UPDATED: Thoughts on Hope (and a giveaway)

I’m headed out to my kid’s Individualized Education Plan meeting today. Or maybe the “I” in I.E.P. stands for something else…. Independent? Industrial-strength? In-which-we-all-work-hard-but-also-say-lots-of-Hail-Marys? I can’t ever quite remember the right term, even though we’ve been in the special education game for years now, and for today I’m not going to look it up and check my work. I’m just going to write to you, friend to friend, and tell you I’m quite tired. In all the ways. And just a little bit fragile as I prepare to put on hope and optimism and heave ho! and full speed ahead!

Look, I’m not gonna lie. Navigating the world of kids with special powers is hard. Slow. Grueling. Grief-laden. Exhausting. Constant. I find myself often in the dark wondering what’s next for my son. I want a crystal ball to see the future, but only if the future is bright, and sometimes I’m secretly afraid I haven’t been given a crystal ball because the future is not to be trusted. It’s a strange place, this in-between that is the present. I’m never sure whether we’re about to experience stunning success or fall off a cliff, and sometimes it gets to me.

Sometimes it gets to me, but not always.

Hope is like that, isn’t it? Not the constant flood of light I’d like it to be. More like pinpricks in the dark. Flickering stars in the night sky. One foot in front of the other. And then another foot. And another. Which leads me now and then to another ragamuffin survivor on the path who will walk with me for a while. Even if we’re headed for the cliff. Wheeee!

For today, this is enough. And we ragamuffin survivors are worthy of celebration.

So I’ll go put on hope. And button up my optimism. And ready my heave ho! And find my pants. I’ve got a kid who needs me. Full speed ahead.

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Also, a giveaway today!

My friend, Courtney, makes stuff. She asked a while ago if I want to give some of it to you. In case you need a little pick-me-up. A little reminder of love. A little good thing. I said, Absolutely! And I thought now… now when I’m writing about fragility and hope… is the perfect time.

Handmade Peppermint Trio
by The Charis Babe

Peppermint Trio Gift Set

Trio includes: peppermint lip balm, peppermint lotion, and peppermint sugar scrub.

We get to give away five (5) sets!

And the winners are:

  1. Brooke Bradley: “I’m doing well. My youngest of 5 (and my very last baby) just learned to walk. I guess I should be happy. She’s my baby though. WWWWHHHHAAAAAAA……
  2. Christine N.: “I had a sucky day on top of a sucky week. The baby screamed for an hour this afternoon after he had his shots this morning, none of my big kids did their chores and they only did about half their school, and it was the second (or third or maybe more) day in a row that I yelled at them. I’ve been on those adoptive blogs where someone is asking for sympathy about their current kids and mentions adding more via another adoption and someone always says they should wait, so my mom guilt adds up and up because we’re going to be 5 very soon, and I feel strongly about not waiting (we’re bringing home a sibling of the foster baby we have). Peppermint anything sounds awesome.
  3. Barb: “Oh how our hearts can ache for our children – no matter how old. My twin daughters are just entering the world that is motherhood. Grace joined us a month ago and her sweet mama is just plain tired! Brody is due in 2 months and his soon-to-be mama has so many questions. If only I could provide the rest for one and the answers for the other. The best I can do is bring them and theirs to the feet of God. Offering prayers for them and for all of you. It is quite a journey… exhausting and invigorating, thrilling and tedious, satisyfing and exasperating… all at the same time. What an honor for all of us!
  4. Lauren: “I’m tired today. Really really tired. I went to your blog because I knew you’d cheer me up a bit, and I am never disappointed. Thank you! Your honesty and sweet spirit give me a little hope when I need it.
  5. Amy: “Pick me! Pick me! I enjoy reading about IEP’s from your perspective. I’m always on the other side of the table. I love the “special powers” lingo you use too!

Winners: Please send your mailing address to me at FiveKidsIsALotOfKids at gmail dot com. I’ll notify you by e-mail eventually, too, but I’m the helper in my boys’ kindergarten class today, and, well, I’m outta time. 🙂 Story of my life. Story of every mama’s life. We sure do mean well, don’t we? Yes. Yes, we do.

This giveaway is now closed.

To Enter This Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this blog post (say hi or tell us how you’re doing today) by 8:00am (Pacific Time) on Saturday, March 16th. One entry per person, please. Winners will be selected using a random number generator and posted on Saturday.

This giveaway is open to international participants, although I just got back the book I tried to mail to Thailand (ROBIN, IT WILL COME SOMEDAY, I SWEAR!), so, you know, I’m not exactly running a timely ship here.

Disclaimer: Neither Courtney nor The Charis Babe is affiliated with this blog. I get no kick-backs or blah blah blah for doing this. Courtney offered to pay for shipping, but I’m not going to let her… that just seems fair. Her products, my shipping expense. Win/win. Right? Right. You can like the Charis Babe on Facebook.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
80 comments
  1. Beth, are you aware that in announcing the winners, you accidentally posted the same text entries for two different people? (winners #3&4)

    You have two product winners, but one person has lost the honor of having her feelings/words/truth validated.

