Monday, September 12, 2016

Here's Why We Love Her So...

"This world has nothing for me, this life is not my own.  
I know you go before me, and I am not alone. 
This mountain rises higher, the way seems so unclear. 
But I know that You go with me, so I will never fear...
I will trust in You."  (Sidewalk Prophets-We Won't Be Shaken)

This song has been an absolute "rock" to Jacoby and our family from the very beginning.  I remember it playing on the radio during some of the darkest moments of our lives.  Somehow, the song only becomes more dear, more relevant, more comforting as each year passes.  Jacoby's senior year was no different.  

We blinked. High  school graduation gowns and tassels were tucked away for safe keeping in memory boxes...for a long winter's nap.  
Jacoby, WE DID IT! 

Another life chapter has been closed.  Thankfully, a brand new one is right at it's heels.  
Just like so many of you, this past year has been poked full of " a little bit of everything". Heartbreaking, breath-taking and pain-staking moments.  But looking at the "big picture", we couldn't have asked for a better senior year for Jacoby. 

If I'm being honest, her senior year was the one I was most concerned about.  I had many " Momma Concerns".  Such as: 
Would Jacoby get sick and not get to finish her Senior year? 
Would Jacoby get asked to Senior prom? 
Would she go, even if she wasn't asked? 
Would her teachers ever understand how much she adored them?
Or how hard she worked to complete everything on her own?  
Would Jacoby have a sense of completion and peace at Graduation?... Would I? 

God works in strange and mysterious ways.  You see, He didn't just give Jacoby what she needed, He gave her what she wanted, too. 
God is good ALL the time; all the time...God is good. 
(Glad I am typing this.... because speaking while crying is hard to do.) 

Here are some of the most precious highlights of Jacoby's Senior year:  

How could we forget Senior Prom?  Jacoby wanted to have the "perfect" dress (doesn't every girl), so she had it custom made so all measurements would be correct. 
Those of you who are wheelchair bound, know how hard it is to find dresses long enough.  Sitting requires different measurements.  But Jacoby was "on it", so we didn't worry.  
Being the "Miles" parents we are, we waited until the very last minute to try the dress on.  We figured it was custom made....what's the worry? Relax, Jacoby.  
Well... Long story short, the dress didn't fit ANYWHERE.  Now, it's time to panic!

We literally were making desperate calls the day before prom to get the dress altered.  We were able to get an appointment the morning OF Prom. Yes... I was tempted to have a large glass of wine at 9:00am.  
Poor Jason! He had to deal with Jacoby AND her mother.  
But, once the dress was altered, hair and make up were was truly magical.  She had an AMAZING date and was able to share the experience with a group of friends, which included her twin brother, Kaleb.  
FYI, Mothers tuck these kind of precious moments away in their hearts forever... 


We had absolutely NO CLUE how amazing that night would be for not only Jacoby, but Kaleb as well. 
Kaleb had been out hiking all day, and came in 15 min before the awards ceremony was to start.  He was covered in dirt, but said he would just go brush through his hair.  After all, he and Jacoby would just be receiving a piece of paper saying, " Great Job with your grades, right?" (This is where children need their mother to encourage bathing.) Which I did.  He thanked me later.  
That night I saw Jacoby and Kaleb as adults for the first time.  They were receiving awards for much more than just keeping a certain GPA; they were receiving awards for their character, integrity and work ethic.  
Jason and I were SO happy for them... SO proud of them.  We had always taught the kids that hard work and dedication pays off in the end.  It payed off sooner than we had expected and we were thrilled to be a part of watching it happen.  
We decided that night, we hadn't COMPLETELY ruined them, like we believed so many times we had. 


Now this was a day we will never forget.  
Rain was in the 100% chance of rain.  Their graduation was being held outside at the fairgrounds.  
Mmm..Rain and quadriplegics  don't mix well.  It's one thing to accidentally find yourself in wet weather, but to place yourself in the rain...sitting in one spot was a different story.  
As all the graduates walked in to Pompous Circumstance, all time seemed to stand still.  Every parent and family member was searching for their beloved graduate.  It chokes me up even now to write about it.  
Kaleb and Jacoby came in and sat together. I knew Kaleb would be there to help her with anything she needed.  
About this time, the rain started to pour.  Ponchos were being handed out to all the graduates.  My heart was sick.  She just couldn't stay sitting in the rain for an hour. She would get chilled and not be able to enjoy the rest of her day.  I watched as Kaleb put her poncho on and then took part of his own for her feet.  
This...this right what I was going to miss.  These two children had been so good to Jason and I.  They had been so good to each other. My heart ached that they would soon be apart.  
As the rain continued to fall, "Momma Panic" set in.  I was praying and I knew many others in the crowd were praying for her too.  
Jacoby was drenched and was going  to freeze.  My brother handed me a rain blanket they had brought and I raced down to hand it to the gentleman standing at the front of the graduates. you all probably guessed, Jacoby saw me standing with the blanket. Her poncho was wet against her face , but she just smiled and shook her head no.  
I knew that look.  I knew that face.  There was no use to argue.  This was the same determination that she used on a daily basis to rise above her struggles.  
Tears poured down my face as I turned to walk back up to my warm, covered seating.  I was proud of that incredibly proud.  
If you're wondering if the rain stopped, of course it did. Just in time for pictures with family and friends.  Murphy's Law every time.  
But, it was a beautiful day.  Not because of the weather, but because these two graduates were beautiful people...inside and out.  As were their friends sitting around them.  
A beautiful journey... A beautiful struggle...beautiful lives. 


