Carter at Home Depot

Carter loves going to Home Depot. I think I have shared this before. We take him there as a reward because this is what he chooses over anything else. He loves looking at the appliances. It used to be just the washing machines and dryers and now it’s the refrigerators and the dishwashers too. I do believe he will be an inventor or an engineer someday. He likes to look at the dishwashers and will ask me why some of them aren’t in the display very good. I tell him I guess because they aren’t screwed in there. I don’t know anything about this kind of stuff? Carter says he wants to work there so he can make sure the dishwashers are screwed in right so they won’t come out when people try to open them. 😆

The people that work there have seen us a lot. One lady at the cash register calls him “Mr. Appliance Guy,” every time she sees him. She told me one day that she loves how he studies everything, and she said he will probably invent the next greatest appliance one day. I told her I have said the exact same thing! Most of the employees just smile when they see him. One guy will always ask him if he ever finds an elephant in the dryer. Of course Carter is not much for socializing. He’s just busy checking everything out. One guy that works in appliances named Russ always speaks to us when he sees us. Jeremy has even explained to him before that Carter has autism and that he just enjoys coming in there to look at everything and he picks that as a reward over anything else we offer him. Russ has told us that Carter is welcome anytime. (We do go in there to buy stuff a lot too though 😂).

I took Carter in there on Thursday this past week, and I was letting him do his thing. Russ came up and gave Carter his very own Home Depot apron and something for him to take home to build. This touched my heart so much and made Carter’s day.

I’m amazed at the kindness of other people. These are the aprons they probably hand out at their Saturday workshops for kids but still this act of kindness meant so much to us. I’m trying to think of something special to do for Russ and really everyone at Home Depot because they are so accepting of my child and make him feel welcome when he’s there.

The next day after school, Carter got in the car and put on his Home Depot apron and said “I made a 100 on my AR test. Let’s go to Home Depot!” (It was Friday and I usually take him on Fridays anyway if he’s had a good week at school) but I had to take him after this.

He asked me when we left the store “how old do I have to be to start working at Home Depot?” I told him at least 16 years old. He said “Mama I’m going to make Home Depot a better place.” I know that he will because of the joy that he brings.

He has mentioned over the last several months that he wants to be a doctor, a teacher like Mrs. Amado, and now work at Home Depot. It doesn’t matter to us what he chooses to do because we will be so proud of him no matter what. 😊

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Carter’s Friend Reese

Carter has a friend in his class named Reese. She is the sweetest little girl ever! When he would come home from school and mention his “best friends,” she was always one he would tell me about. Volunteering in his class this year, I have gotten to know her. She has the biggest, most kindest heart out of any child I have ever met! One day back in the fall she told me that she liked Carter because he was so sweet. I wondered if she knew Carter was “special.” I told her that Carter considers her to be one of his best friends. Social is one of the areas that Carter has struggled with. He can interact better with adults than peers his own age. But it meant so much to me that she told me that she liked Carter. I want him to have friends and them think of Carter as a friend too.

A few weeks ago, Reese was in a school play. We were going to go watch her in the play. I took Carter to the flower shop to pick her out a flower to give her after the play. Instead of one flower, he picked her out several flowers and my aunt made her a bouquet.

He held the flowers almost the entire time and could not wait to give them to her when the play was over. (I would post a picture of him and Reese together after he gave the flowers to her but I would want to make sure it was ok with her parents first).

Carter got to take his first AR test last week, and Reese helped him on the computer along with his aide. I looked back there, and she was rubbing his little head. It was the sweetest thing ever.

The kids were having indoor recess one afternoon, and Carter was building something out of blocks. 2 kids were rolling a ball and almost knocked it over. Carter said “Hey don’t knock my blocks over.” They kept rolling the ball and little Reese turned around from the computer and said “Hey don’t knock Carter’s blocks down!” I feel like she looks out for him. 😍

If he sees Reese in the mornings walking into school, he forgets all about me and runs to catch up with her so he can walk in with her. But you know I’m ok with that. I love seeing him have friends. ☺️

I pray we always have Reese in our lives. She has been such a wonderful blessing and friend to my sweet boy.

