Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Look Backward

Just like other years during this time, I take some time out of my day/week to look back on the year and think about the direction of my life during the year. All in all, it has been a pretty good year for me. I have added another candle to my birthday cake, lost more hair and added number four son to our household of seven. All of that and I'm still not sure if I am any wiser although it would depend on who you ask.

One of my sons suggested this morning at breakfast that we go around the table and say 5 things that we remember most about the year. I was impressed that he came up with this so I was quick to oblige him. Well, you know kids, they don't always say what you think they will say but there was one thing that was unique to all four and that was the addition of John.

This is a very kid friendly household. We have always welcomed each new child into the family with open arms. We are also known for having our kids' friends over for parties and sleep-overs so welcoming John into the family was very easy for us especially since he is so lovable. But what was not so easy for us and continues to be a stumbling block for us (although the block is becoming smaller with each passing day) is the fact the he has Down syndrome.

Joy and I chose to go ahead with prenatal testing just so we could limit the
surprises at birth. Looking back, I don't think we would have chosen any different. This time afforded us to adjust ourselves to the fact that we may not be having the typical healthy little boy that we took for granted we would always have. This also gave us a time to discuss with our children the possibility of having a special needs child and what that would mean.

So when John came on July 29, 2008, we were all prepared - not really. We may have been prepared educationally but we were not prepared emotionally. When John came into the world, there was no crying and he was noticeably more floppy than our others. I can remember just feeling a little numb to what I was seeing for even though I saw all the results from every test that was conducted and saw every ultrasound that we had done (and we used ultrasound very generously), I still held out hope that my baby was not Down syndrome.

Well, speed up to where we are now which is the 5 month marker, I really am unable to see it any other way. I fall in love with that little boy each and every day. He makes me proud (and I might add that he makes me look good as a Therapist). He is all heart - we call him our relational baby because he loves to smile and cuddle. He has the ability to soften your heart and to cheer you up on bad days. Because even on a bad day for him, he still manages to flash you a smile.

Yes, this has been a difficult journey that I probably wouldn't have chosen for myself. I can tend to be a rather intense person as I probably was during the first 2or 3 months of his life as he is a very stimulated and therapied (if that is a word) baby. I have taken the responsibility of seeing that John receives the best start in life that I can give him. I used to worry about his future - what he could do, how would he make a living, what would happen to him after my wife and I were gone. But I am learning to take it one day at a time - to give him what I can for that day and hopefully that will help him to achieve more than what was expected.

If you have not seen the video clip entitled Dreams in Reality, I would urge you to see it. It will encourage your heart and hopefully open your eyes to the potential wrapped up inside our children.

My life has changed in so many ways and sometimes I wish I had my old life back but I am learning to accept and to learn from my circumstance. My faith tells me that God is in control and that He understands and cares about my life. And that everything happens for a purpose and I believe that purpose is that we would come to see our imperfections and mortality; that we might come to understand that we need a Saviour to save us from our mortality.

Thank you all for visiting my blog this past year. I have enjoyed writing it and meeting new friends. If you have never commented or emailed me, I would invite you to do so as it encourages me to know that you are out there and that my thoughts are appreciated. Thanks again and we will see you next year. May God bless each and every one of your families.


Ruby's Mom said...

You put that all so well.Thanks for sharing.I'm glad I found your blog.
The video clip made me teary eyed.It's good to see what our kids may be able to do.It's encouraging.

Lisa said...

What a wonderful post, Jay. Happy New Year to you and yours!

Jeanette said...

Have a wonderful new year! It has been great reading your blog and getting to know your sweet John. You are correct, God in in control and although we didn't choose our journeys, there are gifts and blessings in them. I have met such wonderful people that I would never have know otherwise, all because of an extra chromosome. Blessings to you and your family in this New year.

Laurie said...

Hi There,
This is the first time I've visited your blog and I'm glad I did! I have a little guy, Dylan, with Down syndrome and am pretty new to this whole blogging world. Im looking forward to following your journey...
Take care,

Angela said...

Great post, Jay! I have enjoyed getting to know your family this year.
It's funny how God works, isn't it? He prepares us each in different ways, but it's unique to our situations. My husband and I didn't know prenatally, and are so glad!
Happy New Year! I hope this year is just remarkable for you.

Catholic Mom x 4 said...

Thank you for including my blog on your site. And a big thanks for including the video Dreams in Reality from our local DS group. I enjoy reading your insights. Yes, we too take it one day at a time. No need to worry about the future when God will help steer the course...