Thursday, April 28, 2011

When She Was Small

Becky has an older brother, James, and an older sister, Corey. They have always loved her dearly and admired her determination in life.  I found this picture of them taken when Becky was about 2 years old. She was out of her casts and able to crawl by pulling her body forward with her right arm. Much of Becky's day was spent playing on the floor where she had much more mobility and freedom. Her brother & sister brought her toys and played with her, "chased" her and wrestled with her.  She loved pretending she was a ninja and a Power Puff Girl.  Corey & James started out letting Becky win the games, but as she grew stronger, Becky held her own and had a powerful "karate chop".
I guess she was always a superhero kind of girl!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Connecting with her World

Becky has been having a wonderful time getting her new apartment all organized for her electronic gadgets. Every evening, Becky plays on her computer. she uses a large mouse that is adjusted to her touch. She also has a modified keyboard that is color coded and has larger keys to make things easier for her. Becky helps with writing this blog, monitors it, goes on her Facebook and chats with her friends & family. Becky's sister, Corey, got her set up with a reading program on her computer to improve her reading skills.
 Becky loves listening to music on her computer too. She is very skilled at getting on YouTube and cueing up her favorite singers.  Becky's favorite music to find online includes Elvis Presley, Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus. Of course, she's also a humongous Justin Bieber fan! We try to go to concerts pretty often both in Las Cruces and in nearby El Paso. She swooned over Ricky Martin, 'N Sync, and Kenny Chesney.  More recently, Becky rocked out to Kelly Clarkson when she was in Las Cruces.
Becky's tastes in music have always been very eclectic and ranged from Spanish music to country music to rock and roll. She also enjoys listening to gospel music once in a while.  For her birthday, Becky received a CD audiobook of Twilight so that she can read along as she listens to her favorite story. (She's Team Jacob).

Monday, April 25, 2011

"I'm Still Your Baby, Mom"

Becky knows exactly how to melt my heart.
I called her last Thursday to talk with Becky about our Easter plans. After making arrangements for us to go out for dinner, Becky asked me what I was bringing her for a surprise. Even though I suspected what she meant, I pretended to not have a clue. "What kind of surprise?"  
She gave out a huge sigh and explained to me that I needed to bring her an Easter know, a chocolate bunny. I've bought Becky a chocolate Easter bunny every year of her life. Her older brother and sister finally told me they no longer needed chocolate bunnies every Easter a few years back. I guess we all grow up for a while...then we all yearn for the years we got our chocolate bunnies again!
Anyway, I told Becky that she was an adult now...too old for a chocolate bunny. That's when she reminded me:
"I'm still your baby, Mom. I always will be."  Ah, how true. No matter how old my children get, I always have the desire to keep a part of their baby-ness in my heart.
Needless to say, I had to rush to the store.  I got the very last chocolate bunny that still had intact ears. On Easter Sunday, I arrived at Becky's house with the chocolate bunny wrapped in colorful foil. She closed her eyes as I hid it in her room. It took her nearly 30 minutes to find it and when she did, she smiled as if she were about 5 years old again. And even better?...I smiled as if she were 5 years old again too!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bowling, Becky Style!

Becky and I had a wonderful weekend together!
On Friday night, I met Becky at the Sun Lanes bowling alley where she and her Special Olympics bowling team practice every Friday. She is always so proud to show me her latest tricks and skills! Becky bowled a score of 183...which is about 100 points more than I've ever bowled. Becky uses an adaptive ramp when she bowls. She places the bowling ball on the ramp, points it down the alley at the pins she wants to knock down and then pushes the ball down the ramp.  It takes lots of strength, coordination and a better sense of visual perception than I possess!
 Between her turns to bowl, Becky races from one place to another in her electric wheelchair. She goes to catch up on the gossip with one friend, gives another friend a big hug, then goes to give encouragement to yet another friend. She has such a full, happy life. Becky has one friend in particular, Sophia, who just loves helping her. Sophia helps lug the ramp on/off the alley-way. And she finds great pride in allowing Becky to use her personal bowling ball.  It's purple...Becky's favorite color. They both just glow as big smiles spread across their faces when they lift the purple bowling ball onto the ramp.  Then Sophia happily backs away and cheers Becky on as yet another set of pins falls.  Of course, since they are young ladies, there is lots of screaming, high-pitched squealing and giggling. 
After bowling, Becky has the tradition of going out for supper. We always tease her that she is never tired and last night was no exception. She was in the mood to play so after a trip to McDonald's she went home and played on her Wii for hours! No wonder she slept in late the next morning!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Becky's Working for Her 1st Independent Adventure into the World!

