Thursday, May 31, 2012

Being a Mom

I had big dreams.  I never even had time to take a lunch during my junior and senior years in high school.  I was too busy taking college prep classes and business classes so I would have skills to work my way through college.  It was important to me to have a good career so that I could be self-sufficient once I had a family.  I wasn't preparing myself for a divorce, but I wanted to make sure that I could take care of myself and my children.  I planned to major in business in college and then go on to law school.

Then, I found out I was pregnant with Ashleigh.  I graduated early and attended one semester at community college while the rest of my class finished up their senior year.

Everything. Changed.

Those dreams that I had seemed unimportant.  Even before she was born, I knew.  I knew what I was meant to do with my life.  I am not sure I can explain how I knew.  I just knew.

I can remember seeing a show where a bunch of teen moms were asked if they would do it all over again if given the chance for a do-over.  None of them would.  I would.  In a heartbeat.  I absolutely could not change having that girl in my life. 


So much on my mind lately.  Being a Mom to adult children has not been an easy transition for me.  I have always said I was a good mother of young children.  I am still figuring out so many things.  Lots of deep thinking going on in my head. 

Had a discouraging conversation with our case worker yesterday.  She said that we need to wait to proceed with the adoption until after we have moved.  NJ says that we will have to start all over again with the home study process.  So discouraged.  We are calling some other agencies (private ones) and seeking some advice and hope that we can be matched with our kids in the very near future.  Not sure what God has planned.  We feel so ready.  We know there is a need. 

Besides all of that serious stuff going on in my head, I really consider chocolate covered raisins to be a healthy snack.  Don't you? 

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I have a couple of issues that come up from time to time.  I can get lost VERY easily.  My strategy when I am lost is to turn down any road that sounds familiar to me.  If I have ever at any time been on the road, my logic tells me that getting on that road will get me closer to home.   I would like to thank Rochester, NY for having a road system that works with my technique.  Unfortunately, Philadelphia, PA does not really work the same way.  

I also have a tiny issue with vacuums.  My Mom has probably had 2 or 3 vacuums and she has been married for almost 50 years.  I cannot count the number of vacuums I have owned.  I know there was a period of about 6 years where I got a new vacuum every single year.  I have had to borrow vacuums because mine was not working.  Alan has fixed each and every vacuum that I have owned many, many times before we finally break down and buy yet another vacuum.  Alan feels like I am the common denominator with the vacuum problems, but things happen.  For many years, I could try to blame it on one of my kids using the vacuum.  (Don't judge;-)  

I feel like I am unfairly judged concerning the vacuum situation in part due to a small incident that happened so very long ago and yet keeps getting brought up over and over again.  One day I had just picked my vacuum up from the repair shop.  (Yes, I have had my vacuums repaired by professionals several times, too.)  I was driving our Suburban and needed to drop the vacuum off at home and head out again with the kids.  Since I was in a hurry, I put the vacuum on our front lawn temporarily and started make a k-turn with the truck.  I forgot that the vacuum was in the way and I ran the vacuum over.  Oops.  I got out and looked at the smashed hose on my canister model and knew this was not going to be easy to explain to Alan.  Not only had he purchased me vacuum after vacuum after vacuum, but we had just paid quite a bit of money to get this one fixed.  

I believe one of my children was quick to let their Dad know what had happened.  (Aren't they so cute when they tattle on their mother?)  Anyway, that day has been pretty hard to live down.  

Yesterday my vacuum was not working, so my very patient husband fixed it for me.   I was pretty excited (I always am because it is so often broken) when I could use the vacuum again since I was doing a lot of deep cleaning.  I hated to even mention to Alan that when I began to use the vacuum, it wasn't picking anything up AGAIN.  

Alan started to take the vacuum apart and I could just see the look in his eyes.  I told him that I didn't want him saying anything to me about something being stuck in there.  (Okay, through the years, there may have been some strange things stuck in the hoses.)  I knew the familiar look in his eye and I just knew I had not sucked up anything odd.  

Alan held up the end of the hose and "someone" had sucked up a plastic knife, still in the plastic, from a fast food restaurant.  Of course, I was blamed immediately even though Alan had vacuumed the day before.  Next thing I knew, the whole "car running over the vacuum" incident came up, blah, blah, blah.  

By the way, if you have ever accidentally run over your vacuum, could you please leave me a comment?  Alan said if I can find one person who has done it, he will let that story go.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Biggest Sister's Perspective

The following is from Ashleigh.  She had just turned seven when Davin was born and was still seven when we learned that Davin had cerebral palsy.  She has held him while he was seizing, stood up for him, and taken care of the entire tribe when Alan and I would go out on dates.  It never seemed a burden to her to have a little brother who was maybe a little different than other little brothers. 

When Ashleigh writes of her and Bethany and Cheney's protective nature with Davin, it is no joke.  I won't go into detail, but there could have been an incident where a younger child was in some hot water with my bigger kids and we decided that from then on, we would drive them to school instead of them riding the bus;-)

Here are her words....