    Susan

    1. Gah! THANK YOU for the catch, Susan. I’ve fixed it now. Sometimes it’s really obvious we do all of this blog stuff by hand, huh?

  2. I’m still totally excited for the day when my book arrives in the mail 🙂 No worries, I am lucky in that I like anticipation as much as the real thing. I’ve been enjoying this win for ages. And hey, I just throught of a great way you could save on shipping for this giveaway, since the book is back….. 😉

  3. I’m hoping spring will start soon over here. It’s been grey and cold and raining and freezing here. I’m very much in need of some sunshine!

  4. Beautiful post. I can completely relate to the crystal ball. Hope the meeting went well for you all 🙂

  5. Super powers… Love this.

    Daylight savings is kicking my butt. But I am up earlier today and am determined to make it a good day!

    Peppermint is also good at soothing stomach upset.

  6. I am awake a 4:30 am because my Ian, who is 14 months, is screaming out about every 15 minutes. And of course today is a screamingly busy day with 5 kids in 4 different activities all at the same time plus I have Treasurer duties at our school’s Spring Carnival. It is going to be a long day. Wish my kids luck, please, at the Regional Science Fair and Baseball Skills Assessment and me patience and the ability to clone myself so that it can all get done!

  7. I’m doing tired, thanks for asking! 😉

  8. Yesterday… was not so hot. Today, a little better. I think I got some really freaking adorable pictures of my birthday twins!
    And it was so nice out today that we could play in the front yard in shirt sleeves even at 5pm. Woo hoo for spring!!!

  9. The peppermint trio sounds fantastic! Thank you for sharing your life and your heart with us on this blog. I look forward to every new post. *hugs*

  10. Pick me! Pick me! I enjoy reading about IEP’s from your perspective. I’m always on the other side of the table. I love the “special powers” lingo you use too!

    1. You won, Amy! Check your email for details.

      Beth

  11. Oh my gosh! As a teacher I would LOVE treats on IEP days! My kids are still little, but if they end up on IEP’s I will have SO much appreciation for the teachers who write them and try to make sure that the programming they are assessing my kids on works for them. I truly believe that all kids learn differently and express how they learn differently… Teaching is hard! Especially when you can have around 30 kids in your class and I have had classes with 12 IEPs and that was a grade 5/6 split. It would be so nice to have a parent bring in something to make you feel like you were doing a great job. It is awesome that you are doing that.

  12. (sigh) I just love your blog…it makes my crazy world seem somewhat normal. I’m a single mom of three and so far, only one has super-powers. Its nice to ‘share’ with someone who understands…because family and friends who aren’t living it really don’t.

    My IEP is next week…so after working the night shift, coming home and getting the Littles off to school, I get to grab my cape and “go forth and fight the good fight for my little one and his super powers”. Some days, its a struggle to get it all done (and hopefully grab two hours sleep before my next shift starts). You always bring a smile to my face with every email…thanks so much and keep up the great work. =)

  13. I’m tired today. Really really tired. I went to your blog because I knew you’d cheer me up a bit, and I am never disappointed. Thank you! Your honesty and sweet spirit give me a little hope when I need it.

    1. You won, Lauren!

      Check your email for details.

  14. Thanks for offering this giveaway! Grateful 🙂

  15. Hi Beth! My day’s going pretty well. I work for health reform, and just like there are a bunch of people like me trying to make sure people get the health care they need, there are a bunch of people working for kids, making sure they get the education they need. We do what we do because we know that some people, like Mr. Ian, need a little extra help – and we’re gonna give it to ’em (whether they want it or not, ha ha)! You keep helpin’ on the Mama Side, they’ll keep helpin’ from the School Side, and we’ll all send our best vibes from the Lurking Side, and through the sheer force of our goodwill, we’ll help Mr. Ian along. Hang in there, lady!

  16. Hello there. Good day to you. 🙂

    To be perfectly honest I’m completely stressed and exhausted and worn out. The last year I’ve had almost all of those big life changes that are huge stress and well, it’s definitely taken its toll on me. But the good news is, I’ll survive. Always do.

    1. Hang in there, Rissa. Sending prayers your way for strength and peace. We all have those days (I’m right there with you today). Keep your head up!! 🙂

  17. Peppermint sounds so nice!
    Thanks for the freebie!

  18. You inspire me Beth! (And I’d love the peppermint trio 🙂

  19. I just recently found your blog, and I’m addicted! As a new mom of four month old twins, I love your candor and your humor. Your story about the stretch marks is my favorite. Thank you for sharing your life.

  20. if all 5 of my kids have super hero tendencies does that help me learn even more about hope on daily basis

  21. Peppermint makes things better. Even IEP days? Blessings to your day.

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