Monday, 24 December 2012
So I heard this girl on the bus ranting about how Nigerian girls have imbibed so much of Western culture that single motherhood is now an accepted way of life. She was obviously from Nigeria as I could recognise that heavy Edo accent anywhere. I didn't mind her venting her opinion but her voice was so loud that other people in the bus were turning to see who this "public speaker" was. Her partner became embarrassed as I noticed the gentle nudge he gave her to lower her voice. But there was no getting her to lower her voice or even shush. I wonder who or what had her riled up! From her one sided conversation I guessed she wasn't a mother or a single mother at that-good for her!. More so everyone is entitled to their opinion including my opinionated unknown and unappreciated co passenger.
Sunday, 23 December 2012
Friday, 21 December 2012
"Sit down Joshua", I screamed. "Don't make me come after you", I continued, straining to grab him as he made a dash for the stairs . Next I knew he was bouncing and jumping on the bed. "Nevermind, I told myself and gave up the chase. Josh could go on and on running round in circles, bouncing on the chair, barely sitting for the whole day. Its enough to drive any sane person mad. I imagined his hyperactivity is related to autism or aren't little boys meant to be quiet? WRONG!!!. I don't have any experience with little children except the one I've garnered from being Joshua's mum which isn't much I presume. I have this belief that Joshua has to behave in a certain kind of way. you know cool calm and collected, prim and proper, gentlemanly etc. So any bad behaviour outside this "picture in my head" must be a feature of autism. Imagine my surprise when a friend's son practically drove the mother nuts at a church event. The poor woman was at her wits end with absolutely no clue on what to do and how to get him to behave. David is a perfectly normal six year old boy without any known health challenge or was I missing out on something. I realised I was! Joshua has been displaying perfectly normal behaviour all along. Boys will be boys. They climb, jump and make a mess,its what little kids do. However, this does not excuse bad behaviour. All this while,I had allowed the doctor's diagnoses to rub me off the joy of enjoying my son and his boyish antics. I had allowed my perspective on "NORMAL" be clouded. I had allowed the label "AUTISM" be linked to my son. Lesson learnt! never allow the facts of a given situation to rub you off the truth of God's word. The fact is Josh has this health challenge but THE TRUTH is "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" James 1:17. Josh is a gift from God therefore he is PERFECTLY NORMAL. Challenges and storms are perfectly normal in our ever changing world but we decide whether to stress, fret, wail and lament in the storm or enjoy the ride and trust God no matter how painful the experience might be. Moreover, Jesus never promised a trouble free ride. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. I have not had a job since college and was initially very bothered but not anymore. In the wake of the economic recession a lot of people are unemployed but some groups are still making money....very much indeed. So instead of dwelling on the recession I've sought ways to develop and improve myself. I choose to believe that ITS ALL GOOD despite the "famine". The truth is, its not about how terrrible the situation is but your perspective of God in that situation. So your perspective matters! Maybe like me, you are having a rough time and think there is something wrong with you. Hold that thought! There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Instead of leaning on your limited understanding, trust God and remember you are not alone. There are many people going through similar tough situations like you. After watching that woman and her son, I realised its all good with Joshua. So go on darling, jump some more but don't break my bed!!!.
Monday, 17 December 2012
Saturday, 15 December 2012
I grimaced as a sharp pain shot through my elbows. I tried desperately to stem my fall with my hands as I tumbled down the stairs. For a split second, I thought my head would hit the bottom last stairs before I plunged into darkness. Thank God, I caught myself just in the nick of time. Gently, I lifted my bruised body and sat down. I hurt all over and my hands felt as if it had been mauled by a mountain bear. “Nothing broken, thank goodness! I exclaimed in the pitch dark. I’d woken up to the sound of my alarm but realised it was not at its usual place at my bedside. Rather the annoying sound was coming from my phone which I’d forgotten downstairs. Sleepily, I FELT for the stairs. Stupidly, I didn’t switch on the light as I didn’t want to wake Joshua. He was deeply asleep and I didn’t want him to wake up that early because it was a Saturday. Next thing I know, this lil missy was rolling down the stairs. Not switching on the light at the time seemed like a very good idea. I have lived in my house for the past four years and was VERY familiar with its every nook and cranny. Manoeuvring a couple of stairs in the dark should be a piece of cake- It was anyway till I found myself at the bottom of the stairs with more than a bruised ego.