When my Mom asked me to write how it was growing up with a sibling who had special needs, I didn't know what I could possibly write. I remember when Davin was born, but I honestly don't remember my parents telling us that he had cerebral palsy or how I reacted. At that point it didn't matter. Davin was my brother and he would forever be that to me no matter what label was placed on him.

 My other siblings and I wanted Davin to be around us for everything and that's what we tried to do. If we thought Davin could do it with us, he was right there next to us. We would drag him downstairs to watch TV with us,we would put him in the laundry basket and push him around, we would lay him on the trampoline and fling him around. We treated him the same as we would any other sibling. We didn't baby him because that's just not how we roll in the Hester family.

 All 3 of us other siblings are very protective of Davin. We grew up hearing lots of different things when we went out and we all knew when that happened we would give “the look”. Davin is the youngest and is in a wheelchair, so we felt like we had to step up our game. I remember that we would all get so mad if anyone ever said anything about him or to him even if it was just a curious little child who had no idea. I would always think, "What kind of parents do they have where their parents have not taught them that God made us all different? And how rude and hurtful it can be to stare or point at people who don't look the same as you."

 Growing up, I felt bad for those kids because they didn't have a Davin in their lives. I never thought of it as a hardship being his sister, having to give him baths, feeding him when my parents were away or just laying in bed reading him a book. Davin was considered normal to us kids because that's what we grew up with. Everyone else looking in saw something different, but to us it was all we ever knew and we wouldn't have traded it for the world. Davin changed our family and our hearts without us even realizing it. All of us kids have a different relationship with each other and none of us are the same, but I believe because of Davin it brought us all closer together. We may all live in different states now, but we love each other and the bond that the four of us have will never be broken.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm Working On...

I have realized lately that I do a lot of "eye rolling".  Yup.  Eye rolling!!  So, this week, my goal has been to not roll my eyes.  So far, I think I have slipped once and also made some rather strange faces to keep myself from allowing my eyes to roll;-) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Davin - An Insider's Look

The following is what my son, Cheney Alan, wrote.  Cheney is just 21 months older than Davin, so he knows nothing different than having a brother who has "a little problem" (a quote from 3 year-old Cheney:-).  He is also the brother who as a 4 or 5 year-old started carrying his little brother downstairs so they could watch cartoons on Saturday mornings.  He promised when he was little that when Davin was big, he would find him a wife and if he didn't, they would just live together like the Baldwin Sisters from The Waltons.  (Love that!)  He wondered if Davin was faking being disabled so he could get new toys.  (At that point, therapists were always bringing toys to the house to do Davin's PT and OT.)  As a teenager, his youth pastor watched Cheney scoop a crying Davin out of his chair in front of the other teens.  As a young adult, he came to Alan and I and asked that he be Davin's legal guardian if we cannot do it.  He always thought he knew what Davin was thinking and he probably did.  Davin can still convince his 21 year-old brother to sleep with him.  He just points to the pillow where Cheney is to lay his head.  I have walked in to see Cheney barely on the bed with a little brother tucked all the way under his armpit.  Lest you think he is perfect, he also tied a small Davin to the bed with a Batman rope Davin's first night in his big boy bed.  It seems that Davin was fine with it until his brother left the room leaving him dangling in between the ladder of the bunk bed. 

Cheney and Davin's relationship is probably the one that I mourned the most.  I knew what my sister and I had.  I knew what special relationship my two girls had.  My boys were born 21 months apart and I wanted that same kind of relationship for them.  God has shown me something much more beautiful than I had envisioned.  I had such limitations on relationships.  God didn't.  To say that my boys adore each other is an understatement. 

These are Cheney Boy's words...

Growing up with a disabled brother has allowed me the opportunity to see life from a different perspective.  He has given me traits that I would not normally have developed.  The ability to understand people without speech.  My brother does not speak but that does not in any way keep him from communicating.  My brother has taught me that sometimes you just need to enjoy the little things in life.  Like sitting on the couch with someone you love watching TV or even just looking outside the window.  From a very young age I've known the feeling of someone who depended upon me.  I have known compassion and understanding for people in different places than I am.  My brother has enabled me to have so much that I feel it is literally the least I could do to help him with whatever he needs for as long as he needs it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From a Big Sister

I asked my older kids if they would write something about their journey as a sibling with a special needs brother.  Maybe you are at the beginning of your journey with your special needs blessing and can use some encouragement.  Is Davin's relationship with his siblings exactly as I always pictured it would be?  No.  Is it amazing?  Yes. 

This is from Bethany, one of the biggest blessings God ever gave me.....

