Well, hello there! I know, it’s definitely been a while. Apologies to my thousands of fans (insert laugh here) who patiently waited for me to get off my lazy butt and entertain them with a new blog post. Truth is…. I’m exhausted. I’ve been exhausted for about…… well, as long as I can remember. When my job as a first grade teacher isn’t taking up all my time, then my own kids are. The teenager, the special needs kid, and the terrible toddler…..they consume me! And that’s okay. I love these little turds, I really do, but they are sucking the life out of me! I feel and look much older than I really am.
So much has happened since the last time I blogged that I don’t even know where to begin. See, since I’m so tired, my mind is also kind of foggy. So as I sit here trying to figure out what exactly to write about, I’ve got Taylor screaming at me that she wants “Mo wahwah,” and lucky for her I can decipher that request. In case you’re wondering, she wants “more water.” I’ve got Carter trying to pull me to the bathroom so I can give him a bath. On top of that, I’ve got a pile of laundry to do, dishes to wash, and this blog post to finish. School has been kicking my butt, however, I have done some reevaluating on what’s more important and that’s my family. My family comes first. I have a lot to think about regarding my career, but I’m sure I’ll figure it all out.So, let me update you about some exciting things that have taken place since I last blogged: Quang & I got married and we took a 5 day relaxation to California (without the children), wow! Taylor got potty trained, yay! We’re working on building a house. Andddddd, Carter started talking!
And there’s more! My last blog post was about my cousin’s journey with Acute Myelitis. He and his family are still fighting for him to get better. He’s a tough kid and his parents are even tougher. For more information about what’s happening with them, check out the latest post, Miracle in Maryland.
Soooooo……..I finally got married! After 15 years of awesomeness, we finally became the Nguyens!
Now, let’s talk about one of those exciting things that happened. Carter started talking! One of the most exciting things ever for us! We waited 7 long years to hear his voice and it was so overwhelming. He still struggles to speak and articulate most words, so his voice doesn’t sound exactly as it should, but it’s still so good to hear.
One night when I was taking him out of the bath, he said “Cold.” I froze for a second because I couldn’t believe what I just heard. Did he just say it was cold? Did he just say it out loud in a clear voice? I told him to say cold again and he did. My eyes watered. A lump formed in my throat, but I managed to get out, “Carter, it’s so great to hear your voice.” And I meant it. I hugged him and he just laughed. I know he thinks I’m silly sometimes, but I definitely get emotional at any little thing Carter accomplishes. This was a BIG thing, so imagine my emotions.
Once we got dressed I was trying to get Carter to say anything I could get him to say. I grabbed my phone and hit Facebook Live to let everyone hear Carter’s amazing voice. I had him saying so much stuff. When I told him to say, “I Love You” and he said it back to me, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was flooded with so many emotions that I had to stop recording. I sat in the moment with Carter and took it all in. All his struggles. All his achievements. All things that have passed and all this yet to come. I finally heard Carter say, “I Love You” and I know he meant it. He wasn’t just repeating it. He was feeling it. My heart exploded and my stomach did flips. Even now as I think about it, I’m a blubbering fool. When Quang came home, I couldn’t wait to show him Carter’s new achievement. I whispered in Carter’s ear to say, “I love you, daddy.” He looked at his daddy and said, “I love you, daddy.” Quang looked at me with shock. I laughed and nodded.
“When did that happen?” he asked still in shock.
“Literally just now,” I answered still crying.
“That’s so good, son” Quang said.
We were both so proud. That was about four months ago. This past year Carter has done so much growing. I’m not sure what has helped Carter so much, but I think I would say it’s a combination of things. He’s got great teachers at school, he’s got a little sister who talks a lot and plays with him, and he’s just getting older. All of these things have worked together to help Carter continue to grow and learn. It’s been an amazing year and we’re excited to see what’s to come. Although Carter’s speech is progressing slowly and we still have to prompt him to say things, we are still so excited about his progress.
In my dark days dealing with Carter’s Autism, I would think that he would be in high school wearing diapers and throwing a tantrum, unable to express what he is feeling. It’s depressing. It’s so hard to constantly be optimistic when dealing with something that is so unknown. I didn’t know when Carter would be potty trained. I don’t know when Carter will be completely verbal. I don’t know when Carter will learn to take a bath himself. I don’t know when Carter will make friends and ask if they can sleep over. I don’t know when Carter will learn to play sports or have a genuine interest in any hobby. So many unknowns make for a very sad mommy. So anytime Carter accomplishes even the smallest of things, I celebrate. I celebrate our happiness but I still have a little sadness. Sadness that Carter has to work so hard for something that comes so easily to others. Sadness that Carter has so much struggle at such a young age. Sadness that Carter will continue to have a tough time with so much more. And of course, the sadness that as his mom, I can’t take his pain and struggles away. I can’t make this go away. But I know the best thing I can give him is me. My patience, understanding and support. My love and my optimism. It’s tough, that’s for sure. When he struggles, I struggle. But we’re both learning. And hearing him tell me – “Good Night, I love you” is definitely the motivation we need to keep moving.
So many kids do things so easily and Carter has to work so hard to do the simplest of things. It’s always bittersweet when he does something we’ve been waiting for or makes the some sort of accomplishment. I’m happy because he’s doing something new and it’s a great feeling. Even the smallest accomplishment feels like a giant victory. But I’m also sad. Sad that Carter has to work so hard to do something that most kids his age have been doing. Sad that things can’t be easier for him. Sad for what he’s missing out on. Then Quang reminds me that Carter is happy. He’s happy and he’s healthy. And I know that’s important and it makes me feel better, but there’s always going to be that sad side. The side that longs for things to be easier. The side that longs for Carter to be able to do the things other kids do.
I’m still very proud of Carter and his accomplishments. I try to stay optimistic and hope for even more accomplishments and progress.