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Makin’ history and gettin’ Lit with The Mayor at the town square!?!

Written By: teamcharliebear - Apr• 04•14

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My Daddy always told me one day I’d end up on the front page surrounded by blue lights with something close to that title line above written near my name. I think he and I both expected it to play out just a little bit different than it has, but at least one of us can say that they’re pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Sorry daddy, I’ll try harder for springer status next time ;)
In all honesty, this week has been a blur. Planning an event imagelike this is very new to me and if I had any illusion of my organizational skills, that is a thing of the past! From what I can tell, great friends and motivation trump just about everything when it comes to doing something you love. The rest of it seems to find a way if you have those two. There’s no questioning my motivation where my kids are concerned and of course other children too. That’s something I am just driven to fight for. It’s not because I’m some “great person who should be admired” or even wants to be. In fact, DONT!

imageThe truth is I will always feel like I have something to outrun in myself. Those months or year(s) that Charlie didn’t get the help he needed. That I allowed the excuse of no insurance to keep me from looking for help even after the depression/denial kept me from it. Then I struggled to find it when I did look! So you see… I know no one is judging me, or at least they shouldn’t be. If they are they dang sure ain’t judging me the way I feel like I do myself! I will never run fast enough to get back that time for my child. Logic tells me that most children don’t get diagnosed before age four which is beyond that “crucial early intervention” phase as well. Charlie likely wouldn’t have gotten the help he needed but overall my issue is that the help resources are not handy or easy to find. The diagnosis process is too long and wait listed and that is crucial time as well. Availability and resources will make this a more navigable community for caregivers of those living with ASD. It will in turn be an easier world to navigate for the person living on the spectrum. One day, hopefully soon that will happen.
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Today I’m just in awe of what I’ve witnessed in this town. So many people came out to show support. There were banners of children living bravely each day. Brothers and sisters of all ages shaking their parents down for cupcake donation money… None more so than my sweet sugar addicted Whistler whom I was certain was gonna need a rehab by 10pm at the pace she was going. All meltdowns were welcome too. This came in handy when I invited my family I thought, but sadly none of them could make it. I was the only one who got the pleasure. It imagewas a beautiful night. I guess I just couldn’t help but get a little misty eyed by the fact that when I say it’s been a rough four years I mean ….it’s been ROUGH. So when I sat there after not sleeping in a month run ragged. Trying to pull off something of the likes I’ve never even TRIED before…and I saw all the people that did their parts at their homes, schools, businesses around town AND we still got to help families receive treatment that otherwise might not get them..?
I don’t know what YOU call that, but I call it WINNING!

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As luck would have it I think TCB will be partnering up in the park on June 28th with the United Way. We will be hosting a variety of things to sell for the same cause as before. Families that need treatments for autism related therapies at Springfield Pediatric Therapy Center AND… we will have our own bouncy house just for our special needs friends to bounce in! Siblings of our friends are welcome because we know how helpful they can be :) We look forward to serving the community again and hope you’ll join our walk team in the 5k that day as well as help our booth with ideas. (Bracelets, earrings, baked goods) we can sale anything we choose! :)
Leave comments here or find us on Facebook under Team Charlie Bear or contact the united way of Robertson county Tennessee if you want to donate items.

Reckon that “BatBear signal” might come in handy after all… ;) image

Wrangling Demons…

Written By: teamcharliebear - Mar• 09•14

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I have this particularly bad habit of creating projects to keep myself busy. Usually just busy enough to avoid dealing with whatever other thing I’m finding overwhelming right then.
- there’s an IEP coming up for Charlie.
- there’s a wedding to plan.
- I have to pack and move in three months!
- I need to find and tour schools (while still in session)for the kids to go to next year.
It might be an emotional thing or another project itself. Either way, what inevitably ends up happening is I get overwhelmed by all of it. The emotions I was avoiding by doing them catch me, and then I lose my motivation to finish all (if any) of these well meaning distractions.image
I’m not sure exactly what I was avoiding by creating all the projects I have about painting a town/towns blue and what have you. What I do know is that in that process, and one other random circumstance.. I was hit with a moment of painful reality. First, allow me to say that I was going through old photos trying to find the one I had in my mind of Bill Jones. I found it and there he is. Look at that Pimp! Every once in a while I will see an old truck like that and my heart stops for just a second and I hold my breath as it goes by. It’s not as if I think he’s driving the thing. Lord, I should hope not! That just wouldn’t be good for lots of reasons…

