Over the last few days, I’ve had the chance – no, the privilege – to speak with Shannon over at Mom State of Mind.
She is an absolutely fabulous gal, who has overcome a lot of challenges in her mom journey – and was gracious enough to share some of those challenges not only with me, but also with you, my readers!
Shannon runs a couple of different blogs, from the aforementioned Mom State of Mind, dedicated to her daily life (and its a great, fun read!), to the blog that started it all, God Gave Me You – a blog about the story of her son, Tristan, and the joy that his amazing little life brings her.
So without further adieu, I give you my interview with Shannon!
If you’d like to ask her more questions, you can comment here (she will be watching this post) or over at her blog!
Q. Shannon, would you mind telling us Tristan’s story? I know you’ve told me, but if you could share it with my readers I’m sure they would love to know.
Tristan Corey, my sweet blessing from God, came into this world on April 20th, 2007, 12 weeks too soon at 28 weeks, he weighed 1lb and 5.8oz and was 12inches. He spent from April 20th 2007 to September 24th, 2007 in the East Tennessee Childrens Hospital NICU. Tristan was on the ventilator for over 2 months and at one point we weren’t sure if he would make it on his own.
Tristan had many many complications which you can read about on his blog, God Gave Me You. Tristan came home with oxygen and a heart monitor, and a gastric feeding tube, because he was born before 30-33 weeks, he didn’t have the coordination for the suck,swallow,breathe that is needed to take a bottle, and when he tried he was losing more calories and not gaining weight, so he still has his G-tube and he only eats baby foods,yogart,apple sauce, he can drink most anything.
Tristan receives speech therapy/feeding therapy 3 times a week and also has occupational therapy and physical therapy. Tristan just turned 3 and is in special education preschool. He still doesn’t talk and doesn’t interact with other children or toys much at all. We are going to be having a vision and hearing screening and hopefully everything will turn out okay.
Q. Seeing the kinds of challenges you face being a SAHM with Tristan, things can’t be easy for you and your fiance. How do you make time for eachother?
I spend most mornings taking Tristan to either therapy or pre-k and my fiance, Allen, works evenings so he sleeps during the day mostly. Once Tristan is back home I am feeding him, working with him on different things, and trying to maintain a clean home.
My parents are not comfortable keeping Tristan overnight so he has never been away from us overnight..Allen and I don’t have alot of money with just him working for us to be able to go out and do alot of things, we mostly rent movies and stay at home and watch movies together, or we have “our time” when Tristan is taking a nap.
We really don’t do alot by ourselves, we always try to include Tristan. The last time we went out alone was Valentines Day. We just try to communicate and thats what has helped keep us together.
Q. Do you consider yourself to be a hero, caring for a child with special needs like Tristan’s? (I know many people would!)
I don’t feel like a hero as much as my own parents think I am.
They often tell me how much of a wonderful mother I am to Tristan, and that he is very blessed to have someone like me that cares for him. I feel that God gave me Tristan because he thinks I have “what it takes” to take care of a special needs child.
God is the real hero, he has watched over Tristan since birth and continues to do so! I praise him for everything. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
Q. What has been the biggest joy for you since Tristan came into your life?
Everything. Seeing his beautiful face when I wake up and before I go to bed. Watching him get excited over the small things, watching him accomplish goals that most of us take for granted. He completed me, when I have my own bad days, I remember, he is here for a reason, and he is worth it all!
Q. How has being a Mom to a little boy with special needs changed you?
I am a very proud advocate for special needs children with all types of disabilites. I am a very proud supporter for the March of Dimes. I enjoy every single moment I have with Tristan, the good, the bad, and the very ugly.
I push myself everyday to get Tristan “where he needs to be” in order to live a fully active life. Even when I am tired or want “mommy” time, I remember he comes first. I try to inform others that life is very precious and don’t take anything for granted!
Q. Why did you choose to start blogging?
I became a member of a Yahoo group called Preemie Mom Blogs, when Tristan came home from the NICU. I didn’t know about this group until after he was already home. The support of other moms of preemies was great to have and these mothers had blogs where they shared their NICU experiences, told of everyday events, shared pictures, and gave advice.
I also wanted to be apart of this great group of bloggers. So I started Tristans blog, God Gave Me You, and from there I got to meet other bloggers, known as “mommy bloggers” and then I started a blog that was more of a “fun” blog, Shannon Blogs Here, and now its Mom State of Mind. I haven’t updated Tristans blog in a while, but I have been doing some “cleaning up” and “updating” so I’m going to try and get back into that.
Q. Any tips for mommas who want to start a blog, but aren’t sure if they should?
I think a blog is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. If you don’t want others to read your blog, you can make it private, and invite those you want too, to read it.
I recommend using Blogger, its a very easy platform and its free.
If you want to bring traffic to your blog, I would join blog directories and social media sites, like, Twitter or Facebook too.
Its really a personal choice if you want to start a blog.
If you love to write though, you would love to blog!
See what I mean about Shannon being an amazing woman?
I honestly don’t know if I could ever do what she does. I have so much respect for every man and woman who can take on the challenge of parenting a child with special needs, and do it with such grace and so much love! And she is so humble, like most every day heroes are.
She is an inspiration to me, and she doesn’t even realize it. Every day when Fluffmonster is giving me a tough time kicking, making me feel ill, or just making things a bit more difficult, I remember Shannon and other moms and dads like her. And I realize that if they can get through the challenges they’ve faced with so much love, and so much humility – then surely I can get through even the biggest challenges I face with my little one.
Shannon and Tristan’s story gives me strength, it gives me hope, and it gives me perspective. Sometimes it seems easy to make a mountain out of a mole hill, until you realize that your mountain is a grassy knoll compared to the peaks that others joyfully climb.
I hope you all get a little bit of inspiration from Shannon’s story, and if you want to find out more about her, then follow her blog and check her out on Twitter! I follow both, and she’s always been someone fun to keep up with!