Tuesday, August 15, 2017

It's finally time!!!

Well, it’s finally time! I did day 1 of my ISR training yesterday. In case you’ve not been following my obsessive posts about this, ISR is Infant Swimming Resource. It’s teaching kids between 6 months and 6 years of age how to survive in the water. Infants learn how to float on their backs until help arrives and toddlers/young kids learn to swim-float-swim.

I’ve been a strong believer in this program since I first learned about it and saw it with my own eyes. I got to witness him go from being upset and unsure about the water to being confident in and loving it. And as someone who has lost a loved one to a drowning incident, it means so much to me. The mission statement at ISR is “Not one more child drowns” and it’s my goal to try and help make this a reality.

I’ve always been a nervous person. When I was little I would vomit a lot. Every time I was anxious about something, it would surface in my stomach.  I’m pretty sure I chased my mom’s car down the street when she tried to drop me off at school once. Not really knowing what I’m doing and what to expect don’t sit well with me.

That was the case yesterday. I’ve been SO excited to do this training. I packed my bag for the day almost a week early. I’ve read through the third week of training before even starting class for week 1. I won’t claim to understand a lot of it, but I’m trying.

This program goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of students. We learn about so many medical issues that can arise in a child. Then we learn how to take care of that issue if it arises. I know so much more about the infant/child’s body than I did two months ago. It’s crazy!

Now it’s time to put the skills I’ve read about into action. Yesterday I was only in the pool with my practice doll, Kellie Carson. I watched as my trainer did so many different methods of teaching with the doll and all I could do was pray that It starts to become natural to me quickly. I know I’m going to make mistakes. I know that mistakes are even expected of me. I just want to do well with this.

I feel the pressure of having so many people support me since I decided to do this. I promise all of you that I will not let you down. This is personal to me, so I will give it my best effort. I want to know that I’ve helped contribute to the skills that could save kids lives.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the GoFundMe page. Thank you to the people who have bought t-shirts from me. Thank you for all the words of kindness and encouragement. It all means so much.

I’m going to continue to try and raise money for the cost of my training. So, if you would, please share this link. Even if you can’t donate yourself…maybe someone who sees your share will be able to. I promise to make you guys proud and I’m truly grateful for all of the love and support of Kiddnation.

Here's Kellie Carson...

Friday, July 14, 2017

The check has been written...six years after it all began

I’ve been begging you guys to help me pay for the training cost to become an Infant Swim Resource instructor for a while now. We’ve made progress, but I’ve still got a long ways to go. So, if you can donate, please do so at www.GoFundMe.com/shanon

Yesterday was the 6th anniversary of Ethan and Rolando’s death. I think I had so much anxiety leading up to the day that yesterday I was kind of out of it. Not numb to it, but in a place where I didn’t know what to think or feel. I still feel overwhelming guilt and confusion about all of it. It’s hard to explain all of the stuff that continues to go through my head. I see images of the night the accident happened. I see Orlando, my brother in law, kneeling next to the casket at the viewing for hours on end. I see the people who were at the ER before me looking helpless when I walked in. So many things that I don’t think will ever go away.

It’s amazing to me to think about the impact that Ethan made in his short life. When everything happened I couldn’t think of any reason for him to be gone. I still can’t think of too many reasons, but there’s one that has recently been brought to my attention.

It’s summertime and there are WAY too many stories of drowning deaths in Texas. When my sister moved back to Texas from Maui, one of the first things we talked about was enrolling Jake in swimming lessons. Thank goodness she knew about ISR lessons because their method and theory in teaching kids is different than any other organization.

I took Jake to his lessons every day and was in shock of his progress. I was so motivated by the work that his teacher did that I decided to become an instructor, too. That’s where Ethan comes back into play.

I have a job that no other person in the world has; I have the ability to reach so many people because of my job with the show. How awesome is that? You guys have helped me through the worst days of my life. You have supported me and shown so much love…even though we’ve probably never even met. We’re like the biggest non-blood related, spread throughout the world family of all time. And I’m one of the chosen people to be in your lives even though we may never have an in person interaction. There’s a lot to be said for that.

