Never Stop Laughing By Michael Sheets

A big life lesson that I have learned in the short time that I have been on this earth, is to not dwell. Find the silver lining in everything that happens to you, and never stop laughing.” ~Mother Teresa
Michael Sheets familyAlthough my name might mislead a bit, I am a mother of five and my name is Michael.  Growing up with my name has not been easy. My father named me after his childhood best friend Michael Wilhelm. Mr. Wilhelm served in Vietnam and like many, had contact with agent orange. This made him terminally ill and his time left was limited. My father promised Mike that when his baby was born, he would name him or her after him.

Since childhood, my life has been filled with awkwardness. Most people that I have met throughout my life believed that my father wanted a boy, so that is why I was named Michael. As a child, I would cry a lot because of my name. Now, as an adult I truly appreciate and am proud of my name. My family and I always find ways to laugh at everything. We have always believed that Murphy (Murphy’s Law) follows me around on my shoulder. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It is never anything serious, but always something to laugh about later. Come to think of it, there was even always something a bit ‘off’ with every single pet I had growing up.. Whether it be weird markings, a twitch, or another illness, I never experienced my life feeling, “normal.”

Now an adult, I have five kids. There is Samantha, Xavier, Ayden, Zander and AvaMarie. Even with my kids, there is no normalcy, as they all have their little quirks. Samantha who is fourteen, is the typical teenage girl……well…..except for her obsession for office supplies and lotion (I think it could be a problem).  Xavier is thirteen and so far he is just a typical teenage boy. He is my hippy kid, always so calm, fly by the seat of his pants type kid. These two are both highly intelligent and have always been extremely goofy since they were infants. They are always making people laugh and getting into trouble.

Then comes Ayden, he’s nine, was born with bilateral cleft lip and cleft palate. He is such a trooper, having already had many major surgeries with still more to come. Ayden has an infectious laugh and a smile that will light up a room. And Zander—he is something else. I could not imagine my life without him.  At the age of two, he was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. This filled my world with a bunch of ‘what if’s’. He is now four, and headed into his third year of specialized education for speech and behavior. I have always been a patient person, but this kid teaches patience in ways I have never known. Every day is a new experience, and only God knows what my future holds with him. He never ceases to amaze me with his love.

My baby AvaMarie, she makes me smile. I found out during my first routine ultrasound, that she was missing the lower part of her right arm. I was devastated. I cried, worried, prayed and then it was game on. After everything I have been through? This will be a walk in the park.  Soon after, the diagnosis of amniotic band syndrome was given to me. After a pretty uneventful pregnancy, AvaMarie made her debut. She could not have been any more perfect. My first time holding her, I ran my finger down the inside of her upper arm, and when I got down near the end of her right arm, she squeezed my finger with her nub. It had brought tears to my eyes, as her way of telling me that everything was going to be okay.

Sammi's MotherThrough all of the trials and tribulations and massive awkwardness that has faced me in my life, at the end of the day, I have realized, that all will be okay. Awkwardness to me is my normal. My family would not be complete without everybody who is in it and I love my family, for who they are, what they are, and how they were built. There is a plaque hanging in our kitchen with a quote, that pretty much summarizes my life, it reads:
“I know G-d won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

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