have enough employees to fill my order. So the next morning, I tried again. There wasn’t even a possibility to have them do the shopping for me. At least, not that day.

I psyched myself up and headed into the madness. It was busy and there were more people than I usually see. You know it is impossible to keep 6 feet between you and another shopper on a grocery aisle? Unless all shoppers are moving in the same direction, at the same pace, with space between them. Which we know doesn’t happen. So I held my breath when near people! Well, as best I could.

Either way, what surprised me, most, were the random items that had been purchased leaving shelves empty. Sugar. Bagged lettuce. Cheese. Flour. I was able to get probably 98% of the items on my list, though, so that was great.

I came home telling Mike that bologna was one of the items I wasn’t able to find. Yes, that stuff. Jacob is on a bologna kick. Has been for some time now. And when he is on, he is ON. It starts with two slices of bologna and us making a sandwich by spreading mayo on wheat bread. Put one slice of bologna on each piece of bread. Then, unwrap some American cheese and add one slice so it is between the two bologna slices. Cut it into pieces and let him chow down.

Note, if you do this incorrectly, he notices. You will have to start over and make it to his specifications. After he basically eats the middle out of the sandwich, it is time for another one. Chances are he has eaten very little of the bread but the sandwich must be constructed the same way each time. Usually it is repeated twice with him eating the middle of three, double bologna/single cheese sandwiches along with bits and pieces of the bread.

Well, when Mike heard no bologna, he knew we might have a problem! On his Facebook timeline, he posted something like – Bologna is the food of choice for Coronavirus Survivalists! Not a plea for help. No mention suggesting Jacob would be upset. Just an observation posted at 9:40 one morning.

At 2:06 that same day my cell phone rings: “Mrs. Terri, I have some bologna. I am going to bring some for Jacob.” I tell her that is so sweet but he will be fine and we will get some soon. “No, I am bringing my baby some bologna!” “I had some in the freezer and I am headed over there now.” Twenty minutes later, Em delivered bologna to our home.

Package on the right was opened quickly so a couple of slices are already missing!

PEOPLE! That was a SPECIAL DELIVERY! That’s what I’m talking about!

In February 2019, I shared about the sitters in our life, who have blessed us beyond measure, in a post called: At Your Service. She’s one who has been a constant in our family for many years and has loved us without limits. But, I don’t know when I’ve been so taken aback by a gesture. Her simple act of sharing what she had was a wonderful gift.

Note: She is the reason that Jacob’s bologna sandwiches must also have a slice of cheese. It is something that never occurred to me but that’s the way she made them for him one day and THAT’S the way they’ve been ever since.

Thank you Em for your Special Delivery. You are one of Jacob’s favorite people in the world. And, your kindness makes our world a better place!


Time to Whine

Last week I shared about one of Jacob’s really good days. It was before the time changed.

And then, new week, early sunrise, and he wasn’t having it! I would enter his bedroom to wake him up. He’d barely open his eyes and push me away. I’d give him time and space and later return to the same scenario. If he were to sit up or get out of bed, it was only to hand me his quilt and hold me tight until he heard these words, “okay, lie down and I’ll cover you up. But, only for a few more minutes.”

We were out of town, for three days, the weekend of the time change so Jacob automatically got to stay home with his sitter that Monday. Sometimes after being away from home for a few days, I just want to let him stay home with me. Blame it on those ‘good to get-away but better to be back’ feelings. It doesn’t take but a few days and I miss that dude terribly!! So, on Tuesday, I had decided IF he wakes up early, I’ll take him to his day program. But otherwise, we are staying home. And we did.

However, I felt missing two days when he wasn’t sick was enough time off and decided I’d get him up Wednesday to go. It did NOT work that way as our thoughts did NOT line up! I tried all the usual tactics and I couldn’t get him to stay up. Looking around his room, it was obvious he had played some during the night. So, I covered him in his quilt and closed his bedroom door to leave him alone. Quickly he was back sound asleep. Giving him a few hours, I woke him at 10 a.m. and by then he was ready to get up, (with me assuring him we weren’t going anywhere).

10 A.M. wake-up call.

Thursday came and he had been home for 5 days, 3 of those missing his ‘school’. Three days that the weather was pleasant and he was well. I determined he was going. It wasn’t easy. Stalling every way he could. Making it hard to get him dressed. But at least he was finally upright! Mission accomplished and I dropped him off thinking all was well.

The Dance with Me (https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2020/03/12/dance-with-me/) post went live that morning to positive and encouraging feedback. With friends and family celebrating Jacob having had such a great day.

That afternoon, my phone rang and it was the manager of his program. In short, ‘Jacob is fine but I wanted you to know about an incident.’ Oh goodness. My mind is racing. Did he swallow a dead lizard? Get his hand caught in a door? Get punched because he stole someone’s roll at lunch? (All have happened in the past.)

Seems Jacob and another fella wanted to be in the same spot. ‘That’s mine!’ ‘I was here first!’ Remember hearing that with your verbal toddlers?? Only what felt like a million times! Right? From my understanding, that sums up what happened. The problem was, neither could express themselves appropriately. Both did what they knew to do—grab and push to try and force the other to let them have their way.

Some time ago, we donated a couch and love seat to the center that Jacob attends. We were replacing ours at home and they agreed the furniture could be put to good use. So, Jacob’s office (https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2019/08/01/step-into-my-offices/) got the couch and a common area got the love seat. Turns out, that day Jacob wanted to chill out on the love seat and so did T. I have no idea if Jacob believes those two couches belong to him, because he remembers we donated them, but seemed he was focused on the ‘that’s mine’ mindset.

So, two underweight, non-verbal fellas communicated in their language and ended up inflicting scratch marks on each other. “Do I need to come get him?” ’No, he is fine and in his room listening to music. I just wanted you to know what happened.’

Would it be entirely strange,
If we didn’t acknowledge the time change?
Some states said, enough is enough.
Spring forward, fall back is really rough.
My sweet boy can’t take it at first,
So sleeping in, for him, is a must.
He’ll adjust eventually, he always does.
Why are mornings so hard? Just b’cuz!

Was it the time change? I sure want to blame it on that! Oh, it saddened me. I was reliving Jacob’s best day because I’d just shared the story that morning. That phone call brought me down to reality. The staff handled it properly. But, when we picked him up, the young ladies waiting out front for their ride, scattered, telling me Jacob had been grabbing people that day. Afraid he might get too close to them, as well. Yes, I was pretty bummed out knowing he’d been a trouble maker. There are good days and not so good days. Thursday wasn’t his best day but everyday won’t be. And, that is normal!!

Apparently, I just needed a place to whine about the time change, thank you for allowing that. Lately there have been more good days than not, so that is a win!

Friday came and I didn’t have it in me to struggle with making him get up when he wasn’t ready. So we stayed home. Again. He only attended his program one day that week.

And now, Covid-19 is here and we are currently keeping him home as he doesn’t understand social distancing and has no concept of healthy hygiene habits. I know my guy isn’t going to complain about that!! However, I have a feeling my sanity may be stretched to new lengths.

Dance with Me

Jacob came out from his day program and quickly got into the van. As I buckled his seat belt and then moved into the driver’s seat, a staff member approached my window. G: “I have to tell you about Jacob today.” Even though she had a pleasant expression, I tensed and braced myself to hear everything that might have gone wrong.

Instead, what I heard went something like this, “Jacob had the best day ever.” “He was so playful. He went all over the building, into some of the offices, and was really happy.” “He took our hands and wanted to dance. He wanted to PLAY!” “He smiled and he hugged us.” “He wanted me and S and J to all have fun with him.”

Sometimes the manager will make a point to tell me that Jacob had a good day. Or, that Jacob had been happy all week. But hearing this made it feel like the best day ever for me, too.

