"God doesn't give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with special needs doesn't take a special family, it makes a special family."
" Faith makes life possible. Hope makes life workable. Love makes life beautiful."

The Winwards

The Winwards

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tanner's Leg Surgery

Tanner's left leg and foot have been rotating inward for awhile now.  We have tried derotational straps, twister cables, higher bracing with a KAFO (Knee Ankle Foot Orthodic), and nothing seem to correct or help the issue.  So on December 13th 2013, Tanner had surgery on his left leg. 
He was in the hospital for 2 days for observation.  Tanner has quite a time waking from anesthesia, so they watch him close.  

Tanner was completely and utterly BRAVE before the surgery.  All smiles, and no tears. 

His cast was split to leave room for swelling and lots of padding.  He ended up with 2 pins in his foot. 

After a couple of weeks, more casting was added to close the gap a bit.  The Dr started the wrong way, so Tanner ended up with a crisscross cast, instead of it being striped.  He didn't mind, he thought it was cool!  

Tanner had the cast on for a total of 8 weeks.  He was so done with it when it was time for removal. 

Look at all that padding!  There were also foam pads on the side and top of his foot to protect the pins. 

The pins were removed the same day.  This is one occasion where I am very thankful that Tanner has no feeling in his foot.  Because otherwise I'm sure it would have been pretty painful!  I couldn't even watch!  

Tanner's foot is so straight now, and he loves his "wheelie awesome" scar! We tell him that his scars are marks of his bravery.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Remembering my Dad

Really missing my Dad today. It's been over 3 years since he went back to heaven, but I miss him just the same. Watching this video of pictures brings back so many memories. I


Friday, July 19, 2013

The Invisible Mother

t all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’
Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? 
Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’
Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock? Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner?’
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, and she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 
A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 
When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, ‘You’re gonna love it there…’ 
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Just Because

For me, having a child with disabilities has been tough. The extra stress that comes along with it, and the worry is almost too much to handle at times.  It's racked our marriage to the point of breaking, and me as a person to the point that I wonder how I'll ever make it through. 
I get asked all too often how I handle it, or how I do it. I don't do it because I have too, I do it because I can. Because I love him! Because he has helped shape me into the person I am today.
Some days it takes all my strength just to smile and keep going.  Knowing that one day, what I'm doing will make a difference. I've been told that i'm such a strong woman. But its hard to feel that way, when I'm screaming on the inside for some normalcy. But what is normalcy, really? Society has painted normal to be something magnificent. Something practically impossible to obtain, especially for someone with "extras". 
I find myself getting bitter and angry because I didn't ask to be a special needs mom, it just happened.  Why me?  Why him? Why our family?  

One of the hardest things to deal with are the constant looks, stares, comments, and just plain ignorance from other people.  We get it everywhere that we go.  Yes, my son is in a wheelchair, but he is still my son. That is what matters most. It saddens me deeply how some people choose to treat others that are different.  Tanner's wheelchair has caster wheels that light up, and ironically that is the first thing and sometimes the only thing that people notice.  I wish more people in this world could see the person, and not just the wheelchair.  

A little reminder to please treat others as you would have others treat you and/or your child.

Thought of the month, August 2012 from You and Your Disabled Child page - 

"It's very easy to hurt the parents of a child with disabilities by ignoring or excluding the child, staring in disbelief, snickering, or looking away. On the other hand it's just as easy to make their heart swell with pride by responding to a smile, recognizing an achievement, offering inclusion or simply acknowledging the presence of the child. All parents - quite frankly - think their own children are wonderful, and those fortunate enough not to have to watch theirs struggle to cope with a disability should take a moment to think of the impact their reaction can have on those who do."