Becky has been very busy working on her next fundraising project. She is collecting favorite recipes from her therapists, her caregivers, her friends and family. A wonderful family friend and physical therapist, Leslie Maguire is donating copying and binding services to help create the cookbook. Becky's sister, Corey is providing the composition and illustrations...she is SO creative!

The cookbook will be sold by Becky (and her troop of fundraiser volunteers) to help her raise enough money to go on her first independent adventure...going to New York City!!!!!
She gets more excited with every day that passes! 

***A wonderful benefit of this blog has been that Becky is speaking much more. She used to be pretty quiet during telephone conversations.  Talking with Becky in person used to be alot more challenging because it seemed to be just so much work and effort for her. NOW, Becky talks...ALOT! She is highly motivated to tell us all about her activities during the day and all about her social nightlife. Becky can hardly wait to check out her blog each evening and catch up on her Facebook posts.  She calls me every evening so we can discuss what she wants posted and how to tell her story. ***

So I have to thank you for reading the blog and giving her encouragement. This blog has been passed on and shared by many people, some even in the public arena. Oprah, David Spade & Michael McKean have read her blog.  In fact, when Michael McKean tweeted about Beckys Dream, the blog got over 250 views in a few minutes! We are very grateful to all who spread the word about spreads not only her also spreads her spirit!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blue Ribbon Becky!

Saturday was the Big Day for Becky. She participated in the southern New Mexico regional Special Olympics held in Anthony, New Mexico.
It was such a perfect day for the games! Nice and sunny, but not too hot, we had one of the bluest skies I'd ever seen. Anthony, New Mexico is a very small town half-way between Las Cruces, NM and El Paso, TX. The high school where the games were held is out in the country surrounded by farms & ranches with horses & llamas on one side and fields of grapes & a winery on the other side. Flocks of ducks flew over the football field as I sat on the bleachers waiting for Becky's arrival.  It was quite the picture of the calm before the storm of happy chaos.
Special Olympic athletes are a very happy, raucous bunch of people and their families and caregivers, coaches and organizers are easily infected with that same joy and uninhibited celebration. Nearly everyone has a big smile on their face and you hear laughing, squealing, and excited yelling in every direction. As I arrived, the walking race was going on.  "Go! Faster!....Don't Run! Slow Down!....Go!" On the track, were about a dozen athletes wearing their team tee-shirts, walking as fast as they could...some of them almost breaking into a jog. As they got closer to the finish line, two of them were neck and neck. They finished the race in a tie and hugged each other in pure joy of having finished.
Becky arrived with her caregiver and was already squealing in excitement. She put on the bright turquoise tee-shirt like it was made of gold. She traded her sun hat for her "racing hat" and was ready! We found the staging area & she got acquainted with her competition...a lovely young lady named Lindsey. There are not many people in wheelchairs at the games. There were only 3 in motorized wheelchairs and 1 in a manual chair. One of the motorized wheelchair athletes competed alone in a timed race.
Becky's events were the 25 yard and 50 yard slaloms. She and Lindsey had to spin their chairs around once then take their chairs side to side, maneuvering cones set in their way, completing the slalom was another spin at the end. Becky was SO fast that I was fearful she would tip her chair! She had her chair on high speed and whipped around the cones like a crazy woman! When she was done, she had a very satisfied grin on her face. That grin got even bigger when I told her she scared me.
We made our way to the awards tent and her friends all greeted her with cheers and hugs. Her name was announced and ROTC officers pinned blue ribbons on her shirt. Becky was beaming. She had won first place in both events.
Her boyfriend, Robbie, and several of her other friends showed up to congratulate her & lots of laughing, squealing, and hugging went on. What joy, what pure unadulterated happiness and celebration they expressed! It's contagious and I'm glad I caught it.
Becky will go to Albuquerque with her friends, coaches and caregivers in May for the state Special Olympics. They will be held at the University of New Mexico football stadium. She will be a part of the opening and closing ceremonies, cheer for her friends during their events, complete her own events and then the best part....the Big Dance after the closing ceremonies. I never fail to shed many tears at the ceremonies. But the dance is particularly touching. It always makes me wish we could all enjoy life, enjoy each other, that much!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

She's Cooking Up Something Fun!

