What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Beautiful....

Well it happened again....It always kinda happens...

In little ways like someone subtly saying "sorry" or giving me eyes filled with pity...But today really threw me off...I dressed Pip up super cute to go meet my friend's lovely little twins...SideNote: How bloody special are twins- My mom is one & my whole life, I've teased her about how "intense" their relationship is...But seeing two little babes together like that made it make more sense...So there you go Mum & Tia...



So Pip was looking extra cute & getting a bit more attention than usual at the grocery store...I swear taking her anywhere is something to see- she's like a magnet...Sucks out "Oh my goodness aren't you cute" type comments from almost everyone she sees before they even realize they are talking...


As such after a lady commented on how cute Pip was, she leaned in and said in a quieter voice, "But what is wrong with her?" to which I replied, "Absolutely nothing", smiled and whisked my darling & our dignity away...


I didn't mean to come across as rude or short but I wanted to make sure I made enough of a statement that this lady, thinks about what happened, thinks about how she could have approached the situation a bit differently...


I honestly have no problem people asking questions...I get that people might be curious...Heck I am known to my friends as "Barbara freaking Walters" because I ask a zillion questions a minute...


But here's the thing friends...Yes she has Down syndrome...Yes she has glasses and yes she sometimes even has a bloody patch...But there is nothing WRONG with her...I would hope that no one would approach me with such words when Noal is around...First off because I don't want him associating Down syndrome with it meaning something is wrong or broken...And second because Noal might not be as diplomatic as I am...He already put a 5 year old in her place and let me tell you, he will be raised knowing different is not WRONG...Different is beautiful...Different is cool...Different is special..And it's awesome that we all just that...







This beautiful message is hanging in Pip's room & I look at it everyday and think this is part of Pip's purpose...To show others that "What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Beautiful"...

Dear Mom - Welcome to Patience Class- Love God


Dear Tara,

Growing up you didn't have a lot of patience...I tried to send things your way to give you this skill set but you somehow didn't use them as I intended...So I had to sit back and wait for the perfect opportunity to teach you...You are not a very good student when it comes to patience, that short-little-temper needed to be reigned in...


Try as I might, you just wouldn't learn growing up, so I thought I'd really get ya good with mommyhood...


First I sent you a little baby boy who didn't like to sleep, this drove you kinda kooky but paved the way to learn some patience. Then I sent you a baby girl, put her in the hospital a few times, played the waiting game with her life a bit..That really got you going...Heck, even better I thought if I gave you a baby with Down syndrome, making every milestone longer & harder to achieve, it would really teach you...


Gotta admit you're doing okay kid...Better than I thought you would be. But it's all a journey and you thought you mastered all there was to learn with patience...


Not so much my dear...


I thought I'd mix it up good this time...Really test your limits...


Welcome to potty training a toddler...




A toddler that likes to take his time, sit and read books, watch a bloody show, even play with his favourite sword - all while you have that other crying baby needing you...


A toddler who likes to pee on the couch, take off running while naked and only exclusively craps while napping...Heck while we're here in patience class, we might as well take the whole nap thing off the table...Let's just do "quiet time" now and by that I mean you can watch in the monitor for an hour to see what he's wreaking or if he's jumping out of the crib...On really good days it could be fun to see if you can get to him, before he takes off a diaper filled with crap and smears it in every nook and cranny possible...I'm up here giggling hard when I see you bolt up those stairs as fast as those little legs can go...And then to see the look of absolute horror when you find him and his creative masterpieces...Oh that look- This is fun...


Ah Patience...One of those lovely virtues, or values or heck I am not sure what folks are calling it these days...But you need it and I'm so glad you are finally learning...


It's not over yet..


Enjoy and you're welcome.


Love God


P.S- Promise putting that toddler in a timeout is way cuter in big boy underware...That is until he pees against the wall...Cheers.


Her First and Won't Be Her Last...

This time last year I was heading into night 1 of 4 with absolutely no sleep...This time tomorrow I was desperately trying to look into my 5 week old baby girl's eyes still kinda hoping for a miraculous miracle...This time the following day I was handing my tiny baby to a surgeon and literally collapsing and choking in fear...This time the day after I was learning to put in and care for a minuscule contact and instructed to patch my daughter's "good eye" half her waking hours - Awesome to decipher for a newborn right? 


