Magical experiences …

Last night was perfect. We went to see Aladdin the Musical at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. I absolutely love this theater. It’s old school Hollywood at it’s finest. And I honestly, I don’t think they have a bad seat in the house. I have sat all over that theater and have never been disappointed in my view or the sound. The venue is small enough to where you can’t help but feel engulfed in the performance. It is WONDERFUL. And exactly what I wanted for Reese’s first real theatre experience.

The performance itself was PHENOMENAL. The actors, the costumes, the sets … WOW! Libs is my theatre kid and she absolutely LOVED it. I was in awe, per my usual at the theatre. I am always caught up in the sights and sounds unfolding before me. Theatre makes me emotional to say the least. Having Reese beside me for the first time made it that much more special.

I mentioned yesterday that Down Syndrome has taught us that things don’t have to happen on a typical timeline. I wanted to introduce Reese to theatre for several years now, but I knew she wasn’t ready. I refused to push it too. Theatre is too special for that. I wanted her to be mature enough to REALLY enjoy it. And, fingers crossed, to fall in love with it like the rest of her KOOKY family. We might reach milestones and have achievements on a different timeline than others, but trust me when I say that we celebrate them a whole lot harder. Reese’s time is what we live by around here and I will tell you that it has made for some very special life experiences. And last night was no exception. At times I found myself watching Reese and watching the stage out of the corner of my eye. Seeing her reactions will go down as one of my favorite mom moments EVER. All of it … PRECIOUS! Her eyes lit up! Other than the few “scary” parts her eyes were glued to that stage. Yes folks, I have another theatre lover. And I couldn’t be happier!

Well, I hope you all have a day filled with magical experiences!!!

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A whole new world …

Today we are surprising Reese by taking her to see Aladdin the musical! She has never seen a Broadway show before. She is going to LOVE IT. The best part for me is going to be watching my sweet little girl discover what true theatre is really like. I can’t wait to see her face light up and to see wonder in her eyes as she becomes part of the theatrical experience. I got to do this with her older siblings and I know that her turn will be no less magical. It might even be MORE. I started taking my other kids when they were around age four. Reese is now eight. Developmentally she is about 4-5 years old. Down Syndrome has taught us that things don’t always happen on a typical timeline. It’s honestly freeing. To allow growth in such a natural unforced way is beautiful and I get to live that every day. I am blessed. MEGA BLESSED. It’s days like this that my heart wants to burst with MOM happiness. It is simply THE BEST!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you discover A WHOLE NEW WORLD!!!

A blubbering mess …

Perhaps scheduling Reese’s appointments to see her specialists the two days before the 24th anniversary of my mother’s passing was a bad idea. Don’t get me wrong, they went great! Reese picked out some adorable purple glasses with hearts on the side that should correct her vision. YAY! And her cardiologist couldn’t have given me better news. PRAISE GOD! I am a great case manager and I had worked long enough in the medical field to know my way around most specialties. So I usually can put up a pretty good strong front through most of these appointments. I am Super Social Worker Mom, with nerves of steel, wisdom beyond my years and complete level-headedness. But not these past few days. Good grief!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you aren’t a blubbering mess!!!

The beauty and joy of growth …

Yesterday I had a telephone conversation with Sid while she was on her way to meet her boyfriend. She was taking the BART in San Francisco and telling me departure times and other little details. She was a pro at San Francisco public transit. I remembered our first time on BART together while we were touring colleges. This was several years go and I worried that this type of transportation would be too overwhelming for her. I was wrong to have worried. My, how times have changed.

Yesterday I had a telephone conversation with George while he was out picking out some luggage at a store in Petaluma. LUGGAGE. My son was buying LUGGAGE. He drives himself to stores, buys luggage, gets himself to airports and flies alone now. This is my child who NEVER paid attention to details or his surroundings. The one I worried about for the longest when he crossed streets. My, how times have changed.

Yesterday when I picked Libs up from school she got into my car. We looked at each other with relief and gave a “high -five”. We discussed how WE MADE IT through this HELLA crazy week. When Libs was little she was my LAZIEST child. She and I always joke that she sat on the couch for five years. Ah, the good ole days, HA! Now she takes AP classes, is in her school’s Digital Media Program, volunteers, sings and performs with the Women’s Advanced Choir and is on the tennis team. My, how times have changed.

I bought Reese a Barbie Accessory Advent Calendar this year. She has loved it! Every morning she opens it along with her advent book box and puts a new number ornament on her little wooden tree. We were in a rush yesterday morning so we decided to wait until later when she had time to enjoy it. Last night after her bath she did her Christmas countdown regime. She was very happy about the new Barbie running shoes she just opened up and was excitedly telling everyone. She was standing down the hallway and I had to stop. Her past and present collided. I remembered a scene from last Christmas Eve that I took a picture of and put in a photobook. It was of Reese as she excitedly stood in the same hallway as we were leaving to go see Christmas lights. She seemed so much taller than the little girl I remembered last year. Her speech has immensely improved. And her capabilities have grown by leaps and bounds. My, how times have changed.

Yesterday, was filled with precious memories of years past and of the beauty that comes with change. I am STRUCK by moments like these. I’m so grateful to experience them. They are a treasure. I love being MOM to these four incredible souls. They truly complete me. And their growth brings me nothing but pure JOY.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you grow!!!

What a difference a year makes …

Yesterday we attended the annual Down Syndrome Association of Orange County’s Breakfast with Santa. I love this event! It’s so much fun and I love seeing many of the families who were and still are a part of the group I facilitate. I love to see how much everyone has grown and adjusted to their lives since having a child with Down Syndrome. It’s one of the most beautiful things I get to experience over and over again in my life. I am so grateful to share in their lives. It’s incredible what time does to you, your journey and your life.

This morning a Facebook memory popped up from the breakfast last year. It was of Reese and I. And it really took me back.

It wasn’t even 6 weeks after I got sick. I remember looking at that picture after it had been taken and thinking how different I looked. The fatigue and illness had definitely taken its toll. I looked tired which makes sense since I was exhausted 24 hours a day back then. My face was swollen despite being the lowest weight I had been since the last time I had meningitis. My smile, although genuine, was different. My face wasn’t familiar to me. And it really bothered me. Seeing this picture honestly stopped me dead in my tracks. Whoa. Yesterday we took a ton of pictures. Maybe seeing the picture was so shocking for me because I had such recent pictures of myself in the same exact place I was last year. Whatever it was, I was able to confirm one thing. I’m a whole lot more me today than I was then … and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you know first hand what a difference a year makes!!!

Honoring heroes …

Today Reese’s school had a Veterans’ Day Ceremony and all the Girl and Boy Scouts participated. Reese is a new Brownie so today was a BIG deal. OK, I think I was way more excited than she was, HA! Anyway, Reese got to be one of the flag carriers. And she did GREAT! Now, I know she’s my kid, but goodness this little girl could not have been cuter and her mom couldn’t have been prouder. I was thrilled that she got to participate in something so meaningful.

Well, I hope you all have day where you honor your heroes!!!

Run your little heart out …

Today is Reese’s school Jog-a-Thon and she was SO EXCITED this morning. My little peanut loves to run. Which of course makes me incredibly happy. We haven’t done any formal training yet but when I see her run she has THAT look. To call it “freedom” is an understatement. To call it “joyful” doesn’t seem like nearly enough. It’s just so much more. I bought Reese new running shoes yesterday and this morning before we put them on her she stood next to them and started running in place. I totally GOT it. Yup, running. When it has you, you know it … and it feels incredible.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you run your little heart out!!!