The juggle

Every single person who has more than one child tells you they love each of their children equally. They tell you for as much as you love your first child, your heart just gets bigger and makes room for more love when your second arrives and then your third, fourth, etc. But, if pressed, many of these same people will tell you that they secretly have a ‘favorite’. It may be the easiest or happiest child. It may be the child most like yourself or more likely, the child the most polar opposite of yourself. So, understandably, it’s confusing.

When I was pregnant with David, I had these same fears. Could I love two equally? I was so over the top obsessed with Ella and thought everything she did was amazing (and of course had never been done before) that I couldn’t imagine her brother would come close. Ella is an overachiever, a go-getter, pretty much as close to perfect as I could’ve hoped for. Through David’s pre-natal diagnosis and my pre-natal ideas of Down syndrome, there was no contest; Ella was the victor for my affections.

And then, he was born. This sweet, precious, innocent baby came into the world. Early and ‘imperfect’ and not at all the way I planned. And he was so wholly reliant on Jason & I to make the very best decisions for him. And the best way we knew how to do that was to love him. Every single decision was based 10% on medical advice and 90% on insane, overwhelming love. He was David long before we met him. While we struggled and grieved and mourned and plugged along he was David. He was just waiting for us to meet him.

What an awesome God we serve that sees the big picture and knows us better than we could ever hope to know ourselves. He knew our love for D would overwhelm us, shake us to the core & change us forever. How blessed we are to be gifted with such life-altering love!

I don’t have a favorite child. My children each have my heart in their own unique way. But I will forever be grateful for the day my son rocked my world, turned me around and changed me for good.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;”
Jeremiah 1:5

The sibling

This morning, I heard David talking in his crib. Ella was up, but I was still in the shower so I asked her to go and entertain him until I could get there. This is what I walked into

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Ella is such a good big sister to David & as you can see, they adore each other. I cannot wait to see this relationship bloom!

The motherhood

At this same time four years ago, in this same house, in this same tub, after laboring at home for long enough that they’d let me follow my birth plan at the hospital, Ella Grace entered our lives.

 
I didn’t necessarily “dream” of being a mother. I didn’t really play with baby dolls or play house when I was growing up. I was a nanny in college but was always perfectly happy for the parents to come home so I could go back to doing my own thing. I always assumed I’d have children, but it wasn’t something I necessarily dreamed, planned or imagined. I know I had a couple of names picked out, but I never went on dates and asked men about how many children they’d like to have. And by the time I met Jason, I had realized that having children was a never ending, life long financial and emotional commitment & wasn’t sure it was for me. But then something happened. I became a mother.

 
On July 15, 2010, my sweet, spunky, firecracker was born. She made us wait 11 days past her “due date” but hit the ground running immediately. She is kind, polite, empathetic, energetic, stubborn, dramatic, emotional and happy. I couldn’t ask for a brighter light in our family.

 

Happy Birthday sweet Ella. “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” – Shakespeare

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The fail

Last week David failed his sixth swallow study. I think six times can be classified as a pattern. Five previous fails almost certainly guaranteed another fail. But still, I cried. And on a week when I had just thought to myself, “Wow, I haven’t cried about David’s condition in months.” But I cried that day. So of course I started to analyze myself & try and figure out why I was crying. I didn’t have high hopes that his feeding tube would be removed, but I did have my fingers crossed that they might let us start some purée. Typical babies start “food” at 5-6 months. David 1st birthday is in less than two weeks & he hasn’t even had a bottle orally in over four months. And that’s when I realized, I was hoping for one ‘typical’ milestone. Yes, it might have been almost 6 months late, but I was hoping for the go ahead to start giving him some food. So what is it about ‘typical’? From the day we got our prenatal diagnosis & all the steps in between then & now, I knew that our lives wouldn’t be typical. I consistently say I’ve made my peace with “different” and yet I have a break down when it’s confirmed that he’s on his own path & not following a predetermined set of rules. It’s not fair of me to applaud & celebrate Down syndrome in one breath and then cry & mourn it in the next. Or is it? Is this part of the journey? Will my acceptance come in waves & stages? Probably. And that’s ok.
Right now David is sitting on my lap “talking” away. And today that’s all the typical I need.

The confession

Forgive me, blog readers, for I have strayed. It has been 37 days since my last submission.
Apparently, blogging is much easier when your life is in upheaval. Sick babies, an active toddler, trying to build a business, inclement weather & keeping my family in clean clothes is exactly the kind of drama my writing thrives on. June was calm. June was uneventful. There were more pool dates & girls nights than doctors visits & ER trips. There were way more giggles than tears & many more snuggles than needle pricks. Life is beginning to balance out. Thank you Lord!
We are fast approaching big D’s 1st birthday! But before we tackle that milestone, please accept these ridiculously adorable photos as my penance & my promise to blog and blog and blog like I’ve never blogged before.

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