This time last year was just filled with the unknown...


Would the surgery be successful? Would she survive the post surgery complications? Would the plan of care after even work? Would her other eye need surgery? Would she need glasses? 



Nothing in the world prepares you for hearing the news that your child, let alone your newborn needs surgery...And no matter how many parents you seek out who have been there before, articles you read or sit down chats with the surgeons, the absolute feeling of helplessness is bound to overtake you...


I've been sitting here reading blogs from last year, sobbing if you really must know...Remembering how very terrified I was...With each surgery she's had since, those feelings return but the first one will be forever etched in my mind...


It was the first time I had to see her in one of those ridiculous hospital gowns, way too big to fit any 5 week old baby...It was the first time the clock absolutely dragged & I watched my husband pound donut after donut, nervously waiting for an update...And it was the first time I felt nothing but utter gratefulness, when she was finally put back into my arms...It was her first and it won't be her last but the feelings surrounding this surgery will be with me always...


I wonder if every year around the time of her surgeries I will reflect on them as I have these last few days...I wonder if the tears will still come like they have while writing this...I wonder if the fear will still kinda get caught in my throat when I think back to how desperately I was begging God to keep her here with us...And I wonder if I will always be as awed with how far she's come...







I wrote this a year ago before her surgery,
"So, as I learn to let go of what I cant control- I realized that all that really matters is how I live my life & teach my babies to live theirs...I cant control that Noal is a busy boy, has my short little legs & has my sassy personality...I cant control that Reid was born with Down Syndrome, had a hole in her heart or needs eye surgery...I can only control how I handle what has been given to me- How I hope to raise Noal & Reid to be loving, kind, open minded, grateful & Happy Little Souls...At the end of the day this is what I truly believe to be important."

And lets just say it's been one hell of a year learning to let go and realize what's important & I truly think I have been a pretty damn good student of just that...








To read about my thoughts hours before Pip's first surgery Click HERE and to read about Pip's Eye Surgery/Complications & the Outcome Click HERE...

Remembering a friend from "My Island"

There isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t hear of a heart wrenching tragedy... People dying, terrorist bombers, children being abused, governments in trouble, someone has cancer, or mass-shootings... The world seems to be a much more complicated place these days. The simple things that once touched influenced and moved people are now overshadowed by tragic, unheard of misfortunes.


You hear about these ridiculous, unnecessary tragedies - where someone was murdered or abused & you somewhat let it affect you...You think about how horrible it must be for that family, how sick the accused must have been & how tragic it is for the victim...But then like anything you move on...



This time though - the victim was a friend...




I received a message a few days ago from Ireland and this time I can’t move on...That "victim" that "man " described in the paper is was my friend...A friend I use to look up to as a writer/journalist when I moved to Ireland & landed a job at an Irish newspaper...A friend that I use to go for drinks with every Friday and get in heated debates over his unbudging-conservative views...A friend that despite being an ocean apart the last handful of years would still let me know he cared, commenting on so many photos of my hooligans...A friend who as a writer, took the time to encourage me in my journey as one...

  • Tom O'Gorman

  • Tom O'Gorman
    Missing you
    Ireland misses you, I meant: NOT proposing a general Voice reunion. Just wanted to let you know your writing and what you are doing is changing lives. I always knew there was something special about you.


..........................................................


A friend who 3 days ago was beaten & stabbed to death in a horrific way.  



And while anytime I hear of a tragedy I am reminded how fragile life is - Hearing about my friend has really hit home...Now, more than ever, I realize that every single day, really is a gift...


So that being said....So what if I stay up too late reading, writing or watching tv? So what if I take way too many pictures of the hooligans? So what if I pretend I'm still cool & get my groove on to songs in my big, old minivan? So what if I have piles of laundry to do & choose a playdate instead? So what if I'm supposed to be taming the bulge but eat chocolate daily? So what if I get drunk on New Year’s Eve, dance around like it's my job & puke in my friend's bathroom? So what if I wear the same leggings 4 days in a row & couldn't care less? So what if I enjoy each day for what it is...This is it folks... One life...One chance at it... Make it what it needs to be... 



I’ve always tried to live my life with the reality that this is it- Do it up- Live it up...But sometimes life becomes mundane - especially life as a stay at home mom...But then you hear of a young mom struggling because of breast cancer, or a family that died in a car accident or the unthinkable like a friend being murdered & life, even the mundane days seems so exquisitely beautiful...

You realize there is so, so much to do and see and feel. So many people to meet, places to see and foods to taste. So many more kisses to get and hugs to embrace. So much more and all we have is this lifetime to do it in. So live it up friends...
Whenever I think of "my Island - Ireland" you will be a part of it...Good bye friend... Remembering you always as a kind soul...

What was harder to pick out than my own Wedding Dress?

I'm one of those girls who knew going in, exactly what kind of wedding dress I wanted...I'm also one of those girls who wore the first dress she tried on...Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am...Done & done...

~Photo by Karitas Photography~

With picking out my 1 year old's first pair of glasses however, it was a completely different scenario...I went right crazy - how most girls do about a wedding dress - I went to every single Optician in town, I ordered & cancelled numerous pairs, I made Pip try on at least 25 different kinds, I surveyed my friends, I took a zillion photos {shocker}, I seeked out advice from other moms who picked out their little's first pair, I even had the balls to order a pair from one Optician only to later cancel by phone at another Optician's office, to then turn around and cancel on them & return back to the first Optician...And to boot, to the very first pair of glasses...


Yep you read that right...I ended up going after 2+ weeks of searching, seeking & shopping with the very first pair she tried on...Just like my wedding dress...Except with way more stress...


I just found picking her first pair excruciating hard...We knew since her first eye surgery, when she was only 5 weeks old the day would come when she would need glasses...However, the docs had hinted more around the age of 4ish- So not only was I kind of knocked out weeks before when I was told she needed them now, but I felt like it was such a huge decision...


I was so torn because in all reality it would change her look completely...It's her face, her darling little face that has already been so bogged down with so much...At first a bloody eye patch that has to be worn every day and then a feeding tube for months on end & now big, old specs...


The original pair came in about a week before Pip's first birthday, but in vain I didn't want her to wear them before her Tea Party...Now a month later, I can say I was being silly & if anything they make her even more adorable...But at the time I just wanted her to be the Pip I knew for the year, celebrating her as is...


I finally mom-upped & got the glasses the day we celebrated her birthday with family...Watching her look around & I guess, essentially "see" for the first time was something special...It kicked my vanity, worries & all else to the curb within seconds, I'll tell ya...Watching her "see" things I knew she couldn't before was actually really quite a moment I'll remember always...





We decided to get Noal a pair too {popped out lens in a pair of sunglasses} to help teach him about Pip's glasses & get everyone use to the idea...Of course Noal then asked where Mummy & Daddy's glasses were, so now we are that family that sits around with no-lenses-specs...Awesome...


Now a month later, it's mostly Noal who insists we wear them because it's "porta for Pippy" - translation : Important for Pippy- something I told him over and over which is now gonna bite me in the arse...If you see me wearing a broken, down pair of reading glasses with no lenses at the grocery store, with my two little sidekicks in their specs, just know I'm doing it for a reason...

We went with Miraflex for Pip's first pair for a couple reasons:

1. Noal- yep, that's right...Those that have met my two year old know why this is the number 1 reason...He means well but can be rough & no one has the moula to be cashing out pair after pair because their sibling broke their glasses.

2. A frame that would stay on as it's important for developing her vision- Also a frame that would cover a bigger portion of her eye as she has a stigma as well.

3. A frame that as she learns to crawl/walk/ etc if she hits her face/nose wouldn't hurt her.

4. The advice of Pip's eye surgeon and other parents with babies in specs...

So, while it still kinda looks like she is going to play squash or racketball in her goggles, I am really started to fall in love with the look of my four-eyed baby gal...


It's almost to the point where it feels weird and not her with them off...And as an added bonus she looks ridiculously, outrageously cute rocking her big-round-granny-frames...