I know that news of drowning is pretty widely spread, but here’s the difference in my story and a random news story you see or hear about. We have some sort of unspoken connection that makes my story somehow personal to you. I cannot tell you how many people have told me that they mourned the loss of my nephew with my family. People who could have blown it off and went on about their day, but they (you) didn’t. You felt things with me. That’s truly amazing.

Ethan was born into our huge family. He didn’t really understand that, but he didn’t have to. He just was. And with that, his death impacted so many lives. I’ve gotten messages from tons of people saying that his story motivated them to enroll their kids in the swim lessons they’ve been putting off. In his death, Ethan saved a lot of lives.

That’s truly special. And maybe that finally gives a reason to why it happened. Maybe Ethan was born into our family to save other lives. He did that. He continues to do that. I will help him do that by becoming an ISR instructor.

It’s hard to accept that something good came from the death of my baby, Ethan, but it did. It’s my true hope that I can help families never realize the pain that my family did through being an ISR instructor.

I know I’ve gone on and on about these lessons, but you guys…I promise you that it is worth your attention. These lessons are so detail oriented and specific to each and every child. It’s seriously amazing. They put so much effort into understanding the A&P of infants and children, behavior reinforcement, the role of parents during the lessons, and their overall learning process…I’m in awe of the amount of specific effort that goes into each and every student. I’m excited to be a part of that.

Full disclosure on this…I’m starting training on August 14. I got a loan to pay for the training tuition because I needed to pay in order to even schedule my six week training session. I’ve been reading my study material for a few days now and it’s so compelling and deep, but it all makes so much sense to me. I’m so excited to start on this next venture in my life, but now I have a big loan to pay back. So, I will ask again, if you’re able to donate, please do so. You will be helping carry on Ethan’s legacy and save lives.

What does this training entail? I get one on one instruction from one of the best trainers in the world. I will be in the pool five days a week and then do classroom work on Saturdays. I will be one of less than 1,000 ISR instructors in the nation once I become certified. What an honor!

I would not choose to invest so much money into something that I wasn't 100% dedicated to and sure about. I will have tro rearrange my time with Jake while I do the training, which is the one thing I'm hesitant about. However, it's not forever and I owe this to Ethan. I owe it to myself. I owe it to everyone who has been with me since July 13, 2011 when we lost my Ethan in a drowning accident. If you can help in any way...either by donating or sharing the link...I would be so grateful. I don't need a ton of huge donations. I just need a lot of small ones that will really add up.

Thank you guys again for everything. I cannot express my gratitude enough. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

He did it! I'm overwhelmed with pride.

I’m so excited, you guys. Jake finished his ISR swim lessons on Friday and he passed all of his skills!

I don’t expect many people to know a lot about these classes, so let me tell you about them. We would go to lessons for five days a week. Each lesson was a maximum of ten minutes. Why? Because these babies work really hard and that’s all they have the attention span and energy for.

The drive to his lesson took about 45 minutes each day…all for ten minutes with his instructor in the water. I never minded the time, though, because it will save his life if he ever falls into a pool.

I cannot explain to you the pride and overwhelming sense of joy I felt when I saw Jake doing his tests last week. This kid can now float and keep his head above water no matter what he’s wearing. 

Whether it’s a swim diaper and trunks, trunks and shoes, a full summer clothes outfit, or a full winter clothing outfit, he can stay safe. How insanely cool is that?

I got to get in the water with him on Friday to learn the proper way to reinforce what he’s learned and it was great. He was happy and smiling and excited to be in the water. I got to see and experience his confidence for the first time and it was crazy great. So worthwhile.

I’ve been telling you guys that I want to become an ISR instructor for about a month now. I’m doing it! I have interviewed, gotten my background check done, filled out a contract, signed all the papers they need me to sign, and now I just wait for a trainer to become available. This is my dream come true.

There’s been the GoFundMe page set up and people have been helping to cover the cost of the training. I am SO grateful to everyone who has helped. Thank you! I’m still far from my goal, though, so please…if you can donate, please do. And please share this link.