Becky LOVES being in the kitchen. She likes being there alone, quiet and sneaky as she opens drawers and snoops, discovering what treasures have been stashed inside.  She's done that since she was a very little girl.  In fact, one of her wonderful, creative doctors recommended that to help Becky's cognitive and fine motor development, we should take drawers and put them on the floor, dump them out and have her put all the stuff back into the drawer.  It was one of Becky's favorite things to do as I cooked or did other household chores.  To make it even more fun, we'd pretend that she had gotten in trouble for making such a mess on the floor and she had to pick it up.  Her brother enjoyed that part of it. Becky would break out in a big grin and happily pick up her "mess".  She used to maneuver her wheelchair up beside a drawer to snoop inside.  But now, in her new wheelchair accessible kitchen, she can wheel right up under the cabinet and pull the drawer out over her lap.  She's in heaven!

Becky also likes to cook. One of her annual goals is to cook more for herself. But, of course, this requires quite a bit of assistance. Her caregivers help her prepare the meals, but encourage Becky to do as much as she can. For instance, her caregiver Claudia held Becky's right arm as Becky sliced through cucumbers with a sharp knife. To be honest, I'm glad I didn't have to witness that as I am afraid of my kids cutting themselves...yes, even my adult kids.  Becky likes to stir pots, set tables, serve food and clear the dirty dishes now that she has full access to the stove, counters & sink.  But, like her mom, her favorite kitchen task is baking. I wonder if that's because we love brownies so much?

Becky's next big project is gathering recipes from her friends, family & caregivers in her life and compiling them into a cookbook. Not only will this give her a wonderful resource for the food she will help prepare, but it will be used as a fundraiser for her trip to New York City!  A very special friend of the family came up with the idea and is donating the copying and binding costs.  Becky is the primary force behind the creation of the cookbook and is very excited about seeing it become a reality.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wheelchair Dancing

Relationships are challenging for most people. Imagine being a young person with special needs; talk about having to work at a relationship!  If you were a young lady with limited mobility, who used a wheelchair and needed help to get in/out of it, how would you go dancing with a date? How would you give a goodnight hug or kiss? If you were a young man who needed someone with him to drive, to manage money, to keep him safe, how would you plan a date? And, how would a special needs couple get any privacy when there are always caregivers with them?  These are just a few of the issues "special couples" have when they date.

Becky has been in a relationship with Robbie for almost two years. Robbie is an attentive, thoughtful young man who is simply nuts about Becky.  He has his devoted mother to provide him with supervision, guidance, assistance with more challenging tasks and who drives him around town. Robbie is quite physically active and loves to swim, bowl and go dancing with Becky.
Tuesdays are usually karaoke nights for Becky and Robbie. They attend the karaoke even put on by the local ARC, where they sing, dance and socialize with their many friends. If you ever get a chance to go to a dance where there are people with special needs, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity.  It warms the heart and could very well make a person shed a few tears to watch the pure joy and love of life that is expressed as they dance.  Robbie has learned to dance with Becky by holding onto her right hand as he sways and twirls. Becky loves to dance and given the extra space needed, will move her wheelchair in time with the music.  Otherwise, she moves her arm side to side and bobs her head in rhythm. Keep on dancing, Becky!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mondays With Becky

When I think about my social life, I think about going out for dinner once in a while, an occasional night listening to live music at a local bar, taking my grandkids to McDonald's for breakfast and meeting my friends for a cold drink.
Becky's social life is much more interesting than mine and it's certainly much busier than mine!
Becky and her friends see each other nearly day as they meet up around town. Most of Becky's friends participate in day hab (day habilitation).  Day hab provides a service that helps Becky and her friends live a richer life by being active in the community. They take her on outings at the parks, shopping, to museums, bowling and many other places. It also provides a comfortable, attractive place for them to meet for lunch, rest breaks and is a respite for cooling off...or warming up.
Becky is starting a reading group at her day hab center, Angelcare. She loves to read, especially her Twilight series of books. Becky chooses the title they will read together and then they take turns reading and discussing the story.
She enjoys attending a "girl's" group at Angelcare where they get their hair fixed, nails painted and experiment with makeup.  Becky likes feeling all prettied up, but what she really likes is the chisme, or gossip, that happens there!

