"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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rest In Peace my Maple

My Maple, you were 3 months old when we got you, and 9 years old at death. Born `Nov 3rd, 2005 - Died Nov 18th, 2014. 
We loved you so much! Best friend a girl and family has ever had. We will miss you! So Heartbroken.

 I had to beg Ray to get you in the first place.  Traded a years worth of gifts, I wanted you so much.  You became my best pal, as I knew hardly anyone here in Arizona.  I watched you grow, learn, and love (put up with), and play with  my boys.

You were my best friend.  Loved me no matter what.  Never selfish or judgmental.  You were such a precious gift from heaven and will always hold a place in our hearts and memories.

You were an awesome snuggler.Daddy didn't want you sleeping in our bed, so I would wait until he was sleeping before I lifted you up to cuddle with me.  And then I would put you in your bed when I got up the next morning.  That didn't last long, and you were sleeping in our bed with us.  You would scoot as close as you could possibly get to me or daddy.  I will miss that, and miss your snuggles.  

When you were a puppy you would cuddle with my feet when I ate at the table. You always had to be close to me and were forever under my feet.  I will miss that too.  

Always so full of life, wanting to play fetch or run. Oh how you loved to play ball. You had many favorite balls throughout your life. You were a chewer, loving to chew on many things.  We buried you with your favorite ball and bone.  You never really did grow out of the puppy phase. I will miss your endless energy and joy in life.    

You were always very protective of me and the boys, and very territorial.  But you always loved playing with your buddy, Blueberry (Ray's sister's dog).   The way you would play with Blueberry was indeed comical.  You could turn around so your butt was facing Blueberry and scratch your feet like a bull back and forth, while pushing into her.  So funny!  You loved to wrestle and run with her, and I'm sure she will miss you. 

You loved to lay and warm in the sun.  Always seeking out the warmest spot on on the floor or couch. 

I miss the sound your claws made as you walked or ran across the tile.  Following me everywhere.  You always had to be with me, and I will miss that constant companionship. 

You were never really sure of "Men" that came to our house.  It took awhile for you to warm up to them.  We called it your "men complex".  You even looked at Ray wearily at first.  

You loved to burrow in and sleep under blankets. If there was a blanket around you were under it, especially if we were under the blanket too.  We will also miss that.  

 You were excited about every new toy, big or small. Excited to eat (even things you weren't supposed too). Learning to beg standing on your hind legs.  Wagging your tail so fast it was one big blur. 

I will miss the way you looked at me with so much intensity.  And how excited you were when I came home.  So excited you could hardly contain yourself. 

I miss your barking, the noise you made as you ate your food, the sounds you made while sleeping and dreaming,  the way you growled at only certain people. 

I will miss your kind heart, your unyielding loyalty, and fierce love. 

I will miss a lot of things about the 9 years we spent together.  But most of all, I will miss my best friend, My Maple.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Spina Bifida Awareness Days 21-31

Day # 21 
Every life is a miracle, we all have differences, and that is what makes us all so unique. 

Day #22

Day # 23

Day #24
It's not hard to love someone born with Spina Bifida!

Day #25 

Some say that -

Day # 26

Like every parent, mothers and fathers of children with Spina Bifida eagerly wait for their child to reach those “all important” developmental milestones. We get all the same emails (sometimes even if we've unsubscribed!) each month telling us what our baby should be doing. It can be very disheartening, not to mention frightening, when we watch our little one fail to develop these important skills. But over time you learn that he/she will meet those milestones when they are ready. At the same time you come to grips with the reality that some skills will take many years to acquire, if ever even possible at all. And finally, you hold on to Hope, whether in your heart or in your faith in God, for the miracles to happen right before your eyes.
Tanner learned to sit at 8 months old, army crawl at 10 months, 4 point crawl at 12 months, and pull to stand at 18 months. He didn't progress to independent standing or walking, and probably never will. That is one of the things that, I as his mom, have had to come to grips with. I am OK with him using a wheelchair! It gives him freedom, and he LOVES it. I have learned that walking is not everything. And I wish society would feel the same way. He is SO AWESOME the way he is!
"Life is not a matter of milestones, but of Moments"

Day # 27 

Tanner loves to play with other kids.  He is a kid after all.  Using a wheelchair doesn't change that one bit! 

Day # 28 
Having a child with a disability of any kind can be particularly challenging for the sibling(s). It’s not easy when your mom and dad have to spend extra time caring for your brother. When, in their concern to meet all his needs, they inadvertently spend less time with you. Maybe they expect more of you without realizing it. Maybe they ask you to understand things that your little heart and mind just simply can’t yet. Having a sibling with a disability can be tough but it can also be one of life’s unexpected blessings. It can teach you to be empathetic and enable you to understand what acceptance really means, even at a young age. It can teach you the beauty of gratefulness for even the most basic aspects of life. Having a sibling with special needs enlarges your heart with a fierce and protective love, a love that we need more of in this world.

Tanner is my oldest, Connor was unplanned. But has been such a blessing to our family. He has been such a great brother for Tanner. Tanner and Connor have loved each other from the very beginning! They play (and fight) together, learn from each other, and push each others limits. It's so fun to watch. Connor puts up with all the extra appts, and therapies, and does so with a smile! He doesn't see Tanner as different. He sees Tanner as his brother!


Day # 29 

Spina Bifida is one of those roads. A hard road at times, but beautiful destinations and futures. So many awesome people that we've come to know along the way. We support one another, and that's what love is. To all those out there, you know who you are. Thank you for your friendship, love, companionship, and for simply caring. 

Day # 30 

Day # 31

Having a child born with Spina Bifida does not make me any stronger, wiser, or more courageous than any other mom. I've simply learned to adapt to our new life because I love my child, and well, do I really have another choice?
There is one saying that I've heard often, and am starting to dread hearing. "God only gives special kids to special people." With all due respect, I am beginning to dislike that saying. I smile on the outside, but scream on the inside. I know that people mean the best by it, but its not what moms of special needs kids need to hear. And its also not the truth. The truth is that God can give anyone, even you, a child with special needs.

I never thought it would happen to me. But it has, and I wouldn't ever change it!
So next time you see a special needs child out with their family, remember this.
"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."