God Has Kept Me

There is a song that a brother shared at church called God Has Kept Me. That song spoke so strongly to me and my life these past several years. Even when I strayed from Him several years ago, He has kept me. I was doing laundry yesterday, and I was just thinking about the past 8 years from the time I was pregnant with Carter until now. I thought of how He has been so good to me, and I’ve not been so good to Him. I don’t deserve all He has done for me. I immediately hit my knees and just began to thank Him for all he has done for me even when I backslid, he still kept me.

When I got pregnant with Carter, we couldn’t enjoy the excitement very long because I found out I had rH incompatibility. I have A- blood. Jeremy is A+. I was producing antibodies in my blood. I was referred to a high risk dr to monitor Carter’s brain every few weeks by ultrasound because my blood could start attacking his blood if they were incompatible. They had to wait until I was closer to 20 weeks to do an amniocentesis to get Carter’s rH factor. If his blood was negative like mine, we would be in the clear. The confusing part of all this and the dr couldn’t explain it either, is I had never been pregnant before, so rH incompatibility should have never been an issue with a first pregnancy. All the appointments were good. Carter’s brain always checked out good, and he was getting good blood flow to his brain. But the dr was preparing us that Carter’s blood would probably be positive like Jeremy’s because most of the population has rH positive blood. Anyway, we made it to 19 weeks and found out we were having a baby boy! I had the amniocentesis that day, but they saw something on ultrasound that made them suspect Down’s syndrome so while they were drawing fluid off from the amniocentesis to determine rH factor, they drew fluid out to test for Downs as well. We had to wait 2 more weeks for these results. A lot of tears and worrying but praise the Lord, Carter has negative blood type like his Mama and Down’s syndrome came back negative as well!

I was finally able to enjoy the second half of my pregnancy. We finally went and started picking out baby furniture and all that good stuff. I was so happy and excited. I enjoyed laying in bed watching my belly move. I loved being pregnant and watching my belly grow. January couldn’t get here fast enough so I could finally hold him. Then the day he was born, I felt on top of the world. I was so happy he was finally here. But then 6 hours later, I started hemorrhaging. I was a nurse, but I had never seen so much blood. As I watched my nurse call my dr and massage my uterus and give me a shot and put me back on an IV to get the bleeding to stop, I remember I was more worried about Jeremy having to see all this because he was panicking. But my nurse’s name was Hope, and she told him to look at her and see that she wasn’t panicking so everything was going to be ok.

Then I had the baby blues that turned into postpartum depression. Not the kind where you want to harm your child or yourself or anything like that. But I just cried all the time and was severely anxious. I talked to my dr at my 6 week postpartum checkup and was given medicine to help. I probably would have never told him I was having problems, but I thought Carter deserved a better Mama that wasn’t crying and anxious all the time. Looking back, I think the lack of sleep was most of the problem because once he started sleeping through the night at around 9 weeks old, I noticed I felt much more like myself again.

Looking back at all this, I realize God has always been there. I was just too stupid to realize it. He has kept me. When I made bad decisions and wanted to walk away from everything, He kept me. He built me back up from the ruins, and I owe everything to Him.

Sometimes I blame myself that Carter has autism. My past sins must have caused this. I was the one who carried him in my womb so surely I caused this or did my bout with postpartum depression cause this? So many questions. But I’m reminded of the story in the Bible in John 9 where Jesus heals the man who was born blind. His disciples ask Jesus if the man or his parents sinned causing him to be born blind? And Jesus said neither the man nor his parents sinned but this happened so that the works of God should be made manifest in him. God is being glorified every step of the way through our journey with Carter. Carter is being healed in God’s timing, and He puts the right people in our lives at the right time.