imageI didn’t just find that photo however. I came across the photo (one of two really) from my childhood that has always haunted me. It was everything that was “wrong” with me then and how I still see myself now. This gawky, goofy looking girl who never seemed to fit in with any group. I wasn’t smart enough to be a geek. I’d say I was more of a dork. I wasn’t athletic enough to be a jock or popular/pretty enough for the cheerleaders. Frequently ridiculed for outlandish, ridiculous things. As an adult I can see it wouldn’t have mattered. Kids will find something to pick on. We were poor, but I don’t really remember ever feeling ashamed of what we did or didn’t have. I do remember getting my feelings hurt by kids who made fun of the best my parents could do for me. Or when I chose to wear something that didn’t agree with their idea of cool. Our clothes came from bags of cousin hand me downs and fresh from the yard sales. That is, until I got a little older and we went big time. Then we got our school threads at Walmart!
imageI kept my head down in the halls by high school, usually aiming for invisibility. I had become accustomed to being a well rounded outcast at that point. A band geek and a drama freak. In an odd way, I’d found my place. I never dated but my schedule was packed and structured. Which I thrived on. I worked, did marching and concert bands, and plays as well as drama tournaments. Rehearsal times took the place of homework times but I was acing band and drama. It’s not as if I thought I’d need to be a lawyer, teacher, therapist or anything like that. I just needed to learn how to act, right?
With a kid like Charlie I’ve had a crash course in all of those things the past couple years. Still, to walk into a high school, or any school and talk to these kids like I have any idea what I’m doing? Can I do that? Can the tortured child in this photo do that?
imageLet me tell you something about this picture that’s torn and stained. You know what else I see when I look at it? I mean, besides that awful FemmeMullet. I see the dress my Aunt Pat made for me with her own two hands. I remember the sewing machine at Papa and Mumsie’s old house where it looked out the window. I remember her measuring me and her giving me a choice in two fabrics. I was so proud to wear it for school picture day. We shared the same birthday, my aunt and I. I was due the 25th but she told my mother to wait a day and have me on her birthday. She always had a way of getting what she wanted, and I’ve been late for everything ever since!
Something about revisiting places that once made you feel so voiceless is terrifying to me.
What the heck am I doing? Sometimes I don’t even know myself, but I think I might just pull this off. I certainly hope I do. I am pretty sure that I’ve come a long way since my days of sleeping through Mayor Howard Bradley’s class. Terribly sorry, Sir.
These past years have taught me that I am resourceful if nothing else. I’m proud of where I am now. I got pretty lucky since I didn’t exactly chose every turn it took to get here. I am not now, nor will I ever be ashamed of where I was. Perhaps most importantly, I like where I’m headed.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid to face the speaking engagements I have coming up. Lucky for me I turned the page of the photo album I was flipping through, and saw this… image

Sam, the eleven pound catfish I caught. They told me not to name it or I wouldn’t eat it. I told them he needed a name for an occasion like this when I was talking years later and was all like “you remember Sam?” …by the way, Sam was delicious.

I like this picture. It serves as a nice reminder at these self doubt times proof positive of what a badass I am. See that rope? Yep, wrangled him like a wild steer, I did! Straight up lassoed him! Never saw me coming poor thing.
I think I can handle some high school kids and Girl Scouts. Shoot, I’ve walked over bigger people than them to get to a fight! I so got this!

What does all this blue mean really…?

Written By: teamcharliebear - Mar• 02•14

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For years Autism Speaks has had an annual light it up blue campaign on April 2nd for World Autism Awareness Day. Their efforts have included, fund raisers, signing of proclamations stating awareness and other things that I will let you see for yourself in the video I’ve provided below.

