Hi, I’m Liz!
I am an ordinary, not-so-special person who God chose to bless with a very special, extraordinary son. My name is Liz Petruzzi, I am the 53 year old – 53! Wow, how did that happen? – mom of Joey, best guy in the world. He is loving, funny, kind and smart. Joey is 33 years old and was born with a rare, genetic syndrome called Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome. As a result, Joey is mentally challenged, legally blind, has balance issues due to ataxia, non-verbal (he signs and uses technology to communicate), has a very short attention span and processing issues. At times, when he’s tired or not feeling well, his behavior can be challenging.
I often say Joey is the least disabled person I’ve ever met. His disabilities are all on the outside for the world to see – but inside, he’s about as perfect as a person can be. He loves with his whole heart, he forgives instantly, carries no baggage I’m aware of and could care less how much money you make, what kind of car you drive, your weight, status or ethnicity. Me on the other hand…..I look pretty okay on the outside. On a good day, you might even think I’m normal. The things that disable me – hang ups, hurts, resentments and judgments live on the inside where no one can see. I know the goal is to be more like Jesus but if I could just be more like Joey, I’d be a lot closer than I am now.
God uses this path He’s placed me on to show me things, teach, grow and change me. I can’t do any of this without Him – I’m way too selfish. Sometimes I don’t want to do it even with Him.
I am by nature, a free spirit. I hate rules and legalism. I love art and nature, music, the beach and dogs. I like to garden, take pictures and read. I tend to speak my mind and have a rip-the-band-aid-off approach to life – brace yourself, this might hurt. Bureaucracy frustrates me beyond reason. Stupidity does too….and by stupid I mean close-minded ignorance, bigotry and mean spirited.
More than anything, at the end of my life, I want to know I’ve loved well and my son is okay. He is provided for and prepared for life without us. He has a meaningful life of his choosing that reflects his preferences and interests. This isn’t easy. It involves helping my son grow and develop new skills and competencies – then convincing others he is indeed competent and capable. Helping Joey get a life is a work in progress.
These are the circumstances, the backdrop, of where I do life. I recently read God isn’t so much concerned about my specific circumstances as He is my character and who I am while I’m doing what I’m doing. Am I loving? Am I serving Him or me? Is He leading my life or am I captaining my own ship? What does He want me to give up? What does He want to transform? Renew? Am I cooperating or stubbornly clenching my fists? No matter my situation or what I’m going through, it always comes back to God and me. This is my story…..and maybe yours too.