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Good morning happy mothers day

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					Good morning and happy “Mother’s Day.”
My name is Lisa Mang, and I’m honored to
share with you my experience of being a
mother.

I have two beautiful little girls: Courtney,
who is 5, and Carly, who is 3.

I was chosen this year because my story is
different than most in that my younger
daughter Carly is a child with special needs.

When I became a mother almost 6 years
ago, I was given many life lessons.

My relationship with Courtney taught me
lessons in confidence, self-esteem, and most
importantly unconditional love. Older
mothers often remind us to enjoy our
children while they are young. I’ve tried my
best to follow that advice. Courtney and I
were involved in every mommy and me
class and play group we could fit in our
schedule. We made lots of great friends and
really enjoyed our time together. I was so
proud to be her mother, and I’m even more
proud today. She has grown to be a
beautiful, loving little girl, and I’m always
grateful for her and the blessings she brings.

When our second daughter, Carly, came
along, I received different lessons and
blessings.

Although I had a normal pregnancy, when
Carly was born, she wasn’t breathing and
had to be taken immediately to the neonatal
intensive care unit. We later learned that
she had a rare heart defect, where the
tricuspid valve was malformed, and her
heart was unable to push the blood to the
lungs.

Carly was put on a life support machine to
by-pass her heart and lungs, and the doctors
could not tell us if she would live. Carly’s
61/2-week stay in the hospital was the most
terrifying time of my life. Waking up every
morning and going to bed every night with
the same thought, “Will my baby survive?”
To see her everyday with all the tubes and
wires, swollen and discolored from her
organs failing, was very difficult. The
hardest part was not being able to pick her
up and hold her when she cried. Looking
back now, it’s hard to believe all we went
through. We watched Gods miracles daily
as Carly went from a tiny new baby with no
heart, lung, kidney, or liver function to a
beautiful, pink, chubby cheeked baby in six
weeks. Although she would be leaving the
hospital with oxygen, a heart monitor, a
feeding tube in her stomach, and a 6 month
return date for heart surgery, we finally felt
the worst was behind us and that Carly was
coming home and would be fine.

Before leaving the hospital, the doctors were
able to run the tests that confirmed the fear
they had from the beginning. I still
remember the devastation as the doctor
explained to my husband and I that Carly
had suffered a severe brain injury as a result
of her lack of oxygen. Although he could
not predict the future, he felt Carly would
have difficulty using her limbs for walking
and other motor skills. He felt she would
not lead a normal childhood and would
require special schooling. Carly had
cerebral palsy. Of course, my husband and I
were devastated. I couldn’t imagine ever
being happy again. I was convinced that
everyday seeing my daughter unable to do
the things other kids could do would cause
me tremendous pain that would last forever.

That first year was very difficult. However,
time does heal all pain as they say and boy
am I grateful. I didn’t want my life to be sad
everyday. And day by day the sadness was
replaced with joy again.
To help explain what this experience was
like I would like to read “Welcome To
Holland” written by Emily Pearl Kingsley.




    WELCOME TO HOLLAND
By Emily Perl Kingsley.

I am often asked to describe the
experience of raising a child with a
disability - to try to help people who
have not shared that unique experience to
understand it, to imagine how it would
feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's
like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to
Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks
and make your wonderful plans. The
Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The
gondolas in Venice. You may learn some
handy phrases in Italian. It's all very
exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the
day finally arrives. You pack your bags
and off you go. Several hours later, the
plane lands. The stewardess comes in
and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you
mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm
supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've
dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight
plan. They've landed in Holland and
there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't
taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy
place, full of pestilence, famine and
disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide
books. And you must learn a whole new
language. And you will meet a whole
new group of people you would never
have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-
paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.
But after you've been there for a while
and you catch your breath, you look
around.... And you begin to notice that
Holland has windmills....and Holland has
tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming
and going from Italy... and they're all
bragging about what a wonderful time
they had there. And for the rest of your
life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was
supposed to go. That's what I had
planned."

But... if you spend your life mourning
the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you
may never be free to enjoy the very
special, the very lovely things ... about
Holland.


Carly is three now. At a year and a half, we
began a program directed by the Institute for
the Achievement of Human Potential in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Institute
creates an elaborate, dedicated home
program to be conducted by the family.