I have talked about losing my nephew, Ethan, a lot in the past. I don’t need to tell you how much that loss has impacted me. I probably wouldn’t be as passionate about doing these lessons if it weren’t for him.

I do have something to share with you that I’ve never shared before. I’ve not shared it because I didn’t think of it this way. Sara gave me a card last week that talked about a whole new perspective on things and it’s worth sharing.

You have to wonder about the reasons why things happen the way that they do and, a lot of times, there’s no logical answer to those questions. That’s been the case with the accident that took the lives of Ethan and his grandpa, Rolando. Why would something so horrific happen to my family? My sister and her husband don’t deserve that kind of grief. The Pacheco’s didn’t deserve to lose their husband, father, grandpa, etc. when Mr. Pacheco passed away.

Here’s what Sara said to me that really hit home. Maybe Ethan’s life was meant to be largely defined by his death. That kid touched more lives and made more of an impact in his 2.5 years than a lot of people do in 75 or 100 years. He taught us love, patience, kindness, the true meaning of innocence, and so many other valuable lessons.

However, since his passing, I truly think that he has saved lives. With the story of his death, he encouraged parents who had been putting off swim lessons for their kids to finally bite the bullet and enroll them. He taught families that accidents happen even when a child is with an adult, so we should do whatever we can to keep our kids safe. He inspired me to want to help kids learn to save themselves in water. Ethan wasn’t born into just any family…he was born into mine.

Here’s why that matters. Not very many people have the platform or reach that I do from working on this show. I shared my story. Kidd and the crew talked about what happened. We grieved together and, with that, people learned about the importance of water safety. We can continue that with me teaching these lessons.

I don’t know what happened that night that led to Ethan and Rolando both losing their lives. I’ve been to a psychic to see if I could get an answer, but I didn’t. Here’s my belief. Whatever happened that night had a purpose and that was to save lives. Ethan has saved many lives through his passing. I know that he was on this earth for the reasons that every baby is born, but his purpose was a greater one. His legacy lives on and continues to save lives. I hope he’s up in Heaven smiling down on every parent who has used my family’s story to enroll their kids in ISR or other swim lessons.

I know that a lot of you are sick of hearing me beg for help to do this ISR training class. To all of you, I’m sorry. This is so important to me that I’m OK with putting myself out there, probably sounding pathetic at times, asking for your help and support. I need to do this to help my own heart heal. I need to help other families keep their babies safe. This is such a big deal to me.

I know that there are so many worthy causes out there. I read about them every day. I understand if you would rather put your money towards something you’re equally as passionate about. If you can and are willing to help pay the cost of my ISR tuition, though, here’s what I can promise you.

I promise to help as many low income kids as possible once my training is complete. I promise to use my platform to continue to encourage water safety with kids until people stop listening. I promise to make Ethan proud and to show that our loss is helping prevent the loss of other babies. He deserves to know that he made a huge impact on lives in his short life.

I’m going to quit this begging session now. I truly hope that you will help and share my page. I start training in August…I need to reach my goal!

Monday, June 5, 2017

I Have a Dream

Dear Kiddnation-

I really suck at asking people to help me. I’m pretty great at getting help for anyone else who needs it, but this asking for me is hard. But I need to do it to reach my goal. So here goes nothing.

Many of you have been in my life since I was 17-years old. I’ve been with this show for half of my life now. In that time we’ve been through so much together. So many highs and, unfortunately, so many lows. Through it all, though, we’ve found a way to unite and come out on the other side

There’s been one big issue in my life that I’ve yet to come out on the other side of. I’m still working through it, but time doesn’t ease this pain. I won’t get into all of it again because I can’t properly explain my feelings without getting upset. Like guttural crying upset. In a nutshell, I’m still not over losing my nephew, Ethan, in a drowning accident in 2011.

I’ve said for several years now that I want to somehow make sure that other people never know the pain of losing a child in a drowning accident. I’ve had no real plan of action, though. That has changed dramatically over the past week.

I did a Q & A call with the Infant Swimming Resource expansion people on Thursday. That call turned into an unplanned interview and I guess I nailed it. On Friday they called and told me that the team loved me and was excited to invite me aboard. They sent me the contracts I needed to sign and, as of yesterday, I have committed in writing to becoming an ISR instructor.

