Picking Dandelions


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“I’m Just a Little Runt Now…”

The holidays are over and February 2nd is right around the corner. That very special day that Matthew came into this world and made it a much better place. My sweet boy, would have, SHOULD HAVE been 12 this year. I find myself always wondering how he would have changed by now. I see his friends and they are taller (not by inches but by feet) and their voices are deeper and some of them even have the beginnings of soft little mustaches. I wonder how tall Matthew would be and if he would have “beards” just like his daddy. He would get so angry and frustrated because he wanted to grow. I would always tell him that he was growing everyday and that he would be bigger soon. Even one of his favorite lines from a movie that he picked up, from Disney’s the Fox and the Hound showed just how much he wanted to grow up. “I’m just a little runt now, but I’ll grow”.

I hate that I was wrong...

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A Year of Firsts

This has been a year of “firsts” for us. Some of them, have been ridiculously hard and painful: The first Christmas without Matthew, first anniversaries and birthdays, without him, first family vacations with 3 of us instead of 4. BUT, some of these firsts have been amazing. it is the first full year of Matthew’s Helping Hands.

One year ago, in November, was our very first Matthew’s Helping Hands event. In the pouring rain and freezing cold, we had volunteers come out and work like crazy to make Matthew’s Helping Hands Kick-off Carnival a huge success! We even had one of the little ones tell us that it was the best day of her life!

It has been a first year of incredible partnerships throughout our community. We have worked with BB&T, Matthews Playhouse, Southeastern Institute, Marvin Ridge HS Theater, the Marvin Creek Community and Sangrock Black Belt World, to put on some...

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The 23rd

I remember when my kids were babies and every month was something to be celebrated. We took pictures and recorded all of the milestones that they hit in those first few years. Starting march 28th, 2001 every time it is the 28th of any month, I think of Nina. Matthew’s birthday is February 2nd and the 2nd of any month brings thoughts of Matthew.

Today is September 23rd. I now always know when it is the 23rd of each month. Even though I spend most days, having no idea what the date is without looking at the calendar, I always know when it is getting close to the 23rd. I can feel it in my entire body. My jaw begins to clench and my back hurts. My brain goes a million miles an hour and I have trouble holding onto any thought for more than a minute or two. This all happens every 23rd of the month. When the day is here, it is harder to get out of bed. I know that I will see...

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I recently had the opportunity to attend my first Walk-A-Mile. This is something that I have wanted to do for years but have never had the opportunity. The experience was a very emotional one for me. For those that don’t know what a walk-a-mile is, it is a simulation set up to show what it is like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. In this case, it was to show what it is like for those living with exceptionalities in ability or different things that might affect children with special needs. Kids with Autism and other related special needs can be challenged by so many things. Matthew had trouble with balance, coordination, low muscle tone and sensory processing (just to name a few). In my mind, as his mom, I understood that he had these things going on. But I never really understood what it was like for him to live with all of that in his little body and brain. The...

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The Scavenger Hunt

This is a story that I have thought about sharing for a while. It is one that is very important to me and my ability to wake up and breathe in the morning. It is the reason that I know Matthew is still very near.

Last year, very shortly after Matthew died, I was desperately looking for… What? Peace… Answers… Comfort… What I got was Kristen. What she gave me was life saving! Through listening, talking, and guided meditation, Kristen was able to give me what I needed in that moment.

I had known Kristen for some time and was a giant fan of hers already. I had taken a group meditation class with her called Parenting with Peace. I could go on for hours about how wonderful of a teacher and human being that she is. Her kindness, grace and understanding helped me is so many ways as a parent balancing a teenage daughter and a little boy with Autism and Epilepsy (no small feat to...

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The Joy Of Making A Mess

IMG_2170.jpgFor me, piece of mind needs a neat tidy space. It has been that way for a long time (even more so, recently). I am the person that cannot go to bed unless the house is picked up and things are put in their place (though, truth be told, sometimes, that place is a junk drawer or closet;). This being said, I am also a person who does not love to clean. To balance this, I have become a “clean as I go gal”. If I put it away as I am done, I will only have to put one thing away. If I leave it for later, I will have to clean the whole house at the same time. When you have children, being like this can be difficult.

I also love to have activities for kids to do. Making something, cooking something, experimenting… The list goes on and on. Most of these things can become very messy, especially working with kids. Many times, as my kids worked on their activity, I would be with them...

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Not For The Faint Of Heart

If you ask me how I am doing, I will tell you that I am “fine” or that I am “ok”. What I will not tell you, is that everyday, for the last several weeks (since March has gotten closer), I have seen the last hours I spent with Matthew in the hospital, replay in my mind like a movie just like I did for the first few months. I will not tell you that, for the past few weeks, I have nightmares almost every night or that in quiet moments, I miss Matthew so much that I can’t breath.

You will see me out at the store or restaurant and I will be talking and smiling. I will ask how you are and tell you what Nina is up to or what event we have coming up next. I promise that I will never make you feel uncomfortable. You can talk about Matthew, in fact, I wish that you would. I promise that by bringing him up, you are NOT reminding me that he is gone. He is, at every moment, on my mind and I...

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Picking Dandelions

It is that time of year again when dandelions are in full bloom everywhere. Some folks may look out at their lawn and see that it is spotted with yellow and rush to find the best way to get rid of them. I look outside and feel connection, love and happiness. Over the past few years, I have gotten very good at spotting them; over the past 11 and ½ months, I have gotten to be phenomenal at spotting them, though I will never be as good at it as Matthew!

Matthew could spot a dandelion from 100 yards away, while going 65 miles an hour, through the window of a car. As soon as he spotted one, he would point and yell, “look. LOOK!” and tell me to pull over to pick it for him. This was not always the easiest request to grant. Sometimes, we would be able to stop and other times, I would have to remind him that we were in the middle of traffic and it wasn’t safe to stop. This, of course...

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A Boy’s Best Friend


What is a friend? A friend is someone that makes you feel happy and loved. Someone that you can play with and that will make you feel better when you need it. A friend is someone that has your back. I have written a lot about Matthew and his friends (buddies, as Matthew would say). What I haven’t written a lot about is Matthew’s “best friend”. She is a 4 year old service dog named Dori and she is amazing! Matthew’s friend, in every sense of the word. She played with him, she calmed him, and protected him when he needed her. Their relationship was something that was truly special.

I had thought about a service dog for Matthew for quite some time, though I didn’t really know much about them. It was always in the back of my mind as one of those things that we would one day get around to. It wasn’t until Matthew’s seizures started to get more frequent that I realized that, at...

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Cutting Tags

Image 1-26-16 at 1.30 PM (1).jpgIf you look in my closet, you will see sweaters, shirts and pants, just like anyone else closet. If you look closer at my clothes, you will see that none of them have tags on them. This is a relatively new thing for me. over the years, I have become increasingly sensitive to how my clothes feel. I am not sure if this is because I am getting older and more sensitive or if I have been on the lookout for anything that might cause discomfort for so long that I have become hyper aware.

Since Matthew was an infant, his reaction to the world around him had been extreme. Loud noises would send him into a screaming fit. His bottle had to be the right temperature he loved to be swaddled at tight as you could make it. As he got older, he would run at me at 100 miles an hour and crash into me and he was so clumsy. He would spin around and if it was loud, his hands would be up covering his...

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