Carter Turns 7 Today

Today my sweet boy turns 7. I can’t believe it! The day he was born, I knew I would do anything in this world for him.

My journey with motherhood hasn’t gone as I had planned. God had a different plan for me. My child brings such joy to my life. He radiates such love and joy to everyone he meets. He has changed me and made me a better person and for that I will always be grateful.

Most days I feel unworthy to be his mother. I realize how blessed I am that God gave me this sweet precious little boy. I still cry many tears along this journey, and I believe my Heavenly Father has a record of every tear. My sweet boy has been there for me lately to say “Mama are you ok?” “Mama you can’t cry because I love you.” And he has reached up with his little hands and dried my tears. (Children with autism have a hard time understanding emotions so he’s starting to understand emotions over this past year.) Just another example of what God has done on this journey!

I tell him he’s perfect and fearfully and wonderfully made. I hope he always knows how much I love him, and I will always fight for him. Most of my fighting is done in prayer. I love this precious boy of mine more than words could ever say! Happy Birthday to the biggest blessing in my life!

Worry Less

I would be lying if I said I never worried about Carter’s future sometimes. I sometimes wonder what is next year going to be like? What about middle school? Sometimes I find myself wondering if any of these same sweet kids in Carter’s 1st grade class will one day turn to making fun of him or bully him in a few years because he may be a little different. I was bullied and made fun of in 3rd grade myself when the girls I was friends with one day decided they didn’t want to be friends with me anymore, so I was kicked out of their little group. I say all this to say Carter is just a couple of years away from 3rd grade now, and I remember how mean these girls were to me.

Sometimes I worry will he develop friendships and relationships? Will he get married one day? But then I have to stop myself from all this nonsense. Worry means I don’t trust that God’s got this. And I know that He does! I’m not going to waste my time worrying. I know God has our future in His hands. And I’m going to choose to worry less and trust God!

Part of the reason for doing this blog was to celebrate how far Carter has come. We were at my parents’ house on New Years Day, and my Daddy mentioned he was so thankful for his relationship with Carter. I’m going to celebrate the fact that Carter does have relationships because 4 years ago we were told that socialization and relationships would be hard for him. Carter may have restricted interests that goes along with autism, and he may spend his time talking to his Poppy (my daddy) about the dishwasher and why the plastic spatula fell down to the bottom or why it only has one jet, but my Daddy answers his questions for the hundredth time and doesn’t seem to mind. I’m believing that just like other things, he will make progress in this area as well and will broaden his interests and be able to talk about many different things during conversations.

I’m thankful for the big hugs I see him give Nanny (my Mama). I’m thankful for Ma letting him help with laundry because he likes to watch the washing machine. I’m thankful for Pa who just kind of goes with the flow on whatever Carter wants to do. And aunt Weetsie, Nancy, Memaw, and Papaw for letting him play with the fan or things that play music up at the flower shop. And his buddy at church Sister Teresa for letting him turn on the lights every Sunday morning. And Sister Kathy for making him feel super special and important to the church service every Sunday morning too. I could go on and on, and I’m sure I’m forgetting many people. But everyone in our lives that love Carter and accept him just the way he is are truly a blessing to us.

So as I start this new year, I’m praying to grow more in God and worry less. And just be so grateful for all He has done, and thank Him for what He is going to do! I’m so thankful for this sweet little boy of mine!

Carter’s Faith

We are a praying family. We pray every night together as a family, and if someone needs prayer throughout the day, we will stop what we are doing and pray for that person. I always want Carter to see the faith in us and know he can talk to Jesus anytime.

I have really seen his faith and prayers grow this year. Back in the spring, just a few weeks after Easter, we were driving home and Carter just out of the blue said “Mama, Jesus is going to heal my autism. And Jesus is going to heal my vision. I won’t need these glasses anymore.” I immediately started crying, and I just agreed with him and said “Yes Jesus is going to heal you.” He knows he has autism because we pray for him to be healed every night, and we pray for his vision too. I don’t think he fully understands what autism is because we don’t let this label him. To us, he is just our sweet and loving little boy.