Most of you probably don’t know what ISR training is. It’s basically training kids who are 6 months old to 6 years old how to survive if they fall into water. I take my nephew, Jake, to these lessons five days a week and the change I’ve witnessed in him is remarkable. It’s so remarkable that I want to help others witness that same change in their kids.

I am ecstatic about this opportunity. It’s my dream come true. It allows me to directly help kids survive a water accident.

If everything works out I will start training in August. It’s a 6-8 week course…done 1 on 1 with a master trainer.

Once I finish my training and pass my certification test I will be free to offer these lessons…both free on scholarship and with tuition. I am really excited about the ISR organization because they encourage their trainers to pay it forward by offering classes to kids from families who cannot pay for them. They have even offered me the Pay It Forward scholarship! That means that I am legally obligated to give lessons to 10 kids who could not pay for them during the first two years of my certification. How awesome is that?

Here’s the thing, though. I need help with this. This training isn’t free. Like I said in the Stuff With Shanon podcast, I will be trained one on one with a master instructor. Training me will be this person’s job from the minute I start classes until the minute I get my certification. Believe me when I say that not many people have the skills required to teach me what I need to know to become an ISR instructor, so the one person in my area that can teach me deserves to get paid for it.

 I hope that I make you guys proud in doing this. I promise not to beat you over the head with water safety tips and stuff like that. I will continue to talk and post about random Psycho Shanon nonsense and I’ll occasionally throw in some updates on this journey.

As it is right now all I need to do is pay my tuition and I’ll be ready to start my training as soon as possible.

So, if you’re able to help contribute to my journey, I seriously appreciate you. If you can’t do that, maybe you could consider sharing the link so that other people will. I’m truly grateful for anything you choose to do in helping this dream become a reality for me.

Here's the link.


Thanks so much everyone.


Friday, February 10, 2017

The power of guilt...and dentist offices

Let’s start this thought provoking blog with just a few random comments.
-          A lot of people have been asking “why aren’t you on the show?” My focus is on other areas of the show these days, but here’s some good news! We’re starting to do Podcasts! I’m putting mine together now and I’ll tape it on Monday with a very special guest. Stay tuned for “Stuff With Shanon.”
-          Call me crazy, but I don’t want to go to a dentist office with a name that could also be used for a night club with shirtless men and glow sticks. Dentistry doesn’t have to be hip! Keep it simple. A doctor’s name will suffice for me.
-          I recently finished watching all of the Bourne movies for the first time. I have a couple of questions.
1.      Where in the heck does Jason Bourne get all the money he needs to travel and live?
2.      Does the Asset get paid like a person in a speaking role does? If not, they’re getting super screwed. So intense?

Now onto the serious stuff. I wrote most of this yesterday while I had Jake at my apartment. He slept for like an hour, but my mind was racing. So this is what I made a note of.

The Power of Guilt

Humans are funny creatures, aren't we? Isn't it amazing how we have so many gifts given to us, like opposable thumbs, the ability to feel emotions, and the brain power to think and create anything we could ever imagine...but a lot of humans still just suck at life?

We have the power to do so much good in this world, yet a lot of people choose to ignore their good and show all of their bad. Why? 

That's the question that makes me lose so much sleep at night. Why? 

I know that I'm not very book smart, but I think that I have a decent amount of emotional intelligence. (Thanks Taylor from the Bachelor) I have the ability to love, show empathy, laugh, and even rationalize things that I probably shouldn't. I know that most people in the world have the same capabilities, but they choose to ignore them and be complete jerk faces instead. 

I know that for me, guilt is a seriously powerful force. It causes me to think a lot about where I've been and where I'm going. It causes me to want to learn from my mistakes and do better in the future. It causes me to cry until I have snot dripping down my chin. It's powerful, isn't it? Not many things can do that to me.

I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about guilt. I've been feeling it. Some of my guilt is justified while most of it is the crazy in me coming out. 

Last night I had a bit of a meltdown. Here's some insight into that. 

