Friday, March 28, 2014

It Is Never Wrong To Do The Right Thing

My husband had a birthday and needed to renew his driver’s licenses. I realized that I needed a vehicle sticker and Kate’s state ID was expired. So we decided to ALL go to the DMV to handle all these issues. If you have been following the blog, you know that quite is not a word used to describe Kate...ever! She is a gregarious, friendly to a fault young lady, who doesn’t always know socially acceptable behavior.
So we get to the DMV around 3 pm on a weekday. We got into the zigzagging line of about 30 people. The people who give you the numbers sit up higher than the people standing in line, they kind of tower over us. Mind you, it is in the later afternoon and I don't see a single person smiling in the entire building. Dealing with the public is one hard job, obviously. One of the ladies at the desk who gave out the numbers was being exceptionally rude to a customer who didn’t understand her directions. Listening to this, Kate blurted out, “Hey, be nice!” I instantly tried to cover her mouth and not let a laugh out of mine. The lady looked at us and yelled, “You! Come here.” I swear the entire place got dead quiet and I just knew the Policeman in the corner put his hand on his gun. I also knew better than not do what she said so I began unhooking the velvet rope from the stanchions and I had to practically drag my husband to the front of the line with Kate in tow. He looked at me and said, "she's mean!- I don't want to go up there."
She looked at Kate and said with a smile, “Your right honey. I was wrong to yell at that man and I should be nicer. What are you folks here for?” We told her and she gave us our numbers. Much to the chagrin of the people in line, we went and sat and waited for our numbers to be called. We were in out of the DMV in less than a half hour. Everyone needs a Kate.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Oh Oh - I Hear That!

For a kid who had a cholesteatoma removed from her right ear when she was 5 years old that made her pretty much deaf in that ear, she has amazing hearing. If she is in her room and you open the Moose Tracks down in the kitchen, for sure she will be down for hers.
There are certain words we don’t use in our house. Words like shut up, stupid, hate, the R word for sure. I just think there are better words in the English language to express our feelings. So, if you are in the company of Kate and you say one of those words, you will hear Oh oh, I hear that. It is her reminder to us to be kinder and smarter.
She also can sit in church at Cornerstone and answer Pastor Manny’s rhetorical questions. Although we prompt her not to before we go in and sit, invariably she can’t help herself. He is a good sport about it and will say something like, "Thank you Kate" and you can hear the muffled laughter. My friend Barb Blasco wrote about Kate doing this in her book, "It’s A Girl But Will She Live. " This is what she said: " Another young disabled girl in our church, Katie, responds out loud to the rhetorical questions sometimes asked by Pastor Manny in his sermons. This could be an annoyance, but it has been turned unto a positive situation. Katie's mom, Cheryl, told us several people have come up to her after service and said, "Katie is a real example to me. She puts me to shame. She really listens to the sermon and doesn't get distracted as I sometimes do. I have to learn to listen better the way she does."
It seems we are still learning from Kate: patience, acceptance, how to see the good in the bad, how to laugh at ourselves, what is actually important and what we can let go... and others are to. Another blessing from Kate.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me - All Month Long

January - that’s my Birthday is the month Kate was born in. We have noticed that anytime the word January - that’s my Birthday is spoken, the words following it – that’s my birthday – can be heard coming from Kate if she is within earshot. So we just automatically say it now. For Example: Did you know that in January - that’s my Birthday they are expecting the coldest day of the year? Next time you see Kate, be sure get the word “January” into the conversation. Even if you are just talking to someone near her and she hears the word – automatic response guaranteed.
Kate truly enjoys her birthday month. Here are a couple of examples:
She attends a program called Natural Ties at the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston. They meet there to play games with some of the college students every other Tuesday evening during the school year. I would usually take her to the room off the cafĂ© where they play the games then go sit in the eating area and read a book or crochet for an hour while I wait for her. Several times I have heard them singing Happy Birthday so I assume they ask who has one coming up. Since January - that’s my Birthday has four weeks, two of those we are at Ties and you can be sure both times they are singing to Kate!
Our Place is a program she attends during the week day and one of the days she is there they bowl. Last year that day was on January – that’s my birthday 28th. So I sent a sheet cake in for her to celebrate with her bowling friends. Decorated in purple (her most favorite color) piping I later found out I couldn’t even have planned this better. When she got home that day she told me she bowled with Coach. I had no idea who she was talking about until Our Place posted pictures on Face Book. Sure enough, there they were, bowling with the Northwestern Football team!
In our family when it is your birthday, we have a celebratory meal of your choice. Grandma comes since she is living with us and the two sisters and brother if they are in town. This last birthday was celebrated as a lunch at her choice of restaurants, California Pizza Kitchen. Her birthdays are always special and this was no exception.  
Who should come in the revolving doors behind me? The head coach of the Chicago Bears-Marc Trestman! In case you didn’t know we are H-U-G-E Bears fans – let me review the names of the dogs in the family including the fosters: Bear-Payton-Peanut-Major-Duncan. We didn’t ask for his picture (smart phones take pictures both directions so it is easy to hold it over your shoulder) or interrupt his meal with his family. Just being able to look at his back for a whole hour was enough excitement for us! How do we top that next year? Superbowl lunch maybe in AZ with the Bears?? Just saying...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hello. Is It Me You Are Looking For?

It is hard to have a reward/discipline system for someone who is 26 but has the mental age of about 8. One reward we have found that works great for her is the ability to make a phone call if she has a good day. We can also threaten to take the phone call away from her if she is misbehaving.
When Kate was in the youth group at our church, Cornerstone, I solicited the group and asked if she could call any of them as a reward. They were very eager to help me and we had five to six give me their numbers. Now that the youth group members are adults, some have married and the spouses will take Kate’s call – Love is so good! So she has someone to call every weekday still!
My sister was in town visiting and we were all sitting in the living room having a nice conversation. Kate was in the kitchen and asked to make her phone call to Tony. I dialed the number and went back to living room. We could hear her talking and the conversation was very entertaining due to the different inflections and animations we could hear in her conversation. This went over for about three minutes then we heard her say good-bye and hang up the phone. My sister asked her what Tony said. Her response? He’ll call back. That was when we realized no one was home and she was just talking into the phone this entire time! We just roared!! So she was having her own conversation and really enjoying the company!