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Happy Thanksgiving - We're Here!! β€” suzanne-mcrae.com

Happy Thanksgiving – We’re Here!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, and this past weekend we celebrated with a few members of our families.

Saturday was spent with my sister and her family. We decided to go out on a trail and saw the beautiful fall colours on the trees, took family photos and most of all just a fun day out in nature. We had each brought our dog on a leash with us so they could get some exercise as well.

We started walking the trail, and it didn’t take long for me to see that my son was already 10 feet ahead of us… then 30 feet… then out of sight within minutes. That always brings a bit of anxiety for me when I don’t know what is ahead for him that could be potential danger. So I let him go. I wouldn’t have been able to catch up to him anyway.

I spent a lot of time walking and talking with my sister’s oldest son (also our godson). It was nice to catch up with what he’s been up to at University. He’s in his 3rd year already.

In the distance we could hear water… I knew it was a dam right away… a bit of anxiety surfaced as I knew exactly where my son was and couldn’t help but wonder if he would be safe and stay away from danger. Motherly instincts kicking in (or is it motherly panic maybe in my case). I still catch myself worrying excessively about him when it’s usually uncalled for. When we arrived at the dam there he was throwing big rocks into the water. He was fine and he had waited to go up on the cement deck to see the dam until we got there.

As we continued our stroll on the trail… again he took off ahead of us so he could be on his own. We heard screams at one point and wondered who that might be so my husband took off to see if it was him that might be in trouble because normally if all is well we won’t hear him scream. When he arrived at the end of the trail there was a man and a woman holding on to their two dogs… they might have been loose and probably scared our son as he walked past not expecting to come face to face with dogs and probably scared them too with his screaming. As our son will often say to his father when they playing around and he scares him on purpose ‘you scared the crap out of me’. He still has a tremendous amount of anxiety and fears around dogs that he hasn’t become familiar with. And you might wonder how can we have a big dog at our home? That is for a future blog post.

We had a wonderful afternoon on the trail and walked through the little town where the trail was. We ended the evening at my sister’s home for a nice dinner. As we drove back home that evening for probably 20 minutes or more directly in front of us we saw the most beautiful huge bright orange moon. It was low in the sky and seemed so close like we could almost have touched it. It was one of the most beautiful moons I had ever seen. What a beautiful way to end a beautiful day.

Yesterday we were invited to my husband’s brother and his wife’s new home. They had recently moved to a beautiful old stone home by a river in a little town and we couldn’t wait to see them again in their new home. We knew that we were in for a beautiful treat.

I prepared our son by explaining that they no longer lived up the street from us like they did for the past 24 years… but that they were now in another town in a different home. I explained to him who was all going to be there, that we would go see all the rooms in their home, and that we’d be having dinner there also. I also reminded him that they have a little dog which he already knew and had been around a bit.

As we walked down the street to their home our son was all happy. He had brought his iPod Touch, Laptop and a new movie that he had just bought. He was all set to go and visit. We were all in awe of their new ‘old’ home even before entering. As we admired their home from the outside we rang the doorbell to announce our arrival. Our son was all happy and one of the first at the door ready to go in, so that was very encouraging. As the door opened their happy welcoming little dog bounced out excitedly and came out to greet us, he was so excited to see us. That set off our son instantly with blood curdling screams that probably bounced off the river just by their property and around town I’m sure… let alone shock their family that were awaiting our arrival just inside. Talk about making a grand entrance.

As we all stepped inside their home Kyle slammed the door shut behind us. There was no way he was coming in. Oh boy, I thought… here we go! And there was no way the dog would leave him alone until he had said his hello to him which is typical of most dogs. I knew there was no way that the dog was doing to win. Once our son made his way into the house and he immediately dashed for a room… any room that had a door where he knew he was safe away from the dog. All I could think about was him locking himself in that bathroom for the evening. There’s just no easy way to prepare and predict every detail of an outing and how he will do. Eventually, we made our way up the stairs to see the rest of the house, to their bedrooms and the top floor to the attic loft. He loved being in that part of the house away from the dog. He felt safer and braver there. He walked into every room with a smile and a ‘wow’… and kept wanting to lay on each of their beds that looked so comfy. I reminded him that he wasn’t at a hotel but he managed to half-lay on one of the beds and enjoyed that very much. We made our way up to the top floor, an open attic loft area he was even happier as he was able to sit down and check out things that interested him. I could tell that he was so happy to be visiting their new home. For sure I thought we had lost him to this room for the rest of the evening.

