Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thankful, Grateful: The People who Help Us

I'm not completely independent. I can't raise my children all on my own all the time. I wish I could, but life is complicated and messy sometimes.

I don't need a house keeper, though that would be nice. I don't need a babysitter for date nights, since those are virtually nonexistent. No, no- the help I need is out of the ordinary due to my daughter's medical and special needs. There are many people in our lives that fill holes and jobs that I simply cannot do all the time.

I'm certainly grateful this Thanksgiving for:

Jaycee's Grandparents
Jaycee's grandpas and grandma are always quick to jump in and help our family. My mom has rode along on numerous doctors' appointments with Jaycee and I, so I would have company for the hours of driving. My mom has watched my daughter when she was home sick so I could work which has required her to learn how to do her vest therapy, use her monitor, and administer different medications. She has been the only brave soul who has kept Jaycee overnight so I could have a break.

Countless times over the past 11 years, Jaycee has gotten sick in the middle of the night or had an urgent need. Countless times, we have called Jaycee's grandparents with this upsetting news in order to have them meet us at the hospital or take our son while we transport Jaycee to the hospital. They have adjusted schedules, work, and their lives to help us during those crazy times. They have ran to the pharmacy to get medicines when I couldn't leave the house with Jaycee. They have brought us meals when Jaycee was sick requiring medications round-the-clock. They have helped us a dozen different ways over the years and for that, we're grateful.

Uncle Grumpy and Aunt Steph
My sister-in-law, Stephanie, and my brother Josh (AKA Uncle Grumpy...Jaycee called him this a few years ago and I still refer to him as that) have also helped us multiple times over the years. They have helped with my son's care while Jaycee was in the hospital or at a doctor's appointment. They have picked Elijah up from school, finished his homework with him, kept him overnight, and taken care of him when needed- sometimes with little notice. We're grateful to have people we can trust to take care of our son when we're not able to do it.

Jaycee's Individual Aide
I can count the number of non-family members who have watched Jaycee over her lifetime on one hand. Her needs are great, and only a responsible, patient person can be trusted to care for Jaycee the way she needs cared for. As you can imagine, it's a really bizarre feeling as a parent for their child to need an individual aide at school but you have no say in who that person is. When Jaycee was going to get a new school aide about 5 years ago, I was a little worried. I wouldn't know this person, who would suddenly be spending hours a day with my child.
Fortunately, Ms. Shannon and Jaycee have gotten along just fine over the past few years. I have seen and heard many horror stories when it comes to aides. I feel very blessed that I can send Jaycee to school each day knowing that she is in good hands with her aide. I know she cares about Jaycee, and I have no fears sending her off to school. I'm so thankful we have a great aide for Jaycee. 

Jaycee's Teachers
Jaycee has been in the same classroom from Kindergarten to 5th grade presently. When your child spends years with the same teacher, you pray you'll like them. Otherwise, it will be miserable for everyone involved. Like your child's individual aide, you hope the teacher is patient and understanding with your child with limited verbal skills and many, many needs. We have gotten to know her classroom teacher and aide well over the years. Ms. Amy and Mrs. Tolley have been wonderful with Jaycee. I believe they treat her like she was one of their own children. They know when to be stern and when Jaycee needs a break. Her teachers have sought my input when things aren't going right and listen to me when I have something to share. Teachers like this are a blessing, and I'm thankful she has caring people who treat her well at school.

Cousin Gabby
Jaycee has 7 wonderful cousins, but there is one that is her definite favorite. A few years ago, cousin Gabby became Jaycee's delight. Gabby has accepted the fact that Jaycee is going to want to hug her, kiss her, mess with her hair, go in her bedroom, and take a few dozen pictures with her every time they are together. Gabby has learned Jaycee's gestures, signs, and words so she can communicate with her. When Jaycee calls Gabby on FaceTime, Gabby knows how to entertain Jaycee. Jaycee just loves her cousin's attention. She asks for Gabby's whereabouts multiple times a week. Cousin Gabby makes Jaycee happy and that makes me happy. 

This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for all the people who play an important role in caring for my children and supporting our family. They make our lives work, and I'm thankful for all of them. I hope all of you have people like that in your lives. 

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