We work with Carly 8-10 hours a day on
things like crawling, eating, talking,
standing, and using her left arm. We even do
a reading program to help her vision and
increase her understanding of the world. All
these things come naturally for healthy
children, but for some children with brain
injuries, these skills must be taught over and
over. “Frequency, intensity, and duration”
is the motto of the Institute, and it has
definitely become our motto as we do our
daily therapies with Carly.
Before starting this program, we had relied
entirely on the doctors and therapists to tell
us what to do with Carly. We lost our
confidence in being Carly’s parents and
knowing what was best for her. This
program gave us back our confidence and
put us in charge of Carly’s development just
like we were with Courtney. We take Carly
back to the Institute every 6 months where
they evaluate her progress and give us new
things to work on. We are so grateful for all
of Carly’s progress so far. She currently
crawls 300 meters a day. It’s not a perfect
crawl, but it allows her to get from one place
to another. We hope that with practice, it
will become perfect and lead her to walk.
Recently, she started consistently eating
food by mouth. At this point, finally, it’s
looking like removing the feeding tube is a
real possibility. We look forward to all the
new things she will achieve in the future
regardless of how long it takes.
You may be tempted to think how sad, but I
can honestly tell you I feel no sadness at all.
All of this was very sad and very scary at
first but as time has gone on I am able to see
a lot more joy and love that has come from
this experience.

I was able to rid myself of some fear and
sadness about 6 months ago. I was reading
an article about children with special needs
and the author wrote “When we believe that
something bad has happened to our child
and to us we lose touch with our
appreciation for our child and our delight in
their presence.”

“Delight in their presence”

Those words went straight to my heart and
when I tried to read them back to my
husband I could barely speak through the
tears.
We loved Carly. We worked with her every
day, but it was like a gray cloud hung over
us. I don’t think I even realized it was there
until reading that. We believed we were
making the best of a bad situation. But the
fact, we viewed our situation as bad,
blocked us from fully enjoying our daughter.

I wanted to delight in my second daughter’s
presence just like I did with my first
daughter. Really what was the difference,
we don’t love our children because they
walk or talk. Sometimes, we love them
inspite of the fact that they walk and talk.

I realized that my daughter was no less a gift
from God than any child, and she deserved
to be cherished in every way. She should not
be thought of something bad or sad for what
she is not, but she should be celebrated for
all that she is.
When my husband and I focus on our lives
one day at a time and resist the temptation to
try to predict what the future will bring. We
see Carly crawl to us to be picked up, smile,
laugh, kiss, hug, and say mama and dada.
We realize our lives are not that different
from anyone else.

I used to really have a hard time believing
people when they would say that some
tragic event in their lives was a blessing. I
thought to myself, “Well, what else are they
going to say.” Of course, they would not
choose that life if they had a choice.

But when I really think about the person I
am today compared to 3 years ago and when
I think of the marriage I have today
compared to 3 years ago and when I think
about the lesson in love that my 5-year-old
daughter is getting everyday. The peace and
joy that I feel due to my relationship with
God. I am thoroughly convinced these
things would not have happened had it not
been for Carly.

I am truly and totally grateful.

It’s been said that true joy comes not from
ease or riches or praise from people, but
from doing something worthwhile. This has
certainly been true for me. Becoming a
mother and having the opportunity to help
my daughter in such a profound way has
been the most worthwhile thing I have ever
done and it brings me tremendous joy
everyday.

Our family has become a great team
working together. It is not always easy. But
seeing all Carly’s progress makes it all
worth while. We all feel grateful to be a
part of a family that has had the opportunity
to show each other that if at anytime you
need something you know your family will
do what ever it takes to help.
When we started this program 2 years ago,
we had to ask for volunteers to help us with
a part of the program that required 3 people
4 hours a day. This was an overwhelming
thought because we were not the type of
people to ask anyone for anything. We were
amazed at how many people were willing to
help us. These people consisted of relatives,
friends, neighbors, and Mike’s co-workers.

Our friends and neighbors were the first
volunteers we had and they helped support
us in many ways while we were getting
started. The church provided another source
of help through the incredible new friends I
had just met during a MOMs group. When
we needed therapy help on the weekends, St.
Stephen posted the need in the bulletin,
mentioned it at mass, and within one week
we had several volunteers, who still work
with us each Saturday. I also like to point
out Mike’s co-workers include 7 computer
engineers who take turns everyday coming
to our house after work to help with Carly.
Their love and dedication for Carly has been
an amazing thing to see. In addition,
people, we had never met, would hear about
our situation and show up at our front door.
So as you can see we have had an incredible
opportunity to see the better side of life. My
life has been enriched by each of these
people in some way. I consider myself
lucky to know them.

These people have given their time, their
energy, but mostly their love to help our
little girl. 14 of Carlys angels are members
of this church. For those of you who are
here today, on behalf of my whole family, I
would like to thank you from the bottom of
our hearts for all that you do and have done.
Without all of you, we would not be where
we are today. I hope you truly realize how
important you have been to us.
I would also like to say a special thank you
to my husband, who I admire and learn from
daily. By simply saying, “How did I get so
lucky?”

In closing, I would like to wish all of you a
wonderful Mothers Day, and urge you to
question any beliefs that keep you from fully
enjoying your loved ones.

Thank you.

				
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