Then back in August, my Daddy (Carter’s Poppy) had to start 7 weeks of daily radiation treatments for prostate cancer. Carter and I went with him and my mom to the appointment in July, and the dr went over every single side effect to expect from these radiation treatments. We prayed for my dad to be healed and not have to go through these treatments, but God chose this route instead. We went to Dairy Queen after this appointment and as Carter sat by my Daddy laughing and carrying on like normal (see the picture below), I could sense I guess the burden my Daddy was feeling of the journey he was about to start.

But we knew our prayer would be no side effects at all from these treatments. My sweet little boy heard us talking and said “Yep no side effects!” And everyday we would just pray for my Daddy along with our church and everyone else who was praying for my Dad to not have any of those side effects from these treatments, and Carter would agree with us “Yep no side effects!” and praise the Lord my Daddy made it through the treatments without a single side effect!

Then a little over a month ago, I woke up one morning with left shoulder pain that eventually got so bad I couldn’t even move that arm. I went to the dr and was on a steroid pack but was still in a lot of pain. Carter came up to me a few days later and laid his hand on my shoulder and arm, and he prayed the most awesome prayer that I would be healed and able to move my arm again and no more pain. My arm got better and better! His little faith just amazes me!

Carter sits with my Daddy at church most Sundays. A few weeks ago, I looked up during praise and worship and saw he had gone up front with my Daddy to pray for a guy who had went to the altar. I was amazed watching him lay his hand on someone and pray.

I feel like God is doing something bigger than I can see or imagine through my little boy. Autism is never going to hold him back or define him. Anybody who has met my little Carter knows he has the sweetest and purest heart ever. I pray his faith continues to grow and mine as well.

Just Call Me Carter’s Mom

A lot of people probably don’t know this about me but before I became a mom, I was an RN. I worked in a step down unit and several years in the cardiac cath lab. I had decided to take a few years off work to have a baby and stay home for a while before returning to work. We are very grateful and blessed I was able to do that, but it was one reason we waited so long to have a baby because I wanted to be able to stay home for a while when we had a baby. It was not going to be possible for me to be able to stay home when I was in my early 20s. I joke that I’m an old mom because I was 29 about to turn 30 when Carter was born.

I was thinking about returning to work when Carter was 2, and I had gotten a prn job at a doctor’s office. I was filling in a lot the summer of 2014 for nurses who were taking their vacations. Then Carter’s diagnosis came that July. And suddenly it was like ok I can’t work not even these prn shifts because my child needs therapy sessions 4-5 days a week now plus the time to work with him at home. God just had a different plan for me, and it wasn’t going back to work. I was ok with that. My child needed me at home.

Now Carter is in school, and I still don’t work, but I stay plenty busy whether it’s cooking, cleaning, running errands, or helping a family member or friend. It’s nice to get stuff done while Carter is at school so that when he gets home, I can spend time with him, and we can work on homework. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think the teachers can do everything. I think I have to play some sort of part at home to keep him progressing in school. And I do get questions sometimes from people like “What do you do all day while Carter is at school?” “Don’t you get bored?” “Are you going to go back to work?”

I don’t think I want to ever go back to being a nurse at this point. I have been volunteering this year in Carter’s class, and I have gotten so attached to all the kids in his class. I think I needed these kids in my life right now, and God put them in my life at just the right time. And I may not work anywhere right now, but I’d like to think I am making a difference in my child’s life, and I’m doing what God wants me to do right now as a wife and a mother. Being a mother is definitely hard, but it is so rewarding. The best part of my day is seeing his sweet smile. His smile just makes everything ok. Just call me Carter’s mom. That’s my job title now. 😊