My sister and brother in law moved to Maui after my nephew, Ethan, and his grandpa, Rolando, drowned on July 13, 2011. They needed time and space to heal. While they were there my sister got pregnant and gave birth to Jake. He's 2 years old and asleep next to me right now. 

You can see lots of pics of both kids on my FB page. 

I worshiped the ground that Ethan walked on. To say that he was my world is probably an understatement. I didn't know how powerful the feeling of love could be until Ethan. 

When we lost him, I was devastated. I still am to some degree. I had never felt a pain quite like that before. It's still so vivid in my head. My sister’s call telling me about the accident. Every inch of road driving to the hospital. Seeing him and kissing him while he lay there in the hospital. 

I swore that I would never love anyone as much as I loved him. How is that even possible? I didn't know I was capable of that much feeling towards anyone else. Just like that, though, the person I loved the most ever was gone. 

A few years after that I get into a relationship where there are kids involved. Three of them. Before I knew it, I loved each of them as much as I knew how to. I structured my life around them. School pickup, homework, sick days, missed doses of medicine in the middle of the day at school, doctor’s appointments…whatever they needed, I wanted to be there. I loved them in their own ways. I had a different kind of connection with each of them. 

It wasn't usually easy. I allowed for my feelings to get hurt by kids who didn't know the weight of their actions and tantrums. But when you truly love people, you love them through the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between, right?

With the love I felt for those kids came guilt. Ethan would've been the same age as the little boy I called and treated as my own. Was he looking down on me upset because I loved another child...or three other kids...as much as my heart would allow? Did he feel like he was being replaced? 

That relationship ended and I'm not allowed to see or talk to the kids. That's the only part of it ending that bothers me. If I'm not wanted anymore, fine. It happens. But it seems really awful that when the kids think of me, the memory of me just not being there anymore is one that will be poignant in their minds. They didn't get to hear me say that grown up failures are no reflection of the way we feel about them. And I have no idea what was said to them about the situation. That’s scary and it sucks.

I do feel guilty for that, but it's not my choice. However, that guilt is still very present in my mind and heart. I know that they felt my love, but my leaving caused them confusion and pain. Again, not my choice, but that’s the reality. 

It's been a few months now and I still think of them often. I wish I knew how they were doing. I feel bad for the things that happened in their little minds after I was gone. I feel pretty terrible about the fact that, in the end, I was lead to believe that I was responsible for what was happening. Come to find out, that was a coward’s excuse for rocking everybody's world in the worst way possible. I took the blame for a while, but I don’t anymore.

The guilt in this situation is not where it belongs. I know that for sure. I was lied to and called crazy for saying outright what really was happening. Just more proof of the fact that life isn’t fair.

Shortly after I moved out of our home, my sister, brother in law, and nephew, Jake, moved back to Texas. It was finally my chance to get to know my nephew/God son. 

He's the best. He's so smart and funny. His spirit will make even the worst days seem better. However, I sometimes feel guilt for loving him this way. 

Does Ethan look down and think that I'm trying to replace him with his brother? 

That's SO stupid! My head knows that it's so ridiculous, but I can't help it. Does Ethan look down to see me with Jake and get upset about it? Does he know that while I love them both with my whole heart, that I love them in different ways? They're such different people. I talk to Jake about his big brother. We look at pictures together. It doesn't feel like it's enough, though. 

Then I start to get upset because maybe that feeling has caused me to hold back with Jake. Have I not shown him love to the fullest of my ability because of fear and guilt? That's so unfair! Why would any sane person allow guilt to impede their relationship with someone who's totally innocent and deserving? 

So last night I had some wise words thrown at me while I melted down. I can't change anything about the past. I cannot control how anyone else feels or how they deal with those feelings. I can, however, focus my energy on people who deserve it. Jake deserves for me to put my feelings of guilt aside and love him as much as I possibly can. I deserve the chance to give that to him. It's so rewarding. I don't deserve to live under a constant blanket of guilt anymore. Not for love that I’ve felt and not for the choices of other people. 

