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Everything I learned about life I didn’t learn in Kindergarten


Birthday cupcakeHappy 49th birthday to me! I’m spending the day by myself doing a few things for myself and reflecting on my life… So what have I learned?

• People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime…

I was raised in a large family, the oldest girl of six children, and it was a very dysfunctional family I might add, I know, I know seems like everyone comes from a dysfunctional family these days… but in my family it was “if you don’t talk about it, it never happened.” But the things that happened changed people… I know there is no going back but I often now wonder if I knew then what I know now, how different would I be? Would I have been the same child and teen and adult I have become today? Meh, we will never know… but I do know that I was “molded” by my family for better or worse and now I just have to move forward and grow…

As an adult I have tried to become more of a true “friend” to my friends… I have friends who have lost husbands, gotten divorced, been through cancer and I am trying to put other people in the forefront of my life and listen and learn from them because I truly believe that “all things happen for a reason,” why old friends come back into your life and you need to “listen” and the reason will come out in time…

• Life is tough! No one said it was going to be easy, but in the end it will all be worthwhile…

OK, I will be the first to admit it, I was not a “rich” kid… or a “spoiled” kid although my parents did dub me “I-need-a or I-want-a” but that didn’t mean I got it all or even remotely close… but I did have a home with food and clothes which were clean… My parents did pay for me to go to college although I was the “cheapest” college choice by far of the 6 of us, it was paid for… And they did help me from time to time… but again, having them turn against me and my family was very very tough… it’s been a little over a year and it gets easier but sometimes it just plain “sucks!” I look at my daughters and wonder how anyone could do this to their own flesh and blood?

Raising kids in this day and age is hard… We all do it, make hard choices, and hope we are doing right for our kids… Having 2 daughters one disabled and one a healthy has been a real big struggle. There was never the third child to add the balance or break the scale! Lol… It has been a struggle with time; do I spend to much time doing what needs to be done to help the disabled child, go to doctor’s, therapists, school meetings, become an advocate and a voice for her.. Or run all over god’s green earth shopping, becoming the cheer or pageant mom, traveling with the other and leaving the other behind… Who knows…? I can only pray that when Sarah is older she will understand the time it has taken to raise Hadley… And I’m not even going to go into the being “there” for Sarah through the mean girls, cyber bullying, crazy boyfriend drama, and life with a teen through the new days of technology that I never had… but I have seriously been there and done that…

• You can’t understand unless you have walked a mile in my shoes…

Raising a child with special needs is well, just plain exhausting… We spend hours and hours laboring over ways to help them, because as a mom that is what we do! But it is that extra push that all special needs mamas do… Becoming our children’s voice to get them the services they need… I know that Hadley is 18 and at this point unless a “magic wand” came down from the sky nothing is going to make her have a life that would equal that of Sarah’s.. But by the same token, through Hadley’s life so much has been changed in the world; children can now take their medicine easier because of the company Kenny founded… And special needs children do have a place to play all over the country because of the work that I have done. So rewarding yes, but at times I just wish that magic wand would come… because as a mom I just want to much for my little Hadley that she just won’t have… college, the white wedding dress, the picket fence…

• Eating, eating and more eating…

If you follow me on a regular basis you know I have recently come to the “earth shattering” realization tadahhhh that I am an Emotional Eater… Have been my whole life, but I am working on it… Since March… and it is much like any addiction it is “hard” work… Stopping to take care of one self although it is a necessary evil is hard but in the end it will be rewarding, I know I know… I don’t want anyone to think I’m breezing through this because it is seriously “one day at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time.”

This post has really been a stream of consciousness more than anything… no real editing, just thoughts that have come into my head on this morning of my 49th birthday!

In the end… I am thankful for my “inner circle” of friends and family who love and support me and I thank all of you for being a part of my life to!

Happy Birthday to me!!

About shelley

Shelley Kramm is the founder and editor of I'm Still Standing and The DC Ladies. Learn more about her and her inspirational family here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and on

Other places to find shelley


  1. Happy Birthday!!! and I agree w/ walking a mile in anothers shoes

  2. Mazal Tov on your birthday!!! You have, indeed, learned some important life lessons — the kind we can only learn through living them ourselves. Those of us who have kids with special needs know all too well how it is to want things for our children and wish they could happen, only to seek joy in alternate paths and differents types of success ….

  3. I completely understand where you're coming from. We are molded by our families and experiences to a certain extent. I've tried to take the good and bad times from my childhood and grow from them.

    You are so right when you say no one knows what it's like until they've walked in your shoes. I hate when someone judges me by my outward appearance without trying to get to know me. Great post!

  4. I loved this post and really can relate to alot of it.

    My mother is an alcoholic who I now have no relationship with. I was very close to her growing up ( unhealthy probably ) and after I had my first daughter decided that I could no longer let her illness take over my life.

    Its been hard…and I too look at both of my girls and wonder how on earth a mother could NOT be a part of their daughter's lives…

    I too have an older daughter with special needs and struggle with the sibling stuff and the exhaustion and the constant worrying if I am doing enough for the non disabled child…You are right…exhausting is an understatement. People don't understand that aside from all the physical exhaustion from appointment after appointment and all the advocating and caretaking…the emotional exhaustion ( at least for me ) is even more so.