It wasn’t long after that dinner was announced and he came down but only to remember that their dog was still there. At one point he almost jumped right up on the countertop so he could be out of their dog’s reach. He’s always looking for a room with a door to escape or a high surface where he knows he won’t be reached, when he was younger and less heavy he’d jump right in our arms. He had non-stop stress (and a few of us had frazzled nerves too) for a while until the dog was put in a different room behind a closed door. He felt safer to sit and have dinner. He then enjoyed the rest of the evening in their living room on his laptop watching his movie and surfing the internet while watching a movie that was on their tv. He had mellowed right out and anxiety had completely left, he knew that the dog was content and now on a leash. The evening ended with him saying goodbye to everyone including the dog… but from a distance.

At one point during the visit I had to laugh at my brother-in-law as he looked over and noticed a upside-down kleenex box on the counter and had a puzzled look on his face (apparently he had just noticed an upside down kleenex box in the washroom, which I wasn’t aware of), he wondered what that was all about as I was cracking up laughing. I asked him if the kleenex was tucked in tight in the back on the inside of the box, which it was. I told him to check all his other kleenex boxes in the house, surely our son had found each one and did the same to each. For him there is no difference whether he’s at home, at a family member’s home or at a stranger’s home… when something has to be a certain way he finds a way to make it happen and kleenex boxes are one of them.

Once we got back home a few strategies for a more positive next visit were discussed. If our son knew ahead of time that the dog would sniff his toes excitedly it would be easier for him. What if we could ask one of them to meet us outdoors with the dog on the leash and Kyle could bring a treat for him or learn how to ask him to sit, and get accustomed before we entered their home? What if it was a more peaceful and quiet entrance next time… with no echoes of screams off the river ricocheting through their new hometown? What if he could feel safer and calmer visiting everywhere we went? What if? Evenings like this bring us back to the challenges he faces and that we do as a family… we forget a lot of that when we are at home. The abnormal becomes our normal and we learn to live with it easier within our own environment. But yet we know that we need to go out sometimes and that’s when we realize how thankful and grateful we are to our families like where we visited last evening. We appreciate so much the tolerance our families have, as well as their wish to understand more with regards to our son and his needs. We even learn things from our families that we don’t always see because it is too close for us to be able to see clearly.

It’s not a lie when people say…

…regardless of what age that child is.

We have known this saying to be the truth since our son was very little. For us having to figure things out as we go… learning so much through trial and error… learning and then educating others when we can from what we learn… and others figuring it out as they come into contact with our son and our family and teaching us as well. It takes a tremendous amount of patience… encouragement… persistence… and love… to simply try to make his world a little easier and more comfortable for him. Perhaps next time it won’t be as challenging of an experience for him – or for anyone’s pet(s). Perhaps it will be a more relaxing visit for our hosts and us alike.


We appreciate all the ‘villagers’ that have been in our life all these years… their support, their understanding and acceptance have been the most important things that we could have asked for. So what more proper time to be grateful for all these people than on this Thanksgiving Day!


Last weekend as we celebrated my parents 55th wedding anniversary at our home I had no clue how that would turn out to be for our son since we had invited close to 50 people, but only 25 had said that they were coming. As the date got closer I started panicking a little. What was I putting ourselves through? Was it really fair for our son? All I could do was prepare him ahead of time and pray for one that the weather would be perfect so we could all be outdoors and give him his space. But what were the chances of that happening at the end of September? Pretty slim I thought. I knew being at home would also be easier for him in a way, since he likes being at his computer and then there was all the other rooms in the house too, so I knew he would find a room to be comfortable in and just close the door. Someone up above (a.k.a. God) was looking out for us last Saturday, the weather was perfect and we were able to hold the celebration outdoors. We also didn’t end up having 25 people, we had 45 that showed up. What surprised me the most was that our son never once went downstairs to his computer, instead he sat in the living room with his cousins on his laptop or his iPad. He looked like a typical young person on his electronic gadget. That brought me so much joy to see him be able to do this. He was so much more comfortable than I thought he would ever be that day.

From our family to yours…

Happy Thanksgiving

may your hearts be filled with love and laughter
may you be surrounded with loved ones
as you celebrate this Thanksgiving day
may you also find an abundance of blessings in your life
for which you are so grateful for!

To our families I say a special thank you to each of you for being in our lives!

Suzanne xo

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  1. Beautiful post. I can imagine the look of shock to find all the kleenex boxes in such a state. I felt like I was right there walking with you and visiting with you…such a nice glimpse into your wonderful family and life.
    Michele Bergh recently posted..4 Steps to a Prosperity MindsetMy Profile

    • His questioning look was too funny. I couldn’t help but laugh at how weird how life must look like to others at times with something as silly as an upside-down kleenex box. Yet for us this has become our normal and if it helps our son cope better in whatever shape or form then they will stay like that at home. I’m so glad that you enjoyed visiting with us, it was nice having you there. πŸ™‚

  2. Dawn Conery says:

    you are a wonderful writer, i too felt like i was right there. thank you for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your beautiful family!

  3. Suzanne,
    Thanks for sharing such a personal glimpse into your life. What a beautiful family you have and Happy Thanksgiving to you!
    Sue recently posted..Artist?My Profile

  4. I loved getting a little peek into your family life. Such a beautiful reminder of what’s really important in our lives. β™₯

  5. Beautiful post, Suzanne. Love how you shared a glimpse into your family. Your photos are always stunning too. Beautiful family and dog! ~kathy
    Kathy Anne recently posted..When the Frost is on the PunkinMy Profile

  6. Suzanne, Wow! What a look at the joys and challenges in your life. Thank you for sharing them.
    Janet recently posted..Choosing PeopleMy Profile

  7. So many things can into my mind as I read this. First, I love how you write – taking your readers into your every thought, and then explaining those parts we don’t quite understand. Then, I loved reading about your adventures with Kyle. I sometimes think we must be the only family on the planet who needs to plan outings ahead of time (and explain all of the nonsense to everyone! lo)l. Further, I loved the Kleenex box story! Finally, I really thought it amazing that the family was open to having Kyle just get comfortable around their home. That kind of understanding is huge to a family with a child with special needs. It’s HUGE. Glad you have that support so that you were able to have a beautiful Thanksgiving.
    Gabriella recently posted..Wipe The Slate CleanMy Profile

    • Gabriella I really appreciate your feedback. At times I feel like I write too much. But it’s also how it makes sense to me to be able to tell it as it is. And yes I have to keep reminding myself that others don’t know how life is for our our son and for us. Every person and family is so unique. So it helps to say more than not enough for me.

      We don’t have to do as much planning as we used to with him, but it’s best if we can. Once he knows details then he’s much more comfortable. Well almost every time. We can’t always predict things that will surprise him or that sometimes others might do.

      The family we visited with was very open to having Kyle be comfortable at their home, without any doubt. Having that kind of understand for families who have a child with special needs can make a world of difference. Thank you for dropping by with a comment. Glad you liked it.

  8. What do you mean? Aren’t kleenex boxes always kept upside down? That is how WE do it! lol…
    Amy Putkonen recently posted..The Study of Awareness: Part 3My Profile

  9. Mary L. DOWDY says:

    Bonjour cousin Suzanne,
    You have such a great knack for writing. I love reading everything that you write. I felt like I was with you and your family on this journey.
    Does Kyle still have a problem with all of the dogs that he meets or only certain ones?
    It is so nice that the families are so accepting of Kyle and want him to be comfortable at their homes. I am sure at times it can be quite challenging.
    Thank you for sharing your stories.
    Thank you also for the Thanksgiving greeting.


  1. […] an afternoon of silliness and laughter with my family and attempting to finish writing a long Thanksgiving blog post, I was talking with my husband about his brother’s new home that we had visited the night […]

  2. […] new home this fall was a bit of a challenge because of his fear of dogs. (You can read that story here). So we will need to speak with them to find out more details of this occasion and find out whether […]

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