Friday, March 2, 2012

Q & A

So...I have been thinking bout this for awhile. I know I'm not the best writer...I know there are a lot of gaps in the things I write about from one thing to the next and sometimes I forget to go back and finish or continue to write about things that I previously wrote about. Things just make a lot more sense in my head then how I write them. So...when my family or close friends ask me questions about things with Dakota or us that I thought they already knew...then I really realize how much I leave out in talking to people or on my blog that probably leave a lot of unanswered questions out there.

So...I personally LOVE when bloggers do Q & A's (question and answer) posts because sometimes I have questions that I want answered or other people ask awesome questions that I hadn't thought about and I love to read them. So, since I am not horribly good at commenting back to people in the comments section I thought I would try my best to do posts on any questions people have whether it's about Dakota, his accident, his therapy, Zach's blindness, life in general, my insanity, what I had for breakfast ;), ANYTHING!! I am a little slow at getting to my posts....I always have a backlog of things that I need to write about but I will answer them as they come in...eventually. :) I LOVE all the comments from all of the amazing people out there...ones I know and ones I don't! I read and love them all so please know that I appreciate the love and support given by EVERYONE!!!

So my first Q & A was actually asked in person to me by a friend and neighbor. She asked specifically for me to write a blog about this because she thought there was probably many others who had this same here it goes. She was so sweet and sincere when she asked me this and I appreciated that she would really care to know thank you!! (I won't write your name cuz I'm not sure if she wanted to be known or not...but you know who you are and I love ya)!

She asked me: How do you want people to treat you and Dakota? She said that when she is going though tough times she doesn't really like people to talk to her so she wasn't sure how I felt...did I want people to come up and talk to me if they saw me, are we still worried about Dakota and germs so do we not want people touching him, or inviting him places???

This was a very interesting question to think about because it has changed over time since Dakota's accident. I thought by going through the different stages we have gone through with this it might help others who are trying to help others going through a difficult time...but the hardest thing about it all is everyone is a little different...even between just  Zach and I.

When Dakota was in the hospital it was a VERY intense time for us as you can imagine. We DESPERATELY needed our parents by our sides almost always but we also of course needed times alone together and alone with Dakota. Both of our parents were amazing to ALWAYS be there when we needed them but give us alone time when we needed it as well. Zach's siblings weren't close since the accident happened in AZ so my siblings came almost every day to see us and that meant a lot to me. I needed them at moments more then anyone else. Mostly at that point we didn't want to see many people because we were so emotional. There were a few very special people from my parents ward that I grew up with that came to offer prayers around Dakota with us and participate in priesthood blessings. That was VERY much needed and appreciated and I still remember the words Elder Lesuer said to Zach and I..."Do you have faith?" That was it. Simply spoken but powerful. Make you think kind of words. My old visiting teaching companion in my home ward who I just LOVE and adore (Lori Lyman) came by just to sing to Dakota and hold his hand. She didn't even let Zach and I stay and listen she just wanted to be alone with Dakota and that also meant so much. We got A LOT of texts during that time and those meant a whole lot to us! A few friends stopped by for quick visits, hugs, and gifts for Dakota and us. Even when you didn't think you wanted to talk...the hugs felt SO good to me. A hug was worth a million bucks during those times and I'm not even really a hugger. Many things were sent to us by loving friends and family that were back in UT and those also meant a lot to us. They were a way of showing how many people loved, cared, and were thinking about us but yet we didn't have to have that face to face interaction.

When we first saw and hung out with friends I think I felt a little anxiety at first. It's like we almost felt like we were different people now in a way and that no one would be able to understand us anymore or like we couldn't relate to them anymore. But it was nothing like that. We felt a deep and sincere love by many and seeing other people shed tears for us (not that I wanted them too) but it made me realize they really did care about my little boy and they wanted to help. After the initial first seeing them (remember it had been months since we had seen them) that fear went away and we enjoyed their company again.

Going to our home ward for the first time was a lot of those same feelings. We knew people would wanna come talk to us but there was that same sense of fear. We didn't take Dakota for a long time so we didn't have to worry bout germs, it was just our own insecurities. I remember being completely fine and then my friend and Dakota's nursery teacher came up and talked to me in the hall with tears in her eyes and I lost it. But it was okay...I felt her love and I felt okay to cry in front of her.

At this point in our lives, a lot has changed and as time has gone on obviously some wounds have healed, the tears don't come quite as often, Dakota has progressed a lot, so feelings are different. Zach and I are totally different though. Zach used to be a very social guy when we were dating and slowly has become more of a homebody since we have been married and especially since his blindness and Dakota's accident. He doesn't care much for social gatherings or talking to people although when you are around him you would never be able to tell. He is so fun and outgoing and a blast to be around and is so good at talking to anyone and everyone but yet he would rather just be home talking to me and Dakota. (Maybe we am just that fun?! ;) ) Where me on the other hand I love going out and doing things with friends or whatever. I am a total fun haver so if anything fun is going on, even if it involves talking to people, I am there although I am a little shy around people I don't know well so it's kinda weird. Dakota, is doing much, much better in a lot of ways so we are not so afraid as we used to be to take him places or have him around other kids. He LOVES and I LOVE when kids and adults are not afraid to come up to him, talk to him, and touch him. I remember the first time we took him to church, cute Pam Parson came up to him and kissed him right on the forehead. That meant so much to Zach and I that she wasn't afraid of him and just showed that she loved him no matter what. That is what I love most about his school. There are a few girls there that just love him. They hug him, kiss him, hold his hand, and just play with him and I am SO grateful for that. I understand that some kids personalities are more fearful of him and I TOTALLY understand that as well. Just seeing the difference between his cousins lets me see that that is just how it is. Some of them are all over him and others are a little more standoffish and that's ok. For him I just want him to be treated like a kid. I want him to be involved as much as he can with any kid activities. Obviously there are some things he just can't do but as his mom I want him to be able to experience being a kid as much as he can...because I know that little 3 year old boy is in there dying to just be himself but his body won't let him. I often try and think how frustrated and upset he must get that he can't do or tell me what he wants. I want people and kids to feel comfortable asking questions about Dakota so that they can understand him and not be afraid of him.

The biggest thing is that we want to be treated like any normal person. Obviously we are not normal ;) but we would like to be treated that way. We don't want anyone to come talk to us just because of what we have gone through and they feel like they need to be nice to us...we just want sincerity. If you really wanna know how Dakota is doing or how we are doing that is just fine to ask but I don't want anyone to ever feel like they have to ask to be nice. I don't know if that makes sense...but sincerity is the key word. I have ran into people that I have never met in the store that read my blog and they have been some of the most sincere people I have ever met talking to me and crying with me but yet I have never met them...but I appreciate them.
So, all in all...just keep it real! ;)


  1. I loved this. Thanks for the Q&A. You have so much on your plate. You amaze me. And you are fun!

  2. I just found your blog and have been reading back through some old posts. I don't have time to read everything, so I would love a summary of where Dakota is now in his recovery and what progress he has made. I am also interested to know more about your husband's blindness--how it happened, how much vision he lost, etc. thanks for being willing to be so open about your life. Your faith is inspiring.

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  4. You are the best, of course Zach just wants to stay home with you guys, he can't get enough of you apparently. Haha, but also, why else do you think I became friends with you? Because you ARE awesome and fun, duh! ;) Thanks for all your writing Tess. It sure is nice to check up on you this way. Being in AZ stinks sometimes, because I wonder how you guys are holding up often. Love you!