Friday, May 17, 2013

How Much Is Too Much?

The last three weeks have been CRAZY busy.  Elena has had four appointments in addition to her normal five therapies this week and it's been about the same the two weeks before that.  Today, I'm finally catching my breath.

One of the appointments this week was an evaluation at a place here in Indy called The Jackson Center for Conductive Education.  Honestly, I've done quite a bit of reading on Conductive Education, but am still not quite sure of how it all works.  What I do know is that it is an alternative therapy for children with Cerebral Palsy, which is by definition what Elena has.  One of Elena's therapists recommended that we look into it, when I had mentioned that we were beginning to seek out other non-medically based therapies for Elena to try.  The Jackson Center was pretty amazing and we feel very fortunate that we have one so close considering there are only 35 in the whole country.

From what I understand of the therapy, I'm certain Elena would do really well.  Here's the dilemma, it's an extra six hours a week (not including the hour round-trip travel time) commitment.  That's in addition to the already five hours a week she gets of traditional therapy.

It's a no brainer, we're going to do it.  But what I'm struggling with is when is it too much?  While most parents of two year olds are trying to balance trips to the zoo, the park and to the pool this summer, I'm going to be running around from therapy to therapy.  As a parent of a special needs child, when do I get to just let her be a kid?  There's this constant weight on me as I try to balance this delicate issue.  On one hand, as her Mommy I will do ANYTHING to aid in her rehabilitation, anything to help my baby get better.  But, how much of her childhood do I have to be willing to sacrifice?  If When we begin this therapy, Elena will no longer get to see her friends at her Mother's Day Out Program, no more free Tuesday mornings to snuggle with Mommy, no more therapy-free days, no time to go to the pool or the zoo, no time really for anything during the day but therapy and naps.

It's heartbreaking.  It's hard on me to accomplish it all.  I can't imagine what it's like as a two year old.   I never expected to have to make these decisions for her, and they're becoming much more frequent as we understand more about what she needs and what resources are available.   I feel guilty whether I choose to put her through more therapy or whether I don't.  As her little personality has begun to emerge, she definitely lets me know when she is up for something or not.  I'm afraid she's going to think all Mommy does is put her through therapy.  We are constantly trying to determine which is better for her, therapy of all kinds at all times or more time for typical toddler activities.

It's hard.  Really hard.  I just love this girl so much.  I want everything for her.  I want to give her every opportunity available.  But I also don't want her to feel different than everyone else.  I'm not sure when it's too much, when we're pushing her too hard.  There's too much to even process.  I'm just trying to put one foot in front of the other and praying we're making the right calls.

Even though we're a year and a half into this journey, I'm still learning and understanding every day.  There's so much to balance, so many decisions to make for our Elena.  I'm reminding myself daily that I'm doing the very best that I can.  There is no manual on how to go through this, though I wish there was!  And even though there always seems to be a slew of new issues just when one is resolved, I'm constantly reminded that I'm not in control.  God is shaping this path for us. I remain certain that even in the midst of difficult times, there is a plan and we'll get by.  

And through it all, this girl is pretty darn happy.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.
Abraham Lincoln

For my Mom's present this year, I had our good friend Sam take pictures of our four generations.  The pictures turned out great and I know we'll cherish these shots forever.  These two special women have set the best possible example for me of what a Mother should be.

My Mamaw is quick to make you laugh with her ornery personality, but covers her family in prayer every day of her life.  She raised triplets and my Mom, who was born 14 months later, all while working hard every day on the farm.  She was the epitome of a working mom.  How she did it without disposable diapers, bouncy chairs and Sesame Street, I'll never understand!

My Mom is the happiest person I know.  She has a servant's heart, and is always doing something for someone else.  She raised us three kids to be happy people, with tender hearts and a love of God and family.  She has always been there for us when we've needed her and is always our biggest cheerleader.  I'm so thankful for her!  

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bowling for Brain Injury

A couple months ago our dear friend Lisa emailed Chad and me about participating in the Brain Injury Association of Indiana's fundraiser, Bowling for Brain Injury.  We were so glad she stumbled upon this and immediately signed up a team.

We knew we would have no problem raising the suggested $500 for our team, Laney's Lanes.  However, we were so excited that we actually raised $1,775!  We raised just $100 shy of the #1 team.  Once again, our amazing support network stepped up and showed us just how special our Elena is!  The money we raised supports local outreach, programs and support for the Brain Injury Association of Indiana.  It was all for a great cause.

We had a blast!  I started off on a roll (pun intended!) by bowling a strike on my first turn and was sure to rub it in to my competitive husband!  All in all, it was fun to be with our friends and family supporting a great cause...not to mention brushing up on our bowling skills.

Thanks again to the following people for contributing to Laney's Lanes!
Rich Pentz
Molly Paschal
Allen & Jayme Buchanan
John & Allyson Olsen
Lisa Eichengreen
John & Barbara Hickey
Ron & Brenda Rittenhouse
Eric & Lyndsey Furry
Gregg Boehning
Chris & Brittany Dyer
Steve Furry
Nicole Temples
Joe & Dee Grecu
Matt & Lisa Rittenhouse
Christos & Erin Agelakopoulos
Ken & Amy Suprenant
Joel Gray
Evan Frey
Blake & Natalie Koriath
Kevin & Jenny Clutter
Joel & Jo Meek
Bill & Susie Koriath
Keith & Laura Jackson
Chris & Sam Julka
Kelli & Jeff Waggoner
Kelly Norton
Rande & Ginnie Clevenger
Leah & Joe Matis
Rachel Moorhead
Carrie & Jason Farrow

We are so thankful for all of you!!
 Elena was the real champ considering we were bowling all through her nap time!

Laney's Lanes!
Aaron Frey, Chad, me, Elena, Evan Frey, Lisa Rittenhouse & Matt Rittenhouse

And thanks to Amber Frey for coming out to bowl with us too!