I know who I am as a person and I know that I'm worthy of good. I'm due for some good in my life. I deserve that. Murphy’s law can get the heck outta my life.

I don't deserve to be hindered by anyone else's feelings of guilt. This is one thing that can make people do some crazy stuff. It can cause a person to convince themselves of giant non-truths. Why? Because it's easier that way. It's easier to project your own screwed up reality onto other people than it is to honestly face it.

Someone at some point in my life told me that you don't know to look in the closet unless you've hidden there before. Before you go and try and place a guilt trip on another person, do some soul searching first. Chances are that the way you feel about others is a huge reflection of how you see yourself. 

In the end, we all have enough of our own personal reasons to feel guilty about stuff. We don’t need other people dog piling onto that. So try not to suck at life! Own your actions, feelings, thoughts, and everything else. Don’t give another person any power over you by allowing their words to lead you to a feeling of guilt. Seriously.

And listen to my podcast when it’s posted.

Thank you guys! I’m truly grateful to have people who will read my long naptime rambling.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Just like the essay I wrote in 3rd grade...what I'm thankful for

I’m grateful…

I’m grateful for many things in my life. I’m grateful that I was able to start the New Year off fresh. I got moved into my new apartment and, since I tried to do the right thing, I had to buy pretty much everything new. Here’s some other stuff that I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for my family and friends. More specifically, I’m thankful for the family and friends who value me as a person. Not as a person who works where I do. Not as a person they think can get them tickets to concerts and stuff. (I can’t, BTW). But those who actually know what’s going on in my head and in my heart and love me through it all.

I’m thankful for my cat. I can’t stand him at times, but in the end, I would be lost without him. Maybe this sounds pathetic. It’s OK. He’s my fur child and I’m glad I have him.

I’m also thankful that I’ve been through enough crap that I’m trying to look at the journey more than the end result. Happy endings are pretty much never guaranteed, so hopefully the road you travelled is fairly decent. I hope that you at least have some positive memories to hang onto.

I’m happy that I have a killer gut instinct. They say to follow your gut on things and they’re right. No matter what someone might try and sell you, in the end you know what’s really going on.

I’m truly thankful for my job. I’m lucky enough to work with people I see as family. I’ve known a lot of these guys more than half my life! I’m grateful for the chance to use this position to help people in need. That’s a pretty awesome feeling.

I’m thankful for my godson and nephew, Jake. He has become the high point in my life. Going from having a family and three kids to having no home, no furniture or belongings of substance, and no kids (when you had 3) sucks. I have to admit that I didn’t see much point in my life when all of it happened. It’s a sad place to be when you don’t want to continue because you put all of your value in the lives of everyone else. Not healthy. It’s a great thing to see life through the eyes of a child. Everything is so simple and pure. The love that you feel is genuine and honest. That’s the best. Laughter isn’t forced. You clearly know how they feel about you. No B.S. I guess maybe some things happen for a reason and the timing of Sam and Orlando moving back was perfect. It’s not OK to need other people in order to feel like you’re worth the air you breathe, but that’s where I was. I’m so glad that I’m able to share my love with Jake and that I can actually SEE that my sister and her husband are doing OK.

I’m also grateful for closure. I don’t have a good relationship with most of my family for reasons I won’t talk about here. However, I did get closure with my Aunt Sherry before she passed away right before Christmas. I went and sat with her in her hospital room for hours the week before she passed away. The last time I saw her, I told her that I loved her, patted her on the foot, and she said she loved me, too. I left and didn’t see her again until after she was gone. I honestly felt OK about that. The doctors told everyone that she wasn’t well and to come and say goodbye, but I didn’t feel the need to do that. I didn’t want to hover over her hospital bed with her knowing why everyone was there. I was good with the way I left things when I was there with her alone. When she could talk to me and tell me stories and share her feelings. I couldn’t really do much for her, but I was there when she was coherent and could feel my interest. I’m really glad for that.

I hope that 2017 is off to a wonderful start for everyone. I’m seriously glad that 2016 is done and gone and we never have to go back to it.

Thank you all for the unconditional love and support over the years. I feel it and I appreciate it. And I love you guys back.