Every so often, in the midst of a very busy life, I forget to focus on the things that bring me happiness. I’ve been going through a particularly stressful spell these last few weeks and, as such, have not been mindful of my happiness anchors — Random Happy Thoughts, Angels Amongst Us and Thinking Thankful. A bit lost in the hustle and bustle of my and my family’s lives I’m feeling stressed more often and happy less often than usual. At least that’s my perception of things right now. And, as they say, “perception is reality!” (BTW – Olivia says “they” are the “Men In Black”!) While the Angels Amongst Us are actively performing Random Acts of Kindness and boosting my faith in humankind, I forgot about those Angels Amongst Us who boost my happiness quotient by acting kindly toward me. A simple, personal compliment can go a loooonnnnnnggggg way for someone like me who’s so wrapped up in my family’s well-being I go days without actually looking in the mirror. That said, I have 2 Angels I’d like to mention today…
Lynn Mazza is the Assistant Chairperson of the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) in Oceanside. I recently went through my boys’ 2nd annual CPSE meeting to determine their educational goals and how the district plans to meet them for the School Year 2009-2010. The meeting, as I’ve mentioned before, was attended by the Chairperson, me, the boys’ teacher and her supervisor from BCCS-Marcus Avenue School, as well as others. As I’ve also said, it’s a stressful process wherein decisions are based upon written evaluations of every aspect of my boys’ development. In the middle of our meeting, Lynn Mazza paid me a much-appreciated compliment. As we all know, most of our efforts as mothers are rarely recognized… Or perhaps, not until much later, if at all, when our children are adults themselves. So, mothering is sometimes a thankless job. (Heads nodding?) Well, Lynn praised my efforts as a mother saying to their teacher and her supervisor that they were lucky to be working with such a proactive parent who was genuinely interested in and capable of carrying through and even expanding upon developmental and school activities in our home. She went further to say that my efforts were clearly evident in the progress and achievements of Brian and Michael and that they, the teachers, should absolutely take advantage of my willingness and ability to participate in the boys’ education. At a time when I was feeling severely under appreciated (perhaps a topic for another post) and left out of their educational process — since they’re in a full-time preschool program — this statement was a well-timed boost to my sometimes suffering self-esteem. Thanks Lynn!
Mary is my second personal Angel Amongst Us, much in the same way Lynn was, is Mary. Mary is one of our favorite nurses at the kids’ Pediatrician’s Office, Dr. Zaso. Much to our surprise, Mary happened to be one of about 30 students I met with last Saturday at Nassau Community College (NCC). As I do every semester, I visit with local college students planning for careers that involve children with special needs. I introduce them to Brian, Michael and Olivia in an effort to put a REAL face on Down syndrome… Something no text book can possibly do. And, though I seldom get real feedback, it seemed our talk was well-received by this group of students. A few days later the boys took ill and we had to pay our Pediatrician a visit. Mary, as always, was there to receive us with genuine enthusiasm. She complimented me on my children’s extraordinary behavior on Saturday and added how impressed she was with me as a mother and how much she loved my candid talk regarding life as a parent of children with Down syndrome. She told me how appreciative she and her classmates were that I took the time to do this. And, she said that our visit to NCC was a real eye opener for them with regards to the effort and rewards of parenting a child with special needs. Another simple, well-placed compliment that boosted my spirits at a crazy time when every appointment on my calendar is scrutinized to determine just how important or necessary it is. Her encouragement will certainly help to sustain my advocacy efforts on behalf of people with Down syndrome knowing that my visits effectively expose these future therapists, educators and caretakers to what’s possible… Not to mention that it helps pave a more peaceful path for Brian and Michael as more people come to truly accept individuals with Down syndrome as viable and contributing members of our society. Thank you, Mary. You’re an Angel for saying so!
Be an Angel Amongst Us today and pay an honest compliment to someone who deserves hearing something good and positive and personal. Often, we have no idea how invaluable such feedback is until we are on the receiving end of it at just the right moment. I can hardly believe myself how much these brief and simple compliments helped to boost my mood and feelings of self worth.