Perfectly …

Today is my daughter Libby’s 17th birthday. To say that time has passed quickly since the day she was born is an understatement. I remember her beginning like it was yesterday.

I was standing in a deli after church on a Sunday morning when I realized that I was pregnant with Libs. I had just prayed the day before, that if the timing was PERFECT, that I would love to have another baby one day. Life was definitely not perfect at that time. I had just returned back to work and was loving the contract that I took with a local hospital. My head was in a different place. Yet there I was in that deli, already stricken with ALL DAY sickness and knowing that I was headed into what would likely be my third high-risk pregnancy. NOT the perfect time but it definitely all turned out PERFECTLY! God knew that our family needed Libs and He knew exactly when we would need her. I saw God move so much when I was pregnant with her. It was truly miraculous. And she came in God’s PERFECT timing. Libs was born into this world to a room full of laughter. All of us, doctors and nurses included, were laughing and having a wonderful time. Her birth was honestly like a party. I remember when I first held her, I felt an unexplainable familiarity with her. I felt like I had held her my whole life. She fit PERFECTLY into my arms, my heart and our family. I can’t imagine us without her! Libs is one of the funniest people you will ever know. I love how she sees and relates to this world. She is genuine and honest. She has always been a justice-seeker and she is incredibly fair. Libs is a gifted artist and brilliant, but most of all, Libs is kind and compassionate. This girl has a HUGE heart. I couldn’t be more proud of the young woman that she has become and of all the things that she has already accomplished. Life will take a lot of twists and turns for her over this next year. But I have no doubt that her future will turn out exactly how she came into this world … perfectly.

Well, I hope you all have a day where things turn out PERFECTLY!!!

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EXTRAordinary human …

Last week I mentioned that there was a project that I had been working on. Well, I can share it now! I had the privilege of being part of a video for Voices for the Voiceless that was released for World Down Syndrome Day! The video was posted to social media today and it shares various stories about the experience myself and other moms had upon learning that we would have a child with Down Syndrome. Sadly, many of us had a less than pleasant experience with medical professionals and faced people who suggested that we abort our precious babes. For the record, no mother should ever have to defend the value of her child’s life! I encourage you all to watch the video and feel free to ask me any questions. If you haven’t noticed I absolutely love sharing about Reese and our very special world. Also, tomorrow is World Down Syndrome Day and as you all know Reese is my hero! So we will be celebrating HUGE!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you love an EXTRAordinary human!!! https://youtu.be/okgcAn4uIEA

Relieved it’s over …

Reese’s hernia repair surgery was this morning. It went very fast and was quite routine. THANK GOD. Her recovery room experience was a little rough though. She had a pretty hard reaction to the anesthesia and she was inconsolable for about a half hour. Which is totally normal, but it was REALLY tough to see my baby girl like that. They told me that she might react like that, but it still didn’t make it any easier seeing her so distressed. BIG SIGH. I also learned something new today. Having experienced various types of surgery with my children, I can tell you that one thing is for sure. Whether it be a major or a minor surgery, if it is your child, it’s all pretty scary. And when it’s all over, you are SO THANKFUL.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel relieved that it’s over!!!

An unexpected God gift …

Last night, after a very long and very exciting day (I’ll explain why in a later blog), I somehow got Reese into bed early. This is good because she has her hernia repair surgery tomorrow and I want her going into it as strong as possible. Sleep is so important leading up to something like this and it will be a huge part of how her little body will recover after. But, I guess her mama’s body was needing that sleep too.

Last night I laid down with Reese. We said her prayers and snuggled. And I don’t remember another thing after that. I woke up three hours later, thinking I had just dozed off. Talk about completely disorienting! I thought for sure I would never fall back to sleep. I was wrong. I slept for almost another 7 hours! WOW! With as conscientious as I am about my health, I am often amazed at how much I fail to see what my body really needs. Tomorrow will be long and stressful so I am glad that today I feel great and ready to tackle anything. And I am once again thankful for God’s hand in helping me be at at my best for Reese. As a mom, I just keep going, often times piling more on my plate than I have room for. I’m grateful that God sees this. And despite the piles of unfolded laundry and the dirty dishes in the sink, God knew it was more important to give me rest than it was to give me more time in my day to complete chores. He is awesome that way.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you receive an unexpected gift from God!!!

Yippee …

My daughter Sidney is flying home from college today and she will stay for a few days. I am so EXCITED!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you want to scream YIPPEE!!!

Choosing joy on Groundhog Day …

Twenty-five years ago today I lost my mom. I cannot believe how bad this day still feels. I was 24 years old when she died and I was completely broken. And still, at 50 years old, I find myself just as shattered as the day she passed. I guess real love just works that way. Every year I try my hardest to get out there and enjoy my day. I know that she would want that for me. Some years I am decently successful. Other years, DEFINITELY not. This year I’m really going to try to have a nice day. I even have plans to leave the house! This hasn’t always proven to been the best idea. Random crying in public gets a lot of stares! I know that everyone who loves me gives me a pass on “people-ing” today. And trust me, I appreciate it! But there was one life lesson that my mother taught me that has been more important to me than ever before. It’s like each year that has passed has only fueled my commitment to it. It is a lesson that I have gone on to teach my own children. It is part of my mother’s legacy. And the part of her that will truly live on forever.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you CHOOSE JOY on Groundhog Day!!!

Finding out who you are …

Over the weekend I found myself at Urgent Care with Reese. Saturday night she presented with some signs and symptoms that seemed vaguely familiar to me. After putting all the pieces together, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Reese has a hernia. Sure enough, my suspicions where right. She was diagnosed with an abdominal hernia, and after seeing her pediatrician yesterday, they suspect that she may also have a small ulcer from stomach acid and the stress she experienced from vomiting so much. This makes everything she has been through the past few weeks finally make sense to me. Which thankfully brings me a lot of peace of mind. Not knowing was very upsetting. But with the learning of this kind of information, actions must follow. This is when being a social worker, with a boatload of medical experience, and a mom all seem to come together perfectly. Or so, this is my hope.

If you ask most people who know me, they will say that I’m a pretty happy and excitable person. But when it comes to stressful situations, I’m calm. Unusually calm. So calm that it often angers my children. They think I’m too “matter-of-fact” sometimes. But I honestly, can’t help it. Usually when I’m presented with a fairly stressful situation I consider the information I am given with objectivity and discernment. I look at all of the facts, tap into my existing knowledge on the topic, research any questions that I may have, develop a plan and go from there. This whole process gives me a feeling of control over seemingly out of control situations. This also pairs nicely with a promise that I made with myself long ago as a way of dealing with some anxiety that I was experiencing. I don’t worry about ANYTHING unless it is literally sitting on a plate in front of me. The bottom line is, for the most part, I can remain rational when most people can’t. But I will tell you that as a parent, having dealt my children’s health issues in the past and as of present, this can become hard. REAL HARD. I am thankful that I can boast a pretty successful track record of “pulling it together” … so far.

I admit that in the past few weeks I have been emotional regarding Reese’s health. Her symptoms have been concerning and I was presented with no solid answers to why she was experiencing them. Well, we had some, but my mama’s instinct said that there was more. And there was. But that period of unknowing really unnerved me. Thankfully, we now know what we are dealing with. And even better, it’s fixable. THANK YOU GOD.

So now it’s time for action and THIS what I’m good at. THIS I can handle.

Today we see the surgeon. It is all happening much faster than I expected. I’ve already done a ton of research on treatment plans and I feel ready for this meeting. Finally KNOWING the UNKNOWN I feel confident again. I want my daughter pain-free, symptom-free and restored to her happy healthy active self. I know that these goals will keep me focused, grounded and driven. And that feels good.

When I earned my MSW in 1995 it was YEARS before Reese was even a thought in my head. Yet it is through her that I have a complete understanding of my being. You see, God knew she was coming. Gracefully and purposely He molded me into exactly what Reese would need to live her best life. He educated me through books and life and love to turn me into the mommy I am today. A mommy full of crazy fierce protective unconditional love for this incredible little girl who has so much to teach the world. Today that mommy and the social worker in me collide (again) and I get the privilege of doing my life’s calling, my purpose, for her. For this amazingly beautiful little soul that God has gifted me with to raise and to love. I can’t help be but humbled by His trust. And grateful. So. So. Grateful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you find out who you are!!!