When I think of Davin I think of his smile, I think of how he is the happiest, most endearing person I have ever met, how his smile lights up the room and draws people to him. When I see him I see someone who makes me laugh and loves to be a twirp. I don't notice Davin's wheelchair, or all of the differences that the world may see. When I look at Davin, I see my brother, I see one of my best friends, I see someone who I would do anything for. Growing up with a disabled brother changes the way that you look at people and the way you see life. Davin has given me a greater appreciation for my abilities, and also a greater appreciation for the little things. Davin has taught me to help stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves. He has given me a heart for people who may appear to be somehow different from what we consider normal. Growing up with a brother with a disability has been a true gift. While I may not have picked this life for my baby brother, God knew just what He was doing. He truly works all things together for good. I have watched Davin touch so many lives, in ways I would never be able to. Davin has been an inspiration not only to me, but to nearly everyone he comes in contact with. Of course there have been times where I wished he could run outside and play with me, or I wished that I could hear him talk to me, but then I think about the way he screams when I pretend to steal his yogurt, or how he will continue to yell and point to me when he wants to sit down on the floor with me, and I remember that I do hear him talk. It may not be the conventional way of communicating, but Davin has a unique way of talking to each member of our family. We all have a different connection and relationship with Davin and I wouldn't change mine for the world.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Check It Out

If you have never read Adeye's blog, you are missing something.  She has a heart for children, orphans and in particular orphans with special needs.  If you scroll down far enough, you might even recognize someone:-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bad Teenager:-)

I have come to realize some things as I have gotten older.  I am NOT the fun parent.  I never have been and I don't think I ever will be.  I have fun with my kids, but I am not generally the one to think of the crazy fun things to do.  That is Alan.  He is the fun parent. 

I am however FUNNY.  My kids know it because I TELL them!!!  (Just to be sure they know.) 

Yesterday I asked Davin if I was funnier than his Dad and he shook his head (repeatedly) NO!!  What??  Then, he threw his head back and laughed and laughed.  I again asked the question.  Maybe he did not realize what I was saying and thought I was asking if I was funner than Dad.  Nope.  Same response.  Complete with the laughter at the end.  Hmph!!! 

A Little Time

Sometimes I can go with the flow.  Other times, I need some time to wrap my head around things.  I have learned over the years that giving myself that time is okay.  It's not whimpy and doesn't make me weak to take time to sort things out, process them and feel sad if I need to. 

My Cheney Boy left yesterday and headed "home" to NJ.  Just a few short weeks ago, we learned that everything was working out perfectly.  Our move back to NJ was scheduled for the middle of June.  We would spend the summer with Chey.  I began turning my attention away from our temporary living quarters here to my "home" in NJ.  I started thinking about the changes I would make, what colors I will paint the walls and where I would arrange furniture.  I had a timeline in my head for when things would get done. 

I contacted schools, told our pediatrician and the hardest thing of all, told the bus drivers that we would be moving in June.

The middle of last week, Alan's boss decided that we needed to stay here longer.  Wasn't it their idea for us to move in June???  Yup.  It was. 

So, our perfectly timed move is now not looking so perfect.  Of course, we have a car and will be shuffling back and forth to NJ so we can see our Cheney Boy (and Ashleigh, Kevin and Bethany, too:-), but it has thrown me for a bit of a loop. 

To top things off, the adoption process has me baffled.  We have been actively pursuing adoption for well over a year now.  We have made it a priority and yet our beds remain unfilled.  I am not waiting for a baby.  I am looking to have children that are hard to place.  I feel so ready. 

I do not like to feel discouraged and yet I am. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

If You Think...

If you think that you have to be verbal to talk back, you are wrong. 

If you think you cannot be willfully defiant because you are in a wheelchair, you are wrong.

Did Davin and I have an "incident" this morning?  Perhaps;-)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


I don't know if I have any right to be so proud of her, but I am.  She is not technically my daughter yet, but in so many ways she already is.  Cheney's fiancee Renee graduated from Wheaton College on Sunday with her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with certification in ACS BioChem.  Are you impressed?  I am!  She is not only super smart, but she is a sweet, sweet girl with a heart for Jesus.

Next up for Renee, Pharmacy School and then marriage!!! 

We are so proud of you Renee and are so thrilled that you are part of our family!

Are they not just the cutest?  And, do you notice the bling on her finger?  ;-)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

I Would Have Missed This

Almost two years ago, we had a big decision to make.  Alan had been working in Rochester for almost a year and his temporary job had been extended for another year.  It would be a temporary move and to a very familiar place, but one thing was very different....we now had grown children.  They would not be coming with us.  I had a choice to make. 

I think Alan would have continued commuting if that is what I needed him to do, but I knew what the answer needed to be.  I needed to choose Alan.  I needed to say yes to going with him, even without the rest of our family.  It was a really hard decision and one that I wasn't sure I could go through with.  I know that God comes first and then Alan comes next, but in practice sometimes he gets shoved behind the kids. 

This was the time for me to show him that he is my priority.  This was the time for me to be a good example of a godly wife to our grown children and follow their Dad to Rochester.  It was hard.  Very hard. 

The rewards that I have gained from this past year and a half are many.  How many people get a "break" in the middle of their lives to regroup, reconnect and reorganize.  We have spent some wonderful time together as a couple.  With only having one boy in the house again, we have evenings to be together once again.  We have spent a ton of time with Davin Boy.  We have gone on lots of walks.  We have gone out for ice cream.  We have visited the touristy places in our area.  We have lost weight.  We have been exercising for 14 months.  We have grown spiritually.  We have bonded with our kids through many phone calls.  We have been blessed. 

If I said no, I would have missed all of this.