Thursday, October 11, 2012

We Learn Together

When I learned the topic of the Scrapbooking From the Inside Out October kit was Journey, I immediately thought of the experiences my son and I have gone through over the years since he was first diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder at the age of three.
It was a diagnosis that explained a lot to us, and helped me understand why he was having complete meltdowns over bumps in his socks. Or trouble transitioning from warm weather clothing to long sleeves, pants and jackets. Why he sometimes walked on his tiptoes. Or the issues he had with food.
Being a preschool and Kindergarten teacher, I suspected sensory issues but just wasn't sure. And it was a huge relief to know that there was a reason for these behaviors. That I wasn't doing something terribly wrong, although others had tried to make me feel at times as if I *was* a terrible mom.

I remember at one point offering to help my sister-in-law with her new babies (yes, twins) and she told me "how can you help me when you can't even handle what you have?" This was in the early  days of Evan's meltdowns. And I learned a lot about how people judge others without really understanding what is truly going on. Or even trying to. But it gave me the ability to empathize with other parents I saw struggling. I wasn't so quick to judge the parent in the mall who had a screaming child throwing a tantrum. I don't always know what is going on in a particular family or person's life, so there may be circumstances I just can't see.

And I thought of these lyrics from a U2 song:
"It's not a hill, it's a mountain as you start out the climb."
So with those lyrics in mind, I decided to go ahead and share a little bit about the journey Evan and I have taken since his first diagnosis. Because it truly is something we have done together.
journaling written to Evan:
You were first diagnosed with Sensory Issues around the age of three. Around the time these photos were taken. And some days were definitely rougher than others. My heart would break on the days when even something as simple as a seam in your sock, or "fumps" as you called them would cause a meltdown. You simply couldn't handle it. And I couldn't help but think, "what am I doing wrong?" 
But since those days we have come a long way! I have put so much time into reading books and getting you the therapies you needed. And it has made such a huge difference. When the additional diagnosis of ADHD came along a few years later, I was ready to learn.
As the years have passed, we have learned so much together. And you are proof that children are so much more than their "labels". With hard work you are often a straight A student and no longer worried about bumps in your socks. I know the world will not always be "fump" free, but I hope you know that I will be there for you whenever you need me. And I will always be open to learning and growing as well!

And I will be. We are lucky to have great friends and family who have been supportive over the years despite a few who weren't so much. There are always going to be doubters or those who judge, but I have learned that it doesn't matter what they think. What matters is that the children get the love and support they need to be the best they can be! And as parents, we are not alone. There is support no matter what mountain it may feel we are climbing. You just need to look in the right places :)

Hope you have a wonderful day! :)


  1. Fabulous page. You have been documenting quite a few big stories lately. I love the balloon accents plus that fun hot air balloon paper. Very symbolic for this very special page. :)

  2. Your journaling has me tearing up, Mary Jo. Parenting is difficult enough without having to deal with "extra" issues and other people's negative opinions. There's always someone out there willing to put you down to make themselves feel better. You are a strong woman and a wonderful mom. Thank you for sharing this story and beautiful layout. :)

  3. Wow, amazing story. Quite a testament to what a great job you are doing as a mom.

  4. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story! Your layout is beautiful!

  5. I love this story! You're layout is just perfect.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this story, and all of your journeys with us lately! I love how positive you are about accepting other people and letting go of other's judgement. I wish I could let other people's judgement on my decisions and actions go so easily. Unfortunately, that is something I am still working on!

  7. Love the layout of your layout. Ha! Great pictures and journaling :)

  8. I was so intent on the story, that I originally forgot to look at the page! What a wonderful mom you are! Recognizing the need to see the person beneath the label is a great insight to have in all situations.
    Oh, and beautiful page! Love how you blocked it and overlapped a photo with your title.

  9. Beautiful layout. Very heartfelt :)

  10. Your last couple of posts remind me of why I love to scrapbook in the first place. Thanks for sharing your life and stories.

  11. That's a beautiful page and heartfelt story. I am glad you suspected and got your answer fairly early on (although 3 years probably seemed like forever).

  12. WOnderful layout and beautiful story. It is obvious that you love your son very much and are a wonderful mom!!!

  13. This is such a great post.
    Thank you for sharing such a personal layout with us.

  14. What a tough subject to document. You did it so perfectly. I love that Paper with hot air balloons. It is like a symbol of hope.

    So glad you got the diagnosis. But so sad to hear how other's judge. I know people always are quick to tell us what we should do as far as Emma. But I have learned no one knows her like I do. And when her teachers finally saw her full personality, it was a relief to me in not have to explain how she is.

    Awesome LO, Mary Jo! Have a great weekend if I don't get a chance to pop in again!

  15. Love the clean lines of this layout and the journaling touched my heart, something that I think that all mothers can relate to at deeper level... Proud of you :-)

  16. What a beautiful LO and love the hot air balloon!!
    Love your journaling!!
    IKWYM we had our aunt and MIL have issues with us becasue Ellie is strond willed and would have melt downs sometimes and they just thought we did not discipline her. Its a shame people dont take the time to really know what is going on instead of pointing the finger to us so quickly. She is doign better as she has gotten older and thankfully she never went through the terrible two's or 4s. It all started at 5! Glad you take teh time and work with him and I agree love& time makes a huge differance.

  17. To me, the beauty of parenting is that as time goes by you observe what you always knew inside.
    That you need a long term goal (have them grow up to be independent thinkers, have empathy for others, take pride in their accomplishments, understand the value of family (and friends) etc.
    And then find a way that works for your family to get them to that goal.
    Along the way you learn:

    That it is your personal journey with your child/children that matters. It is your families values and "mission statement as it were" that you are demonstrating and teaching. Not SIL's views or Grandma's views.

    If it is working, stick with it.
    If it is not and you are sure that you are indeed following the right track, then tweak it, adjust it and do what you must to make it work.

    If your little internal voice tells you it is perhaps the wrong way, then toss it aside and research a new way.

    All throughout the journey of parenting, you will see others failing, others excelling, others sliding by merely by the seat of their pants...but you can only affect you and your family.

    It is such a long, hard journey to parent a child to eventually become a healthy adult who is secure in their own abilities to cope with life and gets on and does so.

    You sound to me that you are on the right track. You are researching when needed, you have a form grasp on what is needed, you are willing to be his ally and advocate as he navigates the school system...
    In short, you are a good fit as a parent!

  18. this is so touching and wonderful! your son is blessed to have you!!!