    Anyway…just wanted you to know how much I related to so much of your post…( probably even the emotional eating part, but I am still denying that for )..

    I hope you have a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY :)

  5. Happy birthday to you and congrats on having the courage to write the post you just did. I have a group of friends I call my "family of choice". They're supportive and wonderful and we get in arguments and then make up – much like I expect really together families do. I wish that for you, too… friends that take the place of the 'blood relatives'. 😉

  6. Happy Birthday Sweetie. Blessings to you. What a beautiful post. i could of written bits and parts of it myself. HUGS

  7. Happy Birthday to you! I have also learned that if you are comfortable where you are, you are not pushing yourself enough. Have a wonderful day!!

  8. Happy birthday to you. What a great way to spend your birthday, in quiet reflection of how far you've come and how much you've learned. Our most important lessons usually are the hardest to learn.

  9. Happy birthday to you! Parenting is not easy, no matter what the circumstances. It's the hardest yet most rewarding job any of us will ever do. And frankly sometimes you just have to look around you and tell yourself you're doing the best you can with the hand you're dealt. :)

    I am a new follower from MBC and would love for you to stop by my blog sometime – :)

  10. Happy Birthday. Hope you have a fabulous day.

  11. You have a wonderful way of expressing your thoughts and I so enjoyed reading this post and growing from it.

  12. Hey Shelley,

    Great post! Happy Birthday to you. Enjoy your day. Thanks for greeting me on MBC. I am visiting and following from Holla back soon!!

  13. Happy Birthday to you!!
    Congrats on such a beautiful family!!
    I'm your newest follower from MBC…please check my blog out when you get the chance :)

  14. Happy Birthday Shelley! You are wonderful and talented! I'm so proud of you sweet friend.

    Blessings, ~Melissa :)

    PS I'm going to make your blog my *blog of the week*. It's at the top of my blog.

  15. Happy Birthday. I loved reading what you've learned.

  16. Hope you had a good birthday. there is alot of truth in what you say. I'm also trying to lose weight. I'd like to invite you to join in on Thursdays Fat to Fit weekly Meme (see my blog for posts)
    Now following you


  17. Happy Birthday! I appreciated these thoughts from another mama of special needs kiddos. Glad I found your blog!

  18. Happy Happy Birthday!! Hope you had a great day! This post is a good one. I'm a few years behind you but I can still relate!

    Thanks for stopping by my MBC profile. Glad you did! :)

  19. Hi Shelley, just popping in from Melissa's blog of the week link… happy birthday sweetie, I'm 47 this year (can't believe it still) and I'm actually the youngest of 6 (not the oldest) :)
    Hope you continue to have a fun birthday week.
    Come say hi

  20. Dear Shelley,
    Happy 49th Birthday! Loved your blog especially when you wrote, "walk a mile in my shoes …" because that's one of my favourite sayings. I have special needs kids too and others can't possibly understand the patience it takes to keep going day after day. One more thing … it's my 50th on August 6th … we're the same vintage!

  21. Happy birthday! Thanks for the welcome over at MBC. :)

  22. Happy birthday! I love this post, I'm so inspired by everything you wrote. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Crystal says:

    What a moving post. I love your stuff…left you an award on my site.

  24. Happy Birthday and God bless you…
    I agree you need to walk in someone shoes before you can say you know the answers. I have different problems but I know like you..we have to take it one day at a time. And when you find a friend in times of trouble you know you have found a real friend. Prayers and Happy birthday!

  25. I relate to everything you write about in this post. Happy Birthday to you! Enjoy! I love how you are celebrating!

  26. I'm sorry I missed your birthday. Happy belated Birthday! Hope you had a great one.

  27. Happy Birthday! Love your words of wisdom!

  28. Happy belater Birthday!!!! I can relate to pretty much what you've discovered. :)

  29. Happy Belated Birthday…a Super Great Post…Enjoying some blog hopping today

    Hope you will stop by…I have some great giveaways on my holiday blog and a special post on Grammy Girlfriend.

  30. Shelley – I first want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET BELLA! I know I am a bit late on leaving this comment, but your birthday is a celebration of the day God created you to fulfill your very own special destiny and purpose – CHEERS!!! second, I adore you blog and applaud you for your authenticity, that's what makes you so irresistible! I will be praying about the strained family situation, truly – I thank you for coming by my blog, I cannot remember if I answered your question about how I get my pics so large, if not: I use photobucket, upload my pic, and resize it to the Large size – then I copy and paste the html code within my blog post and voila! it's that easy!! I do hope you will come visit me again, I am a relatively new blogger, only 9 posts so far, but heartfelt posts indeed, would love to hear your thoughts sweet bella. Working on a new post tonight – i've been out of pocket the last few weeks so I've fallen behind a bit on my posts and communications – have a glorious day sweet bella. p.s. I have a special needs sister who has overcome a lot – it is difficult to express with human words the lessons God has taught us about serving one another and dying to self. Shelley I am adding you to my daily prayer list, and hope to talk with you soon…. much love

  31. Happy Belated Birthday. I've never walked in shoes similar to yours and I have to say, I admire how you wear life.

  32. Hi! I'm a new follower from Bloggy Moms. Happy Birthday!

    You can follow me back at =)

  33. Happy belated birthday I hope you got your birthday wish. Wishing you happiness, Katherine