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
I remember the first time I met *Simi*. It was at a church event and she'd offered to take me home as my ride to the program was still busy. Simi was a single parent beautiful and elegantly attired. She drove a lovely car and seemed to have it all. Trust me to be carried away by her blings. Imagine my surprise when she turned up at my doorstep the next day for a chat. During the usual "girl talk", she excused herself to make a call. Aproko that I was (still am), I heard her begging the person on the other end of the call for €50. "Please dear, give me the money I'm very broke and barely have fuel in my car and the kids don't have what to take to school", she kept pleading. This went on for over 30 minutes till her credit ran out. With a sigh, she sat at the dinning table with a defeated look. "Simi", I called. "please don't mind my eaves dropping. The person you've been begging for money is he your boyfriend? "No, he's not, but he's been seriously asking me out", she answered. "and you've been begging him for €50 for over 30 minutes and he did not even offer to help you with €20? I asked really amazed. "my sister wetin I go do", she asked almost teary eyed. "the financial burden is just too much". I offered to loan her the money as I couldnt bare to see a fellow sister in need. It didn't matter that I barely knew her. One common problem suffered by most single parents is in the area of FINANCES. Having to cope and sustain a family single-handedly can be financially crippling and stressfull to anybody.Electricity bills, road tax, insurance, groceries, house rent, family committments, bills bills! How does one cope without going off on a limb or compromising one's values. In my sujourn as a single parent, I've noticed that most men refuse to support their ex-wives or partners simply because the love has gone south between them even when children are involved. It is absolutely irresponsible of any man that does not live up to his resposibility as a father to his children no matter the story between him and their mum! Leaving these ladies in vulnerable situations and most resorting to whatever means to survive is simply unfair!. I know some that were abandoned and left to cope with huge debts and morgage to pay.
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
"Hello, is that Joshua's mum?", the strange voice on the phone asked. It was the nice lady from my son's school. My heart pounded in my chest and I wondered what it could be this time. The past few days had been stressful.The daily reports on his school journal had been full of one complain or the other and I had literarilly had it up to my neck and didnt think I could take one more negative report. It was what I feared and worse! Joshua required urgent occupational and speech therapy which the school could not provide because it did not have access to such services. Sad isn't it? A special needs class not having vital support services because of bottlenecks in the Irish Health Services. More like lack of proper planning and execution of relevant necessary programms by the HSE.Heartbreaking!. After dropping the call with Joshy's teacher, my initial reaction was to wrap myself in a ball and cry my heart out but I didn't. No more tears from this lady. Crying helps relieve built up emotional pain but does not provide long time solution to any problem. I did what I'm learning to do in any troubling situation-TURN TO GOD. "lord", I prayed. "you heard what the lady said. Josh has speech and occupational needs. the teachers are at a loss on what to do and I don't know what to do as well". Phil 4:19 ,But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus . Only you can supply joshy's need and I trust you have". I wish I could say that after the prayers, the situation immediately disappeared. It didn't but my perspective changed. I was no longer weighed down but rather relieved! The system is limited and and can only give "this much" help. They are humans afterall and run by less than perfect humans!. The past years as Joshua's mum have been the most challenging in my life. I could handle being pregnant and alone but never bargained for autism. Do I regret the choices I made? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Though I gave up some seemingly "important" positions and opportunities at the time to have a baby, I now realise no amount of money or freedom can compare with the joy of those tiny hands wrapping themselves around me and those slushy kisses. In the early days of his diagnoses, I was understandably angry and blamed the lil lad for everything and even blamed myself. Ofcourse, the devil fed my bitterness afterall "he is the accuser of the brethen. I contantly rapped myself on the head thinking my son was "broken" because I was "broken" too! "why, why why me? I asked no one in particular but quickly learnt that beating myself up would not yield any positive result. I had to deal with the situation at hand. I've had to deal with shame and pity. I remember the times, I feared taking him out to the Mall worrying that he might throw a tantrum or let go of my hand and grab a stranger. Or the pity looks you get from parents who understood or weird looks from people who assume your child is plain unrully. How many people will you explain or apologise to? With time, that haze of bitterness and anger was removed and I now see better. As a single mum there are always challenges that are made even more challenging with a special needs child but those little hiccups are small compared with the joys of motherhood. I've had to face rejection from men who bail out the moment they realise your child's condition despite their initial profession of love(wetin eye never see). Nonetheless, in all GOD IS FAITHFUL. I admit there is still so much work to do but I celebrate every milestone we've achieved together. Joshy hasn't said any clear sound but he understands everything I say. He is also a delight to have in the kitchen probably because He knows my being in the kitchen means something yummy will emerge...lol.
