Sunday, August 31, 2008

Welcome to Holland

After Reid was born one of Luke's preschool teachers told me of this poem, Welcome to Holland. It lifted my spirits then and again this evening when I came across it on the internet. I am actually loving my detour to Holland...I didn't know I would be visiting...but I'm here...been here 20 months now and I'm adjusting well to my new surroundings. Luke is learning a lot about life on this trip too and he'd tell you there isn't any other place he'd be if it means being able to be with his "best brother". From time to time we'll be posting about the sites we see here in Holland and the things we are learning from this trip.

Welcome to Holland
by Emily Pearl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.

It's like this... When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michalangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland?" you say. "What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy." But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." The pain of that will never go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your time mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, very lovely things about Holland.

Friday, August 29, 2008

More Alike Than Different


I have read in many books and been told on more than one occasion to, "Remember that your child with Down syndrome will be more like you, and your family, than different"...How is this for "Like me"??? A chocolate addict after my own heart. Reid, you and Mommy are going to have lots of fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Celebrating One Year Post Op Today!!

TODAY WE CELEBRATE! One year ago today, August 21, 2007, our sweet little Reid underwent heart surgery. We learned the day after he was born that nearly 50% of children with Down syndrome also have a congenital heart defect...our son fell into those statistics. We were told to anticipate surgery somewhere between 6 month to a year...and for him 7 1/2 months was his time. I think my own heart stopped when I had to hand my baby over to the surgical team and retreated to pray like no other time. My husband recently added the song, He's My Son, by Mark Shultz to our play list below...and every time I hear it I well up with tears. It takes me back to the 2 weeks we stayed with him in the hospital (8 of those days he was unable to breathe on his own and kept in a very sedated state...we missed our little cooing, babbling guy!). After surgery Luke tried to comfort his baby brother by saying (in the sweetest little voice), "I'm sorry they had to cut you in half buddy...!). I am posting a picture we took of Reid's chest right after surgery and then a recent picture to show off how amazing his scar healed....I am sure this scar will be shown at many a "Show and Tell" at school in the years to come! Thank you Dr. Loo and the surgical team for taking such good care of our son! We are forever grateful for your care!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

GREAT Gross Motor Skills Buddy!

Yesterday I watched Reid squirm around in his high chair and position his legs like you see in the some this sight might look startling, make one look closer at the fastening mechanisms to make sure they are working me, all I could think of was..."Wow, way to go Buddy, great gross motor skills!!".  Oh, okay yes, I did look closer at the little seat belt and fixed it....but we take our victories where we can! It is so fun to see his little muscles getting so strong.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I have been blessed with two boys, Luke and Reid. Luke just turned 7 and is the best big brother Reid could ask for. He is hysterically funny, smart, and oh so sensitive. Just recently, he started to cry out of the blue stating, “I was just thinking, sigh, in 12 years I am going to be 19….more sighs…and I am sad because I don’t want to leave our house!”. Yes, we may not have girls, but we definitely do not lack drama around here!

And then we have our sweet Reid. Reid was born on December 28, 2006, making him 19 months as I write this. Reid’s birth and all that has come with it has changed us as a family forever…and I am forever grateful for the lessons his life has taught me. It was in the delivery room that we heard the words no parent wants to hear, “Your son is showing signs of Down syndrome…we need to run some tests”. The room spun and a thousand thoughts, fears, and worries flooded us. Neither my husband nor I knew anything about Down syndrome , but I remember having this strong feeling that I did not want either of us to do any research yet, I didn’t want a bunch of facts and statistics…

I didn’t want to know Down syndrome, I just wanted to know our son.

Weeks went by before we started our homework beyond what we immediately needed to know. We’ve since learned quite a lot but at the same time we are realizing this will be a lifetime of learning for us, with Reid doing most of the teaching.

As our family continues on this new journey we have met so many incredible families along the way…some in person and some through formats such as this. I cannot tell you how many photo montages and blogs I have scoured over in the wee hours of the night with tears streaming down my face, connected to strangers across the country by one extra chromosome and yet somehow not feeling like strangers at all. I am grateful to be on this journey with you all and to learn from one another while Raising Reid and his big brother Luke.