Late this afternoon, Becky has an appointment with her ophthalmologist. Most people do not realize that glaucoma is a common and serious condition that goes along with cerebral palsy.  Becky has glaucoma in both eyes that is being reated with medicated eye drops and close monitoring.

So, that is a typical Monday with, friends and doctors!

UPDATE: Becky's eye appointment went well! No changes in her eye pressures!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Make A Difference

You can Make A Difference in the life of a young lady. That alone is a beautiful concept.
You can Make A Difference in the life of a young lady who has dealt with many challenges that would be entirely too daunting for many people. Now THAT is how you create blessings and good karma for yourself and those around you!

Becky has been the most courageous and positive thinking person I've ever imagined. She has obviously thrived and become a very independent woman despite having cerebral palsy and arthrogryposis, resulting in multiple surgeries, bracing, serial casting, and endless therapy.
But she also has overcome abusive situations, loss of family members who meant so much to her and has built a life with a vibrant social life and a large circle of friends.  Becky's brother & sister are extremely close to her as she has been a source of courage, determination and optimism.
That's why we are working to help Make A Difference in her quality of life!

Friday, April 8, 2011

NYC EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Becky's trip to New York City is going to be quite an adventure! She is going with a small group of people with special needs.  No mama, none of her daily caregivers, no boyfriend.  She said she wanted to be on her own as much as possible...independent!  Families who have a special needs person in their lives will understand why this makes me so very proud; and makes me tear up with gratitude every time we get a step closer to making it happen!

Last night, I went to Las Cruces to visit with Becky.  We talked about the people who have been visiting this blog.  I want to share Becky's reactions with the kind, generous people who have donated to help Becky in her efforts to go to New York City.  
I read the blog entries to Becky and then got on Facebook to read to her some of the responses to the blog, the auction and phone calls I've received.  She was soooooo excited!  Now, if you know Becky, you know the volume and pitch of her squeals of excitement.  If you are just getting to know Becky through this blog, let me try to describe it.
When Becky is happy, she lets loose with a high pitched squeal. It sort of sounds like a noon whistle at a factory...or some kind of exotic bird in the jungles of the Amazon.
It is the sound of pure, unadulterated, uninhibited joy.  
We are always blessed and filled with our own joy when we hear it!  

I let Becky know that because of the generosity of people who care about her, people who respect her character & determination, we have raised $900 of the $3000 she will need in order to achieve her dream trip.  Again, she squealed! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crazy eBay Auction

I had put a few of my drawings on eBay in order to raise money for Becky's trip.  Some kind soul bid on the drawings early in the week-long auction and then sent me the following message:

I see this picture is only at $.99 right now. Is there a reason its not as high as the other 3 you have listed? Maybe someone spilled grapejuice on it or perhaps its on less expensive paper? Is there any reason I don't have to pay more...I need to! You may contact me....or my agent....expediently please. That means...don't hold up the butter, Chickee!
I was sort of surprised at the message because well, because he sounded like he was kind of a nut. So I sent him a message:
it's a different price because i didn't know it would be more successful to put a reasonable amount like $10 on it or to start low & hope for the best. So you are benefitting from my experiment! I'm trying to raise money for my daughter who has cerebral palsy so she can fulfill her dream of going to NYC. please check out her blog at 
His reply:
Fair enough Babycakes! As long as theres no grapejuice on it! Do you think I will get it for $.99 or am I the only art connosewer on ebay? Connosewer...that means I'm a pro...Sweetcheeks!
Now I was certain he was a nut!  My next message:
Geez, maybe I should look! I'd hate to find out there was grapejuice on it and i lied to you. And I hope you DON'T get it for 99cents!!!!! I hope it goes all the way up to about $99 and you''re the amazing connosewer who knows great art and buys it! And how did you know that I have sweet cheeks?
His reply the next morning:
Good morning Sunshine! Still at $.99! Can you get a friend to run it up a tad. I got $10 on it! While you're at it run up that one with the pretty woman lookin at her hands! But don't go over $xx.00 though cause thats my limit. I got $11 on the other 2 but I'll go increase my limit to $20 each if you ain't so grouchy at me! Let me know, Okay Puddin? I'm gonna go put xx on the 2 with the little girls right now and you go run that one with pretty face up to $9 and see if I'm a lyin...Then you take your pretty little finger and poke that there bid button on the one with the pretty woman lookin at her hands and run it up to around $xx BUT DON'T GO OVER less you wanna buy it! I hope you don't think I'm pullin your leg. I want them there pretty pictures cuz they remind me of someone I love and enjoy havin fun with. Its only a hunnert dollars total I can spend but if it helps you get that little girl to NYC that would make me very happy.Now go bid, bid, bid Snook'ems!  Oh, and I want them signed by the ARTISTE! and make sure you keep the grapefruit juice away from them!
Ok, then I was certain he was a nut that I must know.  I could tell from the info on the website that he was from Oklahoma.  My reply:
morning! Sad to say, I don't have anybody to run up the amounts. But if you feel like you'd like to donate more $ for my fundraising for my daughter, you can do so on the blog I created for her. it's at:
I sure enjoy reading your messages. It's so cool to find someone who gets such a charge out of life! 
His reply:
Can't you get a facebook friend to do it? I see, I mean I guess you have facebook don't you? If they outbid me I'll send you the $xxx.00 I was gonna spend and then another $xx.00 cause I can be a little overbearing and some people say rude and chovenistical (whatever) I don't think so but thats what they say! And if I don't get out bid then I'll send ya something for being a good sport, okay sugar tush?
Sugar tush! Finally, the auction ended and I could see who had purchased the drawings.

Scott Robison you are a scoundrel! Babycakes!!!!! Sweet Cheeks!!!!! 
My cousin Scott is one of the kindest, most loving men I've known.  Thanks, cuz!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Special Olympics Prep

This is a picture of Becky winning the gold medal at the Special Olympics Bowling Tournament!

Going to the Special Olympics is often the highlight of the year for many of the participants as well as their families and the volunteers.  Becky began taking part in the games since she was around 8 years old.  The games provided her with a much-needed sense of independence.  Becky's first night away from me was when she went to the state games in Oklahoma City back in 1992.  She was so happy and so proud! 

Becky used to participate in the softball throw.  Even though the ball always landed just inches away, she squealed with joy and had huge smiles. Of course, her specialty has always been the wheelchair races.  She does sprints & 100 yard dashes but really enjoys the obstacle courses.

After the state games, the biggest event...the event everyone loves the most...happens.  The dance!  

I have to say that there is nothing more joyful in this world than watching the Special Olympic athletes dance.  There is none of the se-conscious awkwardness so common at most dances. They get out on the floor and boogie!  They enjoy the slow dances that allow them to pair up with a special friend. But if you are on the dancefloor when the DJ plays Love Shack or La Bamba, you had better run for cover because they simply cannot be happier or more enthusiastic dancers. 

We found out today that Becky's team is going to have to do some fundraising in order to go to Albuquerque for the state games.  That's really no problem; in fact, Becky LOVES doing fundraising for Special Olympics. It's another opportunity for her to be with her friends and it's a party atmosphere.  This year they are selling tickets for an enchilada dinner.   Because Becky has to be transported in her electric wheelchair, she has to take a big van on the trip to Albuquerque....which means lots more gas.  Plus, because of her physical needs, she has to take along two caregivers to help her get from her chair to bed and vice versa.  So Becky's expenses will be higher than the others as she will be responsible for providing the caregivers with a hotel room.  

Oh well, there are always obstacles that make life challenging, huh?  Guess we'll meet those obstacles like Becky does with everything else...with a huge smile.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Challenges of Being Limited By Your Body

I'm lying in bed with my laptop propped up on my knees...recovering from a very busy day of pushing my body's limits by having a garage sale.  I've been reflecting about how challenging it is to do fundraising projects when a person is limited physically.  It's given me a fresh perspective regarding my amazing daughter, Becky.