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Happy new month all. 2012 has been a fantastic year for me and I'm so appreciative. It has not been entirely drama free but in the midst of all my challenges, I've learnt a lot. I have discovered more of my weaknesses, some behaviours and attitudes that I never imagined were dormant in me or that I had at all. Above all, I have discovered how strong I really am. Seriously, you never know who you really are untill you are faced with a never before experienced challenge. Most importantly, my challenges never overwhelmed me even when I faltered emotionally, I always come out smiling having learnt a lesson or two from the situation. I'm learning to deal with my anger issues. Yep, anger and bitterness over my past. It's so easy telling one to let go of the past but when underlying issues are not properly addressed, they would eventually fester and affect the future causing more damage. So I am addressing those festering wounds while looking forward to the future. I've also learnt that if I want to trully enjoy that glorious future that is mine, there is the urgent need to carefully and dilligently deal with these matters once and for all."Do not remember the former things,nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth;Shall you not know it? " Isaiah 43:18-19. For God to work his will perfectly in a person's life there must be that sincere acknowledgement of one's weakness and the need for His strength and help. On this journey of healing and transformation, the lord has been my strength and guide. I've learnt to lean and depend on Him constantly.When I find myself digging into that "bag of gaggage" which contains basically crap and lies that the enemy made me believe and carry over the years, I exchange them with the truth of God's words. It works all the time. (never even realised I was still carrying them around!) For instance when I'm feeling low, I just tell myself over and over that "the joy of the lord is my strength". I choose God's words over the devil's. Negative words inflict wounds while the word of God soothes and heals. No wonder I was constantly overwhelmed as a negative attitude is comparable with a dark cloud that broods nothing but storm and bad weather. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" Heb 12:1 Its been a slow but eventful journey. I'd expected to be "all that" but worried that I was not "all that". Dreams and aspirations seemingly not happening yet. In it all I'm Grateful. some of the reasons for my initial discontent was a result of comparing myself with other people whom I felt were doing better than me or were doing what I desired. Until I learnt to appreciate who I am as an individual and where I am, I was never happy. Moreover, the bible says "he that compares himself to another is FOOL" and nobody wants to be called a fool. So I gave myself a much needed nudge in the butt . Like a recovering alcholic, I'm taking little baby steps, not worrying but "running the race that is set before ME) not running another person's race as that only leads to fustration and eventual depression. Until I changed my perspective I was stuck in an emotional rot. I am learning to be CONTENT in all things not LETHAGIC but content and daily appreciating God for the gift of life. As I do these, life has become easier and less stressful because I've learnt to trust "The owner of Life". I remind myself its not so much the destination as much as the beauty of the journey. My life is an unfolding story and I'm learning to enjoy the narration. Its not fast paced as it used to be neither is it boring. The tempo is much different and I'm evolving into the beatiful, confident woman that I'm so grateful for. Despite my challenges- josh's diagnoses, my unemployement etc-I'm leaning more and more on God instead of whinning and complaing even crying but trusting God all the way. After all He started all this....so I'll give Him DRAMA trust me! lol. But its not all bad, Infact its not bad at all rather everything is LOOKING UP and what a PICTURE its turning out to be.