Throwback Post: Being a Sibling to One With Special Needs

(I recently changed the hosting company for this website, along with all other websites I manage. In the aftermath, my draft posts got deleted. Oh no! Fortunately, they were in the back up and could be reinstalled. However, the original draft dates were deleted. I’m taking that as a sign that it’s time to do cleanup and housekeeping.)


(Thomas and Lillian – 2010 – Geiger Way Lookout)

**THROWBACK TO 2014**

After a huge Lillian meltdown this morning which caused him to be a wee bit late for school.

I am trying to help him notice when it’s not a good idea to push Lillian. He does try so hard, but just wants to not have to try sometimes. Lillian is making huge progress, yet, we still have those moments. Thomas’ teacher shares often with me how she enjoys his presence in the classroom as he’s so empathetic and compassionate.

I have recently pulled back from intervening when they decide to be unkind with one another. I’ve explained that I have taught them methods to use and I model those methods. It is up to them whether they use them or not.

This morning it escalated, I remained calm and not involved. It escalated and escalated and escalated. There was screaming and door slamming. I remained calm and not involved. I got scratched and pinched, I remained calm. I kept emphasizing that I’d be happy to help her get calm and to let me know when she was ready. And. Finally, Lillian asked for help in calming down. I walked her through a meditative breathing exercise and we moved on …. I don’t always remain calm. I did this morning and it makes such a huge, huge, huge difference when I do. Mindfulness is an amazing way to live …

Yes, this. I am blessed and grateful that we are a team. I am having the time of my life on this journey with them. The joy, suffering, happiness, peace, love, and all … xoxo

**June 2020 Update** – Six years later. I’d love to say that Thomas and Lillian get along fabulously now. They don’t. Lillian is 18 and Thomas is 14.

Thomas has much anger and unsettled feelings about being Lillian’s sibling. The years of horrific meltdowns. I mean we just had one at 1:30am this morning. I’ve told him as often as I could remember that it was okay to be angry, okay to have whatever feelings he has about the situation.

Much of my time being spent with Lillian. Not having a typical sibling, with a typical sibling relationship, doing typical activities as a family. These all became too much at some point, with him internalizing much. This is something we will be addressing at some point this year.

Lillian has much jealousy towards Thomas, for all the things he can do that she can’t do. Jealous of my time spent with him, jealous even when he and I speak to one another. Jealous may not be the word to use here, it’s quite possibly stems from something else. She may have internalized some trauma from her childhood. All issues to be addressed when she is ready to do so.

I do not share to receive comfort or sympathy. I share as that’s what I know I am to do. I share so other siblings and parents know they are not alone. As I know that in the past I have felt guilt and shame when observing a sibling with their special needs sibling getting along fabulously, with compassion and love. Wondering what I had done wrong. I now know I have done nothing wrong. People are just different.

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

The Rain Felt Cold – Christmas 2019 Gift for Thomas

**THROWBACK POST**

Homemade gift I made for Thomas. This was great fun! Using a book that was destined for the trash, I randomly opened the book and scanned for phrases to make into a poem. Found Poetry! Challenging! 💜💜💜

I stood on the porch,
The rain felt cold on my face and neck
I looked out at the city and thought
it was beautiful. The rain had cleaned the sky
The skies cleared
The seas calmed
And I suddenly knew
that the story wasn’t finished,
It was the kind of day you felt you
could build a future on.

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Thoughts on Mother’s Day – 2020

I didn’t post anything about Mother’s Day this past Sunday, May 10, 2020. I was feeling down, and dealing with aching teeth. For anyone new to this blog, I have two kids. Thomas who is 14 years old and Lillian who is 18 years old. I’ve raised them alone for the past 13 years.

Mother’s Day has never been about store bought gifts and flowers for me. I do not judge those who find these things meaningful. I have always loved and enjoyed the home made cards and gifts that Thomas and Lillian made me when they were younger. I have attempted to raise them not to feel compelled to give gifts just because a calendar, or someone else, says it’s time to give a gift. I wanted them to give gifts because they were moved to do so, to show love, to show joy, to show appreciation. I now understand why moms around the world keep and treasure gifts their kids made for them as children. These are true treasures.

By afternoon on Sunday, I had received nothing from either Thomas or Lillian. Well, except Thomas told me “Happy Mother’s Day” when he overheard me telling my mom the same. Lillian had been in a snarky, unfriendly mood, and remained so all day. In the late afternoon, I shed tears at something Thomas had said; which led him to tell me he didn’t know what to give me or make for me and he didn’t feel like making anything. I explained that I don’t want him to feel obligated to give me something. But, I sure as hell can be sad and nostalgic for when they were younger and spent days making me a gift. And, my sadness does not mean that he has done something wrong. He understood.