Crying is what I do best these days.  Especially, when I talk about children growing up.  So many of you are going through the same thing, or have before.  So I know I'm in good company.  
We started this blog almost 4 years ago ....on the night of November 16, 2012.  
Never in my wildest dreams did we imagine so much good could come from so much pain.  
There truly are no words that even come close to expressing everything we've seen, felt and learned.  
We would never wish this experience on anyone, or want to re-live it, but we would never take it back.  
We have come too far..we have changed too much.  

We had always told Jacoby that after she graduated from high school, she  would need to decide if she wanted to keep up the blog or just refer people to her social media.  Hello... She's's lookin like social media wins again.  Surprise..surprise. 

Jacoby would love to have you follow her on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.  She is amazing at keeping everyone up to date on what's going on in her life.  This is not a goodbye, just a change in communication.  
Thank you...thank you...thank you...thank you... Thank you!

We love you all MORE THAN WORDS  COULD EVER EXPRESS and look forward to sharing the years ahead together with you.  

What would we have done without all of you in this journey? What would any of us do without the support of other human beings? 



Saturday, January 30, 2016

Gratefulness and Heartache Collide

Rita Ora's soundtrack "Grateful" is a perfect description of what seems to be Jacoby's thoughts and feelings right now.  Honestly, I'm sure many of you can completely relate with the chorus of this song.  

I'm grateful for the storm, made me appreciate the sun...
I'm grateful for the wrong ones, made me appreciate the right ones.
I'm grateful for the pain... everything that made me brake,
I'm thankful for all my scars... cause they only made my heart...
Grateful, grateful, grateful!"

For those of you who told me that her senior year would be a vapor, that is a gross understatement.  We are now on the final stretch and college is no longer a foreign word that only old people use.  
Our last journey together was right before Jacoby's 3rd Annual Run.  I had  asked you to show up to lend your legs for a good cause, and show up you did! The Pacific Northwest was true to its reputation; we all ran the entire race in the rain. ( Not to mention that my ENTIRE extended family spent at least 1 t 2 hours in the hot tub just to "unthaw" after the race!).  There's no way to really describe how much it meant to Jacoby and our family to see everyone out in the "not so fun"  elements.  But it gets better.  We were also able to recognize Logan Lewis, an extremely brave 14 year old boy, fighting Neuroblastoma.  Both Jacoby and Logan stood out that day as the heroes they truly are.  Life-changing impact is always made when people surround one another in love and support.  That day was wet and cold, but absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much!

No sooner had we tucked the race madness away for another year,  that Christmas came flying around the corner.  And we were READY to celebrate!  Knowing this was Kaleb and Jacoby's senior year, I wanted everything perfect.  I desperately wanted their gifts from us to reflect our hearts; pretty sure now that's quite impossible, but we tried.  Nights were spent playing the addictive game of Mexican Train, light saber wars, and ingesting pounds upon pounds of sugar, but hey... no calories count at Christmas, right?

5...4...3...2...1....HAPPY NEW YEAR... BRING ON 2016! And just like that,  Jacoby was starting a new semester and talking about the beginning of gymnastics season.  Some people live for the opening of elk, deer, or duck season, but not's gymnastic competition season! She loves getting hyped through the younger girls she helps coach at Roach Gymnastics and her older teammates getting ready at practice.  One VERY special treat she had this season was watching her best friend, Mary Jacobson, compete for Oregon State.  This precious child who used to jump on the trampoline with Jacoby, compete with their pigtails flying, was now competing on TV for a D1 university.  (Honestly, we always knew somehow she would...You go, girl!). 

Jacoby still finds so much joy being part of her youth group and helping at AWANAS .  The kids love her AND her cool wheelchair! (Ignorance is bliss, my friends!). And who could forget choir at school.  She and Alex are both in different choirs and without fail, they make their mom cry EVERY single concert... music rocks!  

And now for the heartaches.  I left them for last, hoping that you'll remember to send up a prayer for Jacoby.  As we all know, part of the excitement of being a senior is getting to relish in the fact that you will soon be leaving for a whole new world of freedom: such as college, a job, whatever it may be.  As Jacoby is definitely planning on going to college, it won't be what she had dreamed of and it won't look like her twin brother's experience.  As her mother, I have done what moms do, by reassuring her it will still be wonderful and full of opportunities for her.  But, I know what she REALLY means.  It literally breaks my heart that I  can't give her what she truly wants; I know any parent would understand this grief.  We are not alone, many of you have experienced life situations which were anything BUT what you wanted, but had to find the positive side of what was laid before you. Also, one of her exercise therapists , Ashan, is leaving Vertical Therapy for a dream job opportunity.  She is so happy for him, but devastated over the loss of a great trainer and a great friend.  
So if you have a moment, send up a prayer for her; this momma would appreciate it more than you will ever know.  

With all this being said, it made me think about a conversation in "Lord of the Rings" between Gandalf and Frodo.  

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me; I wish none of this had ever happened. 

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.  All you have to decide is what you are going to DO with the time that is given to you.  

Heading into a busy spring, Jacoby's mindset remains the same; to trust God fully with his plan for her life even with the difficult and new transitions on the horizon.  After all,  how we RESPOND to life's challenges is truly all we have control over anyway, right?  So... BRING IT ON!

" My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness."-- 
2 Corinthians 12:9