Saturday, December 27, 2008

the gift in the back seat

Today as we were driving with some of our kids to the Toledo Zoo, I glanced back into the van to see Lauren. There she was tightly secured in her car seat: her sweet face and bright eyes were shining back at me through her nubby, pink sweater and her ever-moving feet were kicking and bouncing in anticipation of the adventure we were on. To her right was her big sister, Ada, whose name very well could mean "she who adores Lauren". Those two have a simple yet complete love for one another.

Every now and then I can't get over how this feeling of pure "wow, I am so lucky to have her" flashes through me. I never asked for or wanted a child with Down syndrome and was so not happy about the 'diagnosis' when I first found out. I think it was very much okay to have the feelings and fears I had and felt and I'm glad that I could process them as much as I did before meeting Miss Lauren face to face.

That is so much water under the bridge now, thankfully. Because if I were still so busy trying to convince myself that either Lauren was some sort of insurmountable obstacle & challenge or consolation prize i.e. not really like having another daughter or some other thing, I wouldn't be able to enjoy her that much. I think I'd be too busy feeling sorry for her, my family or myself. I'd be too busy wondering what others think about Lauren. Truthfully, I want everyone to see and know Lauren and to become acquainted with her special brand of sweetness.

The gift in the back seat brings me joy unlike anything else in my life. I really mean that. And every time that I look at her face beaming at me, I hope that I feel as blessed as I did today.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

It's been awhile since I posted new pictures. I'm too tired and worn out to write but wanted to do something new. So, without further ado....here are some pictures of the family and friends:

LoLo in her new hat, crocheted by Jacqui (thanks, Jacqui!)
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my busy, busy boy Gabe having some hot-cocoa with his whipped cream.
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my friend,Tracy's kids in our church's Christmas play
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Miss Lauren at Gabe's school concert performance - hammin' it up!
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Gabe, Curtis (friend) and Davrin having some outdoor time together.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

kind of a non-post, post.

Things have been difficult lately. I'm tired, stressed-out, run-down and can't stop coughing my guts out long enough to complete a thought or a sentence. But, that doesn't mean it's all bad. Here are some of the things going well in my life (lest I forget)

1. Gabe, Davrin and Nolan are all doing really well in school and having no real adjustment problems at the moment.

2. I've had time to read lately and just finished a wonderfully well-written and interesting book by Darin Strauss : "More than it hurts you", and another called "Deaf sentence" about a man who realizes how marginalized he has become since becoming hard of hearing. My dad is very hard of hearing so I know this is true and it's interesting to read things from that point of view.

3. We both lost and found Lauren's hearing aids twice. The first one we thought was lost at the coffee shop downtown but turned out was sitting in the dish drainer of our kitchen sink all night. Surprisingly, it still works! Apparently these things are somewhat water resistant.

4. Lauren is strong, determined and healthy. (Ornery and crabby, too, but that goes in the other list).

5. My internship at the high school is going really well and I really like being there. My supervisor is really great to work with and I'm learning lots from everyone.

6. We have a home, transportation, food, clothing, education, faith, family and friends.

On that note, I will close - since this is only a non-post, post!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My 6 year old.,,,A Gabe Story

Wow, it's been 6 years since Gabe came into our lives. He was born at our local hospital after a short labor and very long pregnancy. Gabe was conceived, most likely, the morning of our son, Gaven's funeral. After losing Gaven, we wanted so badly to have another little baby boy in our lives. My wish was for a baby that looked just like Gaven. My arms were empty, my heart broken, my spirit unsure. I needed some way to reinvest all of that love I had for my lost boy.

Gabe came to us in a rush of emotions. His initial cries were a bit weak due to a vocal chord strain that occurred during birth. It was short lived! Gabe was a very sleepy baby and appeared unusually tiny at birth (he was @ 7lbs. 11 oz.). Truly, I think that Chaz and I were just so worried about
everything that it was hard to find anything that seemed perfect. He didn't want to nurse at first; he just wanted to sleep. I had nothing to worry about.

But, he did look just like Gaven!

At 6, Gabe is a strapping young man - 62 lbs and almost 4 feet tall. He's beautiful, spirited, difficult, demanding, fun, loving, emotional, fragile, strong-willed and so, so bright.

The fact that Gabe was born almost exactly 9 months after Gaven passed will always leave me in awe. How could this be? What does this mean? What does this say about Gaven's life/death and what does it mean for Gabe? After all, I was breastfeeding then pumping every 2-3 hours. It only took one try to make Gabe.

Gabe's life has been extraordinary. Our love for him surpasses our patience and energy. Gabe wants so much from life: he wants it all!

Whereas Ada was high-strung but obsessively predictable and whereas Nolan was also incredibly bright but very even-tempered, mellow and earnest and whereas Davrin was sweet and eager to please, Gabe was/is a force of nature I had not yet experienced.

What do you do with a boy like this?
You love him, you pay attention, you take breaks, you have meetings with teachers, you find it hard to complain, you find it hard to find people who understand your frustration, you stand in awe, you fear for his life and for your heart.
I don't know that I would survive something happening to Gabe. He has my heart. I love all of my kids and they all occupy special places within my mind, memory, dreams and goals. But, Gabe...Gabe gave me hope, proof of God's presence and something that no one and nothing else could: simply, a baby to love.

Gabe had a party last night at the bowling alley with 16 of his friends and classmates. He is well-liked though probably misunderstood at times. He's physical, demanding, impulsive and fun-loving. He had a really good time and repeatedly told me that he "couldn't believe he was 6"!!

Gabe, who could easily read this blog: I love you! You have inspired me to go on, to live again, to pursue healing and tenderness instead of bitterness and sorrow. You are only 6 but you are so powerful.

Gabe, Curtis and Dav

Future Drummer?

Future Drummer?

SWEET LAUREN