(Throwback to 2014)

Later that night, he gave me a hug and told me I was a good mom. Later, still, he commented that I don’t look 50 years old and that I should have more wrinkles. He said I look 40 years old. HA! Silly Thomas! Oh my gosh! I have been on this freaking planet for 50 damn years! That’s wild!

I felt compelled to share a glimpse of a different Mother’s Day post. I respect how all choose to celebrate this day, and have compassion for those who have sadness in their hearts on this day. We are all different, yet, the feelings of joy and sadness are felt by all.

May you take from this whatever is meant for you. xoxo

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Throwback Post: Our Purpose and Path

(I recently changed the hosting company for this website, along with all other websites I manage. In the aftermath, my draft posts got deleted. Oh no! Fortunately, they were in the back up and could be reinstalled. However, the original draft dates were deleted. I’m taking that as a sign that it’s time to do cleanup and housekeeping. Here’s a throwback to nearly four years ago!)

**THROWBACK POST**

July 1 2016:

Last night we gathered around and had discussions about where each of us is regarding our purpose and path, about each of our personal visions, how we plan to get there, how far we’ve gotten, what’s holding each of us back, current challenges and where we are as a family.

Then Lillian and I had a beautiful sunset walk.

I came back to an email from Thomas (only a little snippet to follow, per Thomas):

“…… And why? I want to be a role model to others.

Really this is the only time I have wanted to be the leader of something but it is something that I believe is my vision, and my purpose.

You said to do what you like doing and I do know I would like it …..”

Made my eyes pool with sweat … xoxo …

This morning I had a magical early morning walk. Just now looked at the pictures .. the two reflection photos …. and they leave me in awe … May you have a day full of letting go and of being in awe of nature … xoxo

**Update – May 2 2020: There were no photos with the draft post. I was able to locate one of them (above). We no longer gather around and have these types of discussions (which I do miss). With Thomas being 14 years old and Lillian 18 years old, they’ve moved on from doing many of the rituals and conversations we had during their youth. I hope that some of what we discussed and did, is somewhere within each of them, waiting the time when the wisdom is needed.

These Were the Days – Eight Years in the Making

With Lillian turning 18 and the stressful move, I got behind on posting things here. For a while, you’ll be getting some older posts as I get caught up (this one from my birthday in February) … Much love!

February 22 2020:

8 years in the making …. Team TLC – Thomas, Lillian, Camilla … 3 family members …. 4 published books …. There are more to come. However, I need to take this year to press the reset button, for my physical health and for the emotional health of Thomas and Lillian. We’ve drifted from the Team in our Team TLC; which I know will happen as they get older. Yet, I’ve let vital areas slip by the wayside over the past 4 or 5 years, especially this last year.

One major struggle is about to end for us. Once that gift is showered upon us, the rebuilding of Team TLC begins. Of course it will look and feel different than when Thomas and Lillian were younger, and that’s the beauty of it, tempered with the longing of the way it used to be.

I get the feeling the next book will be authored by all three of us. We shall see. I never really know until I become focused on the book’s creation. xoxo

There were days
She could see no reason to continue

There were days
Shrouded in darkness and despair

There were days
Bubbling with joy and love

There were days
She knew the reason to continue

These were the days
The 18,250 days of riding the wheels of her life.

Thank you for being along for the ride. It’s a joy to share it with all of you. If you’d like to learn more about our books, go here … https://camilladowns.com/books/

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Top 10 Digital Diary Entries for 2019 – Team TLC

I had fun going through the stats for The Team TLC website and gathering the Top 10 Digital Diary Entries with the Most Views for 2019. Here they are …

Top 10 Digital Diary Entries for 2019

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

 

The Road Trip Adventure That Was the 2019 Chromosome 18 Family Conference

In July we attended the 2019 Chromosome 18 Family Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was the 4th time since 2008 that I had driven to the conference. I finally learned my limits with this drive. In this case, the fourth time’s the charm!

I posted a daily account of the adventure on our Team TLC website, loaded with great photos, especially the photos of The Garden of Gods.

The Wild and Crazy Journey to the 2019 Chromosome 18 Family Conference in Colorado Springs

I want to once again thank the Good Samaritan’s we encountered along the way, the wonderful people who donated to our fundraiser, The Romano Duo (my mom and step-dad) and the angel mom who paid for us to stay an extra night so I could have one more day to recover from the horrid norovirus that swept through the hotel guests. 