As you can see, it’s kind of a big deal. For families like mine this day holds an even bigger meaning. I’m not naive enough to think that I’m the only one with a family member to ever struggle with this. When you spend the majority of your time running to and from therapies, you’re either too tired or simply too protective to put your child into unnecessary and uncomfortable social settings. Therefore, I might meet like moms and dads at therapy centers, but for the most part we keep to ourselves at home. The numbers are so high with autism, but yet somehow we often feel so alone with it. The isolation largely to blame. For that one day a year when folks are tagging our Facebook wall with how they lit their homes, or what they wore to work or school to show support. Seeing the news reports and different channel logos changed to blue. It’s all a little reminder and nudge of encouragement that we aren’t alone in this. Perhaps the most touching thing is that those of you who would otherwise have no attachment to the cause have gone to the trouble to show your support in these ways. Some of you will even send me “happy blue day” texts! Bless you for knowing I need that… Just one day to celebrate the differences that we have no vacation from.

I come from a Dad who prides himself on being a realist, and he can be a little hardcore about it. Last year, when shown our Blue/Awareness video he was less than impressed. He said, “autism doesn’t need a blue day, it needs a green day! Without money nothing will get done.” I admit he has a point but there are always ways to throw money at the cause if you’re interested. Don’t let me stop you! My goal at the moment is a bit more simple. I just want hope to shine a little brighter in these two towns I’m working on lighting up next month. Any town really! For the cost of a blue light at lowes or Home Depot to replace your already existing porch lights  YOU can make families like us know they aren’t as alone as they think. Doesn’t that sound worth it? Sure, a cure and prevention for autism would be great. The reality in my world is that it’s already here and it needs treatment. Both medical and humane! Please join our efforts this year. Doesn’t matter if you’re business or residential, or if you’re in our town or not! We want you involved. Send your pics to our TCB page on the book of face here.

Together, we can change how the world views autism…one bulb at a time.

We are already planning a few big things our way. I’m so excited I can barely stand it! There’s a preview video in the top right corner.
Below are the buildings in Springfield and Greenbrier we have so far that plan to Light it Up for Autism in April:

  • The Robertson County Courthouse
  • United Way of Robertson Co.
  • Torino’s Greek and Italian Restaurant
  • The old WSGI bldg on Main St.
  • Eckles
  • Valvoline
  • Payne Chevrolet
  • Cunningham
  • Springfield High School
  • Greenbrier Elementary School
  • Kids Connection of Greenbrier

We’d like to thank the Andy SoldIt Team of Keller William’s Reality for donating all the lights for the Courthouse Project. That was amazingly gererous of you! On behalf of the families around Robertson County…This means so much more than you will ever know to us. Thank you Mayor Howard Bradley for recognizing these children and adults on the spectrum. Let Hope Shine this April!

P.S.  I used the picture of the Empire State Building because it’s one of my favorite places on the planet.  When I’m standing up there I feel like anything is possible. There is Hope for ANYTHING!  Nothing wears the Blue better than that in my opinion…nothing! Except maybe our Courthouse..guess we’ll hafta wait and see ;)

Answering Your Questions

Written By: teamcharliebear - Feb• 17•14

 

 

What a difference a year makes…

Written By: teamcharliebear - Jan• 19•14

It makes my head spin to think about all the events that took place over the last year.  I filed a lawsuit, lost my Grandmother and my job. Got a job, won a lawsuit, and I got engaged! At least I can say it has been anything but boring!  Oh I’m sorry, I haven’t told you guys about the engagement yet. It breaks down like this….

imageWe’d been ring shopping for a while so I knew this was coming….eventually.  Truthfully, he had gotten my ring size around last April, but clearly he was in no rush.  By the time he finally ordered my ring,  it wasn’t ready by our anniversary. Instead, I got a pair of sparkly and fuzzy boots/house shoes.   Well, at least it had sparkle to it..Ha!  Same thing happened with Christmas..no ring.  I figured he was going to ask me on New Year’s Eve because the kids were suppose to be with their Dad. We had plans to go to a friend’s house, but I got word that the kids would need to be with me after all.  I asked him if he was still going to the party and he said “not without you. I will just come hang out with you and the kids”. I was sure he wasn’t going to ask me in front of them. I knew we’d likely be in private when he did…I was wrong. He  brought the friends and the party to me.  Then the ball dropped.  He said “I think I got your glass, baby”.  He handed me an empty glass with the ring in the bottom of it, and said “will you marry me, baby?”  I guess y’all can figure out the rest ;)