You see, I have Lupus; my body's immune system attacks itself and today it thinks it's winning. Lupus makes me have extreme fatigue...what i call "sick tired".  Like too tired to get up from a chair, but too tired to sit in a chair. It also gives me bad episodes of pain, especially when I do alot of walking, lifting boxes of junk at a garage sale.  
But it seems fairly wimpy for me to whine and complain too much.  I mean, if Becky never whines or can I?

Becky was born with cerebral palsy and arthrogryposis.  Arthrogryposis is a connective tissue disorder.  The simple way of explaining it: Becky's muscles were not attached to her bones in the right way and some muscles never even developed as a result.  When she was born, she had 2 dislocated hips which made it impossible to even put a diaper on her at first. Both her knees were unable to be bent and her kneecaps were behind her knees instead of in front. Both of her feet were clubbed with the bones of her feet being all jumbled up, going every which way. Several of her fingers had joints that were fused, unable to bend.  When she was born, she held her fingers in the sign language position of "I love you".  We took it as our first message that she was going to be a strong, loving girl with a determined spirit.  Well, she definitely proved we were right about that!

Becky has had surgeries on both hips, both knees, 2 surgeries on each foot, and surgery to put rods in her spine to correct severe scoliosis.  She wore casts on her legs for long months at a time and by the time she was 6 years old, she had been in casts for a total of half her life.  She endured being stretched after surgeries and would cry, but would then comfort me or the therapist stretching her afterwards.  Becky loved doing her exercises and had to be told to stop or she would exercise too hard & too long.  In one exercise, she would lie on the floor with a horizontal bar placed over her so that she could do "pull-ups".  She would work at it so hard, she had "white knuckles" from the exertion.  
She's always been a very stubborn and determined young lady.  When she had to use a manual wheelchair, she worked & worked at finding a way to make the chair go straight...because she could only use her right hand/arm to make it go. Naturally, it wanted to go in circles but Becky found that if she pushed it forward hard and then pulled it back a bit gently, she could go control which direction she went.  She's always wanted to go her own way, under her own power.

And she's never complained. Never whined. Always assumed that she could do pretty much anything she wanted to do...although she might have to do it in her own special way.  

So I'll take today to rest...I might take several days to rest. But I won't be whining or complaining. (much)  
I had to laugh last night. Becky called me and asked why I sounded sick.  I told her I was just very tired from the garage sale.  She was surprised!  She told me garage sales were easy to have and fun to work.  Compared to crawling the length of a house without using my Becky did...she's right.  Compared to being strapped in a standing frame and having to hold my body erect while also working out my Becky did...she's right.  

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Exhausted, But Happy

Well, the yard sale is over and it was a success!  We raised $176 for Becky's trip to NYC and got rid of alot of stuff we didn't need anymore.  

I am super exhausted so I'm going to take a loooooooong nap.  

Friday, April 1, 2011


We've been getting ready for another big yard sale. It's been a pretty constant pace of gathering and pricing and today will be all about getting it organized, scrounging up tables to put stuff on.  I'm certain that people with wads of money will be on my driveway waiting for the garage doors to open up!

I had a yard sale for Becky about a month ago and raised $250 to go toward her big trip.  We had several big ticket items which made it go faster.  That yard sale was at Becky's old house in Las Cruces, NM.  It couldn't have been timed better as she was moving to her newer, smaller apartment and needed to get rid of extra furniture, etc.

This yard sale is being held in El Paso at my house.  My boyfriend recently moved out of town and donated several items to the sale and my oldest daughter has also put in a bunch of items.  We have enough to almost fill one side of a two-car garage.

This will be my last big fundraising effort that requires actual physical exertion! Since I have Lupus, physical activity is often very challenging for me.  I'm definitely feeling the effects of all the exercise I've gotten getting ready for the sale.  That's how I came up with the idea of using the internet to help me raise $ for Becky.  I can sit and be on the internet all day...or even lie in bed like I am right now!

Wish us luck!