As she bragged and smiled telling me about Jacob, he was definitely listening. All ears, hearing and smiling as well. It obviously made him feel good to hear her sharing about the fun they’d had and my excitement about his great day.

I praised him all the way home about how proud I was he’d had such a good day. I welcomed how wrong I was in the beginning and was so very thankful my initial thought was way, way off!

Pictured below, he is continuing to enjoy me making a BIG deal about his GOOD day.

Why was that day different and better than some? I thought back over the previous afternoon and evening (which had been a dentist appointment for another blog post). Time to analyze. What had he eaten? Oh, yes, fast food hamburgers and fries as a reward for the dentist trip. Did he sleep good that night? Yes, all indications were he had. And, did he eat anything for breakfast before leaving home that morning? No. Which is the case probably 75% of the time. Except for the trip to have his teeth cleaned, it was pretty routine.

Oh that I knew the formula for the best day ever. I would repeat it minute by minute if I possibly could. Unfortunately, I can’t make it happen again.

But, I can thank God for Jacob’s good day. And, for staff who make him comfortable, who make him feel safe enough to twirl and play, and who accept him just as he is. AND, who stop and dance when they tune in to his silent voice requesting,

Dance with me, I want to be your partner, can’t you see…..

I Need You

In last week’s blog post, Letting Go, I talked about teaching our children independence. Doing everything we could so they wouldn’t need us when they are grown. Realizing all the while, that concept would look differently for Jacob. The truth is, Jacob depends on others for daily help. Dressing, eating, communicating, etc. For as much as we want him to succeed and thrive, Jacob will always depend on us or others. He needs assistance, every day, in almost every area.

As a Christian, I have no doubt in my mind that God made me the way I am to prepare me to be Jacob’s mom. He gave me a heart to serve or help. I was designed to demonstrate the love of Christ by helping others. What does that mean? Assisting Jacob comes naturally for me. Don’t get me wrong, most parents are willing and able to help their children. It is their desire to do everything they can to make their lives better. And we are blessed to have such amazing family members and friends who’ve demonstrated what it means to be hands-on, engaged parents. However, the reality is that most people don’t plan on brushing their child’s teeth for 40 plus years.

When we cradled our newborn we already had plans for his future. That plan didn’t materialize as imagined. Whether I had pursued being a veterinarian or meteorologist or some other wonderful career, the job I was called to do was to be a mom. Some say it is the hardest job on earth. And some days, I would agree. (Although I’ve not had enough other paying jobs to really compare!)

But, you know what? God’s plan is always better. I’ve learned a lot through serving Jacob but no lesson more important than this:

Lord, I come, I confess

Bowing here I find my rest

Without You I fall apart

You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You

Every hour I need You

My one defense, my righteousness

Oh, God, How I need You

Matt Maher

I learned else something along the way. Teaching them to be independent was not as important as modeling for them my need for Christ. While the goal is for them to ‘make it on their own’, their ultimate success will be on realizing their need is not for us, but in a relationship with a Heavenly Father.

When I start focusing on how hard this is, I feel sorry for myself and get weary of helping. Oh, I am so human and there are days overwhelmed and need a break. When I focus on being the Mom that God designed me to be, I see being able to take care of Jacob’s needs as a gift from above that stretches me, makes my heart grow, and become a better person.

Once I was away at a convention and left Mike at home and in charge of both boys. When I returned and questioned him about something that wasn’t done (per my expectations), he quickly said, “I knew you like to feel needed.” He proceeded to tell me about an Andy Griffith episode: Andy and Opie, Housekeepers. Taylor men are slobs, but picking up after themselves, when on their own, may be the wrong message to send to Aunt Bee, who needs to feel needed. And, I felt and feel needed, for sure!!

As much as Jacob needs us (and I like to feel needed!), I may need him even more.

But above all, in every minute, in all things, whether running on empty or with a full tank,

Oh, God, how I desperately need You.

Terri Pigford