Saturday, November 12, 2011

Miss Katie - Our Guardian Angel :)

"We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another." ~Luciano de Crescenzo

There are certain people who have come into my life that I consider guardian angels. These are people who have had a profound impact on who I am, who I feel that God sent to me (or vice-versa) when I needed them most.

A little over a year ago I randomly went on Craiglist looking for a part-time nanny that might have experience with children on the autism spectrum. I was freelancing at the time and just needed someone to watch the kids while I worked in my home office. Normally I don't think I would have ever looked at Craigslist for babysitting options, but for some reason that day I figured I'd take a look.

I searched the term "nanny and autism" and ONE result came up. It was for a young lady named Katie and she had moved to Orlando from Wisconsin with a background as an ABA therapist assistant. She was looking for a part-time nanny position and immediately I called.

We must have talked on the phone for two hours that night. I remember sitting in my bed, telling her all about our family and JD's recent diagnosis. Kyle wasn't even a year old yet, not even crawling, and JD was in therapy everyday.

Katie and I clicked from the very first moment - it was like we had known each other for years. Later that week she came over, met the kids and started working for us. At that point in time I had no idea what kind of impact she was going to have in my life.

When Katie started JD wasn't speaking, couldn't run, swing or go down a slide. When you fed him you could only put a few little pieces of food on his highchair at once (NEVER different foods) or he would throw them all over. He would have terrible tantrums, hit, pull hair and scream. NONE of it phased Katie. I had never met anyone so patient and loving as her in my life. We would sit and chat each day and became so close. I learned about her life, she learned about mine and it was like having a best friend spend each day with me and my kids.

Last October I was really sick - I was in and out of the hospital with gallstones. In November I had to have emergency surgery and at 1:00 a.m. Katie drove 45 minutes to our house to stay with our children for three days while I was in the hospital. I never had to worry for a second that my kids were being taken good care of. She knew their daily drill - and all of JD's routines. The most amazing part was that during the weekend I was coming home, we were scheduled to have a huge carnival birthday party celebrating Kyle's first birthday and Ashley's fourth birthday. Katie put on the entire show - organized all of the decorations, the party favors, the face painting, the organization and clean up... everything. I was stuck on the couch, so thankful for having her in my life.

That was a year ago and I can't even begin to list all of the things Katie has done for our family, and for me, since then. She is the one person who has been there, day-in and day-out, right next to me and Jason, helping us raise our kids. She's been with us through therapists, schools, moving, even marriage drama - and never skips a beat. She loves my children like they are her own and they love her just the same. She is like another mother to them and I couldn't be more thankful for that.

Today our family participated in the "Walk Now for Autism Speaks." Katie was right there with our family, proudly walking on behalf of JD. And while I took some pictures of her with my kiddos, it reminded me how blessed we are to have her in our lives.

Katie - I could write a novel about how you've changed my life. Your love, patience, kindness and spirit are unwavering and I can't thank you enough for all that you do for me, Jason and the kids. I look at this picture and it makes me smile knowing that you are our guardian angel - God sure gave me the best one he had!

I love you Katiebug!!! ~Linds

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