For the most part, we enjoyed ourselves as much as possible with the drive there and back, and while at the conference. If you take the time to read the post linked, you’ll see it wasn’t all peaches and cream. There were some definite unlovely and maddening experiences. Horrendous traffic, car accidents, car problems, melt downs, and the nasty norovirus that swept through hotel guests and all three of us. The last unofficial count I saw was about 200 people got hit with it! 

Thomas and I had a beautiful time visiting The Garden of the Gods. Definitely check out those photos in the linked post. Magically beautiful. We also had a lovely rest stop at The Salt Flats in Utah; which was deeply refreshing. Here are a few photos from each of these wonderful places.

Lillian had many firsts and conquered a few fears along the way. It’s always a blessing to see her reunited with her best friend and making new friends too!

Ending with what I’ve learned about my limits with attending the conference. The first drive was to Las Vegas in 2008. That was an easy 8 hour drive from Reno to Vegas. The second time was another easy 8 hour drive from Reno to Salt Lake City in 2015. The third was a nightmare 3,400 mile drive from Reno to San Antonio in 2016. I wrote about that one here and here and here.

I have learned that any destination 9 hours or less is do able for me. Over that, where we have to make a stop and stay some place for the night is too much (for me). Yes!!! For continuing to learn about my own limits. From this point forward it will be easier to decide how we will get to the conference every summer.

At some point in the future, it is my plan for Lillian to travel to the conference without me. If she and Thomas can reach a point of getting along and respecting one another, they can travel together. Or, if that doesn’t happen, hopefully one day she can travel with a friend, or even alone. That’s the plan and we’re making our way to it’s fruition! 2020 Conference will be back in San Antonio! See y’all there!

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Coming Soon!! “Words of Alchemy” is the latest book coming to life! Coming Fall 2019.

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Life Adventures – An Update from Camilla

It’s been over a month since I’ve written or published anything on my blog, with my postings being much less frequent on facebook and instagram. I felt moved to share an update.

I have been busy with finishing tasks to get my upcoming book released by the end of Summer. Here’s a peek at the cover. Almost there with the cover!

I was wrapped in details of ensuring Lillian graduated on June 1st. She was homeschooled so I was in charge of her transcript, announcements, diploma, tassel, and photo session! In addition, I attended a book signing with her at Barnes & Noble on June 1st.

I had also been in preparation for attending the 2019 Chromosome 18 Family Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We have been attending this every year since 2008 as it is the group that researches differences with chromosome number 18 and connects families world wide. We left for the conference on July 19th and returned home on July 27th.


(Group Photo from the 2018 Conference in Baltimore)

Now I switch gears to preparing for our move around September 9th. In addition, I must focus on many details and tasks that need to be completed with Lillian turning 18 years old on September 14th. YaY for Lillian! Whew for me!

I will also be focused on getting Thomas squared away for this school year as we homeschool (unschool). He and I will be doing that soon.

And …. the venture I began at the end of May is still going strong and taking much of my time. If you’re interested, check it out … Meeting the Authors.

Lastly, I’ve been keeping up with posts on The Team TLC website as that is our digital journal.

More updates to follow on some of these; especially the upcoming book. I simply wanted to check in with you on why I have not been around! Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Much love to all of you!

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” is arriving January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

This 11 Year Old is Published

**THROWBACK POST**

April 7 2017:

I just realized that I never shared this …. xoxo

Thomas’ segment on KOLO 8 on Friday, 4.7.17, talking about Biggest Little Photographer. It’s about 2 minutes. xoxo

“Thomas is so cool! If you didn’t get a chance to see his interview Friday, please watch it here. This 11 year old is published!!!” – Sarah Johns, KOLO 8

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here.

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Go here to see latest soul writings. xoxo

Top 10 Digital Diary Entries for 2018 – The Team TLC

Top 10 Digital Dairy Entries for with the most views for 2018 from The Team TLC online journal

Visit the link below to should you wish to read any of the top 10 entries. xoxo

1. The 2018 Chromosome 18 Conference – Baltimore, Maryland
2. Decisions As We Approach Lillian Darnell Reaching 18 Years of Age – Nevada
3. 2018 Chromosome 18 Conference – Baltimore Maryland – Ladies Night
4. The Daughter Knew She Could by Camilla Downs
5. Camilla and Lillian Update for Chromosome 18 Conference in Baltimore and the Fundraiser
6. The Books Are Arriving and Chromosome 18 Facebook Page Live Event
7. Happy Happy 17th Birthday to Lillian Darnell and Lillian and Camilla September 2018 Date Day
8. Deventer The Netherlands Meets Reno Nevada USA
9. She Did It! The 2018 Chromosome Conference – Baltimore Maryland
10. What Do We Truly Mean When We Say I Love You by Camilla Downs

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” is arriving January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Go here to see latest soul writings. xoxo