He later told me that if Abigail and her friend weren’t being so rambunctious that he would’ve involved her in it. He was going to have her give me the glass. I was floored that he did this with an audience, and to top it off he was going to include my daughter in the whole ordeal. I love this man…He’s something else. Stick around…Mr. & Mrs. Smith (part 2) is just around the corner.

 

533625_10151142758661794_1550825269_nThere may be a wedding to plan, but my mind is elsewhere today. My thoughts are with my Mumsie and I can’t help but be a little sad. She can’t be here for all the things ahead.  Today is the anniversary of her death,  and it hasn’t gotten any easier for me to deal with the void she left.  To be such a small woman, she certainly took up a lot of space in people’s hearts.  Her laugh was contagious and sounded like home to me…I loved making  her laugh.  It’s not a great trait to be able to memorize dates and times by accident.  Apparently I have passed it on to my daughter. MUMSIE She brought it up about a month ago that she remembered  the day too.  She is with her father  hopefully not thinking about it.  When I spoke to her earlier she seemed ok and never mentioned it. I know what she means when she says it feels like just yesterday, but it feels like It’s been forever since I’ve seen her too.   Abigail  is absolutely right.  I can remember that day so clearly. It was cold. My cousin (I call her Moonshine) was in from out of town and she and I had been tag teaming staying with our Grandmother.  Mumsie had only had one wish and that was she didn’t want to die alone. I promised her I wouldn’t leave her.  We knew she was getting close on the 18th. She hadn’t even been able to respond for more than a day. She had lost the ability to speak before that.  She would sleep a lot and when she was awake she would look at me and point to her heart.  63595_10151224924371794_104675800_nThis meant “I will always be in your heart. You will carry me with you”  and was something that she had said to me a  couple days before she lost her voice.  I try to remember the good talks we had, but for some reason today I can still remember her suffering, and it still feels fresh. It haunts me at times.  Moonshine and her sister and I were the only ones in the room when she finally stopped fighting to breathe.  Every breath had sounded like a struggle for over a day, and I admit that by then I was praying she would let go. It killed me to listen to her lungs filling up with fluid. She was so graceful and strong. Beautiful inside and out.  To see her that way was too much to take. She deserved better… so much better than that.  At least she wasn’t alone. My cousins and I kept her wish, and she left surrounded by love.

I still haven’t been to her grave since the day she was buried.  I don’t know when I will be able to really face that.  I have trouble even taking the kids to their doctor’s office because it’s only two doors down from where my Grandmother lived…and died. Perhaps one day I won’t feel paralyzed every time I think about that night or see a clock on the exact time….but that day isn’t today evidently.

ME & MUMSIEIn closing I will tell you the story of how Mumsie got her name.  My Father didn’t feel comfortable calling her “mom” after he and Mom married. He said “Mrs. Luke” just seemed too formal. He decided that “Mumsie” suited her. He had heard it somewhere and it just stuck.  When my brother was born and began talking my parents said he had a terrible fit one day. He was asking for “Friendsie” and they tried every teddy bear and blanket or toy they could find but it wasn’t “Friendsie”.  My Grandmother use to stop by about everyday when she would get off work and visit with us. When she arrived that day my brother got very excited and started screaming “Friendsie! Friendsie! Friendsie!”  They finally realized she was what he was pitching a fit for.  No one knows why he started calling her that, but he did for a long time and then just stopped. When I was born and started toddling and talking everyone was calling her Mumsie.  Then one day out of the blue, I just started calling her Friendsie but I had never heard anyone do that.  What can I say? Just more proof that my family is just plain weird.  Funny thing is that we were right about her.  She was absolutely the best “friendsie” that I’ll ever have.

I bet she is somewhere beautiful….1544570_10151925523596794_914733827_n