Friday, December 22, 2006

What A Nice Day

This morning, Paige slept in after we were all up and ready to go off to work and school. It is very unusual for Paige to have to be woken up, as she is quite the early riser.

Dakotah and I went into her room, and she was laying on her pillow, sound asleep, with her hands behind her head. This was quite unusual as well, as Paige usually sleeps with her face planted somewhere between her toes!

We were looking at her sleeping, and Dakotah says, "Isn't it amazing how perfect she is?"

Can you imagine how much I loved both of my children at that very moment?


Tonight, we decorated the Christmas tree. O.k...Wayne and I mostly decorated it, as the kids got bored somewhere in the first half hour of production!

Paige laid on her belly and swung her feet behind us, and just looked at the lights and all of the ornaments while we were decorating. Dakotah played with the dog, took 20 pictures of herself on the digital camera, played Christmas music for us, etc.

And...I had an incredible deja vu moment. After suggesting that we anchor the tree to the wall to my husband for the 100th time -- "Look, all we have to do is tie a string around it, the hook is already there!" -- the inevitable happened -- one ornament tumbled the tree!!

So, off to the van he goes to get the twine that we needed. Suddenly, I was transported 10 years back in a very real way. Almost 10 years ago to this very day, Dakotah was 3 years old, watching Frosty the Snowman on TV, Wayne was at the gym working out, and our tree took a tumble.

I sent Dakotah off to get the phone and bring it to me so I could call Wayne as I held the tree in place. As she went to hand it to me, it rang.

It was my ob/gyn with my amnio results. "I'm very sorry to have to tell you this, Mrs. L, but its Down syndrome."

At nearly 28 weeks, the conversation continued, with her offering me the chance to abort -- explaining that in the case of genetic problems such as this, therapeutic abortions can be offered to mothers because of the stress involved, and the risk to the mother's health because of this great stress.

I don't know that I had a reaction to her suggestion of abortion -- I was more interested in knowing the sex of my baby -- a GIRL!!! just what I had wanted! And thoughts swarmed my head of what she would look like, how her life would be, etc.

All this as Frosty played in the background and I held onto that tree for dear life.

When Wayne came home, we talked about the baby, and the news we had gotten. I think I was stunned, and suddenly very conscious of my role as a Mom - that this was our child, and our destiny was about to change in a very big way.

That night, my little girl once again put my life into perspective. As I tucked Dakotah into bed, she kissed my stomach, as she did every single night of my pregnancy, and whispered, "good-night babydoll, I love you."

In that moment, I realized that the baby I was carrying was the exact same baby that she had been the day before, the week before, the month before. Nothing had changed, except I knew a little bit more about her.

In the weeks that followed, I would have many ultrasounds that would show us over and over again that the baby had no functioning kidneys or stomach -- that she was surviving simply because she was inside of me.
Our hope for her became the hope that she would live long enough to be able to harvest her organs and give the gift of life to some other newborn.


What a difference those 10 years have made! If I were to ever get that call again, "I'm sorry, Mrs. L., its Down syndrome -- and a little girl" --- I would have to drop that Christmas tree right where it stood, so I could fall to my knees and thank God for this great blessing -- this very, very perfect child.

At the same time...these 10 years have not changed everything. Dakotah still sees her little sister as a beautiful, perfect little girl.

And I still thank God every single day for both of these children, created just for me, perfect for me in every way.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This is my friend, Camille

I've written a few times about my friend, Camille. I want to tell you a very sweet story about her that carries a wonderful life lesson for all of us.

Yesterday, Paige's Living & Learning Class had swimming in the afternoon. I take the kids over to the pool, and Camille meets us there.

Yesterday, Camille also had her friend, Melissa with her. Melissa has two little girls, Bella and Maya. Bella has a progressive, degenerative disease that is fatal. She is a beautiful little girl, with skin as soft as the most luxurious silk your mind can even imagine.

Melissa and Bella and Maya decided they were going to swim with the kids! How fun!

Because Bella needs to be held and supported in the water, Camille offered to go in the pool with Maya.

The "rest of this story" is what I want to tell you see what a special person Camille is.

She did not have a swim suit with her, nor did she have time to go home and get hers. So...she went to St. Vincent's, which is a 2nd hand store that sells clothes to raise money for the poor, like the Salavation Army.

And...she bought a bathing suit. Any old bathing suit. She just held it up, hoped it would fit, and away she went.

When she tried it on, it was short for her, and didn't fit her well. Most women, in their vanity, would have said "forget that." Most of us wouldn't get caught dead in a suit that we didn't think looked good on us, or that we felt uncomfortable with.

Not Camille. She didn't even hesitate. She shrugged it off, laughed, and said, "Oh well, we'll have fun...that's what matters."

This is my friend, Camille...who always sees the bright side...who walks on the sunny side of the street.

She found a moment of simple childhood joy -- splashing in the water -- and seized it without hesitation.

What a wonderful way to live. What a wonderful person.

Christmas is coming!

Its such a busy time of year, its no wonder my head is swimming with so many ideas that I'm having a hard time organizing them well enough to post in my blog.

Christmas is fast approaching, as it always seems to do for me. I'm a very organized person, but time is such a premium in our fast-paced lives that I have many last minute details that need to be tended to.

My house is very decorated for Christmas, sans Christmas tree, as we are not entirely sure how Kirby is going to feel about a tree. Actually, we are pretty sure he is going to really love a tree, lol...thus our hesitation to put one up until the kids are out of school and he can be tended to full time.

He's been an amazing puppy so far. He visited Paige's school this week. He is very sweet and quiet and loves attention. He is very smart, and is learning commands already. What a good dog we have gotten. So good in fact, that I'm considering training him as a therapy dog, to go and visit elderly people and some of the people who live in our area group homes.

Our vet has told us she thinks we got much more Newfie than we thought -- we thought he was just 1/4 Newfie, and the rest lab, but she says he is Newfie through and through in his personality.

So far, my Christmas plan to celebrate with our children is working out well. We are talking about family traditions and memories of past Christmases, and are making plans for everything that will end up in our scrapbook. Its been a good season for us...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


"Kirby Jamal"

Isn't he just the cutest?!?! He is 10 weeks old, and is a black lab with about 1/4 Newfie mixed in.

He looks like a little bear cub when he is playing in the snow.

He is such a good little boy -- no accidents in the house yet, and he is so laid back. He likes to hang out and be near us.

He's going to be a big boy, who probably won't realize it, because he's such a love. He already tries to get into his water bowl and go for a swim! He actually paddles in it with his front feet, it is hilarious.

We are all head over heels!

Watching the Westminster: